Japan Library Relief


Minami-Sanriku Town Library - before tsunami.  Minami-Sanriku Town Library - after tsunami

The massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011 triggered a tsunami that struck the east coast, devastating much of the Tohoku area in Japan. Fifteen thousand people are confirmed dead with more than nine thousand still missing.

Libraries in the region were also devastated in the region. The Minami-Sanriku Town Library disappeared without a trace. The chief librarian was killed. Rikuzen-Takata City suffered catastrophic damage from the tsunami. Most of the city area is covered with piles of rubble. All library staff members were killed or are still missing. The framework of library building remains, but nothing is left inside. 70 out of 355 public libraries in five prefectures are closed. Others are now serving as shelters for those who have lost their homes.

The American Library Association has set up this site to help take in donations from the United States for Japan Library Association, who is leading the effort to help provide services and support.  Please make tax deductible donations to help rebuild libraries in Japan.

Thanks to all who have contributed so far.  Our Japanese colleagues are so very grateful for donations from individual members, friends groups, and library staff such as the Prairie View A & M University which donated $265 from a recent book sale.


Donate to Japan's Library Relief Fund

  • Credit card: Please visit the ALA Development Office page (1. click on the GIVEALA logo, 2. Enter your ALA Login number and password or create a new record, 3. Go to "Fund Categories", 4. Click on "ALA Major Initiatives", 5. Scroll down to Japan Library Relief Fund, 6. Enter amount you wish to donate, 6. If finished, click the 'Checkout' box, 7. Review your transaction, 8. Click on "Add to basket", 9. Click on "Proceed with Checkout", 10. Enter your credit card information, 11. Click on 'Complete Order')

  • Mail: Please print Donation Form (PDF file). Checks should be made out to "American Library Association" with a notation for Japan and sent to: c/o International Relations Office, American Library Association, 50 E. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2795


ALA encourages libraries to undertake group fundraising efforts.


Adopt A Library

If your library is interested in adopting a library in Japan please contact Michael Dowling at mdowling@ala.org (800) 545-2433, ext. 3200

Japan LibraryBookmobile-Japan

Rikuzen-Takata City Library.  The Rikuzen-Takata City Library: a bookmobile was destroyed by the tsunami.


Japan Library Association Efforts

The Japan Library Association initiated a program called "Help-Toshokan" in order to support the libraries affected by the disaster. "Help-Toshokan" volunteers visited several kindergartens, shelters at middle schools, and libraries in Kesennuma city on April 22 and 23. They delivered approximately 3,000 picture books to children, performed book reading, storytelling, and "panel theater," in which a story is told through pictures and letters placed on a cloth-covered panel. The storytelling, fingerplay, and panel theater were done in the space at the gymnasium where survivors were staying.

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Disaster Preparedness Resources

  • Heritage Preservation: Webpage of the Heritage Emergency Task Force with resources for disaster recovery.
  • Library of Congress: The Library of Congress has a webpage with resources for librarians on preservation and emergency preparedness and response.

 For questions or comments, please contact the International Relations Office at intl@ala.org.


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