Responding to Water Damage in Libraries

With the catastrophic winter weather that has been affecting Texas, libraries may be responding to freezing pipes and resulting water damage. Prioritize your safety and that of your staff. Once you all are safe, consult your local governing authority for more information about their requirements or directives.

Step one: Caring for staff

Step two: Documenting and disposing of damaged items

Taken from the TSLAC blog post Lessons from Superstorm Sandy: New Jersey Librarians Share Tips on Dealing with Facilities and Collections.

  • Document what has been damaged. Insurance company representatives might not arrive in the area until weeks later; take photos and document as much as possible as buildings become accessible.
  • Dispose of damaged materials (books, furniture, shelving, etc.) as soon as possible to stop the spread of mold, which can start growing within 48 hours. The only exception is irreplaceable materials such as local history or museum collections. Standard books and furniture are replaceable.

Step three: Salvaging irreplaceable items

Here are resources on salvaging damaged materials that may be helpful for library staff and patrons:

Additional links

Texas Library Association (TLA) Disaster Relief Fund: Grants range from $2,500 to $5,000 and can be used for technology, facility repair, collections, furnishings, or other needs related to storm damage. Academic, public, school and special libraries are eligible to receive assistance.

Communicating the Value of Library Workers in a Library Temporarily Closed to the Public: TSLAC blog post with tips and strategies on communicating the value of the library while the building is closed. TSLAC’s Planning for Libraries: Communications During COVID-19 includes more communications resources.

Mental Health Resources for Libraries (TSLAC)

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Disaster Recovery Resources (TSLAC)

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