Disaster Plan #1, June 1994; Revised January 2000; Updated June 2005

Table of Contents



A disaster plan is an essential component of sound asset management for university libraries. Many disasters, such as severe weather, cannot be prevented, but sensible planning mitigates damage from such an event if it should occur. On the other hand, rigorous prevention and protection measures will prevent many small collection emergencies from escalating into costly big ones.

Most academic institutions recognize that the value of library collections is often second only to the campus buildings. In university libraries, books are estimated at a replacement cost of $75-$100 each. Added to this is the cost of replacing computers and other equipment, software, manuscripts, furnishings, photographs, rare books and other materials. Some of the library's collection may consist of unique, irreplaceable items. Clearly, the most sensible approach is to prevent disasters from striking and to react calmly and logically if the worst should happen.

This disaster plan and set of procedures will guide the staff of the Bertrand Library if it should need to respond to emergencies in the collections. The plan has been developed with the assistance of many staff members and university staff working with experienced consultants. It is, however, a working document and will be revised many times as the Disaster Response Team works with it and makes changes to fit the needs of the library, the staff, and the collections.

The Disaster Response Team is responsible for keeping the plan current and responsive to library collections and concerns. The chair(s) of the team will make any changes necessary and disseminate new information such as staff name changes or new telephone numbers. The team will review the entire plan regularly making suggestions to improve it. All staff will receive revisions and will be educated about how to incorporate them into their own copies of the plan.

The Disaster Response Team is responsible for swift, educated, and calm response to any collection emergency, and will keep itself current about emerging disaster recovery techniques and developments. The team chair(s) will be responsible to the Associate Vice President for Information Services and Resources and will report all changes in the plan as well as any concerns or problems related to disaster preparedness. The chair(s) will communicate frequently and clearly in time of emergency so that the Associate Vice President will be informed about all response and recovery operations.

Emergency Procedures

The Emergency Section of the Disaster Plan contains concise information for any Library staff member who must respond effectively to an emergency in the library. Often staff who have had little or no training in emergency response must initiate the call. They will need directions that are easy to follow and are what the Associate Vice President and the Disaster Response Team have determined are best. The Emergency Section describes precisely how a staff member should respond and who is to be called. Emergency numbers are listed, and a telephone tree is included, as is an alphabetical listing of key people. Laminated copies of these procedures should be disseminated widely and kept where staff can find them easily.

The Emergency Procedures are a brief step-by-step set of directions for fire, water, power outage, or vandalism threats to the Library collections.

The Emergency Priority Notification List is a listing of the titles, names, and telephone numbers of people in the order in which they are to be notified if there is a collection emergency. Each person has a backup. It is up to these people to keep each other informed about absences or vacations so a gap in communications will not occur in times of emergency. If neither person on the priority notification list can be reached, the caller must proceed to the next person AND notify each successful contact about those who were unreachable.

The Emergency Notification Telephone Tree is a graphic representation of those who are to be called and how the notification of the emergency will be handled. This assures that communication does not break down. Each person on the tree has a responsibility for ensuring the notification of the next person on the list and must continue calling until someone is reached or the designated backup is contacted. Communication is key to the success of a disaster response.

The Emergency Telephone Numbers ensure that all staff key to an effective response are listed in alphabetical order so numbers can be located readily at times of stress.

University security experts have been educated about the disaster preparedness process and have contributed to the creation of the plan. Public Safety, Facilities, and the Lewisburg Fire Department have been provided with a copy of the plan.

Emergency Procedures

Post these emergency instructions at all staff telephones and public service points. In case of an emergency that threatens library materials, do these things first.


1. Pull the fire alarm at the first sign of smoke.
2. Call Circulation Ext. 71882 or Reference Desk; Ext. 71462 or Tech Desk; Ext. 77777
3. Desk calls Public Safety; Ext. 71111
4. Follow prescribed procedures for evacuating staff and patrons.
5. Close doors as offices are evacuated.
6. Desk initiates the Disaster Phone Tree (see reverse) FROM A SAFE LOCATION.


1. Call Circulation Ext. 71882 or Reference Desk; Ext. 71462 or Tech Desk; Ext. 77777
2. Desk calls Physical Plant; Ext. 71911
3. Desk calls Nancy Dagle; Ext. 71342 (H)523-0639
or Gene Spencer; Ext. 71047 (H)275-7648
If none of the above are available, call:
Jim Van Fleet; Ext. 73235 (H)966-3308
4. Person called will call Jim Van Fleet;Ext. 73235 (H)966-3308
5. Do not enter a flooded area until electricity has been turned off by Physical Plant.
6. Move affected materials to a dry area if possible.
7. Cover other affected materials. Plastic drop cloths are stored in stack areas.

