Libraries have a duty to preserve our cultural heritage and make it accessible to the public, in order to inform and inspire future generations. Though many libraries already have disaster plans there is still more that can be done.

Yet preserving collections for the long-term is not the only contribution libraries can make. They have a pro-active role in managing the risk of, and responding to, disasters as part of broader strategies, as well as acting as a form of emergency service for crisis-hit communities.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) published by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) outlines principles and priorities for action to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risks. The Framework aims to ‘achieve the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries’.

It replaces the Hyogo Framework for Action (2002-2015), and includes a stronger focus on protecting cultural heritage and promoting ‘cultural resilience’ of people, communities and countries in line with the work around the 1954 Convention for Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

IFLA underlines the importance of disaster risk reduction in its own Strategy Plan, as well as a number of the Preservation and Conservation Centres (PAC) are experts on disaster managements and risk reduction.

Libraries are safeguard our cultural heritage, they deliver secondary emergency service and are nodes in health knowledge networks.

Read here the IFLA brief on risk reduction to understand and get inspired to how your library can influence and contribute to disaster risk reduction.