Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery in School Libraries
Creating a Safe Haven
by Christie Kaaland In consultation with and photographs by William Lokey, former FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer
December 2014, 203pp, 8 1/2x11
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-61069-729-3
$55, £41, 48€, A75
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-730-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Your school library can be a refuge for students should disaster strike—and this book will show you how.

When disaster strikes, school librarians can play a key role in keeping kids safe. This is the only book written specifically to provide school librarians with emergency preparedness and recovery tools as well as curricular tie-ins.

No school is immune to disaster, whether in the form of a natural event like a tornado or a tragedy like the violence that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The key to minimizing injury or death in an emergency is preparedness—something the school librarian is uniquely positioned to lead. This must-have book will show you how to be proactive in getting your school ready for the worst. It provides comprehensive preparedness and recovery plans, check lists, and curricular recommendations on preparedness that can be tailored to your individual library and community.

Covering natural disasters, human-made disasters, and school violence, the book shows you how to conduct drills, assess vulnerabilities and risk, communicate preparedness plans, and use bibliotherapy for disaster recovery. It also describes how your library can be a safe haven for students who feel disconnected, bullied, or otherwise disenfranchised. Although the book is primarily intended for school librarians, classroom teachers will also find many ideas here for helping students be better prepared for disasters, whatever their cause or severity.


  • Covers the impact of recent natural disasters on schools and addresses the changing landscape with regard to school violence
  • Provides a guide to school emergency planning and ways in which school librarians can take the lead in making it a reality
  • Features checklists, reproducible role-playing scenarios, and other aids for creating an emergency preparedness plan
  • Lists equipment and resources the school library can provide during disasters
  • Suggests curricular tie-ins and books you can use to work with students before and after a disaster or violent incident
Christie Kaaland, EdD, is professor in the School of Education at Antioch University Seattle where she designed and currently directs the school library certification program. Prior to joining Antioch, she worked for 11 years as a school librarian. Her published works include ABC-CLIO's Activism and the School Librarian: Tools for Advocacy and Survival, and she has also written extensively for School Library Monthly. Kaaland works tirelessly to improve funding for school libraries through legislative and school advocacy aimed at providing equitable library access for children in Washington schools.


"No one likes to think about emergency in the school setting, but planning for them is crucial. . . . Purchase this for school libraries that need to construct an emergency plan or need to update their current one."—VOYA, February 29, 2016

"A comprehensive and timely guide . . .practical and easy to follow . . . a concise one-stop shopping resource."—Terrie Johnston, Seattle “Active Shooter” training officer

"Schools have a key role to play in disaster preparedness and recovery—and who better to coordinate planning and execution than school librarians, Christie Kaaland argues in this valuable guide. Kaaland explains how librarians can help their colleagues understand the risks, know what to expect, and know what actions to take to ensure that students and staff remain safe. During a crisis, librarians can act as leaders and help marshall resources. After the disaster, librarians’ communication skills, technical expertise, and ability to find the answers to pressing questions can be invaluable in helping schools and kids get back on their feet. Kaaland lays out a clear path to follow, and livens the presentation with personal stories from librarians who have coped with hurricanes, fires, and earthquakes. This is a great resource that every school librarian should read, add to their shelves—and not allow to gather dust." —Sandi Doughton, Author of Full Rip 9.0: The Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest
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