Risk management and disaster recovery in Australian public libraries [slides]

ALIA Library

Velasquez, Diane

Asia-Pacific Library and Information Conference 2018, 30 July - 2 August 2018 Gold Coast: Roar Leap Dare
This conference presentation (PowerPoint slides) supports the session on disaster recovery and risk management in public libraries in Australia.
Public libraries in Australia are as prone to being impacted by natural and manmade disasters as any other types of organisation or person. Being prepared to deal with the resulting situation is another aspect to building a forward thinking organisation. A pilot study was done in South Australia library managers at four public libraries in 2014. There were seven staff members interviewed but this represents twelve branch libraries in three suburbs of Adelaide. The library staff did not take seriously the potential risk of disaster as high believing their libraries were located in low-risk disaster areas. The other main finding was that losing any part of their collections was not regarded as a large problem as they felt it did not have great value.
During 2017 nine interviews were done with staff members in libraries around the east coast of Australia in order to discover if the findings uncovered with the Adelaide pilot study would be the same. The libraries that were chosen were targeted in areas that had seen some kind of disaster in the last 10 years by going through the disaster registers that the federal or state governments had kept. Sixty libraries in Australia and New Zealand were targeted with emails asking them to participate in the study. Only nine said yes and were interviewed for a 15% response rate.
The methodology was face-to-face interviews with the participants at their libraries. All of the participants were digitally audio recorded so that they could be transcribed. The interviews lasted approximately 45 minutes to one hour. The interviews were transcribed, separately analysed and then discussed to iteratively identify common patterns and themes using a constructivist grounded theory approach.
The paper will show why disaster recovery and risk management are a key aspect all public libraries need to be concerned about. As some libraries see Work Health and Safety as a necessary first step, it is just the first one and there is much more work that will need to be done. 


Deakin, ACT: Australian Library and Information Association
University of South Australia