Information Institute Issues Hurricane/Disaster Preparedness and Response By Utilizing Florida Public Libraries: Final Report

The Information Use Management & Policy Institute (Information Institute) directed by Charles R. McClure, PhD, Francis Eppes Professor at the Florida State University (FSU) College of Communication & Information, School of Library & Information Studies was awarded a $311,153 grant to assist public libraries and local communities better plan for, and respond to, hurricanes. The Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center at FSU’s College of Business awarded the grant to the Information Institute for the period August 8, 2008 through December 31, 2009, with an extension to August 6, 2010.

The Information Institute has partnered with the State Library and Archives of Florida, LYRASIS (formerly SOLINET), Florida’s Multi-type Library Cooperatives and public libraries throughout the region, as well as federal, state, local and community agencies concerned with Florida hurricane preparedness and recovery.

Overall, the goal of this project was to work with public librarians to assist the residents of the state of Florida in preparing for, and responding to, hurricanes. The project has resulted in the identification of eight key service roles public libraries can fill in hurricane/disaster planning and response, as well as a web portal ( that identifies and describes the service roles, best practices, tools and resources that enable better utilization of the public library in community hurricane preparation and recovery.

Since many public libraries are underutilized community assets in disaster response, the study team has developed a means to help improve community hurricane preparedness and response by encouraging public library management to emphasize an external focus on how the public library, as part of a team of emergency responders, can aid in its community’s hurricane response. An important benefit of this project is that it offers a great opportunity for public libraries to better demonstrate the range of services and responses they can provide during such disasters.

The final report, written by Charles R. McClure, PhD, Lauren H. Mandel, Sara Pierce, and John T. Snead, PhD, highlights the fact that Florida public libraries make significant contributions to their communities’ responses to hurricanes.

The Information Institute expects to receive additional funding to maintain and update the website. For more information on this project, see the project abstract and project interim, final, and evaluation reports.