Disaster Planning and Recovery Workshop: Part 2

  • Tom Clareson demonstrates how to dry photos using fishing line. (All photos credit: Irina Radeva.)

On November 30, Anthony Timek and I attended the final session of a two-part Disaster Planning and Recovery Workshop sponsored by the New Jersey Cultural Alliance for Response (NJCAR), of which Rutgers is a member institution. You can read my report on the first part of the workshop in the November issue of the Agenda.

This session was held at the Wall Township Police Headquarters and focused on recovery. Presenter Tom Clareson, senior consultant for digital and preservation services at LYRASIS, covered the stages of disaster, with a particular focus on the last three:

  • Planning
  • Mitigation
  • Immediate Response
  • Recovery
  • Long-Term Recovery

In the first part of the day, we learned about creating a comprehensive communication plan, appointing a recovery team, formulating salvage priorities, and assigning duties. The second part of the day consisted of an indoor demonstration by Clareson of how to treat waterlogged items. Afterwards, the group went outside and we plunged our hands into freezing water in an attempt to recover wet books, periodicals, microfilm, VHS tapes, DVDs, and more. At one point we even had an entire microfilm unspooled and drying in the cold November wind. Overall, the exercise was very valuable, especially for those who were lucky enough not to have experienced a water emergency in their facility.

One significant takeaway from the workshop was for each institution to establish a relationship with first responders ahead of a disaster and familiarize them with the building and the disaster plan. Another was to create partnerships with similar institutions who may be able to assist each other during and after a disaster. In the spirit of the latter, Rutgers University Libraries shared our Water Emergency Presentation and Mold Identification Tutorial with the New Jersey State Library, who posted the materials on their website along with similar resources on disaster planning and preservation. Check out an article about this workshop on the NJ State Library’s website here.

Irina Radeva