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Table of Contents

I. Introduction

A. Disaster Coordinating Team and Response Team Responsibilities

II. Disaster Response Instructions for All Staff

III. Disaster Response Procedures for the Disaster Coordinating and Response Teams

A. Immediate Response Steps

1. Report the Emergency
2. Notify the Disaster Coordinating Team
3. Ensure Safety
4. Halt Damage
5. Stabilize the Environment
6. Evaluate the Extent of Damage
7. Plan the Recovery Strategy
8. Activate the Disaster Response Team

B. Salvage Procedures

1. Paper-Based Materials

a. Priorities and precautions
b. Overview of recovery methods
c. Procedures for freezing
d. Procedures for air drying

2. Photographic Materials

a. Priorities and precautions
b. Procedures for salvage

3. Magnetic Tape

a. Priorities and precautions
b. Procedures for salvage

4. Floppy Diskettes
5. Compact Disks
6. Phonograph Recordings

IV. Local Emergency Contact Lists

A. UD Library Disaster Coordinating Team
B. UD Library Disaster Response Team
C. UD Library Area Specialists
D. UD Library Executive Council
E. UD Telephone Numbers

V. Disaster Supplies

A. Contents and Locations of Disaster Trunks
B. Emergency Supplies Stored in Preservation

VI. Emergency Resources Outside the University of Delaware

A. Freezing Facilities
B. Salvage Firms
C. Sources of Supplies and Equipment
D. Consultants

VII. Upkeep Activities

A. Stocking and Monitoring Supplies
B. Updating the Disaster Response Plan/Distibution List
C. Hazards Survey/Record of Incidents

VIII. Other Sources of Information

I. Introduction

The collections in libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions are constantly at risk of damage or loss from events such as fires, floods, roof leaks, and plumbing or other building system failures. To reduce the chances that a disaster will occur, and to minimize damage to collections if a disaster does occur, every collection-holding institution should have a disaster preparedness and response plan. Disaster preparedness is an ongoing process that includes identifying risks and potential hazards to the collections, taking steps to eliminate or reduce those risks whenever possible, and developing and maintaining a disaster response capability to minimize damage or loss in the event of a disaster.

In addition to procedures for emergency evacuation and power outages affecting Morris Library and those for reporting security and facility concerns, the University of Delaware Library maintains this Disaster Response Plan for responding to emergencies involving the collections. The University also has an Emergency Guide for fire, medical, and other life-threatening emergencies.

I.A. Disaster Coordinating Team and Response Team Responsibilities

The Vice Provost of Libraries oversees disaster response, and is responsible for making available the resources that are needed to recover collections or facilities damaged in a disaster.

The Coordinator, Preservation, is responsible for organizing the Library’s disaster preparedness and response efforts and for maintaining and updating this Disaster Response Plan. The Coordinator, Preservation, heads the Disaster Coordinating Team, which is responsible for managing disaster response, and the Disaster Response Team, which is trained to perform salvage and recovery procedures in a disaster situation affecting collections.

The Coordinator, Preservation, is responsible for matters relating to collections; the Assistant Director for Library Administrative Services is responsible for addressing matters related to the building.

II. Disaster Response Instructions for All Staff

III. Disaster Response Procedures for the Disaster Coordinating and Response Teams

III.A. Immediate Response Steps

III.A.1. Report the Emergency

a. FIRE or other life-threatening emergency


In reporting the emergency, remain calm, and provide the following information:

Stay on the phone until you have given all the necessary information. Do not be the first to hang up.

III.A.2. Notify the Disaster Coordinating Team

If collections are or could be affected, notify the Disaster Coordinating Team. One person may be designated to call the others.


III.A.3. Ensure Safety

Do not enter the affected area until it has been determined that is safe to do so.

If the Fire Department is called, they will be in charge of deciding when staff may re-enter the building.

In a Water Emergency, potential dangers to people include electrical shock, and exposure to sewage, chemicals, and mold.

To ensure safety in a Water Emergency:

*Library staff do not have access to electrical or water shut-offs. Public Safety should contact Facilities (for nights and weekends, Emergency Maintenance) to shut off the electricity or the water.

Contaminated Water

If you are responding to a water emergency but have not determined the source, remember that the water could be contaminated. If you are handling affected collections or working in the wet area, wear protective clothing. Rubber gloves, safety glasses, and protective jackets are in the Disaster Trunks located in Circulation, the Mailroom, and Preservation Room 013.

Standing Water

If there is standing water on the floor, there is a risk of electrical shock. Do not enter the area until the electricity has been turned off.


III.A.4. Halt Damage

Shield library materials from the source of water by:

III.A.5. Stabilize the Environment

Work with Facilities staff to:

Keep temperature below 65ºF, lower if possible, by:

Keep relative humidity below 35% by:

Monitor the temperature and relative humidity for at least 72 hours

III.A.6. Evaluate the Extent of Damage

Identify types of materials damaged and estimate quantities, e.g.,

Identify the nature of damage, e.g., materials are:

Sketch on the floor plan or make a list of the call numbers ranges involved. Consult Morris Library Floor Plans.

