Before a Disaster Strikes

Depending on the severity of a disaster, the recovery process may last for a period of days, weeks, months or years. In the case of extreme disasters, life may not “return to normal.”

During disaster recovery, your community will move through several phases. Residents and decision makers may debate the best ways to move forward. Changes in housing availability or the economy may cause decreases in population. Needs will change over time.

Even in the most serious of disasters, the library’s unique role as a trusted convener and source of information can help the community to recover. The following disaster recovery steps have been identified by preparedness experts and NLS libraries who have first-hand disaster experience:

  • Reopen library facilities

  • Connect patrons with recovery tools, resources and supports

  • Hold the space for recovery

  • Help the community heal

  • Help the library heal

  • Mental health supports for patrons and staff

  • Coordinate with community partners

  • Recognize that needs will change


What your library needs to know during the recovery phase.

One page, front and back

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This project was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.


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