Thursday, November 6, 2014

Libraries as a Safe "Heaven" in Times of Conflict

Last October ALA’s International Relations sponsored Libraries as a Safe "Heaven" in Times of Conflict, an online event part of the Library 2.014 Worldwide Virtual Conference. Loida Garcia-Febo, Chair of the International Relations Committee of ALA moderated the event. Speakers included Dr. Roberto Delgadillo, Research Support Services Librarian at the Peter J. Shields Library, University of California, Davis. Scott Bonner, Director of the Ferguson Municipal Public Library in Missouri. Natalia Tkachova, Librarian of Kherson City Library in the Ukraine.

The program featured librarians from regions experiencing different types of crisis who shared insightful strategies that might help colleagues help others in their region, equip themselves to take action if needed, and learn ways to help libraries in cities currently in conflict. 

The event started a conversation about how libraries are helping people in cities experiencing conflict around the globe by providing shelter, basic needs and books. Libraries are liaising with organizations to bring services into their communities. In times of armed conflicts, crises and natural disasters, libraries are playing a key role in the recovery process helping to keep families together and rebuild communities. Libraries are saving lives and providing hope in uncertain times.

The speakers agreed on the importance of establishing strong relationships with community-based organizations and agencies that might be instrumental in providing resources needed by the community in times of crisis. Librarians are using social media such as Twitter to communicate accessibility of resources and availability of library staff to help in various ways.
It is important for librarians to stay updated about community resources related to cultural literacy and education. At the same time, it is a good idea to provide media training to library employees. Staff support should be provided to library workers going to work, and to those that might decide not to go to work while the community experience crisis. Finally, documenting the entire process is valuable for librarians in other regions to understand how they could respond if there is a crisis in their part of the world.
*Note that we used the word heaven because libraries are a heaven/haven.

The conversation about this topic is expanding. The International Librarians Network dedicated a discussion forum to the role of libraries in disasters and invited guest posts to share related news. One of the posts was about Libraries in disasters: the role of IFLA.

We are pleased to share a bibliography created by Dr. Roberto Delgadillo especially for our event:

Libraries as a Safe "Heaven" in Times of Conflict:
A Selected Bibliography of Print and Electronic Resources

By Roberto Delgadillo, MLIS, PhD, Research Support Services Librarian
Peter Shields Library, University of California, Davis


Báez, Fernando, and Alfred J. Mac Adam. 2008. A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: From Ancient Sumer to Modern Iraq. New York, NY: Atlas & Co.

Becker, Patti Clayton. 2005. Books and Libraries in American Society During World War II: Weapons in the War of Ideas. New York, NY: Routledge.

Bosmajian, Haig A. 2006. Burning Books. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Dadson, Emma. 2012. Emergency Planning and Response for Libraries, Archives, and Museums. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc.

Fishburn, Matthew. 2008. Burning Books. Basingstoke, Hampshire [England]: Palgrave Macmillan.

Halsted, Deborah D., Shari Clifton, and Daniel T. Wilson. 2014. Library as Safe Haven: Disaster Planning, Response, and Recovery: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians. Chicago, IL: Neal-Schuman, an imprint of the American Library Association.

Knuth, Rebecca. 2006. Burning Books and Leveling Libraries: Extremist Violence and Cultural Destruction. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Knuth, Rebecca. 2003. Libricide: The Regime-Sponsored Destruction of Books and Libraries in the Twentieth Century. Westport, CT: Praeger.

MacLeod, Roy. 2010. The Library of Alexandria: Centre of Learning in the Ancient World. London [England]: I.B. Tauris.

Miller, William, and Rita M. Pellen. 2006. Dealing With Natural Disasters in Libraries. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Information Press.

Moore, Lara Jennifer. 2008. Restoring Order: The École Des Chartes and the Organization of Archives and Libraries in France, 1820-1870. Duluth, MN: Litwin Books.

