Celebrating MayDay In the Archives

MayDay Heritage 13As Special Collections staff, next Wednesday, May 1st is our opportunity to truly become aware of our role in preserving our unique collections and protecting the environment in which they’re stored.

Named by the Society of American Archivists after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma struck the Gulf Coast, “MayDay” – this year and every year – is a nationwide effort whose goal is to save our archival materials, no matter which type of cultural institution in which we work.

Here are a few things we can do that day that will make a difference when and if an emergency occurs, tasks that we can accomplish in a short period of time:

  • Quickly survey collections areas to insure that nothing is stored directly on the floor, where they would be vulnerable to water damage.
  • Note the location of fire exits and fire extinguishers.
  • Review basic emergency procedures – currently being updated – in our Reading Room behind the service desk.
  • Familiarize ourselves with the evacuation plan and where emergency supplies are stored – a good chance to check that flashlights are working!
  • Update the contact information in our department staff list

These are just a few suggestions; there’s probably more we can think of. And it’s important that we sustain this effort, not just on MayDay.

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