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E1328e – Status of Libraries in the Aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake (As of August 22, 2012)

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Current Awareness-E No.221

23 August, 2012

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

(As of August 22, 2012)

This report summarizes key information on status of libraries in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake between early July and mid-August, following past “Current Awareness-E” reports(see E1155eE1161eE1166eE1172E1177e, E1205e, E1222e, E1248e, E1263e, E1274e, and E1302e).

  • Reopening and Establishment of Libraries in Disaster Affected Regions

On July 10, 2012, a temporary library named “Utatsu Community Library – Gyoryu” opened in Minamisanriku Town, Miyagi Prefecture. The library has a collection of 2,000 books. The tsunami washed away the original collection in town’s library that was located within Utatsu Community Center.

Miyagi Prefectural Library had been temporary closed between June 1 and July 2 for restoration work. After reopening, the library is holding a special exhibition titled “3.11 Prayers and Encouragements of Manga Artists: Collection of Books on the Great East Japan Earthquake II” until the end of August.

On July 11, decontamination of picture books donated across the country began in Iidate Village, Fukushima Prefecture. The village, which did not have a library, had asked for book donations since May 2010, and 60,000 books had been collected prior to the disaster. In October, the village plans to launch a mobile library that circulates around nine temporary housing sites within the prefecture.

On July 28, Rias Ark Museum of Art in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture partially reopened after being closed for a year and four months. When the entire facility reopens in April 2013, the museum plans to launch a new permanent exhibition titled “Records of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Disaster History of Tsunami.”

  • Support Activities

“Tokyo Document Recovery Assistant Force” assisting restoration work of damaged paper materials posted on its blog of June 27 a report of group’s year-long activities since the founding. While the original plan was to operate for a year, the team has declared to continue its activities into the second year in response to incoming demands.

On July 1, “Italians for Tohoku” donated a microbus to be used for a mobile library to Rikuzentakata Public Library in Iwate Prefecture. The mobile library began to operate on July 11. The library is in the process of opening a temporary library.

On July 18, National Archives of Japan announced its plan to implement “2012 Project to Assist Restoration of Public Documents Damaged by the Disaster” in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures. The project has already begun in Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture, and is scheduled to be implemented in Ishinomaki City and Onagawa Town in Miyagi Prefecture on September 3.

On July 30, Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA), a public interest incorporated association engaged in “Iwate Mobile Library Project” announced to launch mobile libraries in Minamisoma City and Yamamoto Town in Fukushima Prefecture around September. On the same day, BOOKOFF Corporation announced to donate 10 million Japanese yen to SVA as well as a launch of a new project “BOOKS TO THE PEOPLE 2012.” In this project, 12 “assigned reading books” will be donated to 177 elementary schools in the three prefectures affected by the disaster.

  • Preserving Records

“Center for Remembering 3.11” of Sendai Mediatheque in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture released an English website on July 1.

Harvard University in the United States released a beta version of “Digital Archive of Japan’s 2011 Disasters” operated in partnership with institutions including Internet Archive and the National Diet Library (NDL).
Since July, Higashimatsushima Library in Miyagi Prefecture has been conducting “ICT Project to Preserve Community Bonds.” Funded by the Library Advancement Association, this project films and preserves citizens’ disaster experiences. The project also collects email messages exchanged after the disaster as well as flyers disseminated at evacuation centers.

On August 14, Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials began recruiting volunteers to shoot rescued historical materials with digital cameras. Shooting will take place on September 6 and 7.

  • Events, Reports, Journal Articles

On July 1, “saveMLAK Debriefing Session 2012: Relief and Restoration Support for Social Education and Cultural Facilities” was held in Tokyo and Osaka. In each session, activities were reported and discussed. 

Participants from Japan made presentations on the disaster at the 17th International Congress of Archives (ICA) held in Brisbane, Australia from August 20 to 24. 

Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) released “Summary of Assessment of MEXT Efforts for Recovery and Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake (Second Report).” Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry published a report titled “2011 Survey on Trends of Information Processing.” “Information and Communications in Japan White Paper 2012” published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications also refers to the Great East Japan Earthquake as one of the themes. Special issues on the disaster have also been published in volume 22 of “Records & archives (記録と史料)” as well as volume 91 of “Newsletter (会報)” published by Japan Society of Archives Institutions, volume 47 of “Archives (アーカイブズ)” published by National Archives of Japan, volume 14 of “The Miyagi Archaeology (宮城考古学)” published by Archaeological Society of Miyagi Prefecture, as well as Volume 57, Issue 3 of “Pharmaceutical library (薬学図書館).”

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

Translated by Okada Aya