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Public health crisis management playbook for archives, libraries, and museums

Collection management Archives Libraries Museums Public health Pandemics Crisis response

This publication presents a set of guiding processes, resources and tools to aid cultural heritage institutions when planning for, navigating through, and recovering from a significant public health emergency. The playbook contains information for any library, archive or museum staff who will take part in a crisis management planning or a communications team. It will especially be of use for those in leadership, management and other similar decision-making roles.

To produce this playbook, the REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) project team gathered input from representatives of archives, libraries, museums and allied organisations during a series of online forums in early 2022, and the REALM team also consulted information resources developed by subject area experts and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The publication includes four chapters and an appendix covering the following topics:

  • Crisis leadership—Provides starting points for crisis management and communications planning with internal audiences (staff), external audiences (public), and your partners
  • Facilities and operations—Offers considerations for determining processes for decision-making about collections management, space configuration, building systems, and safety protocols
  • Crisis decision-making and risk management—Overviews risk assessment, information gathering, and decision-making during uncertain times
  • Resource networks—Presents tools for identifying possible partners and maintaining collaborative relationships, including an actor mapping tool for visualising an institution’s potential partners during a crisis
  • Resources for more information—Provides all resources used to develop this document, as well as additional materials that may prove helpful in developing a public health crisis management plan
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