III.A.7. Plan the Recovery Strategy

Determine priorities among damaged materials taking into consideration:

Determine what recovery methods will be used, e.g.,

Determine what resources are needed for the salvage operation:

III.A.8. Activate the Disaster Response Team

The Team leader uses the Disaster Response Team List to notify members.  One person on the Team may be designated to call the others.

Team members should be told:

When Team members have gathered, the Team Leader:

III.B Salvage Procedures

III.B. 1. Salvage Procedures - Paper-Based Materials

III.B.1.a. Priorities and precautions



Handling precautions

Unbound paper


Handling precautions

III.B.1.b. Overview of recovery methods

Air drying – materials are dried by spreading them out on and/or interleaving them with absorbent paper in a work space in which the temperature and relative humidity are kept below 65% F and 35% RH, and fans are used to keep air circulating.

Use for:

  Don’t use for:

Freezing – Wet materials are stabilized by freezing to allow time to plan for recovery.  Freezing is an interim step.  Materials must be air dried or vacuum freeze dried after being removed from the freezer.  Mold will not grow, and further distortion is halted once materials are frozen.  Rapid freezing minimizes damage from ice crystals.

Vacuum freeze drying – After materials are frozen to prevent further distortion and mold growth, frozen materials are dried in a vacuum chamber.  Materials remain frozen as water is removed.  The water passes from a solid state (ice) to a vapor state.

Use for:

  Don’t use for:

Vacuum drying (vacuum thermal drying) – Wet or frozen materials are dried in a vacuum chamber.  A vacuum is drawn, heated air is put into the chamber, and a vacuum is applied again to pull out the moisture.  Books distort more than when vacuum freeze dried.  A lower-cost alternative for materials of lesser value.

Use for:

  Don’t use for:

Dehumidification – Materials are dried in place on shelves by large commercial dehumidifiers that are brought on site.  Temperature and relative humidity in the area should be controlled.  Books distort more than when vacuum freeze dried.

  Use for:

  Don’t use for:

Freezer drying – Materials are put in a freezer for months.  Over time moisture sublimates out of the materials.

Use for:

  Don’t use for:

III.B.1.c. Procedures for freezing

Pack materials to be frozen

Be sure that steps have been taken first to ensure safety, halt damage, and stabilize the environment.


Unbound paper

Oversized unbound paper

Transport to the loading dock

Choose a freezing facility

Options are:

Contact the service provider needed and arrange for services. Specify quantity of materials to be frozen, and estimate arrival time. Prepare a written contract for freeze drying services in advance of sending materials, or at least before the vendor begins any treatment.

III.B.1.d. Procedures for air drying wet or damp paper-based materials

Prepare the drying site

Identify a work space for drying in which the environment can be controlled (65ºF, 35% RH, circulating air), and preferably with a large amount of table surface.  If not, a floor will do.

Cover the tables or floor with plastic sheeting. Lay absorbent paper on the plastic.  If using floors, delimit drying areas with tape and leave aisles for access.

Transport materials to the drying area either on trucks or packed as for freezing, depending on the quantity of materials and distance from disaster site to drying site.

Air drying procedures


Coated paper - Freeze drying will give the best results for wet coated papers. If the book is partially wet, air dry by fanning open the pages and interleave between every page with waxed paper. Damp books should be stood on their heads and fanned open. Fan through the pages frequently.

Saturated books - Stand books on their heads on absorbent paper; open only the covers slightly to allow them to stand. Place absorbent paper between text block and covers. Lean two books together if they cannot stand alone, or support them with bookends.  Change paper on table as soon as it becomes wet, and turn books alternately to rest on head and tail each time paper is changed.  When most of the water has drained, follow procedure for partially wet books.

Partially wet books - Interleave absorbent paper every 20 leaves or so, with interleaving extending beyond the head (or tail) and fore-edge.  (NOTE: For damp books with coated paper, interleave instead with waxed paper.) Lay books flat. Frequent changes are better then too many interleaves, which cause further distortion. Paper towels are best but unprinted newsprint will do.  Change interleaving as soon as it becomes wet (depends on conditions, so check progress). When books are only slightly damp, follow the procedure for damp books.

Damp books - Stand on edge, fanned open a little bit, in a current of air (e.g., a fan). If the covers are damper than the text blocks, place absorbent paper between them. When almost but not completely dry, go to the final air drying step.

Final air drying step - When almost dry, lay books flat, place absorbent paper between covers and text block, reform them into their normal shape if possible, and place a light weight on top of each.  Do not stack drying books together. Leave the weight in place until book is completely dry.


