For immediate release | November 11, 2020

Designing and implementing a library risk management program

CHICAGO — Amidst uncertain times rife with challenges and potential catastrophes, prudently managing risk will bolster your library’s resilience in the face of adversity. And by being attentive to lowering risk, you’ll help keep insurance costs in check. A powerful resource for trustees and administrators, “Risk and Insurance Management Manual for Libraries, Updated,” published by ALA Editions in cooperation with Core, offers straightforward guidance for designing and implementing a library risk management program. Sally Alexander, Mary Breighner, and Jeanne M. Drewes provide succinct advice on such essentials as:

  • the five major areas of risk and loss for libraries, with an overview of the types of property and casualty coverage common to most libraries;
  • how to determine if the new framework of enterprise risk management is right for your library;
  • elements of a good risk policy statement;
  • tips for determining the value of your collection, plus a sample risk assessment template;
  • the most library-relevant portions of the National Fire Code;
  • insurance considerations for remodeling or construction projects;
  • advice on cybersecurity and handling cyberattacks;
  • setting up an emergency response team that is ready when disaster threatens;
  • developing a financial plan that assures uninterrupted service despite adverse conditions; and
  • guidance on the paperwork a claims adjuster will require.

Alexander serves as director of risk management and chief risk officer for Colorado State University (CSU). She served on the board of directors of the University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA) from 2013 to 2017 and co-chaired URMIA’s Governmental Regulatory Affairs Committee during that same period. In 2019 she was awarded CSU’s Office of International Programs’ Distinguished Service Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the internationalization of CSU. Breighner is a chartered property and casualty underwriter (CPCU). An active member of URMIA, she has served on various committees there, as an officer, director, and past president. She received the Distinguished Risk Manager Award from URMIA in 1992. She has presented nationally and internationally, and has published numerous articles in URMIA Journal. Drewes was chief of the Binding and Collections Care Section of the Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress from 2006 to 2019 and is currently a cultural heritage consultant. She received the Ross Atkinson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. An active member of ALA, the American Institute for Conservation, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and the Guild of Bookworkers, for more than 40 years she has taught workshops and published on the topics of insurance and risk management, disaster planning, preservation outreach, and other areas of preservation.

Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures is a new division of ALA. Its mission is to cultivate and amplify the collective expertise of library workers in core functions through community building, advocacy, and learning.

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Related Links

"Risk and Insurance Management Manual for Libraries, Updated"

"Technology Disaster Response and Recovery Planning: A LITA Guide"

Free PDF e-book—"Library as Safe Haven: Disaster Planning, Response, and Recovery"


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

American Library Association

ALA Publishing