NJ State Library Receives Grant to Assist Libraries with Disaster Preparedness and Recovery

The New Jersey State Library (NJSL) has received a $40,000 grant from the PSEG Foundation to support an online resource, Librarian’s Disaster Planning and Community Resiliency Toolkit, which enables libraries to effectively contribute to managing local disasters and help speed recovery of their communities. The grant will provide for the printing of 500 manuals, the creation of an archived training webinar and 10 training workshops which will be held at libraries across the state. Participating library staff will learn how to implement a service continuity plan in order to get their libraries reopened as quickly as possible and offer services that will restore normalcy to the community after a disaster.

The toolkit was designed to help library staff define the challenges they will face during a major disruption and the implications that those risks pose to their facility. Presented as a series of “how to” resources, the toolkit allows any public library to proactively respond to community disasters and assists them in establishing a working relationship with their local emergency response community. The toolkit includes: checklists, worksheets, budgeting tools, tabletop exercises, task descriptions, and self-assessment tools – all designed specifically for use by public library staff.

The PSEG Foundation awarded the grant based on library responses during recent natural disasters in the state. Given their association with accurate information and their image as a safe haven, the public turns to libraries for help during a crisis. “Over the past few years, we have seen New Jersey libraries come to the forefront in the aftermath of a disaster, providing valuable aid, shelter and resources to their communities,” said Mary Chute, New Jersey State Librarian. “This training will enable more of our library staff to respond quicker and with more confidence.”

“It is important that we all try and be prepared for when a crisis might strike, which is why it’s so critical for families to have access to information,” said Ellen Lambert, president of the PSEG Foundation. “Our grant to the State Library will help create a forum for the library to be a resource for families and communities to actively be involved in crisis planning.”

The State Library will be partnering with the NJ Library Association on the program. According to Michele Stricker, NJSL’s deputy state librarian for Lifelong Learning, plans are for the training workshops to begin in the spring of 2016.

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