Autumn newsletter 2015
View this email in your browser

Rapid Response Network Newsletter

Please share this email with colleagues in your organisation, it contains useful links for the RRN and will help to make more people aware of the important resources provided by the network.
We hope this finds you well and that you have had a lovely summer.  If you or a colleague would like to be more involved with the RRN, please get in touch! If you know of anyone in your organisation who is looking to add to their CPD and develop new skills, please forward this newsletter on.
Thank you to everyone who attended the Kit Training in June 2015; you can read reviews of the day below.
Please do write to us at to submit case studies and information about how you manage your emergency planning; all of this is useful for other members. 

The RRN kit and training is there for members to prepare for emergencies and hopefully minimise damage to collections.
We hope that you won't need to use the kits, but if you do you can find all of the member information on our website . Please keep us up-to-date with any changes to the contacts for your organisation by e-mailing:

Thank you for supporting the RRN; we couldn't function without your important memberships.
RRN Committee
Training requirements for members
We would like to hear from our members about any training they would be interested in. We will be planning the 2016 programme soon and will be circulating a training needs questionnaire. If you have any training requests/ideas in the meantime, please email Sharon Connell .

RRN AGM and pest management training
The membership met for the AGM at the Thackray Medical Museum on the 27th May 2015. Sharon Connell and Suzanne Dalewicz-Kitto were elected as Chair and Treasurer respectively. For the purposes of the record, there was a mystery attendee who we have been unable to identify. If a member of your organisation named ‘Martin’ attended we’d appreciate it if you could contact Sharon Connell on so that the notes from the AGM can be amended.
The pest training after the AGM was really well received and a chance to think about how we can be more pest aware. The opportunity to ask questions of conservators Dale Keeton, Emma Bowron and pest expert Mike Ayers was a good one, and we may run more sessions like this in the future. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Dale, Emma and Mike for giving up their time for this. Please email and let us know what you thought of the day; we'd love to hear from you.

Reviews of kit training in Shipley

In June 2015 Dale Keeton and Angela Keeton kindly ran an RRN Emergency Kit Training Day over in Shipley. This is just a short note on some of our experiences and thoughts on what was overall, a great day.
The day started with a quick briefing on RRN, including the reasons and benefits of being in the network followed by a run through of the set up and use of the bigger items in the kit – which include a pop out marquee, generator and a water pump - and  kit audit.  These exercises were really useful for familiarisation with the kit, which was put into use for the next phase of training.
The next phase was a practical disaster scenario. We were presented with a flooded room containing objects of varying size and materials, ranging from paper to fabric to stone as well as a few potentially hazardous objects to really get us thinking. Split into two groups, group one was the first line response, deciding on order and method of extraction and group two received items, documented these and decided on treatment.
This was an enjoyable way to work out a practical disaster plan scenario and a further chance to become familiar with the kit. What really stood out about this exercise, though, was the opportunity it offered to share practical skills, ideas and knowledge with RRN members from other organisations and disciplines.
If the training were to be run again our one suggestion would be to give time to introductions at the beginning. Over lunch many of us sat and chatted as a group, and in the afternoon session it really seemed the communication and so speed of action were improved.
Overall the day was hugely beneficial and we came away with a much greater understanding of the disaster kit and how its different elements could be utilised. Our huge thanks go out to Dale and Angela for leading on such a practical and enjoyable day (not to mention making one of the best homemade cakes we have tasted in ages!), and we hope for more such sessions to be run in the future.
 Catherine Robins & Jonnie Darmody, Thackray Medical Museum

