I don’t think of New Mexico as a disaster-prone state, so last week’s FEMA announcement of disaster aid for flash flooding in August caught my attention. Flash flooding, which is defined as a flood developing within 6 hours, is particularly dangerous in desert areas where there is poorly absorbent, clay-like soil (Wikipedia). Here’s some raw video of flooding near Cochiti, New Mexico.
The West Pittston Library, near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was badly damaged by last week’s flooding. The Times-Leader reports that they lost about 14,000 books and all their furniture and computers. In addition, they had to purchase a freezer to house their soaked historical materials. Click on the following URL to read about the state of the library in the Times-Leader:
I’ve been following the flooding situation in Pennsylvania and looking for examples of libraries reaching out to their patrons. Christine Porter, director of the Middletown Public Library, has been using the library’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed, to keep library patrons informed of library cleanup efforts and the availability of online services. Here’s some text from their home page:
The library will be closed Saturday September 10th due to flooding on our main floor. We are working on getting this cleaned up and thank all of the volunteers that have been coming in to help!
You can return items to our outside bookdrop or click on “Your Account” above to renew items. You may see a notice regarding our security certificate when you access your account. This is due to server issues we are currently experiencing. Please be assured that the site is safe to use.
Items not accepted in our bookdrop that are due this week will be given a grace period with no fines due. If you have any questions, or have trouble renewing items, feel free to email us email@example.com
If you need to do research and can’t get into the library, we encourage you to try our new EBSCO online resources by clicking EBSCO Host above. You will be amazed at what you will find!
Is flooding keeping you from getting your favorite books? Did you know that if you have a library card, you can now download e-books, as well as audiobooks, right from our website? Click on the Overdrive link and get started today! And KIDS: try our Tumblebooks E-Books!
Fires and flooding are currently causing many folks to evacuate their homes in areas of Texas and along the Susquehanna River in New York and Pennsylvania. (The flood level at my hometown, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, which sits along the Susquehanna, is expected to crest tomorrow morning near the record level set back in 1972 by Hurricane Agnes.) Anxiety, the need for information, and a strong desire for things to return to normal, often accompany displaced families. As libraries continue to build service continuity plans and become aware of the many roles they can play in a disaster situation, the emotional impact of disasters on communities will be lessened.
NASA has provided us with a couple of images that speak volumes about the extent of the flooding in the midwest, particularly where the Mississippi River joins the Ohio. Take a look here: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=50475&src=eorss-iotd on their Earth Observatory site. The article that follows the pictures is also interesting, and helps shed light on what has happened there in the past two weeks.
First responders in library or museum emergencies frequently address a multitude of risks, both to themselves and to cultural objects in the stewardship of their institutions. In addition, responders may be called upon to recover items that normally would fall outside their areas of expertise and require immediate attention. “Emergency Preparedness and Response: How to Safely Stabilize Library Collections in the Event of a Water Emergency” will assist responders with readily-accessible onsite training as they engage in disaster situations affecting cultural heritage items.
The Web site includes links to short instructional videos that provide a visual training for institutional staff tasked with stabilizing collections affected by water. Building recovery, disaster preparedness, and health risks are also covered on the Web site. In the spirit of NLM’s Mobile MedlinePlus and other mobile programs, “Emergency Preparedness and Response: How to Safely Stabilize Library Collections in the Event of a Water Emergency” is accessible via handheld devices in order to facilitate remote access.
This NLM Web site was a collaborative effort of the History of Medicine Division, National Network Office and Preservation and Collection Management Section (Library Operations), the Office of High Performance Computing and Communications (Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications) and the Office of Computer and Communications Systems, among others.