Power Outage

1. Call Circulation; Ext. 71882 or Reference Desk; Ext. 71462 or Tech Desk; Ext. 77777
2. Desk calls Physical Plant; Ext. 71911
3. Desk calls Nancy Dagle; Ext. 71342 (H)523-0639
or Gene Spencer; Ext. 71047 (H)275-7648
If none of the above are available, call:
Jim Van Fleet; Ext. 73235 (H)966-3308
4. The person called will call Physical Plant; Ext. 71911
and Jim Van Fleet; Ext. 73235 (H)966-3308
5. Each staff member has a flashlight stored in his/her work area.
6. Distribute flashlights from emergency supplies.
7. Turn off all computer equipment.

Vandalism and Threats to Library Materials

1. Call Circulation; Ext. 71882 or Reference Desk; Ext. 71462 or Tech Desk; Ext. 77777
2. Desk calls Public Safety; Ext. 71111
3. Desk calls Nancy Dagle; Ext. 71342 (H)523-0639
or Gene Spencer; Ext. 71047 (H)275-7648
4. Document appearance of those involved.
5. Make notes concerning circumstances of event.
6. The person called will call Jim Van Fleet; Ext. 73235 (H)966-3308
if necessary.

Emergency Priority Notification List

Circulation Desk;


Reference / Information Desk;


Technology / Help Desk;


Public Safety;


Physical Plant;



Carl, Tom
(Learning Spaces)

(W) 577-3434

(H) 425-3070

Dagle, Nancy
(Associate Director of Library and Information Services)

(W) 577-1662


Dysinger, Doris
(Curator of Special Collections/University Archives)

(W) 577-3101

(H) 742-9162

Hollenbach, Barbara
(Library Assistant - Cataloging)

(W) 577-3247

(H) 524-4703

Hoyt, Brian
(Engineering Computing Instruction Administrator)

(W) 577-1895

(H) 524-7967

McQuiston, Kathleen
(Librarian/Program Manager for Information Resources)

(W) 577-3309

(H) 275-2709

Rea, Don
(Web Development)

(W) 577-3278

(H) 988-7878

Spencer, Gene
(Associate Vice President for Information Services and Resources)

(W) 577-1047

(H) 275-7648

Van Fleet, Jim
(Librarian/Information Specialist
for Science and Engineering Resources;
Disaster Team Co-chair)

(W) 577-3235

(H) 966-3308

Stover, Kelly
(Administrative Assistant;
Disaster Team Co-chair)



Williams, Terry
(Building Leader - Physical Plant)

(W) 577-1911

(H) 522-0989

Emergency Telephone Numbers

Burkholder, Bill
(Systems Administrator);

(W) 577-3251

(H) 649-5517

Carl, Tom
(Learning Spaces);

(W) 577-3434

(H) 425-3070

DeCerchio, Vince
(Director of Public Safety:
Campus Security;
Fire Safety;
Environmental Safety and Health;

(W) 577-3333


Forster, Linda
(Supervisor of Serials);

(W) 577-3238

(H) 374-1452

Hawley, Dennis
(Director of Physical Plant);

(W) 577-1911

(H) 649-5796

McCormick, Jim
(Safety Manager);

(W) 577-3337

(H) 473-3802

OíNeill, Isabella
(Librarian/Manager of Reference Services);

(W) 577-3230

(H) 523-6697

Pauling, Richard
(Learning Spaces);

(W) 577-3433

(H) 435-3316

Clarke, Jennifer
(Supervisor of Acquisitions);

(W) 577-3252

(H) 743-4510

Philips, Peggy
(ISR Secretary);

(W) 577-1557

(H) 742-2928

William Cameron Fire and Ambulance Company
- Lewisburg

(W) 911


Woland, Mary Jean
(Supervisor of Circulation);

(W) 577-3287

(H) 374-6949

Collection Priorities

This section lists the collection priority decisions reached by Library staff during disaster preparedness discussions. At a glance the priorities inform Library staff, fire department, or other authorities which parts of the collections are to be protected if possible or salvaged first, if that decision ever has to be made. When priorities have been reached in advance it eases the stress of making quick and often uninformed decisions immediately following a disaster. There is agreement among all involved that certain collections must receive priority attention if many have been affected. In addition, priorities have been set within individual collections or departments. These priorities may be found in the appendices.

Priority decisions have been based upon a number of considerations including the following:

- what collections and equipment would be needed to provide service to the

Bucknell University faculty and students as soon as possible after a disaster?

- irreplaceability

- value or uniqueness

- high demand

- legal responsibilities

- availability of replacements

- breadth and depth of collections

- long-range collection development plans.

