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Unit Six
Building Community Resilience Through Library Initiatives

The Pushing the Limits program series provides your library with numerous opportunities to promote community resilience in the face of climate change
and extreme weather events.

In this unit, you will:

  • Learn how communities can build resilience to climate change and extreme weather events
  • Become familiar with examples and case studies that spotlight community resilience initiatives across the country
  • Use toolkits and resources created by NOAA and related agencies about climate-related risks to help communities become more resilient extreme weather events
  • Plan resilience activities that can be part of your program series to address climate-related issues unique to your community


Gaining A Foundational Understanding of Climate Resilience
So, what do we mean when we say climate resilience? The National Climate Assessment, which is a report based on input from over 300 experts and guided by a federal advisory committee, has produced a short video, “Adaptation Chapter,” that explores how communities are thinking about and preparing for a future climate. Begin by watching this video to gain a foundational understanding of adaptation.

Unit Six, Video One
National Climate Assessment: Adaptation Chapter

A second video, “Building Resilience: Getting Started,” provides more specifics by explaining a five-step resilience building process recommended by NOAA. The video also discusses different ways that the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit can be used by your community.

Unit Six, Video Two
Building Resilience: Getting Started

Edward Gardiner provides an additional explanation of the five-step resilience building process in the following video:

Unit Six, Video Three
Five Steps to Resilience

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit
As you begin to consider different ways to build on the interest in community resilience generated by the program, the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit will likely become a go-to resource for you and your community. The Toolkit is an online resource that pulls together a wide array of tools, information about initiatives, and case studies to help communities understand and address climate-related events that affect them. Edward discusses the main sections of this online toolkit and how to locate information you may need.

Unit Six, Video Four
U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

These four videos provide a foundation for considering different activities and initiatives that you can include as part of the program series to sustain your community’s interest in the topics explored in the program series. Seven ideas for program activities that complement the program series are suggested below. We encourage you to adapt these ideas to issues important to your community.

  • Download the document, Activities to Sustain and Build Interest in Community Resilience. As you read the activities, make notes about ways you might adapt these activities for your community.arrow icons
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Remember to involve a local Resilience Coordinator if your community has one
As we noted in Unit 2, many regions across the country have adaptation, hazard mitigation, or resiliency staff people who coordinate resilience building activities. If you identified a person in your area who has these responsibilities invite him or her to attend and participate in at least one of your programs to contribute to the discussions and provide information about local activities and initiatives relating to community resilience.

Devote time at the conclusion of each program to teach program participants how to use the resources covered in Unit 2 to learn about climate change and extreme weather events in their geographic region. These resources will help program participants understand how extreme weather and climate-related events may affect your local community.

Resources to use:

Explore Case Studies about Building Resilience to Climate Threats
The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit has a searchable collection of over 200 case studies that demonstrate how communities and businesses are taking action to confront climate threats, reduce vulnerability to climate-related impacts, and build resilience to extreme events. Edward Gardner highlights some of the unique features of this resource and how to locate case studies that discuss topics and issues similar to those in your community.

Unit Six, Video Five
Resiliency Building: Case Studies

Discover how communities near you are building resilience to climate threats. Learn about strategies that reduce vulnerability to specific types of extreme weather events.

Develop a Community Resilience Project
The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit provides a five-step process for planning and implementing a resilience-building project. Contact your local environmental groups and organizations, or use the map on the Toolkit to identify an expert who can work with a team of people interested in developing a project.

Discover What Other Libraries Are Doing
Explore ALA’s growing collection of resources on the Libraries Transform website that spotlight library services and programs that engage communities:

  • Libraries Transform
  • Libraries Transform: Resilience
  • American Library Association Sustainability Round Table
  • Consider how you might adapt some of these initiatives to your community.

    Create a Library Exhibit to Supplement the Program Series
    Identify books, DVDs, and other items in your library collection to showcase in an exhibit to promote interest in the program series and to encourage continued learning about the topics explored in the programs.

    Sponsor a Family Event about Community Activities
    Invite local environmental groups and organizations to promote their activities and initiatives as a way to encourage community engagement around climate impacts.

You probably have additional ideas and suggestions! We want to hear how your library promotes continued learning about climate threats and supports resilience-building initiatives. Share your ideas and experiences on the listserv.


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