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Harvard College Library‚€”Report of Nancy M. Cline

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness


Emergency management planning is taking place across Harvard. Although it began following the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, current events, including the SARS epidemic, Hurricane Katrina, and the potential avian flu epidemic, have heightened awareness and prompted the University to renew efforts to flesh out plans and organize across tubs by encouraging the creation of Local Emergency Management Teams (LEMTs). These teams work with the Harvard’s Incident Support and Crisis Management teams.

This year HCL formed its own LEMT charged with creating, maintaining, and implementing emergency management planning and procedures to ensure the safety and security of the collections, facilities, users, and staff. Led by the associate librarian for administrative services, the team includes the directors of Communications, Financial Services, Human Resource Services, Information Technology Services, Operations/Security, and Widener Access Services. Members meet regularly for local planning and participate in University-wide planning sessions and exercises.

HCL LEMT’s initial work has been informed by the disaster-recovery plan for Widener Library, HCL’s largest facility and the location of central administrative services. The team has identified an offsite command center and arranged for an update of its wiring and infrastructure to support any HCL library’s administration in the event of a disaster. Information Technology Services established an HCL Data Center fail-over site and created recovery plans for desktop, laptop, and server systems. A communications plan is in place. Emergency information such as telephone numbers, building evacuation guidelines, and procedures for reporting medical emergencies, bomb threats, suspicious packages and other potentially dangerous incidents is available to staff on the HCL intranet. The LEMT will be collaborating with each of the HCL libraries to establish individually tailored emergency plans that encompass emergency response as well as operational recovery.

Another team that responds to emergencies is the Library Collections Emergency Team. LCET, composed of conservators and preservation librarians in the Weissman Preservation Center, HCL Preservation and Imaging Services, and other Harvard libraries, works across all Harvard libraries managing issues around collections emergencies. LCET collaborates with HCL’s LEMT, as well as disaster recovery teams established in special collections libraries such as Houghton.