This article will provide you with guidance on how to prepare your library to respond a disaster, as well as, how to resume providing services to the public as quickly as possible in the aftermath of a local or regional crisis. You will learn how libraries contribute to community resiliency by providing a safe haven and needed services after a disaster that allow people and local businesses to begin to put their shattered lives back together and resume normal activities.

Recent natural and manmade catastrophes have highlighted the important role public libraries play in enhancing their community’s resiliency and post-disaster recovery efforts. Many community leaders and emergency responders now view libraries as disaster recovery and technology communication centers, recognizing the role of librarians as “Information First Responders.” This article will help your library embrace this new role as an essential community service that quickly enables people to get back to work, back to their lives, and ensure recovery of the community’s economic life after a disaster. Learn what you need to do to prepare your facility and staff before disaster strikes. You will be introduced to the New Jersey State Library’s Disaster Preparedness & Community Resiliency Toolkit, which is a unique resource created by both librarians and emergency responders.

Your library can be at the forefront in providing a safe haven in times of crisis, and helping your community return to normal life when you prepare in advance, and understand the essential and critical role libraries play in the resiliency of community life.