Libraries: An Essential Community Service-Cherokee Regional Library System

May 23, 2011 at 10:58 am Leave a comment

IMLS Director Susan Hildreth highlighted response to tornadoes in the May, 20011 Primary Source.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently established new regulations in Section 403 of the Stafford Act qualifying libraries, along with police, fire protection/emergency services, medical care, education and utilities, as essential community services. The change helps libraries in need to relocate so they can keep serving the public in the wake of a disaster, flood or other emergency.

This month we spoke with Lecia Eubanks of the Cherokee Regional Library System in Georgia, who shared the story of how the Dade County Public Library experienced structural and water damage from the recent series of tornadoes. She described how the storms took off the roof of the building where the library was temporarily housed and how water flows severely damaged some of their collections and furnishings. Most of the adult collections were spared, however their children’s and genealogy collections were damaged.

“With computers donated from the Southwest Georgia Regional Library System we are providing much needed but very limited internet access at the Dade County Chamber of Commerce,” said Eubanks. However, Ms. Eubanks notes that there is demand for books, homework assistance and many other children’s services. She has been in touch with FEMA and GEMA (the Georgia Emergency Management Agency) and notes,

“I’m happy to report that the library has qualified as an essential community service and I feel confident that FEMA will provide financial resources to support a temporary location for the library once we identify a space.”

Ms. Eubanks talked about how intense it was to be “at the table” with police, fire and emergency services. While the issues of health and safety are of utmost concern, to truly bring about the community’s recovery it was important to assert the role of libraries. “I’ve always supported libraries as an essential community service, but this situation has indeed brought that to the forefront,” said Eubanks.

In communities throughout the nation, the local library plays an essential role in providing services that are necessary in everyday life. Libraries serve as trusted community resources helping people find work, get an education, start new businesses, use technology, and obtain health information and government services. There is a very short list of services that are identified as essential, but I am glad that libraries are now acknowledged as one of those essential community services.

—Susan Hildreth, Director, IMLS


Entry filed under: community building.

The Public Library Manifesto: “Why libraries matter, and how we can save them. “ ALA Advocacy Flash Mob -New Orleans

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 78 other followers



May 2011
« Apr   Jun »

%d bloggers like this: