The Collections Recovery Room is a secure space in the Library of Congress Madison Building that enhances the Library's capabilities to safeguard its collections in the event of emergencies. The Collections Recovery Room serves as both a recovery and an educational space for emergency work and training related to the Library's Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP), Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP), and similar initiatives.
- Isolate wet, moldy, and/or contaminated items. Preservation staff bag wet, moldy, or otherwise contaminated items in the area where they are found in collections storage, reading rooms, or processing spaces. The bagged items are then safely transported to and isolated in the Collections Recovery Room.
- Dry items affected by water in a controlled environment, minimizing risks such as mold growth and cross-contamination of affected items.
- Safely examine, inventory, and analyze the condition of contaminated items, away from staff and collection storage spaces.
- Clean mold, dirt, and insect or vermin excrement from affected items without posing risks to staff or other collections.
- Biological Safety Cabinet: Preservation staff can safely clean mold and other fine particles from affected items in this high efficiency ductless biological safety cabinet, which prevents biological reside from spreading throughout the space. The ductless system is fitted with alarms that alert users when airflow is low or when filters need to be changed.
- Modular Furniture: The room has modular racks, tables on casters, and carts that allow wet items to be safely spread out for air drying in a cool, secure, and well lit environment, minimizing risks of mold growth. The modular furniture makes it easy to quickly reconfigure the room, depending on the size of the emergency, the kind of items affected, and the recovery actions required. Modular furniture also helps staff efficiently capture condition and inventory information during damage assessments.
- Freezers: The room holds two freezers that can quickly freeze a small number of wet items to halt or prevent mold growth. The Library also has a freeze dryer and a service contract in place for timely response to emergencies affecting a large number of collections.
- Supply Storage: The room is organized and stocked with the supplies and tools needed for recovery work to enable rapid startup times for incident responses. The supplies are maintained by a careful inventory and replaced when used in preparation for the next incident.
The Collections Recovery Room is used by the trained Preservation staff at the Library of Congress to answer the Library's need for timely, organized, and effective collections emergency response to natural and man-made disasters. In addition to the recovery procedures performed in the Collections Recovery Room, the Library has developed special emergency notification protocols when incidents involving collections are discovered.