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E1274e – Status of Libraries in the Aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake (As of March 28, 2012)

The original article published in Japanese (

Current Awareness-E No.212

29 March, 2012


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

(As of March 28, 2012)

This report summarizes key information on status of libraries in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake between the end of February and the end of March, 2012 following past Current Awareness-E reports  (see E1155eE1161eE1166eE1172E1177e, E1205e, E1222e, E1248e, and E1263e).

  • A Year from the Disaster

March 11, 2012 was the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Agency for Cultural Affairs released a statement titled “Commissioner’s Message on the Occasion of the First Anniversary of March 11 Disaster,” reflecting on rescue activities for damaged cultural properties during the past year. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) released on its website a page titled “One Year after the Earthquake in Japan.” On March 16, Japan Library Association (JLA) posted a message titled “A Year after the Great East Japan Earthquake: We Ask for Your Continued Support and Cooperation.” 

Among journals on libraries, the March volume of “Toshokan Zasshi (図書館雑誌)” held a special issue titled “A Year Since the Great East Japan Earthquake.” The March volume of “Journal of Information Processing and Management” also held a special issue titled “After a Year Since the Great East Japan Earthquake.” “Minna no Toshokan” held a special issue in its March volume titled “Believing the Power of Libraries: The Disaster and its Aftermath” and also in its April volume titled “Libraries in Miyagi Prefecture.”

According to the blog of Toshokan Ryutsu Center (TRC), there were 604 books on the subject of “The Great East Japan Earthquake (2011)” (including photo collections) as of March 13. The figure was extracted from TRC MARC, TRC’s bibliographic data.

Koriyama City Central Library in Fukushima Prefecture, closed since the disaster, reopened on March 10. To celebrate the reopening, the library hosted events such as movies and concerts. Fukushima Prefectural Library is currently holding an exhibition titled “8784 Hours Since March 11,” and Tohoku University Library is holding an exhibition titled “2011.3.11. A Year from That Day: Looking Back the Library in the Disaster.” Several other events were organized on and around March 11.

  • Records and Archives of the Disaster

On March 1, NHK launched the “NHK Archive of the Great East Japan Earthquake.” The archive enables access to videos related to the disaster, particularly on testimonies of affected people. 

The National Library of Australia released an archive of websites related to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident using a service called “Archive-It” on Internet Archive.

On March 8, a campaign titled “Bringing Disaster Records to Libraries” was launched in collaboration of Iwate Prefectural Library, Miyagi Prefectural Library, Fukushima Prefectural Library, Sendai City Library, Iwate University Library, Tohoku University Library, Fukushima University Library, and Kobe University Library. The Campaign calls for provision of disaster records. Sendai City Library founded the “3.11 Disaster collection” and Tohoku University Library founded “Disaster Library” to exhibit related materials.

On March 14, National Diet Library hosted a symposium “Acquiring and Preserving Memories of 3.11: Establishing a Great East Japan Earthquake Archive.” Among the invitees was Andrew Gordon of Harvard University (see E1275). Prior to the symposium, NDL released a webpage on “The Great East Japan Earthquake Archive Building Project” on March 9, and the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University released the alpha version of “Digital Archive of Japan’s 2011 Disasters” on March 13.

  • Assisting Reconstruction Efforts through Digitizing of Books

Based on the FY2011 Third Supplementary Budget, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will launch “Kindigi” (Urgent Contents Digitizing Project) for the purpose of reconstruction in disaster affected regions. Through business operators, the government will subsidize half of publishers’ costs to create electronic books (two-thirds for books published by publishers in Northeastern Japan and disaster affected regions as well as books related to Northeastern Japan). The budget is approximately 1 billion yen. Requirements include conducting digitizing tasks in Northeastern Japan and disaster affected areas as well as donating one copy of each book that will be digitized to central libraries in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefecture. Japan Publishing Organization for Information Infrastructure Development, commissioned to manage the project, has begun accepting tentative applications from publishers on a special website, and has released presentation materials from briefing session for publishers. 

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

Translated by Okada Aya