California Heritage Protection Project (CalHPP)

A California State Library project funded by CalOES
to implement a pilot disaster preparedness program
for libraries and other heritage organizations
in partnership with Countywide first responders and emergency services.
July 2015 –

California is rich with cultural and historic resource (CHR) organizations; among them it has 1,300 museums, 5,000 libraries and archives, 125 historical societies, and 278 state parks, a total of more than 6,500 institutions. Perhaps largely a consequence of the size of the state and a proud history of immigration, California’s many CHR institutions are its primary keepers of local and tribal history, art, and collective memory. These institutions provide residents with a strongly felt sense of place and community, essential to the health and welfare of California’s citizenry.

Along with hospitals and schools, libraries are critical social services that need to be made operational as quickly as possible following a disaster; they provide access to fast changing information, they provide relative stability and calm amidst chaos, they provide a place for communities to organize to solve problems.

To better prepare CHR institutions to avoid disaster, to survive disaster, and to assist with disaster recovery, in 2013 the California State Library through its California Preservation Program began working with San Diego County emergency services on a pilot project to engage San Diego County CHR institutions as partners with county emergency service organizations, to leverage local relationships and capabilities to mitigate hazards, and to improve catastrophic disaster preparedness and response capabilities. The San Diego wild fires in 2014 tested these partnerships and gave early evidence of a model for successful collaboration. Recently, Los Angeles County adopted elements of the model for introduction to LA communities.

The model needs to be made broadly available to California’s 58 counties. Counties are selected for participation in the CalHPP based on a known interest in disaster preparedness among CHR organizations located in those counties:

2015: Napa, Riverside, and Santa Barbara
2016: Alameda, Fresno, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, and San Luis Obispo

The goals of this project are to:

1. Organize countywide partnerships and prepare participants to identify and mitigate hazards to which CHR resources are exposed by facilitating collaborations with county first responders and emergency services, teaching CHRs to identify and document valued resources, and assisting CHR organizations to create their own disaster preparedness and response plans.

2. Test the partnership model to ensure its flexibility and generate documentation to facilitate the model’s adoption by additional California counties.

3. Strengthen communication, understanding, and collaboration among CHR institutions, first responders, and emergency service agencies.

Plan of work

Contact: Julie Page