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228 Johannes Ramokhoase Street, Pretoria, GPS Coordinates : -25.741449, 28.189774 

Library disaster management training and recovery operations

The NLSA offers training in Disaster Management Planning and Recovery operations funded by the Conditional Grant for Public Libraries. The Road shows organised by the NLSA enables outreach to library workers countrywide.

The purpose of workshops is to create awareness and share appropriate skills to enable library workers to preserve library and heritage collections. Workshops cover topics ranging from library disaster prevention and recovery operations, proper cleaning and care of library collections, preservation management, risk management, digitisation and reformatting of library collections, climate control, book and paper conservation, basic book repairs, bookbinding, de-acidification of library collections, stack management, library re-locations and pest management.

Disaster management entails the implementation of a library disaster plan. A library disaster can be defined as an incident caused by accident, natural causes, or deliberate intent resulting in serious damage or destruction of library collections and facilities, or major disruption of operations and services. Disaster plan can be defined as providing guidelines for the prevention and appropriate response to disasters effecting the library collections.

Other objectives would be to reduce the disruption of normal operations and to facilitate rapid and smooth restoration of the library. Disaster planning and risk management go hand in hand. Risks are future happenings that can be avoided. Risk management embraces the identification, assessment, prioritization and mitigation of risks. Disaster planning consists of five activities namely prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, and review.

Prevention can be defined as measures taken to eliminate or reduce risks. Proper management of library facilities such as buildings, fire extinguishing systems, safety and security controls have a huge impact on eliminating or reducing potential disasters. Typical tasks would include regular building inspections and good housekeeping. Planning and training are the most critical aspects of preparedness. Staff responsibilities should be defined and staff should be trained in disaster response techniques. When disaster strikes the most challenging task is to communicate constantly with all involved. When all systems are down, it is difficult to communicate with teams working all over the disaster site. When a disaster is declared, assess and estimate the type and extent of damage done. Activate the disaster teams to appropriate locations and establish work schedules for the salvage operation. Stabilize the environment and photograph damaged materials for record and insurance claim purposes. Following the disaster, steps must be taken to recover the damage and resume normal business. Salvage operations can take anything from a few days to weeks or even months. Restoration work is expensive and labour intensive. Priorities will have to be established and seldom will it be possible to recover all damage.

No library can be excluded from or be immune to the possibility of a disaster. Disasters small and big do happen. Share information and experience with colleagues and use gained knowledge to review and improve disaster plans. It is never too late to learn.

Pretoria Campu228

Johannes Ramokhose Street

(Proes Street), Pretoria

Private Bag x990, Pretoria 0001

Tel: +27 (12)  401 9700

Fax: +27 (12) 326 7642

GPS Coordinates : -25.741449, 28.189774







Cape Town Campus

5 Queen Victoria Street

P O Box 496,Vlaeberg,Cape Town,8000

Tel: +27 (21) 465 8870

Fax: +27 (21) 461 4510

Center for the Book

62 Queen Victoria Street

P O Box 15254,Vlaeberg,Cape Town,800

Tel: +27(21) 423 2669

Fax: +27(21) 424 1484

Department of Arts and Culture

VWL Building,122 Madiba Street,  Pretoria

 Private Bag X899, Pretoria,0001

Tel: +27(12) 441 3000

Fax :+27(12) 441 3699                     


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