The Syracuse University Libraries’ Disaster Recovery Plan for library materials outlines procedures for salvaging a wide variety of library materials in the event of a disaster or minor emergency. We have designed this plan to help library staff cope with and recover materials from minor emergencies that typically involve 500 or less items. This resource can be downloaded in sections or as a complete manual.
The National Heritage Responders also have a collection of PDF tip sheets on the following topics: Long Term Recovery, Mold, Removing Large Paper Items from Flat Files, Drying Wet Collections and Buildings, Collections Evacuation Tip Sheet, Health and Safety for the Public Tip Sheet, and Recovery Company Tip Sheet.
Here are some information resources from the Northeast Document Conservation Center.
Disaster Lit: Database for Disaster Medicine and Public Health is the National Library of Medicine (NLM) database of links to disaster medicine and public health documents available on the Internet at no cost. Documents include expert guidelines, research reports, conference proceedings, training classes, fact sheets, websites, databases, and similar materials for a professional audience. (description from their website)
There are three phases of disaster and emergency management: Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. At Syracuse University Libraries, we are planning for all three phases.
For example, as part of our preparedness, posters like the one below are posted at every staff elevator entrance. They can't be missed! The poster indicates exactly where disaster recovery kits are located on the specific floor. In an water emergency, these posters serve as easy-to-find reminders of where important supplies are located.
Library staff receive training in disaster response when initially hired and at periodic intervals afterwards.
If an emergency occurs, the Disaster Response Team is called into action.
At right, plastic sheeting and absorbent booms (on floor) were used to protect stacks during a small water leak in Special Collections.
Our disaster kits contain: Disaster Manual on waterproof paper, form for reporting a disaster, Quick instructions with “what to say” when calling to report a disaster, aprons, cordon yellow police line tape, clothes pins, duct tape, exacto knife & refills, extension cord (100 ft.), flashlight & batteries, goggles, hard hats, latex gloves, paper towels, plastic rolled sheeting (10 x 25 ft.), plastic roll (12 x 100ft., stored on bin), permanent markers (red and black), scissors, string, surge protector strip, tape dispenser (for boxes), tape refills, towels, trash bags (33 gallon), wax paper (9 x 12”), whistle, zip lock bags.
Students save water damaged books by interleaving the pages with paper towels before they are dried with fans.
During the recovery period, adjustments may be made to continue services at another location or online, staff may be temporarily assigned to recovery tasks, and so on.
Also, the disaster response is assessed to allow for continual improvement. For example, Syracuse University Libraries added small super-absorbent towels to disaster kits in response to staff suggestions. The kits already had paper towels, but these new towels provide staff with an additional option during water leak events.