While most of us wouldn’t consider our libraries to be businesses in the traditional sense, we do have some similar features and some shared needs, especially when it comes to planning for business/service continuity. The Homeland Security website has an excellent “Plan to Stay in Business” list for businesses, and if you click on the Continuity Planning link from that page, you will find a more detailed list of activities to help you prepare for an unplanned service disruption. Also available from the Continuity Planning page is their Sample Emergency Plan. It is available in PDF format, which you can quickly fill out right there and then print. Network members will have to do some adapting to make it fit their needs, but it is certainly a great way to help us think through what we need to do. Everyone who has been in any of the training sessions already for the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Plan will recognize most of what is presented on the Ready.gov site, so the site is helpful as a review, also.
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 (email@example.com).
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.