How you can help: bushfire recovery

 

ALIA's response to the ongoing bushfire crisis

ALIA has published a statement in response to the ongoing bushfire crisis.

As devastating bushfires continue to affect communities across the nation, Members have asked us what they can do to help.

The ALIA team has been monitoring the situation over several weeks and you will have seen reports in ALIA Weekly about libraries being used as evacuation centres, as refuges for those avoiding smoke, as places where people can access information and families can gain respite. We would like to acknowledge the way library staff step up to help their communities when natural disasters strike, showing compassion and dedication, often while facing challenging situations in their own homes.

In 2010, ALIA ran the Rebuilding with Books initiative to help people whose homes were destroyed in the Victorian bushfires. We know from this experience that while book donations seem like a good idea, they come with significant logistical difficulties. It is much easier and more effective to give money.  For this reason, we are advising Members who wish to provide support to donate money to the Red Cross Appeal.

The ALIA team will continue to monitor the situation and libraries which have been affected by the bushfires will be contacted by ALIA representatives when the immediate danger is past. If your library has been impacted and there is something we can do in the short term to help, please contact ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher. If you fear your library is at risk, you can find more information about disaster preparation and planning on the ALIA website.

 

ALIA has created this slide which has further information on how to assist bushfire affected areas. It can also be viewed as a PDF. 

 

 

how public libraries can support their communities

Based on a list compiled by Public Libraries Victoria, with Member additions.

1. Let our community know they can use the library as a place to gather, gain free access to the internet and get some time out - consider longer opening hours.
2. Set up a meeting room so that kids can watch movies and play together. Offer special story time sessions in the evacuation centres or in your libraries to help parents and children. 
3. Act as a collection or information point for donations (financial and/ or in-kind) - provide a ‘Book Valet’ service (personalised reading recommendations) for those who donate to recovery efforts.
4. Support programs and seminars that give people a reason to visit the library and learn skills that will support their recovery.
5. Encourage the community to work together and support charitable activities (eg sewing groups). Provide patterns / classes / and workshops for the recovery needs of injured wildlife.
6. Allow staff to take leave so they can volunteer in their community and or support libraries in disaster affected communities. Enable staff to join a community organisation such as Red Cross, Anglicare, Salvation Army, Anglican. They will receive training and be able to be called up to help at evacuation and other centres.
7. Support affected community members who are trying to navigate government websites.
8. Automatically renew all items on loan (with the exception of holds).
9. Forgive the fines of people who have been directly impacted by the disaster.
10. Curate a list of books and other resources about bushfires for children, youth and adults to facilitate discussion and help with recovery (bibliotherapy). Create blog posts of how to talk with children about bushfires, resilience, and trauma.
11. Support and train staff to enable them to support their community.

 

Assisting affected wildlife

Virginia Yu from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europee (OSCE) and self proclaimed wombat super fan, has compiled a list of smaller Australian disaster relief and wildlife related organisations

The Conversation has published the article Want to help save wildlife after the fires? You can do it in your own backyard. 

Recovery after the bushfires 

The ALIA team will continue to monitor the situation and libraries which have been affected by the bushfires will be contacted by ALIA representatives when the immediate danger is past. If your library has been impacted and there is something we can do in the short term to help, please contact ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher. If you fear your library is at risk, you can find more information about disaster preparation and planning on the ALIA website. 

 

resources

Beyond Blue has developed a list of resources and information around Bushfires and Mental Health

The Queensland Government has released a series of estorybooks to help with children and families in the midst of natural disaster recovery as well as explaining these issues to kids who are affected by the news that they hear.

The NSW Rural Fire Service Library has a collection of Australian children's literature, including juvenile fiction and picture books about bushfires for younger readers.

The National Bushfire Recovery Agency has collated information for how people can help in the wake of the bushfires.

RiotACT has published the article Bushfire affected ratepayers in the south east shires urged to access finanical relief.

The Parliamentary Library and Information Service (VIC) has published the resource 2019-20 bushfires: quick guide.

 

HArperCollins Publishers australia

HarperCollins Publishers Australia is committed to helping bushfire affected communities across Australia. As part of this commitment, we would like to hear from the staff at any school whose library has been rendered unusable due to bushfire. Please email us at education@harpercollins.com.au and we will be in contact to begin a discussion on how we can best help you with donations of the books you need to restock your library. This offer will remain open until the end of 2020.

 

ALIA'S ROLE IN DISASTER RECOVERY

ALIA is a founder member of Blue Shield Australia.

  • As a member of Blue Shield Australia, ALIA supports the annual MayDay campaign.
  • We provide disaster planning resources for libraries.
  • The ALIA team monitors the impact of disasters on the ground and publishes information on our website and in our news alerts about libraries providing refuge and supporting relief and recovery.
  • We liaise with other stakeholders, including GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, museums, historical societies) and book industry colleagues.
  • We help channel offers of volunteer help, donations and resources.
  • We talk to government about the Sustainable Development Goals and the role of culture and heritage in enabling communities to rebuild after disasters.

 

This page is accurate as of 25 February 2020 and will be updated as required.