The CCPL Model

The CCPL Model

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2196-9.ch002

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Participate In The Eoc Command Process

A plethora of disaster recovery services were identified in libraries along the Gulf Cost in 2004-2005. Library services included: responding to information inquiries, creating community contact centers, staffing shelters in library buildings, housing city command centers (i.e. police, fire, public works), distributing food and supplies, providing hook-ups to recharge electronics and communication devices, assisting with completion of FEMA insurance and other paperwork, providing library materials to evacuee shelters, providing FEMA, Red Cross National Guard and Army Corp of Engineers personnel with a place to meet with residents and giving temporary library cards to relief workers among other services (Veil & Bishop, 2012).

CCPL deliberate engagement with local authorities beginning in 2003 to discuss their contributions which mirrored those defined by other libraries in the Gulf Coast area is a contrast to the libraries that engaged the community independent of local emergency management plans and practices. Once emergency management staff were aware of CCPL’s libraries evidence based services, resources and capacity, they willingly included them in the local emergency planning process. This action not only provided CCPL opportunity to officially coordinate their emergency services with other local agencies and departments who routinely respond during a crisis; but it also provided CCPL a literal seat at the table and a voice in the EOC and IC process where emergency reaction process discussions happen during the crisis.

There is significant support for the development of a wide variety of types of responses provided by information professionals during and after natural or accidental disasters. It appears that, while information professionals provide timely and relevant services in an appropriate format to meet the needs of their users, they often do not leverage their unique skills because they have not had the appropriate preparation for what to do in case of a disaster beyond that focused on preserving the institution itself (Zach & McKnight, 2010).

Examples of a few libraries working with local emergency management response agencies to provided essential information services during crisis do exist. For example, when terrorists flew a plane into the Pentagon in 2001, Arlington County (Virginia) Public Libraries served their community with critical information including twice daily police and fire department briefings, local traffic updates, special postings to firefighters and lists of volunteers. In 2003 as Hurricane Isabel hovered off the east coast, the Virginia Beach (Virginia) public library staff engaged with a community partner to staff telephones at the Emergency Public Information Center (Zach, 2011).

Like these libraries, CCPL recognized that they could not close the door and wait for the storm to blow out to sea. Customers intentionally flock to the library during times of crisis expecting the facility to be open so they can receive help and/or access to basic services and information. CCPL’s involvement in the planning process and having a voice during reaction discussions allowed them to control their emergency crisis destiny. In time CCPL leaders realized that training staff to know what to expect during a natural disaster and how to respond strengthened the system’s capacity to leverage the unique skills CCPL libraries and librarians could provide the community during the crisis.

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