Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Subject Area(s)

Library and Information Science


In October 2015, several counties in South Carolina experienced catastrophic flooding that caused severe damage, including loss of residential homes and other calamities. Using a framework for risk communication preparedness and implementation about pandemic influenza for vulnerable populations recommended by public health experts, this case study investigates public libraries’ value to their communities and their legitimacy as partners of public health agencies during and after a disaster. Public libraries’ situation-specific information services in the target areas affected by flooding during and after the disaster were explored. The methodology was qualitative-based. Focus-group meetings with public library administrators and librarians, one-on-one interviews with community members, and an in-depth interview with a FEMA agent were conducted. Preliminary results reveal essential needs regarding health information and technology access during and after the disaster. Recommendations on the use of digital library resources and social media for disaster and health information dissemination are discussed.