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E1403e – Status of Libraries in the Aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake (As of March 6, 2013)

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Current Awareness-E No.233

7, March, 2013

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

(As of March 6, 2013)

Almost two years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. This report summarizes key information on status of libraries in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake between January and early March 2013, following past “Current Awareness-E” reports (see E1155eE1161eE1166eE1172E1177e, E1205e, E1222e, E1248e, E1263e, E1274e, E1302e, E1328e, E1351e, and E1377).

●Reconstruction in Disaster Affected Regions

On January 18, “Donguri Anne Public Library” opened in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture. The library received assistance from the Government of Canada and others, and holds approximately 150,000 collections including about 25,000 open-access books. The room is adjacent to “Donguri Children’s Library Room” located within the city library. Dissolution of damaged main building has begun to take place.

“Koala,” a mobile library for residents of Iidate Village, Fukushima Prefecture began circulating around temporary housing sites on January 31. The car was donated by Australia-Japan Foundation and Ironside State High School in Australia, and about 1,000 books and a book truck, as well as bookshelves were donated by Japan Publishing Industry Foundation for Culture. The entire village is under evacuation due to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

On February 1, “Minamisanriku Town Austrialia Friendship Learning Center (Koala House)” opened in Minamisanriku Town, Miyagi Prefecture. Australia and New Zealand Bank donated approximately 53 million Japanese yen to cover project costs. The center is the first non-temporary public facility built in the town after the disaster. The facility includes a library room.

On February 21, Kanagawa Prefectural Archives published “Report on Rescuing Damaged Public Documents in Rikuzentakata City.” The report summarizes activities of its “Damaged Public Document Rescue Team” that worked on approximately 1,200 volumes of public documents between October 2011 and September 2012.

On February 23, Nasunogahara Junior Chamber in Tochigi Prefecture and “Everyone’s Library” Project established a simplified library in Yamamoto Town, Miyagi Prefecture. About 5,000 books are shelved in an area as large as about 16 tatami mats. Launched immediately after the disaster, this project has established 13 libraries to date (11 are currently in operation).

●Preserving Records

On January 17, Kahoku Shimpo Publishing began temporal operation of “Kahoku Shimpo Disaster Archive.” The archive includes approximately 30,000 headings of newspaper articles, about 100 article images and news photos, as well as about 10,000 photos that citizens provided. On February 1, the archive began accepting posting of photos from the citizens. The archive plans its official operation in March or in April.

On February 21, Google renewed its “Memories for the Future” website. The site upgraded its designs including installing time sliders to follow changes in the scenery. Also added were contents including 36 disaster remains as well as 541 photos of Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture.

On March 4, Google began shooting street views of Namie Town in Futaba County of Fukushima Prefecture, and plans to release captured photos in a few months. Half of Namie town is designated as “evacuation area” within 20 km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, while the latter half is designated as “deliberate evacuation area.” 21,000 residents are still under evacuation.

On March 5, the National Diet Library and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced to officially release “Hybrid Infrastructure for National Archive of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Innovative Knowledge Utilization” on March 7. Shorthanded as “Hinagiku,” this portal site enables unified search and utilization of digital data, literature, and information on the Great East Japan Earthquake.

On March 5, National Women’s Education Center (NWEC) released “NWEC Women Archive for Disaster Reconstruction Support.” The archive records support activities provided facilities related to women. The archive is operated in partnership of NWEC that provides the system and women-related facilities across Japan that register data.  

●Events and Publications

On January 11, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Tohoku University, and others hosted “The Great East Japan Earthquake Archive Symposium: To Pass on Memories and Records of Past and Present to the Future” in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. Presented materials have been made public.

“Thinking about Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the Disaster – Let’s Talk! Rescuing Cultural Properties: Open Forum of Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the Disaster” was held at Tokyo National Museum on January 23. The event was hosted by the Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku and Related Disasters. The committee will terminate its operation in March 2013. The event was part of a three-time series, and prior events were held on February 4 and 22.

On January 24 and 25, Harvard University in the United States hosted an international conference “Opportunities and Challenges of Building New Types of Participatory Digital Archives: Lessons from the March 11, 2011 Great Eastern Japan Disaster” (see E1401).

On February 7, Miyagi Prefectural Library launched “Restoration from Here, Unforgettable Hometowns,” an exhibition of aerial photos of coastal regions in Miyagi Prefecture affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Exhibited are 24 of the 457 aerial photos taken by Geospatial Information Authority of Japan, housed in the Library’s disaster collection.

On February 15, the Japanese Council of Art Museums released online volume 1 of “ZENBI: Zenkoku Bijutsukan Kaigi Kikanshi (ZENBI:全国美術館会議機関誌)” published on January 1. The volume has articles related to the disaster including “Initial Activities of Japanese Council of Art Museums Secretariat and Rescue Efforts in Ishinomaki City.”

On February 15 and 16, National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) hosted “Demonstration of the Archive System and Discussions on its Operation, Use, and Utilization” and “Disaster Experiences and Records of Evacuation Life in Fukushima: Memories from Videos, Thinking about Revival of Traditions and Culture” in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture.

On March 1, a photo exhibition “Activities of Police in the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami” began at Iwate Prefectural Library. The library is also hosting mini exhibitions titled “Steps from the Great East Japan Earthquake: Public Relations Magazines of Coastal Municipalities in the Prefecture” and “Hammering Sounds of Restoration.”

On March 2, International Library of Children’s Literature hosted a lecture “Great East Japan Earthquake and Children’s Reading Activities.”
On the same day, The Research Center for Knowledge Communities (RCKC) at University of Tsukuba hosted an open symposium “Rescuing Cultural Heritage in Major Disasters, Inheriting Memories and Records: For Revival of Local Communities.” As a related mini project, the center, in partnership with University of Tsukuba Library Library on Library and Information Science, is hosting a mini exhibition “Local Materials on the Great East Japan Disaster” until the March 25.

On March 3, Ishinomaki City in Miyagi prefecture and National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) jointly hosted “Ishinomaki City Forum 2013: Let’s Learn, Preserve, and Convey Disaster Records.”

Fukushima Prefectural Library is holding a special project “We Will Not Forget: Two Years after the Great East Japan Earthquake” from late February to early April. The project includes an exhibition titled “We Will Not Forget: The Great East Japan Earthquake, Securing Routes for Rescue and Relief, Records towards Recovery.”

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

Translated by Okada Aya