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Every Library, Every State.

Meeting at Libraries is only good the first time when communications go down if you can make it. It will most likely not have the desired outcome. Am I a pessimist or a realist? ……….. Login to read full post
Everly Library Every State

Meeting at the library, a good idea?

It can be. The library initiative has been mentioned a few times, especially in the combination of the grid going down or communications going down. It is a good idea… but is it?

When the grid goes down and assuming the communications go down, you will see a quick shift in personalities. You have to make a decision on how important information versus well-being is. This is where Postcode Communities play a role, start creating connections now, local and short communication lines.

Let’s have a look at the library scenario.  

Random Library Ryde

I took a random library in Sydney, I do not know the area, and used Google Earth to show libraries. I assume that these are the ones. 


The circle has a radius of about 4.5km, which is a reasonable walking distance, and most people can do that in under an hour or so. It covers a whopping 28 Square Kilometers of a populated area. That is a LOT of people. I understand that some will not show up, but I assume many do. How are you going to address them? What tools will there be to communicate if there is no power? 

Let’s look at practicality.

The Key is to get accurate information. Depending upon the leadup to comms down and what forums or channels you follow, you might be aware of what is going on. Based upon that, you are faced with a few decisions, go to the library or not. 

Thousands will answer the call, assuming they know the day and time. The lucky ones will have charged their phones, smart watches etc. Realistically how many clocks in your house are mechanical? How would you know the time without a clock? (I assume a grid-down scenario).

You must remember that congregating at the local library is not an organised concert or protest event. Likely nobody will be in charge. Those who want to be most likely should not be. You will have many people who want information, might be confused, and above all, will have a high level of anxiety. 

Many “stressed” people all in one, relatively small place….

Let’s look at Security.

The pre-advertised mass congregation is dangerous for several reasons. First, you do not know why and who “flicked the switch”. Having thousands in one place at the same time might be just what is needed. Remember, you are not protesting. The likely hood that civilisation as you know it has changed or even worse is gone. 

Secondly, everybody wants to say something. Mass meetings at a library are likely not an organised event as we used to. I imagine a stressed, confused crowd looking for quality information and perhaps only getting rumours.

I think the first meeting will be fine, there be a bit of shouting to get messages across, but that is it. In the second week, especially in an area that is densely populated, people are going to ask and worry about food. 

Some individuals might have “floated to the top” as leaders, and you can see a structure forming. Tribes are forming. Still, people are more on edge about the future, and after three weeks, it is total anarchy, every man, woman and child for themselves. 

Civilisation breaks down real quick, without our comforts. After a few days, how much information is worth to you becomes the critical question. 

Ryde Postcode Community

This is the Rhyde Postcode, the perimeter is about 19Km and the area is about 9 Square Kilometers, still a lot of people. According to the 2016 Census 26,488. That is a lot, do you know them all?

Knowing your Neighbours is KEY when there is no communication, no power and your supply chain is GONE. Hence I keep stressing about postcode communities, they work and they are key to your wellbeing. 

Smaller, shorter and fewer people are better. 

Rhyde Postcode Community

Postcode communities. 

Keep it small and keep it simple. You build trust and relationships within the postcode area. Start with your neighbours, who talk to them, creating small “bee hive” communication structures. These small islands of communication, security and self-sufficiency, small tribes if you like, are precisely how postcode communities work. 

Big is easy but dangerous. Well, it can be. I understand why libraries can be a meeting point. Everybody knows where they are, and they are generally evenly spread, in cities, that is. In the outer suburbs, it is a different story again, some rely on mobile bus libraries, and I will not chase a library bus, that is for sure. 

I get it, and it can work for some areas. I still recommend against it, as it creates a false sense of security (one of my favourite phrases). You do not know what situation you might walk into. Some of us are street-smart enough to recognise a negative scenario. I review conditions like “Do I need to be there?”

If not, Libraries? Then What?

Think about creating a postcode community in your area, this site is promoting that approach, and I am happy to help where I can. Fortunately, I live in an area where many people are aware and create alternative ways of trade and edible exchanges to share and care. The Trade Shack tries to replicate that across Australia and independently of Social Media. 

We have a course to get you started with an Edible Exchange, but that is no good if you are not growing anything. So let us look at how to set up information exchange and start a Postcode Community. 

Each area is different. I get that. In some neighbourhoods, people are not getting along. Some people might not want to participate, just respect that and move on. You might live in an area where this will not work. Another good reason to start now. Better to know now. No surprises.

Start small, start with your street and talk to people you bump into. Do a letter drop, invite people to meet at the corner. BYO coffee, start with the “soccer mums” or something. Meet and greet, use a holiday day as an excuse or start a local Facebook page. Invite them to join the postcode group you created on the Trade Shack (wink wink). 

  • Have a chat sheet without scaring people.
  • Suggest a public place. I would not do it at your house. Try a park or parking lot. 
  • Raise the idea of growing food and sharing the produce. 
  • Share resources, don’t share everything. Always look after yourself first. 
  • Suggest using a communications board. Almost every shop has one, which worked well with the 9/11 event and other disasters. 

The key is to create a healthy level of dependency on each other. Dependency, although a heavy word, makes a robust supply chain. If you can rely on each other, there is more chance of trusting each other. I will be the first to admit that I am not particularly good at doing these things myself. I am not a people person, but I am self-sufficient and know my weaknesses. For this reason, I have a small tribe.

Where to go from here.

Food Scaping Grow food on roofs and balcony

Different kinds of environments require different types of growing techniques. Find out the different types of growing footprints within a postcode community. 


You must do what you are comfortable doing, such as going to the library or setting up small neighbourhood networks. Whatever direction you take, you must remember that survival is not a one-person game. If you are by yourself, you will NOT last. You can thank Hollywood for that. You will not have a nice trailer and food waiting for you after the “shoot”. 

It would be best if you started NOW. In urban settings, food scaping and garden scaping can work. The idea that you need thousands of acres of land to be sustainable is a fairy tail. You can start growing in your urban setting. It will not be easy, but I believe if you share the workload and growing load between you and your neighbour, you can produce a lot. Imagine each balcony growing something and neighbours sharing food. It is not the end solution but a stepping stone. 

When SHTF, so to speak, you can quickly transfer the balcony to larger areas, at least you have the experience, the plants/seeds and most of all, you are “handy” to know, which is key to survival as you can contribute.


Information is essential. You need to know how to go about it. First, you need to make sure it is safe. Congregating in large groups is not safe in my eyes. If the power is still on, then use 2 Way radios. You can buy cheap handhelds and hand them out to people you trust. Arrange for light signals to warn of danger, approaching areas, or just to let others know all is ok. Remember, you do not know who or for what reason the communications or power is out.

I have no doubt that we will face lockdowns again, not because of Covid but because “they can” and will use climate as an excuse. Lockdowns mean you cannot go to the library, but you might be able to work around your postcode area. Lockdowns are another critical reason for getting organised on a small footprint (Postcode Communities). When they lock down, they most likely will use postcode boundaries.

Think Medival times, create independence where possible. Living in a city, you most likely will NOT create 100% self-sufficiency. Dependency on “government” is why they want us to live in cities. By creating postcode communities, you can become that little bit more self-sufficient and develop contacts and friendships.

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