A worldwide pandemic. A fire in South Africa. A broken pipe in a New York City courthouse.
These are all events that have affected libraries recently and forced them to respond. For a response to be effective and efficient, it must be planned in advance.
Disaster plans and continuity of business plans are like insurance-you hope you never need them, but you can't go out and get them the moment you need them. Every library or information center is unique, and your response and recovery plan will be unique to your institution's specific needs.
We as information professionals need to plan ahead and consider what to do if the worst should happen at our institution. We need to be able to answer fundamental questions such as these:
These and other related questions may seem daunting, but they needn't be. The SLA Workplace Preparedness & Response Advisory Council (PREP) is committed to providing you with resources and tools you can use to answer these questions and apply them to your specific library or information center.
As PREP develops these tools and resources, we'll share information about them in the Open Forum. Keep an eye on this space for future posts with content for you to consider. We would also like to hear about your successes and lessons learned in responding to disasters and maintaining business continuity.