The British Council (BC) in London has called together a panel to help in their efforts to co-ordinate the UK response to pleas for assistance from libraries, archives and other institutions in Germany and the Czech Republic affected by the recent flooding of the Vlatava, Danune and Elbe rivers across Europe.
The UK response has so far been impressive. The British Council in London has purchased a number of vacuum dryers and these were delivered to the National Library in Prague on 17th September. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has donated £50,000 and it was announced at the press conference that the Prince of Wales has offered £6000 for another drying machine and consumables. Stuart Welch (Conservation by Design Ltd.) and four conservation practitioners (Nancy Bell, Nicholas Hadgraft, Katerina Powell, and Cheryl Porter) are demonstrating the use of the machines and will give an up-to-date assessment of the situation in Prague to the British Council panel on their return.
English Heritage has agreed to second a member of staff to the NPO for a period of three months to draw up a sustainable plan to give assistance to libraries, archives, museums and others with collections or historic buildings affected by the floods.
Please contact the NPO if you wish to offer assistance in the first instance of equipment, money or services: e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
In the longer term we shall need to send teams of conservators across many disciplines and will turn to professional organizations such as IPC, UKIC and NCCR to assist in this effort. For further information: http://www.bl.uk/blueshield/.
Reprinted with permission from the NPO Journal, Oct. 2002.