Our Thoughts Go Out To The People Of Christchurch

Update as of 09:00 07 March 2011

Kia ora koutou katoa

Firstly, and most importantly, all our library staff have been accounted for, which of course is a huge relief to us all. Some people have sustained minor injuries but as far as I know nothing serious. Many staff have been without power and water in their homes and for some this situation is continuing. Unfortunately also a significant number of people have damaged homes, some to the point that they will need to be demolished. I am sure you will be able to imagine the effect this will be having on top of the effect of the earthquake itself on people. This is definitely an upsetting, anxious, and very uncertain time for many staff and their families 

The many message of support from our colleagues and friends both here an internationally have been much appreciated.

The 12 days since the earthquake have seen most of the library management team contributing to earthquake recovery by doing shifts at the Earthquake Operations Centre in the Christchurch Art Gallery.  The work is intense and covers 24 hours a day involving 3 shifts. The sort of roles include IT Manager, Welfare Manager, Welfare Team Leader and have also done overnight shifts at Welfare Centres For those of us with basic services in our largely undamaged homes it feels great to be doing something useful. I am aware though that I am working alongside people who have lost their homes or are still coping without power or water.. For example, I have been working as a duty welfare manager since early morning on 23 February and have worked on a 4 days on, 2 off roster since then. Three of my team have been working regular night shifts in addition to liaising closely with staff and organising for libraries to open or re-establishing some basic services. Many library staff are also working in recovery areas such as IM&CT, Logistics, Communications, Operation Suburbs, along with our council colleagues.
On the library front we have been working to co-ordinate information about our buildings and the infrastructure supporting them in order to get them open as soon as possible. I am delighted to tell you that Akaroa Library opened last Tuesday, Bishopdale Library on Friday and South Library is scheduled to open tomorrow.

A number of our libraries are being used to house essential Council services during the recovery. Papanui has the Call Centre operating from it, Fendalton has Housing, Environmental Health, IRMO, Property Asset and Payroll. Upper Riccarton is being used by EQ recovery teams. There is a library staff member at each of these sites to talk to customers and take any returns.  Last Thursday our couriers visited as many libraries as they could to shut down after-hours returns slots and put up notices advising customers where they can find information about which libraries may be open, asking them to keep their returns in the meantime and that all items are now due May 1. The scale of the recovery means that some libraries may be slower to open, but this is obviously our main focus at present. Thankfully our website and library system are fully operational and it was fantastic in the early days after the quake before Council servers were operational to be able to post messages to customers using the  library blog and twitter.

Ka kite ano
Carolyn Robertson, President

Update as of 09:30 02 March 2011

Morning everyone, those of us in the lower North Island had a nasty taste of what our colleagues in Christchurch have been experiencing for many months now.  4.5 – just a tiddler you will be saying, scary nevertheless. 

Sue Sutherland, Acting National Librarian has provided the following update:

“The National Library staff in Christchurch are all safe, although some staff have severely damaged homes and may not be able to move back in to them.
The Christchurch offices in Manchester Street are badly damaged and have been red stickered.  The ability to salvage assets and belongings is unknown at this stage.  The building remains within the cordon.

Curriculum Services are being provided out of the Palmerston North office.  More information can be found here http://schools.natlib.govt.nz/ .  The Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa has remained operational throughout and the service desk is currently being supported via staff from their homes.

Conservation staff are working out what support they may be able to provide once we know if there are heritage collections which have been damaged in the quake.

We have received numerous emails of support from around the world.  It is heartening to know the world of libraries is with us in this devastating time.
We hold the people of Christchurch and our colleagues, friends and families close to our hearts.’’

Keep safe.

Alli Smith
Executive Director

Update as of 10:00 01 March 2011

Hi everyone

Today at 12.51pm the Country will stop for 2 minutes to reflect on Christchurch;  what it means for each one of us individually and what is means for us as a nation.  A week on and we are in the early stages of rescue and recovery, much is still very unclear. 

I had a telephone conversation last night with Carolyn, although our line kept cutting out.  Carolyn had a meeting with her management team at home yesterday, they are all safe, although a couple have sadly lost their homes.  They are obviously very keen to get some libraries open to the public, however, a  number of Christchurch City Libraries have been redeployed for Civil Defence purposes and at this stage how long that will be is not known.  The Central Library has sustained some damage, Carolyn has still not been allowed into the area, although her IT person was able to get some laptops out yesterday, so Carolyn is reunited with her laptop.  Carolyn is rostered on for Civil Defence work for the next four days at the art gallery (this is the glass fronted building you see as the backdrop to many of the interviews on tv).  I think I spotted her this morning.  She would  very much like to get a communication out to LIANZA and the library community herself but at this stage her focus is on earthquake business.

