Reasons to love your library: think of them as “resilience centers”

10 April, 2019

(with thanks to Siobhan Champ-Blackwell)

The HIFA Library and Information Services project has been looking at the role of libraries in disasters and global health. This article refers to libraries in the US, but will be of interest to librarians and information professionals worldwide.

Extracts below. Full text here:


In his book Palaces for the People, sociologist Eric Klinenberg describes how a group of planners met to discuss ways to restore resiliency to 21st century cities. Someone proposed a compelling idea for a “resilience center”—a place that would be a community gathering place, open every day, welcoming to everyone, staffed by trained professionals, with flexible space that could be adapted for many uses. Klinenberg realized that most American communities already have such a place and that it’s called a branch library...

At the 2019 winter meeting of the American Library Association in Seattle, Washington, American librarians adopted a resolution... that librarians can save the world: “The Association, library profession and libraries of all types—academic public, school, and special—have the stature, energy, determination and will to build the coalitions, convene the conversations and act as the catalysts the world needs, not only today, but to inspire future generations to take control of their future by working together to find the necessary adaptations and solutions to thrive as communities.”...

We librarians actually know that we can’t save the world all by ourselves. If you have a plan to save the world, too, think of the library as a kind of resilience center. Maybe the library can do something to help.


Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Library and Information Services (with special focus on Population Health, Disasters, and Disease Outbreaks)

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: