Leyburn Library Emergency Plan

Last Updated 11/3/2023

This document follows the University’s Emergency Management Plan. It will be reviewed once a year by the University Library Operations and Strategy group, presented to the entire library staff annually, and discussed with new hires during their onboarding training.

Principles for All Emergencies

In the case of emergency, your first priority is to make sure you are safe.

  • Public Safety has asked all university staff (including in the library) not to evacuate or shelter students or other visitors who are not responding to alarms or LiveSafe alerts.
  • Use your best judgment about coming to campus in potentially unsafe condition (ex: weather events). Work with your supervisor to determine whether you will work remotely, make up time, or take CTO.

When the university is closed, the library is closed. Do not come to campus. In some cases, the library may remain open by swipe access only for study hall, but will be monitored by Public Safety. No member of the library staff is “essential” per the university. Hourly staff should follow guidance from the university regarding whether time must be made up.

Communication During Emergencies

Please make sure you are connected with the University’s LiveSafe app in order to get timely notices about emergency events. Follow University instructions delivered through LiveSafe.

Internal Library communication during an emergency will follow team structures. Teams should be in contact with their head; team heads and KT/Wendy will be in contact with each other.

  • If there is a shelter in place or evacuation of the building, please check in with your team head (even if you are not working on campus at the time) to confirm your safety. Your team head will be in touch with KT and Wendy. Use whatever communication channel is best for you and your team head.
  • For library-specific emergencies, team heads will communicate with KT, Wendy, and their teams about the event and immediate and long-term impacts.

When an emergency occurs in the library, the staff member at the Leyburn Information Desk should call the three numbers listed below:

  • 911
  • Public Safety: 1 -540-458-8999
  • Elizabeth Anne Teaff
  • Elizabeth Teaff calls: KT Vaughan and Laura Hewett.
    • Laura Hewett calls: Julie Knudson and TBD Harte Center Director as appropriate. 
    • KT contacts Kim Sims and the RS and DIME Team Heads as appropriate.
    • Team Heads/AULs contact their teams as appropriate. 

Management of Specific Emergency Situations

NOTE: Subject headings link to the Washington and Lee University Emergency Management Plan for each type of situation.

Bomb Threat or Suspicious Packages/Mail

In the event of a suspicious person or object/package, notify Public Safety at 8999 (on campus) or 540-458-8999 (off campus).


  • Do not use the elevators during emergencies. Use nearest exit and staircase if necessary.
  • Do not try to extinguish the fire while evacuating the building.
  • In the event the building needs to be evacuated, walk with purpose, leave by the closest exit, and proceed to Stemmons Plaza (walkway behind Washington Hall).
  • You may encourage people to leave with you, but do not take extra time to do so. 

Snow or Ice Storm or other weather events

  • Check General Alerts and LiveSafe. The university might operate on schedule even when area schools and businesses are closed or delayed. Inclement weather information, including notification procedures, safety tips, local weather forecasts and road conditions, are available at http://go.wlu.edu/weather.
  • When remaining open, the university does not advise anyone to travel who feels that they cannot do so safely. Commuting non-essential employees (which is all library staff/faculty) should exercise personal judgment regarding their local road conditions and other safety concerns. Notify your immediate supervisors if you cannot make it to campus. You and your supervisor may work out options for remote work, shifted schedules, or CTO to compensate as needed. If the public schools are closed, parents are welcome to bring their children to the library if needed.
  • For additional information see pp. 89-91 of the Employee Handbook

Tornado/Derecho/High Winds

Seek shelter on Lower Level 4 (Leyburn) or the IQ Center (Telford) avoiding windows and elevators. Await and follow instructions from Public Safety, other University personnel, or support agencies.

Violent Incidents (Intruder/Active Shooter/Terrorism)

  • Follow university instructions regarding whether to evacuate or shelter in place.
  • Determine the location that seems to be the most secure: for some that will be on the main floor of Leyburn, and for others in their offices. 
  • If the notice is of an active shooter, hide in a location out of view and lock doors or block entry to space. Silence your cell phone (including vibrate), turn off lights, and remain quiet.
    • Fight as a last resort.

