I’m going to be revamping and relaunching the Library’s disaster response in the next month or so, after much reflection. Here are two newish developments which I will be taking into account:
I am proud to be on the working party of an organisation which helps Yorkshire museums, libraries and archives to cope with disasters. The Yorkshire Rapid Response Network formed as a result of the terrible floods of June 2007, which, as well as harming people, their homes, and their jobs, had a devastating effect on museums and archives in the Sheffield and Hull areas. The lessons learned were fed into this co-operative network, which acquired funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for training and equipment. Find out more from All Together Now, a paper which Christine Johnstone, manager of the Network, gave at the 2010 Social History Curators Group conference.
What do we at Bradford get out of this network? Access to caches of equipment, access to expertise, and a great deal of free! training. I attended useful free! events on risk and insurance recently which have dominated my thoughts on these matters since (and which I will blog about too), and colleagues have been to presentations on disaster planning and salvage.
And what do we put in? As much as we can, given our small size. I put my time and expertise into the working group, promote the network wherever I can, and offer help with training.
Meanwhile, in the University, traditional library disaster planning is being enhanced by a new understanding of emergency control, informed by work at senior level with the local council, and colleagues with experience in safety-critical industries. It is refreshing to see that my worries about fire and flood are part of a bigger picture of possible threats to the University, its people, and its business, and to know that there are experienced colleagues around who will help.