TASCHA research on the role of public libraries and telecenters during a disaster was presented on June 23 at the 2012 American Library Association (ALA) conference as part of the panel, “Expecting the Unexpected: Libraries Respond to Profound Change.” iSchool PhD candidate, Beth Patin, participated on the panel on behalf of the research team behind the Libraries, Telecenters, and the 2010 Chile Earthquake research project.
Beth’s presentation was based on her and Maria Garrido‘s paper, Dynamic library services during extreme events: The case of the 2010 earthquake and tsunami in Chile. Their research found that libraries and librarians played profound roles in the disaster response and the recovery of their local communities. Beth and Maria recommend that libraries should be incorporated in government emergency planning and response efforts.
The panel also included representatives from New Zealand who presented on the role libraries played during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Their findings were very similar to those of Beth and Maria’s. Three points of agreement included trusted individuals at the libraries, the value of community space that libraries provide, and the shifting information needs and services during and after a disaster.
The audience included many librarians and library service providers, as well as many board members of the International Relations Roundtable of ALA, including representatives from Canada, Egypt, Ghana, India, New Zealand, and Nigeria.
The paper will be published as part of the ALA 2012 Conference Proceedings.