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E1177e – Status of Libraries in the Aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake (As of June 8, 2011)

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Current Awareness-E No.194

9 June, 2011 

Status of Libraries in the Aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake

(As of June 8, 2011)

This report summarizes information on status of libraries in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake through June 8, 2011 following past Current Awareness-E reports (see E1155eE1161eE1166eE1172).

  • Openings of Public Libraries

Miyagi Prefectural Library, which re-opened on May 13, is holding a special exhibition titled “How do Newspapers West of Kanto Region Report the Great East Japan Earthquake?” The exhibition displays newspapers issued during the initial weeks following the disaster, donated from newspaper publishers. Iwaki City Library in Fukushima Prefecture, Higashi-Matsushima City Library and Ishinomaki City Library in Miyagi Prefecture, as well as Ofunato City Library in Iwate Prefecture also resumed its services between the end of May and early June.

In Sendai City, four libraries, including the City Library that resumed its services on May 3, returned to its usual hours of operation on June 1. The mobile libraries have also been operating on usual hours since May 31. On the other hand, Miyagino Library, Tsutsujigaoka Library, and Izumi Library in Sendai City have no prospect to reopen, and its lending services are provided through temporal desks set up near respective library buildings.

Fukushima Prefectural Library with heavy damage on its building has temporary suspended its browsing and lending services for individuals, but is lending materials to evacuation centers and to libraries in Fukushima Prefecture. Ibaraki Prefectural Library, also closed, is lending materials to libraries in Ibaraki Prefecture. The Library is also providing reference services via Email.

  • Rescuing Damaged Materials

Efforts to rescue damaged materials continue. A team of researchers, faculty and staff, as well as graduate students of Kanagawa University engaged in relief work of damaged materials at Oshima Fishery Cooperative in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture through the end of May. In their blog, the Department of Art History and Conservation of Tohoku University of Art and Design reported their work to restore damaged materials. Announced on June 1 was the organization of a volunteer group “Tokyo Document Recovery Assistance Force.” This is a group of specialists on preservation of paper documents that assist installing document recovery systems in disaster affected areas. The group website posts procedures for treating damaged materials.

National Research Institute for Cultural Properties’ Tokyo, National Archives of Japan, and The Society of Photography and Imaging of Japan, among others, released documents and guidelines for relief and restoration of materials damaged by water. The Japan Society for the Conservation of Cultural Property and the Japan Society of Archives Institutions are recruiting collaborators for the “Rescue Programme of Damaged Cultural Properties (Cultural Properties Rescue Program)” managed by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

  • Preserving Records of the Disaster

Fukushima Prefectural Library is calling for donation of materials as part of its collection on the Great East Japan Earthquake as well as on damage and reconstruction in Fukushima Prefecture. Sendai Mediatheque launched the “Center for Remembering 3.11.” The center, equipped with a studio and a broadcasting station, transmits and records the process of recovery and reconstruction with collaboration of citizens, specialists, and staff. Collected videos, photos, and texts will be preserved as the “Disaster Reconstruction Archive.” National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention launched the “Digital Archive of the Whole Disaster Reconstruction on the Great East Japan Earthquake (311 Marugoto Archives).” This project, in collaboration with local governments and nonprofits in disaster affected regions, collects videos taped immediately after the disaster, shoots and records from fixed-points the efforts for reconstruction towards the future, and archives audio files. Google has also launched the “Memories for the Future” project that collects and shares photos and videos taken in disaster affected areas. Furthermore, Yahoo! JAPAN’s Picture Preservation Project has begun to release submitted photos.

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

Translated by Okada Aya