Collection priorities are marked on the maps of the Library found in the appendices. In addition, top priority collection ranges or locations are marked with labels to make it easier for those unfamiliar with the collections or the stacks to locate them in times of emergencies.

Disaster Recovery Priorities

In the event that a major disaster strikes the Bertrand Library, the following general priorities should be observed in the protection of, response to, and recovery of the collections.

Priorities for isolated emergencies within departments or areas of the Library can be found in Appendix A to this plan and should be followed carefully under the direction of the appropriate subject librarian and the Disaster Response Team.

The Emergency Telephone Notification List must be activated before any salvage is initiated.

Priority I - Reference and Reserves (see detailed department priorities in Appendix A)

1. Reserves - Personal and library-owned original materials

2. All Reference Island resources (ASK DESK)

3. Encyclopedias, indexes, and other large reference sets

4. Art reference books, maps, and atlases

5. Reference Call No. ranges B, D, E, H, N, P

6. Government Document Legal Materials (see Gov. Doc. List)

Priority II - Special Collections/University Archives, IMS, and Circulation (see detailed department priorities in Appendix A)

1. Legal and fiscal material and vital records in Archives - see list

2. Unique materials in Special Collections - see list

3. Irreplaceable and great research value - see list

4. Rare materials - see list

5. Theses and dissertations (1st Mezzanine cage)

6. Photographic negatives from IMS

Priority III - Circulating Collections

1. CMA list

2. Periodicals printed

3. Government Documents (see detailed department priorities in Appendix A)

a. US Government Documents shelf list

b. All sheet maps and atlases in the map and atlas collection

c. All non-print format material

d. Early US census material

4. Curriculum/Juvenile and Asian Collections

Disaster Response Steps

Disaster response covers the initial phase of the Library's reaction to a collection emergency. Depending upon the extent of the disaster, the time represented may be a few hours or several days. In the catastrophic Los Angeles Central Public Library fire in 1987, the response phase lasted for two weeks. This phase is not over until the damaged collections have been removed and stabilized and the rest of the collections are protected from further damage. Then, planning can proceed and decisions can be made for how recovery will be undertaken.

The disaster response section contains the information needed by the Disaster Team for a fast and effective response to a collection emergency. The section has been planned carefully to assist the Disaster Team members with their responsibilities. It is often difficult to think clearly after disaster has struck collections. The Team and the consultants have asked many questions to ensure smooth communication and sound decisions related to the emergency and the collections affected. The section covers who will assess the damage to the collections, how response is initiated, as well as the activation of plans for services, supplies and experts. Names of backup team members are supplied. Although training in response steps is best for any Team, the directions supplied in this section should make it possible for any staff member to understand what must be done.

Immediately following this page is a brief guide for disaster response which may be used as a check list during a collection emergency.

A Brief Guide for Immediate Disaster Response

1. Who is in charge?

2. What is the extent of the disaster?

- What materials are affected?

- How many materials are affected?

- Which high priority materials are affected?

3. How serious is the damage to materials?

4. Is the cause of the disaster being addressed?

5. Are the collections not affected being protected from potential damage?

6. Have all necessary library staff been notified?

7. Have all necessary facilities, security, and insurance staff been notified?

8. What supplies, equipment, services, and/or space will be needed?

- Are required supplies available or will additional supplies or services have

to be ordered or contacted? Who is doing this?

- Will extra space be required to work or air dry or store materials? Who is arranging for this?

- Will additional staff or volunteers be required and trained? Who is doing this?

- Will transportation be needed to move collections? Who is taking care of this?

9. How are affected materials going to be dealt with?

- Are freezers needed for stabilization?

- What recovery methods are appropriate?

10. How will service be restored and when? Who is charge of this?

Disaster Response Steps

  1. Control source of disaster and eliminate hazards
  2. Assess the disaster situation
  3. Set up a command post

Library: Shipping and Receiving


CCS Conference Room

  1. Convene disaster team members

Library: Shipping and Receiving


CCS Conference Room

  1. Assess and document initial damage to collections on site
  2. Protect undamaged collections and provide security
  3. Remove water and control the environment
  4. Set priorities for salvage (See Collection Priority List)
  5. Decided upon stabilization and recovery needs
  6. Activate plans for supplies
  7. Activate plans for volunteers
  8. Activate plans for space
  9. Activate plans for services
  10. Document all activity
  11. Set up communications
  12. Call in consultants if necessary

Disaster Recovery Steps

The disaster recovery section contains necessary information about the techniques and methods that can be employed for recovering a variety of damaged collection materials.

For example, wet coated paper must be attended to within six hours if it is a high priority and must be saved. Film-based media must be attended to before it starts to dry or it will be lost. There are five proven ways to dry wet collection materials, but not all are appropriate under every circumstance. Team members have been educated to make those decisions.

