Project Description

Libraries as Partners for Emergency Preparedness and Response in Times of Crisis is a two-year planning project to conduct a preliminary investigation into partnerships between libraries and community emergency response partners during emergencies by focusing on the three key areas:

1) Emergencies;

2) Scope and Nature of Partnership; and

3) Role of Libraries in Partnership.

This project joins as co-partners the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Illinois Fire Service Institute Library, Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois, and School of Information Sciences at UIUC, whose investigations will be closely informed by a robust network of confirmed state and national advisors .

Libraries as Partners will begin to fill the research gap on libraries as partners during public crises, as literature review has revealed that little systematic work has been conducted on library-community partnerships during crises. Intended project results will include the discovery and promotion of the essential role libraries play in community safety and well-being, and serve as the conversation starter for future discussions, collaborations, and research on library-community partnerships. Multi-type libraries will benefit from increased knowledge of their role as partners during emergencies during crises, and the safety of communities they serve will increase. The results of this planning grant and the future research grants that will be made possible from these initial investigations will deepen the bond and strength of community networks, and ultimately increase libraries’ capacity for constituency support during emergency preparation, response, and recovery.

To fill this gap and achieve measurable results, the project will utilize a web-based Illinois case study survey (Year One) to uncover initial findings related to library-community partnerships, and two Community Engagement Roundtable (Year Two) discussions between 20-25 panelists and at least 100 participants to discuss survey results, recommendations for partnerships, and to raise the conversation to the national level.

Project Team

Dr. Lian Ruan, Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) Head Librarian, will serve as Project Director. Her project duties will include overseeing all aspects of project operations, including monitoring project progress, managing the project budget, assessment, performance measurement and evaluation, conducting research, data collection and data analysis with the project team.

Dr. Jessie Chin, Assistant Professor, iSchool (School of Information Sciences), UIUC will serve as Research Director. Her project duties will include managing and conducting research, data collection, and data analysis with the project team gathered from the survey and Community Engagement Workshops.

Dr. Sharon L. Comstock, Teaching Assistant Professor, iSchool (School of Information Sciences), UIUC will serve as Coordinator for the Advisory Committee and National Advisory Board. Her project duties will include coordinating and designing evaluation for the project given its role with stakeholders/participants. She will also be contributing to research design, data collection, and analysis with the project team.

Anne Craig, Senior Director of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), will serve as Member Engagement Coordinator. Her project duties will include coordinating communication and involvement with CARLI member libraries and supporting project progress.

Dr. Karen Brown, Professor Emeritus, School of Information Studies, Dominican University of River Forest, IL, will serve as facilitator at the two 2-day virtual Community Engagement Roundtables.

Kelda Habing, IFSI Research and Grants Librarian, will serve as Project Assistant. Her project duties will include assisting the co-project directors with management of the project’s daily operations, coordination and communication, and preparation of deliverables.

State Advisory Committee

Co-Chairs: Julie Pryde, Leslie Bednar

OrganizationRepresentative and Title
Association of Illinois School Library Educators (AISLE)Janine Asmus, President
Carle Foundation HospitalSteve Peters, EMS System Coordinator, Carle Regional EMS, Illinois State EMS Advisory Council
Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD)Julie Pryde, Administrator
Chicago Public Library SystemChris Brown, Commissioner
Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA)Bob Evans, Acting Division Chief, Bureau of Preparedness and Grants Administration
Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS)Leslie Bednar, Executive Director
Illinois Library Association (ILA)Cyndi Robinson, Executive Director
Heather Jagman, Past President
Illinois State LibraryGreg McCormick, Director
Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM)Ronny J. Wickenhauser, Chief Administrative Officer and CFO
Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS)Monica Harris, Executive Director
Special Library Association (SLA), Illinois CommunityKristin Stutzman, Immediate Past President
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Division of Public SafetyBrian Brauer, Executive Director of Emergency Management, EMS Coordinator
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Illinois Fire Service InstituteJim Keiken, Director

National Advisory Board

Co-Chairs: Alexandra Rivera, Sharon Strover

OrganizationRepresentative and Title
American Library Association (ALA)Michael Dowling, Director, International and Chapter Relations Offices
Association of Research Libraries (ARL)Mary Lee Kennedy, Executive Director
Florida Virtual Campus Library Services (FLVC)Elijah Scott, Executive Director
Joint Council of Librarians of Color (JCLC)Alexandra Rivera, Vice President (REFORMA), Board of Directors
National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH)Alla Keselman, Acting Chief, Office of Engagement and Training
Public Library Association (PLA)Mary Davis Fournier, Executive Director
Special Library Association (SLA)Monica Evans-Lombe, Managing Director/VP of Communities and Programming
University of Texas at Austin, School of Journalism and Media, Moody College of CommunicationSharon Strover, Director, Philip G. Warner Regents Professor of Communication
Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC)Kim Armstrong, Executive Director