The last bastion? Libraries and community in times of crisis

Over the past decade, NSLA libraries have felt the repercussions of crisis and disaster events, ranging from flood, fire, smoke and earthquake to pandemic and protest.
Rather than catastrophising these disasters, this livestreamed panel session – recorded at the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa – looked at what these events can tell us about the role of libraries in our communities today.

In the discussion, the heads of three Australian libraries considered the responsibilities of libraries both as providers: ensuring access to safe public places, community connections, services and resources; and as collectors: documenting our experiences of crisis or disaster for posterity.
The session was facilitated by Rachel Esson, National Librarian Te Pouhuaki of New Zealand, at the Wellington National Library Auditorium, in conversation with:

  • Vicki McDonald, State Librarian and CEO, State Library of Queensland
  • John Vallance, State Librarian and CEO, State Library of New South Wales
  • Vanessa Little, Director, Libraries ACT.