Satellite Meeting: Strengthening libraries emergency preparedness and response

As we move our efforts in conservation towards giving a sustainable dimension to our practices, risk preparedness is a critical part of the use of our heritage. In a context of multiple conflicts and climate change, libraries, archives and museums from around the world are facing disasters including earthquakes, fires, floods and man-made destructions. They highlight the potential severity of the challenges in emergency response situations.

IFLA’s Manual on emergency preparedness and planning was first drafted in 2006 with knowledge that “libraries and archives need to make every effort to prepare themselves for possible disasters”. While a survey carried out among French libraries highlighted that in 2021 few libraries have been able to achieve their Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan, there is still a need for guidelines and support in this direction.

The satellite meeting is initiated with the aim to provide practical information and tools based on recent experiences and learning points for the risk assessment and mitigation, response and recovery phases.

The organization of the satellite meeting in Benelux is an opportunity to benefit the experience of the region towards flood mitigation and response. Disasters having several unfolding consequences the meeting will address all type of disasters based on experience from libraries, archives and museums of all regions.


  • Methodology. New training programs and tools are currently being developed. Have you drafted the Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for your library, archive or museum? What are the needs of libraries for drafting their Disaster plan? What is specific for libraries in drafting their Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans for fire, natural or manmade disasters?
  • Knowledge of the risks. Wars and climate change. How libraries adapt their plan to changing situations?
  • Challenges for disaster impacts analysis. Rapid environmental change poses significant threats to cultural heritage. Of specific concern are Indigenous people and local communities. Cultural degradation may increase the environment degradation. How local communities are involved in transnational natural disasters?
  • Response to a disaster. Feedbacks. While responding to an earthquake alert in a library, museum or monument, what are the subsequent steps with respect to human safety? Examples of written collections salvage during or after a flood or tsunami?
  • Assessment of damage. Written heritage is kept in libraries, religious institutions, or in private collections. Barely visible, easily moveable, how can we rapidly identify the needs for the protection or salvage of written heritage after a natural disaster or during a war? Trace possible looting?
  • Best practices of existing collaborations of libraries and civil protection, fire brigade.
  • Lessons learned after a disaster for stabilization techniques or treatments, and organizational matters.

An international perspective and Benelux particular experiences are encouraged.

Dates and location

17-18 August 2023 (satellite to WLIC Rotterdam, NL) – OBA Congress Amsterdam

Abstract submission

Papers should be submitted and presented in English.
Submissions should include

  • title of the paper;
  • abstract fitting in with the topics of the satellite in max. 500 words;
  • presenters’ name(s), professional affiliation, country, brief biographical note and a photo, email address
  • presentation up to 20 minutes or shorter updates
  • recorded video presentation is acceptable if the person cannot attend in person

Please submit your proposals to Céline Allain via [email protected]


  • All proposals must be in by 17 of April 2023
  • Proposals will be evaluated by the satellite program committee group and successful applicants will be informed by 1st of May 2023

Please note

All expenses, such as travel, and accommodation are the responsibility of the authors/presenters. Letters of invitation can be issued to presenters upon request. Free entrance for presenters.


This IFLA WLIC 2023 satellite is organized by IFLA Preservation and Conservation Section in cooperation with the National Libraries section. Contributing local partners: OBA Congress Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Further information will be available on the IFLA WLIC conference page and the Preservation and Conservation section page.