July 19, 2009
By Elisabeth Grant
Fire, flooding, earthquakes; disasters come unexpectedly in many shapes and forms. And the ways to prepare for such events are just as varied. Below we’ve put together a list of a number of classes and online resources that specifically target libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions that maintain collections. They outline how to plan for and prevent disasters, and how to recover if the worst does occur.
Staff members are an important part of preventing and recovering from disasters, and there are a number of classes out there that can teach them the skills they need.
- Western States and Territories Preservation Assistance Service (WESTPAS) –
“Protecting Library & Archive Collections” workshops from WESTPAS are available around the country and are funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
- Lyrasis – This membership organization for libraries and information professionals offers classes (for a fee), many of them online, on a range of subjects. Below are a few disaster related ones:
- The National Archives and Records Administration – NARA’s Records Management Training Learn Center provides online classes for federal employees and contractors. See the emergency planning course offerings.
While classes can be very helpful, sometimes self-study or quick reference is preferable. Check out the following links for online disaster resources.
- American Library Association
Disaster Preparedness and Recovery – A portal that links to a number of online resources for disaster planning, preservation and recovery, and more.
The Library Disaster Plan Template offers institutions an example plan that can be drawn from and modified for that organization’s needs.
- Conservation Online
Disaster preparedness and response – An extensive list of online resources (which we culled for some of the links in this post).
- Heritage Preservation – The National Institute for Conservation
An Action Plan to Integrate Historic Preservation into Tribal, State, and Local Emergency Management Plans provides recommendations for emergency management, offers a planning checklist, and suggests ways to build relationships with emergency professionals.
- National Archives
A Primer on Disaster Preparedness was written in 1993 and prepared for the web in 1999, but still contains relevant information on how to prepare for disasters, recover from water damage, and prevent mold.
- National Park Service
The National Park Service has posted a number of PDFs on dealing with preparing for emergencies and salvaging holdings after a disaster.
- Chapter 10 (PDF) of their Museum Handbook
- Conserve O Grams – Disaster Response and Recovery. Here are a few:
- Salvage at a Glance, Part I: Paper Based Collections
- Salvage at a Glance, Part II: Non-Paper Based Archival Collections
- Salvage at a Glance, Part III: Object Collections
- Salvage at a Glance, Part IV: Natural History Collections
- Salvage at a Glance, Part V: Textiles
- Be Prepared: Develop a Museum Emergency Operations Plan
- North Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board
The Disaster Preparedness site from the North Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board provides links to and information on assessment tools, disaster preparedness planning, preparation templates, online resources, and vendors who offer disaster services.