Normal Service

Hurricane Preparedness & Response for Florida Public Libraries

Hurricane in Atlantic ocean

Improving Florida Public Library Utilization in Community Hurricane Response

Service Role

The community counts on normal library service before and after the storm be it book, DVD or Internet use, reference or family programming. Normal service provides hope, re-establishes government presence, reduces stress, returns normalcy, offers recreation and distraction.

Best practices may include:

What is Special about Normal

  • Welcoming staff: sets the tone for what is civil in uncivil times. Provides some solace for those whose homes were damaged.
  • Family programs: helps children cope and gives parents relief. How about a Fun Day on the lawn?
  • Electricity: means a place to charge cell phones, laptops, wheelchairs;
  • Library materials: provide recreation and distraction in a stressful period; and
  • Internet: provides contact lifeline to family and friends, complete forms, and a source of information.

New Ideas

  • Go to new places: story hours, family programming, mobile libraries at shelters;
  • Materials loan becomes materials gift: Gift books to children and adult evacuees and visiting responders;
  • When things return to normal: Honor special local responders with books donated in their name at a special event;
  • Target special groups: temporarily homeless (housing information exchange); evacuees (programs at local hotels); temporarily jobless (job bank, file for unemployment); hungry (file for food stamps);
  • Special services: Filling out FEMA forms; Contacting loved ones; Comforting victims;
  • Special materials: Books that help children cope.

Flexible Policies

Responder Family Day Care

Lesson 101:

Other Best Practices