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E1422e – Status of Libraries in the Aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake (As of April 24, 2012)

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Current Awareness-E No.236

25 April, 2013

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

(As of April 24, 2012)

This report summarizes key information on status of libraries in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake between mid-March and mid-April 2013, following past “Current Awareness-E” reports (see E1403 and others previous articles).

  • Reconstruction in Disaster Affected Regions

On March 18, students learning in the librarians and curators course at Morioka University began to rescue damaged materials in the library room of Takata Senior High School in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture. The school has suffered catastrophic damage from the tsunami.

Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku and Related Disasters dissolved on March 31. The committee, with its secretariat in National Research Institute for Cultural Properties Tokyo, had been engaged in rescue activities across Japan since the disaster. Individual participating institutions will conduct future restoration work.

On April 1, a desk made with woods from disaster affected areas was installed for concierge service that provides guidance on books at Iwate Prefectural Library.

On April 2, Fukushima Prefectural Library released the “Fukushima Prefectural Library Action Plan (Secondary)” applicable between FY2013 and FY2017. Miyagi Prefectural Library also released the “Miyagi Prefectural Library Basic Promotion Plan” for FY2013 to FY2017.

Rias Ark Museum of Art in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture fully reopened on April 3. The museum had suffered damage from the Great East Japan Earthquake. Alongside reopening, the museum launched a new permanent exhibition titled “Records of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Disaster History of Tsunami.”

On April 23, Gakken Holdings Co., Ltd. announced to provide at no cost paid digital contents for “kobo Touch, an e-book device available for rent at “Rakuten Mobile Library” circulating within Fukushima Prefecture.

  • Activities to Preserve and Pass Along Records

On March 5, Miyagi Co-op opened “The Great East Japan Earthquake Learning and Resource Room” on the first floor of Co-op Cultural Center “Wiz.”

On March 7, the National Diet Library and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication officially released “Hybrid Infrastructure for National Archive of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Innovative Knowledge Utilization (Hinagiku).” On the same day, five digital archives of disaster affected regions were officially made public: “Aomori Digital Archive System” “Rikuzentakata Earthquake Archive NAVI” “Michinoku-Shinrokuden” (meaning “memoirs of Tohoku”), “Kahoku Shimpo Disaster Archive” “The Great East Japan Earthquake Archives Fukushima”).

Fukushima Prefectural Library revised the “List of Library Resources on the Great East Japan Earthquake and Reconstruction in Fukushima Prefecture” as of March 11, 2013. The list includes 4,221 titles of related materials.

On March 11, “Ofunato Tsunami Denshokan (Lore Center)” opened temporarily in Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture. The center intends to be a place to pass on threats and experiences of massive tsunami through videos and storytelling to future generations.

On March 18, Tohoku University Library partially released online materials related to the Great East Japan Earthquake as “Disaster Library Online Version.” Currently made public are materials that the library was able to obtain permissions from the authors.

On March 18, Tohoku Regional Development Bureau of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism launched a website “Center for Disaster Lore,” providing about 10,000 photos and videos.

On March 28, Google made public street views of Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture on Google Map.

Miyagi Prefectural Library launched “Deposit Library Project.” In this project, the library first collects local materials that are no longer necessary at schools and administrative institutions, and provides them to prefectural libraries and others in the prefecture that suffered damage by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The project aims to support redevelopment of these facilities.

On April 7, Higashimatsushima Library in Miyagi Prefecture released a pilot version of “Passing on the Stories of the Great East Japan Earthquake.” This archive on the Great East Japan Earthquake is part of a project to preserve local bondings via use of ICT.

  • Events and Publications

On March 11, “Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology Events to Support Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake: What Educational and Research Institutions Can Do and the Future” was held at the ministry building. The event included “Forum to Support Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake” as well as “Video and Panel Exhibitions to Support Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake.”

On the same day, Agency for Cultural Affairs released a statement on its website titled “Address by the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Seiichi Kondo in observing the Second Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.”Also released was a document summarizing actions taken by the Agency for Cultural Affairs during the two years in damage control of cultural properties and cultural facilities in disaster affected regions as well as promotion of assisting reconstruction of culture and arts.

Among magazines, March 2013 volume of “Library Journal (図書館雑誌)” published a special issue titled “Two Years since the Great East Japan Earthquake.” In its March, 2013 volume (No.210), “Aji Ken World Trend (アジ研ワールド・トレンド)” published a special issue on “Disasters and Libraries.”

On March 28, Science Council of Japan announced its recommendation “Academic Research on the Great East Japan Earthquake: Challenges and the Future.”

On March 19, National Museum of Japanese History launched an exhibition “The Great East Japan Earthquake and Livelihood Cultures of Kesennnuma.” Tohoku University Library is also holding an exhibition titled “Tohoku University Library: Two Years After the Disaster” since April 1. 

On April 20, Iwate Prefectural Library hosted a lecture by Shuichi Kawamukai, chief editor of Fukko Kamaishi Newspaper on the role of regional papers in times of disasters.

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

Translated by Okada Aya