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Could Libraries Be The Key to Future Storm Recovery?

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It's hard to imagine an institution more underappreciated than the public library. You go there, they give you books for free, and there's air conditioning. That's a pretty good deal. It's definitely too bad that most of them are going to be turned into condos in another twenty years. But Times architectural critic Michael Kimmelman, after taking a look at the various places that served as relief hubs after Hurricane Sandy, has found another reason that our current libraries need to be saved, and new ones built. "Places that serve us well every day serve us best when disaster strikes," Kimmelman writes, meaning that in times of crisis, people are more likely to head to destinations that are familiar and welcoming—places like community centers, in the Rockaways, a beachfront club, and, of course, libraries, already de facto community centers in many areas. He goes on to suggest that not only should more public libraries be constructed, they should be constructed to double as disaster relief centers, "with electrical systems out of harm's way and set up with backup generators and solar panels, even kitchens and wireless mesh networks."
· Next Time, Libraries Could Be Our Shelters From the Storm [NYT]
Photo by Richard Anderson