Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Urban Library Journal






In this brief article, I address the usefulness of including community-driven interviews into preparations for disasters. Drawing on Shera’s (1970) highly influential construction of library work as tied to communication, I analyze responses of three library organizations–the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library and the New Jersey Library Association–immediately following Hurricane Sandy. I then turn to a specific role of communication that libraries can offer surrounding communities, providing resources for local community members to conduct interviews among those who have experienced a disaster. By incorporating this kind of responsibility to communicate experiences of a crisis to a wider audience, libraries fulfill an important part of Shera’s charge to reflect the local values and norms of surrounding communities.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This article has been accepted for inclusion in Urban Library Journal. Works published in Urban Library Journal is published under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). Thus, authors retain copyright ownership of the work, but they give explicit permission for others to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and/or copy the work, as long as the original source and author(s) are properly cited (i.e. a complete bibliographic citation and link to the ULJ website:


crisis preparation, public libraries, ethnography

Included in

Communication Commons



Date Posted: 09 July 2018

This document has been peer reviewed.