University of Minnesota

‘U’ Libraries to conduct hands-on salvage training

Participants to learn how to handle, recover books damaged during disasters

flooded booksLibrarians usually don’t come to mind when thinking about front-line emergency responders. But it’s library staff – trained library staff – who can save valuable collections and rare and unique materials following a natural disaster.

Following a flood and faced with stacks of wet books, how you handle the damaged materials can determine whether or not you can save them. For example, which books have inks that tend to run? What do you save first? Books, archival materials, photographs, or audiovisual media?

The key, of course, is having a plan and providing staff training. The University of Minnesota Libraries is providing its staff with this training on September 4 and 5 at Elmer L. Andersen Library. Julie Page, co-coordinator of the California Preservation Program and the Western States and Territories Preservation Assistance Service, is leading the workshop.

“The collections at the University Libraries represent an incredible store of knowledge, a critical resource for students, faculty, and researchers across the world, and one of the University’s most valuable assets,” said Mary Miller, collection management and preservation strategist at the University of Minnesota Libraries. “It’s imperative that we be ready to save our institution’s treasures as quickly and effectively as possible in the event of a disaster.”

Miller said that this workshop, in addition to ongoing collections emergency activities, is an important step towards preparedness. A highlight of the two-day training will be the hands-on salvage exercise on September 4, 2:15 to 3:45 p.m. Two teams of 10 will attempt to salvage stacks of waterlogged books on the lawn outside of Elmer L. Andersen Library.

What: University of Minnesota Libraries to conduct hands-on salvage training
Where: Elmer L. Andersen Library
When: September 4 and 5, 2013. Special hands-on salvage exercise from 2:15 to 3:45 p.m. on September 4.

Mary E. Miller, Collection Management and Preservation Strategist, University of Minnesota Libraries, 612-625-9176,;
Mark Engebretson, Communications Director, 612-625-9148;

Filed in News by on August 29, 2013 0 Comments

About the Author ()

Mark Engebretson is the director of communications at the University of Minnesota Libraries and editor of continuum. Previously, Mark served as director of digital media strategy for the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and before that as electronic communications manager for the University of Minnesota's Academic Health Center Office of Communications. Mark is a former journalist who has written about politics, health, business, and sports for a number of newspapers and magazines. Mark has a B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in health journalism from the University of Minnesota.

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