Helping United States Libraries After Disasters

Closeup of Compass Logo of ALA Chapter Relations Office    Helping United States Libraries After Disasters

Let Us Know How We Can Help

If you think the American Library Association can help libraries affected by natural disasters (e.g., earthquake, tornado, fire, flood, hurricane) in any way toward recovery and relief, or if you have suggestions for emergency management resources and disaster preparedness, please contact the Chapter Relations Office: Michael Dowling at 312-280-3200 or Don Wood at 312-280-2429. (Updated August 3, 2018)


| American Library Association Resources | NEH Chairman’s Emergency Grants (posted October 6, 2017) | Florida Libraries Disaster Relief Fund | Texas Library Recovery Connection | Responding to Disasters (LC, Smithsonian, Other) | Bibliography | How to Help International Libraries | For Legislative and Other Supportive Actions | Past Disaster Relief |

American Library Association Resources

ALA Urges Library Supporters to Help Libraries Rebuild after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
Texas Library Association and the Florida Library Association are taking in donations and leading the response efforts in their respective states. ALA encourages you to assist them. Information on how to donate is found here, as well as how to donate to help the many libraries in the Caribbean that were destroyed and heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma.

ALA LibGuide on Library Disaster Preparedness and Response from the ALA Library.
Disasters strike every area of the country, and disasters do not spare libraries. Usually there is little or no warning, and the best defense is a plan for effective response. This LibGuide offers resources for libraries of all sizes and types. It contains information on organizations that can provide disaster assistance; disaster recovery resources available online; and a bibliography of print resources.

Beyond Words
Dollar General, in collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA), the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the National Education Association (NEA), is sponsoring a school library disaster relief fund for public school libraries in the states served by Dollar General. The fund will provide grants to public schools whose school library program has been affected by a disaster. Grants are to replace or supplement books, media and/or library equipment in the school library setting.

Cleaning Up After Water Damage
Information and several useful links on how to clean up after water damage.

Disaster Preparedness and Recovery
Planning for disaster any type or size of a disaster helps mitigate damage of your collections. The information presented here is meant as a general guide to planning, recovery and seeking federal funding to aid in disaster response and recovery. The steps outlined here are based on current Federal policies, some of which are under review. The ALA has tried to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, however, it assumes no liability for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions in this publication. Created by the /ALA Washington Office.

Disaster Recovery and Preparedness
Information and resources created by the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services.

Natural Disasters
Information and resources created by the Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services.

NEH Chairman’s Emergency Grants (posted October 6, 2017)

Applications for emergency grants are available here.

For more information, see

Cultural institutions in FEMA-designated disaster areas of Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and other impacted states and U.S. territories can apply immediately for NEH Chairman’s Emergency Grants of up to $30,000 to preserve documents, books, photographs, art works, historical objects, sculptures, and structures damaged by the hurricane and subsequent flooding. NEH emergency grants for hurricane relief have been extended to cultural institutions affected by Hurricane Maria.

Florida Libraries Disaster Relief Fund

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, the Florida Library Association is working with the State Library of Florida to coordinate a response to damage caused to libraries across the state.  We have already begun receiving requests to help.  Anyone wishing to assist Florida libraries with their recovery efforts is urged to donate to the Florida Libraries Disaster Relief Fund.  Donations can be open to assisting any library affected by the storm, or can be directed to assist a specific library in need.  We will update our website frequently as we learn details about specific libraries and their needs.

“FLA stands ready to assist libraries affected by Hurricane Irma,” said FLA President Robin Shader.  “Our hearts go out to the thousands of people impacted by this storm and we will do everything we can to help affected libraries get up and running again as soon as possible.”

Florida Libraries Rebuild Network - an online sharing tool to connect those libraries impacted by Hurricane Irma and those wanting to help

Helpful Resources for Disaster Recovery

Texas Library Recovery Connection

Connecting Those in Need with Offers of Assistance

As the long slow process of recovery begins, we are beginning to hear about libraries facing tremendous damage and total devastation. Librarians are returning  to determine their most immediate and long term needs for assistance.

The Texas Library Association developed the Texas Library Recovery Connection, an online information sharing system to help connet those offering assistance to libraries in need. The Google spreadsheet,similar to those developed by other grassroots assistance groups, is a tool where librarians and library supporters can enter pertinent information.

There are two worksheets in the Google spreadsheet - one for libraries needing assistance, and one for companies/organizations and others offering assistance. Our hope is that this simple information sharing system will help connect those offering assistance to libraries in need.

The outpouring of support from the library community in the wake of Hurricane Harvey is truly inspiring. Hundreds of individuals and companies have donated thousands of dollars to the TLA Disaster Relief Fund, and offers of books, furniture, volunteer assistance, computers, preservation services and more are pouring in to TLA from library supporter around the country. Thank you for your support!

Texas Library Recovery Connection

If you have any questions, please email Wendy Woodland, TLA director of communications, or call 512.328.1518.

