How do we prepare for plausible futures that we cannot envision? Inspired by Asimov’s "Foundation," this project will treat public libraries — which communicate to the near and distant future through collection, curated experiences, education and preservation — as institutions whose central purpose is to explore this very question, as well as that of how the future-oriented mission of libraries contributes to disaster readiness and community resiliency.

Through a meta-analysis of how public libraries have functioned in the wake of extreme events, semi-structured interviews, on-site research and the use of scenario-based games and video animation, this project aims to produce a general framework for increasing libraries’ contributions to resilience and refining resilience-related decision-making.

This project combines interviews, literature review and analysis of twitter data (500,000+ tweets) generated around the major hurricanes that made landfall in the United States in 2017. Using these sources, we look for ways that libraries can intervene in the context of natural disasters and other emergencies, as well as analyze what library resources are especially vulnerable.

We also generate a vocabulary of key concepts, resources, persons and institutions for the purposes of scenario models, one of which we produce as a deck of cards.

Michael Simeone and Michael Bennet will present their findings in a short conversation, and follow with refreshments and an opportunity to play through the card-based simulation exercise.

About the speakers

Michael Bennett is an associate research professor in Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, the Center for Science and the Imagination and the Risk Innovation Lab, as well as a lecturer in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. He was formerly an associate professor on the faculty of the Northeastern University School of Law and the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Science, Technology and Society at Vassar College. He has also held teaching and research positions at the University of Michigan, Michigan Technological University, Polytechnic University and the University of Virginia and has served as adviser to several university offices of technology transfer.

Michael Simeone is the Director of Data Science and Analytics for the Arizona State University Libraries. Before joining the Libraries, he was the founding director of ASU’s Nexus Lab for Digital Humanities and Transdisciplinary Informatics, and the Associate Director of the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Science at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. He earned his PhD in English Language and Literature/Letters from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Foundations of Resilience flyer

Ross-Blakley Hall, room 196

Event Map: 

For More Information Contact:

Leah Newsom
Institute for Humanities Research