“Ports in a Storm” Preconference: A new, community-focused approach to library disaster planning

When disaster strikes, where can the members of your community go for assistance?

What does your community need in the wake of a hurricane, an earthquake or terrorist attack?

How can you prepare your library to provide the answers to both of these highly relevant questions?

On Friday, June 28, the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) will host a revolutionary workshop ALA Annual Conference Chicago logothat takes a completely new approach to disaster planning: it focuses on how your library can serve as an ad hoc Disaster Response Center, providing information, services and respite to those in need after any kind of disaster.

The valuable content of this preconference, “Ports in a Storm: Your Library as a Disaster Recovery Center”is even more relevant in light of the recent emergency events in Boston and in West, Texas. The event connects librarians with the emergency planning community, first responders, public health workers and community-based and faith-based groups with disaster-related responsibilities, and discusses the roles libraries and information professionals can play in supporting future disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts.


The New Jersey State Library–the developers of this preconference content–recently ran this event in New Jersey and received rave reviews from FEMA representatives:
“You librarians really get it. We couldn’t have done it better ourselves.”

Register for the event now (event code ASC2).


At “Ports in a Storm”, library directors and branch managers will learn how to position their staff and facility to serve as an unofficial disaster recovery center after an incident, and hear about collaborative projects between librarians and community partners tasked with disaster-related responsibilities. Reference staff will especially be interested in learning about free health information tools and resources developed by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) to assist the public after a disaster. Check out these photos collected by the New Jersey State Library to see how people flocked to libraries following Hurricane Sandy.

Speakers at this event have firsthand experience providing these services after Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey and New York in late October 2012, and expert knowledge of the subject:

  • Thomas W. Galante, president and CEO of Queens Library, Queens County, NY
  • Michele Stricker, associate director, Library Development Bureau, New Jersey State Library
  • Lori Foley, vice president of emergency programs at Heritage Preservation
  • Dan Wilson, associate director for collections and library services at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Library.

You–and your community–can’t afford to miss this event.

Register now.

Additional event details:
Ports in a Storm: Your Library as a Disaster Recovery Center
Friday, June 28, 8am-12pm
McCormick Place Convention Center, Chicago, IL
Registration Rates: $179, ASCLA member. $209, ALA member. $249, non-member. $159, ALA Retired and Student members.
You must register in advance, however you can register for this event without registering for the entire ALA Annual Conference–simply selected “Preconferences and Ticketed Events Only” as your registration type.

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