This was my Saturday afternoon session. For some reason, I’m really drawn to disaster recovery. I don’t know what it is, but I have a sneaking suspicion it has to do with the idea of being ready to respond to details on the fly, while preparing beforehand for as much as possible. I have a tendency to focus on the details that other people don’t think about (but not as much as my mom does!)- in 2007 during the Witch Creek Fires in San Diego, I was the one in the family who took pictures of how the family photos were hanging up in the hallway so as to know where they went when we put them back up, and remembered the little things (like baby books) tucked away in boxes in the garage. So, I like the nitty gritty details, and disaster planning is definitely an area where the nitty gritty becomes the big and important. Also, this last semester in my Records Management class I wrote my final paper on disaster planning, and focused on the cloud (which is also awesome because Sunday morning I went to a session on cloud management! Post here), so I had some background going into this.
I saw Jeanne Drews, the Chief of Binding and Collections Care at the Library of Congress, speak for a little bit on the work that goes into preparing the disaster plan and COOP, or continuity of operations plan for an institution as gigantic as LC. There are a couple of things about planning for LC- like the fact that it has over 140 million items in the collection (upwards of 150 mil, depending on where you look), the oldest building that is part of the LC was built in 1897, it’s got maps, books, A/V recordings, Mary Todd Lincoln’s pearls, the largest flute collection amassed in the U.S….there’s a lot of variety to take care of, so planning has to take all of that into account.
Disaster planning is disaster planning, regardless of what library you’re at. So some of the more important pieces of what I got out of her presentation was the idea of the ICS and the amount of work it takes to create a federal contract. The first, ICS, or Incident Command System, tells you how first responders talk and are trained, because as librarians, we are not going to be first on the scene- we’re going to be second. Having a crosswalk between emergency workers and those who are not would be enormously helpful when trying to communicate in a high tension situation. Think of ICS like a management system that tells people what to do who don’t normally work together. Helpful!
The second bit, how much work it takes to build a federal contract- wow. Just wow. There are loads of different rules that have to be followed, and it’s a very long process. No wonder there are so many lawyers that work for the government!