An interesting idea from the NYTimes: Next Time, Libraries Could Be Our Shelters From the Storm. Some excerpts:
To some extent, churches, libraries, schools and malls already serve as emergency centers, albeit not all churches responded or were equipped to be of help after Sandy. And as the novelist Zadie Smith lamented last year i… apropos the closing of neighborhood libraries in London, libraries are “the only thing left on the high street that doesn’t want either your soul or your wallet.”
Even schools are not quite like branch libraries. The branches have become our de facto community centers, serving the widest range of citizens — indispensable in countless, especially poorer, more vulnerable neighborhoods. They are much threatened by budget cuts, but never more in demand by toddlers and teenagers, working parents, the elderly and the unemployed, new immigrants and traditional readers.
With disaster in mind, they could be designed in the future with electrical systems out of harm’s way and set up with backup generators and solar panels, even kitchens and wireless mesh networks.