Project Led by Dr. Marcia Mardis on Rural Disaster Resiliency Hubs Presents at CIVIC Project Showcase in Washington DC

On September 22, Dr. Marcia A. Mardis and Ms. Jana Whitehead, a Calhoun County resident who has been working with FSU researchers, traveled to Washington DC to present the National Science Foundation (NSF) research project “Rural Resiliency Hubs: An Integrated, Community-Centered Approach to Addressing the Resiliency Divide through Rural Public Libraries.”

Dr. Marcia Mardis presenting at CIVIC Project Showcase

The project, focused on nearby Calhoun County, is a collaboration among the College of Communication and Information (CCI) and the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, the College of Medicine, the Department of Geography, and the College of Social Work. When speaking about the project, PI Dr. Mardis explained that according to Florida statute, public librarians are designated emergency responders, which means that in a disaster, librarians can be assigned to do anything from shelter intake to water distribution. These helping hands are particularly impactful in counties like Calhoun County, which is large, yet rural and sparsely populated. It also has 6 public library branches, making library access in Calhoun County 20 times better than in the average American community!

This NSF Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC) project focuses on transforming public libraries into resiliency hubs by better and more formally preparing and recognizing public librarians for their essential work in disaster relief. In addition to NSF, the CIVIC program is also funded by the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, and FEMA. The project is one of only 17 Stage 2 awards nationwide and is enabling the FSU researchers and their Calhoun County collaborators to fully implement the resiliency hub plans they developed in related projects. All Stage 2 awardees presented their projects at the NSF-sponsored CIVIC Project Showcase at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

To learn move about the CIVIC project, visit