Management of Additional Emergency Situations

Civil Disturbance - Death of a Student, Faculty or Staff Member - Earthquake/Aftershock - Explosion - Flooding Food-borne illness or incidents - Hazardous Materials Incident - Infrastructure Failure - Pandemics and Infectious Diseases

University Library Materials Recovery

Plan originally created by the Lexington Area Conservation Cooperative and Yolanda Merrill with funding from a 1989 Title III LSCA Grant.

Salvage of Wet Materials

Wet materials should be treated immediately to prevent mold growth. Remove standing water and reduce and stabilize the temperature at between 55-70ºF and the relative humidity at between 30-50%. See the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC)’s Preservation Leaflets for more detailed information.

Air drying is best for small quantities of materials. It takes a lot of space, time, labor, and has the highest potential for mold growth. This method can be used on materials from the library’s circulating collections if the quantity is small enough. It is the preferred method for photographs from Special Collections. Only in rare cases should it be used for Special Collections books and papers. The AUL for Special Collections and Archives should give this approval.

  • Books: Dry damp or slightly wet books by sitting them open on one end with pages fanned out and use fans to circulate air.  For books that are slightly wet, intersperse blotter paper between the pages, and change this paper periodically.  This method is not recommended for books with coated (slick) pages.
  • Photographs: Spread the photographs out to dry, face up, laying them flat on an absorbent material such as blotters, unprinted newsprint, paper towels, or a clean cloth.  Do not touch the wet emulsions.  Weight down photographs evenly on edges to prevent curling.
  • Audiovisual materials: Should be laid on absorbent material such as blotters, unprinted newsprint, paper towels, or a clean cloth. Do not freeze.

Freeze drying is the preferred method for Special Collections materials.

  • Books: Books that are more wet, should be frozen and freeze dried (mostly likely with a vendor). The temperature in the freezer must be maintained at or below -10° F. Books and stacks of records should be restrained between unprinted, clean corrugated board wrapped with a strong elastic band to help reduce cockling. Place wrapped books in milk or postal crates spine down. Do not layer books. Try to realign distorted books because books will come out of freezing in the same shape as they entered it. However, do not force them back into shape as this may cause more damage.
  • Photographs: Freeze photographs if they are stuck together or they are stuck to their frames or glass.  Do not freeze wet daguerreotypes, tintypes, ambrotypes.

Rodents & Insects

If there is evidence of rodent or insect infestation, the infested material should be isolated from the rest of the collection. The type and extent of infestation should be identified. Contact the LYRASIS Preservation Office for further instructions. For more information on pest management read this NEDCC document: Integrated Pest Management.

Moldy Books and Paper

If there is evidence of mold and/or mildew, the affected materials should be removed from the collection.  AUL for Special Collections and Archives should determine if the materials should undergo remediation activities. For more information read this NEDCC document: Emergency Salvage of Moldy Books and Paper.

Library Recovery Services & Consultants

Freezer Space

  • Director of W&L Auxiliary Services, 540-458-8216
  • Library of Virginia Records Management Services, 804-692-3500

Freeze Drying

  • Document Reprocessors, 800-437-9464


Important Materials: Evacuation Priorities

Materials in Special Collections and Archives will be evacuated with consultation and guidance from the AUL for Special Collections and Archives.


Emergency Numbers

Service On Campus Off Campus
Regional Consolidated Dispatch System
9-911 911
Carilion Rockbridge Community Hospital 9-1-540-458-3300 1-540-458-3300
W&L Public Safety Dispatch 8999 1-540-458-8999
Director of Public Safety 8427 1-540-458-8427
Facilities Management
After 5 pm on weekdays or weekends call Public Safety
8357 or 8490 540-458-8357 or 1-540-458-8490
W&L Physicians 8401 1-540-458-8401
American Association of Poison Centers 9-1-800-222-1222 1-800-222-1222