Just the FAQs, Ma’am

Especially if you’re new to this site, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page (see top or side menu).  We’ve tried to answer questions that will help you find what you’re looking for on the site and to know whom to contact for help or more information about emergency preparedness/response and service continuity.  Do you have a question that isn’t answered in the FAQs?  Just send it along to Susan Yowell (syowell@virginia.edu) or Dan Wilson (danwilson@virginia.edu) and we will do our best to answer it.

Great Opportunity

The severe winter storm that affected (and still affecting) the Midwest, South, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast, gave libraries in these regions a great opportunity to activate their service continuity plans. If you don’t have a plan, this is a good time to prepare for the next major service disruption. (Resources to help you can be found on our Writing Your Disaster Plan page.) If you did have a plan, how did it go? Would you change anything? If so, this is a good time to make those changes.

Here is a NOAA satellite view of the winter storm. Note the similarities of a hurricane. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Assessing your preparedness for H1N1

Here at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, our pandemic planning group met earlier this week to assess the status of our preparedness for possible changes to staffing and operations in the event of the anticipated surge in H1N1 and seasonal influenza.  We are attaching the document that resulted from the discussion at the meeting, in case it will be helpful to others who may also be in the planning process.  To see the document, click on the “Pandemic Planning” tab above and find the link to “Pandemic plan CMHSL public” on that page.

Pandemonium in Wyoming!

Many thanks to Jim Honour at the University of Wyoming in Laramie for sending us this report (quoting from Jim below…).  We hope to hear more details about the meeting soon, and are sorry to have missed it ourselves!

“Librarians from all six states in the MidContinental Region attended the Sixth Annual Wyoming Symposium for Health Information Professionals, July 15-17, 2009 at the Coe Library on the University of Wyoming campus in Laramie.  This year’s theme was “Plowing Through Pandemonium:  Proactive Librarians.”  Most sessions focused on emergency preparedness for medical librarians.  A highlight of the event was a half-day brainstorming session, using the Cafe-to-Go method, when attendees (20 librarians and eight representatives of Wyoming community-based organizations) met to find ways to partner to make biomedical information available during emergencies.  Presentations during the Symposium included tips for using the WISER (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders), continuity of library services during an emergency, funding available through the MidContinental Region for emergency planning projects, an eyewitness account from a colleague who was in New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina hit, and a keynote presentation by the Director of the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security.”

wysympparticipants21

Pandemic planning schedule for libraries

We’ve added another resource to the Pandemic Planning page here on the Toolkit.  Check out the “Pandemic Planning Table“ (available in both Word and PDF on the Pandemic Planning Page) for a descriptive and sequential method for developing an effective service continuity plan in the event of a global pandemic, such as the one we are facing now from the Novel H1N1 virus.  The procedures shown in the table depict a schedule for pandemic preparedness.  The table is loosely based on one from the World Health Organization (WHO), but the description of the levels has been adapted to suit this particular pandemic.  While the WHO model is based on a virus that originates in animals (e.g. avian influenza), our model begins with a human-to-human novel virus.  The procedures detailed in the Table we’ve created should be easily adaptable to just about any type of library.  We welcome your comments and suggestions–what do you think?

Advancing the Standard for Service Continuity

Recently, Dan has made two presentations, as an invited speaker, that featured the importance of service continuity planning for libraries, and in both cases he used the scenario of social distancing in response to the H1N1 influenza virus (see info from the CDC) as a basis.  Some experts are warning that H1N1 may re-surge in the northern hemisphere early this fall, well before the tradional flu season, so it’s important that we remain aware of the potential risks from a more widespread epidemic than we have seen so far, and that we keep the banner of service continuity moving forward.

On July 9, Dan addressed the monthly conference call hosted by NLM’s Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC), giving an overview of this year’s activities of the NN/LM’s emergency preparedness initiative, and featuring the Hospital Librarians Summit which was held in Chicago in April (click here to see the posting about this).  Other highlights of this year have been conducting training meetings with NN/LM staff and state coordinators in the PNR, SCR, GMR, PSR and SE/A regions, enhancing the Toolkit, and developing promotional materials.  Several participants on the call confirmed that the training has been very effective so far, and “buy-in” from NN/LM members has been excellent.

On July 17, Dan addressed the annual Interlibrary Loan Forum of the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) at Sweet Briar College in Lynchburg, VA.  Working from the NN/LM’s emergency preparedness plan, which emphasizes service continuity, especially for Interlibrary Loan services, Dan presented the procedures that have been established through a partnership between the Health Sciences Libraries at the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for providing back-up ILL services for each other in an emergency, and which are transparent to library users.  While the audience represented all types of academic libraries in Virginia, it included several who are NN/LM members.  Click ILL Backup Plan VIVA to see Dan’s slides from the VIVA Forum.

If you would like more information about the ILL backup plan between the two libraries or about training for service continuity, please contact one of us (see the “About Us” tab at the top of the page).

“10-Step Approach…” class now available as MLA CE course

The “10-Step Approach to Service Continuity Planning” class, created by the Coordinator and Project Assistant for the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Plan, has been approved by the Medical Library Association (MLA) for 2 hours of Continuing Education credit, awarded at the conclusion of the class.  To view information about the class, check here on the MLA Educational Clearinghouse site.  (You can find the class by using “emergency” as the keyword in the search box on the first page of the site.)   If you are interested in arranging a ”10-Step Approach…” class for yourself or a group, contact your NN/LM regional office at 1-800-338-7657.  Classes are offered both face-to-face and virtually.