Unbound paper

Drying on a flat surface - Spread documents out on table or floor and change paper beneath as it becomes wet.  Interleave stacks of paper every 25 sheets with paper towels or other absorbent paper, changing interleaving when it becomes wet. Note: Every sheet of coated paper need to be separated from one another before they begin to dry.

Separating wet sheets - Place a sheet of polyester film on top of a stack of wet unbound papers.  Rub gently with a bone folder – the top sheet will adhere to the film.  Hang the sheets of paper with film stuck to it on a clothesline.  As they dry, they will separate from the film.  Or, lay the wet sheet and film on a sheet of polyester web (such as non-woven interfacing fabric).  Carefully peel off the film.  Lay another sheet of polyester web on top of the wet sheet.  Lay these out on tables to dry.

Final air drying step - Flatten by placing between two blotters and applying even pressure with weights.  


Cleaning books

If staff and time permit, books that are covered with mud or silt may be washed prior to freezing or air drying.

Cleaning precautions

Cleaning procedure

III.B. 2. Salvage Procedures - Photographic Materials (prints, cased photos, negatives, transparencies, microfilm, & motion picture film)

III.B.2.a. Priorities and precautions for photographic materials



III.B.2.b. Procedures for salvaging photographic materials


Consult a professional if possible, but in general, the preferred recovery method for photographic materials is air drying, with the exception of microfilm and motion picture films.  Film on long rolls can be handled more easily by reprocessing in mechanized processing machines by a professional processing lab.  See procedures below for air drying for specific materials.

For materials that cannot be air dried immediately, and for microfilms and motion picture films, keep them wet and cool by sealing them while wet in plastic bags and immerse the bags in cold water in clean plastic pails.  Add ice to the water to keep it cool, especially when shipping them for treatment.  Arrange for treatment as soon as possible.  For black and white, emulsions separate in 3 days.  For color, color layers separate, and dyes fade, in 2 days.

If neither air drying nor arranging for treatment within the time limits above are possible, freeze materials as quickly as possible (quick freezing as in a blast freezer results in smaller (less damaging) ice crystals).

Procedures for drying prints

Special considerations for the following prints:

Procedures for drying cased photographs (Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, tintypes in cases)

Air dry cased photographs as soon as possible.  Do not immerse in water and do not freeze.

If water has gotten inside the case, dismantle and air dry all parts:

Procedures for drying negatives and transparencies

Roll film negatives – Dry emulsion side up on absorbent paper as it becomes wet, or hang carefully on a line with plastic clips

Sheet film negatives and transparencies – These have a gelatin layer on the back that could stick to paper.  Hang to dry carefully on a line with plastic clips, or dry films emulsion side up on polyester web covered absorbent paper.

Glass negatives – Dry vertically by propping them up on their long sides or in racks. If broken, cracked, or with flaking emulsions, dry flat.

Color slides in plastic or paper mounts – Remove slides from plastic sleeves and pages.  If a small amount, slides may be dried in their mounts if in a controlled environment.  Otherwise, unmount slides, keep and dry the mounts if they have information on them, and hang slides on a line by edges with paper clips.

Deteriorated nitrate- and acetate-base negatives – The recovery rate is low.  Dry these emulsion side up on sheets of polyester web over absorbent paper, and change paper as it becomes wet.  If they are in an early state of deterioration they may be hung on lines with plastic clips to dry, but do not let them touch each other.

Motion picture film - If film is in cans, check if water has gotten inside.  If only the containers are wet, dry them and relabel if necessary.  If film is wet, fill the can with cold water, close the can, and pack into plastic bags and immerse bags in plastic pails filled with cool water.  Add ice to keep cool, especially for shipping.  Ship to a film processor for rewashing and drying as soon as possible.

Microfilm - Salvage master films.  Consider leaving copy films if they can be replaced.

If water has gotten inside film rolls, keep rolls wet and in their boxes (add water into boxes if needed to ensure keeping them wet).  Hold cardboard boxes and their labels together with rubber bands.  Pack them into sealed garbage bags and immerse the bags in plastic pails filled with cool water.  Add ice to keep them cool, especially for shipping. Send to a film processing lab as soon a possible.

If only a few rolls of film have gotten wet, they can be dried by winding over film rewinds (used for inspection) and cleaning with a film cleaner, which contains a solvent that encourages even drying.

Microfiche (silver-gelatin, diazo, and vesicular) – dry gently with a soft, lint-free cloth.

III.B. 3. Salvage Procedures - Magnetic Tape (video, audio, computer)

III.B.3.a. Magnetic tape priorities and precautions



III.B.3.b. Magnetic tape salvage and recovery procedures

Tapes on open reels (reel to reel audio, open reel computer tape)

Remove tape from canisters and remove wrap arounds. Then,

Tapes contaminated with mud or sewage:

Properly wound tapes:

If edges of the tape are fragile (due to poor tape pack) do not blot.

If tape is not properly wound and water has gotten inside the tape pack:

Tape cassettes or cartridges (video and audio cassettes, computer cartridge tapes)

III.B. 4. Salvage Procedures - Floppy Diskettes

III.B.4.a. Priorities and precautions for floppy diskettes


Handling precautions

III.B.4.b. Salvage and recovery procedures for floppy diskettes

Damp but clean diskettes

 Wet diskettes

 Removing 3 ½ " diskettes from their jackets:

 Removing 5 ¼ " diskettes from their jackets:


III.B. 5. Salvage Procedures - Compact Disks

III.B.5.a. Priorities and precautions for compact disks


Handling precautions

III.B.5.b. Salvage and recovery procedures for compact disks

Mud or sewage affected CDs

Sea water affected CDs

Fresh water affected CDs

III.B. 6. Salvage Procedures - Phonograph Recordings - (vinyl, shellac, acetate discs)

III.B.6.a. Priorities and precautions for phonograph recordings


Handling precautions

III.B.6.b. Salvage and recovery procedures for phonograph recordings

IV. Local Emergency Contact Lists

IV.A. UD Library Disaster Coordinating Team
Click Here for Home Telephone Numbers

Paul Anderson, Library Administrative Services 6910
Susan Brynteson, Vice Provost and May Morris Director of Libraries 2231
Mary Durio, Preservation -- Head, Coordinating Team 0196
Susan Davi, Collection Development 6948
Susan Maguire, Preservation 6919
Chad Maring, Library Facilities  6940
Tim Murray, Special Collections 6952
Nancy Nelson, Access Services 8135
Craig Wilson, Collections 6908

IV.B. UD Library Disaster Response Team

Click Here for Home Telephone Numbers

Name Extension
Mary Durio, Preservation -- Head, Disaster Response Team 0196
Jacqueline Carter, Preservation 1729
Fritz Getze, Branch Libraries 2530
Theresa Hessey, Preservation 1729
Susan Maguire, Preservation 6919
Xiaolan Meng, Preservation 1729
Marlene Osborne, Administration 2231
John Stevenson, Acquisitions 8671
Anita Wellner, Special Collections 2229


IV.C. UD Library Area Specialists
To be contacted if collections in their areas are affected
Click Here for Home Telephone Numbers

Name and Area Extension
Paul Anderson
Access Services
Nancy Nelson
Dina Giambi
Bibliographic Control
Deborah Rae
Susan Agent

Branch Libraries
Fritz Getze

Government Documents
John Stevenson
Jeffrey Boys

Instructional Media
Francis Poole

Student Multimedia Design Center
Shelly McCoy

Shirley Branden

Special Collections
Rebecca Johnson Melvin
Iris Snyder

Mark Grabowski



IV.D. UD Library Executive Council
Click Here for Home Telephone Numbers

Name Extension
Paul Anderson
Asst. Director for Library Administrative Services
Susan Brynteson
Vice Provost and May Morris Director of Libraries
Dina Giambi
Asst. Director for Library Technical Services
Julia Hamm
Asst. to the Director
Sandra Millard
Asst. Director for Library Public Services
Gregg Silvis
Asst. Director for Library Computing Services
Craig Wilson
Asst. Director for Library Collections


IV.E. UD Telephone Numbers

Department Phone
Fire, medical emergency, or other life-threatening emergency 911
Public Safety (302) 831-2222
Occupational Health and Safety (302) 831-8475
University Freezers - Dining Services (302) 831-6761
University Facilities (302) 831-1141
University Movers (302) 831-1110
Custodial Services (302) 831-8649
Central Stores (302) 831-2157
Electrical Services (302) 831-2621
Director of Insurance (302) 831-2971
Chemistry Department (302) 831-2462


V. Disaster Supplies

Click here to view the Current Supply Inventory. The inventory lists disaster supplies, their storage location, quantity in stock, date of last inventory, and the source for restocking. See section VII.A, Upkeep Activities, Stocking and Monitoring Supplies, for the frequency of restocking.

V.A. Contents of Disaster Trunks

There are trunks containing disaster supplies in Circulation under the light panel, in the Mail Room, and in Preservation outside the Women's Room on the Lower Level. Each trunk contains the following emergency supplies:

Disaster Plan
Extension cord
Gloves - latex
Gloves - rubber
Jackets - tyvek
Newsprint paper
Paper towels - folded
Paper writing pads
Plastic sheeting
Safety goggles
Tape - strapping


V.B. Supplies Stored in Preservation

The following disaster supplies are stored in Preservation, in cabinets outside the Women's Room on the Lowel Level.

Blotter paper
Blow dryer
Cameras (one-time use)
Crates (Rescubes)
Disaster Plan
Flashlight batteries
Freezer paper
Gloves - latex
Gloves - rubber
Hard hat
Mylar sheets
Newsprint paper
Paper towels
Paper writing pads
Pens, pencils, markers
Plastic sheeting
Plastic bags (grocery store)
Plastic trash bags
Plastic trays
Respirator replacement filters
Safety goggles
Tape - strapping
Tools (screwdrivers, etc.) - in Conservation

Zip ties

Dehumidifiers are stored in Room 012, the shelving storage room on the Lower Level near the Preservation Department. There is a key to Room 012 in the Circulation Unit.

