Grant Collins, Manager Collection Preservation, State Library of Queensland presented at the M&GSQ State Conference 2011 on "The Implementation of a Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plan: What we Learned"
At the end of the session – collections related responding to: Liza Dale-Hallett Senior Curator, Sustainable Futures, Museum Victoria Making Meaning from Ashes - Developing the Victorian Bushfires Collection
The importance of thinking ahead, planning and testing - The most important aspect of our response was the work we had done on Business Continuity Planning (with crisis management as a subset of that). There are always lessons to be learned from a test such as this one and I’ll go into some of that. Communications - In the event of disaster we can’t obviously rely on the channels we use every day – communications were more difficulty if not cut – access to systems, hardware and software were disrupted or lost which hampered our ability to communicate as effectively as possible . It has made us think about the cloud becoming of more strategic and practical importance Staff were outstanding – I’ll share some of the stories and some of the things we would do better next time Stay Focussed - At times of crisis while we need to respond practically we also need to remain level headed and remember the principle purpose of our organisation – why are we here – so existing collections security, monitoring and maintenance is vital, but our role in capturing and remembering the events unfolding comes into play as well. NEXT SLIDES: recap on the events in January and go through a few images to remind us of the dramatic nature of the events before going into each of these learnings in more detail
Flooding occurred in Level 0 of SLQ and The Edge including: power substations, the river pump room, the SLQ loading dock, The Edge staff area The AV store, quarantine and storerooms.
Another view – the Edge, the ferry terminal and the completely submerged river boardwalk
Significant recovery work NEXT SLIDES: starts the more detailed discussion of what we learned – first dealing with disaster planning and communications
Having a detailed TESTED BCP was our greatest asset - We have spend considerable time and energy on developing and testing our BCP with: - detailed descriptions of evacuation and salvage procedures - individual worksheets for critical systems and - the nomination of members of the CMT (and their backups) - periodic testing of the systems The various tests/practices have ensured that we have ironed out most issues – the plan becomes real that key people know their roles - The CMT has practice convening (note backup membership with team contacts carried by all) The logistics on the ground are understood So on the day what worked well was the activation of the disaster plan EXAMPLE The evacuation of all collections held on the lower level of the building and relocated to upper levels. This had been trailed previously with the major challenge of evacuating the film based collections (200,000 items) from cold stores. These all had to be insulated and the whole evac completed in the afternoon before the floods hit. No mean feat – it worked because we tested it. This is a good example of a collections evacuation - it is time consuming logistics exercise involving processes and procedures, access to corridors and lifts as well as ensuring the bodies to do the moving. We also did well in terms of our capacity to quickly get some electronic services up and running and (for the most part) the reassigning of staff to meaningful offsite duties Whate could have been better – As I’ve mentioned, the incorrect information regarding the impact of the river heights on the basement level was completely unexpected. This led to the losses of bookstock for the library shop and some water damage to display cases, but thankfully nothing irreplaceable was lost. Its worth noting that the SLQ building was constructed in 1988 on the assumption that the power substations were built above the adjusted 1974 flood level (it was assumed that the Wivenhoe Dam flood mitigation would ensure a flood the equivalent of 1974 would result in a somewhat lower Brisbane River flood peak). The lesson here is a bit difficult – we rely on given information from ‘reliable’ sources – in this case the advice was wrong. I think we have learned that we will overcompensate INVENTORY The maintenance of more detailed inventories in those areas that are least visible is something we are refocussed on. So that you know exactly what was there when things do go wrong – this was reinforced for us during the floods Invisible areas in an organisation can be less rigorously described than the more high profile areas – need a reliable description of what is where in an asset inventory and storage plan example of valuable items