110. Inclement Weather/Emergency Closing

The Marshall-Lyon County Library is committed to providing the highest level of customer service at all times and every effort is made to maintain regular hours for the public.  However, we recognize that, on occasion, inclement weather or other conditions may require that the library be closed during regularly scheduled hours.  The primary factor of any decision regarding library closure will be made with the safety of staff and library patrons in mind.

The Library will be closed only when weather conditions deteriorate to the point where traveling is hazardous, when vital equipment in the building fails (e.g. furnace malfunction, no water in the building, no electricity, etc.) or when there is a general emergency in the town where the library is located. Closure of each library, including Marshall, Cottonwood, and Balaton, will be considered on an individual basis and closure of one library will not necessarily require closure of all libraries.

The decision to close the Library will be based upon:

  • Current weather conditions and forecasts,
  • Bus operations (school and/or city),
  • Business and shopping center closings,
  • Availability of staff to open and operate the Library,
  • Condition of the building’s equipment, and/or
  • Requests for closure by local or state agencies.

The decision to close will be made by the Library Director.  If the Director is unavailable, the decision will be made by the senior staff member in consultation with the Library Board Chair. Local radio stations shall be notified by the Director or employee in charge and, if possible, appropriate signs indicating the library is closed should be displayed.

  1. Staff will refer to the Personnel Handbook about leave time when the library is open and the weather prevents staff getting to work or requires them to leave early.

Likewise, if the library is not able to open, opens late, or is closed after opening due to inclement weather or any other emergencies such as a power outage, scheduled employees will be required to report their lost time as indicated by the Personnel Handbook.

Temporary Closures

On occasion, the Library may need to close temporarily due to a weather-related or other emergency.  The Library Director, or designee, will make that determination, using the following guidelines:

Section 1.  Tornado Warning

In Marshall, the Library has an identified Storm Shelter.  Referencing either the Weather Radio announcement or the city’s storm sirens, the Library staff will announce to customers that there is imminent severe weather warning and that the Library will be closing temporarily.  All customers will be required to either go to the Storm Shelter or leave the building.  The main door will not be locked in case those nearby need to take shelter.  Following the all-clear signal, Library staff will assess any damage and/or injuries and determine whether the building can be reopened.

In Balaton and Cottonwood, as they must leave the library space for safety, the person in charge will lock the space or building and proceed to the designated safe place.  After the all-clear, they will check the library to see if there is any damage and if the library can reopen.  Regardless of assessment, they will call the Director or designee to share information and make a decision about reopening.

Section 2.  Building Equipment Failures

The Library Director, or designee, will determine the nature of the failure (water, power, heat/air conditioning, etc.) and the length it is estimated to be repaired.  Upon reviewing all available information, the Director or designee will determine if the building should be closed, either temporarily or for the remainder of the day’s open hours.  Likewise, the Director or designee will determine whether staff will remain in the building working while the facility is closed or to release staff.  If they are released, staff will determine how they will make up their time as listed above.

(See also: MLCL Personnel Policy – Snow Days and Emergency Closings)

Originally adopted November 2015. Current version adopted April 2016. Next review, March 2019.