Support broader disaster response efforts

Library staff may also be asked to support city or countywide emergency operations if they are considered “essential employees” or if a disaster is prolonged. In Napa County, library staff members assisted with county-led disaster response efforts during recent power shutoffs, wildfires in 2017 and an earthquake in 2014. “One thing that helps is being […]

Provide services during a disaster

Safety concerns, staff capacity and community needs should all be considered when determining how to provide services during a disaster. If conditions permit, programs may be offered at alternate locations or moved online. Kids have one last visit with Placer County’s retiring bookmobile. A library’s bookmobile can be a major asset during a disaster, allowing […]

Implement the library’s communications plan

Coordinating responses with local leaders and providing accurate information are both major priorities during a disaster. For NorthNet libraries, recent experiences with wildfires and power shutoffs have also created additional challenges. Following the 2017 Northern California wildfires, the Napa County Library directed patrons to community resources and provided regular updates about the library’s status. Libraries […]

Secure critical documents and collections

Although some disasters will require immediate evacuation of library facilities, staff members will often have time to gather key materials. Staff and volunteers pack up books at the Burney branch of the Shasta Public Libraries. If feasible, secure emergency contacts, vital records and log-in information for the library’s online accounts before evacuating. Traditionally, copies of […]

Coordinate continuity of library operations

The severity and duration of a given disaster will be determining factors in whether the library can continue “normal” operations during the immediate response phase. During the 2019 Kincade Fire, the Sonoma County Library faced large-scale evacuations and power shutoffs across its service area. Sonoma County Library staff provide services to evacuated community members during […]

Implement your disaster response plan

Disasters may occur suddenly and without warning. Regular drills and practice before a disaster strikes will help staff and volunteers to implement the plan even in worst-case scenarios. As a disaster unfolds, put library-wide and branch specific emergency action plans (EAPs) into action. Call 911 If someone is injured or an emergency originates in the […]

Recognize that needs will change

In the weeks, months and years that follow a disaster, your community will move through several phases. Over time, residents will return to affected areas; homeowners and businesses will rebuild. Community needs have evolved since 2017, when the Tubbs Fire decimated Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park neighborhood. Those who visit your community for the first time […]

Coordinate with community partners

In the aftermath of a disaster, needs frequently exceed capacity, leadership is in high demand, and people must confront the reality that no one organization can do everything on their own. A more collective, community-based approach is needed – one that includes robust partnerships between community groups. Staff from the Tehama County distribute “grab-and-go” meals […]

Disaster Planning Resources

Whether your library is looking to create a new disaster plan or improve on an existing plan, the resources below will assist you in the process. If you have a resource to share on, please email NorthNet Library System at Disaster Planning Guides NJ State Library: Librarian’s Disaster Planning and Community Resiliency GuidebookThis […]

Help library staff and volunteers heal

During disaster recovery, libraries should engage in routines, rituals and activities that encourage healing among staff and volunteers. Support should be offered not only to those who are personally affected, but to everyone who works in disaster recovery, said several NLS library leaders. “Whether you are affected by the fire or not, you are traumatized,” […]