with key relationship to award winning building One thing we have been doing since the crisis is reviewing the actions following specified ‘triggers’ to make sure they are sufficient – it was in response to the electronic trigger monitoring river height in our plant room that we evacuated basement level collections but we probably should have moved the edge earlier than we did. ESSENTIAL SERVICES We could have had greater clarity about essential services – while we have almost pathologically precise information about the priorities for collections – we have not been so rigorous about precisely detailing essential services. The Library is a reasonably complex place with various business units each of which will have strong views about what is essential. We are doing some work to remove any ambiguity here. THE UNEXPECTED A big learning for us was in the recovery period – we realised that we are not actually the centre of the universe and that the other affected institutions GOMA, QPAC, QM in our immediate vicinity all had work to be done and that Arts Queensland was making decisions about this – not us Coordination of recovery was made more difficult by having to liaise with AQ as the owners of the State Library building on recovering our stock, equipment and furniture. AQ set the timelines for getting the building infrastructure (power, lifts, mechanical services etc) back up. We are often asked for copies of our BCP but our experience has been that the value of a BCP is the journey the organisation undertakes to get the plan Since the latest crisis we have reviewed our experience as well as the plan and we have concluded that the BCP is just too big – we have now condensed the plan from XXX to XXX and in the area of communications (NEXT) Since the floods we have reviewed and reported on our experience and lessons learnt
Its complex - the area of communications with staff, the public and everybody else was especially interesting – there’s a bit to cover here. Organisations like ours have a complex set of communications requirements covering our hundreds of staff and hundreds of thousands of clients as well as obligations to our board and Arts Queensland. Lydia will talk about her use of communications channels xxxx It seems obvious but it is very strange when the communications systems you rely on every day are no longer available to you You can’t rely on your internal communications systems such as your phones and email to communicate with your dispersed staff - while our essential network equipment is on the 5 th floor the flooding in the basement levels meant that we were without power for a period of time. You are also constrained by processes and procedures activated by the nature of the event - AQ protocols kick-in and influence what you can say and when you can say it While the communications lines from the CMT to the staff worked OK – there are definite areas for improvement here and its worth going through the list Staff hotline and web notices that we had in place both suffered setbacks – the staff hotline was made public which undermined the intention Optus had a problem with their systems which made it unavailable Email We did not have a single repository of staff home contact information so the communications out were not as successful as they could have been in terms of coverage, speed and frequency Mobile phones not the solution you would think – London example Facebok and Twitter Work well – both used and not reliant on our infrastructure need to ensure timely and accurate messages on Facebook – more information more frequently to avoid proliferation of inaccurate comments and conjectures – some staff putting comments based on their limited knowledge and sometimes inaccurate. Our technology worked in many respects – we could use our citrix servers to allow staff work from home while the building was closed. However, if we had a comprehensive list of personal email addresses then we can all correspond using this method and not clog up Citrix. Perhaps staff could log on for only ½ hour twice a day to retrieve email and forward documents onto their personal accounts. Difficulty communicating but also in what to communicate – especially to the public. As a portfolio entity the SL is constrained in what advice can be given to staff and clients – the Government communications machine kicks in in a crisis Twitter, facebook and mobile phones all important methods of communicating detail to staff and clients The website was used to provide advice of the closure of the library but the level of detail was constrained The importance of successful comms hit home - and one of the key learnings from our experience is that communications needs a nominated owner - an additional executive group member should assume principle responsibility for communications in the event of a crisis.
