Celebrating National Libraries Day – Behind the Scenes at Nuffield College Library: Emergencies in the Library

So far these posts have focused on some of the more commonplace work that takes place behind the scenes in Nuffield College Library; the kind of work that you are likely to find going on in libraries throughout the UK. Today, let’s look at something a little more peculiar to Nuffield…

In keeping with situation affecting much of the country over the past few weeks, the library extension recently experienced two flooding episodes in quick succession, threatening serious damage to the important collection of government and official publications housed in this part of the library.

Fortunately, the library is well-prepared for emergencies of this nature (or at least as well-prepared as it can be!). The potential for flooding from the pipes running above the extension is well-known to staff, having happened on a number of occasions in the past. As such, they perform a daily check of the area, keep shelves rolled away from exposed piping where possible, and maintain a disaster kit ready for emergency situations. As a result of these preventative measures, both leaks were spotted early and staff were able to take action quickly in order to limit the damage as far as possible.


They began by removing material from the worst affected areas and putting up waterproof materials to protect what was left on the shelves, before setting to work identifying the source of the leak.  Here is a photo of some of the journals we removed from the shelves:


The second leak was more serious and unfortunately these actions were not sufficient to prevent the need to send 11 boxes of texts to a local company document restoration service for treatment. In addition, on this occasion it was also necessary to rent a dehumidifier in order to prevent further damage to books (i.e. the growth of mould in damp conditions).


About Nuffield College Library

We are a social sciences library serving Nuffield College and the University of Oxford
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