Disaster Response: A Selected Annotated Bibliography

ALA Library Fact Sheet 10

Disasters strike every area of the country, and disasters do not spare libraries. Usually there is little or no warning, and the best defense is a plan for effective response.

This fact sheet is a selective resource for libraries of all sizes and types. It contains information on organizations that can provide disaster assistance; disaster recovery resources available online; and a bibliography of print resources.

More focused information is available on single-subject pages, including Preservation, Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Response, and Pandemic Preparedness.

A list of books on disaster planning and recovery, compiled by this office, appears at WorldCat.org, the free online database of library catalogs from across the country, in which you can search for a book title by zip code to get the closest library that has it, at:
Disaster Planning for Libraries - Library Safety and Security at WorldCat.org

Additional disaster plan resources and trauma resources are continuously collected.

An extensive online resource is CoOL, Conservation OnLine: Resources for Conservation Professionals, which is operated by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation and is a full text library of conservation information, covering a wide spectrum of topics of interest to those involved with the conservation of library, archives and museum materials. It is a growing online resource for conservators, collection care specialists, and other conservation professionals.

Emergency Response/Disaster Assistance Phone Numbers Available 24/7

LYRASIS Preservation Services. Have a Collections Emergency? If your library or institution has suffered damage and would like to request assistance, contact LYRASIS Preservation Services at 1-800-999-8558. If you call after hours, you will be directed to an answering service; tell the operator you have a collections emergency and need to speak with someone from Preservation Services. If you are located inside the continental United States and you would like on-site assistance, we may be able to match you up with volunteers willing to help assist you in the response and recovery process. See the Disaster Assistance page for a list of preservation field service programs located throughout the United States. If LYRASIS' lines are busy or down to due an emergency, please contact one of the other programs listed below. Although the regions they cover are listed in parentheses, all are available to assist any cultural institution in need.
Comprehensive, up-to-date information on aspects of library and archival preservation ranging from disaster preparedness to reformatting, with services including referrals to conservators, specialized consultants and other service providers. LYRASIS also offers disaster recovery advice after emergencies such as fires, floods, leaks, and outbreaks of pests and mold. If you have a question, please call (800) 999-8558 or email the Preservation Services staff. LYRASIS Preservation Services is a source for libraries, archives, and other cultural heritage organizations to obtain the services, information, and expert assistance they need to manage their physical and digital collections. Classes, local training, consulting, and information resources are all provided to help institutions address the long-term management of and access to collections being purchased, licensed, digitized, and created at local institutions. The mission of Preservation Services is to improve institutions' abilities to maintain long-term, cost-effective access to information resources in both traditional and networked collections, as well as emergency planning and response efforts.

Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) 24 / 7 Collections Emergency Phone Assistance. For emergency assistance, contact NEDCC's toll-free collections emergency hotline at Collections Emergency Hotline: 1-855-245-8303. NEDCC staff members are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide telephone advice to institutions and individuals handling collection-related disasters. Information provided includes advice on drying wet collections and dealing with damage from fire, pests, and mold. This service does not normally include on-site assistance.

AIC-CERT (American Institute for Conservation—Collections Emergency Response Team) Rapid Response Team for Cultural Institutions (PDF). For 24-hour assistance, call (202) 661-8068. AIC-CERT responds to the disaster response & recovery needs of cultural institutions during emergencies and disasters through coordinated efforts with first responders, state agencies, vendors and the public.

Amigos Library Services Imaging & Preservation Service (IPS) - Disaster Planning and Recovery. Contact the Amigos Support Desk between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central Time (CT), 1-800-843-8482 (972-851-8000 in the Dallas area), ext. 2844 or support@amigos.org. After business hours, call 972-340-2844. For immediate guidance in the event of an emergency, call the Amigos Imaging & Preservation Service for information, referrals to local resources, and on-site assistance. Amigos offers assistance before, during, and after an emergency. IPS staff members are available to assist your institution with planning activities and recovery from damage caused by various emergency situations, including natural disasters. The Amigos IPS is a not-for-profit, grant-funded service that provides preservation information, support, and training to librarians and archivists in the southwestern United States, primarily the states of Arizona, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Selected Disaster Response and Recovery Resources

Cleaning Up After Water Damage includes link to What To Do If Collections Get Wet by the Library of Congress

Heritage Emergency National Task Force. Coping with Water Damage (10-min. online video).

