When entire collections are threatened with damage or destruction because of war and civil unrest, consideration must be given to the evacuation of the entire collection. Each of the following sections should be followed as the information is cumulative.
Planning for evacuation and storing duplicates as a precautionEvacuation of entire collections is a rare and extraordinary event, and one that must be planned with great precision well before a direct threat and the actual transportation of materials. This planning involves identifying a place of refuge for the collection, the form and availability of the transportation to be used to move the collection, and the main and alternative routes to take.
Also important to consider is proactively storing, at a safe, remote location, materials in the collection that are already held in duplicate:
Copies of microfilm. When microfilm is created and processed according to international standards, three generations of film must be produced: a camera or archival negative, a print master negative, and a positive use copy. The camera negative should always be stored in good environmental conditions at a secure location remote from the other generations of film.
Duplicate copies of other materials. Other duplicates should also be stored remotely as a matter of routine. When national libraries receive multiple copies of books through copyright arrangements, for example, it seems sensible not to keep all the copies in one place.
Theses and dissertations. For degree-awarding academic institutions that require multiple copies of theses and dissertations, it is equally sensible to keep the copies in different places.
Electronic records. As archives and libraries increasingly produce collection records in electronic formats, duplicates of the data must be produced and stored in other locations to ensure the survival of the records.
Common collections. A group of archives or libraries could agree to remotely store portions of their collections that they hold in common.
Using alarmsFire and burglar alarms should be monitored on a regular schedule and should be connected to a fire or police department or a remote guard or security post manned 24 hours a day. Burglar alarms should be set when the library or rare book department closes and should include both door and motion alarms. Fire alarms should be designed to alert the occupants of the building while at the same time notifying the appropriate emergency services. The most effective fire alarms for libraries are ionization detectors, since they react to combustion gases rather than heat, flame, or visible smoke.
In areas that may be vulnerable to flooding (from rain, tank water from the roof, or rising water from an outside source), water alarms are important. Water alarms are electronic disks or cables laid onto the floor that are activated when a circuit is completed by moisture. Like the other alarm systems, water alarms should produce both an audible warning and a remote alarm to a manned post.
Supressing fireAutomatic water sprinkler systems are the extinguishing agents of choice for libraries and archives today. Different types are available, and new ones are developed frequently. The type attracting the most interest today is a misting system that uses a fine, low-volume spray emanating from independently operating flow-control heads. If sprinklers are used, it is essential that a remote alarm alert a continuously manned post whenever water is discharged anywhere in the building; such alarms are usually triggered by changes in water pressure.
Gaseous systems cannot be recommended at this time, for several reasons:
An alternative to gas or water is high-expansion foam, which is said to contain very little moisture; no such systems are known to be in operation, however.
Library staff should familiarize themselves with all installed systems so that they can take action if a system malfunctions. All suppressant systems, including hand-held fire extinguishers, should be inspected and tested regularly. The library should involve the local fire department in advising and training staff in the use of fire extinguishers. The library can also use this as an opportunity to enlist the fire department's services in assessing its emergency plans.
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