Friday, April 13, 2012

Disaster Preparedness

Unfortunately, our area has had more than our share of natural disasters in the past year. In one of the recent webinars from the state department, LeeAnna Mills (librarian at Northside Middle whose school experienced a fire in 2011) offered tips for disaster preparedness that she learned the hard way. Here are a few:


  • Catalog EVERYTHING. The stack of donated books, the extra professional resources brought in by administrators, books you bought at the book fair, items purchased with grant money, big books, puppets, supplemental materials, resource kits, realia, equipment, new stuff, old stuff worthy of keeping...everything. If you have to go through a disaster, you won't remember what you had or didn't have. This is your best method of ensuring your collection will be replaced. LeeAnna said even if you don't have time to catalog an item, scan ISBN numbers into a Excel file at the very least (saved to the server) so that you have some sort of record of these resources. 
  • Keep an electronic copy of your personal items (certificates, awards, etc. in list or PDF form). 
  • Make sure when cataloging equipment to include Title, Make/Brand, Model Number, Serial Number, Date of Purchase, and Funds Used. (All of these are part of our district's standard record-keeping procedures for equipment.)
  • Always have a wish list. After you experience a disaster, many times you will receive offers for help. Keep a digital list with a vendor (or Amazon) for generous people to purchase exactly what you need.
  • Keep an electronic copy of your library's floor plan. Pictures are very valuable, too. 


The American Association of School Librarians also offers a huge grant for libraries who have experienced disaster. You do not have to be an ASLA member to apply. Details can be found here.

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