Library Disasters Come in All Shapes and Sizes

I have RSS feeds coming out of my ears, but nothing is better than good ol’ Mom.  She recently read article about University of Missouri Ellis Library and forwarded it to me because she knew I would be interested.  Thanks Mom. 🙂

University of Missouri Ellis Library suffered fire and water damage as a result of an arsonist who set fire to an area on the first floor near the circulation department.  Good news the sprinkler system kicked on and stopped the fire, bad news the sprinkler system kicked on causing water damage. (Pictures of the damage and clean up.) I am not saying that the sprinkler system shouldn’t have kicked on, if it hadn’t things would have been much worse.  I am just saying that many things do not go well with water, books, carpeting, walls, computers, etc. do not do well when doused with water.  Some disasters lead to other disasters.  Fire in a library usually leads to water damage which can also lead to mold.  Earthquake could lead to fire, which could lead to water, and so on.  Some disasters are natural and some are man made. 

Some don’t even need to be within the library to affect the library.  A long time ago our library (at its old location) suffered damage because the air conditioner on the roof  next too us was on fire.  Nothing in the library was on fire, but the easiest way for the fire fighters to fight the fire was to break apart the current journal shelf then break through a window to go out to the roof to fight the fire.  In addition the stuff broken, there was water damage. 

Fire, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes are what we typically think about for library disasters.  However, the mundane can be disaster as well.  An overflowing toilet overnight can cause water damage as well as “other damage.” Disasters come in all shapes and sizes. A good disaster plan is important to cover the basics to get your library on its feet, there are plenty of resources for creating one.  You also will need to update your plan annually to make sure certain things are current (phone numbers contacts) but also to allow for new technology.  In addition to a disaster plan a little bit of creativity and the ability to improvise can be just as important. 



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