Texas Library Association and Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TLA & TSLAC) Respond to Hurricane Harvey

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the Texas Library Association and Texas State Library and Archives Commission are working together to coordinate a response to damage caused to libraries and archives across the Houston and gulf coast region. We share a deep concern for the condition of facilities and collections, and for the wellbeing of staffs of libraries and archives in the area. We are also very appreciative of the many offers of help that are coming in from across the state and nation.

See the Texas Library Association website for a report regarding the current status of our coordinated efforts.

See also press release ALA, library community work to support Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts (August 28) , excerpt below:

In the wake of historic flooding fueled by Hurricane Harvey, the American Library Association (ALA) and the library community continue their commitment to disaster relief efforts within the Gulf Coast Region.   

“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is being affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and along the Gulf Coast,” said ALA President James (Jim) Neal. “The ALA has reached out to the Texas Library Association (TLA) and Texas State Library to offer support as they work with local libraries dealing with storm-related damage."

ALA Members are welcome to assist their colleagues in Texas with recovery efforts by participating in local fundraising efforts. They are urged to:

The ALA offers a list of resources for dealing with natural disasters at Libraries Respond .

Responding to Disasters

American Library Association Resources

Library of Congress Resources

Library of Congress Emergency Management, includes:

Smithsonian Resources

Other Resources

The Preservation Services department of the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) provides free preservation advice to institutions and individuals worldwide. The Center provides Preservation Leaflets with information on a wide variety of preservation topics and links to additional resources, such as Preservation Assessment and Planning, Protection from Loss: Water and Fire Damage, Biological Agents, Theft, and Vandalism, Emergency Management Bibliography, Cleaning Books and Shelves, Care of Photographs, Repairing Paper Artifacts, Choosing and Working with a Conservator, and more.

DISASTR-OUTREACH-LIB Listserv is a discussion forum for librarians, information specialists, and other professionals interested in disaster health information outreach to their communities. As a participant in this listserv, you can stay informed about current disaster-related resources, connect to colleagues in the field, engage in information exchange and learn about new ideas, trends, training opportunities, and conferences in the area of disaster health information.

For a list of the news sources scanned for weekly news updates sent on this listserv, visit Disaster Information News Sources.


Library as Safe Haven: Disaster Planning, Response, and Recovery; A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians by Deborah D. Halsted, Shari C. Clifton, and Daniel T. Wilson. Item Number: 978-1-55570-913-6

How to Help International Libraries

For Legislative and Other Supportive Actions

For legislative and other supportive actions, see Save Libraries in Your State.

Past Disaster Relief

North Suburban Lake County, Illinois, Flood Destroyed Libraries: Donations Being Accepted

From Story reported by on

"The north suburban town of Round Lake Park was one of the hardest hit, with neighboring Round Lake Beach receiving the highest rainfall total recorded in Illinois for the storm, at 7.38 inches ... W. J. Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park suffered a particularly devastating loss, seen above, as their entire school library was submerged by floodwaters. Now, the community is asking for help to rebuild that library and give the children in the community something to read when they come back from summer break."

Clothing, books, and money are being accepted. See DONATE: Round Lake Elementary School Asks For Help Rebuilding Flooded Library (Updated)

2016 Gatlinburg Wildfire Relief: How You Can Help

Gatlinburg wildfire relief: How you can help

Sevier County’s local newspaper, The Mountain Press has opened its site to provide information about how to donate locally to help fire victims

Of particular interest are: 

The Tennessee 4-H Foundation has stepped up to facilitate collection of funds to provide gift cards for the fire victims who have lost homes. Sevier Extension 4-H reports that the original 30 will increase to closer to 100 or more.    

The inimitable Dolly Parton announced a new effort by The Dollywood Company and The Dollywood Foundation to establish a fund to assist the victims of the Great Smoky Mountain wildfires in Tennessee. The My People Fund will provide $1,000 each month to Sevier County families who lost their homes for up to six months.

West Virginia Flood June 2016

Bookmark for further updates for providing assistance.

from American Libraries

The Clendenin branch of the Kanawha County (W.Va.) Public Library was severely damaged after Elk River flood waters rose to record levels on June 23–24. Library Director Alan Engelbert said his staff thinks the Clendenin branch is a total loss. Windows burst from the force of water that rose above the ceiling, and books and DVDs are now lodged up there. “Most of the ceiling is gone,” Engelbert said. “The floor is a really nasty mixture of books and ceiling tile and 3, 4, 5 inches of mud, so it’s hard to imagine that there’s anything useful that’s left in there.” The public library in Rainelle also suffered damage.

Follow #WVFlood and #wvflooding

To Donate Funds for West Virginia Flood Relief/Assistance

People who need cleanup assistance, are available to volunteer or want to donate should visit or connect with an agency in their local community. Individuals and businesses in counties that have been declared federal disaster areas should visit or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). From the Office of the Governor of West Virgina (For photos, visit
From American Libraries (July 22, 2016):

There are ways you can help Rainelle (W.Va.) Public Library and The Clendenin branch of the Kanawha County (W.Va.) Public Library (KCPL) system: