Library Disasters


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Property of Dr. Gale Eaton of URI's Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Slides from Fall 2006 in class LSC 521

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Library Disasters

  1. 1. Preservation and Disasters LSC 521
  2. 2. Earth: CSU Northridge, Oviatt Library
  3. 3. Air: Dead Sea Scrolls
  4. 4. Fire: in Iraq (Bayt al-Hikma)
  5. 5. Water (Gentilly Branch, NOPL)
  6. 6. And the mysterious fifth element....
  7. 7. Print and preservation <ul><li>Before print: a disaster could wipe out unique copies of manuscripts </li></ul><ul><li>After print: fall of Constantinople didn’t lead to new Dark Ages </li></ul><ul><li>Do networks make it harder to destroy civilization? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Replication of knowledge <ul><li>Before print: scribes introduced error </li></ul><ul><li>Online: texts can easily be changed </li></ul><ul><li>Does the Internet make it harder to freeze civilization? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Preservation
  10. 10. Select for preservation <ul><li>Weeding (deselection) – Ellen Altman </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Materials depreciate – physically and intellectually </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1940s cookbooks; shabby classics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Select for use </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Altman figures “life expectancy” 5 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this reasonable? </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Why preservation in public libraries? <ul><li>Tolbert (1997) argues necessary </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wear & tear on highly used books </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost of purchasing includes cataloging, preparation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shabby books = bad PR </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What are the costs of preservation? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Arguments against preservation <ul><li>PL collections often smaller, newer, & with fewer unique titles (mission: popular materials center?) </li></ul><ul><li>PLs short of time, money, resources </li></ul><ul><li>Public librarians see preservation as a national, not local, issue (is it?) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Kinds of preservation <ul><li>Retrospective (repair, reformatting) </li></ul><ul><li>Preventive </li></ul>
  14. 14. Prevention <ul><li>Environmental control </li></ul><ul><li>Housekeeping </li></ul><ul><li>Building maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>Storage </li></ul><ul><li>Handling </li></ul><ul><li>Security </li></ul><ul><li>Acquisition </li></ul>
  15. 15. Education <ul><li>Tolbert: educate staff & public </li></ul><ul><li>Can we educate public without falling into old librarian stereotype? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>19 th century: “Wash your hands” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>21 st century: Splice a simple demonstration of good handling techniques onto the front of all library videotapes? </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Charlotte-Mecklenburg preservation plan: <ul><li>Survey preservation needs </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a budget </li></ul><ul><li>Train staff in proper handling, repair, and binding techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Improve environmental conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Create a disaster plan </li></ul>
  17. 17. Resources <ul><li>Gateway for Resources and Information on Preservation: </li></ul><ul><li>National Film Preservation Board: </li></ul><ul><li>Northeast Document Conservation Center: </li></ul><ul><li>OCLC: http:// </li></ul>
  18. 18. Disasters “ A disaster is . . . a sudden misfortune that is ruinous to an undertaking.” (Boss)
  19. 19. After Katrina <ul><li>A map of affected PLs: </li></ul><ul><li>The East New Orleans PL: “Fish in parking lot. Overturned bookdrops. Major flooding. . . . Will have to be partially gutted. Closed indefinitely.” </li></ul>
  20. 20. Types of disaster <ul><li>Natural: water, fire, mold, insects </li></ul><ul><li>Human: thieves, vandals, looters </li></ul><ul><li>PoMo: hackers </li></ul>
  21. 21. Disaster plans <ul><li>Preparedness </li></ul><ul><li>Salvage </li></ul>
  22. 22. Example: minimize water damage by preparedness <ul><li>Show staff how to turn off water pipes </li></ul><ul><li>Inspect & repair roofs and flashings regularly </li></ul><ul><li>Have gutters and drains cleaned frequently </li></ul><ul><li>Don't store materials under water pipes, steam pipes, lavatories, mechanical air-conditioning equipment, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Store materials at least 4 inches off the floor </li></ul><ul><li>Install water-sensing alarms in basement storage areas </li></ul>
  23. 23. In case of flooding <ul><li>Photograph damage immediately – you can’t wait for claims adjustors to start salvage </li></ul><ul><li>Mold can permeate collection in 48 hours </li></ul>
  24. 24. Disaster plan should <ul><li>Be reviewed annually </li></ul><ul><li>Be kept in multiple locations, some offsite, accessible to everybody in charge </li></ul><ul><li>Include contact info for insurance, contractors to freeze dry books, camera and film </li></ul>
  25. 25. E-disasters <ul><li>Risk assessment: effect, probability </li></ul><ul><li>Plan for prevention & remediation of damage to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Servers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Network </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clients – PCs & Macs, viruses </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. E-disasters <ul><li>Recovery procedures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication – “cell phone in the server room should be stored in a wall-hung watertight cabinet….” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Designated operators on duty all open hrs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Designated manager available 24/7 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>External resources: vendor (contract), parent organization, insurance, etc. </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Network for disaster preparedness <ul><li>Tolbert’s example: Bronx Library Emergency Consortium, 1988, 5 libraries, grant funded </li></ul><ul><li>Disaster preparedness kits with supplies to be used only in case of emergency and replenished </li></ul>