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Disaster: response and recovery at a major research library in New Orleans

Disaster: response and recovery at a major research library in New Orleans Purpose – This paper aims to describe the experience of the largest among many academic libraries in New Orleans severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina. In this case, at Tulane University, a remarkable early effort was undertaken to save collections and stabilize flooded library buildings. Other daunting challenges followed. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reports observations on critical aspects of the library's recovery, which was still ongoing at the time of this writing more than two years after the hurricane. Findings – The paper draws preliminary conclusions about disaster planning and response to actual disasters. Originality/value – The event covered maybe unprecedented in many ways even apart from its scale, since its location was a major city that was almost entirely evacuated apart from military personnel. Effective disaster response is a context sensitive and complex undertaking. In this case special problems arose initially in just responding to the scene and later in ways connected to the staggering scope of the damage to the region surrounding. Nonetheless, tapping the expertise and resources of a skilled disaster mitigation company, Tulane and its library were able to stage a broad recovery effort. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Library Management Emerald Publishing

Disaster: response and recovery at a major research library in New Orleans

Library Management , Volume 29 (4/5): 14 – May 30, 2008

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0143-5124
DOI
10.1108/01435120810869084
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to describe the experience of the largest among many academic libraries in New Orleans severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina. In this case, at Tulane University, a remarkable early effort was undertaken to save collections and stabilize flooded library buildings. Other daunting challenges followed. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reports observations on critical aspects of the library's recovery, which was still ongoing at the time of this writing more than two years after the hurricane. Findings – The paper draws preliminary conclusions about disaster planning and response to actual disasters. Originality/value – The event covered maybe unprecedented in many ways even apart from its scale, since its location was a major city that was almost entirely evacuated apart from military personnel. Effective disaster response is a context sensitive and complex undertaking. In this case special problems arose initially in just responding to the scene and later in ways connected to the staggering scope of the damage to the region surrounding. Nonetheless, tapping the expertise and resources of a skilled disaster mitigation company, Tulane and its library were able to stage a broad recovery effort.

Journal

Library ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: May 30, 2008

Keywords: Natural disasters; Libraries; Contingency planning

References