The section contains key steps to be taken after water damage and descriptions of techniques such as air drying and vacuum freeze drying. There are instructions for the proper cleaning of contaminated materials. There are reminders to think about any related health and safety issues caused by the disaster that may affect any who are helping.

Questions are asked to remind Team members of important aspects of recovery to ensure a smooth process. What kind of work flow makes sense? Who will be in charge of long term recovery efforts.? What space will be needed and where will it be located? How does this emergency affect service to the University and what alternative plans must be made to provide needed research and teaching resources? By preparing as many answers as possible to the issues raised in this section and its related appendices, a fast and effective response and recovery can be more certain.

A Brief Guide for Successful Disaster Recovery

1. Think creatively and avoid making uninformed decisions. Make use of any planning you have undertaken.

2. Stabilize collections as soon as possible.

3. Provide as ideal an environment for all collections exposed to disaster as is possible.

4. Protect materials which have not been affected by the disaster to prevent additional damage.

5. Select the recovery method(s) best suited to the collections and to the kind of damage they have received.

6. Avoid damaging materials irreversibly in the recovery phase.

7. Reduce the effects of the disaster on the materials as much as possible.

8. Prevent any future problems which might result from the disaster or its aftermath.


Disaster Recovery Steps

  1. Select Recovery Methods

_____Air Dry


_____Freeze Dry

_____Freeze Dry (thermal)

_____Vacuum freeze dry

  1. Pack and remove damaged collections


1. Shipping and Receiving Exit

2. Vestibule (Front Door)

  1. Clean contaminated materials (if necessary)



  1. Stabilize damaged collections (if necessary)

_____Remove to storage


_____Air Dry

_____Leave in place




  1. Record all information about materials

_____Number of items removed

_____Number of boxes, numbered on exterior

_____Numbers of items in each box, on exterior

_____Where boxes were sent

_____Call numbers or ranges, if desired

_____Estimate of damage, if desired


  1. Collect and maintain data
  2. Initiate recovery method(s)





  1. Restore library/archival services
  2. Repair/stabilize damaged building(s)

Checklist for Automation Disasters

  1. Determine what caused damage (nature of damage).
  1. Analyze location of damage.
  1. Determine what was damaged (make list). All affected departments can help with their list.
  1. Determine what vendor or Bucknell service is responsible for repair of damage.
  1. Post out-of-order signs on public terminals. Notify department contacts that equipment is unavailable and staff should not try to use it.
  1. Check maintenance contracts.
  1. Contact appropriate vendors for repair, including CCS if applicable.

In disaster, public machines are highest priority. The Manager of Library Systems and the Associate Director would lead recovery effort. They would keep the office informed on situation.

Disaster Rehabilitation Steps

After a library disaster, the most time-consuming steps come once the collections are dried and ready to be returned to the shelves. They must then be sorted, cleaned, repaired, rebound, rehoused, prepared for the shelves with new security tags and shelf labels, and replacements must be ordered. Fumigation may even have been necessary. Finally, many catalog and shelf list records may need correction or notation. All plans that can be made ahead of time for how this might be accomplished and who would be involved will help provide economies of time and expense. Where will the necessary processes be carried out? What funds are available? Will library staff do this or will others be hired temporarily? Who will supervise? What expertise is required?

Any materials that have been damaged by water will require more shelf space after drying. As a result, a shift of collections and new space configurations will be required. In the best of circumstances at least 10% more shelf space will be needed. That is assuming response has been swift and decisions appropriate. If there has been a delay in stabilizing damaged collections, up to 100% more space may be required. A timely response is clearly advisable.

This section includes a list of key disaster rehabilitation steps to remind the Disaster Team of components they will need to address.

Disaster Rehabilitation Steps

  1. Develop procedures for receiving, examining, sorting collections, and locating space


  1. Determine necessary options





_____Pamphlet binding

_____Protective enclosure

_____Replace shelf labels

_____Replace security strips



  1. Train personnel
  2. Watch for mold and treat, if necessary
  3. Assess new space configurations
  4. Correct database records
  5. Return collections to shelves
  6. Complete documentation and write final report

Prevention and Protection Measures

The Disaster Team's most important duty, and the one at which they must spend the greatest amount of time, is related to preventive and protective measures. It is imperative that a library take whatever steps are necessary and possible to prevent disaster or to reduce its effects if it should strike. Many emergencies can be prevented entirely with common sense and the willingness of all library staff to be aware of potential problems like dripping pipes, sluggish plumbing, accumulated trash, or careless workers who are unaware of the fragility of library collections.

