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E1490e – Status of Libraries in the Aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake (As of October 21, 2013)

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Current Awareness-E No.247

24 October, 2013

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

(As of October 21, 2013)

This report summarizes information on status of libraries in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake between the end of August 2013 and mid-October following past Current Awareness-E reports (see E1466e and others).

●Activities of Libraries in Affected Regions

On August 29, an opening ceremony took place at a newly built building of Karakuwa Branch of Kesennuma City Library (Miyagi Prefecture) on the ground of Kesennuma City Karakuwa Kindergarten.

On September 5, the library room of Arahama Elementary School in Watari Town, Miyagi Prefecture, reopened after closing for two and a half years with books donated from across Japan. The current collection counts 3,700 books, which accounts for about 60 percent of the collection prior to the disaster.

On September 9, The University Museum, The University of Tokyo  opened “Ozuchi Cultural House” in a community center of Otsuchi Town , Iwate Prefecture. The house shelves 3,500 materials including general books, encyclopedias, and children’s books donated by the faculty and staff of the university.

On October 1, Miyako City Library Taro Branch (Iwate Prefecture) resumed its regular operation at the original site, after constructions for recovery. The library had been affected by the tsunami at the Great East Japan Earthquake, and had been operating at the General Office and the community center.

On October 19, Ofunato City Library (Iwate Prefecture) launched a section for business support. The section provides pamphlets on grants provided by the national and prefectural governments as well as related organizations.

●Developments in Digital Archives

On September 4, Google renewed Google Street View images of coastal areas in Iwate   and Miyagi Prefectures damaged by the tsunami in the Great East Japan Earthquake. Google also announced a new release of Google Street View images of coastal regions of Fukushima Prefecture including those taken in areas under an evacuation order .

On September 12, The Digital Archive of Japan’s 2011 Disasters launched a new front page, along with new content and features.

On October 1, Red Cross Nuclear Disaster Resource Center  of Japanese Red Cross Society  released digital archives that collects and shares   information and data on nuclear disasters. The archives contain contents of an exhibit “Messages from Relief Team Staff:  Fukushima RC Hospital” as well as “Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident: JRCS’ Support Activities  Documentary – Part 1–.”  Red Cross Nuclear Disaster Resource Center was established within the headquarter located in Minato-Ward in Tokyo on October 1.”

2013 Good Design Award, organized by Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP)  was announced on October 1, and “The East Japan Earthquake Archive” by Watanabe Hidenori Laboratory (Tokyo Metropolitan University) and Nakata Senhiko Laboratory (Miyagi University) was chosen among “Good Design Best 100.”

●Events, Publications, and Others

“Report on Okuma Town Library: A Library within Four Kilometers from the Nuclear Power Plant” by Kawashima Hiroshi was published in “Toshokan Zasshi (図書館雑誌)” (Vol.107 No.9, September 2013).

“Hakubutsukan Kenkyu (博物館研究)” published a special issue titled “Towards Preservation of Cultural Legacies with Robustness towards Disasters” in its October 2013 volume.

Librarians at Fukushima Prefectural Library have published a “Book Guide,” presenting their feelings after reading the materials of “The Great East Japan Earthquake Fukushima Prefecture Reconstruction Library.” Number 4 was published on September 4, and Number 5 on October 10.

Award ceremony for The 27th Human Power Award (Ten Outstanding Young Persons in Japan)   hosted by Junior Chamber International Japan  was held on September 20. Hideaki Kawabata  , representative of “Everyone’s Library ” project, a volunteer organization for establishing libraries in regions affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, won three awards: Encouragement Prize from the Speaker of the House of Representative , Encouragement Prize of National Governors’ Association , and Encouragement Prize of NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation).

On October 8, Hokkaido Book sharing launched a free magazine titled “Book Sharing.” The PDF version of the first volume was released on the Internet. Articles in the first volume include: “Column – Disaster and Reading Space: Has “Book Forest” Disappeared?” “Reading Space for Reconstruction: Umebatake Children’s Reading Room” and “Library in a Disaster: Rikuzentakata City Library.”

On October 8, Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University in the United Kingdom launched an exhibition “Surviving Tsunami: Photographs in the Aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake.” The exhibition presents the project to digitize materials and resources damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake at Rikuzentakata City.

On October 12, “The Radio  of Hope: After Tsunami 3.11” documentary film  on the Great East Japan Earthquake was played at Chitose Cultural Center  in Hokkaido. The center also exhibited hand-written wall newspapers published by journalists of Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun  in Miyagi Prefecture for six days since the day after the Great East Japan Earthquake.   

On October 20, a research project “Construction of Local History Document Studies Based on Historical Materials Maintenance Theory at The Time of The Large-scale Natural Disaster” (Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (S)) held a forum on disaster material titled “From the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake to the Great East Japan Earthquake.” Discussed were how to learn from cases of collecting and utilization of disaster materials, to succeed memories of disasters, and to build a disaster culture.

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

Translated by Okada Aya