The Client: A major academic library asked LAC Group to provide assistance with their recovery needs after large portions of their collections was damaged in Hurricane Katrina.
The Issue: The client had worked with a restoration company to salvage and restore as much of the damaged collections as they could. Restored items needed to be reintegrated back into the collections.
The Solution: LAC, under an experienced project manager, has recruited, trained and manages 22 professionals, manages all tasks and responsibilities, including sorting, shelving, re-boxing, reinstating, cataloging and processing materials belonging to the Tulane University Library and Special Collections. LAC works closely with Tulane library staff and operates an off-site facility (The Tulane Recovery Center) to return and integrate these materials to the campus. The Recovery Center is now a complete technical services operation that includes cataloging, processing and acquisitions. LAC is assisting Tulane in purchasing replacement items, manage & catalog donations, re-shelf and integrate over 350,000 items into the Tulane Howard Tilton Library and over 629,000 items from Tulane’s Special Collections. Damaged materials sat in eight feet water for 3 weeks before they could be retrieved for restoration. Many collections became confused when they basically landed in a pile on the floor. LAC staff will handle roughly 800,000 items that have been restored or replaced. LAC has replicated Tulane’s technical services operation as closely as possible to keep workflows similar and to allow for seamless integration of our work with the library’s operations.
To date Recovery Center staff have processed, shelved and placed into use over 350,000 items including reinstating 31,000 salvaged books and scores that belong to Tulane’s Music Library. This number also includes 26,371 items that have been purchased as replacements or new additions to the collections primarily Music materials as well as microforms, visual and sound media. Staff have cataloged and re-labeling over 18,000 reels of restored microfilm. In addition over 118,000 Government Documents were inventoried. In addition 38,000 Government documents have been fully cataloged and processed back into the collections. Tulane Libraries partnered with the New Orleans Public Library to merge their Government Documents collections and LAC is handling this integration into Tulane’s collection including full cataloging. Full MARC cataloging and processing was be provided for rare and historical newspapers that were recovered from the basement of Jones Hall.
Cataloging activities include copy and original as well as full processing to produce shelf ready materials following all local policy. Extensive use of the Voyager System is required for all technical services activities as well as statistical analysis of activities. Knowledge of Tulane’s own technical services operation and workflows is crucial for this operation and has been achieved by working closely with Tulane’s Director of Technical Services and other staff. Recovery Center staff have consistently met needs identified as high priority by Tulane including returning the Music Collection to the library by the Fall Semester 2008 and rush processing items being cataloged within a 24 hours if they are needed by professors or patrons. This is a 4 + year project that started in February 2008.