Incident Report from Alaska

Many thanks to Kathy Murray, who is the Alaska State Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the Pacific Northwest Region of NN/LM, for sending us a report about a recent incident in her library.  Check out our “Reporting Forms” page to see her report and learn about what happened (did you know there may be glycol in the HVAC lines in your building?) and how they kept their core services up and running despite the damage from the leak.


Today in earthquake history

The U.S. Geological Survey has made available a wealth of information about earthquakes, among them the “Today in Earthquake History” page .  A look at the page for May 4 shows several significant earthquakes around the world, two of which were in Alaska in 1923 and 1934.  By looking at the “Earthquake Reports” section in the left menu bar here on the Toolkit, you will note that Alaska is experiencing tremors again today.  The USGS has also provided an excellent Preparedness and Response page, all important information, particularly for everyone who lives on the west coast of North America, Alaska and Hawaii.

Great ideas from Utah

Claire Hamasu, Associate Director of the MidContinental Region of NN/LM at Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah in Salt Lake City, has sent us the recently implemented documentation developed by their library’s emergency preparedness team.  It looks great, and we expect it will be really helpful to NN/LM members as an example of emergency/disaster planning for any type of library.  They have provided their version of the Pocket Response Plan (PReP) (originally devised by the Council of State Archivists–see the “Disaster Plan Templates” page above) as well as a photo and the content of a flip-chart they designed for display in the library.  The flip-chart provides quick and easy access to the key parts of their plan, while the PReP provides their staff with an easy-to-carry concise version of their plan for use from off-site.

We appreciate the willingness of the emergency preparedness team at Eccles HSL to share their work with us, and congratulate them on a job well done!  See the “Disaster Plan Templates” page above to check out their documents.  Many thanks to Claire for reporting her library’s progress and sending us these great ideas!

Eccles Library Flip Chart

Eccles Library Flip Chart

Life support for print materials

While many/most libraries are decreasing the number of print materials they maintain, news reports indicate that the current economic woes are leading many users back to libraries to borrow books rather than buying books online.  Another effect of the financial crises affecting our institutions is that there is often no funding available to replace damaged or lost print materials. 

Just recently when we met with NN/LM Pacific Northwest staff and their State Coordinators for emergency preparedness, we heard a story of a hospital librarian who had recently reported to her State Coordinator about water damage to a book truck of new books.  This one book truck held her major print purchase for the year, and there would most likely not be money to replace the books that got wet.  Considering all these indicators of the “long tail” of the need for print materials in libraries,  I’ve been reviewing the resources we list to aid in preserving print in the event of water damage, fire, etc.  The right side menu bar here lists many of them and there is a wealth of great information available.

Here is a document I found today from the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) that deals specifically with caring for print books.  The brochure is well written, and gives a good overview of information that has been de-emphasized in many libraries these days, but might well come in handy as librarians and volunteers with limited or no training for conservation or preservation try to keep their paper resources alive as long as possible.

Much of the AIC website is intended for professional conservators, but the “Caring for Your Treasures” series of publications contains lots of helpful information for the public, sort of the “Consumer Health” portion of their site.  AIC’s Disaster Response & Recovery page is also worth a look for information on a wide range of types of materials and web sites of interest.

Sample plan added from Loyola University, Chicago

Logan Ludwig, Director of the Loyola University Chicago’s Health Sciences Library, is also the State Coordinator for Emergency Preparedness for Illinois in the Greater Midwest Region of NN/LM.  He has given us permission to post here on the toolkit the Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Manual that he and his colleagues have prepared for their library.   The Loyola HSL plan is a great example of a concise one that also covers many bases in terms of both preparedness and response.  Check on the “Disaster Plan Templates” page (above) and look in the “Resource Libraries” section for the link to the plan.  

Many thanks to Logan for allowing us to view Loyola’s plan, and congratulations on a job well done!

Loyola University Chicago

Attention all disaster plan shoppers!

Many of you are familiar with our “Disaster Plan Templates” page (see the menu bar of pages above), and our toolkit statistics indicate that lots of people are finding and using it.  Here are a couple of recent updates to the page:

We created the “10 Steps to Service Continuity” planning template in December, in order to help fill a gap in our representative offerings.  We needed a template for a plan that would more closely match NN/LM’s focus on service continuity.  It also needed to be attainable in terms of the depth of knowledge and information required, the time required to complete it, and the format for producing it.

We have redirected the link to dPlan, so that it now arrives at the introductory page for dPlan on the NEDCC site.  The introduction includes information about access and security of the plan and a great overview, so if you’re thinking of creating a comprehensive plan, check this out.

15 years ago in Northridge, CA

In January of 1994, the Northridge area of California was shaken by a level 6.7 earthquake, which devastated the area, including California State University at Northridge. See Susan Curzon’s story of the destruction of her library at CSU, and how they responded by getting services back up and running in temporary shelters and with limited staffing. (This story and more are available from the “Library Disaster Stories” page here on the toolkit.)

Earthquake damage to the rear side of the Oviatt Library.  Image from Susan Curzon's story.

Earthquake damage to the rear side of the Oviatt Library. Image from Susan Curzon's story.

Today, in the “Emergency Preparedness News” section in the left column of the toolkit, you can see a story about the earthquake drill that is scheduled for Stanford University in early February. It is interesting to see how well their preparedness planners have used the lessons learned from previous incidents in their area and have planned the drill to deal with issues they know they will face when the next quake occurs.

The toolkit has two additional resources for preparedness and risk assessment related specifically to earthquakes. (1) See the “Earthquakes” RSS feed available in the list of RSS feeds on the left, and (2) under “Risk Assessment Maps and Charts” on the right, see the Earthquake map produced by the USGS showing earthquake probability for all of the U.S. The USGS says that over 75 million people live in earthquake-prone zones in the U.S., which affect 39 states.