The Disaster Team is responsible for conducting yearly internal and external surveys to check for potential problems and for making recommendations to the Library Director about how they might be addressed. Although ideal solutions should be considered, acceptable alternatives should also be presented until the ideal can be reached within a reasonable period of time. Several survey forms are included in this section. Other sample survey forms are included in the appendices. It is helpful to design or use a reporting form that not only outlines the problem and makes suggestions for what must be done to address it but also provides space to note a date of completion. Sometimes follow up calls are necessary.

The Team should understand fire and smoke detection equipment and suppression and security systems. They are expected to communicate with experts who are available to them on campus to help solve security, safety, personnel and other issues related directly to their responsibility for the preservation of the collections and equipment housed in the Library.

Disaster prevention is the primary responsibility of the Team, and they will spend the greatest amount of their effort related to assessing and implementing protective measures.


Appendix A

Department Priorities

Appendix B

Floor Plans

Appendix C

Disaster Team Member Responsibilities

Disaster Team Member Responsibilities

In this section can be found descriptions of activity categories which will be essential in case of a major emergency. A general description of the responsibilities of the various members of the disaster team follows, and, where appropriate, some examples of tasks which will be involved in the preparation for and response to a library disaster are included.

Every member of the disaster team has the responsibility to select an area in which to develop expertise so to that he/she will be prepared to respond appropriately and effectively to an emergency. At the same time, each member should be acquainted with the plan as a whole so he/she will be able to function as part of the disaster team. In the event of a disaster, each disaster team member will carry out responsibilities which are part of that member's area of expertise and will perform other tasks as assigned by the disaster team leader.

The Disaster Team Leader

The responsibilities of the disaster team leader are over-arching, ensuring that the disaster team members are prepared to respond to an emergency and, then, supervising and coordinating the response and rehabilitation following a disaster. He/she will coordinate and facilitate all activities with the help of those disaster team members whom he/she designates.

In preparation for a disaster>/b>

1. Convene and chair meetings of the disaster team.

2. Serve as liaison between the library administration, the university facilities and public safety departments, and the local fire and police departments.

3. Review and update the disaster plan yearly, or more often if necessary, with the help of the team member responsible for documentation.

4. Schedule training sessions for members of the disaster team and for library staff.

In response to a disaster

1. Assess the extent of the disaster and decide if it is necessary to convene the disaster team.

2. Establish a command post.

3. Coordinate decision-making among University Public Safety, the fire department, and library administration.


The disaster team member with responsibility for documentation will be prepared to keep records concerning all aspects of the disaster.

In preparation for a disaster

1. Maintain all information relevant to the disaster preparedness and response effort.

2. Develop a system for tracking damage to library materials.

In response to a disaster

1. Take photographs of the disaster site.

2. Note the time and date of all activity involved in the disaster and disaster response effort.

3. Record all decisions made.

4. Collect and compile the damage-assessment notes of the disaster team.

5. Maintain records of library materials removed from the library.


The director of volunteers will be prepared to enlist volunteers if directed by the disaster team leader. He/She will assign volunteers to team members as needed.

In preparation for a disaster

1. Make plans for enlisting volunteers.

2. Maintain a list of potential volunteers.

In response to a disaster

1. Arrange for a rest area for volunteers which will provide restrooms, a snack area, and comfortable seating.

2. Establish a work schedule.

3. Train and supervise volunteers.


This disaster team member will organize and supervise the communication system for disaster response and recovery.

In the event of a disaster

1. If directed by the team leader, call team members and library staff.

2. Arrange for telephone service for the command post.

3. Act as liaison between disaster team leader and team members.

4. Coordinate all communications during disaster recovery.

Supplies and Services

The disaster team member in charge of supplies and services will maintain the disaster response supplies within the library. He/She will also have information concerning the sources of other necessary equipment and services, should they be required. It is this team member's responsibility to ensure that adequate supplies and equipment are available to those responding to the disaster.

In preparation for a disaster

1. Maintain a list of sources of those supplies which are to be acquired only in case of an emergency.

2. Order and store supplies listed in the disaster plan.

3. Distribute and store plastic drop cloths.

4. Identify and contact potential services, such as commercial freezer facilities.

In Response to a Disaster

1. Distribute supplies from storage area to disaster areas. Acquire new stock as necessary.

2. Provide disaster team leader with information concerning vendors of necessary services.


The team member in charge of monitoring will set up monitoring equipment in the disaster area and the work areas and record the resulting data. This team member will make recommendations for adjusting environmental conditions and will be responsible for recognizing mold growth.