LYRASIS. Disaster Resources, Disaster Response and Recovery, and Managing the Preservation Environment, which includes Invasion of the Giant Mold Spore (PDF; revised Sept 2005)

Minnesota Historical Society. Salvage Procedures for Wet Items.

National Archives and Records Administration Preservation Programs. General Information on Drying the Environment and Wet Materials (PDF). 2009.

Walsh, Betty. Salvage Of Water-Damaged Collections: Salvage At A Glance (PDF) National Park Service Conserve O Gram January 2002 (Number 21/3). (All Conserve O Grams leaflets)

Waters, Peter. Procedures for Salvage of Water-Damaged Materials. 1993.

Selected Bibliography

Balloffet, Nelly and Jenny Hille. Preservation and Conservation for Libraries and Archives. Chicago: American Library Association, 2004.

An overview for library administrators and decision makers of optimal collection preservation techniques, what it takes to set up a conservation work area, and safe ways to mount a small exhibit, this guide also includes illustrated, step-by-step instructions to repair and conserve books and documents, tips on proper environmental and housekeeping controls, and appendices on the care of photographs as well as lists of suppliers, and additional resources. The chapter disaster reponse provides a foundation for understanding priorities for recovery after disasters, including fire, flood, mold and more.

Calvi, Elise, Yvonne Carignan, Liz Dube, and Whitney Pape. Preservation Manager's Guide to Cost Analysis. Chicago: Preservation and Reformatting Section, Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS, a division of ALA), 2006.

An understanding of cost analysis methods, coupled with a clear understanding of the activity under study, will position the preservation manager to conduct cost analyses in support of a range of management objectives, including developing work plans, production schedules, and budgets for new programs or projects (including those for external funding proposals); comparing different methods of accomplishing work (such as in-house vs. outsourced); improving productivity; reducing costs; and identifying the cost impact of improving quality.

Halsted, Deborah D., Richard P. Jasper, and Felicia M. Little. Disaster Planning: A How-to-Do-It Manual for Librarians with Planning Templates on CD-ROM. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2005.

Written by experienced librarians who know because they’ve recovered from disasters, this important how-to helps librarians prepare for hurricanes, computer hackers, earthquakes, explosions, fires, floods, terrorist attacks, and other events. Disaster Planning shows you how to create a working disaster team, establish a communications strategy, develop response plans, and identify the proper relief/recovery agencies for your library. The companion CD-ROM is full of tools you can use, including: sample disaster plans, a downloadable and customizable template for creating your own disaster plan, links to disaster planning Web sites, a comprehensive directory of electronic resources and planning aids, and a disaster planning database with links to national agencies.

---, Shari Clifton, and Daniel T. Wilson. Library as Safe Haven: Disaster Planning, Response, and Recovery : A How-to-Do-It Manual for Librarians. Chicago: ALA Neal-Schuman, 2014.

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. Peppered with informative first-person narratives from librarians recounting emergency situations, Halsted, Clifton, and Wilson cover 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; and sample disaster plans, along with model exercises, manuals and customizable communications. Published in cooperation with the Medical Library Association (MLA), this nuts-and-bolts resource will enable libraries of all kinds to do their best while planning for the worst. This title is also available for purchase in an e-book edition and as a print/e-book bundle.

Kahn, Miriam. Disaster Response and Planning for Libraries, Third Edition. Chicago: ALA, 2012.

