Libraries often play a big part in the moments and months after a natural disaster. Mostly, libraries offer refuge, comfort, and contact; they're a warm place with big hearts filled with folks who know how to find help. But after those first few days of extreme need, what else can libraries offer?
In a terrific Library Journal article, the Fondulac District Library (IL) shares how their library came to the need of their patrons after tornadoes damaged their community. The library offered services typical of most libraries: shelter, power, information. From their home page, you can find this information on how the library can help, along with extensive information on local resources to meet just about any need.
But what caught my eye was the focus of this story: correcting and digitizing photos that were damaged in the storms. The public services manager for Fondulac, Genna M. Buhr, shared a desire to help her community which blossomed into the "Saving Memories" project after a volunteer offered the original idea.
As I read this article, a mantra of "do what you know," kept humming in my head. If you know what your library does best, or has the capacity to offer, you can develop creative programs to help those most in need. This particular library had the technology and the smarts to develop a partnership and a program that will help their community recover from some of the losses they've experienced. It's a model for the services and solutions libraries can offer in the months after a disaster, and shows how libraries offer far more than books. (But you already knew that.)