Disaster Preparedness

February 10–12, 2009 hosted by Walter Cybulski and Nancy Kraft

Largely due to the widespread impact of recent disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and the recent extensive flooding in Iowa, disaster preparedness has become a priority in many of the nation's libraries. No repository can afford to be without a well crafted plan that addresses response and recovery options in the event of a natural disaster. Of four major recommendations resulting from the 2005 Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America's Collections, one stated that “every collecting institution must develop an emergency plan to protect its collections and train staff to carry it out” (see: http://www.heritagepreservation.org/HHI/index.html).

Join this e-forum to share your disaster planning and response experiences and learn more about online resources that can help you get started if you haven't already. Feel free to discuss problems you met along the way and how having (or not having) a plan impacted your response to a disaster, whether you encountered a building roof or pipe leak or experienced the devastation of a regional disaster.

Go to discussion archive.

Walter Cybulski is a Preservation Librarian at the National Library of Medicine, where he has served as Disaster Response Chief for over a decade. Walter has coordinated a variety of response and recovery actions at NLM, ranging from mechanical room equipment leaks to major flooding in collection storage areas. He serves on the Library's Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) planning team for Library Operations, and has provided collection response and salvage training for regional medical librarians in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Nancy E. Kraft is the University of Iowa Libraries Preservation Librarian. Kraft has first-hand experience in disaster response and recovery. She toured Iowa after the 1993 floods as a post flood recovery assessment team member, co-directed disaster response and recovery of the State Historical Society of Iowa building flooded by water from a broken pipe on the top floor, assisted with recovery from the University of Iowa Old Capitol fire, directed several mold remediations, and is assisting with the Iowa 2008 flood response and recovery.