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E1263e – Status of Libraries in the Aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake (As of February 22, 2012)

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Current Awareness-E No.210
23 February, 2012 

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

(As of February 22, 2012)

This report summarizes key information on status of libraries in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake between January and mid-February, 2012 following past Current Awareness-E reports (see E1155eE1161eE1166eE1172E1177e, E1205e, and E1222e, and E1248e).

  • Status of Support Activities and Libraries in Disaster Affected Regions

“Natori City Donguri Children’s Library” opened in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture on January 6, 2012. With support from saveMLAK and the Japan Committee for UNICEF, the library was built adopting “Donguri House,” a model developed by Tokai University for disaster reconstruction emergency housing.

On February 5, Shanti Volunteer Association engaged in “Iwate Mobile Library Project” opened “Kanezawa Library” in Otsuchi Town, Iwate Prefecture. The room holds more than 5,000 novels, how-to books, and children’s books.

In order to reopen the entire library, Fukushima Prefectural Library is under restoration between February 1 and May 20. The library partially reopened on July 2011, but problems were found in ventilation and lighting. Staff must wear helmets when retrieving materials.

Posted on the website of saveMLAK on January 17 was “Declaration of ‘I Will Not Send Any Books’” (tentative title) written by volunteers. Given their observation of libraries in disaster affected areas having trouble dealing with large amount of donated books, the group declares not to send neither new nor old books. Also posted are Ten Points to Consider If “You Do Decide to Send Books.”

Japan Library Association (JLA) published a text book titled “Learning from the Great East Japan Earthquake.” This book was used in the 33rd Seminar on Library Architecture held on January 19 and 20. The book includes reports of on-site investigation by the JLA’s committee on facilty, reports from disaster affected areas, and future countermeasures.

JLA also hosted the “Help-Toshokan Tour: Let’s Learn about Tohoku: Three Days in Coastal Areas of Iwate Prefecture” (toshokan means library in Japanese). From January 21 to 23, 21 participants visited Iwate Prefectural Library, Miyako City Library, and Yamada Town Library. In early March will be a tour to visit Miyagi Prefecture.

  • Events and Exhibitions

On January 11, “Frontiers of the Great East Japan Earthquake Archives and the Challenges across Borders and Generations: International Collaborative Symposium on the Great East Japan Earthquake Archive” was held in Sendai City (see E1258). Efforts for disaster archives were reported by the public, private, and academic institutions.

Miyagi Prefectural Library is holding a special exhibition titled “Proof of Kizuna: Exhibition on Collection on the Great East Japan Earthquake” (Kizuna means bonds of friendship in Japnaese) from February 11 to July 20. Exhibited are materials on situations as well as recovery processes of disaster affected areas, including support that the library received, donated materials, communication memos of evacuation centers, and notices of store reopening.

Tono Center for Cultural Studies in Tono City, Iwate Prefecture (see E1210) will host an exhibition “Cultural Properties of Tohoku: Revival from the Disaster.” The exhibit collects 120 damaged cultural properties rescued in Northeastern Japan. The exhibition will take place at Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library between February 26 and March 11, and at Tono City Museum between March 16 and 28.

Exhibits on the topic of disaster are held in several libraries including Shirakawa City Library in Fukushima Prefecture, Chiba Prefectural Central Library, Kanagawa Prefectural Library, Osaka Prefectural Central Library, Hyogo Prefectural Library, Tokushima Prefectural Library, Yonago City Library in Tottori Prefecture, and in Saga Prefectural Library.

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

Translated by Okada Aya