The purpose of this policy is to establish a protocol that will be used in the event of a public health emergency. The Library should plan for staff being unable to report to work in the event of a serious infectious disease outbreak or other public health emergency. In addition, during any public health emergency organizations may be required to take measures to help slow the spread of illness such as closing by order of county, state or federal health or government officials. It is important to ensure that core library business activities can be maintained with limited staff and reduced hours as determined by the Library Director.
This plan differs from a general emergency preparedness policy or procedure. With an emergency preparedness policy, there is an assumption that staff will return to the building or begin recovery work almost immediately after the event or crisis (such as after a fire or storm). If there is a serious infectious disease outbreak, recovery may be slow and limited staff, services, and hours may be necessary for several weeks or more.
Wells County Public Library may temporarily close or limit services because of a public health emergency such as an epidemic/pandemic in the event that any of the following occur:
- A mandate, order, or recommendation for closure is issued by Federal, State or Local health/government officials.
- A Library employee has been diagnosed with the contagion causing the epidemic. WCPL may temporarily close that location.
- At the direction of the Library Board of Trustees
- At the discretion of the Library Director
In addition, Wells County Public Library may temporarily close, reduce its operating hours, or limit services in the event that there is insufficient staff to maintain basic service levels or to reduce the possible spread of the contagion. In the event of closure, overdue fines will be suspended. The exterior book drop may or may not be kept open and cleared periodically to be determined by the Director or Library Board.
Types of Library Closures
- Complete Closure
- No staff in the building at any time.
- Library Closure with Essential Services Only
- Exempt and other essential library employees may be required to work from home or on-site during closures to perform necessary duties such as payroll, bill paying, building maintenance, emptying book drops, etc. Staff that can perform their jobs remotely will be encouraged to do so.
- Library Closure with Reduced Services
- Staff may be allowed to work inside the building while maintaining epidemic guidelines, although the building is closed to the public
- Staff may be assigned to provide services to patrons in newly determined ways
- Staff may be assigned to clean the building
- Staff that can perform their jobs remotely will be encouraged to do so.
In the event that Wells County schools are closed because of a public health emergency, Wells County Public Library will remain open unless one of the above conditions under the “Library Closure” section is met.
In the event of a public health emergency, programs will be reduced or cancelled, at the discretion of the library director, based on the guidelines associated with the public health emergency from the CDC, State or Local health authorities.
While open, the Library will compensate an employee their regularly scheduled hours following FMLA guidelines or otherwise mandated by the Federal or State Government, if they:
- contract the disease
- are required to care for a family member with the disease
- receive a mandated or doctor-directed self-quarantine order
In the event of closure due to a public health emergency, staff will be paid their regularly scheduled hours.
In the event of school districts and day care closures due to a public health emergency, and the Library remains open, staff may choose to use their accrued leave or take unpaid time off as guided by the state or federal government to stay home.
In the event of cancellation of services, programs, meeting room usage or Library closures, administration staff will:
- Notify staff, trustees, and Friends of the Library board members, custodial staff and public via email, social media and the library’s website
- Call or email scheduled program presenters, community room reservations, outreach sites and program attendees if we have contact information.
- Notify vendors who perform annual maintenance in the building and vendors we placed orders with for shipment purposes.
- Contact the post office and ask them to hold the library’s mail for staff to pick up
- Provide information regarding the epidemic/pandemic on the Library’s website homepage and create signage for updating patrons inside the library
- Notify local media and local government entities as deemed necessary
- Notify shipping companies as possible
Wells County Public Library Staff Handbook outlines the regular Employee Benefits policy. This policy shall continue to be followed in the event of a public health emergency while the library remains operational. Pre-approved time off will be honored unless voluntarily cancelled.
If recommended by local, state or federal health officials, Library staff will follow suggestions and directions to implement social distancing within the Library buildings.
During the public health emergency, the Library will ask staff and custodians to increase cleaning within each location in accordance with public health guidelines. The Building Manager will devise new cleaning procedures for WCPL during the public health emergency.
If, for any reason, the Library Director is unable or unavailable to perform the responsibilities and decisions outlined in this policy, administrative authority for this policy and all Library operations shall be provided by the Branch Manager.
Materials will be quarantined per federal, state and local guidelines.