In our current world, crisis is not an if it will occur, it is a when it will occur. As librarian leaders, we want to be strategically prepared and proactive for crisis events. Examples of these crises include: unpopular policy decisions, incendiary images graffitied on a bathroom wall, photos from university archives revealing shameful histories, destroyed stacks from water line breaks, books defaced with hate speech, political protests in the library, questions about collection choices, and natural disasters that impact library spaces and collections.
Not being prepared will exacerbate an already challenging situation and reflect negatively on your university, the library, and library leadership. When a crisis occurs, library staff need a clear and transparent response plan. With a developed plan, library staff can respond to a crisis with confidence and support.
We may have qualified experts in university headquarters who have crisis plans to help us, but when the crisis happens in our libraries, we are the ones on the front lines.
Open lines of communication with your university’s crisis communication team is necessary. It is also necessary for library leaders to communicate with their staff about what to do and what not do, especially in terms of media.
As a library leader, are you prepared mentally and emotionally for crisis situations?
Bringing together best practices in management communications with university and library knowledge, our team of experts guide libraries to be prepared for the crisis ahead.
Following your university communication guidelines, we help library leaders define a response team, identify potential crisis events, implement mechanisms for staff to signal issues, communicate with staff with as much transparency as possible, and ensure staff understand the process and guidelines, especially in terms of media. Depending on the situation, staff may be personally impacted by a crisis event and may need to be supported when confronted with it. A successful plan will include staff support structures.
A good crisis communication plan also involves training for staff and library leaders, along with updates to stay inline with university guidelines, and regular reminders for staff on what to do and how they will be supported when a crisis occurs.
To mitigate the negative impact on your organization and staff, prepare for the crisis ahead.
To learn more about how Attain Partners can help your library organization develop a crisis communication plan and be ready with the leadership necessary for a crisis, contact us here.
About the Author
Hilary A. Craiglow leads our team of library strategists to strengthen library systems using proven evaluation and assessment methods. With a 30+ year career in libraries, Hilary brings a deep understanding of college and university systems, and extensive experience leading academic libraries. She is a strategic and visionary administrator, melding rich library traditions with innovative services and assessments. A data and mission-driven leader, she creates organizational transformation through empathy and partnership. Hilary helps library leaders achieve their mission faster, more efficiently, and with greater impact.
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