Deferred Maintenance and Space Repurposing: The Impact on Libraries and Archives Disaster and Contingency Planning

Deferred Maintenance and Space Repurposing: The Impact on Libraries and Archives Disaster and Contingency Planning

S. Victor Fleischer (The University of Akron, USA) and Jo Ann Calzonetti (The University of Akron, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3914-8.ch065
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Abstract

This chapter will review two issues commonly found in libraries and archives, especially those at academic institutions: deferred maintenance of aging facilities and the repurposing of space not designed originally for archives and libraries. These two commonly occurring situations create an environment which increases the probability of large and small-scale disasters. Using The University of Akron (UA) as a case study, the authors will assert that every institution with similar conditions should actively prepare for a variety of disaster situations. The chapter will provide numerous examples of these occurrences at UA accompanied by photographs that illustrate the effects of these catastrophes and emphasize the reality of such events.
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Introduction

This chapter will review two issues commonly found in libraries and archives, especially those at academic institutions: deferred maintenance of aging facilities and the repurposing of space not designed originally for archives and libraries. These two commonly occurring situations create an environment which increases the probability of large and small-scale disasters of various types. Using The University of Akron (UA) as a case study, the authors will assert that every institution with similar conditions should actively prepare for a variety of disaster situations. This includes having disaster preparedness and recovery plans and supplies in place and ensuring that all staff and student assistants are trained and prepared to respond to and recover from major and minor disaster situations at a moment’s notice.

The chapter also will provide numerous examples of large and small-scale disaster occurrences at UA accompanied by photographs that illustrate the effects of these catastrophes and emphasize the reality of such events. These incidents include major and minor water infiltration caused by flooding, pipe bursts, flash floods, and rapid snow melts in addition to potential fire outbreaks caused by faulty and outdated wiring and overloaded electrical systems. In addition, this chapter will discuss how many of these incidents were caused by building deficiencies and deferred maintenance as well as repurposing buildings for library and archives facilities. These consist of cracks in walls and ceilings, loose and leaking pipes, damaged or non-existent foundation and window caulking, and other building issues. The chapter also will illustrate the potential for vandalism and man-made disasters in repurposed buildings that affect collections, equipment, and facilities and how to be prepared for such unforeseen events. It will conclude with advice on how to actively manage these potential risks and hazards. This includes training, educating, and working with maintenance and health and safety personnel in addition to documenting—both visually and in writing—building deficiencies and deferred maintenance that have affected library and archives facilities and their contents.

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