Thursday, July 27, 2006

Disaster Plans

As you might imagine, I have a growing list of things I need to find out about when I get the Olin Library. With hurricane season upon us and the library's beautiful location right next to a lake, one thing I am interested in finding out about is what kind of disaster plans exist on campus and in the library.

American Libraries Direct (a newsletter from the American Libraries Association) had a brief item today about D-plan, "a free online program to help institutions write comprehensive disaster plans. dPlan provides an easy-to-use template that allows museums, libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions of all sizes to develop a customized plan" from the Northeast Document Conservation Center.

Fire, flood, earthquakes, negligence, war, theft, pests, mold ... the list of things that can damage or destroy a library seems endless. Two books that give you a good sense of the impact of disaster on libraries and thus on the wider society (and perhaps more interestingly, the impact of societal collapse on libraries) are Matthew Battles' Library: An Unquiet History (not available in Olin unfortunately, but it is in the Winter Park Public Library at 027.009 Bat and in UCF Main Library General Collection at Z721 .B28 2003) and Lionel Casson's Libraries in the Ancient World (available in the Olin library General Collection at Z722.C37 2001)

No plan can cover every eventuality and, to paraphrase Moltke, no plan survives contact with reality. But a thorough disaster plan, that everyone who needs to know is aware of, can save you from a "world of pain", to quote another great strategic thinker.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not to worry! After 2004 we became real pro's in "wrapping the shelves" in preparation for the hurricane. We did the drill three times in 04 and once in 05.

Rather fun, actually. Its something out of the ordinary and lets everyone do something physical during an otherwise stressful situation.

Yes, we will be happy to show you our beautiful disaster plan once you arrive next week (Here's hoping the weather won't be too interesting that week! I'm already keeping my eye on the tropics)