VI. Emergency Resources Outside the University of Delaware

VI.A. Freezing Facilities

University of Delaware Campus Dining Services
153 Perkins Student Center
Newark, DE 19716
Susan Bogan, Director - (302) 831-6761 (W); (302) 235-7453 (H); sbogan@udel.edu
Robin Moore, Director of Catering and Board Operations - (302) 831-4145 (W); (302) 218-7757 (Nextel)
Cal Thetford, Director of Retail Operations - (302) 831-6761 (W); 302 218-0082 (Nextel)

Louis Dreyfus Distribution Center
P O Box 7398
Newark, Delaware 19714
Phone: (302) 738-7150
Fax: (302) 738-7166
E-mail: kimhession@dca.net
3 million sq. ft. freezer space @ approx. 0 degrees F or a little below 

International Directory of Public Refrigerated Warehouses

VI.B. Salvage Firms

Freeze Drying

Blackmon-Mooring-Steamatic Catastrophe, Inc. (BMS CAT)
303 Arthur Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(800) 433-2940  24-hour hotline

Disaster Recovery Services, Inc.
414 Blue Smoke Court West
Fort Worth, TX 76105
(817) 535-6793
(800) 856-3333  24-hour hotline

Document Reprocessors
5611 Water Street
Middlesex, NY 14507
(800) 437-9464

Munters Moisture Control Services
Philadelphia District Office
100 Naamans Road
Unit 5H
Claymont, DE 19703
(610) 604-0560
(800) 959-7901 National Headquarters, 24-hour hotline


Munters Moisture Control Services
Philadelphia District Office
100 Naamans Road
Unit 5H
Claymont, DE 19703
(610) 604-0560
(800) 959-7901 National Headquarters, 24-hour hotline

Blackmon-Mooring-Steamatic Catastrophe, Inc. (BMS CAT)
303 Arthur Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(800) 433-2940  24-hour hotline

Disaster Recovery Services, Inc.
414 Blue Smoke Court West
Fort Worth, TX 76105
(817) 535-6793
(800) 856-3333  24-hour hotline

Fire Damage Salvage

Astrocare Restoration
50 South Center Street Unit 22
Orange, NJ 07050
(973) 677-1234

Firedex of Phila. Metro
611 County Line Road
Huntington Valley, PA 19006
(215) 357-6000

Computer Data Recovery

Excalibur Data Recovery Services, Inc.
Valley Office Park
13 Branch Street, Suite 207B
Methuen, MA 01844
(978) 681-1200
(800) 466-0893
(978) 681-1203 Fax


Film and Video

920 Broadway, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10010
(800) 653-8434

Recorded Sound

Smolian Sound Preservation Studios
1 Wormans Mill Court #4
Frederick, MD 21701
(301) 694-5134

Microfilm Processing

Preservation Resources
9 S. Commerce Way
Bethlehem, PA 18017
(800) 773-7222


VI.C. Sources of Supplies and Equipment

Office Max
3001 Frost Road
Bristol, PA 19007
(800) 572-6473

301 College Square Shopping Center
Newark, DE 19711
(302) 738-7290

Home Depot
Rte. 896 and Rte. 40
Newark, DE 19702
(302) 838-6818

3515 Leland Street
Bethesda, MD 20815
(301) 718-1659

Thomas Scientific
99 High Hill Road at I-95
Box 99
Swedesboro, NJ 08085-0099
(856) 467-2000

VI.D. Consultants

Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA)
264 South 23rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 545-0613
Disaster assistance; advice; mold remediation; disaster supplies

Debbie Hess Norris
Director, Art Conservation Department
(302) 831-3696
Photographic materials

Lois Olcott Price
Conservator for Library Collections
Winterthur Museum and Library
(302) 888-4633
Books and unbound paper

VII. Upkeep Activities

VII.A. Stocking and Monitoring Supplies

The Disaster Team Leader in responsible for stocking and monitoring supplies. Inventory and restock supplies annually, including testing supplies that have a limited shelf life (e.g. batteries). In addition, supplies should be replenished after a disaster. Disaster response should be evaluated to determine if other supplies would have been useful to have, and should be added.

Last inventory and restocking February 2003.


VII.B. Updating the Disaster Response Plan

Update staff contact information immediately upon changes. Disaster Coordinating and Response Team members should notify the Disaster Team Leader when changes occur. Last update December 23, 2002.

Other contact information: Verify annually. Last update February 2002.

Content. Review annually and following a disaster. Last update February 2003. Click here for a printable version (Microsoft Word).

