Better technology for disaster relief

I just stumbled across this article about technology and humanitarian efforts in Tech Soup.  I want to think that libraries can be part of this communication loop.  It seems like an opportunity for those who are interested in global librarianship that connecting relief organizations with computer centers (and libraries with computer centers) so that the library is the place for the community to be able to access the internet after the disaster.

It doesn’t take a hurricane to make a disaster

With such high profile natural disasters like the Southeast Asia tsunami and Hurricane Katrina capturing the media’s attention, it’s easy to forget that every year in the U.S. and other countries, nature inflicts a damaging toll on communities. For example, extreme cold can lead to freezing weather which can cause issues for communities. In Fresno, CA (yes, California), the Fresno Public Library lists a resource page for One Stop Centers to Assist Unemployed Workers Due to Recent Cold Fronts.

And what happens when the library itself is the victim of a disaster, as happened last summer to the historic Georgetown Public Library in Washington, D.C.?

The point is to understand that just because you don’t live in a tsunami zone doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to your institution’s and community’s disaster preparedness efforts.

Community building for libraries – the players

I knew when I started this blog that I was treading in some familiar, and well-written waters. Kathleen de la Pena McCook, Chrystie Hill, Librarian (whoever he/she is), and the many, many others who tackle libraries as institutions that build communities are already leading the way. I hope I can contribute some small part to this large and important conversation.

The Cultural Amenities Project is setting out to find how arts influences social and economic well-being in cities.

What does community building have to do with disaster preparedness? This article from Ashoka reflects a trend developing amongst policy makers and disaster preparedness experts that a strong and economically vibrant community can withstand the trauma of a disaster much better than one that is poor and vulnerable.

Who else out there is talking about libraries building communities?

Emerging Leaders ’08, World Cafe

Members from last year’s Emerging Leaders ’07 Cohort and EL ‘o8 met together today to discuss how ALA can engage young and new librarians into the American Library Association (ALA). The format of the discussion was the World Cafe facilitation model, which I found to be highly engaging. The key is to ask the right questions. A lot of concrete suggestions and bigger questions were brought up about how to change the structure of ALA to be more inclusive, transparent, and utilizing the creativity and talents of its members. A charge was made by ourselves to ourselves to be the change we want to see, and to engage in “strategic complaining”. I have pictures of some of the brainstorming sheets that I will post as soon as I can download them.

I’d like to see how this method could be used in a virtual environment.

Update: Ellieheartslibraries gives a much more detailed description of the process and how it worked out for this cohort.

Emerging Leaders ’08

I attended the full day workshop for the Emerging Leaders ’08 yesterday and left feeling energized and ready to get more involved with ALA.  So I guess it’s working!

The presentation from Maureen Sullivan was great, though I wish there had been more role-playing and active training in the concepts she was talking about.  And I love being in a group of highly-motivated people that are all willing to invest energy and creativity into a project.   Though I am a little nervous about the amount of work ahead, I’m sure it will be worth it once ALA Anaheim rolls around.

REFORMA National Conference III in El Paso, TX

I attended an RNC III Conference Planning meeting last night and am really excited about the long awaited 3rd national REFORMA conference.  I’ve never been to El Paso, but I think it’s proximity to the Mexican border will be a wonderful opportunity for librarians and people in interested in libraries and books from Mexico and U.S. border areas to attend.  I look forward to the Spanish and English language networking and knowledge exchanges that I’m sure will be occurring.

Ojala, nos vemos en El Paso!

ALA Midwinter Philadelphia

I will be attending ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia as part of the Emerging Leader ’08 cohort. I will be trying to attend as many IRRT and REFORMA events as possible, but am afraid that I won’t have time for too many. Stay tuned for my posts of the event.
Attending Midwinter ALA Philadelphia 08