Disaster Planning




Written policies should cover collection development, preservation, and disaster preparedness and recovery. These policies should be coordinated by the library director and approved by the governing entity. The county public law library should provide resources in various formats to assist its diverse customer groups. The library's collection must be accessible to users through a catalog allowing them to identify resources….

C. Collection Management

3. The SCCLL [GLL] has published a Disaster Planning Tool Kit that may be consulted to assist library staff with disaster preparedness. A written policy for preparing and recovering from disasters should be created by the library director and approved by the library governing entity.


VII Technical Services

C. Collection Maintenance and Preservation
The library’s collections should be maintained in good physical condition. The library should establish preservation and disaster recovery programs, plans and policies.
COMMENT: “…Library management should update disaster recovery plans regularly and train staff and building facilities managers in their use. An essential element of a disaster recovery plan is the requirement for frequent routine backup of all electronic system information, including the library’s catalog. Copies of backups must be maintained in secure off-site locations.”

The full Standards are available at http://www.aallnet.org/gllsis/resources-publications/public-law-library-standards/.


King County Law Library, Washington 
Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plan, King County Law Library

American Library Association Disaster Recovery Toolkit
Excellent collection of links to disaster preparedness and recovery resources, including information on:

  • Collection Valuation
  • Collection Preservation and Recovery
  • Other Resources
  • Disaster Planning Resources

National Center for State Courts: Emergency Planning and Security
Includes  Template for Assessing Status Of COOP [Continuity of Operations] Planning: Louisiana District Courts

American Bar Association Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness: Resources

Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, American Library Association (ALA)
“Disaster Preparedness and Planning: An ALCTS Webcast” (Nancy Kraft, 5/12/2010)

Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALA) Clearinghouse
Resources on the preservation and restoration of library material as well as general disaster preparedness information and training.

Library of Congress Emergency Preparedness 
Includes “References” page with links to Disaster Planning, Funding, Life Safety, and Response and Recovery.  http://www.loc.gov/preservation/emergprep/emerpubs.html

Northeast Document Conservation Center: dPlan, a free disaster planning template
"Plan is a free online tool that will help you simplify the process of writing a disaster plan. Enter information about your institution using the comprehensive fill-in-the-blank template. This template will guide you through the steps necessary for effective disaster planning." 
Free webinar on dPlan:

TechSoup Disaster Planning and Recovery Toolkit, Webjunction.org.
Focuses on backing up data and technology recovery.



  • Decker, Emy Nelson, and Jennifer A. Townes. 2016. Handbook of research on disaster management and contingency planning in modern libraries.
  • Genovese, Robert, Trish Taylor, and Edward White. 2006. Disaster preparedness manual. Buffalo, N.Y.: W.S. Hein.Chicago (Author-Date, 15th ed.)
  • Halsted, Deborah D., Richard P. Jasper, and Felicia M. Little. 2005. Disaster planning: a how-to-do-it manual for librarians with planning templates on CD-ROM. New York [etc.]: Neal-Schuman.
  • Kahn, Miriam B. 2012. Disaster Response and Planning for Libraries, Third Edition.
  • Kahn, Miriam. 2004. Protecting Your Library's Digital Sources: The Essential Guide to Planning and Preservation.  American Library Association.
  • Kahn, Miriam. 2008. The library security and safety guide to prevention, planning, and response. Chicago: American Library Association.
  • Mallery, Mary. 2015. Technology disaster response and recovery planning: a LITA guide.
  • Miller, William, and Rita M. Pellen. 2006. Dealing with natural disasters in libraries. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Information Press.
  • Robertson, Guy. 2015. Disaster planning for libraries process and guidelines. Waltham, MA, USA: Elsevier/Chandos Pub.
  • Robertson, Guy. 2016. Robertson on library security and disaster planning.  Robertson on Library Security and Disaster Planning.
  • Todaro, Julie. 2009. Emergency preparedness for libraries. Lanham, Maryland: Government Institutes.
  • Wilkinson, Frances C., Linda K. Lewis, and Nancy K. Dennis. 2010. Comprehensive guide to emergency preparedness and disaster recovery. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries
  • Halsted, Deborah D., Shari Clifton, and Daniel T. Wilson. 2014. Library as safe haven: disaster planning, response, and recovery : a how-to-do-it manual for librarians. Chicago: Neal-Schuman, an imprint of the American Library Association.

Selected Law Library Articles

  • Even though some of these articles are quite old, they are still worth reviewing.
  • Anglim, Christopher, The Worst Thing That Could Happen - Law Library Disasters and Preparing for the Unimaginable, 1 AALL Spectrum 8 (1996-1997)
  • Coolidge, Katherine, Program Outlines Elements of an Effective Disaster Plan - Communication, Role Assignments Key to Disaster Preparedness, 8 AALL Spectrum 22 (2003-2004)
  • Fu, Paul S., Handling Water Damage in a Law Library, 79 Law. Libr. J. 667 (1987)
  • Guarding against Disaster [Transcript of a panel discussion moderated by Erwin C. Surrency], 66 Law Libr. J. 419 (1973)
  • Huddleston, Brian, After the Storm - New Orleans Law Libraries' Long and Continuing Recovery from Hurricane Katrina, 11 AALL Spectrum 12 (2006-2007)
  • Norton, Francis X. Jr., Communication Breakdown - How to Avoid the Real Barrier to Disaster Recovery, 12 AALL Spectrum 12 (September/October 2007)
  • Oscar M. Trelles, Protection of Libraries, 66 Law Libr. J. 241 (1973)
  • Preservation of Law Library Materials & Disaster Planning [Transcript of a panel discussion moderated by Julius S. Marke], 73 Law Libr. J. 831 (1980).
  • Preservation Treatment Options for Law Libraries, 84 Law. Libr. J. 259 (1992)
  • Seo, Hilary T., Preserving Print Legal Information, 96 Law Libr. J. 581 (2004)
  • Turpening, Patricia K., From Sheepskin Binding to Born Digital: One Hundred Years of Preservation in Law Library Journal, 101 Law Libr. J. 71 (2009)


Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Artistic and Historic Works: 
Connecting to Collections Webinar Series

The Resilient Organization: A Guide for Disaster Planning and Recovery. http://www.webjunction.org/documents/webjunction/The_Resilient_Organization_A_Guide_for_Disaster_Planning_amp_Recovery.htmlThis 75-page guide is available for download in PDF or MSWord format. The attached Excel worksheets can serve as templates for your planning and recovery process.


  • Maximize your Library's Survival: Elements of an Effective Disaster Plan. Recorded AALL 96th AALL Annual Meeting and Conference (2003).
  • Natural and Unnatural Disasters: Plans and Recovery for the Unexpected. Recorded AALL 96th AALL Annual Meeting and Conference (2003).
  • Hot Topic: Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best: Using a Library Disaster Plan Template to Prepare the Library's Disaster Plan. Recorded AALL 99th AALL Annual Meeting and Conference (2006).