CHICAGO — Libraries have always played a special role in times of disaster by continuing to provide crucial information and services. The Stafford Act of 2011, a federal government directive, designates libraries as among the temporary facilities delivering essential services, making a Continuity of Operations Plan imperative for libraries. “Library as Safe Haven: Disaster Planning, Response, and Recovery; A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians,” published by ALA Neal-Schuman, is a nuts-and-bolts resource that enables libraries of all kinds to do their best while planning for the worst. Deborah D. Halsted, Shari C. Clifton and Daniel T. Wilson pepper their manual with informative first-person narratives from librarians recounting emergency situations, covering such topics as:
- an eight-step approach to developing a risk assessment plan;
- how to draft a one-page service continuity plan;
- information on how to use mobile devices and social media effectively in times of disaster;
- sample checklists, model exercises, customizable communications and a compendium of additional resources.
Halsted has over 30 years of professional library experience, primarily in academic medical libraries. It was after severe flooding in the Texas Medical Center Library in Houston caused by Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 that she became involved in disaster planning and recovery. In 2005 she coauthored “Disaster Planning: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians” based on her personal experiences. She has remained active in disaster planning, especially in extensive training in the National Incident Management System Incident Command System.
Clifton has been a health science librarian for more than 20 years and is currently professor/head of reference and instructional services at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center's Robert M. Bird Library in Oklahoma City. An active participant in professional organizations at the state, regional and national levels, she has held a variety of elected/appointed positions and has presented numerous papers, posters and programs at professional meetings. She is a distinguished member of the Medical Library Association's Academy of Health Information Professionals.
Wilson is the associate director for Collections and Library Services at the University of Virginia Claude Moore Health Sciences Library. Since the summer of 2007, he has served as the coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) National Emergency Preparedness and Response Initiative. In that role, he coordinates the emergency preparedness and response activates of the network and regularly facilitates workshops designed to bring together emergency planners and the library community to discuss roles and plan partnerships.
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