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Subject: Emergency Assistance Program for Massachusetts libraries and archives

Emergency Assistance Program for Massachusetts libraries and archives

From: Gregor Trinkaus-Randall <gregor.trinkaus-randall>
Date: Monday, August 31, 1998
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is happy to
announce its Emergency Assistance Program for libraries, archives,
historical societies, town clerks offices, etc. throughout the
Commonwealth.  The Board is committed to encouraging institutions to
develop their own disaster preparedness plans and also to work in
cooperation with other institutions to protect the cultural
resources within our communities in the event of a catastrophic
disaster.  People interested in learning more about this program can
contact Gregor Trinkaus-Randall below.

    Emergency Assistance Program for Massachusetts Libraries and
    Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
    648 Beacon Street
    Boston, MA 02215-2070
    800-952-7403 (in-state)
    Fax: 617-421-9833

Background. No institution is immune from emergencies.  The cost of
repairing damage to buildings and collections ravaged by fire,
flooding, fierce winds, heavy snows, vandalism, or other disasters
may be overwhelming for a public library.  Therefore, in response to
the critical need for both financial and advisory assistance, and
cognizant of several recent instances where such help would have
been invaluable to the libraries, the Board of Library Commissioners
authorized the development of  the Public Library Emergency
Assistance Program.

Purpose. While libraries bear the responsibility to plan for.
emergencies by having a disaster preparedness plan in place, outside
help is often needed.  The Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) is
designed to address the possibility of disasters occurring in one or
more libraries by developing statewide disaster preparedness
training for librarians, purchasing and making available disaster
recovery supplies, providing for technical advice, and making
freezing and drying facilities available to salvage library

Program Components

    Training.  Workshops are offered regularly by the Board of
    Library Commissioners to teach library staff the essentials of
    disaster preparedness planning and the steps to take immediately
    following an emergency.  Within 48 hours, for example, mold
    begins to grow on library materials in a warm, damp environment,
    and the nature of the library's response can have a major impact
    on the recovery--or loss--of those collections. Being able to
    act quickly and knowledgeably is crucial.

    Recovery:  The Board of Library Commissioners has stored a
    quantity of recovery supplies in 13 key public library sites
    throughout the Commonwealth. These include 2 ReactPaks (small
    disaster recovery clean-up kits which contain basic supplies)
    and 100 Rescubes (collapsible corrugated high-density
    polyethylene boxes for the transport of wet library and archival
    materials).  These supplies are available for use by libraries
    in the event of a small emergency.

    Technical Assistance.  Designated staff members of the Board of
    Library Commissioners and the six regional library systems have
    received training in basic disaster recovery techniques and are
    available to provide information, advice, and assessment either
    by telephone or on-site visit. Such assistance can often mean
    the difference between recovery and further damage.  If the
    emergency has reached major proportions, their level of
    expertise may not be sufficient.  Therefore, the Board has
    contracted with the Northeast Document Conservation Center
    (NEDCC) in Andover, MA, to provide telephone and/or on-site
    assistance to public libraries, but only in the event that
    neither regional nor Board staff is able or available to provide
    assistance.  Affected public libraries need only contact the
    NEDCC, on call twenty-four hours a day any day, to be connected
    to staff for assistance.

    Recovery--Freezing and Drying.  In minor emergencies, libraries
    may be able to handle the drying of materials, or the
    freezing/drying process, on their own.  If more than a few dozen
    volumes are affected, however, a library may be unable to cope
    with the situation.  Therefore, the Board of Library
    Commissioners has contracted with a professional service,
    Munters Moisture Control, to provide freezing and drying
    facilities for large quantities of damaged materials.  This
    service is available to public libraries but only upon
    authorization by designated Board or NEDCC staff to a limit of
    $25,000. This contract has been designed so that municipalities
    may contract with Munters for services beyond those stipulated
    in the contract, if that becomes necessary, without initiating a
    new bidding process.  (Libraries should not contact Munters


The Rescubes and ReactPaks that have been placed in the thirteen
libraries throughout the Commonwealth are available for use by any
library, archives, historical society, or town clerk in
Massachusetts affected by an emergency. The sole requirement is that
these supplies be returned once recovery has been completed.  The
emergency technical assistance provided by regional and Board staffs
is also available to all similarly affected institutions.

