This article was written by Kimberley R. Barker, MLIS, Librarian for Digital LIfe
Last week, Dan Wilson, Deborah Halsted, and Shari Clifton received a request from a public librarian in Texas. The three are co-authors of the book Library as Safe Haven: Disaster Planning, Response, and Recovery; A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians, which was published jointly by the American Library Association and the Medical Library Association, in 2014.
Covering topics such as developing a risk assessment plan, drafting a service continuity plan, and effective use of mobile devices and social media during disasters (as well as providing sample plans and manuals), it was clear why, during the coronavirus pandemic, the Texan librarian had written to make the following request: Would the co-authors consider making the e-book edition (which normally retails for $58.00) available for free?
Wilson, the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library's Associate Director for Collections & Library Services, was a natural choice to co-author such a volume: for seven years (2007-2014) he served as the Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine’s (NNLM) Emergency Response Initiative, a role in which he worked with different NN/LM regions to help their member libraries be better prepared for a disaster.
"What started out with an emphasis on local library disaster planning", Wilson says,"expanded to working with public libraries and helping them become a strategic partner in their community’s disaster response."
In addition to Library as Safe Haven, Wilson, having been approached by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in 2018, contributed materials for a series of courses which lead to NNLM's Disaster Information Specialist certification. This course, Wilson was told recently, has been taken over 800 times in the last quarter; its popularity, the success of Library as Safe Haven, and the current coronavirus certainly contributed to the fact that Wilson and NLM are now in talks about how he can add pandemic planning content to the course.
And the request made by the Texas librarian?
"This made sense to us" replies Wilson, speaking of himself and his co-authors,"so we posed the idea to ALA Editions... (who) just agreed to make the electronic version freely available."
Find it here: https://www.alastore.ala.org/LibraryAsSafeHavenPDF and share with any librarian whom you think could benefit from it.
If you have questions about disaster planning, collections, or library services, contact Dan Wilson: Dan@virginia.edu
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