Constantia Constantinou, Dean of Stony Brook University Libraries, presented “When disaster strikes: The critical importance of effective communication and teamwork” at the International Conference in Qualitative and Quantitative Measures in Libraries (QQML), May 27-30, 2014, Istanbul, Turkey. She paid a visit to the Ecumenical Patriarch Archives at Fanar, Istanbul when she was at QQML.
The presentation, “When disaster strikes: The critical importance of effective communication and teamwork” describes the communication and recovery efforts of the Stony Brook University Libraries during a major flooding incident. The Health Sciences Library of Stony Brook University (SBU) supports the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dental Medicine, Health Technology and Management, and the School of Social Welfare. In addition, SBU Health Sciences Library supports the University Hospital and its clinical staff.
During a major flooding disaster, all library personnel and operations were relocated, in order for collections to be preserved, equipment had to be secured. Most of the furniture and equipment were discarded and the facility infrastructure underwent major renovations. The presentation aims to emphasize the human factor and the importance of effective communication. Regardless of the physical, financial, and operational consequences of the library disaster caused by major flooding, effective team coordination and communication of information became a success during the unfortunate incident.
In response to the disaster, library administration quickly mobilized the senior management team to prepare and issue information statements to the academic community. Utilizing media, and electronic means of communication, the library continued to provide updates and progress to the academic community at large. In addition, person-to-person communication such as scheduling town hall meetings became critical in addressing the concerns of the academic community. Implementation of all these measures enabled the library organization to successfully manage a crisis situation. It has also become important moving forward in order to minimize risks, injuries, and the loss of assets that happen when such disasters occur. It is essential that the library organization needs to formalize a communication strategy for disaster management.
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