Highlighting a great salvage/recovery site: NEDCC

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) has many very helpful resources available to help rescue paper-based collections.  (Their own disaster plan template, dPlan, is featured on their pages.)  What I found especially pertinent, however, were the many preservation leaflets–there’s a “Click to view Preservation Leaflets” link in the left menu bar on every page.  The leaflets deal with every situation imaginable and are well-written and succinct.  NEDCC also offers a 24/7 “hotline” number to call with salvage questions.  I’m adding them to our blog’s list of sources for future reference!

Highlighting a great salvage/recovery site: NEDCC

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) has many very helpful resources available to help rescue paper-based collections.  (Their own disaster plan template, dPlan, is featured on their pages.)  What I found especially pertinent, however, were the many preservation leaflets–there’s a “Click to view Preservation Leaflets” link in the left menu bar on every page.  The leaflets deal with every situation imaginable and are well-written and succinct.  NEDCC also offers a 24/7 “hotline” number to call with salvage questions.  I’m adding them to our blog’s list of sources for future reference!

ANCHASL meeting in Raleigh: Disaster Preparedness and Response for Medical Libraries

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:

Susan’s Suggestions for Pain-free Disaster Planning

Suggestion #17:  Information on prevention.  Once you’ve identified the emergency situations for which you are at risk, give some thought to whatever activities you can pursue in order to prevent or at least mitigate damage wherever possible.  For example:

  •  prevent the spread of disease:  keep antibacterial hand cleaner at the service desks, recommend staff stay home when sick, get flu shots each year

  • prevent fire:  provide a link to your fire marshall’s or institution’s fire prevention web page

  • prevent flooding:  think about any areas like doorways or windows that might be susceptible to flooding; are there any measures that can be taken to lessen the likelihood of water coming in that way?

  • prevent theft:  post signs throughout your public areas warning patrons not to leave valuables unattended.  Remind staff that even personal workspaces are not completely safe, and they should not leave purses or other valuable items unsecured. 

  • prevent behavioral incidents:  review the access situation for your library; would it help to limit access during weekend/evening hours (requiring an ID, etc.) if you haven’t already done so?  Remind library staff to be vigilant and to notify the Emergency Response Coordinator or Circulation if they notice anyone who is behaving oddly or may present a behavioral problem.  Consider installing video surveillance cameras throughout your space if you haven’t already done so.

Incorporate prevention strategies in the training you provide to your first responders, but also send out reminders periodically to all library staff. Take literally the old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Susan’s Suggestions for Pain-free Disaster Planning

Suggestion #17:  Information on prevention.  Once you’ve identified the emergency situations for which you are at risk, give some thought to whatever activities you can pursue in order to prevent or at least mitigate damage wherever possible.  For example:

  •  prevent the spread of disease:  keep antibacterial hand cleaner at the service desks, recommend staff stay home when sick, get flu shots each year

  • prevent fire:  provide a link to your fire marshall’s or institution’s fire prevention web page

  • prevent flooding:  think about any areas like doorways or windows that might be susceptible to flooding; are there any measures that can be taken to lessen the likelihood of water coming in that way?

  • prevent theft:  post signs throughout your public areas warning patrons not to leave valuables unattended.  Remind staff that even personal workspaces are not completely safe, and they should not leave purses or other valuable items unsecured. 

  • prevent behavioral incidents:  review the access situation for your library; would it help to limit access during weekend/evening hours (requiring an ID, etc.) if you haven’t already done so?  Remind library staff to be vigilant and to notify the Emergency Response Coordinator or Circulation if they notice anyone who is behaving oddly or may present a behavioral problem.  Consider installing video surveillance cameras throughout your space if you haven’t already done so.

Incorporate prevention strategies in the training you provide to your first responders, but also send out reminders periodically to all library staff. Take literally the old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Getty Conservation Institute Workbook

The Getty Conservation Institute wrote a workbook called “Building an Emergency Plan:  A Guide for Museums and Other Cultural Institutions,” in 1999.  The publication is now out of print, but a free PDF version is available from their website.  It is very well organized and thoughtfully written.  Check out page 2 of the Introduction for an impressive table of disasters that have occurred to cultural institutions around the world in the past 20 years. 

Susan’s Suggestions for Pain-free Disaster Planning

Suggestion #14:  Communication information.  The heart of your disaster plan will be your communication procedures and information.  Thinking through the process and gathering the needed information ahead of time can save valuable moments in an emergency. 

 

You might create a summary page to begin your Communication section that includes:

  • a protocol for communication:  a telephone tree and/or the voice mail message on your main incoming phone
  • instructions about how communication to the media will be handled
  • information about other sources of information, such as the institution’s web page and local TV and radio stations

Following the summary page, you can add the following, most of which probably already exist, perhaps in your Administration department, or with whomever handles your human resources and financial management:

  • a list of all work and home phone numbers and addresses for staff  (including a notice that all home contact information for staff is confidential, and cannot be shared with anyone outside the library)
  • a list of phone numbers for important contact people or departments outside your library, such as your facilities management, environmental services, housekeeping, etc.
  • a list of contact information for your most important vendors, such as publishers
  • contact information for other libraries in your region that might be called upon for support in an emergency