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E1377e – Status of Libraries in the Aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake (As of December 27, 2012)

The original article published in Japanese (

Current Awareness-E No.229

28 December, 2012


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

(As of December 27, 2012)

This report summarizes key information on status of libraries in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake between late October and late December, following past “Current Awareness-E” reports  (see E1155eE1161eE1166eE1172E1177e, E1205e, E1222e, E1248e, E1263e, E1274e, E1302e, E1328e, and E1351e).

  • Recovery of Libraries in Disaster Affected Regions

On December 1, Rikuzentakata Public Library in Iwate Prefecture, whose building was destroyed by the tsunami in the Great East Japan Earthquake, opened a temporary library in the community center located in Takekoma Town within the city.  Hokkaido Book Sharing supported construction of the facility, and about 4,000 among approximately 13,000 books donated across Japan was shelved at the time of opening.

  • Support Activities

On October 26, The Japanese Council of Art Museums announced 22 projects selected as “Projects to Support Restoration from the Great East Japan Earthquake.”

On November 1, Okayama Prefectural Library launched a project to donate resources for research learning to temporary elementary and junior high schools in Fukushima Prefecture, in response to a request from Fukushima Prefectural Library. 1,116 books were sent on December 12.

On November 16, Digital Publishing Initiatives Japan Co.,Ltd began to deliver  contents of “Urgent Contents Digitizing Project (Kindigi)” of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. 52 titles of Kodansha’s “Bluebacks” series were selected for the first batch, and are delivered through multiple electronic bookstores including Kobo.

On December 21, Rakuten, Inc. launched “Rakuten Mobile Library” which circulates around Fukushima Prefecture. In addition to about 5,000 pictures books, encyclopedias, and manga purchased with donations from Rakuten users, an e-book reader “kobo Touch” are available for rent.

  • Preserving Records

On November 2, International Research Institute for Disaster Science of Tohoku University released 13,760 photos taken in disaster affected regions in Miyagi Prefecture on Google Earth. These photos were taken between February and March as part of “Michinoku-Shinrokuden,” an archive project on the Great East Japan Earthquake.

On November 5, the National Diet Library (NDL) launched a pilot version of “The Great East Japan Earthquake Archive (Development Version).” Compiled database include partial service of the National Diet Library, “Picture Preservation Project” of Yahoo! JAPAN, and “Michinoku-Shinrokuden.” The service will be officially released in March, 2013. (The archive is currently closed for expansion of functions. The archive plans to reopen in early Jaunary 2013).

On December 3, Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture released a photo archive “The Great East Japan Earthquake: Miracles of Restoration in Sendai.” About 120 photos in four categories are currently available: “Situations of Damage,” “Relief and Restoration,” “Citizens’ Lives” and “Steps towards Reconstruction.” Photos may be used and/or modified for nonprofit purposes of promoting disaster situations.

On December 5, Science Council of Japan announced “Urgent Proposal on Creating Platforms for Restoration and Community Building Using the Power of ‘People’ and ‘Community’.” The second point of the recommendation is “to create an archive through interviews on interaction between lost nature and people in the community, and to develop the archive into restoration plans.”

On December 6, Google released “Digital Archive Project of Disaster Remains.” Using Google’s street view techniques, the project captures inside and outside views of facilities in disaster affected regions. The current archive includes 34 facilities in Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures.

  • Events and Publications

On November 1, Iwate Prefectural Library released Number 171 of its library bulletin “Toshokan Iwate (としょかんいわて),” presenting a special issue on the Great East Japan Earthquake. The issue refers to Noda Village Library, Otsuchi Town Library, and Rikuzentakata Public Library.

The 14th Library Fair and Forum/Open Summit on Academic Information 2012” was held at Pacifico Yokohama from November 20 to 22 (see E1367). Several forums including “A Year after the Great East Japan Earthquake: Policy Challenges for Restoration” as well as special exhibitions and booth presentations were held on the disaster.

A total of three articles as part of the series “Libraries in Disaster Affected Areas Today”
were published in volume 620 (released on November 21) and volume 621 (released on December 20) of “National Diet Library Monthly Bulltine (国立国会図書館月報).”

On November 24, The University of Tokyo Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies hosted an open forum “How to Use Disaster Records: Massive Video Records” at University of Tokyo Fukutake Hall (see E1375).

On November 30, the National Diet Library released its annual report “Annul Report of the National Diet Library FY2011 (国立国会図書館年報 平成23年度).” Chapter 11 is titled “Responding to the Great East Japan Earthquake.”

On December 20, The 23rd Forum on Preservation “Library’s’ Preparation for Earthquakes: What Worked and What We Learned” was held at the National Diet Library Tokyo Main Library. Following a keynote speech by Hiroo Yanase of Okada Architect and Associates, cases were reported by Miyagi Prefectural Library, Fukushima Prefectural Library, Tohoku Gakuin University Central Library, and the National Diet Library Tokyo Main Library.

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

Translated by Okada Aya