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Librarians as Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers

Linda Cooperstock
Columbia/Boone County Department of Health and Senior Services
Columbia, Missouri

Barbara Jones – Missouri/Library Advocacy Coordinator

The mission of the MRC is to engage volunteers to strengthen
public health, emergency response and community resiliency.

Medical Reserve Corps - Celebratring 10 Years - 2002-2012As a librarian, you might not think of your potential role in emergency response and public health prevention. I’d like to give you the information to help you re-think and sign up!

The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) was created 10 years ago. The announcement was made during President George W. Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address, and officially launched as a demonstration project in July of 2002. The more than 200,000 volunteers across the country respond to emergencies and help build resiliency in thousands of local communities through prevention, preparedness, and public health activities.

Don’t let the term “Medical” in MRC dissuade you from signing up. During any emergency response or community public health incident many other functions are needed including collecting and organizing information, using databases to verify medical certifications of volunteers, locating information and resources. Do these sound like librarian skills?

During times of surge capacity, hospitals will ask or even require their medical/nursing staff to report for duty, reducing their availability to volunteer for community activities. Librarians may not have similar obligations and they provide a valuable, untapped volunteer resource.

You will be offered access to training, some of which is available online. You may also be invited to attend some meetings. You will certainly be called to assist with any number of interesting events and exercises. Your valuable “after action” input will be used to enhance the richness of the experience and to improve the response process.

Please visit the National MRC web site and explore their strategic plan at: Once you complete the online registration, your name will be sent to either the local or the state contact. You will be on your way to making a difference in the health and safety of your community, your state, and the nation!

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