Wildcard Wednesdays

Library Disaster Planning: Are You Ready?

In recent years, libraries of all kinds have dealt with increasingly severe weather events. Wildfires continue to rage across the West Coast, contributing to smoke cover and evacuation orders, while the East Coast experiences hurricanes and flooding. Right now, ALA is raising funds to support libraries impacted by Hurricane Ida.

ALA also maintains a Library Disaster Preparedness libguide. Another robust disaster preparedness and recovery guide was created by the South Central Regional Library Council. Does your library have a disaster plan ready? How will you respond to the next challenge that comes along?

Weather events aren’t the only kind of disaster that can strike. As libraries become more reliant on virtual services during the COVID-19 pandemic, ransomware attacks continue to rise. Right as my college switched to remote instruction in spring 2020, we were hit by a ransomware attack. Our library lost years of material stored on the college’s network drives, although we did have a USB filled with outdated files saved before we had begun relying on the district’s automatic backups. Over a year later, we’re still feeling the effects of what we lost.

The best advice for ransomware preparation is to ensure employees know what kinds of suspicious activity to look out for, and to back up material regularly in a location that’s isolated from the rest of the system. For more tips, check out the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s ransomware guide or read the story of a public library struck by ransomware.

Interested in how libraries recover from disasters? The first season of Choice’s Patron Driven podcast follows a Texas community college library’s recovery after Hurricane Harvey. Listen to episodes of Patron Driven here.

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