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How Muscle Memory May Someday Save Your Life

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Soon after the Mineral earthquake struck in the summer of 2011, I learned the importance of muscle memory. The magnitude 5.8 earthquake, considered Very Strong on the Mercalli Intensity Scale, shook and damaged buildings, shut down a nuclear power plant, overloaded some 911 call centers, and closed streets due to reported gas leaks. Life was disrupted that afternoon in Virginia. Indeed, millions of Virginians can recall exactly where they were at 01:51:04 on August 23, 2011. Ask ten of them how they responded to the quake, and you will likely get a variety of answers.

I work at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Library. At 01:51:04 on August 23rd, I was walking across Grounds to meet with a colleague (ironically, a native Californian) at Alderman Library, so I didn’t feel the earthquake. However, when I returned to my office, I learned that library staff responded in a variety of ways.  Some responded well, while others not so well. And since none of us had ever experienced an earthquake of this magnitude, a variety of responses would be expected, which is why developing muscle memory may someday save your life.

Building muscle memory involves performing repetitious actions to increase the likelihood of a predicted response. Without it, you are at risk following a traumatic event, as your mind may be too busy trying to figure out what just happened than helping you get out of harm’s way.

Performing a drill is the best way to develop muscle memory, which is why many states set aside a day each year for a statewide earthquake drill. Is an annual drill enough? The answer is yes if you know what three actions to take following an earthquake. (Answer: DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON.) If you didn’t know the answer, then there is no better time than now to drill. Survey your present environment. Where would you DROP to take COVER, and what would you HOLD ON to?

For further information about how to respond to an earthquake, see

NLM Funding Opportunity

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces a funding opportunity for small projects to improve access to disaster medicine and public health information for health care professionals, first responders and others that play a role in health-related disaster preparedness, response and recovery. 

NLM is soliciting proposals from partnerships in the U.S. that include at least one library and at least one organization that has disaster-related responsibilities, such as health departments, public safety departments, emergency management departments, pre-hospital and emergency medical services, fire/rescue, or other local, regional, or state agencies with disaster health responsibilities; hospitals; faith-based and voluntary organizations active in disaster; and others.

NLM encourages submission of innovative proposals that enhance mutually beneficial collaboration among libraries and disaster-related agencies. For example, projects may increase awareness of health information resources, demonstrate how libraries and librarians can assist planners and responders with disaster-related information needs, show ways in which disaster workers can educate librarians about disaster management, and/or include collaboration among partners in developing information resources that support planning and response to public health emergencies.  Summaries of the previous years’ funded projects can be viewed at

Contract awards will be offered for a minimum of $15,000 to a maximum of $30,000 each for a one-year project.

The deadline for proposals is July 6, 2015 at 12 pm ET.

The solicitation notice can be found on

For more information about the “Disaster Health Information Outreach and Collaboration Project 2015”, please visit  

The National Library of Medicine ( is the world’s largest biomedical library and provides extensive online health information resources. Visit the NLM Disaster Information Management Research Center site ( ) to learn more about disaster-related health information from WISER (hazardous materials information for emergency responders), REMM-Radiation Emergency Medical Management, CHEMM-Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management, Disaster Lit™ and other resources.

Heritage Preservation Programs Transition to FAIC

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Throughout its 33-year history, first as the National Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Property and then under its current name, Heritage Preservation has fulfilled its mission to preserve the nation’s heritage for future generations through innovative leadership and educational agendas. It has steadily advocated for the protection of cultural heritage by creating programs, publications, and easily accessed products that advance the field of conservation and serve the needs of allied preservation professions. 

Heritage Preservation’s programs have been tested and proven. Hence, they are trusted and highly valued. Their loss would be severely felt throughout the cultural heritage community. Research undertaken over the past six months indicates that several synergies exist between the programs of the DC-based Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (FAIC) and Heritage Preservation. For this reason, following the recent vote by Heritage Preservation members approving its dissolution as of June 30, 2015, several popular Heritage Preservation programs will transition to FAIC, thus ensuring their continuation.

To learn more about the disposition of Heritage Preservation’s programs – including Heritage Health Information 2014, Alliance for Response, the Conservation Assessment Program, and Heritage Preservation’s joint awards – visit the websites of Heritage Preservation,, or FAIC,

– Credit: Lori Foley, Vice President, Emergency Programs, Heritage Preservation

Three Cheers for Baltimore Public Libraries

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

For staying open during the recent unrest because the “community needs us.”