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Emergency Library Closing & Procedures Policy

Emergencies such as severe weather, fire, power failure, or other unusual circumstances can disrupt library operations.  In extreme cases, these circumstances may require the closing of the library.

If because of bad weather or other emergency conditions, the library cannot open, those staff members that were scheduled to work that day will be paid their regular wage.  This will also apply to early closing or opening of the library for the above listed reasons.


In the event of a devastating tornado, fire, or other disaster, the Board of Trustees will convene as soon as possible to determine the amount of damage, and discuss possible options for location and/or rebuilding.  Emergency personnel, community leaders, and experts in pertinent fields may be invited to such a meeting.

The Director will inform the Board of Trustees and Fiscal Officer as soon as possible after the occurrence.  If the Director is incapacitated, the responsibility of informing Trustees and vendors and serving as the go-between with contractors and media will fall to the Assistant Director Or Genoa Branch Manager if Asst. Director has not been appointed.

The Board of Trustees will determine what actions will be taken regarding reconstruction, relocating, etc.  Staff is expected to exercise common sense and good judgement in the case of an emergency and should not put themselves in imminent danger if it can be avoided.

In case of building damage at the Elmore location, The Director and Coordinator of Technical Services will report for work at the Genoa location.  In case of damage at the Genoa site, the Branch Manager and Clerk III will report to the Elmore site.  Other employees should await additional information and instructions before reporting to work.


The Library will CLOSE when there is a LEVEL 3 Snow Emergency declared for Ottawa County


Level 2 Snow Emergencies for Ottawa County may result in closure of the library at the discretion of the Library Director for reasons of safety to library staff and patrons.

Every attempt will be made to re-open the facilities as soon as practicable.  If the libraries are open and weather conditions begin deteriorating, the decision may be made to close early.  Staff should follow regular closing procedures, contact staff who may be assigned a later shift and make sure that unaccompanied minors have safe passage home before leaving the libraries.



In case of a TORNADO, staff and patrons inside the library should take immediate shelter in the area of the library designated safest by the Fire Department.  

ELMORE LIBRARY:  Men's & Women's Restrooms                  GENOA LIBRARY:  Magazine Room

If a tornado warning is sounded, staff should:

  • Notify all staff and patrons

  • Lock both front and back doors

  • Announce where the tornado shelter is located and proceed there immediately

  • Help those that need assistance

  • Take cell phones to the shelter so that emergency personnel can be alerted if necessary

Once the storm has passed, staff and patrons should evacuate the building, if it is damaged, follow the instructions of emergency responders.  If the building is not damaged, the staff should continue to monitor the news and weather alerts to warn of additional storms.

If unaccompanied minors are present at the time of the incident, all efforts should be taken to contact the parents or guardians of those minors.  

Staff should not prevent patrons from leaving the building if those patrons so prefer.


An emergency evacuation should take place in the following instances:

  • Any suspicious electric or gas smell

  • Smoke or fire of any size

  • Bomb Threat

  • Earthquake

In the event of an evacuation, do so in a calm and orderly fashion.  Follow these procedures:

  • Call 911 and state the nature of the emergency

  • Announce the nature of the emergency to all staff and patrons

  • Evacuate staff and patrons from the building using the nearest exit

  • Meet in a designated area to make sure all staff is accounted for.

Designated Areas:

GENOA LIBRARY--Public Parking Lot behind Rayz Cafe

ELMORE LIBRARY-- Parking Lot behind Methodist Church (next door)

Follow the instructions of emergency responders and do not re-enter the building until given clearance by emergency personnel.



In the event of an earthquake, take shelter under sturdy tables or desks or under an interior doorway.  Stay away from windows.  Evacuate the building when the shaking stops, remembering that aftershocks generally follow large earthquakes.  

In the event of a bomb threat, note all information the caller gives you, such as details of the caller's speech, background noise, etc.  Call 911 immediately and evacuate the building.  Do not move or inspect an unclaimed package.  Police or fire departments will determine if it is safe to re-enter the building.


Workplace violence can occur anywhere, at any time.  This may include an intruder threatening staff. 


If a person is shouting, swearing, or threatening:

  • Attend to the persons need to be heard

  • Signal for a co-worker to call police (Do not call yourself while talking to the person)

  • Acknowledge the person's feeling of anger, hurt, etc.

If the person is threatening with a weapon.  Use your own best judgement:

  • Alert authorities if possible

  • Stay calm and signal for help if possible

  • Maintain eye contact

  • Stall for a time, try to keep them talking

  • Do not argue with the person--do what they say

  • Do not attempt to disarm the person

  • If you have the opportunity to escape or hide, do so if you can do it quickly, safely, and quietly

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