This could easily go in the “Disruption in Libraries” category of DLTJ, but it is a disruption of a different sort. Are you making contingency plans to continue library services in the event a Bird Flu pandemic (or an event of similar sort) happens? A recent posting on the Sakai developer’s mailing list prompted the thought. Sakai is an open source collaboration and learning environment that is typically used for electronic courses. John Leasia of the University of Michigan wrote:
We here at UMich are doing some contingency planning in the event we are hit with a Bird Flu epidemic. We have heard some institutions are planning on just shutting down. Some like UM intend to stay open and move from our predominately in class instruction to all online. We are currently planning what needs to be done now (tutorials, tool enhancements, new tools, adoption of existing tools not yet in production here, infrastructure scaling, etc.) [to enhance the local Sakai installation] in order to be ready should an epidemic strike.
Are there others out there in the same situation? How about some of us holding a joint Discussion session at Amsterdam [the location of the next Sakai users conference]? We could each provide a brief overview of our planning thus far and then open it up to see what everyone is doing, raise issues/questions we haven’t thought of, perhaps start coordination of development/training/doc that might be necessary?
Are there other institutions out there thinking about the same thing? Has the library been asked to participate in the contingency planning? Are you undergoing your own planning?