03 February 2020
Thank you very much to all those who have sent messages of support through the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) to people who work in libraries in the bushfire affected regions of Australia. We have been overwhelmed by generous offers of help but at this time, with several more weeks of uncertainty ahead of us, we are advising ALIA members that the best way to assist is to donate money through the Red Cross Appeal.
“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.”
We have also provided libraries with a link to our disaster planning resources and to Blue Shield Australia.
We are watching the bushfire disaster unfold with deep concern for the people who have lost their homes and lost loved ones; for the dead and injured animals, and for the volunteer firefighters who are working so hard in the face of impossible odds, with millions of hectares of forest continuing to burn. We won’t know the full extent of the impact of this environmental disaster for some months, but thank you to our international friends for thinking of us at this difficult time.
Sue McKerracher | CEO
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