Distribution List

Disaster Coordinating Team
Disaster Response Team
Library Executive Council
Disaster Trunks
Public Safety
Occupational Health and Safety
Dining Services

VII.C. Record of Incidents

4/21/2006 - When chillers were turned on for the first time of the season, there was a leak of coolant (apparently water in this case) onto books in the DS area on the 3rd floor. Approximately 50 books got wet are were air dried. See the list of damaged materials. The Library Administration will ask to be notified of the date and time when chillers are to be turned on each year.

10/9/2005 - As a result of heavy rains over the weekend, water came in the building on the south side in numerous places:

* Third floor, affecting about 10 faculty studies
* Second floor, affecting several faculty studies and 3 rooms in the Administration office area
* First floor, south end of the Periodicals Room

Edward Moyse of the Stacking Unit first reported on Sunday morning that carpeting was wet outside the faculty studies on the south side of the building. Edward notified Circulation staff. Barbara, the student employee in Circulation, began calling the library staff on Circulations's emergency contact list, and was able to reach Nancy Nelson. Nancy notified Paul Anderson and Elise Calvi. Barbara also called University Facilities (ext. 1411) requesting they send someone over with wet vacuums. However no one from University Facilities responded on Sunday. Paul and Elise worked along with four staff from the Stacking Unit from about 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday to assess the damage, move materials out of harm's way, and stabilize the condition of the faculty studies on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The problems in the Administrative Office and Periodicals Room were not discovered until Monday.

Fortunately, very few books or papers in the Faculty Studies actually got wet. Two books in one study got wet, and one pamphlet, which had been on the floor under a cardboard box, also developed mold. The wet books were air dried in the Conservation Lab, and the moldy pamphlet was photocopied and sewn into a new pamphlet cover by Susan Maguire.

The carpeting was very wet in the affected faculty studies, and water also seeped into the walls from the floor up. Even though the contents of the rooms was not wet, they could not be left in the rooms because of the high humidity from all the water in the carpet and walls. Mold would very likely begin to grow on books and papers left in such a humid environment with the doors closed and no ventilation. The contents of the rooms had to be secured, so leaving the materials in place with doors open was not an option. Four staff from Stacking--Edward, Tom, Denis, and Valerie all worked to move the contents of the wet studies to dry rooms across the hall.

Since University Facilities did not respond to the Library's call on Sunday, the small group of library staff volunteers had to try to dry the rooms. Although the custodian's closets, where wet vacuums are stored, are normally locked (and the library doesn't have keys), Edward found one closet unlocked. He and Tom (also from Stacking) figured out how to operate the wet vacuums, and worked for several hours extracting as much water as possible. Tom and Edward also moved many heavy file cabinets off the wet carpeting, and had to be inventive about how to empty the water from the wet vacuums (since we did not have access to any of the floor-level custodial sinks). All available fans were brought to the 2nd and 3rd floors to keep air circulating in the hope of avoiding a mold outbreak.

On Monday morning, Paul Anderson and Chad Maring worked with Mark Golden of Facilities Management--Structural Services to identify the cause of the leaks. Joe Miller of Occupational Health and Safety was also called to assess the damage and help determine whether walls and carpeting will need to be replaced. The faculty studies disaster that occurred a year ago was on the north end of the building. The damage then was much more extensive (both the contents and building), but the pattern of water damage looks very similar. In the previous event, Facilities determined three causes for the entry of the water: flashing on the roof was inadequate, water came in around the window seals, and water came in through the mortar between the bricks. Windows were resealed and bricks were repointed, but only on the north face of the building.

Monday morning Jesse Rossa checked the Special Collections spaces and reported no that no problems were found. The Mark Samuels Lasner Rooms were also checked, as they are on the south end of the first floor. The carpeting near the south side outer wall felt very slightly damp compared to the the rest of the carpeting in the room, but it did not appear that any water had come in there. The inner doors to these room were left open to allow the air to circulate a little better.

Staff in the Administration Office worked to move wet and endangered materials out of the wet offices, and custodians extracted water from the carpeting with a wet vacuum. Mandi Townsend removed computer equipment from the floor. Two carpet drying "hurricane" fans were brought to dry the wet carpets further. Dehumidifiers were put in place in the Administrative offices and in some of the studies on Monday.

It was determined that the the damage was far less than in the disaster of the previous year (9/28/04) due to the quick response. Only small parts of walls needed to be cut out and replaced. Preparedness actions taken as a result of this disaster are to purchase additional fans and dehumidifiers (done), and for the Library Administration to obtain a key to the custodial closets where wet vacuums are stored.

7/19/2005 - Plumbers were fixing a problem with the sink in the janitor's closet next to the staff Men's Room on the 1st floor, south end of the building (across the hall from Room 111) which resulted in a leak in the Conservation Lab below. A large quantity of water poured from the ceiling directly above a truck of books waiting for repair, and also above the area where supplies used to dry wet books are stored. Approximately 25 books had to be salvaged by a combination of interleaving and air drying with fans. In 1999(?) sewage poured into the Conservation Lab from the same spot in the ceiling. The spot corresponds to the floor drain in the Men's Room on the first floor.

Library Facilities contacted the plumbers to find out where the water came from and how it came though to the Lower Level. They told us that when they were fixing the problem in the janitor's closet, it had caused water to back up in the urinals. They flushed them to clear them out, but the flushing mechanism stuck "on" until water overflowed and ran on to the floor and to the floor drain. On further investigation, the plumbers found that a piece of piping near the floor drain, called a trap primer, had been disconnected long ago but was never capped. The overflow water ran through this uncapped pipe through to the Conservation Lab below. The plumbers capped the trap primer so that this should not occur again.

1/13/2005 - A small number of wet books were found on the third floor in row 3098 (DS 207 .S) during or after rain on 1/13 - 1/14. It was not clear how water came through because there were to stains on the ceiling, but there is a vent directly above. Plastic sheeting and drip collection buckets were put out when the leak was discovered. On 1/18 no drips were seen and the plastic was taken down. See the list of damaged materials.

9/28/2004 - Heavy rain from the former hurricane Jeanne on 9/28 caused many leaks in Morris Library (all floors) and leaks in the Agriculture and Chemistry branch libraries. Library collections were not damaged, but there was significant water damage and some mold developed in faculty research studies on the second and third floors along the north side of Morris Library. Leak drip buckets were in place in 3rd floor Morris stacks (DS and B) caught the water. The chronic leaks in Special Collections office on the 2nd floor and in room 323 were noticed right away. In Chemistry plastic sheeting was put up. In the Agriculture Library on the evening of 9/28, a student employee acted quickly to remove a range of reference works from shelves when a leak occurred, which avoided materials getting wet. Leaks have been identified as follows:

Morris Library third floor leaks--

Maps showing the locations of leaks throughout Morris Library:
1st floor map
2nd floor map
3rd floor map
lower level map

8/11/2004 - There was a water leak in Instructional Media. Window washers spilled water on the floor above when they hooked their hose to the sink in the cafe. Water came through the ceiling into Media onto the tops of the closed stack shelving and also onto a table where some posters had been placed. A sheet of binder's board had been placed on top of the posters to protect them, but there was enough of a leak to penetrate the board and several posters got a little bit damp. The water that landed on the compact shelving did not affect the collections stored there. The posters have been set out to air dry in the Map Room.

8/9/2004 - Mold re-occurred on the walls of the atrium, on the south end of the west wall.

8/1/2004 - The recurring leak over row 3095B on the 3rd floor--over the DS stacks-- has leaked again following heavy rain on 8/1 (Sunday). While the previous occurrence on 7/15 was over one section only, this time there were several drips over a three to four foot area, and the water dripped on books on the top shelf of two sections--the second and third sections in from the rest room side. See the list of damaged materials. On 8/10 the roofers patched the roof in two areas: two hinges on a roof fan, where there was some space in between it and the sheet metal around the base of the fan. They also patched where the base of the fan met the roof.

7/15/2004 - The recurring leak over row 3095 on the 3rd floor--over the DS stacks-- has leaked again following heavy rain on 7/12 and 7/14. The ceiling tiles and metal border of the light fixture were wet, and a puddle of water could be seen on the inside of the light's plastic cover. A few books on the top shelf, third section in from the rest room side of 3095B, were slightly wet (DS 41s). The last occurrence was on 10/27 and 10/29/2003 (see below). The roofers did some patching on 7/15.

7/13/2004 - A new water stain was found on ceiling tiles above row 3027 on the third floor by Library Facilities staff as they checked for leaks following very heavy rain on 7/12. The stained area on the ceiling was dry, and a couple of dozen volumes and the shelf surfaces below it were water stained and spattered, but also dry. Three volumes in BD 426 were moldy. The roofers were called and they patched the roof over this spot on 7/13.

Week of 2/3 - 2/5/2004 - Standing water covering a large area in the NE corner of the Media Dept (room 004A) on 2/3. Weather conditions early in the week were rain and melting snow. On Friday there were heavy rains, and the leak re-occurred.

2/2/2004 - Moldy and water-damaged books (BL 51, in row 3038A) were discovered during stacks cleaning. All were dry and were the result of a past leak over stack row 3039. BL 51 is no longer under the leak area, as a result of a collection shift in about 2002. Books now in row 3039 were checked and several water damaged and moldy (but also dry) volumes were found (BL 1201, BL 1202). The leak over row 3039 is at one of the "seams" between the original building and the addition. See the list of damaged materials, condition, and actions taken.

10/27/2003 - Heavy rain on 10/27 and again on 10/29. Leaks occurred in multiple places over the stacks in the DS class--row numbers 3095 through 3099. Books in row 3095 and 3099 were wet. Two books, dry, but distorted and moldy from a prior leak, were also found at this time. List of damaged materials. Roofers attempted patching the roof on 10/28 and again on 10/29. Map showing location of leaks.

9/23/2003 - There was heavy rain several times over a week (9/15; 9/18-19 (Isabel); and 9/23/2003). Isabel caused 3 leaks in Special Collections areas--two in locations of recurring leaks, and 1 new over the sink in the 2nd floor office area. Precautions had been taken, and there was no collection damage. The recurring leaks were 3rd floor, Room 323, and directly below in the 2nd floor office area. On 9/23, leaks and damage to collections were found in four locations in the general collections stacks on the 3rd floor. In all, 35 volumes were wet. moldy, or both (See the list of damaged materials, their condition, and actions taken.)
Location of leaks on the 3rd floor.
Location of leaks on the 2nd floor.

August 2003 - Mold re-occurred on the walls of the atrium, spreading farther than during August 2000. Mold on east and west walls, and on the beams that go from the east to the west walls.

3/10/2003 - A valve on the sprinkler water supply (which allows diverting the water flow to outside the building for use with fire hoses) leaked over Government Documents materials housed on the Lower Level south side, opposite the rest rooms. The ends of three ranges of shelving were affected. This was a day when work was being done to the sprinkler system related to renovations of the rest rooms. Constructions workers did something that caused a small leak from the valve in the morning. The leak was noticed by a staff member. Plastic was put up and 19 damp books were taken to the Conservation Unit to dry. The water supply to the sprinkler system, which was shut off so that modifications related to the bathroom renovated could be done, was restarted at 2:00 p.m.. Staff were in place to monitor the sprinkler heads for leaks. The valve at that point leaked quite a lot. Buckets were brought and additional plastic was put up. The carpeting got soaked in between two rows, an area about 3 ft. square. Library Facilities made arrangements with University Facilities to change the location of the valve from over the stacks to over a Mechanical Room nearby. Preservation staff off-loaded books from the four sections right under the location of the fitting, both to inspect them for wetness and to avoid further water exposure when Facilities works on the fitting. One sprinkler head outside of Room 056 leaked and wetted the ceiling tile.

2/24/2003 - One sprinkler head leaked (REF PE row, east end) when the sprinkler system was turned off for maintenance then turned back on. Maintenance was connected with bathroom renovations of the 1st floor north bathrooms. Staff were in place to monitor the north half of the first floor when the sprinkler water supply was turned back on. UD Facilities staff in charge of the fire suppression systems on campus said that the sprinkler heads in the Library addition were more susceptible to leaks than those in the original parts of the Library.

2/22/2003 (Saturday) - Media Services leak in the northeast corner of Room 004A, an office area. About 1/2 inch of water on the floor soaked several boxes of papers, headsets, and electronic parts. Cause still to be determined, but could have been because of the heavy rain on 2/23/2003, when there was a great deal of snow on the ground from storms the previous week. A large puddle of water was also seen on the floor in front of the Cafe on the floor immediately above.

3/22/2002 - Media Services leak from the lavatory on the floor above. A stopped up and overflowing urinal caused damage to 350 videotapes. Damage was limited to the boxes and paper inserts that bear information and illustrations.

2/1/2002 - Sprinkler heads leaked when water was shut off then turned back on when modifications were made to add new sprinkler heads in new group study rooms throughout Morris Library. Leaks were small and most were not over collections. One leak dampened 28 books (QA1 .M - QA1 .Q), which were brought to Preservation to be dried, then returned to the stacks. Facilities staff performing the maintenance work said that the last time that the water supply for the sprinkler system was shut off and turned back on, there was also minor leakage.

September 2000 - Media Services leak from the lavatory on the floor above. A stopped up and overflowing urinal caused damage to 59 videotapes. OHSA was contacted regarding health precautions in handling materials. Disaster Plan was modified to include precautions for staff to take regarding potentially contaminated water. Additional safety supplies were added to the Disaster Trunks (safety goggles and Tyvek jackets). The 59 videotapes were withdrawn, and replacements were obtained for those available.

September 2000 - Mold grew on the west wall of the Atrium of Morris Library as a result of an HVAC system problem, which was corrected by Facilities. The walls were cleaned and repainted in October.

9/1999 - Tropical Storm Floyd. 48 books water damaged. Water came in on the third floor in LC class DS. Five books were withdrawn, 18 returned to stacks after drying, 5 repaired, 17 rebound, 3 other undetermined.


VIII. Other Sources of Information

Philadelphia Area Emergency Response Resources List. Compiled by the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA). Philadelphia, PA, January 2001.

This publication provides contact information and guidance on obtaining supplies, equipment, services, advice, and information. Information is geared for the greater Philadelphia region. Regional and national resources are also included. A copy is in the Preservation Department.

Conservation OnLine (CoOL). Web page on disaster preparedness and response provides links to online sources of information including bibliographies of print resources.


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