In preparation for a disaster

1. Learn to use monitoring instruments.

2. Learn standards for temperature and humidity.

In the event of a disaster

1. Work with facilities staff to establish desired environmental conditions in disaster area and in work areas.

2. Document temperature and humidity readings in disaster area.

3. Survey affected materials for mold.

4. Survey non-affected materials to establish need for protection. Continue to monitor until building returns to normal.

Appendix D

Consultants, Services, and Supplies


Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA)
264 South 23rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 545-0613
FAX (215) 735-9313

Sue Kellerman
University Libraries
The Pennsylvania State University
E506 Pattee Library
University Park, PA 16802-1805
(814) 863-4696
FAX (814) 865-8769

Debbie Hess Norris
Photographic Conservator
Winterthur Program
3030 Old College
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716
(302) 831-2000

Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC)
100 Brick Stone Square
Andover, MA 01810
(978) 470-1010
FAX (978) 475-6021

Charlotte Tancin
Librarian and Research Scholar
Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 268-7301

Volute Preservation Management Associates
Sally A. Buchanan (home: (412) 486-3508)
Susan M. Melnick (home: (412) 371-4229)
Jacalyn C. Mignogna (home: (412) 863-4454)
300 South Homewood Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15208
(412) 243-4006
FAX (412) 361-4157



Media Recovery

Moisture Removal/Freeze Drying Services

(800) I-CAN-DRY
(800) 422-6379

vacuum freeze drying
Building air conditioning and drying

Document Reprocessors
5611 Water St.
Middlesex, NY 14507
(888) 437-9464

vacuum freeze drying

Emergency Supplies List

The following is a list of basic supplies most libraries have found to be useful when dealing with everything from a minor collection emergency to a full-blown disaster. In case of the latter, the supplies on hand are meant to enable you to initiate a response while you round up the additional supplies and services you will need. If you keep a source of supplies on hand, build in a procedure for replacing them after use.

Essential Supplies:

1. Rolls of plastic sheeting, accessible and ready to use

2. Zippy cutters, to cut plastic sheet, wax paper, etc. - scissors dull quickly

and a supply of replaceable razor blades

3. Boxes, standard book or record, stored flat, or lightweight plastic disaster


4. Tape, if necessary, to construct boxes, and tape dispensers

5. Pads of paper, lined, and clipboards

6. Ballpoint pens

7. Waterproof marking pens

8. Plastic garbage cans - 3

9. Squeegees and buckets

10. Plastic trash bags

11. Waxed paper - pre-cut if possible, 12x18

12. Clean newsprint or white paper towels

13. Flashlight(s) or light sticks

14. Wet-dry vacuum(s)

15. Fan(s), large

16. Extension cords - heavy duty

17. Clothesline and clothespins

18. Polyester film ( cut in sheets approx. 12x15 inches)

19. First aid kit

Nice to have:

1. Hygrothermograph and paper recording charts or sling psychrometer

2. Instant camera and film

3. Portable generator or access to one

4. Tools like hammer, screw drivers, crowbar, wrench,

5. Pallets

6. Clean rags, like old towels, or several packages of Handiwipes

7. Book trucks reserved only for emergencies

8. Plastic gloves in two or three sizes

Appendix E

Wet Materials

Stabilizing Wet Collections

If collection materials have become wet, they must be stabilized in some fashion to prevent mold, physical distortion, and in some cases, total loss.

1. The first step in stabilization is to bring the environment under control. Temperatures should be as low as possible, but certainly under 70 degrees F. Humidity should be reduced to a maximum of 40% R.H. Lower is better. Good air circulation must be provided.

2. A means of monitoring the environment must be available so that correction can be made if necessary. Sling psychrometers or hygrothermographs are best, but minimum/maximum thermometers and a good hygrometer can be used.

3. All wet furnishings and carpet should be removed if they cannot be dried immediately.

4. Moderate to heavily wet books and records should be frozen to prevent mold and physical distortion until decisions can be made about how to dry them. Blast freezing with temperatures below -25 degrees F. is best, but any freezer with temperatures below

0 degrees F. is acceptable. Books and records may stay frozen indefinitely without damage.

5. Photographs and slides should not be frozen unless no other choice is available. Some damage to surface gloss may happen in the freezer. Glass plate negatives should never be frozen.

6. Wet computer equipment or A-V equipment must be dried as soon as possible to avoid permanent damage. A list of companies who can provide specialized drying should be kept in the Appendices.

7. Dehumidification works very well for drying equipment, buildings. and furnishings.


Drying Wet Books and Records

There are currently five ways to dry wet books and records. All have undergone at least some minimal level of testing under emergency conditions; several have been used extensively. These are described to assist you in making the best choice given your circumstances: cause of damage, level of damage, numbers involved, rarity/scarcity, personnel available, budget available, drying services available. Advice from a conservator or preservation administrator experienced in disaster recovery is advisable before the final selection(s) is made. It is important to remember that no drying method restores materials. They will never be in better condition than the one they are in when drying begins. If time must be taken to make critical decisions, or to remove large numbers of materials from the site, books and records should be frozen to reduce physical distortion and biological contamination. Book and paper conservators should always be consulted about the drying of rare or unique material.