We have had a number of messages, some which have come through the National Library from the international library community, including Italy, America, Trinidad and Tobago, China and Pakistan.  New Zealanders and particularly Cantabrians will take some comfort that the world is looking on and of course in many cases directly helping in the rescue and recovery efforts.

Take care everyone
Alli Smith
Executive Director


Update as of 08:45 24 Feb 2011

I spoke with Carolyn very briefly late yesterday afternoon.  She is full time with Civil Defence and expects to be so for some time.  She reported that all library staff  in the Christchurch area are safe, although many are contending with personal property damage.  There is no information about many of the libraries which are still closed.  Many of you will have seen the message on NZLibs from Christchurch this morning to this effect.

We have had communication from Barbara Garriock our Immediate Past President who is currently working on a short term contract at Canterbury University.  She reports that the Ilam area where the University is situated does not appear to have experienced major destruction as in other parts of the city.  It was of course very scary but thankfully everyone was able to get out of the building after the first quake.  The University is closed until further notice

She reports that they had just opened a refurbished Engineering Library and Central Library and newly laid out Law/Commerce Library and it has been heartbreaking for staff who have worked so hard to get everything ready for the beginning of the semester.   A lot of the students have gone home for now.

Jane Hill, President Elect has been seconded to Wellington's Emergency Management HQ (Civil defence office)  as she has Civil Defence leadership training. 

Many of you will know Lyn Macleod, Regional Councillor for Aoraki in 2006/07, and more recently Chair of Aoraki.  I had contact with her yesterday, and although they have suffered damage this time round they are safe.

In the office here we continue to keep our ear to the ground for news, take care everyone.

Alli Smith
Executive Director

UPDATE as of 12:00pm 23 Feb 2011

Today, news of our Canterbury colleagues remains very sketchy.
We have heard that staff in the National Library, Central City Library, Law Library and  University of Canterbury,  have got out safely.  Gleaning information from other library websites these are obviously all closed.  From the little information we have,  we understand many people are dealing with damages to their own homes.  Carolyn Roberston is working with Civil Defence today.

We are all stunned and of course anxious to know what is happening  for our Canterbury colleagues and friends.  At this stage I think we need to accept that with limited phone and power facilities, those on the ground in Christchurch are focusing on their immediate needs and those of their family and neighbours.  The practicality of this is that people will be conserving battery power on their phones and computer for emergency use and I don’t think we can expect to get any detailed reports for some time.

I had a call from Sue Hutley, Executive Director for ALIA this morning and our Australian colleagues’ thoughts are also with Cantabrians.
We will keep you posted as when we have any additional information.  If anyone has information they can channel through LIANZA please direct to mike@lianza.org.nz

A message from IFLA
We received the terrible news of the earthquake that hit Christchurch, early yesterday afternoon.
The sad news of the people who have  lost their lives and the images of the enormous damage done to houses, buildings and the city have struck us.
On behalf of the IFLA Governing Board and the international IFLA Community we express our sympathy.
We are thinking of you and if need be, the IFLA community stands willing to offer help.  
Our thoughts are with you and your families and colleagues.
We wish you much strength in sustaining this situation.

Jennefer Nicholson, IFLA Secretary General,
and all of us here at IFLA Headquarters

22 Feb 2011

I am sure like us here in the LIANZA office you are all stunned by the latest quake to hit Christchurch. We are of course concerned about all our friends and colleagues in Christchurch.    I have had a very brief text from Carolyn Robertson and assume that Christchurch City Library has been evacuated hopefully with no casualties.  We expect it will be some time before we understand the extent of damage, we can only hope and send our thoughts at this stage.

Alli Smith, Executive Director



Hi Carolyn,

Sounds like you guys a doing a great job. I'm glad to hear all the library staff are safe. I was working as a librarian in Samoa at the time of the tsunami there in 2009 and know how useful the organisational skills we have as librarians can be in times of crises.

All the best with the recovery and rebuilding,

Susanne Newton
Melbourne, Australia


Hi Carolyn

I am still stunned at the devastation of this tragedy.

