You Can Count on Your Library during Winter Weather Emergencies
Libraries are vital community hubs providing a safe place to stay warm and access the internet during severe winter storms.
The winter season is well on its way, and while that means cooler, more pleasant weather for some, it means winter storms for others. While it’s simple enough to prepare for a winter storm if you know one is coming, they tend to surprise those living in states that are typically supposed to be warm. The people caught off guard by these storms often find themselves underprepared and need help from outside sources. Fortunately, libraries are used to helping out in emergencies, and winter storms are no exception.
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A Space to Stay Warm
In February 2021, the state of Texas was hit by Winter Storm Uri, one of the worst winter storms in the state’s history. Temperatures reached record lows, with the Dallas-Fort Worth area bottoming out at minus two degrees Fahrenheit, the coldest recorded temperature in seventy-two years.
To make matters worse, the Texas power grid was strained beyond its limits during the disaster and failed, causing blackouts across the state. An estimated 69 percent of Texans lost power throughout the storm, and with most Texans not equipped to handle such low temperatures, the situation quickly became dangerous.
Many families attempted to go to homeless shelters to escape the cold, but these shelters quickly filled up and overflowed, leaving those who didn’t make it in to fend for themselves. In light of this crisis, local libraries like the John Peace Library at the University of San Antonio quickly opened their doors to the public to serve as overflow warming stations. These libraries stepped into their new role with grace, helping hundreds of families and even providing hot meals in some cases.
Though this was just one case, it’s not an isolated phenomenon. Whenever winter weather crises occur, libraries are often some of the first facilities to jump into action. The warmth and shelter they provide to families save lives and ultimately bring the community closer together after the crisis has passed.
Continued Internet Access
When the power goes out for an extended period, internet access often goes with it. As remote work and school become more prominent with each passing year, this presents a huge problem. In the event of a storm-induced blackout, countless people will be rendered unable to attend work or school, possibly for weeks at a time.
Because most libraries nowadays have internet access and computers available to all, they’re one of the best places for remote workers and students to go if they lose internet access during a winter storm.
Because libraries are usually able to keep the lights on during winter storms, this also presents families with the opportunity to charge their devices, check in on their loved ones, and let people know that they’re safe. This eases much of the fear and tension associated with winter weather emergencies, making them easier for people to manage.
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Find Home Repair Options
Winter storms often cause damage to people’s homes, and once the storm has passed, homeowners will need to start making repairs. However, it can be difficult to know where to look. If your home is damaged in a winter storm, we encourage you to pay a visit to your local library.
Oftentimes, libraries can provide information on repairmen and point you in the right direction, even connecting you with locally owned small businesses to do the job. Once you have a better idea of your options for home repairs, you can make an informed decision, allowing you to get the home repairs you need without spending an excessive amount.
Of course, libraries don’t just help out in times of crisis. They’re always looking for ways to help the community, and the sheer range of services they provide may surprise you. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to visit us at EveryLibrary today!
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