Hurricane Prep, Apps, Grants, And Awards | NewsBites

IMLS shares tips and resources for library staff in the path of Hurricane Florence, and more.

As Hurricane Florence moves toward the southeast coast, schools and libraries need to be prepared, and IMLS shares some tips. Meanwhile, the cleanup and recovery continues from last year's storms and fires, and grants continue to be awarded. Also noteworthy: the Library of Congress released two new apps, plus its literacy award winners.



The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) shared resources and emergency preparedness and disaster relief tips for libraries in the path of Hurricane Florence. The information is from the Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF), a partnership of 42 national service organizations and federal agencies including IMLS.


  •  Gather your staff and review your disaster plan today. No disaster plan? Put that at the top of the to-do list once the hurricane passes (and hope you didn’t need it this time).
  •  If you have a disaster plan, make sure everyone has a printed copy to take home. An electronic version may be useless if you lose power.
  •  Make sure staff, volunteer, and board contact lists are up to date. Determine how you will communicate with one another before, during, and after the storm.
  •  Make sure your insurance and disaster recovery vendor contact information is readily available.
  •  If you don’t already have up-to-date images (photographic/video) of your facility’s exterior and interior, including storage areas, now’s the time to take them. Being able to illustrate how your building and collections looked before damage will be helpful if the need arises to pursue recovery financing.
  •  Back up electronic records and store the back-ups off-site or in the cloud.
  •  Secure outdoor furniture, bike racks, book drops, etc.—anything that can become a projectile in strong winds.
  •  Move collections that are in areas vulnerable to flooding (the floor and basement) or susceptible to rain (near windows or under roofs).
  •  If you have time, cut lengths of plastic sheeting to throw over shelves or equipment should the building envelope be compromised.
  •  Know the location and shut-off procedures for water, electricity, and gas.

National Hurricane Center


  •  Track the storm via the National Hurricane Center.
  •  Monitor information via your state’s Emergency Management Agency: NCSC VA 
  •  Keep this 24/7 hotline number handy: 202.661.8068. The National Heritage Responders, a team of trained conservators and collections care professionals, are available 24/7 to provide advice.
  •  Download FEMA fact sheets “After the Flood: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures” and “Salvaging Water-Damaged Family Valuables and Heirlooms."
  •  Familiarize yourself with the disaster declaration process in case one is declared for your state.



The Library of Congress announced two new apps related to Congress and civics for use in K-12 classrooms. The web- and mobile-based applications, DBQuest and Case Maker,  take different approaches but both use the Library of Congress’ free primary sources to take students through U.S. history in a way that allows them to learn more than simply the dates of major events. They are designed to enable students to answer complex questions and engage in well-reasoned debates on the issues involved.

DBQuest uses of primary source documents and evidence-based learning. Its platform "reinforces evidence-based reasoning and document-based questioning by teaching students to identify and evaluate evidence, contextualize information and write sound supporting arguments."

Case Maker uses inquiry-based learning. The customizable K-12 platform is modeled after the "observe, reflect, question" framework, developed under the Teaching with Primary Sources program. Case Maker helps students challenge a question, collect evidence, and make their case.



The Library of Congress also announced  winners of its 2018 Literacy Awards. The $150,000 David M. Rubenstein prize went to Reading is Fundamental in Washington, D.C. The $50,000 American Prize was awarded to East Side Community School in New York City, and the $50,000 International Prize went to Instituto Pedagógico para Problemas del Lenguaje of Mexico City.

The awards honor organizations “doing exemplary, innovative and replicable work, and they spotlight the need for the global community to unite in working for universal literacy."

Fifteen organizations were also honored for “their implementation of best practices in literacy promotion:" America SCORES, New York City; Fundación A Mano Manaba, Jama, Ecuador; Learning Ally, Princeton, NJ; Mango Tree Literacy Lab, Lira, Uganda; Minnesota Literacy Council, St. Paul, MN; Philadelphia Office of Adult Education, Philadelphia; Project Read, Provo, UT; ProLiteracy Worldwide, Syracuse, NY; Reach Education, Inc., Washington, D.C.; Resources for the Blind, Quezon City, Philippines; Sesame Workshop India Trust, New Delhi, India; Transformemos Fundación Para El Desarrollo Social, Cundinamarca, Colombia; Umuhuza, Kigali, Rwanda; Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2), Washington, D.C.; World Possible, Irvine, CA.



The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries awarded the second round of its 2017 Disaster Relief Initiative grants. More than $1.3 million was distributed among 38 school libraries in California, Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to help rebuild from damage caused by last fall’s storms and wildfires. In January, the foundation awarded more than $850,000 to 17 school libraries impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

The schools will also receive discounts on new books and educational materials from Scholastic, Inc., Follett School Solutions, Mackin Educational Resources, and Bound to Stay Bound.

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