So I took it upon myself to create a campus-wide crisis plan and we ran things like lockdown drills and [things] like that.
Then, in 2008, I became Director of Marketing and Communications for Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, which is a huge library system. At the time, we had twenty-four locations open to the public seven days a week, and we had two large facilities within the urban core of the city, one of those serving youth ages 0-18. So, I remember walking into that youth facility one day with my own children and realizing, “Oh my gosh, if anything happens here, it is on me.” That was a sobering moment and also really a kick-start to my interest in crisis communications and planning.
Vanessa: Wow! Twenty-four locations at a public library... that seems like a lot of people, lots of community members, lots of stakeholders. ... What is the scope of crisis communications specifically for public libraries?
Cordelia: Yeah, it’s not a simple process, but you start with baby steps. I think the first thing everyone thinks about with a large public institution like that, and kind of the first thing I thought about, was really safety and security incidents. That absolutely is a top priority to be prepared for. Those kinds of things… They happen very quickly, and you have to be prepared, and there’s a lot at stake.
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