During a Disaster

The library’s first priority in a disaster is always human life. While books and computers can be replaced, there is no replacing the patrons, staff and volunteers that we all hold so dear.


In the immediate response phase – from the moment a disaster strikes to the time that it is resolved – libraries will often be forced to make difficult choices. Do we keep the library open or close? Do we stay or evacuate? Should we move programs to another location or cancel them temporarily? While disasters sometimes make these decisions for us, we hope that the recommendations below will help guide your library’s emergency response.


Despite immense challenges, in recent years NorthNet libraries have found creative ways to support their communities even as disasters unfold. The following response steps have been identified by preparedness experts and NLS libraries who have first-hand disaster experience:

Key Response Steps


Actions your library can
take during
a disaster

One page,
front and back

Respond downloadable guide.JPG
Downloadable Guide