Air Drying

Air drying may still be the most frequently used method of drying wet books and records, although not always the most appropriate. It can be employed for one item or many, but is most suitable for small numbers of damp or slightly wet books/documents. Because it requires no special equipment, it is often seen as an inexpensive method. However, it is extremely labor-intensive if carried out properly, can occupy a great deal of space, and usually results in badly distorted bindings and text blocks if the damage is more than superficial. It is seldom if ever successful for drying bound, coated paper. Correct methods for air drying books and records should be understood before commencing.


This is the newest method to gain credibility in the library and archival world, although it has been used for many years to dry out buildings and the holds of ships. Large, commercial dehumidifiers are brought into the facility with all collections, equipment, and furnishings left in place. Temperature and humidity can be controlled to user specifications. This method is successful for drying damp to moderately wet books and records, equipment, and furnishings. It must be initiated before swelling becomes a problem or mold appears, i.e., within 24 hours of the emergency. Dehumidification is not successful for drying bound, coated paper. The size of the facility is limited only by the amount of equipment available and the expertise of the equipment operators. Choose a company with experience in drying library or archival collections. Dehumidification has the advantage of leaving the materials in place on the shelves and in storage boxes, eliminating the costly step of removal to a freezer or vacuum chamber.

Freezer Drying

Books and records which are only damp or moderately wet may be dried successfully in a self-defrosting, blast freezer, if left there long enough. Materials should be placed in the freezer as soon as possible after water damage. Books will dry best if their bindings are supported firmly to inhibit initial swelling. The equipment should have the capacity to freeze very quickly, and the temperatures must be -10 to -40 degrees F. to reduce distortion and to facilitate drying. Documents may be placed in the freezer in stacks or may be spread out for faster drying. In very large commercial freezers they may be left in their storage boxes, although this will slow drying. Expect this drying method to take from several weeks to several months, depending upon the temperature of the freezer and the extent of water damage. Coated paper may adhere with this technique.

Vacuum Thermal-Drying*

Books and records may be dried in a vacuum thermal-drying chamber into which they are placed either wet or frozen. The vacuum is drawn, heat is introduced, and the materials are dried, either in cycles of freezing and thawing, or slightly above 32 degrees F. This means the materials stay wet, not frozen, while they dry. It is a very acceptable manner of drying wet records if cockling is not a problem, but it often produces extreme distortion in books, and causes adhesion of coated paper. Water-soluble inks or pigments will also be affected. For large numbers of materials it is easier than air-drying, and almost always more cost-effective. Extensive rebinding or recasing, however, should be expected for books. This method is a good solution for unbound materials which have suffered extensive water damage.

Vacuum Freeze-Drying*

Books and records are placed in a vacuum chamber either wet or frozen. The vacuum is pulled, a source of low heat is introduced, and the collections, dried at temperatures below 32 degrees F, remain frozen until dry. The physical process known as sublimation takes place, i.e., ice crystals vaporize without melting. This means there is no additional swelling or distortion beyond that incurred before the materials were placed in the chamber. Coated paper will dry well if it has been frozen or placed into the chamber within 6-8 hours; otherwise, it may be lost. The process calls for sophisticated equipment and is especially suitable for large numbers of very wet books and records, as well as for coated paper. Rare and unique materials can be dried successfully this way, but leather and vellum may not survive. Water soluble inks and pigments will not be damaged further. Although this method may initially appear to be more expensive due to the equipment required, the results are often so satisfactory that additional funds for rebinding are not necessary, and mud, dirt, and soot are lifted to the surface, making cleaning less time-consuming.

* These terms have been developed for use in library and archival preservation. The various industries employing these methods have their own terminology or use these terms in a different way. It is important to understand what each does so that the correct method can be requested and careful questions can be asked the potential commercial firm. There are companies with extensive experience drying library and archival materials using either or both methods.


Appendix F

Prevention Surveys

Appendix G


Appendix H


Basic Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Reading List

ARMA. International Guidelines for Records and Information Management: Magnetic Diskettes - Recovery Procedures. Prairie Village, KS: Association of Records Managers and Administrators, Inc., 1987.

Well-illustrated, practical instructions for salvaging water-damaged diskettes.

Barton, John P. and Johanna G. Wellheiser, editors. An Ounce of Prevention: A Handbook on Disaster Contingency Planning for Archives, Libraries and Record Centers. Toronto: Toronto Area Archivists Group Education Foundation, 1985.

Practical and comprehensive manual on prevention, planning, and recovery.

