Staff meeting around a table to plan
Books and laptop at a library
Flood Protection Sandbags with flooded homes in the background

Welcome to In Case of Emergencies: Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning


This course defines and describes continuity of operations (COOP) planning and why it is important for libraries to have a continuity plan in case of emergencies. This course also provides a one-page continuity plan template with instructions that librarians or information specialists can use to develop their own plan.

This course was developed by Dan Wilson, Associate Director for Collections & Library Services / School of Nursing Librarian, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia. Dan is the former coordinator for the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) Emergency Preparedness Initiative.

Note: After reviewing the information on this page, please be sure to complete the pre-course evaluation on the next page before continuing with the course.

Topics Covered in this Course

This course is divided into the following sections:

  1. What Is Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning?
  2. Identification of Mission Essential Functions
  3. Human Capital / Order of Succession
  4. Continuity Communications
  5. Essential Records Management
  6. Continuity Facilities / Reconstitution
  7. Tests, Training, and Exercises
  8. Devolution of Control and Direction
  9. Pandemic Planning
  10. Emotional Care During and After a Disaster
  11. Conclusion

Use the Next and Back buttons at the bottom of the page to move through the course. It should take you about one hour to complete the course. Each section contains a single page of content and activities that help reinforce topics covered. For more information on additional ways to navigate the course, see the "Getting Around" section below.

Each section includes key points, which are the most critical take-home messages of the material.

Throughout this course, the National Library of Medicine® will be referred to using the acronym NLM and the Disaster Information Management Research Center will be called NLM Disaster Health.


Disclaimer: NLM does not endorse any particular developer or product.

Learning Objectives

After completing this course, you will be able to:

With further training and practice, you will be ready to:

Using this Course

Getting Around

There are a variety of ways you can navigate this training. You can:

  • Click the Back and Next buttons at the bottom of each page to move through the material
  • Use the Menu button in the upper right corner of each page to access the main sections or contact support
  • Press the LEFT and RIGHT arrow keys on your keyboard to move through the material
  • Use a combination of the above methods to explore the course contents


At the top of each page, links will indicate where the current page falls within the overall course. You can also follow these links to return to this homepage or to the section that contains the page.


Throughout the course, you will encounter links. Any link denoted with an External Link icon (Exit disclaimer) points to a resource outside of this course and will typically open in a new tab or window. All other links are to other areas within the course.

Additionally, clicking on an image will open a larger view of the image in a pop-up box within the page.

Getting Help

If you need assistance using this course or have questions or comments about any of the content presented here, please select the About / Getting Help option from the upper right menu.