Becoming a Wizard of Recovery: water, mold and bugs – oh my!

Instructor Tom Clareson of LYRASIS shows how to properly wrap a wet book.

In six sessions during October and November 2017, the NJ State Library and the NJ Cultural Alliance for Response (NJCAR) presented a series of disaster preparedness training workshops for librarians and others who work at institutions where publications, artifacts, photos or artwork are housed. The two-part workshops were held at locations strategically located in north, central and south Jersey. The workshops were designed to help New Jersey’s small and mid-sized institutions improve their ability to preserve their humanities collections and note the significant risk to the state’s cultural heritage materials from natural disasters and other types of emergencies.

Taught by Tom Clareson, senior consultant for Digital and Preservation Services at LYRASIS, the workshops focused on risk assessment, disaster plan development, salvage priorities and salvage methods, and wet material recovery.

During the first session, attendees learned how to create a draft disaster plan or revise an old one; the elements of risk assessment; and what is needed in an Incident Command System. During the second session, Clareson discussed establishing salvage priorities and demonstrated recovery techniques for water damage on a variety of material, and how that damage, if not addressed, would lead to mold and insect issues.

From left: Jennilee Bukley, Dana Combs, Jayson Kelly assess wet material for recovery.

After lunch, it was hands-on exercise time as students got to practice setting salvage priorities, recovery techniques and proper recording of materials.

NJCAR empowers New Jersey’s cultural communities to preserve their valuable assets and sustain operations before, during and after disasters strike. The alliance is comprised of a network of organizations, associations, agencies and individuals dedicated to safeguarding the state’s cultural heritage.

These workshops were supported, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About Tiffany McClary

Tiffany McClary is the Director of Communications, Marketing & Outreach for the New Jersey State Library. She coordinates marketing and public relations initiatives in order to enhance the reputation of the State Library, and promote the value of NJ libraries and the services and programs that they provide to residents.