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Disaster Preparedness in the Main Library

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Library staff filling cart to move booksThis spring and summer in Iowa City has brought lots of different types of weather and with that lots of different events to be prepared for.  We were in a severe drought for most the winter and early spring, then the rains started.  At the end of May as the river was rising outside our back door the library and the University began to put its flood preparation plan into place.  In the Main Library that meant covering floor drains, moving supplies around, and moving high priority books out of the basement.

Library Staff Volunteers reshelve items from the basement on the 4th floor.



Since the Flood of 2008, the library has moved all of the special collection material from the basement.  The only remaining books are on compact shelving.  It was determined that we would need to move all of the items on the lowest shelves to higher ground.  With the help of library staff volunteers under the direction of Circulation Staff we were able to move the books to the 4th floor.






But just as we thought we would be in the clear more storms rolled in!  During a particularly bad storm all library staff and patrons were moved into the lower level to ride out a tornado warning.  As we began to filter back into our top floor work areas we realized that we had sprung a couple of leaks.

Disaster Preparedness CartThanks to careful planning and lots of help we sprang into action and grabbed our trusty disaster cart.  We were able to remove books from shelves and look them over for any signs of water.  We placed tarps over the area and called in facilities services. Though the library didn’t end up taking on any water from the river it was a great feeling to be so prepared and not rushed.

Tarps on Shelves

Although we are looking at weekly forecast full of rain, we are confident that our preparations and readiness will keep our collections dry!