Being prepared for emergencies and disasters is essential to preserving collections and family heirlooms. Being prepared means taking precautionary measures and knowing what to do in an emergency.
Because water exposure -- and the subsequent mold growth it quickly fosters -- is common to various emergencies and disasters, emergency preparedness necessarily emphasizes reducing the threats to collections posed specifically by water. Many different types of materials can withstand getting wet, but also can be lost completely if proper steps are not taken.
What to do if collections get wet -- learn how to stabilize collections and watch a video showing how the Library handles wet collections.
Take steps to identify, assess, and prioritize risks to collections in order to put in place the necessary resources (including insurance) to reduce, spread, or transfer the risks and minimize the impact of unfortunate events.
Knowing in advance what to do when disaster strikes increases personal safety and can help avoid catastrophic loss of collections by promoting a response that is timely, calm, and effective. Emergency management covers information that includes:
- Planning for Continuity of Operations
- Contracting for disaster services
- Conducting emergency exercises
- Knowing what to do in an emergency
- Keeping up with new information and available resources
An informed, calm, and timely response maximizes recovery by focusing first on stabilizing collections.
- What to do if collections get wet
- What to do if collections are moldy or otherwise contaminated
- How to dry a wet space
- Available assistance options/emergency services providers
- How to find a conservator
- Workshops for federal libraries on Emergency Preparedness
- Directory of the North American Network of the International Federation of Library Associations, Core Activity on Preservation and Conservation (IFLA-PAC)
- Emergency Webpages of other institutions
- References and educational materials including: how to develop a disaster plan; what to expect from various types of emergencies/disasters; how to rescue collections; life safety precautions; how to respond to theft of collections
- Oral histories from collections responders after Hurricane Katrina
The American Library Association (ALA) Carnegie-Whitney Award helped to support the creation of these emergency web pages.