We are reaching the end of the week monitoring the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Throughout the week we have been working on various fronts to monitor the situation and plan our part of a response. We have had dozens of libraries report in on the status of their libraries and we are tracking those reports. Thankfully, the majority of libraries emerged with relatively light damage, mainly leaking roofs, light flooding, and some wind damage. Others were not so lucky. A few libraries sustained heavy damage as did the homes of many library staff.
We have also received many offers of support from various groups. We are also recording those offers and in some cases, have matched offers with libraries seeking assistance. Offers of help have come from all over the country, including California, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Louisiana, and elsewhere. We have responded to every offer of support with gratitude and that we will be back in touch when we have a better idea what we need.
Our staff has also been working to launch an emergency grant program to help libraries offset some of the cost of recovery, or to help libraries serve individuals and families who have been displaced by the disaster. We have been greatly assisted in moving forward with that project by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, our federal partner agency. We look forward to sharing more information on the availability of those grants next week.
The Texas Library Association has put together a great selection of disaster recovery resources available here. We thank TLA Director of Communications Wendy Woodland and TLA Executive Director Patricia Smith for their great work during this crisis.
For archival and other special collections, the National Heritage Responders is a resource that can offer assistance. This group is a team of highly skilled conservators and other collections professionals with expertise in emergency response. If this pertains to your collection, you are urged to contact the NHR hotline at 202-661-8068 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another interesting development is Principals Helping Principals, a network of school administrators from around the country that has come together to help schools in need. School libraries can keep this in mind as a way for their principals to reach out to others for assistance.
And for archival collections, of which there are many in the disaster area, the Society of American Archivists has posted information on how to assess damages and recover collections as published by the Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF). Thanks to State Archivist Jelain Chubb for that link and for working to assemble information on the status of archival collections in the affected areas.
Finally, the definition of heroism is to extend a helping hand when you have your own challenges. The Houston Public Library, which is no doubt reeling from the impact of Harvey on its own system, has posted a set of disaster relief resources on its website. Thank you to Dr. Rhea Lawson and her team for this great resource.
We will continue to keep you apprised of resources in the coming days.