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E1515e – Status of Libraries in the Aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake (As of December 24, 2013)

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Current Awareness-E No.251

26 December, 2013

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

(As of December 24, 2013) 


December 4, 2013 marks the 1,000th day anniversary 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 the end of October 2013 and mid-December, following past Current Awareness-E reports (see E1490e and others).

●Activities of Libraries in Affected Regions

Visitors to the temporary library of Rikuzentakata Public Library (Iwate Prefecture) reached 5,000 on October 22, ten months after its opening. An event to celebrate its first anniversary was also held on December 8.

On November 11, school libraries in elementary and junior high schools in Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture began to lend books from “Suginami Collection.” The collection was organized with relief money from the municipal government of Suginami Ward in Tokyo Prefecture. The collection consists of 200 to 250 books per school, including books written by authors and celebrities associated with Suginami Ward as well as books on radiation, environmental education, and reconstruction.,15112,87,339,html

It was reported on November 14 that the number of interviews on the experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake at Higashimatsushima Library (Miyagi Prefecture) reached 100.

As of the end of November, number of books contributed to “Rikuzentakata Public Library Dream Project” reached a million. The project has been organized by Rikuzentakata Public Library (Iwate Prefecture) in cooperation with Value Books.

●Developments in Digital Archives

Photos and testimonies are beginning to be posted in “Memories of Hamadori: Disaster Archive for the Future.” This is a project that records, preserves, and releases resources on the Great East Japan Earthquake in Hamadori Region of Fukushima Prefecture. This disaster reconstruction project is organized by Iwaki Meisei University and Higashi Nippon International University in partnership with the prefecture government of Fukushima and municipal government of Iwaki City. On November 9, Iwaki Meisei University and the municipal government of Naraha Town (Futaba Gun, Fukushima Prefecture) signed a partnership agreement to support and cooperate in collection and research of disaster resources. Outcome from this cooperation are to be made public through “Memories of Hamadori” project and others.

On November 1, The Japan Society for Archival Science and The Physical Society of Japan announced a joint statement titled “Preservation of Observed Radiation Data on Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident and its Archivization for Future Generations. “

On November 13, students from Sasaki Yasufumi seminar (Faculty of Administration and Social Sciences, Fukushima University) announced a launch of “Archive Project on Video Records of Iidate Village.” The archive records videos about the current situation of Iidate Village, currently under complete evacuation due to Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident.

On December 4, the Asahi Shimbun Digital released “The Stories Told by Newspaper Inserts Over 1000 days after 3/11.” This archive tracks reconstruction efforts in disaster affected regions through transition of flyers inserted within newspapers. In addition to digitized flyers, the website also posts videos of interviews to creators of these flyers.

Through development of “NDL Great East Japan Earthquake Archive (nickname: Hinagiku),” National Diet Library (NDL) collects and preserves records of the Great East Japan Earthquake. NDL is also engaged in efforts to expand the use and utilization of these resources. The following contents were added to the archive as new partners.
November 8: Digital Archive of Red Cross Nuclear Disaster Resource Center (Japanese Red Cross Society), NWEC Women Archive for Disaster Reconstruction Support (National Women’s Education Center)
November 22: 3.11 Disaster Collection (Sendai City Library)
December 4: NHK Sound Archive of the Great East Japan Earthquake
December 11: Photos of Damages in Shinchi Town, Fukushima Prefecture (Shinchi Town Library) and others

●Events and Others

“The working group on libraries damaged during the Great East Japan Earthquake” held a briefing of the interim report on November 1. The group has been established under “Liaison Meeting of NDL and University Libraries,” which consists of NDL and Cooperation Committee of Public and Private University and College Libraries.

“The East Japan Earthquake Archive” by Watanabe Hidenori Laboratory (Tokyo Metropolitan University) won the “Special Award From the Chairman of Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP)” at the 2013 Good Design Award. “Grappa Librack Smart Bookshelf,” a seismically isolated structure library shelving also won the Good Design Award. The shelf was developed through a combination of units to reduce earthquake shocks by Kihara Corporation, Ltd., and a new bookshelf model. The shelf was created through join research and development among Kihara Corporation, Kanazawa Institute of Technology, and Kanazawa University (Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Division of Environmental Design).

A special memorial exhibition on the reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake titled “Reconstruction of Gods and Buddha: Repairing and Succeeding Damaged Cultural Properties” is being held at Tohoku History Museum from November 16 to January 13, 2014. This special exhibition sheds light to statues of Gods and Buddha, cultural properties within Miyagi Prefecture repaired after damage by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

On December 13, NDL hosted “Workshop on Organization and Preservation of Documents, Photos, and Movies on the Great East Japan Earthquake: To Utilize the Experience and Know-How of Support Activities in Disaster-Affected Regions.”


“Analysis of Twitter Hashtag Trend in the Great East Japan Earthquake: Towards the Use of ICT at the Time of the Earthquake” by Murai Hajime(Department of Value and Decision Science, Tokyo Institute of Technology) was published in the October 2013 volume of “Joho Chishiki Gakkaishi (情報知識学会誌).”

“Understanding Resource Preservation from Rescue of Disaster-Damaged Materials: Document Rescues in Kamaishi City after the Great East Japan Earthquake – From the 13th Tama-Depo Lectures of Specified Non-Profit Corporation Tama Deposit Library (February 25, 2012) (被災資料救助から考える資料保存 : 東日本大震災後の釜石市での文書レスキューを中心に : 特定非営利活動法人共同保存図書館・多摩 第13回多摩デポ講座〈2012・2・25〉より)” by Aoki Mutsumi (Associate Professor, National Institute of Japanese Literature)was published from Keyaki Publishing on November 1.

Abe Koichi (Associate Professor, Fukushima University) and Fukushima University Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization published a book titled “Revitalization of Fukushima, History, and Cultural Legacies (ふくしま再生と歴史・文化遺産)” from Yamakawa Shuppansha on November 25. The book documents rescue activities of cultural properties damaged by the disaster and the nuclear accident by curators in Futaba, Okuma, and Tomioka, three towns in Fukushima Prefecture.

On December 6, Fukushima Prefectural Library published Number 6 of the “Book Guide.” The guide presents impressions of librarians who actually read the materials from the “The Great East Japan Earthquake Fukushima Prefecture Reconstruction Library.”

●Activities to Support Disaster Affected Regions

Tokyo Metropolitan Library is in the process of repairing 51 local materials damaged by the tsunami in the Great East Japan Earthquake in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture. Repair is to take place for two years from 2013 to 2014. Images capturing the repair process were made public on November 13.

Publishing Headquarter for the Great Disaster of Japan Council for Promotion of Book Reading (public interest incorporated association) is calling for applications for “Publishing Reconstruction Fund for the Great Disaster” from November 15, 2013 to March 31, 2016.

Tokyo Document Recovery Assistance Force, a volunteer group established to rescue documents damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake, terminated its activities on November 30.

The third round of “Reading Books to Support Reconstruction Campaign” is being hosted through the end of December. In this campaign, purchase of one of the designated books at a bookstore leads to a donation to “School Library Genki Project” that delivers books to school libraries in regions affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

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

Translated by Okada Aya