Guidelines for Transport and Packing

The risk of damage or loss to library collections is most significant during transit. Whether the movement is across campus, across the U.S., or international, it is vital that careful evaluation, packing, shipping, and documentation be employed to prevent damage and loss. These transport and packing guidelines are intended to inform library staff of the appropriate choices to consider for preservation services transfers, loans with other campus locations, and loans with external institutions. The guidelines were developed in consultation with the Risk Management and Audit Services department so that loans and transfers of library collections may conform with the University’s risk management and insurance requirements. If individual libraries choose not follow these guidelines, insurance coverage may be invalidated.

These guidelines do not apply to Inter-Library Loan, Borrow Direct, HD recalls, Harvard Direct, or other patron-request movement of circulating collection items around campus.

To begin working with the guidelines, the library should review the list of core questions linked below. Information about the transport type is then included because choices about transportation inform the type of packing and documentation that should be employed. If engaging in a loan with an external institution, the library may also need information about additional services such as that augment transportation and packing. Typical choices for preservation services transfers, loans with other campus locations, and loans with external institutions are also outlined in flow charts to facilitate decision-making by activity.

If you need assistance completing a facility report or in setting up environmental monitoring in your location, please contact Conservation.


 Figure 1: Flow Chart for Loans with external institutions
• Figure 2: Flow Chart for Loans with other campus locations
• Figure 3: Flow Chart for Preservation Services Transfers