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E1166e – Situation of Assistance to Libraries Affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake (as of April 27, 2011)

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Current Awareness-E  No.192
28 April, 2011

Situation of Assistance to Libraries Affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake (as of April 27, 2011)

This report follows up Support Expands for People and Libraries Affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake (see E1161) published in Current Awareness-E No.191 on April 7, 2011. Reported are information related to the disaster through April 27, 2011.

  • Support to Disaster Affected Regions

Japan Library Association (JLA) launched a program named “HELP-TOSHOKAN” to support book reading in disaster affected areas (toshokan means library in Japanese). The first group of volunteers was dispatched on April 21. The team delivered books and hosted reading time and screening for children in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture. The second, third and fourth team are planned to be dispatched in May. Library Advancement Foundation began to provide support in operations and purchasing of goods for public and school libraries affected by the disaster. Among support from individual libraries, Higashiomi City in Shiga Prefecture donated a mobile library and 5,000 books to Rikuzentakata City in Iwate Prefecture. Takikawa City Library in Hokkaido visited evacuation centers in Miyagi Prefecture with its bookmobile and delivered books donated by their citizens to children. Tottori Prefectural Library and Miyakojima City Library in Okinawa Prefecture acquired newspapers published in disaster affected areas for provision in respective libraries.

  • Rescuing Disaster Affected Materials

Documents of Yoshida Family, prefecturally-designated cultural property, were retrieved from Rikuzentakata City Library in Iwate Prefecture, where the tsunami soaked the entire building up to its ceiling. The documents are being restored at the prefectural museum. Documents covered with dirt and salt will be soaked in water and freeze-dried. Furthermore, Network for Historical Materials has arrived in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture to preserve historical documents that was left in a school in a town that suffered the tsunami. The group specializes in preserving historical documents.

Archival Conservation and Enclosures Co., Ltd. published in its blog an article titled “Treatment of Documents Exposed to Radiation,” summarizing information provided from foreign preservation scientists, librarians, and archivists. “Current Awareness-R” posted “Links to Articles and Information on Recovery of Damaged Digital Data and Restoration of Audio-Visual Materials.”

  • Websites for Supporting Disaster Affected Regions

Several websites for supporting affected libraries are being launched. “saveMLAK” is promoting voluntary input of information on damages and relief activities at museums, art museums, libraries, archives, and community centers called “kouminkan” in Japanese (“MLAK” stands for initial letters of these facilities). On April 23, the group hosted an event titled “Support for Those Affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and MLAK: What We Can Do Now.” Other websites include: “Support for University Libraries in Regions Affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake” of Japan Association of Private University Libraries, “Website for Supporting School Management in the Disaster Area by All” of National Institute for Educational Policy Research, “Portal Site to Help Affected Students’ Learning” of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, “Free Library of Picture Books” of Yahoo! JAPAN, and “Website for Supporting Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake” of National Diet Library.

  • Collecting and Archiving Disaster Related Materials

Movements to pass down disaster related materials to future generations are beginning to be observed. In Japan, Yahoo! JAPAN launched the “Great East Japan Earthquake Picture Project” that maps posted photos on geographical maps. National Diet Library is collecting and preserving websites of local governments in disaster affected regions.

Abroad, Internet Archive is collecting websites related to the disaster. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University in the United States is collecting related materials in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean in its “Digital Archive of Japan’s 2011 Disasters.” Newseum, a press museum in the United States announced its permanent collection of “Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun” (石巻日日新聞), a handwritten newspaper published by Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun in Miyagi Prefecture. Its newspapers were posted on walls of evacuation centers.

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

Translated by Okada Aya