Saturday, September 10, 2005

Given the state of the States, one reason for the quietude here--at least from my point of view--is there's not much to be said that wouldn't be angry, sad, frustrated and disgusted. And because It's All Good operates loosely under the umbrella of OCLC, none of those personal reactions are appropriate. But, my goodness, what a mess.

Relevant to what we do here is to report that OCLC is working on a pretty comprehensive disaster plan for affected libraries--and I wish we could have been a bit faster in getting this done and publicized, but we haven't been able to--there's a lot of details to iron out.

And thanks to Karen Schneider's request for action, I can report that in about 2 hours flat, WebJunction put up a Jobs Needed open site (as in, no registration needed) in the general Katrina discussion area. It's here, and has a link to the Solinet Jobs site. These are intended to assist displaced library staff from the affected states in finding temp or premanent positions. Thank you, Karen, for the suggestion, and Betha and Chrystie at WJ, and Libbie at OCLC for working fast and getting this up.

And the WJ staff have gathered a bunch more useful links related to disasters.

One thing that emerges is that libraries have been "first responders" in a way...where else have displaced people known they could have access to computers to file FEMA applications? Or have access to their email to to try and reconnect with family? Electricity, health care, water and food are essentials. But what is very clear is that free access to information and the carriers of information are likewise crucial in emergencies.

Starving the infrastructure in the United States is not just about ignoring rebuilding levees. It is also about closing libraries.

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