Based in Melbourne, I received a text from my mum saying "big shakes, am outside hospital". I won't tell you what I uttered outloud to the shock of my colleagues as I jumped online to see what was happening! I watched live footage of Chch for about 5 minutes before I got the "black screen of death" from the website. I let out a scream knowing that the building had just collapsed and taken with it all TV transmission (I assume transmissions are based at the CTV building? Am not sure of this).

I spent the next 2-3 hours frantically trying to contact my mum, finally making contact to find her totally traumatised, only able to tell me that she was ok and that she couldn't contact her sisters.

The past two weeks have been some of the most harrowing days of my life as I have watched the continuing devastation by the numerous aftershocks via quake maps and NZ online TV news. I have seen YouTube footage shot by friends in Chch, looked at photos of familiar streets and places, and listened helplessly as my family and friends in Chch have been traumatised and struggled to deal with the situation they are in.

I still find it hard to believe the extent of devastation and want everyone in Chch to know that I am thinking about you in this most trying time. I know that no matter what Mother Nature throws at you, you will "get through" and make this city great once more!

This Thursday (10th March), RMIT university is holding a special service at lunchtime to remember those who have lost their lives and show our support for those who are left to rebuild the city.

I will be donning the red and black!

Vanessa McDonald (personal member of LIANZA)
RMIT University Library


How you can help: Donate. Share. Store. Rebuild and grow.

Hi everyone. Your kind thoughts are very much appreciated, but here are some ideas for how you can help: Donate. Share. Store. Build.

http://www.redcross.org.nz/home or call 0800 733 27

Share information
http://canterburyearthquake.org.nz/ http://cclblog.wordpress.com/ http://cclbibliofile.wordpress.com/
and of course from http://christchurchcitylibraries.com
and everything that we still have to offer online whilst our libraries are closed, especially all the great resources at http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/databases

We will want to learn from this and share. Help us by saving snippets, documents, photos, inventories of great sites, or links to great videos in youtube. We won't be ready for a long while, but we will be ready one day to piece together a story of the Christchurch Earthquake and the terrible aftershock of the 22 February.

Rebuild and grow?
You know we will.

Kia kaha

Thank you everyone.

Shirley Hall
Digital Library Web Team Leader
Christchurch City Libraries


Kia ora, whanau and colleagues in Aoteraoa/New Zealand,

I join the members of the American Library Association in expressing our great concern about this past week's
earthquake in Christchurch, Aotearoa/New Zealand. We stand by you in this difficult time and hold you in
our thoughts and hearts.

Loriene Roy
Personal Member, LIANZA
Affiliate Member, Te Ropu Whakahau
2007-2008 President, ALA


Dear Colleagues

Our hearts go in prayers with you for your earliest settlement at this period of natural disaster in which Christchurch City is worst hit. Whilst one can imagine the extent of property loss, we still thank God for it is well with the body, soul and spirit of everyone of you!

Let us take solace in the consolation that when there's life, there's a great hope for the re-building of the areas (including libraries) affected by the Earthquake in the near future.

Please accept our solidarity!

Ayo Onatola [http://wikieducator.org/User:Ayoonatola]
Secretary, Librarians Without Borders


Some of our library staff are joining in with colleagues at Council and ECan to provide IT support, as well as information via twitter @christchurchlib @ChristchurchCC @ECan and via blogs at the very important http://canterburyearthquake.org.nz/ - for library customers at http://cclblog.wordpress.com/ and for staff at http://cclbibliofile.wordpress.com/

All library staff nationwide can support our efforts to provide accurate information.

Thank you everyone for your never ending support.
Shirley Hall Kia Kaha Christhchurch


Hi Carolyn - I Just want to send my thoughts and best wishes for all those suffering in the aftermath of this extremely disastrous earthquake. I Hope you can all recover and get back to normal as soon as possible. I realise it will be a long haul and take time. The shock and sadness felt by the community in Canterbury, and the magnificent response which they have shown is tremendous and we are behind them. All your Library colleagues are thinking of you and offer their condilence and support. Kim Salamonson


Hi Carolyn
I hope that Christchurch City Library has been evacuated with no casualties as we have heard nothing on the news. Our heartfelt thoughts go out to you at this time. I Just want to send my thoughts and best wishes for all those suffering in the aftermath of this extremely disastrous earthquake.

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