Polastron, Lucien X., and Jon E. Graham. 2007. Books on Fire: The Destruction of Libraries Throughout History. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.

Raven, James. 2004. Lost Libraries: The Destruction of Great Book Collections Since Antiquity. Basingstoke, Hampshire [England]: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rose, Jonathan. 2008. The Holocaust and the Book: Destruction and Preservation. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press.

Serageldin, Ismail. 2007. Much More Than a Building--: Reclaiming the Legacy of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. [Alexandria, Egypt]: Bibliotheca Alexandrina.


Albanese, Andrew, Lynn Blumenstein, Norman Oder, and Michael Rogers. 2005. "Libraries Damaged, Librarians Respond, After Hurricane's Fury." Library Journal 130, no. 15: 16-17.

Arnesen, Stacey J., Victor H. Cid, John C. Scott, Ricardo Perez, and Dave Zervaas. 2007. "The Central American Network for Disaster and Health Information." Journal of the Medical Library Association 95, no. 3: 316-322.

Bauman, Marian, and Randy Bishop. 2013. "Our Libraries Were Ports in the Storm. In Superstorm Sandy Recovery: One Year Later." New Jersey Municipalities October: 16-17.

Becker, Patti Clayton. 2003. "In Time of War." American Libraries 34, no. 5: 54-57.

Bertot, John Carlo, Paul T. Jaeger, Lesley A Langa, and Charles R. McClure. 2006. "Public Access Computing and Internet Access in Public Libraries: The Role of Public Libraries in E-Government and Emergency Situations." First Monday 11, no. 9: n. pag.

Bishop, Bradley Wade, and Shari R. Veil. 2013. "Public Libraries as Post-Crisis Information Hubs". Public Library Quarterly 32, no. 1: 33-45.

Braquet, Donna M. 2010. "Library Experiences of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans Flood Survivors." Libres 20, no. 1: 1-23.

Bustamante, Cesar. 2014. "Ferguson Libraries Step Up." Library Journal 139, no. 15: 10.

Cox, Richard J. 2012. "War, Memory, and Archives: Building a Framework." Library and Archival Security, 25, no. 1: 21-57.

Dickerson, Lon. 2007. "Capitalizing on a Disaster to Create Quality Services: Some Lessons from Hurricane Katrina." Public Library Quarterly 26, no. 1/2: 101-115.

Downs, Jonathan. 2012. "Calamity in Cairo." History Today 62, no. 3: 5-6.

Erickson, Carol A. 2010. "Earthquake Recovery a Struggle for Chile's Public Library Services." American Libraries 41, no. 4: 18-19.

Hamilton, Rebecca. 2011. "The State Library of Louisiana and Public Libraries' Response to Hurricanes: Issues, Strategies, and Lessons." Public Library Quarterly 30, no. 1: 40-53.

Harpham, Bruce. 2009. "The Sun Was Obscured by the Smoke of Books': Libraries and Memory Institutions in Conflict Since the End of the Cold War." Faculty of Information Quarterly 1, no. 2: n. pag.

Johnson, Ian M. 2005. "The Impact on Libraries and Archives in Iraq of War and Looting in 2003: A Preliminary Assessment of the Damage and Subsequent Reconstruction Efforts." International Information and Library Review 37, no. 3: 209-271.

Kelley, Michael. 2011. "Joplin Pl Staff Lose Homes to Deadly Tornado." Library Journal 136, no. 11: 15-19.

Kelley, Michael, John N. Berry III, and Sharon McQueen. 2011. "Queens PL Helps Damaged Libraries in Egypt." Library Journal 136, no. 6: 13-15.

Kniffel, Leonard. 2012. "Haiti Rising from the Rubble." American Libraries 43, no. 5/6: 23.

Kramer, Alan. 2007. "From Burning Books to Exterminating Races." Times Higher Education Supplement, September 28: n. pag.

