ALIA’s response to the ongoing bushfire crisis

Canberra, 20 January 2020: As devastating bushfires continue to affect communities across the nation, Members have asked us what they can do to help.

The ALIA team has been monitoring the situation over several weeks and you will have seen reports in ALIA Weekly about libraries being used as evacuation centres, as refuges for those avoiding smoke, as places where people can access information and families can gain respite. We would like to acknowledge the way library staff step up to help their communities when natural disasters strike, showing compassion and dedication, often while facing challenging situations in their own homes.

In 2010, ALIA ran the Rebuilding with Books initiative to help people whose homes were destroyed in the Victorian bushfires. We know from this experience that while book donations seem like a good idea, they come with significant logistical difficulties. It is much easier and more effective to give money.  For this reason, we are advising Members who wish to provide support to donate money to the Red Cross Appeal.

The ALIA team will continue to monitor the situation and libraries which have been affected by the bushfires will be contacted by ALIA representatives when the immediate danger is past. If your library has been impacted and there is something we can do in the short term to help, please contact ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher. If you fear your library is at risk, you can find more information about disaster preparation and planning on the ALIA website.