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Disaster in Japan Expressed in Essays, Photos

March 15, 2011: A Japanese search and rescue team searches the rubble near a high-rise building in Wakuya, Japan.

Today, Jacket Copy, the Los Angeles Times Book Blog, highlighted the March 28 issue of The New Yorker which will mainly focus on the devastating earthquake in Japan on March 11, the resulting deadly tsunami, and the current troubles at the Fukushima nuclear power plants. Articles in the issue will discuss the economic impact these brutal acts of nature will have on Japan’s future, and illustrate what the country will look like post-disaster. Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburo Oe also contributes a short essay on earthquakes and nuclear power in Japan. In a supplemental post on the The New Yorker website, Macy Halford comments on the deluge of images showing battered library stacks posted on the popular Japanese social network site Togetter.com. “Why libraries?, I wondered, as I scrolled through the images. I think it has to do with what is not shown in the pictures more than with what is. Books shaken to the floor provide a good visual measurement of the power of the quake…” she writes.

“These are images of hope, as much as of disaster, and they speak to the idea that the things most fundamental to a culture—in this case, its codified knowledge—have not been lost.”

In response to the disaster, a joint letter written by American Library Association (ALA) President Roberta Stevens and Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels, was sent to the Japan Library Association expressing sympathy to the people of Japan, and offering the organization’s support in recovery efforts. “We were deeply distressed to hear the news today about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. On behalf of the American Library Association, we would like to extend our condolences for those who have lost their lives in these terrible disasters. Please know that ALA members around the world are concerned about our friends and colleagues in your nation,” states the letter addressed to JLA President Noboru Shiomi and Executive Director Kaname Matsuoka.

If you would like to contribute to disaster relief efforts for the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, please visit The American Red Cross website for more information or text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.

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