Disaster Management and Exhibition Loans: Contingency Planning for Items on Display

Disaster Management and Exhibition Loans: Contingency Planning for Items on Display

Patti Gibbons (University of Chicago Library, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6195-8.ch077

Abstract

Materials on loan to libraries and other cultural heritage institutions are very often historically significant, highly valuable, and frequently irreplaceable, yet traditional disaster management planning literature does not address the additional needs that items loaned for exhibitions present. In the event of an unforeseen incident, this omission leaves loan participants vulnerable to risk and exposed to potential loss. Disaster preparedness and response policies that address risks presented by exhibition loans, and that detail procedures for these materials, can help libraries minimize the potential loss of often prized and high profile borrowed materials in the event of an emergency. The chapter provides information and guidelines on how to address the needs of loaned materials into institutional contingency planning.
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Background

From a legal perspective, formal written agreements obligate institutions borrowing materials to care for materials on loan, including care initiated in contingency responses, yet the body of professional library literature does not directly provide comprehensive assistance on how best to administer exhibition loans with disaster planning protocols in mind. Frequently, library staff administer loans as an additional task assigned to a person involved in exhibition planning, preservation, or departmental administration. Librarians managing exhibition loans can benefit from the professional standards and best practices developed by museum registrars and collection managers who manage loans as their primary professional pursuit.

Furthermore, libraries insure materials on loans differently from their main holdings, and loan materials may present legal indemnity issues. The body of professional library literature does not directly enumerate these matters, yet librarians managing exhibition loans must understand these concerns and know how to address them.

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