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.