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Library Disasters
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Library Disasters



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

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 Library Disasters Presentation Transcript

  • Preservation and Disasters LSC 521
  • Earth: CSU Northridge, Oviatt Library
  • Air: Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Fire: in Iraq (Bayt al-Hikma)
  • Water (Gentilly Branch, NOPL)
  • And the mysterious fifth element....
  • Print and preservation
    • Before print: a disaster could wipe out unique copies of manuscripts
    • After print: fall of Constantinople didn’t lead to new Dark Ages
    • Do networks make it harder to destroy civilization?
  • Replication of knowledge
    • Before print: scribes introduced error
    • Online: texts can easily be changed
    • Does the Internet make it harder to freeze civilization?
  • Preservation
  • Select for preservation
    • Weeding (deselection) – Ellen Altman
      • Materials depreciate – physically and intellectually
      • 1940s cookbooks; shabby classics
    • Select for use
      • Altman figures “life expectancy” 5 years
      • Is this reasonable?
  • Why preservation in public libraries?
    • Tolbert (1997) argues necessary
      • Wear & tear on highly used books
      • Cost of purchasing includes cataloging, preparation
      • Shabby books = bad PR
    • What are the costs of preservation?
  • Arguments against preservation
    • PL collections often smaller, newer, & with fewer unique titles (mission: popular materials center?)
    • PLs short of time, money, resources
    • Public librarians see preservation as a national, not local, issue (is it?)
  • Kinds of preservation
    • Retrospective (repair, reformatting)
    • Preventive
  • Prevention
    • Environmental control
    • Housekeeping
    • Building maintenance
    • Storage
    • Handling
    • Security
    • Acquisition
  • Education
    • Tolbert: educate staff & public
    • Can we educate public without falling into old librarian stereotype?
      • 19 th century: “Wash your hands”
      • 21 st century: Splice a simple demonstration of good handling techniques onto the front of all library videotapes?
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg preservation plan:
    • Survey preservation needs
    • Establish a budget
    • Train staff in proper handling, repair, and binding techniques
    • Improve environmental conditions
    • Create a disaster plan
  • Resources
    • Gateway for Resources and Information on Preservation: http://www.knaw.nl/ecpa/grip/
    • National Film Preservation Board: http://www.loc.gov/film/
    • Northeast Document Conservation Center: http://www.nedcc.org/p101cs/p101wel.htm
    • OCLC: http:// www.oclc.org/services/preservation/default.htm
  • Disasters “ A disaster is . . . a sudden misfortune that is ruinous to an undertaking.” (Boss)
  • After Katrina
    • A map of affected PLs: http://www.libraryndp.info/special_katrina.html
    • The East New Orleans PL: “Fish in parking lot. Overturned bookdrops. Major flooding. . . . Will have to be partially gutted. Closed indefinitely.”
  • Types of disaster
    • Natural: water, fire, mold, insects
    • Human: thieves, vandals, looters
    • PoMo: hackers
  • Disaster plans
    • Preparedness
    • Salvage
  • Example: minimize water damage by preparedness
    • Show staff how to turn off water pipes
    • Inspect & repair roofs and flashings regularly
    • Have gutters and drains cleaned frequently
    • Don't store materials under water pipes, steam pipes, lavatories, mechanical air-conditioning equipment, etc.
    • Store materials at least 4 inches off the floor
    • Install water-sensing alarms in basement storage areas
  • In case of flooding
    • Photograph damage immediately – you can’t wait for claims adjustors to start salvage
    • Mold can permeate collection in 48 hours
  • Disaster plan should
    • Be reviewed annually
    • Be kept in multiple locations, some offsite, accessible to everybody in charge
    • Include contact info for insurance, contractors to freeze dry books, camera and film
  • E-disasters
    • Risk assessment: effect, probability
    • Plan for prevention & remediation of damage to:
      • Servers
      • Network
      • Clients – PCs & Macs, viruses
  • E-disasters
    • Recovery procedures
      • Communication – “cell phone in the server room should be stored in a wall-hung watertight cabinet….”
      • Designated operators on duty all open hrs
      • Designated manager available 24/7
      • External resources: vendor (contract), parent organization, insurance, etc.
  • Network for disaster preparedness
    • Tolbert’s example: Bronx Library Emergency Consortium, 1988, 5 libraries, grant funded
    • Disaster preparedness kits with supplies to be used only in case of emergency and replenished