Engage the library community

Once your team has had a chance to identify likely risks and review existing disaster plans, invite a broader range of staff, volunteers and community members into the conversation.

Engaging the library community in planning can be done informally or through a community meeting. Encourage people to share their ideas on table sheets, post-it notes or poster paper.

Share what is being learned

Have the library’s emergency coordinator or emergency team present what they have learned in assessing past disasters and future risks. Encourage team members to share what they are learning with colleagues and to be the point of contact between their department and the disaster response team.


Continue the conversation

Use a Recovering Together conversation guide to facilitate discussion during staff and volunteer meetings. Engage staff members in a discussion about the role that they and the library are expected to play under existing city or county disaster plans. *Through the Recovering Together survey, conducted in the fall of 2019, many respondents said that they were unfamiliar with their local jurisdiction’s disaster plans. In free-response questions, library leaders also wrote about the need to increase awareness of these plans among staff, volunteers and community partners.


Engage patrons

Hold small-group conversations with patrons or use passive programming, such as sticky notes or a comment box, to invite community input. Share updates on the library’s disaster preparedness efforts and ask patrons to reflect on why preparedness is important to them. Questions that other organizations have used include:

  • Why is disaster preparedness important to you?

  • Who are you preparing to protect or care for?

  • How can our community be more prepared for fire season?

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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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