In a sense, library preservation owes a great deal to mother nature. The 1966 floor of the Arno river in Florence, Italy was the mother of all modern library disasters. Alli Burness has a great post about the event here:
I discovered the great flood of the Arno Riverin Florence, Italy on 4 November 1966. Like those Art History buffs before me, I'm wondering how on earth I hadn't heard about this event before now.
This is an event which is still commemorated in years marking significant anniversaries of the flood. It killed at least 30 people. And the are of Florence most heavily impacted by the 1966 flood contained many world renowned collections, including the National Central Library (Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Firenze), the Museo Galileo (formerly the Institute and Museum of the History of Science or the Instituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza) and the Basilica of Santa Croce, which contained, Cimabue's Crucifixion.Needless to say, disaster planning has become more of a priority for repositories since then.
...After the flood of water, the city was then flooded with volunteers who came from all over the world to help restore Florence and its priceless collections. Some were professional conservators, others were inexperienced students. Together, they literally shoveled mud, books and documents into the backs of trucks and set up book and paper hospitals to restore them. These people, whoever they were, became known as Angeli del Fango, or Mud Angels.
|Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, post-flood, 1966|
Take some time this week to learn a little more about preservation-and save some books in the process!