Disaster and Emergency Planning

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A disaster can strike the library at any time. From natural (flood, tornado or hurricane) to manmade (electrical fire, burst pipes or a firecracker in the bookdrop), disastrous or emergency conditions can damage collections and buildings in a matter of moments. Planning for disasters, just like disasters themselves, can take many forms: writing a disaster preparedness plan; training staff; reviewing insurance coverage annually; or creating a "disaster supply kit" to be housed at the library. Regardless of form, however, disaster planning is an important activity for all libraries. Because the scope of such planning can seem overwhelming, PLA's Public Policies in Public Libraries committee has provided the following links as a starting point. (Please note that inclusion in the list should not constitute endorsement by PLA or the committee. They are listed for informational purposes only.)

  • Northeast Document Conservation Center

"Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) is a non-profit, regional conservation center specializing in the preservation of paper-based materials. NEDCC serves libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and other collections-holding institutions, as well as private collections."

  • Federal Emergency Managment Agency "Integrating Historic Property and Cultural Resource Considerations into Hazard Mitigation Planning."
  • Library Disaster Plan Template from the California Preservation Program
  • Disaster Preparedness and Response from Conservation OnLine, Preservation Department of Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources

Various state and cooperative organizations have disaster planning and readiness information on their websites. Examples include:

  • Amigos Library Serivces
  • Palinet