IFLA's involvement in emergency situations
IFLA’s Preservation and Conservation Section and the Preservation and Conservation Core Activity (PAC) provide international forums for the exchange, development, and dissemination of knowledge and experience in the field of preservation and conservation. Both deal with theories, policies, and practices for the preservation of all heritage.
Since 1984 the Preservation and Conservation Section has worked closely with PAC Core Activity and its PAC Centres. The PAC Core Activity was created to ensure that library and archival materials, whether published or unpublished and regardless of format, will be preserved in accessible form. Both bodies are involved with the international preservation and conservation world and keep up-to-date with the technical, scientific, policy, and practical innovations which support the long term accessibility of documentary cultural heritage.
IFLA is concerned with the preservation,conservation and safeguarding of documentary cultural heritage. Our work supports the library and information services sector and works closely with our network of cultural heritage partners to safeguard cultural heritage in its diverse forms, including traditional, historical, indigenous and contemporary expression; and to achieve optimal coordination of our cultural heritage activities. Our previous Strategic Plan ensured the creation and implementation of the IFLA Risk Register for Documentary Heritage.
Past Responses from IFLA
Some of our response actions are:
IFLA has also published guidance on preparing and responding to disasters. Page 17 onwards covers in detail the aspect of disaster management and response.
Further examples of resources designed to help libraries deal with the consequences of disasters are below:
National Library of South Africa: Disaster Recovery Plan (2010)
offers a checklist of activities to follow, notably in response to a disaster, and in order to support the recovery process.
UNESCO: Disaster Planning, Preparedness and Recovery for Libraries (1998)
covers experience and proposals on both preparing and recovering. Page 62 onwards focuses on practical steps to be taken to support the recovery and reconstruction process.
Australian Library and Information Association: Guide to Disaster Planning, Response and Recovery for libraries (2010)
after a general overview, this document highlights the actions to be taken after a disaster. Please consult from Page 9 onwards for a checklist of disaster recovery actions.
New Zealand National Preservation Office: Preservation Salvage Guidelines (2010)
offers a series of practical step regarding handling material in an emergency.
The American Library Association's Disaster Response and Preparedness pages have a variety of tools available on its website, including a guide to saving books from water damage from the Conservation Centre for Art and Historic Artifacts, and the Library and Information Technology Association's guide to disaster response and library technology.
The Library of Congress pages on Response and Recovery cover several topicsm, such as the steps to implement when a collection gets wet. Other examples are available on the Library's preservation pages. Much of this information is also available in Spanish.
- The Northeast Documentation Conservation Center pages on responding to hurricanes offers an extensive array of emergency management tools to react efficiently to a disaster.
Disaster preparedness plans
There are also numerous resources and examples of disaster preparedness plans. Below are just a few examples from IFLA's Preservation and Conservation Centres:
North America: the Library of Congress has a page devoted to emergency preparedness and response.
Brazil: the National Library has a disaster response plan that has been translated into English.
- Japan: The National Diet Library has a disaster preparedness plan.
Last update: 12 May 2020