Thursday, 24 September 2009


We were on the coach travelling back from the Library Show 2009 at the NEC when we ran into a cloudburst just outside Chesterfield. It was raining cats and dogs; stair-rods, buckets (don't we have some lovely expressions for heavy rain?).
Meanwhile, at the Central Library in Sheffield something interesting was happening. The amount of water falling from the sky onto the flat roof of the library was more than the drains could carry away. Behind the parapet wall a lake was beginning to form. As the water level rose it found another outlet - the ducting for the old heating and ventilation system to the building. These ducts ended in ornate grilles high on the walls of the reference library on the ground floor - a library that had only just been refurbished.
Soon water was puring out of these grilles creating spectacular waterfalls. Not what you want to see in your library especially when you have just had a new carpet laid!

You can seldom anticipate or prevent such disasters, but you can plan to cope with them. The SINTO workshop Disaster! How to plan and how to cope will show you how to deal with the unexpected. It features contributions from people who have had to deal with the effects of fire, flood and locust (I made that last one up) in libraries, archives and museums.

No doubt Sheffield Libraries will block up these ventilation ducts - but the next disaster will come in a different form.

Perhaps it will be locusts!

Are you prepared?

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