Buchanan, Sally A. Disaster Planning: Preparedness and Recovery for

Libraries and Archives, a RAMP Study with Guidelines. Paris: UNESCO, 1988.

Planning, prevention, protection, response and recovery.

Buchanan, Sally. "Disaster: Prevention, Preparedness and Action." Library Trends, Fall 1981, 30(2): 241-251.

Planning, prevention, protection, response and recovery.

Buchanan, Sally. Resource Materials for Disaster Planning in New York Institutions. Albany, NY: New York Office of Cultural Education and Division on Library Development and the Northeast Document Conservation Center, 1988.

Planning, prevention, response, recovery, rehabilitation, and evaluation.

De Candido, Robert and Cheryl Shackelton. Who Ya Gonna Call? A Preservation Services Sourcebook for Libraries and Archives. New York, NY: New York Metropolitan Reference and Research Library Agency, 1992.

Directory of New York treatment and consultation sources; includes sample forms.

Drewes, Jeanne. "Computers: Planning for Disaster." Law Library Journal, Winter 1989, 81: 103-116.

Protecting hardware and software; how to backup computers and optical disk systems.

Eulenberg, Julia Niebuhr. Handbook for the Recovery of Water Damaged Business Records. Prairie Village, KS: Association of Records Managers and Administrators, 1986.

This manual is strong in its coverage of paper, magnetic media, photographs, and other

special media.

Fortson, Judith. Disaster Planning and Recovery: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians and Archivists. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman, 1992.

Includes recovery for photographs, microfilm, and tapes; covers structural damage.

Fox, Lisa A. "Management Strategies for Disaster Preparedness." In The ALA Yearbook of Library and Information Services, 14: 1-6. Chicago, IL: American Libraries Association, 1989.

Preparedness, phased implementation, and use of cooperative opportunities.

Hendriks, Klaus B. and Brian Lesser. "Disaster Preparedness and Recovery: Photographic Materials." American Archivist, Winter 1983, 46: 52-68.

Provides advice on techniques for salvaging photographic materials.

Lundquist, Eric G. Salvage of Water Damaged books, Documents, Micrographic and Magnetic Media. San Francisco, CA: Document Reprocessors, 1986.

Case histories of a major library fire and an area-wide flood.

Management Strategies for Disaster Preparedness. RTSD Pre-conference, July 8, 1988. Chicago, IL: American Libraries Association, Resources and Technical Services Division, 1988.

Three-ring binder of handouts covering all aspects of disaster preparedness.

Morris, John. Managing the Library Fire Risk. 2nd ed. Berkeley, CA: The University of California Office of Insurance and Risk Management, 1979.

Another classic in the field. This is an invaluable source book for detailed information about fire detection and prevention systems and facts.

Myers, James N. and Denise D. Bedford, editors. Disasters: Prevention and Coping. Proceedings of the Conference, May 21-22, 1980. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Libraries, 1981.

Includes papers on freeze-drying, fire, insect, and water damage.

Nyberg, Sandra. The Invasion of the Giant Spore. Preservation Program Leaflet 5. Atlanta, GA: SOLINET, 1987.

Mold prevention, response, and recovery for paper materials.

O'Connell, Mildred. "Disaster Planning: Writing and Implementing Plans for Collections-Holding Institutions." Technology and Conservation, Summer 1983: 18-26.

Planning and technical recovery measures.

Parker, Thomas A. "Integrated Pest Management for Libraries." In: Preservation of Library Materials, edited by Merrily A. Smith: 103-123. IFLA Publications 40/41. Munich: K.G. Saur Verlag, l987.

Common library pests, damage, and nonchemical controlling strategies.

Rhodes, Barbara. Hell and Highwater: A Disaster Information Sourcebook. METRO Miscellaneous Publication 35. New York, NY: New York Metropolitan Reference and Research Library Agency, 1988.

Preparedness and recovery; lists New York suppliers and services.

Rutherford, Christine. "Disaster: Planning, Preparation, Prevention." Public Libraries, September/October 1990: 271-276.

Why planning should be initiated and factors to consider.

Schur, Susan E. compiler. A Selected Bibliography-Disaster Prevention, Response, and Recovery: Principles and Procedures for Protecting and Preserving Historic/Cultural Properties and Collections. The Technology Organization, Inc., 1992.

Thirty-three pages of citations, primarily from 1965-1985.

Waters, Peter. Precedures for the Salvage of Water-Damaged Library Materials. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Office of the Assistant Director for Preservation, 1979.

Procedures for treating wet materials: includes recovery and rehabilitation.

Appendix J

Supplies List

Emergency Closet List of Equipment

Disaster Supplies

Each member of the Disaster Response Team has a "Rescube" box stocked with emergency supplies useful in a small emergency: