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E1161e – Support Expands for People and Libraries Affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake

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Current Awareness-E No.191

7 April, 2011 

Support Expands for People and Libraries Affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake

Support for libraries affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake is expanding. This report follows up “Status of Libraries in the Aftermath of the Tohoku-Pacific Ocean Earthquake (Preliminary Report)” published in Current Awareness-E No.190 on March 17, 2011 (see E1155e). Reported are assistance provided to people and libraries affected by the disaster through April 6 on which this report was written.

  • Efforts to Release and Preserve Disaster Related Literature

Japan Library Association (JLA) released papers related to the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (Kobe Earthquake of 1995) published in its journal “Toshokan Zasshi (図書館雑誌)”. Nippon Association for Librarianship also launched a website that gathered papers on disaster reconstruction and crisis management of libraries published in its journal “Toshokankai (図書館界) ”. Warning the possibility of losing historical resources in chaos of the disaster, Network for Historical Materials calls for cooperation in preserving historical resources. Film Preservation Society opened a consultation desk that accepts inquiries on how to treat original audio-visual recording mediums (e.g. cleaning) with cooperation from professional firms. Agency for Cultural Affairs announced its plan to implement “Tohoku-Pacific Ocean Earthquake Rescue Programme of Damaged Cultural Properties (Cultural Properties Rescue Program).” The project aims for urgent preservation of movable cultural properties affected by the earthquake and for prevention of disposal and dissipation of valuable cultural properties. National Diet Library created a website that provides information and links on recovery of materials in libraries and archives.

  • Provision of Academic Information to Medical Personnel and Researchers in Disaster Affected Regions

Several firms are providing database and ebooks of medical literature for medical personnel working in disaster affected areas. Among them is the library community. Japan Medical Library Association (JMLA), with cooperation from publishers, began providing medical literature at no charge for those affiliated with universities, hospitals, and medicine-related institutions in disaster affected regions as well as medical personnel engaged in relief and recovery. Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) is also providing the fee-based database of science and technology literature called “JDreamII” for no charge to institutions and organizations engaged in responding to the disaster in the field of recovery and medicine. JST plans to provide the access through June 30.

University of Tokyo Library and Kyoto University Library Network announced provision of academic database and e-journals for no charge to researchers and medical personnel in disaster affected regions through the end of April, with cooperation from the publishers.

  • Libraries Contribute in Providing Materials

On March 25, 2011, Japan Library Association released “Request for Cooperation on Library Activities to Support the Affected People: Temporally Limiting the Rights of Public Transmission to Disaster Affected Regions.” This document requested cooperation from copyright holders to approve libraries to transmit duplicates to people and libraries affected by the disaster via Email and Fax. Such provision was to be limited to certain time periods as well as to regions facing difficulties in obtaining materials and information due to the disaster. The document also sought for approval to produce photocopies of materials necessary to hold story hours to infants and storytelling to elderly in disaster affected regions. Also requested was an approval to broadcast and deliver recordings of these events, and to publicly transmit picture books’ contents and designs of a type page.

In response, on April 5, Japan Book Publishers Association published a document titled Request for Information on Relief Work for People Affected by the Disaster and an Appeal from the Japan Library Association, asking its member institutions for understanding and cooperation to the request from JLA.

Libraries including Fukui Prefectural Library will send copies of materials via Email and Fax to people affected by the disaster. Niigata Prefectural Library introduced books and literature related to recovery and reconstruction from the Mid-Niigata Prefecture Earthquake of 2004 and the Niigata-Chuetsu Oki Earthquake of 2008. The Library also announced to launch “Transmission Service of Literature Related to Recovery and Reconstruction,” providing related materials via Email and Fax.

  • Donation of Books to Disaster Affected Areas

Japan Committee for UNICEF launched “UNICEF Children Mini Library”, a project that delivers to picture books and children’s books to children in the disaster affected regions. As a similar effort, Japan Book Publishers Association, Japan Magazine Publishers Association, and Japan Publishers Club launched “Publishing Organization Headquarter for the Great Disaster.” The project has sent approximately 30,000 books to disaster affected areas through Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology(MEXT). The Headquarter also announced its intention for further planning and to send books to affected regions. School Library Association also plans to accept donation of new books and to deliver them to disaster affected areas.

Written by Research and Information Section
Library Support Division, Kansai-kan of the National Diet Library

Translated by Okada Aya