Once collections are salvaged and dried and/or cleaned, how do you return to normal? Once wet collections have been dried, they cannot just be put back on the shelf. Depending on the nature and extent of the disaster, returning to normal may be relatively quick and easy, or it may take a great deal of time and effort. It will be necessary to examine all the items that have been salvaged to determine their additional needs.
Catalog records and finding aids will need to be updated to reflect any withdrawals, replacements, or other changes. Furnishings and shelving will need to be cleaned, repaired, and/or replaced. Finally, the collections themselves will need to be reshelved or refiled.
It is difficult to plan ahead for specific rehabilitation activities, since it is impossible to know the extent or nature of the disaster in advance. If you are confronted with a disaster, you will need to ask the following questions:
- What specific steps are needed for each rehabilitation activity?
- Who will carry them out, and who will supervise the work?
- Where will the work be done?
- Will temporary storage space be needed?
- Who will have authority to discard badly damaged items?
- What funds will be available? Will they come from the operating budget or insurance?
- How should rehabilitation priorities be set to allow quick resumption of essential services?
- How much of the work can be done by staff and how much needs to be contracted out?
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