Friday, April 20, 2012

Mark Your Calendar: Library Program, Doomsday

On Thursday April 26, visiting professor Dr. Quetzil Castañeda will visit the library to show clips from his award-winning documentary film, Incidents of Travel in Chichen Itzá, and speak about the Maya 2012 calendar, including the 5,125 yr. long cycle and the end of a "world age."  I'm excited to hear his scholarly take on this end-of-the-world theory, and it's put me in a reflective mood about my own emergency preparedness.

I grew up in a family that lived and breathed the edict to “be prepared!”  My three brothers are Eagle Scouts.  We had a shelter custom-built in our basement to store a year’s worth of food for seven.  Yet it wasn’t until grad school that one of my professors finally put the fear of god in me.  “What are y'all going to eat during the next disaster?” she demanded as we covered the emergency preparedness segment of her Organizational Management syllabus.  “You sure can’t wait until afterwards to get prepared.”  Then she told us all to get guns.

Literally since that day, my husband and I have been on our path to emergency preparedness.  If you’re interested in making your own kit, I suggest checking out the Center for Disease Control (CDC), FEMA, and several religious organizations, many of which have great emergency preparedness resources.  There’s even an excellent US Army Survival Manual that’s been floating around the internet.  Any way you slice it, your survival kit should cover these seven essential categories:


3 day minimum supply of 1 purified gallon per day per person


3 day minimum supply of non-perishable high-energy food.  Longer term stores of rice, beans, freeze-dried fruits and veggies, seeds

first aid

bandages, antiseptic, antibiotics, ibuprofen, etc.


hand-crank radio / flashlight, camp-stove, matches, multi-tool, hatchet, utility knife, compass, whistle, generator, duct tape, etc. And sure, even a gun.

clothing / bedding / sanitation

sleeping bags, space blankets, toiletries, one change of clothes per person

important family documents

wills, deeds, insurance policies, birth / marriage / death certificates, photo identification, bank account numbers

special items

travel games, book of poems, very long novels (one per person)...

Because I’m a librarian, I have to give this last category a little extra love.  During the Mayan apocalypse (or any survival scenario), you need to take care of your brain.  Remember Sawyer in Lost?  It’s important to your mental and physical health to bide your time reading, playing, and socializing.  Even the US Army Survival Manual takes pains to point this out.  Because our kit is designed to be light and portable, we haven’t pack an entire library, but there a few key books that made the final cut:  American Medical Association Handbook of First Aid

We thought about adding the Physician's Desk Reference, but on further reflection: waaay too long.  The handbook from the American Medical Association is also authoritative, but much more compact.  Perfect!

Tao Te Ching

We both really like this book, and it's very slim and lightweight, so it seemed like a perfect choice to add to our kit.  for those times we want to read something a little more quiet & contemplative.


My husband's all-time favorite book.

Brothers Karamazov

To hit you with two Lost references in one post -- I feel like Brothers Karamazov will be my Our Mutual Friend.  Remember?  The one Dickens book Desmond is saving to be the last thing he ever reads.  I still haven't read Brothers K, and I'm not waiting for any particular reason -- but now that it's my pick for the apocalypse kit... who knows!  We just might be asking for a disaster.

So, what are you planning to read during the Mayan apocalypse?  As my grad school professor would agree, you might not want to wait till the zombies come knocking to figure it out.  Good luck, and we hope to see you next Thursday at Dr. Castañeda's talk!

Rachel - Programs

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