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Archive for the ‘Business Continuity’ Category

Pandemic planning exercise

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Yesterday, Tuesday, May 5, we convened a meeting at our library to review our pandemic plans and conduct a brief table-top exercise.  The meeting produced some excellent observations and insights, both for successes and things we need to work out.  The first half of the meeting was a review of our procedures, based the table (see below in the “Planning for Service Continuity During a Pandemic” post) from our library’s emergency preparedness plan.  All the “key players” attended, including:  the library’s emergency response coordinator, the library Director, IT manager, web development manager, business manager, head of reference services, collection development manager, database coordinator, ILL supervisor, and Circulation supervisor.  All these positions played roles in the planning and in the response exercise.  The scenario we used for the table-top exercise:  it is 3 PM on a Sunday afternoon, when the University decides to close all the libraries on campus to enact social-distancing measures.  The closure is intended to prevent the spread of influenza resulting from a pandemic.  What is done immediately?  What is done Monday morning?  Before beginning the discussion of procedures for this scenario, participants drew slips of paper from a bowl, which designated them as “sick” or “well.”  One-third of the participants were designated “sick,” and therefore did not play a role in the exercise.  This pointed out the need for back-up in certain key positions.

Some questions arose that might be helpful to others in the planning process, among them:

  • can you change the voice mail message on your library’s main phone from your home?  who has the authority and the access needed to do this?  who is the backup for that person?
  • who has current staff home phone number information?  is someone responsible for keeping the list upddated, and for distributing it?  should lists be given to everyone, or to select people?
  • do the appropriate library staff have access to the “Ask a Librarian” chat function from home?
  • do you need an official “voice” for providing information about the status of the library?  if so, will that person have access to communication channels, such as announcements on your web site?
  • can the person responsible for ILL/Document Delivery access resources needed to provide ILL requests to your patrons from home, i.e. is the required software installed on the home computer/laptop?
  • is there a provision for emergency access to print materials for affiliated patrons in the event of a patient-care emergency while the library is closed?
  • is there an institutional need for designating a way to account for time worked at home by library staff?  

Besides refining our procedures and identifying a few areas to be improved, everyone agreed that the meeting/exercise was an excellent way to keep emergency preparedness, and pandemic planning particularly, in our corporate awareness.

Planning for Service Continuity During a Pandemic

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

This would be a good time to review your pandemic planning procedures and perform a table-top drill.  For instance, are you ready to continue access to your resources and core services if your library is closed for, say, one week?  Click on the link below to view  a table from the University of Virginia’s Health Sciences Library’s Emergency Preparedness & Response Plan detailing the assignment of responsibilities in the event of a pandemic.  Feel free to borrow.

Pandemic Planning Responsibilities

Also, if you would like more information on the interlibrary loan backup plan developed by the University of Virginia Health Sciences Library and the Health Sciences Library at the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, please see the article in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association.

CDC Info on Swine Flu

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

The CDC is updating this site frequently at this point, in order to help everyone stay current with the swine flu situation.  See the “CDC Health Advisory” on this page for the most current information.  I heard on NPR today that Mexico has closed churches, schools, concert halls, and other public spaces to try and slow the spread of the disease.  Should these social-distancing measures be enacted for public spaces, including libraries in the U.S., be aware of measures that libraries can take to keep resources and core services available to their patrons even if their buildings are closed.  Have an alternate home page ready, to show altered hours, to highlight online resources, and to offer online chat services to patrons who need help.  Also remember to change the voice mail message on your library’s main telephone to reflect changed hours and availability of online resources and services.

Here is more information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, available on their Pandemic Flu web site:  The Swine Flu Info widget from HHS is available there to be copied into web pages–this will provide quick access to “Information,” “Investigation,” and “What you can do” sources.

Off to the great Pacific Northwest

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Dan Wilson and I will be in Seattle on Monday, February 9, to meet with Cathy Burroughs, her NN/LM staff, regional representatives and others at the Pacific Northwest Regional (PNR) office of NN/LM at the University of Washington.  In the morning, we will be reporting on recent developments of the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response (EP&RP) initiative and facilitating discussion of regional issues.  In the afternoon, we will facilitate a “train-the-trainer” session for NN/LM staff and regional representatives to enable them to teach the “10-Step Approach to Service Continuity ” to their Network members. 

Other training sessions scheduled for this spring include the South Central Region in Houston in March and the Greater Midwest Region in Chicago in April.   Stay tuned to hear when the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Plan will be playing at a site near you!

Dragonfly Image“Dragonfly” image from PNR’s newsletter.