New Salvage and Recovery Site from NLM

An announcement from NLM:

The National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world’s largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health, announces a new Web site, “Emergency Preparedness and Response: How to Safely Stabilize Library Collections in the Event of a Water Emergency.”

First responders in library or museum emergencies frequently address a multitude of risks, both to themselves and to cultural objects in the stewardship of their institutions. In addition, responders may be called upon to recover items that normally would fall outside their areas of expertise and require immediate attention. “Emergency Preparedness and Response: How to Safely Stabilize Library Collections in the Event of a Water Emergency” will assist responders with readily-accessible onsite training as they engage in disaster situations affecting cultural heritage items.

The Web site includes links to short instructional videos that provide a visual training for institutional staff tasked with stabilizing collections affected by water. Building recovery, disaster preparedness, and health risks are also covered on the Web site. In the spirit of NLM’s Mobile MedlinePlus and other mobile programs, “Emergency Preparedness and Response: How to Safely Stabilize Library Collections in the Event of a Water Emergency” is accessible via handheld devices in order to facilitate remote access.

This NLM Web site was a collaborative effort of the History of Medicine Division, National Network Office and Preservation and Collection Management Section (Library Operations), the Office of High Performance Computing and Communications (Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications) and the Office of Computer and Communications Systems, among others.


Disaster Aid via Smartphones

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that survivors of disaster can now apply for federal assistance via smart phone.   See the full press release for details.  According to the release, this new tool is one aspect of FEMA’s initiative to make its service more readily available to all Americans, as well as to make use of technology to expedite providing services to the public following a presidential disaster declaration.  Knowing about the smart phone feature may be helpful to librarians assisting people who need to contact FEMA but do not have computer access after a disaster.

FEMA logo

CPR for wet books

As our airconditioning systems are cranking away in the summer heat and humidity, creating condensation build-up on some interior pipes and ducts, as the 2010 hurricane season gets into full swing off the southern/southeastern coasts of the continental U.S., and as many parts of the country experience weekly thunderstorms, here’s some helpful information from Heritage Preservation about how to try to save the lives of books that get wet.

The Summer newsletter from Heritage Preservation highlights their “How to Save Wet Books” page, which has short videos and text about how to treat wet books, as well as some very helpful tips at the bottom of the page about how to prioritize and how to stay safe during the process.  Who’d have thought that sometimes part of saving a wet book is to get it even wetter?

Susan’s Suggestions for Pain-free Disaster Planning

Suggestion #13: Collection recovery procedures. Your library probably already has a document that specifies how and by whom your collections will be salvaged in the event of damage from a disaster. If so, ask that a copy be sent to you for inclusion in the plan. If not, now is the time! Depending on your situation, it may be you who is responsible, or there may another person in your organization who is responsible. If you are starting from scratch, check the internet for some valuable guidance, including SoliNET (“Contents of a Disaster Plan,” SoliNET Preservation Services Leaflet, and the Library of Congress– Library of Congress, Preservation, “Emergency Preparedness for Library of Congress Collections.”) There is a wealth of information, virtually something for everyone, available. Most libraries own at least several books on the topic. You can borrow from much information that is free, and then add the information specific to your organization, such as names of point people, how to contact them, lists of recovery companies, etc.

Whether you are including an existing document or creating a new one, keep in mind that all supplies mentioned in the recovery procedures need to be on hand before the disaster strikes (sponges, buckets, rubber gloves, dust masks, paper towels, etc.). Add them to your list of Disaster Supplies if you don’t already own them, and make sure that whoever orders your office supplies is notified about the need.