Thus having had to become experts in the field, Hamilton and her team at the State Library of Louisiana have detailed their efforts before, during and after the four major hurricanes they worked through, into a presentation to demonstrate issues and best practices for dealing with a disaster. These efforts are currently being formalized into a plan that can be shared with the rest of the nation.
Key points include:
- Libraries become natural communications hubs after a disaster.
- Having a good communication plan that encompasses, staff, relatives of staff, library trustees, local officials, other libraries, the media and the general public is crucial.
- Business continuity takes precedence over all other emergency preparedness concerns.
Hamilton has been able to share with the nation’s state librarians, academic library leaders and county and state emergency personnel what did work and what did not work in Louisiana in the aftermath of Louisiana’s 4 major hurricanes. The mutual goal of all involved is for libraries to be best positioned to do what they do best during a disaster and for emergency officials to be able to assist public libraries to plan for and respond to disasters.