To read this content please select one of the options below:

On site/ off site/ in transit - Aspects of emergency preparedness and risk management for library collections

Cornelia Posch (Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 2 June 2023

Issue publication date: 8 August 2023




This paper aims to provide insights into the state of emergency preparedness in libraries, highlight critical aspects of risk and prevention and present ideas and resources for libraries to take action.


Based on examples and results from research and practice on planning and risk assessment, the paper introduces key concepts and offers practical steps to improve library preparedness.


Despite evidence of emergencies and disasters seriously impacting libraries and other cultural institutions, the level of preparedness at these venues tends to be low. Institutional and psychological issues keep decisionmakers and practitioners from taking action to plan concretely for the protection of written cultural heritage. Examples from libraries that experienced emergencies or prepared for a major disruption can help define tasks that can be easily implemented and serve as starting point for hesitant institutions.

Practical implications

The paper offers numerous examples of activities staff can engage in, increasing their knowledge of their institution, improving the safety of the collection, and emphasizing agency of individuals.


In the face of climate change, increasingly extreme weather and political instability around the world, protecting cultural heritage is of the utmost importance.



This article was reviewed by the editor-in-chief rather than being reviewed by two anonymous referees.


Posch, C. (2023), "On site/ off site/ in transit - Aspects of emergency preparedness and risk management for library collections", Library Management, Vol. 44 No. 5, pp. 372-380.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles