The Role of Risk Management for Libraries

April 11, 2018

At the Regan Agency, we recognize that libraries today are more than just collections of books. They are media centers, community centers, field trip destinations, cultural centers, and so much more. Because of this, we have developed an insurance program and risk management measures to cover a wide range of exposures for these centers. Libraries have much greater liabilities than overdue books or loud patrons; like any business, they are responsible for managing and handling their property, their services, their employees, and their patrons, and issues with any of those listed could be a significant issue for the library.

Libraries and library owners, take a look at the liabilities listed below, and make sure that your operation is properly protected with a comprehensive insurance program and internal risk management measures to reduce your potential risk exposures.

Prominent Risks

Operating a library is an immense task with many working parts to monitor. Consider the following liability sources for libraries:

  • Liability – If a patron is hurt on the premises or is injured during an official, library-sponsored event, the library would be on the hook for damages.
  • Property – All libraries have an enormous catalog of property, and depending on the library in question, this property could be incredibly valuable, and the loss of this property could be devastating (both emotionally and financially) to the library. Whether the property is destroyed in a fire or flood or library property is stolen. it’s crucial to make sure that the property is protected.
  • Employment – Libraries, like any other business, employ full- and part-time workers as well as volunteers, and that leaves them open to employment-related claims from current, former, and prospective employees.
  • Cyber – Gone are the days of card catalogs. In today’s digital landscape, libraries that keep their data online are vulnerable to breach. Cyber attackers do not discriminate based on business size or industry, and if a library keeps sensitive information stored in its database (such as the personal information of its customers or financial data), a breach could have many adverse effects.

The Importance of Risk Management for Libraries

In a recent study performed on libraries in Australia, none of the libraries interviewed had disaster or risk management plans, indicating that risks were managed as security or health and safety issues. However, their existing health and safety plans and programs did not convey anything about collection management, and risk management was just one part of a larger overall plan.

It’s understandable why libraries may not prioritize risk management in their day-to-day operations; after all, library work is generally not considered among the industries and fields of work that are typically thought of as “risky”. But just because a business does not utilize heavy machinery, toxic chemicals, or precious gems does not mean that it should devote any less time to its risk management and loss control measures. Whether it is an unforeseen natural disaster, an injured employee, or a dissatisfied patron, one event has the potential to drastically affect a library’s operations.

Stay tuned for our next blog post, in which we will share our advice for creating and implementing a risk management program for your library.

About Regan Agency, Inc.

For over 35 years, the family-owned Regan Agency has served the risk management and insurance needs of Tri-State residents and businesses. We offer a broad spectrum of insurance products for businessses as well as to individuals, and use of the latest in technology enable us to handle the complexity of large multinational risks while also meeting the personal insurance needs of our neighbors. To learn more about how we can take care of your business and personal insurance needs, give us a call at (631) 669-3434 to speak with one of our professionals.