Project Documents

Hurricane Preparedness & Response for Florida Public Libraries

Hurricane in Atlantic ocean

Improving Florida Public Library Utilization in Community Hurricane Response

About Lyrasis

Formerly the Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET):



The Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET) is a well regarded not-for-profit library cooperative organization comprised of over 3,400 libraries in the southeastern U.S. and the Caribbean directed by Kate Nevins <>. For further details see About LYRASIS.

The Boards of Trustees of SOLINET and PALINET, a library cooperative serving the mid-Atlantic region, have recommended a merger of the two organizations subject to a vote by both memberships in early 2009.

SOLINET offers two services to its membership related to hurricane and disaster recovery: the Disaster Assistance Service run by SOLINET’s Preservation unit and the Gulf Coast Libraries Project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This note briefly describes both SOLINET efforts.

Disaster Assistance Service


Disaster Assistance Service is managed by Marlee Dorn Givens <>, SOLINET Preservation unit head. SOLINET’s Preservation Field Services provides comprehensive information on disaster response seven days a week by phone (1–800–999–8558) or through its Preservation web page. In addition, the service offers training and the service’s website provides referrals to conservators, contact information on specialized consultants, disaster recovery companies, specific disaster recovery advice on collection material, an emergency response checklist, and a 15 step disaster planning process.

The service provides volunteer program for those who wish to offer aid during a library disaster emergency.

Gulf Coast Libraries Project


In 2007, SOLINET received a $12 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to establish the Gulf Coast Libraries Project. Mary Ellin Santiago <msantiago@SOLINET.NET> heads this project. The project’s purpose is to help libraries affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (and more recent hurricanes), for a three year period. SOLINET is collaborating with the State Library of Louisiana, the Mississippi Library Commission, and library systems in the affected region to provide grants so that libraries can have the resources necessary to rebuild and refurbish their facilities.

Since the project’s inception, SOLINET has established and operated 21 temporary library facilities. Specifically, libraries have been allocated funds that have enabled the acquisition and set-up of facilities and book/tech mobiles, and funding for staff and operating expenses for three years. The project has also supported and assisted with planning for the rebuilding of libraries, and replacement of many public access computers lost in the hurricanes.

The Gulf Coast Library Project was a 2007 recipient of the Laura Bush 21st Library grant from the Institute of Musuem and Library Services (IMLS), which has funded extensive professional development opportunities to library staff. The project works with the affected libraries to create development plans and offers each library system free, on-site training. For further information, contact Cheri Smithson <>, planning and grants coordinator or by phone: 800–999–8558, ext. 3856.

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