If the regional and Board staffs are unavailable, the affected
institution's staff should then contact a preservation professional
with disaster training. However, as part of the MBLC's Emergency
Assistance Program public library component, contact with NEDCC or
Munters Moisture Control is available only to Massachusetts public


Steps to take immediately following the emergency:

    1.  Consult your disaster plan.
    2.  Contact the library's insurance agent.
    3.  Assess the extent of the damage with the insurance agent
        unless you are given permission to proceed without the agent
    4.  Determine what action should be taken to recover the
        affected materials and what supplies are needed.
    5.  Make a decision as to whether you feel you can handle the
        situation alone or whether you need outside assistance.
    6.  If the amount of affected library materials is not large,
        and the staff feels able to handle the salvage themselves,
        they should then contact the nearest  site listed below for
        recovery supplies (Rescubes and ReactPaks) and arrange to
        pick them up.  Libraries and archives are also responsible
        for returning these supplies to the storage site when they
        are finished using them.
    7.  Using the supplies, library staff should proceed according
        to the procedures outlined in their disaster preparedness
        plan, if there is one. Otherwise, seek advice from the
        designated regional or Board staff.
    8.  Contact the designated regional or Board of Library
        Commissioners staff for telephone and/or on-site assistance
        if  necessary.
    9.  If neither of these persons is available, contact a
        preservation professional for telephone and/or on-site
        assistance.  Public libraries see below.

Public Libraries only (The following parts of the MBLC's Emergency
Assistance Program are limited to public libraries):

    10. If neither regional nor MBLC assistance is available,
        contact NEDCC (collect calls accepted) for telephone and/or
        on-site assistance. 11.  If the amount of damaged materials
        is substantial and beyond the capabilities of the local
        library staff, then designated Board or NEDCC staff can
        authorize a call to Munters Moisture Control for the
        packing, freezing and drying of materials.

For Emergency Assistance call:

    Regional Headquarters

        Boston (BRLS)          617-536-4010
        Central (CMRLS)        508-757-4110 or 800-922-8326
        Metrowest (MMRLS)      781-398-1819 or 888-383-8882
        Northeast (NMRLS)      978-689-2079 or 888-326-7772
        Southeastern (SEMLS)   508-923-3531 or 877-923-3531
        Western (WMRLS)        413-247-9740 or 800-282-7755

    Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
        617-267-9400 or 800-952-7403 (in-state)

For public libraries, if none of the above is available then

    Northeast Document Conservation Center at 978-470-1010
    (collect calls accepted 24-hours-a-day).

Storage Sites for Recovery Supplies

  Memorial Hall Library, Andover        978-623-8400
  Boston Public Library                 617-536-5400
  Bridgewater Public Library            508-697-3331
  Falmouth Public Library               508-457-2555
  Fitchburg Public Library              978-345-9635
  Greenfield Public Library             413-772-1544
  New Bedford Free Public Library       508-991-6275
  Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield       413-499-9480
  Thomas Crane Public Library, Quincy   617-376-1300
  Springfield City Library              413-263-6800
  Wellesley Free Library                781-235-1610
  Western Mass. Regional Library
    System, Hatfield                    413-247-9306 or 800-282-7755
  Worcester Public Library              508-799-1655

Gregor Trinkaus-Randall
Collection Management/Preservation Specialist
Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
648 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02215-2070
617-267-9400, 800-952-7403 (in-state)
Fax: 617-421-9833

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:23
                Distributed: Tuesday, September 1, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-23-011
Received on Monday, 31 August, 1998

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