How do we prepare for plausible futures that we cannot envision? Inspired by Asimov’s Foundation this project will treat public libraries—which communicate to the near and distant future through collection, curated experiences, education and preservation—as institutions whose central purpose is to explore this very question, as well as that of how the future-oriented mission of libraries contributes to disaster readiness and community resiliency. Through a meta-analysis of how public libraries have functioned in the wake of extreme events, semi-structured interviews, on-site research, and the use of scenario-based games and video animation, this project aims to produce a general framework for increasing libraries’ contributions to resilience and refining resilience-related decision-making.
This project combines interviews, literature review, and analysis of Twitter data (500,000+ tweets) generated around the major hurricanes that made landfall in the United States in 2017. Using these sources, we look for ways that libraries can intervene in the context of natural disasters and other emergencies, as well as analyze what library resources are especially vulnerable. We also generate a vocabulary of key concepts, resources, persons, and institutions for the purposes of scenario models, one of which we produce as a deck of cards.