The response from staff to flood – before during and after was characterised by willingness determination cooperation The co-ordination of staff by managers and team leaders was a complicated and difficult process during this time and has been recognised as a high achievement by both SLQ Executive and SLQ Board. Lydia has a perspective on this as well – about staying safe and making sure enthusiasm stays safe Many stories about the staff commitment to the library. One particularly striking image is a small number of staff moving heavy equipment up flights of stairs at 3 in the morning by flashlight as the river visibly rose into the vacated spaces. Another is the , the setting up of a somewhat curtailed but workable information service in difficult circumstances and the speedy restoration of e-resources – access to print and electronic collections were difficult and staff delivered services by phone IM and online – extended enquiries services were handled initially by staff at home and then limited numbers onsite prior to public reopening Good work done but a better degree of preparedness in terms of nominated projects rather than relying on thinking on our feet
The previous plan though comprehensive was way to wordy and contained a lot of information that got in road in an emergency situation and was rarely accessed. This plan will be far more succinct and punchy, and contain less than half the pages of content of the old plan The CMT documentation has been adjusted to reflect our learnings Adjusting membership of the CMT to ensure better communication – HR and exec Updating guidelines for the nature and frequency of communications to staff (where we have the freedom to do so) We are developing system which has an alternative landline and alternative email for staff members centrally We are exploring cloud-based alternatives for contacts and emails using google – exploring externally hosted text messaging service as an additional communications option. In addition – the plan is very big – it needs to be refined to become more succinct and punchy… An MOU is being developed with the Cultural Centre Precinct partners to form A COOPERATIVE IN THE USE OF DISASTER RESPONSE equipment, consumables and expertise (GRANT) in place by the end of the year – partners form across the Cultural Heritage facilities in south east Queensland
The floods and other natural disasters bring our role as institutions charged with documenting all events in the history of the state into sharp focus. The catastrophic events at Grantham and the stories of individual loss and hardship across the state add an emotional layer and a need for great sensitivity to our normal collecting activities. Our strategic directions in terms of Queensland content
Explore online delivery – exhibitions online instead of physical.. Online provide ways to expose some collection items that won’t lend themselves to physical exhibitions. Greater reach - Opportunity to connect with Education Queensland
We more fully realised the power of cloud based applications for the capture of Queensland memory Using Flickr to collect disaster related photographs – nearly 800 in that collection The JOL blog on the right hand side of the screen We proactively collected a significant amount of unpublished material that reflects the range of experiences surrounding the disasters of 2010/11. We commissioned professional photographers to capture details of the flood aftermath, acquired images from amateur photographers using platforms such as Flickr, contacted YouTube account holders for source video footage conducting oral history interviews with figures central to the South-East Queensland disaster response. This includes an interview with helicopter pilot Mark Kempton and a scheduled interview with Executive Director Media and Public Affairs, Queensland Police Service. The material will be accessioned, with the records and related digital items made available via OneSearch. Digital stories taken from the extended oral histories will also be uploaded to State Library’s Vimeo and YouTube accounts.
Images produced in-house – our professionals
Images acquired from our ‘distributed collectors’
Current methods of communicating need to be captured in addition to physical artefacts – Anna Bligh’s and the Queensland Government’s online activity needs to be recorded for the future to give us a sense of events as they transpired Web archiving is an important part of contemporary collecting activities in State Library’s Queensland Memory branch We participate in PANDORA, Australia’s web archive. Over 90 websites and/or web publications have been archived in online collections about the recent Queensland Floods http://pandora.nla.gov.au/col/10701 and Tropical Cyclone Yasi http://pandora.nla.gov.au/col/10721 Web resources captured include: twitter sites for both Premier Anna Bligh and Queensland Police Media NASA Earth Observatory’s images of Queensland floods from space Underwater videos of coral reef before and after cyclone Yasi - from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Anecdote - not only the web – A number of special items have been added to our collections relating to disasters. One of our staff obtained (through some pro-active phone calling and cajoling) the Premier’s handwritten speech notes from the January floods. Contacted someone from the Premier’s office, left a message and thought she’d never hear from him again – but they got back to her and agreed to hand it over – This is an amazing item – a collection of handwritten notes some written on the backs of old print outs and scraps of paper and including the ‘We are Queenslanders; we’re the people they breed tough, North of the border’ speech.
State Library is collecting the published record of the 2010/2011 natural disasters. In addition to collecting official government publications and reviews we have acquired a number of print on demand publications produced as fund raising activities to support the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal. We have collected a variety of posters and ephemeral material promoting fundraising activities and these are a wonderful record of the community spirit the natural disasters inspired. On a less altruistic note we realised that the differences in coverage offered by the various insurers was going to be a big issue. We sent a member of staff on a mission to get as many insurance policy documents as possible in the weeks immediately following the floods. It wasn’t just a matter of collecting the policy documents off the counter. She had to act out the role of a prospective client to actually get her hands on them! We are also creating a cutting book using a wide range of local newspapers to provide good regional coverage. We realise that this sounds terribly old fashioned, but we do have our reasons. Newspaper databases often have only short backfiles or they offer text only. Microfilm which provides our usual access to newspapers is only black and white. Given the number of incredible full colour images which covered these natural disasters we felt that a cutting book would be justified. In fact, clients were asking to see our “clipping files” on the floods almost as soon as we reopened.
