Recording Available: "Turning Disaster into Opportunity"

The Collection Management Section Webinar: "Turning Disaster into Opportunity" took place on April 5th, 2022. The recording is available at the SAA Youtube Channel

When the unexpected hits our collections, it can be a time of stress and uncertainty but can also be a time to look at collection management practices, storage design and processing to come out stronger on the other side.  Hear from three presenters who faced the unexpected and learn some of the lessons they took away from their experience.  


Jennifer King, Collections Coordinator and Manuscripts Librarian at George Washington University, will discuss her experience with a mold outbreak which resulted in a large-scale move of Special Collections materials to off-site storage. What was initially thought of as just an environmental disaster proved to be a great learning opportunity for staff to gain project management skills, learn about resources, refine collections, and gain a familiarity with the ILS that ultimately improved methods of stewardardship and patron access.

Helena Egbert, Processing Archivist at Kansas State University, oversaw the move of their collections back into a newly renovated space after the library suffered from fire and water damage.  She has done a great deal of planning for this project including reviewing their collections and accessions, making storage decisions, adapting to what is possible based on labor and timing, navigating (re)labeling re-boxed material following the fire, and the ongoing “disaster recovery” work that will be layered into processing for the foreseeable future.

William Modrow, Head of The Walter Havighurst Special Collections, Preservation & University Archives at Miami University, will talk about his work on the renovation and move of the archives in a short timeline after learning their building was going to be torn down. The Archives, having spent over 150 years being moved from basement to basement and finally housed for over 40 years in an old locker room and how staff were able to organize the archives prior to the move, leverage the university administration for much needed upgrades to environmental systems and address preservation issues facing the archives for years. Including issues that "popped up" during the process.