Michele Stricker | Movers & Shakers 2019 – Community Builders

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated much of coastal New Jersey. Libraries became a refuge for residents, who showed up in droves to check in with relatives, power up their devices, file insurance claims, fill out Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) forms, or simply get warm. Libraries were a mix of safe haven, recovery center, technology and information hub, and HQ for local volunteer groups.

Michele Stricker

CURRENT POSITION

Deputy State Librarian for Lifelong Learning, New Jersey State Library, Trenton

DEGREE

MLIS, Rutgers University, NJ, 2006

HONORS

Susan G. Swartzburg Preservation Award, New Jersey Library Association, 2010

FOLLOW

@michelestricker; njstatelib.org/services_for_libraries/resources/disaster_planning; njstatelib.org/services_for_libraries/resources/preservation

Photo by Michael Stricker

MS_logo_300x81

First Responder

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated much of coastal New Jersey. Libraries became a refuge for residents, who showed up in droves to check in with relatives, power up their devices, file insurance claims, fill out Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) forms, or simply get warm. Libraries were a mix of safe haven, recovery center, technology and information hub, and HQ for local volunteer groups.

Inspired by the key function libraries had in disaster recovery, Michele Stricker, the deputy state librarian for lifelong learning at the New Jersey State Library (NJSL), organized and ran the Ports in a Storm conference in Eatontown, NJ, in 2013. In attendance were staff from libraries, FEMA, state emergency management, volunteers active after disasters (VOAD), health-care associates, and elected officials.

“It was the first time anywhere that elected officials and emergency management were brought together to formally recognize that public libraries are truly vital community recovery centers after a disaster—and [to] plan to work together for the next crisis,” Stricker says.

The experience inspired Stricker to develop new tools and resources “designed to help librarians be better equipped to assist emergency responders in a chaotic situation and to fulfill their role as what I call ‘information first responders,’ ” she says.

She created a toolkit: The Librarian’s Disaster Planning and Community Resiliency Guidebook and Workbook, which covers everything from predisaster preparations (build a cache of supplies, create a network of people who can salvage materials, and get first aid training) to post-disaster responses (use social media to post locations of food and hot water, coordinate with emergency responders, and suspend library fines and fees).

Six years later, these resources have blossomed into a multicurriculum training program that she’s presented via webinars and at state and national library conferences, as well as to the Domestic Security Task Force Office of Homeland Security.

Stricker’s efforts have led to the state library signing a memorandum of understanding with the New Jersey governor’s office of VOAD and being a formal part of New Jersey’s Office of Emergency Management’s (OEM) statewide disaster plan. Stricker attends the monthly OEM partners and stakeholders meetings.

Next on the agenda is forming multistate partnerships to train librarians to “take steps to be the capacity leader in their own communities, proactively getting out in front of a disaster,” she says. “I’m thinking of ‘train the trainer’ workshops that partner librarians with local volunteer groups to run FEMA disaster preparedness exercises.”

Adds colleague Kathleen Moeller-Peiffer, deputy state librarian for library support services at NJSL, “Michele can build partnerships among diverse organizations that result in multilayered, intertwined projects rich in content, scalable, and eminently useful.”

 

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JP Porcaro

Congrats Michele!

Posted : Mar 08, 2019 06:07


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