The Southwest Virginia Health Information Librarians met at the University of Virginia’s Health Sciences Library on Friday, March 7, 2008. The focus of the meeting was the introduction of NN/LM’s National Emergency Preparedness and Response plan. Participants had received the following questions in preparation for the meeting:
list any emergency situations that have or could disrupt patient care at your hospital
prioritize a list of three services that you feel are most important to your patrons
prioritize a list of five online resources that you feel are most important to your patrons
prioritize a list of five print resources that you feel are most important to your patrons
list any unique resources at your library that would be at risk if your building suffered a disaster
what information sources that you provide access to would likely be needed by patient care personnel in the event of a disaster? What services?
The answers to the questionnaire created a lively discussion about the topic, and generated some helpful feedback.
Click on the file below to view our PowerPoint presentation on A Simplified Approach to Disaster Planning.
Despite all our best foresight and planning for possible emergencies, sometimes we are all going to need a little help from our friends! Check out this document as a great example of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between HSLs for help in emergencies. If you have experience establishing MOUs or actually using one that you had in place when disaster struck, please add a comment here, or send along an example (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Check this out! Did we think that our procedures are fine for shelter-in-place? Take a look at this document from the “Redefining Readiness” work group, authored by some very well-spoken people from the New York Academy of Medicine. Having any procedure is better than none, I suppose, but the questions raised by this document are as good as “lessons learned” before the event happens! Back to the drawing board we go!
Dan and I attended the ANCHASL (Association of North Carolina Health and Science Libraries) meeting in Raleigh on Friday, June 15 (click here to see the program). The meeting was held in the beautiful Andrews Conference Center at the Wake Area Health Education Center. Robert James (Duke University) is the president of ANCHASL this year, and had organized the meeting, which was well attended by both academic and hospital librarians. In addition to the North Carolina members, a hospital librarian from Lowell, Massachusetts attended, as well as Beth Wescott from NN/LM. The program for the day included a short business meeting for the organization, but otherwise focused on raising awareness about disaster preparedness and educating attendees about writing disaster plans, developing contingency plans for maintaining services, and salvaging collections. The meeting featured informative and entertaining speakers on several different aspects of disaster preparedness and emergency response. The information presented engendered some very productive discussion and questions. Here’s a list of the speakers:
- Mark Schell, Durham County Emergency Management, on working with first responders and emergency managers
- Robert James, Duke University Medical Center Library, on writing a library disaster plan. As part of his presentation, Robert outlined use of the Heritage Preservation’s Disaster Wheel, and distributed copies of the wheel to all participants. He also referred to the Field Guide published last summer by Heritage Preservation.
- Walter Cybulski, NLM, on salvaging water damaged collections
- Angie Santiago, of the Contingency Planning Association of the Carolinas, on service continuity planning for medical libraries
- Dan Wilson, chair for the SE/A RML Emergency Preparedness Task Force, on how the RML can provide support to health sciences libraries in emergency
Recently, we gathered together a team of library managers and devised strategies for maintaining certain essential library services during emergencies and/or disasters. Click on the link below to see the policies and the procedures we developed. We expect this document to be updated often as personnel and technologies change, but feel free to adapt anything helpful to your own plan.
Continuing Essential Library Services
Check out the March 15, 2007 issue of Library Journal for the article, “Serving Through Disaster.“ It makes an excellent case for the importance of service continuity planning as a key part of any disaster plan. For many Health Sciences libraries, it might be the most important part, as we rely more on timely access to electronic resources than we do on saving books and print journals in an emergency. My favorite quote is by Anne Candreva, CIO of the Brooklyn Public Library, “The question of how quickly we can get back on our feet has turned into how can we make sure to stay there in the first place.”