The following is a reprint of an article by Anne Harrison, FLICC/FEDLINK, that first appeared in The Gazette, an internal publication of the Library of Congress, August 1, 2008.
Safety Net Librarians Take COOP Lesson, Sign Charter
Federal librarians gathered at the Library on June 25 to learn how to create a COOP (Continuity of Operations Plan) that focuses on the protection and preservation of library collections during the first 30 days of a major disaster.
Representatives from more than a dozen federal libraries also signed a Charter of Federal Library Mutual Disaster Assistance, a document that outlines the goals and principles of Safety Net, which is a cooperative of federal librarians in the Washington, D.C., area, who have come together voluntarily to plan and prepare for disasters and pledge emergency assistance to one another.
The Library’s Federal Library and Information Center Committee (FLICC) and the Preservation Directorate hosted this Safety Net meeting, the second in a series, to educate federal librarians about preparations for disaster and recovery.
Robert J. (Bob) McDermott, a former management information systems analyst in the Library’s Technology Policy Office and coordinator of the COOP effort in Library Services, defined the scope of Library Service’s COOP and described the process taken to create it.
The Library Services COOP project was divided into phases: 1) impact analysis to determine what Library Services functions are essential and when they have to be executed; 2) requirements gathering to learn who will perform the functions and what resources are needed; 3) planning to specify how these functions would be carried out; and 4) implementation to put the necessary support elements in place. McDermott shared a variety of practical tools such as worksheets, reports and online resources to assist librarians in their efforts to develop a COOP.
The Safety Net cooperative will hold semiannual meetings and, through FLICC, will sponsor educational programs on disaster preparedness and recovery. Suggested future topics for the group include how to advocate effectively for collections protection, integrate a library’s COOP into a larger organization’s COOP, conduct tabletop exercises in preparation for disaster recovery and develop risk-management strategies.
Following the presentation and discussion, Deanna Marcum, associate librarian for library services at the Library, presided over the signing of the Safety Net charter, which can be found at www.loc.gov/flicc/ma/2008/safetynetpage2.pdf [PDF file: 376 KB / 1 pg.] and www.loc.gov/preservation/symposia/safetynet.html. For more information about Safety Net, contact Anne Harrison in FLICC/FEDLINK at email@example.com.