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Thursday, June 20 • 1:45pm - 3:15pm
Building Resilience: Disaster Preparedness Training for Special Collections

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Climate change has greatly increased the force and frequency of weather events. Many special collections and other cultural heritage institutions now find themselves directly threatened on a daily basis by these events through their aging buildings and geographical location, and are experiencing more and more emergency events involving their collections. There are few concrete resources on how to build in-house, institution-specific training programs to prepare for such threats, especially in ways that consistently convince all institutional staff of their crucial necessity.

This panel features four professionals from four different types of institutions, each of whom will discuss their own experiences with building and implementing disaster preparedness training programs and plans for their staff. Institutions include the Smithsonian (a large federal library); James Madison University (a mid-sized university library); the Folger Shakespeare Library (an independent research library); and Howard County Public Libraries (a public library system with historical collections). All four have different experiences with funding, institutional support, and numbers of staff. Panel attendees will be encouraged to think critically about how training might work and be expanded at their home institutions, come away with ideas to reuse or refit current plans, and learn from presenters what worked and what didn't. Speakers will share examples of preparedness elements from their own institutions, including supply stockpiles, different types of plans for different types of collections and operating schedules, a sample timeline of response to an unfolding disaster, and brochures or paper plans.

avatar for Elizabeth DeBold

Elizabeth DeBold

Assistant Curator, Folger
Elizabeth is the Assistant Curator of Collections at Folger Shakespeare Library. As a part of her responsibilities there, she oversees the Collections Disaster Preparedness Committee, which focuses on preparing staff for emergency events where collections are at risk. She holds an... Read More →
avatar for Julia Merkel

Julia Merkel

Preservation Officer, James Madison University
Julia Merkel is the Preservation Officer for James Madison University Libraries. She is part of the Special Collections team and responsible for disaster preparedness, conservation of rare books and manuscripts, curation of artists’ and movable books, and exhibits—as well as music... Read More →

Angela Brade

Howard County Public Library

Katie C. Wagner

Conservator, Smithsonian Libraries
Katie Wagner is a rare book conservator for the Smithsonian Libraries. She works primarily with the two special collections libraries: The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library and The Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology as well as with the other branches of the Smithsonian... Read More →

Thursday June 20, 2019 1:45pm - 3:15pm EDT