One Plan, Four Libraries: A Case Study in Disaster Planning for a Four-Campus Academic Institution

One Plan, Four Libraries: A Case Study in Disaster Planning for a Four-Campus Academic Institution

Allison Galloup (University of North Georgia, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8624-3.ch008
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The University of North Georgia, a recently consolidated university, has four libraries of varying sizes with different types of collections – ranging from libraries with larger sized book collections to libraries that rely on electronic resources. In addition to the differences in size and collections, the libraries also face the challenge of distance. This chapter follows the creation of an emergency plan, a recovery plan, and a continuity of operations plan for an academic library with four unique campus locations. The creation process begins with risk assessments of all four libraries, creating a team to write the plan, writing the plan and implementation and training for faculty and staff. The policies were written by a committee of five and included at least one representative from each campus.
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In 2012 the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia announced that Gainesville State College and North Georgia College and State University would consolidate to form the University of North Georgia (University of North Georgia, 2015). Gainesville State College, founded in 1964, was a two-year institution with two campuses (Gainesville and Oconee County). The school was originally a junior college and over the course of its almost 50 years, began adding four-year degrees (University of North Georgia, 2015). North Georgia College and State University was founded in 1873 as an agricultural college with a military component – the Corps of Cadets. North Georgia College and State University was a single campus institution (University System of Georgia, 2015). Prior to the announcement of consolidation, the two institutions united to build a small campus in Cumming, Georgia that would serve both student populations (Williams, 2011).

The consolidation officially took place in January 2013 with the fall semester of 2014 being the first semester of classes in the newly formed university (University of North Georgia, 2015). The result of the consolidation was a single university with four campuses that span four counties in Northeast Georgia. Each of the four campuses has a library, two of which libraries containing archival/special collections materials.

Over the course of the first year of consolidation the libraries worked to merge existing policies and create new policies as necessary. Along with merging borrowing policies, visitor and community privileges, and food and drink policies, the libraries and the university as a whole needed a new emergency plan. Each of the prior institutions had a university-wide emergency plan, however, neither had an up-to-date plan specifically for the library.

Key Terms in this Chapter

GALILEO Interconnected Libraries (GIL): A service of the University System of Georgia that allows USG students that opportunity to access the resources found at any USG school. Through GIL-Express, students can request materials from any USG school library be sent to his/her home institution for check-out.

National Incident Management System (NIMS): A national, comprehensive approach to managing disaster recovery that crosses jurisdictional and functional boundaries.

Incident Action Plan: A document that lays out the strategy for responding to an event as well as any strategies used to facility the dissemination of critical information related to the incident.

Continuity of Operations Plan: A plan to ensure critical functions and processes continue to be performed during or immediately following an emergency or disaster.

Heritage Emergency Response Alliance (HERA): A coalition of institutions and individuals in metro Atlanta that work to preserve the area’s cultural heritage by mitigating the damage caused to cultural institutions in the event of a disaster.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): A governmental agency that assists the nation in preparing for, preventing, responding to and recovering from natural and man-made disasters.

Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE): A nonprofit organization whose membership is comprised of twenty public and private colleges and universities, five libraries, and twelve corporate and nonprofit partners. In addition to promoting higher education and community development, students of ARCHE member institutions are allowed to use the libraries of any of the other ARCHE institutions.

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