Planning for Your Next Service Disruption

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) recommends that all libraries create a response plan based on the Pocket Response Plan (PReP) that was developed by the Council of State Archivists (CoSA). This is a one-page plan that can be kept in a purse, a wallet, or a mobile device, so no matter where you are you will be able to manage a response and keep your core services available to your patrons. The template below was designed for health sciences libraries, but it can be adapted to any type of library. Questions? Please contact us (

Service Continuity PReP:

Good Example of a Inclement Weather Services Web Page:

Service in the Storm

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Library has their “Inclement Weather” page up on their website today, due to the winter weather sweeping across the South.  Check it out here:   The page is a great example of how a library can be closed, yet still interact with its patrons and continue to provide the services they need.  Note the variety of services that are still available, from self-service options like their 24 hour study spaces and Interlibrary Loan to direct research help by a librarian via email, and updates via FaceBook and Twitter. 

October 26, 2010

Yesterday was a very active weather day across the Midwest, South, and Southeast. Numerous tornadoes were reported and wind damage was wide spread. Here’s a NOAA Storm Prediction Center map of yesterday’s storm reports. You can see this dynamic map anytime by clicking on Yesterday’s Storm Reports in the left column of the Toolkit.

Viewing Earl’s progress

Check out to see a great map featuring Hurricane Earl, but with the ability to view other storms as well.  The maps are pulling in lots of data from many reputable sources (National Hurricane Center, NASA, NOAA, and others) to provide layered maps of weather patterns and major storms in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as well as the contiguous 48 states (see top menu bar on the site to switch maps).  On the Atlantic map particularly, be sure to click the “ON” buttons for Forecast Models and Clouds in the box in the upper right of the map to enhance the view of Hurricane Earl with additional layers. 

Service Continuity at the University of Pittsburgh HSLS

In early February, the Mid-Atlantic region was hit with a major snowstorm.  Pittsburgh was hard hit, resulting in a 3-day closure of the University of Pittsburgh.  University of Pittsburgh’s Health Sciences Library System was closed during those three days, but core services were maintained from the homes of designated staff.  Barbara Epstein, library director, has shared the following notes from an Executive Committee debriefing session held soon after library staff returned to work:

1. The University of Pittsburgh’s HSLS relies on the university’s emergency notification system.  Therefore, all staff are to subscribe to the system and should also check the university’s web site.  If the message is “University is closed & essential personnel only” to report, then HSLS libraries will be closed.  Weekends are not considered workdays, so any closure decisions are made by library administration.
2.  Computer systems staff are considered “essential” to maintaining servers and the Web site.  They are responsible for keeping these services running from home or in-person if necessary.
3.  Systems staff will post information about library closure on their Web site, and will advise users to submit questions via Ask-a-Librarian (AAL).  Designated managers will check AAL regularly from home.
4.  Designated ILL/Document Delivery manager, working from home, will facilitate or forward any urgent patient care requests.  Some firewall problems were identified and resolved by systems staff.

Further reading: Director’s Reflection…a Blizzard of Online Services