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.
This would be a good time to review your pandemic planning procedures and perform a table-top drill. For instance, are you ready to continue access to your resources and core services if your library is closed for, say, one week? Click on the link below to view a table from the University of Virginia’s Health Sciences Library’s Emergency Preparedness & Response Plan detailing the assignment of responsibilities in the event of a pandemic. Feel free to borrow.
Also, if you would like more information on the interlibrary loan backup plan developed by the University of Virginia Health Sciences Library and the Health Sciences Library at the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, please see the article in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association.
Click here to see a page that gives an excellent explanation of what a table-top exercise is, and how to create and run one. The author is Joe Olivo, of Strohl Consulting Services. Joe is a Certified Business Continuity Planner, and while the page notes that he has consulted with financial institutions, law firms, and businesses, I think that his advice can be easily adapted for just about any type of institution, including libraries large and small. It’s a good example of providing information that is general enough to be adapted, while specific enough to be helpful.
I particularly like this part: “Based upon the effectiveness of the pre-exercise meetings, the exercise will almost run by itself with team members knowing what has to be accomplished. Exercising is a primary means of training. In any actual recovery effort, the best team members are usually those who have participated in exercises.”
We are beginning monthly training sessions here at UVa’s HSL with staff who are responsible for emergency response, using a table-top exercise each month for a different scenario. The first scenario was an epidemic of influenza, in which the library’s staffing was compromised. We talked through how the library would be opened, how to determine if it should stay open, how core services would be maintained, how patrons would be notified if necessary. We were able to address questions about communication and availablility of various resources, among others, and found the exercise to be quite helpful. Our staff enjoyed working through the scenario, and felt better prepared to respond afterward.
Dan also used table-top exercises in training sessions for NN/LM’s RML staff and emergency response coordinators this year, and the exercises were very effective in helping everyone understand their roles and how the established plan would be implemented across a given scenario and by the various “players.” Many thanks to Joe Olivo and Strohl for making this information available in such an accessible format.