Images courtesy of Dale Keeton
Report of the RRN training day,  9th June 2015.
The Rapid Response Network training day was informative and engaging. The aim of the day was to learn about the contents of the emergency kit and the potential use of the equipment.  There were two main parts: an initial familiarization with the emergency kit and a hands-on exercise dealing with a disaster site.
During the first part of the training we went through the contents of the kit, in doing so I learnt about the necessary and available equipment for object salvage. Additionally, we learnt how to use the generator, the water pump and how to mount the Gazebo.
The hands-on exercise consisted in dealing with a simulated flood. Our task was to survey the site and recover and treat the stock to prevent further damage. We used the equipment in the kit and learnt about its use to stop or reduce damage caused in books, pictures and other museum or library items. Additionally, this exercise gave us an insight of how the work can be organized in the eventuality of an emergency. The need of previous preparation was clear and evident: having a trained salvage team and a plan for these emergencies is crucial for the safety of the collections.
My favourite part of the training was the hands-on exercise, it gave me the opportunity to learn about dealing with different materials and salvage equipment, for example textiles, photographs, books, rocks, and frames. There is a lot to learn about this topic and the different and simple actions that we can take to keep items safe from further damage. For example, we made a wind tunnel to dry books, hanged photographs and separate frames to avoid images sticking to the glass. It allowed me to learn more about the salvage team and its potential, and gave me confidence to keep collaborating with the emergency salvage team in the Library.
The whole training day was as well an opportunity to learn more about the RRN and its services and about their network of volunteers ready to collaborate in case any of the member organizations need it.
 S. Genoveva Castiblanco Garcia, Leeds University

Meet the Member – University of Bradford
The J.B. Priestley Library at Bradford University has a small Special Collections team looking after the rare books, manuscripts, letters, photos, artworks, newspapers, maps, pamphlets, and objects (including Priestley’s pipes) which make up the more than one hundred collections housed here. The collections cover the history of the University, Bradford, Yorkshire, history, politics, literature, the peace campaign and archaeology, to name a few; they are open to everyone and can be sampled in the 100 Objects online exhibition - Special Collections Librarian Alison Cullingford has established policies for collection development, preservation and disaster control. 
The main Library building has five floors, and as well as the Special Collections, houses the main collections of textbooks, the Health Studies resources, British Government Publications, European Documentation Centre, and the Development Collection; the Management & Law Library, on a separate campus, holds the Business & Management and Law collections.

Over the years the building has had incidents of leaky roofs and gutters and burst pipes, not to mention rodent visitors. With this in mind a library Disaster Team has been established with the aim of monitoring collections, especially in known problem areas, and maintaining a number of mop-up kits at strategic points in the building.
 The team also runs staff training in dealing with damaged books; on August 20th 2015, library staff attended a wet books salvage session run by Alison Cullingford and Special Collections Assistant Martin Levy.

It can be a challenge to maintain awareness and confidence amongst Front of House staff when it comes to dealing with a disaster, so this was a really useful hands-on session, where staff got to ask lots of questions and reap the benefit of Martin and Alison’s experience and knowledge.
Luckily the University has never had to make use of the RRN disaster kit, but knowing it is there, and that other members will offer help and support, provides a great deal of reassurance.

Social Media and the Rapid Response Network
I am a Disability Support Librarian and Learner Support Assistant at the J.B. Priestley Library, and I have taken over from Alison Cullingford as RRN committee member responsible for social media for the Network. Since there was some debate at the AGM in May 2015 about the value of Twitter, and what it can do for the Network, I thought it would be good to offer a bit more food for thought on this issue.  I’ve included some links (below) to articles about how using social media is used in cultural organisations to connect with new users and promote their activities beyond their walls. There is also plenty of data about the huge increase in users of social media (
It is worth noting that the RRN Twitter account now has 71 followers, including YorksFed. While this may seem like a trifling number compared with many museums, galleries and other heritage organisations, I do believe it is a valuable way of raising our profile and letting people know what we offer.
“This community of active professionals, and the ongoing conversations that surround them, brings vitality to the profession that can only serve to keep the field relevant and vibrant, acting as a catalyst to advance libraries into the future.” Valerie Forrestal (2010) Making Twitter Work: A Guide for the Uninitiated, the Skeptical, and the Pragmatic, The Reference Librarian, 52:1-2, 146-151
The challenge for an organisation like ours is that RRN doesn’t necessarily have exciting and photogenic events to tweet about, unlike many of its members:  with this in mind, please send any newsworthy items or events to me at for promotion via Twitter! Thanks.
Katherine Coussement


The RRN is about working co-operatively and sharing experience for the benefit of all members. ‘Meet the Membership’ is a chance for you to share news of emergency planning developments or innovations or anything else you think members would be interested to hear. Don’t wait to be invited! Please send your submissions for future newsletters to:

Don't forget to follow us on twitter! @YorksRRN
We won't respond to this in an emergency though so make sure you have the RRN contacts handy.
Copyright © *2015* *Rapid Response Network, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences