Related product Collections Management

Disaster Planning 101

Project Introduction

The CARLI Preservation Committee is providing tips and resources over the course of FY2024 to support CARLI member institutions as they draft, revise, maintain, and practice their disaster plans. As we face an increase in frequency and severity of natural disasters, emergency planning and response becomes an even more pressing issue for libraries and archives. According to the most recent IMLS Heritage Health Index Survey,  approximately 42% of all collecting institutions have a disaster plan, and just 25% have staff who are trained to carry out the plan. Whether your institution is starting from scratch or already has an established plan, the Disaster Planning 101 series can provide guidance to prepare your staff and safeguard your collections. 

Disaster planning and response is an ongoing process focused on protecting collections as well as continuity of operations, and human safety. The work is never fully complete, and while it can be difficult to dedicate time and resources to the process, effectively mitigating and responding to disasters can save time and money in the long run. 

Throughout FY2024, we will tackle topics including:

  • Making the case for disaster plan funding and securing institutional buy-in;
  • Developing a disaster plan;
  • Training staff to carry out the plan;
  • Apps and technology that can help;
  • Collections-specific salvage resources;
  • Tips for working with a disaster vendor.

These articles will be available in the CARLI Newsletter, as well as here on our Disaster Planning 101 blog. If you’d like to learn more about disaster planning and response, you can find tons of helpful information in the Preservation Committee’s previous projects, Disaster Planning and Quick Tips for Disasters and Emergencies, as well as helpful links on the Preservation Resources page.

If your collections have been impacted by a disaster, the National Heritage Responders have a free hotline staffed by collections care and conservation professionals who can provide advice: 202-661-8068. 

- Shelby Strommer, Collections Care Coordinator, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Disaster Preparedness: Disaster Planning Resources & Securing Funding

In this article, Jade Kastel, Western Illinois University, shares tips on the preparations to take before a disaster, funding disaster preparedness, and steps institutions can establish beforehand to help manage and mitigate in the event of a disaster.

Seven-Steps to Preparing a Disaster Preparedness and Response Plan

A disaster preparedness plan is designed to reduce the impact of mold, water, pests, and other issues that may affect our collections and enable us to react quickly in emergencies within your library and archive collections. Authoring such a plan isn’t difficult, especially if taken in a few key steps.

Staff Training on Disaster Preparedness

The best-written disaster plan can't do much without properly trained staff! Break staff training goals down into three categories: short-term, long-term, and institutional. It takes time to bring coworkers and information networks up to speed, so it helps to be realistic and spread tasks out along a rough timeline.

Technology Apps and Online Resources for Disaster Preparedness and Response

Disasters and collection emergencies happen, and apps and other electronic technology tools can be effective and time saving assets to incorporate into your emergency response kit. View some tech options and online resources to consider adopting to help preserve your library’s collections.

Collections Specific Salvage

Water damage can happen any time and it can be catastrophic. Given the likelihood of water-based event--as well as the difficulty in predicting them--the best policy is to have an effective response plan to mitigate the damage. But that can be tricky because different materials require different mitigation methods when a water event strikes, and this may not be immediately clear to those responding. This article provides information and clear instructions regarding salvage of wet materials based on the type of object from the Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Plan of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.