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Monday, May 16 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
(Emergency) IMALERT: Establishing the Iowa Museums, Archives, and Libraries Emergency Response Team

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In response to the catastrophic flooding of Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2008, Nancy E. Kraft coordinated an informal but early response and salvage effort for three local institutions. Seven professionals were at the gate and ready to provide assistance when officials allowed citizens into the flooded areas. The impact of this effort was so great that it demonstrated the need for an organized team that had the ability and knowledge to respond to disasters rapidly within the state. With the support of Iowa Conservation and Preservation Consortium, and HRDP funding, Kraft trained a group of twenty-five geographically-distributed mix of staff from libraries, museums, archives, and other collecting organizations in best practices for emergency response. The training was developed and led by Consultant Barbara P Moore and University of Iowa Libraries Preservation Librarian Nancy E. Kraft, with assistance from University of Iowa Libraries Assistant Conservator Brenna Campbell, and University of Iowa Libraries Project Conservator Elizabeth Stone. Training comprised of presentations by Moore and Kraft, as well as contributions from representatives from FEMA, a commercial disaster recovery firm, the State of Iowa Homeland Security, OSHA, and an industrial hygienist. Hands-on activities and table-top scenarios were key to team building. Participants learned how to organize and manage a recovery operation, recovery techniques for the different types of materials in collections, and how to incorporate health and safety precautions. On completion of the course, participants received a disaster response trunk kit and personal protection equipment. Responding quickly to collection emergencies can minimize the cost and impact to the local community. Small institutions in particular often do not have the staff or financial capacity to respond appropriately to threats to their collections. Though local community members may provide most of the labor needed to salvage damaged collections, a trained expert provides the structure and guidance needed for community members to act quickly and in the best interest of their collections. The African American Museum of Iowa estimates that over 90% of their collection was salvaged due to the prompt response by the informal team in 2008 Because ongoing training to the Iowa collections emergency response team will be critical to its success and sustainability, IMALERT members must agree to attend annual training. The continuing education will serve to create a team comradery, insure team member readiness, and develop a pool of future candidates to carry on disaster preparedness and collection salvage throughout the state of Iowa.

avatar for Nancy Kraft

Nancy Kraft

Department Head of Preservation, Conservation, University of Iowa Libraries
Nancy E Kraft is the Head of the Preservation and Conservation Department, University of Iowa Libraries. She is part of the American Institute for Conservation-Collections Emergency Responders Team (AIC-CERT). Kraft received the Midwest Archives Conference 2009 Presidents’ work... Read More →
avatar for Elizabeth Stone

Elizabeth Stone

Assistant Conservator, University of Iowa Libraries
Elizabeth Stone is the Assistant Conservator at the University of Iowa Libraries. She holds a BFA from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and an MFA from the University of Iowa Center for the Book. She assisted with collection salvage response in Iowa after the floods of... Read More →

Monday May 16, 2016 11:30am - 12:00pm EDT
Room 513 A/C