Disaster Management for Libraries and Archives

Ina Fourie (University of Pretoria)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 1 December 2004




Fourie, I. (2004), "Disaster Management for Libraries and Archives", Online Information Review, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 462-462. https://doi.org/10.1108/14684520410570599



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Disaster Management for Libraries and Archives belongs on the bookshelves of all library and information services managers, as well as those actively involved in disaster planning. John Feather is also the editor of a companion volume to this book, Managing Preservation in Libraries and Archives: Current Practices and Future Developments (Ashgate, 2004).

Disaster planning is an ongoing process: according to Christine Wise, a disaster control plan should be reviewed at a minimum every four months. All kinds of disasters and all contexts should be considered. Disasters can take many forms: natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, terrorism and wars threatening to destroy cultural institutions. Perhaps even more important than noting the practical “need to do's” is the realization that disasters have a psychological affect on employees and that services need to continue after a disaster.

Feather and Matthews have collected contributions from a number of international experts from New Zealand, the United States, Sweden, Croatia and the United Kingdom who share their hard‐won wisdom from personal experience and extensive teaching in the field. Jointly they succeed in addressing the complexity of and urgency for disaster management, and in helping the editors to meet their purpose, namely to “offer personal insights in specific contexts into key aspects of disaster management, which it is intended will prompt questions and solutions”.

The book consists of ten chapters. In the introduction Graham Matthews sets the context for the following chapters. He starts by explaining the concept of disaster management. Disasters affecting libraries or archives can be man‐made (e.g. arson, poor maintenance or security) or natural (e.g. earthquakes, floods, hurricanes) and can vary in their scale and impact. To this can be added destruction during wars. A disaster control plan should form the framework for disaster management. Heather Mansell reviews the effectiveness of disaster control plans in terms of their design and application and includes practical advice based on experience. Alice Cannon sets the case for risk management, while Bill Jackson deals with fire disasters. Christine Wise explores flood prevention and recovery. Sheryl Davis and Kirsten Kern elaborate on cooperative disaster management efforts in the United States, which is partly the result of the regular natural disasters such as earthquakes in California. A different world opened for me when reading Maj Klasson's report on the psychological aspects of disaster management (something that might easily be overlooked), as well as Kornelija Petr's report on experiences during the Croatian War (1991‐1995). In Chapter 9, John Creber reflects on the continuation of services after a disaster, and the need to carry on, as well as the difficulties in doing so. In the final chapter Graham Matthews aptly reviews the subject literature.

To direct the reader to the wider subject literature, extensive lists of references, including printed as well as web resources, are also included with each chapter. The book includes an extensive and excellent eight‐page index.

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