Archive for January, 2010

Haiti Earthquake

Primary and secondary school in Port-au-Prince, taken by Jennifer Graves of Moonlight Productions (thx!)

5 Ways Librarians Can Help Librarians in Haiti

(more will be added)

1.) Give Books. IFLA’s Center for Arabic Speaking Libraries is requesting new and used English and French books. To donate books to Haiti, please send your donation with parcel labeled with “Haiti Libraries Relief” to the following address:
Haiti Libraries Relief
IFLA Center for Arabic Speaking Libraries
Bibliotheca Alexandrina
P.O.Box 138, Chatby
21526 Alexandria
Contact: For more information please contact Mrs. Dina Youssef, Deputy Director of IFLA-CASL, e-mail : dina.youssef@bibalex.org – tel.: +2 03 4839999 extension 1997

2.) Volunteer virtually or in Haiti. Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield (ANCBS) is looking for volunteer archivists, restorers, curators, librarians, architects and other experts to aid in the recovery and damage assessment. Find the application online: http://haiti2010.blueshield-international.org/.

3.) Lend your tech skills. Find a CrisisCamp Haiti near you and join up. They are looking for programmers, librarians, researchers, geospatial development, and translators in more than 12 cities worldwide. Ongoing tech projects include a Relief “craigslist”, Haiti Hospital Capacity Finder, Disaster Accountability Project, Haitian Voices digital archive, and NGO maps in action. Also, see their “simple tasks anyone can do” wiki.

4.) Donate to ALA’s Library Relief Fund to help rebuild libraries and archives in Haiti. Donations can be made by credit card or check through www.ala.org/haiti.

5.) Educate. The Digital Library of the Caribbean has been posting ongoing detailed information about the recovery effort. Also, check ALA’s up-to-date list of reported damages to libraries in Haiti.


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Six grants have again been awarded under the Elsevier Foundation’s  Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries program.  The grants offer  support to enhance libraries’ capacity in the fields of science, technology and medicine —  specifically for library training and education; library infrastructure, technology or information services; and digitization and preservation of information. (Reported in Library Connect News.)

Awards were given to:

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RE: Haitian Earthquake —

Global Relief Technologies (GRT) is planning to use satellite-linked PDAs to map and record the destruction on the ground — giving relief workers critical realtime information as they race against the clock.

More online at the Mobile Libraries blog.  (AKA @GMcKBlogs on Twitter.)

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National Library of Haiti after the earthquake, taken from the Digital Library of the Caribbean

Haiti Library Director Francoise Thybulle on the  Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) Facebook wall:

The building of the National library is safe,the shelves and holdings have shifted…we will prevail … our building is the only one standing in the whole area… I have not yet been able to locate all the personel,1/2 of them are safe we keep on checking we will keep you posted…

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The USBCS is hoping to have librarian/archives volunteers on the ground in Haiti in the next several months and is coordinating with International Blue Shield on the effort. (Follow them on Twitter @blueshieldcoop) The USBCS now has an online form to recruit future volunteers with skills to help Haiti preserve their national library, museums, and archives. Please see their website for more information (links below). 

A followup email about the National Library in Haiti from Corine Wegener, President U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield:

I just received information from my contact at ICOM that says that Francoise Beaulieu Thybulle, the director of the National Library, is alive.  I do not know his source, so that this info as unverified.  Also no word on the status of the National Library…

Blue Shield has established a website and Facebook group:

Special web site: http://haiti2010.blueshield-international.org/

Facbook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=info&gid=247281734340

Best, Cori

Corine Wegener
President U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield
cwegener AT uscbs DOT org

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There still has been no word on how the devastating earthquake has affected the National Library and National Archives in Haiti, however the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) has said that they are keeping abreast of the situation in event that they will need to send in volunteers to preserve Haiti’s cultural materials. The ICBS is considered the “cultural” equivalent to the Red Cross — lending support to museums, archives, libraries, and monuments and world sites to protect the world’s cultural heritage threatened by wars and natural disasters.

An excerpt of an email I received from Corine Wegener, President of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, says this:

“We are working on a Blue Shield website, Facebook and Twitter accounts dedicated to Haiti in the next day or two to keep people informed….We do hope to put together a team to travel to Haiti for an assessment as soon as it is feasible – the U.S. Blue Shield will probably send conservators as part of an ANCBS team.”

The International Committee of the Blue Shield is made up of  five Non-Governmental Organisations: the International Council on Archives , the International Council of Museums ,the International Council on Monuments and Sites, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and the Co-ordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations.

While they don’t have any information about volunteers for Haiti posted YET, find out more about the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield on their website: http://www.uscbs.org/

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I spent some time in Haiti during the summer of 2008 and am now heartbroken to know that some of  my fondest memories are of places that no longer exist: Hotel Montana, the Presidential Palace, the Norwich House. Still waiting to hear word on the kind people at the Bibliotheque Nationale d’ Haiti. (Please email if you hear from them!)

There are lots of bloggers are coming out with posts on the data behind yesterday’s tragic earthquake in Haiti. Here is a sampling that I’ve found on listservs, twitter feeds and blogosphere :


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