This is an example of the library acting as a practical resource for clients and building access to the content we manage.
The items collected by us now become the treasures of tomorrow Car driving through Longreach floodwaters, 1922, Image No. 15217 We have had major Brisbane River floods in 1841, 1893 (a peak of 8.3 compared to the 4.46 we experienced this year), 1974 and 2011 – the content we acquire at the time can become the treasure of tomorrow
Grant Collins, State Library of Queensland
Plenary: Dealing with Disasters Hall A, MECC Chair: Christine Ianna Grant Collins Manager, Collection Preservation, State Library of Queensland The Implementation of a Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plan: What We Learned
<ul><li>The Implementation of a Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plan: What we Learnt. </li></ul>Grant Collins – State Library Queensland All images used from SLQ corporate image library unless otherwise advised
2011 Floods – SLQ Experience <ul><li>11 January SLQ evacuated </li></ul><ul><li>Levels rise the basement goes under </li></ul><ul><li>Library Building closed for a month </li></ul><ul><li>Car park closed for several months </li></ul><ul><li>Significant disruption and recovery </li></ul>
Lessons Learnt <ul><li>Develop and test detailed plans </li></ul><ul><li>Explore Communications channels </li></ul><ul><li>Staff are our key asset </li></ul><ul><li>Stay focussed on the business </li></ul>
Develop and test detailed plans <ul><li>BCP CMT and Disaster Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Testing testing testing – the plan becomes real </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure correct accessible critical building information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inventory lists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prioritised essential services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Disaster leads to the unexpected </li></ul><ul><li>Review performance for lessons learned </li></ul>
Communicate <ul><li>Complex Communications-networks-systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff – Clients – Board - AQ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CMT – Executive Managers – Staff </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff Hotline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Email - Mobile Phones - Facebook and Twitter – Citrix - Mobile Phones - Mail </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Senior Communications Officer </li></ul><ul><li>Build alternatives </li></ul>
Staff <ul><li>Willingness determination cooperation </li></ul><ul><li>Passion for the collections and services </li></ul><ul><li>Onsite, offsite and online </li></ul><ul><li>Logistics – coordination making work meaningful </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure contingency plans are in place </li></ul><ul><li>Find ways to deliver… </li></ul>
Learnings recap <ul><li>Condense BCP </li></ul><ul><li>Membership of CMT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Executive Communications Officer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HR coordinator </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prioritise essential services lists </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Refocus on detailed inventory lists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Projects for fall back </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Comms to staff - more information quicker and more frequently </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CMT now reflects improved communication flow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep a list of alternative landline/email for staff </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Look to the cloud… </li></ul>
Stay Focussed <ul><li>Collecting and retaining Queensland's documentary heritage is not always easy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotionally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Practically </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Building Collections </li></ul><ul><li>Build John Oxley Library as a keeping place for the stories, knowledge and cultures of the people of QLD </li></ul><ul><li>Preserve and manage collections for current and future generations </li></ul><ul><li>Building Capacity and awareness of Queensland Memory </li></ul><ul><li>Increase community created content in collections </li></ul><ul><li>Lead the development of a collaborative distributed collection of Queensland Memory </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ The story of this summer is a story that must be recorded in history so our future generations will know the phenomenon that we experienced. </li></ul><ul><li>So that our future generations may understand not only the atrocities that nature unleashed, so that they may also learn and understand the aftermath of those atrocities, the stories of loss and despair, of fragility and hope and the stories that characterise our indomitable Queensland spirit” </li></ul><ul><li>Premier Anna Bligh Condolence speech15 February 2011 </li></ul>Relevance
Flickr Group – almost 800 images Queensland Floods - Rob and Stephanie Levy – Flickr Martin Howard – Gailes Caravan Village – Flickr Erik K Veland. It's not open you fool! - Brisbane Floods – Flickr
Images from SLQ staff photographers Leif Ekstrom and Josie Huang – more than 300 images