Fire, water, mold, construction problems, power-outages—mishaps like these can not only bring library services to a grinding halt, but can also destroy collections and even endanger employees. Preparing for the unexpected is the foundation of a library's best response. Expert Kahn comes to the rescue with this timely update of the best step-by-step, how-to guide for preparing and responding to all types of library disasters. This completely revised third edition offers: quick and efficient guidance for creating protocols and response plans tailored to your own institution; pointers for handling all kinds of library materials when damaged; the last information on preparing for technology recovery; up-to-date information on prevention equipment and materials; and dozens of reproducible checklists and forms, and a comprehensive list of resources. Kahn's guide gives libraries the tools they need to face any emergency, no matter the size or scope. Table of contents, introduction, and the index available as Adobe Reader PDF file. This title is also available for purchase as an e-book and as a print/e-book bundle.

---. The Library Security and Safety Guide to Prevention, Planning, and Response. Chicago: ALA, 2007.

Libraries need to be open and inviting, yet safe for patrons, staff, and collections. How can you ensure your library is both accessible and secure? Security planning, part of disaster response and continuous operations planning, is the key to proactively addressing potential safety issues. This resource outlines hands-on plans to identify potential security problems; put prevention strategies in place; create guidelines for libraries and staff in case something does happen; and minimize risk, whether to building, collections, patrons, staff, or computers. Case studies, along with 20 checklists and 10 sample policies and forms. Check out the companion Library Security eCourse. This title is also available for purchase as an e-book and as a print/e-book bundle.

---. Protecting Your Library's Digital Sources: The Essential Guide to Planning and Preservation. Chicago: ALA, 2004.

Digital resources are subject to damage from a variety of sources--from floods and fires to hackers and computer crashes--and so are perhaps even more susceptible to problems than print. Storage issues and long-term accessibility for digital materials requiring dated or obsolete hardware often can be overlooked. This book has critical pre-emptive advice to help you protect and preserve the right information: 29 checklists and forms that address the issues; case studies; and a comprehensive bibliography.

Mallery, Mary, ed. Technology Disaster Response and Recovery Planning: A LITA Guide. Chicago: ALA TechSource, An imprint of the American Library Association, 2015.

Because technology is becoming ever more integral to libraries' role in their communities, any interruption in service and resources is a serious matter. This compendium leads readers through a step-by-step process of creating a library technology disaster response and recovery plan. The freely available Technology Disaster Response and Recovery Planning excerpt (PDF) is the table of contents, the index, and the full text of Chapter One by editor Mallery, "What Could Go Wrong? Libraries, Technology, and Murphy’s Law". This title is also available for purchase as an e-book and as a print/e-book bundle.

Thomas, Marcia L., and Anke Voss, compilers; Marcia L. Thomas, editor, for ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries). Emergency Response Planning in College Libraries. Chicago: College Library Information Packet (CLIP) Committee, College Libraries Section, Association of College and Research Libraries, 2009.

Provides information on disaster and emergency response planning and management to assist librarians in the creation and updates of emergency response plans. Selected documents contain procedures for coping with a wide range of potential emergencies, from power failures to armed intruders, and a bibliography points not only to articles and books but also professionally developed web sites containing extensive documentation on current best practices.

Wilkinson, Frances C., and Linda K. Lewis and Nancy K. Dennis. Comprehensive Guide to Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery. Chicago: ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of ALA), 2009.

Written primarily for academic libraries, this guide addresses disaster planning, response and recovery. Chapters cover writing the disaster plan and training for response; responding to the emergency; and recovering. There are also case studies, a glossary, a bibliography, and directory of resources for services and supplies.This title is also available for purchase as an e-book and as a print/e-book bundle.

Please send comments or suggestions for other resources to include to library@ala.org.

NOTE: Previous versions of this fact sheet can be accessed via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine using the original URL: http://www.ala.org/library/fact10.html

Last updated: December 2015

For more information on this or other fact sheets, contact the ALA Library Reference Desk by telephone: 800-545-2433, extension 2153; fax: 312-280-3255; e-mail: library@ala.org; or regular mail: ALA Library, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2795.