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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.’’
Update as of 10:00 01 March 2011
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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