Kulisiewicz, Wojciech. 2010. "The Sejm Library, 1919-2009." Library Trends 58, no. 4: 486-501.

Lindsey, Ursula. 2012. "Egyptian Scholars Struggle to Protect Country's History Amid New Violence." Chronicle of Higher Education 58, no. 20: A16-A17.

Lopatovska, Irene, and Bobby Smiley. 2014. "Proposed Model of Information Behaviour in Crisis: The Case of Hurricane Sandy." Information Research 19, no. 1: n. pag.

Lor, Peter. 2013. "Burning Libraries for the People: Questions and Challenges for the Library Profession in South Africa." Libri 63, no. 4: 359–372.

McKnight, Michelynn, and Lisl Zach. 2007. "Choices in Chaos: Designing Research to Investigate Librarians’ Information Services Improvised During a Variety of Community-Wide Disasters and to Produce Evidence-Based Training Materials for Librarians" Evidence Based Library and Information Practice 2, no. 3: 59-75.
Available at:

Miller, Rebecca T. 2014. "It's What We Do." Library Journal 139, no. 15: 8.

Mills, Linda. 2012. "When It Rains, It Pours." School Library Monthly 28, no. 4: 11-13.

Owens, Brian M. 2012. "The Archival Manuscript and the Book: Tools of Knowledge and Artifacts of Destruction During the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812." Library and Archival Security 25, no. 1: 5-19.

Prescott, Sarah. 2005. "Libraries Burning: A Discussion To Be Shared." Progressive Librarian 26: 40-45.

Riedlmayer, András J. 2007. "Crimes of War, Crimes of Peace: Destruction of Libraries during and after the Balkan Wars of the 1990s." Library Trends 56, no. 1: 107-132.

Schidorsky, Dov. 2007. "The Library of the Reich Security Main Office and Its Looted Jewish Book Collections." Libraries & the Cultural Record 42, no. 1: 21-47.

Schwartz, Meredith. 2012. "NY, NJ Libraries Take Stock After Sandy." Library Journal 137, no. 19: 10.

Scott, William. 2011. "The People's Library Lives." Nation 293, no. 24: 5-6.

Silverman, Randy. 2006. "Toward a National Disaster Response Protocol." Libraries and the Cultural Record 41, no. 4: 497-511.

Spencer, Brett. 2014. "From Atomic Shelters to Arms Control: Libraries, Civil Defense, and American Militarism During the Cold War." Information & Culture: A Journal of History 49, no. 3: 351-385.

Spencer, Brett. 2014. "Rise of the Shadow Libraries: America's Quest to Save Its Information and Culture from Nuclear Destruction during the Cold War". Information & Culture: A Journal of History 49, no. 2: 145-176.

Spencer, Brett. 2008. "Preparing for an Air Attack: Libraries and American Air Raid Defense During World War II." Libraries & the Cultural Record 43, no. 2: 125-147.

Šapro-Ficović, Marica. 2014. " Libraries Under Siege in Croatia 1991-1995." Oral History Forum d’ histoire orale 34:1-17.

Snaije, Olivia. 2014. "Activists, Soldiers Move to Protect Libraries in Ukraine." Publishing Perspectives March 14: n. pag.

Sroka, Marek. 2003. "The Destruction of Jewish Libraries and Archives in Cracow During World War II." Libraries & Culture 38, no. 2: 147-165.

Topper, Elisa F. 2011. "After Hurricane Katrina: The Tulane Recovery Project." New Library World 112, no. 1/2: 45-51.

Valencia, Miriam. 2002. "Libraries, Nationalism, and Armed Conflict in the Twentieth Century." Libri 52, no. 1: 1-15.

Veil, Shari R., and Bradley Wade Bishop. 2014. "Opportunities and Challenges for Public Libraries to Enhance Community Resilience." Risk Analysis 34, no. 4: 721-734.

Welsh, Teresa S., and Susan E. Higgins. 2009. "Public Libraries Post-Hurricane Katrina: A Pilot Study". Library Review 58, no. 9: 652-659.

