WP’s Cheng Library Selected to Create Disaster Preparedness Training for Libraries, Museums, and Cultural Centers Across the U.S.

The David and Lorraine Cheng Library at WP

The David and Lorraine Cheng Library at William Paterson University, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, will partner with Lyrasis to spearhead a movement to create professional training on organizational disaster preparedness, response, and recovery for libraries, museums, archives, and art galleries across the nation.

The brainchild of WP Education and Curriculum Materials Librarian Neil Grimes, the initiative is supported by the Lyrasis Catalyst Fund, an award program focused on innovation. Lyrasis is a non-profit member organization that serves academic and public libraries, archives, museums, and galleries internationally. Five projects, as well as Grimes’s idea, were among the six recipients this year, selected “for the benefit of the community at large,” the organization announced.

Grimes will work with Lyrasis in the coming months to create a professional micro-credential on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. That micro-credential, offered virtually by Lyrasis, will be piloted this year with a full launch anticipated next year.

Crises brought on by climate change and the related increase in natural disasters are likely to create challenges in the years ahead for libraries, museums, archives, and galleries, Grimes says. Any future pandemics would do the same.

“Working with Lyrasis in developing a micro-credential that offers professional development training around disaster preparedness will best equip librarians, archivists, museum professionals, and performing arts leaders with ways to address these challenges,” he adds.

Such challenges, as were experienced during the COVID-19 crisis, included such things as inaccessible facilities; collection emergencies with no staff on site monitoring climate controls and storage environments; security threats with fewer people on campuses; and strains on social systems and civic, cultural, and academic budgets.

“The better trained we librarians and related professionals are, the better we can plan to serve the public,” Grimes says.