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Free Online CE: A Seat at the Table: Working with Local Responders

MLA Disaster Information Logo

"A Seat at the Table: Working with Local Responders" is an advanced course on how to work with local responders: public safety, fire/rescue, public health department, local health care facilities, and emergency planners. Libraries have a critical role to play in disaster preparation and recovery (command centers, communication centers, Internet information centers for health information, government updates, etc.) but need a seat at the table with the right people, and they need to have something to offer. During and after a disaster is not the time for libraries to learn how to work with local, state, and federal responders. The time to build and develop these relationships is before a disaster strikes. It is critical to have a seat at the table before, during, and after a disaster. This session will cover the basics of initiating and developing relationships with all relevant local, state, and federal officials and agencies as well as with emergency responders. This course is an advanced class for the Disaster Information Specialization Program. This project is funded by a contract with the Disaster Information Management Research Center, Specialized Information Services Division, National Library of Medicine.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this course, participant will be able to:

  • identify and understand the different roles played by local, state, and federal government and associated entities;
  • confidently and competently develop relationships that will lead to at a seat at the table before, during, and after a disaster;
  • understand the non traditional critical roles that a library should play during a disaster; and
  • use the toolkit provided to identify library competencies and stakeholder needs in order to get a seat at the table.

Register Now

Individuals can now register to view the original program on-demand. Register, participate and earn 4 MLA CE contact hours. Registratration and resourses available at the Disaster Information Management Research Center at the National Library of Medicine.


Course Instructors Diane Brown

Diane Brown

Diane Brown has been deputy state librarian at the State Library of Louisiana since 2004. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the state library, budget, statewide initiatives, and strategic planning. Prior to this position, she served for thirteen years in a variety of positions at the Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET, now called LYRASIS), the last one as director of library programs. While at SOLINET, she was active in training, consulting, strategic planning, and working with OCLC products and services. From 1977-1991, she worked at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as a reference assistant, branch director, and then head of technical services. She received her master's degree in library and information science from the University of Tennessee and her bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She can be reached at





Rebecca HamiltonRebecca Hamilton

A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in library and information science from Louisiana State University. Hamilton began her career in 1989 as a library associate at the West Baton Rouge Parish Library. In 1996, she became assistant director of the St. Mary Parish Library System and later assistant director for the Audubon Regional Library System, the states only tri-parish library system. In 2001, she accepted the position of executive director of the St. Mary Parish Library system, and in 2003, Hamilton became associate state librarian at the State Library of Louisiana (LSU).

In July of 2005, Hamilton was appointed state librarian by Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. This appointment made her Louisiana's only fourth state librarian in the agency's eighty-two year history and the youngest state librarian in the nation. She was reappointed by Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne in 2010. She works with agencies and individuals at all levels of government to improve library services statewide to the people of Louisiana.

Under her direction, the State Library of Louisiana underwent a total reorganization to streamline operations and to identify efficiencies. This was done by overseeing a work study of each department, by reviewing all internal processes and procedures, by updating all job descriptions to make them modern and relevant, and by increasing productivity and overall standards of service by the state library. In her first year in office, Hamilton doubled the amount of state aid to public libraries, the largest increase in the history of the program and the first increase in 20 years. She also oversaw the rebuilding of the state library's internal network and backup systems, with virtually no additional resources, a 3-year project, and as a result, during the storms of 2008, the state library never lost Internet connectivity when all other offices in state government, including the state library's parent Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, were without Internet. She worked closely with SOLINET (now Lyrasis) to obtain a $12 million grant to provide temporary library facilities after the storms in both Louisiana and Mississippi. Since the beginning of her administration, the state library has implemented a new interlibrary loan system for public libraries, added content to the statewide databases, secured a line item in the annual budget for public library training, and grown the annual Louisiana Book Festival to an attendance of 26,000. This was done through 4 hurricanes, severe budget cuts, the recession, staff retirements, and most recently the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but now the state library is an efficient, high-performing, customer-driven agency.

In recent years, Hamilton has been appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal to the Louisiana Folklife Commission, the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and the Louisiana State Reading Leadership Team. She has also served on the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region Public Library Advisory Committee and on the SOLINET Board of Directors. She has served as a member and secretary of the State Board of Library Examiners, the body that certifies Louisiana public library directors. Most recently, she was named one of the most outstanding graduates of the LSU School of Library and Information Science and, this year, received the Anthony Benoit Award for Outstanding Contributions in Librarianship from the Louisiana Library Association. In November 2007, she was named one of the Top 40 Under 40 in Baton Rouge by the Baton Rouge Business Report.


For more information, contact Debra Cavanaugh, 312.419.9094 x32.

This project is funded by the National Library of Medicine under contract HHS-N-276-2010-00782-P.