Wilson, Daniel T., and Susan S. Yowell. 2013. "Become Agents of Community Resilience." Information Outlook 17, no. 4: 16-22.

Zach, Lisl. 2011. "What Do I Do in an Emergency? The Role of Public Libraries in Providing Information During Times of Crisis." Science & Technology Libraries 30, no. 4: 404-413.

Zgonjanin, Sanja. 2005. "The Prosecution of War Crimes for the Destruction of Libraries and Archives during Times of Armed Conflict." Libraries & Culture 40, no. 2: 128-144.

2008. "Libraries Reach Out after Hurricane Ike." American Libraries 39, no. 10: 23-24.

2007. Libraries in Times of War, Revolution, and Social Change (Theme Issue). Edited by W. Boyd Rayward and Christine Jenkins. Library Trends 55, no. 3: 361-755.

2005. "Katrina's Terrible Toll: Librarians Rally to Provide Information for a Hurricane-Devastated Gulf Coast Population." American Libraries 36, no. 9: 14-25.


Becker, Patti Clayton. 2002. Up the Hill of Opportunity: American Public Libraries and ALA During World War II. Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Available via ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I: Dissertation/Thesis Number 3049415

Cook, Karen Joyce. 2008. Freedom Libraries in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project: A History. Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Alabama.
Available via ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I: Dissertation/Thesis Number 3334610

Frank, Jeffrey M. 2011. The Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Gulf Coast Libraries and Their Disaster Planning. Thesis (M.L.I.S.)--San José State University.

Intrator, Miriam. 2013. Books Across Borders and Between Libraries: UNESCO and the Politics of Postwar Cultural Reconstruction, 1945--1951. Thesis (Ph. D.)--City University of New York.
Available via ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I: Dissertation/Thesis Number 3600498

Meharg, Sarah Jane. 2003. Identicide in Bosnia and Croatia: The Destruction, Reconstruction, and Construction of Landscapes of Identity. Thesis (Ph. D.)--Queen's University.
Available via ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I: Dissertation/Thesis Number NQ81009

Odobasic, Lejla. 2010. Across the River: A Library Reflected. Thesis (M. Arch.)--University of Waterloo.

Šapro-Ficović, Marica. 2012. Activities of Libraries Under Siege in War. Case Study Croatia 1991-1995. Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Zagreb.

Sarefield, Daniel Christopher. 2004. "Burning Knowledge" Studies of Bookburning in Ancient Rome. Thesis (Ph. D.)--Ohio State University.

Conference Papers:

Lor, Peter. 2014. Risks and Benefits of Visibility: Librarians Navigating Social and Political Turbulence. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 – Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 200 - Library Theory and Research. In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

Research Briefs/Working Papers:

Celedón, Angélica, Andrea Pequeño, Maria Garrido, and Beth Patin. 2012. Disaster Response in Chile: The Critical Role of Libraries and Telecenters. Research Brief. Seattle, WA: Technology & Social Change Group, University of Washington Information School.

Celedón, Angélica, Andrea Pequeño, Maria Garrido, and Beth Patin. 2012. Disaster Response in Chile: Public Libraries as Critical Communication and Information Infrastructure. Research Brief. Seattle, WA: Technology & Social Change Group, University of Washington Information School.


laila moustafa said...

Great! i wish if i have seen the announcement about this event i would share with you my research result. in fact, i presented a poster in ALA 2014 and in IFLA 2014 and published a paper in June 2014 about Disaster Management plan in time of war the case of the Middle East .
i am so happy that this topic has a great attention by our ALA AND IFLA ORGANIZATION.
Laila Hussein Moustafa
Middle East and North Africa Subject specialist at UIUC

Roberto C. Delgadillo said...

Dear Laila...I would be happy to work with you towards expanding this by all means...please provide us with your citation...saludos, Roberto C. Delgadillo