ASSOCIATES (2013, March, v. 19, no. 3)

Feature

Gerry Deyermond
Assistant Head of Circulation
Memorial Hall Library
Andover, Massachusetts USA

The great Halloween blizzard of 2011 left many homes without power for days, even weeks in Andover, Massachusetts. Many residents who had only rarely or never stepped foot into the library found power and warmth. The library never lost power during that storm even though many homes and businesses nearby had. The snow was very wet and heavy and it took down many trees which still had not shed their leaves which in turn took out power lines, crashed through homes and crushed cars.

Memorial Hall Library in Andover, Massachusetts, became a place to go for warmth and power. Most days during this time, every chair was occupied along with every empty space on the floor. Every outlet was used to charge laptops, cell phones, portable DVD players and hand held games. Several times we exhausted all of our IP addresses for those wanting to gain access to our wifi. This had never happened before! The library also provided coffee and cookies for those wanting a little “pick me up” in the afternoon. On the nights the library closed at 5 pm, the library stayed open a few hours longer just so everyone could make sure their phones were charged and could stay warm for a bit longer.

The Library also provided information of restaurants, stores and gas stations that were open and the location of area shelters.

In January 2012, the library applied for the Massachusetts Community Innovation Grant. The project submitted by Library director Beth Mazin was called “The Library as Refuge in the Storm’. We were awarded $29,967. This grant will allow the library to become a communications resource for the town and it citizens during an emergency situation. This grant will allow the library to install electronic bulletin boards that will make timely disaster information easily available to citizens, populated with information gathered by our reference librarians. We have purchased power strips for addition charging places and will have broadcast capability on all the meeting rooms.

The Library has become part of the Town of Andover’s Emergency Management Team and there on the front line to aid the citizens in a time of need!

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