Identify, Assess, and Prioritize Risks
Identifying, assessing, and prioritizing potential risks enables rational planning for achieving an optimal outcome when risks are realized.
- What are the natural disaster hazards of your location? (e.g., floods; severe storms; tornados; etc.)
- What are your building's hazards? (e.g., water leaks; fire; blackout; etc.)
- What are the hazards within the collection space? (e.g., water pipes; sprinklers; fire; ingress routes for pests; mold; etc.)
- How vulnerable is the collection to each of the above identified hazards? Would the potential damage be catastrophic or manageable?
- What risks have been realized in the past? How frequently? Was the damage minor, moderate, or severe? What has been done since to manage those risks?
- Which risks are most likely to be realized and, when realized, will have the most significant impact?
Reduce, Spread, and Transfer Risks
Minimize the realization of risks:
- Keep the building in good repair
- Invest in good building or space design (e.g., compartmentalize storage areas; avoid storage directly under water pipes; etc.)
- Invest in sound building systems (e.g., HVAC; fire detection and suppression; etc.)
- Maintain building systems and test regularly
- Practice good housekeeping
- Take extra precautions in advance of foul weather and be extra vigilant during foul weather
- Avoid keeping all of the highest value/most important collection items together in one place
- Make copies of important documents (e.g., birth certificates; insurance policies; passports; property titles; etc.) and store copies in a separate location
Transfer some of the costs of realized risks:
- Have insurance and understand terms of coverage (e.g., types of materials insurance will replace, salvage expenses insurance will reimburse, necessary documentation for submitting claims)
- Form mutual assistance networks
The information compiled here cover general key concepts and represent the minimum considered good practice in libraries, archives, museums, and other collection-holding institutions. These recommendations may be superseded by specific institutional requirements.