Inclement Weather Policy
In order to fulfill the mission of the Columbus Junction Public Library and to continue providing excellent customer service, the Library will endeavor to operate during regularly scheduled hours at all times. However, inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances may impact the Library’s ability to do so. The decision to close early or not open during regularly scheduled business hours will be based on the safety and well-being of patrons and staff, the ability to meet minimal staffing levels, and the physical condition of the building and grounds, with consideration given to travel warnings from national or state specific weather service advisories and law enforcement reports. The Library wishes for all patrons to arrive to the library safely but also return home safely as well, so road conditions will always be a factor in early closures or the decision to not open.
Should the Columbus Community School District close early due to imminent threat or current state of severe weather, the library will close early as well in order to ensure that patrons and staff alike are able to travel safely. If CCSD intends to close early, patrons should plan that the library will close by 2 pm/when school dismisses. Announcements of closures will be made in the library for patrons currently at the library but also on social media, the library’s website, signage, and/or on the library’s phone system. Information will also be communicated to the district for announcement at the schools as well.
The decision to not open the library due to severe winter weather will also be based on these factors, including road conditions, other business/city office closures, and the ability to staff the library at appropriate levels. Again, closures will be announced via social media, the library’s website, and the library’s phone system. If at all possible, the library may consider opening late to accommodate possible improvements to road conditions; again, this information will be included in all communications. However, if patrons have specific questions, the Library staff strongly encourage phone calls to confirm hours of operation during inclement weather.
All closure decisions will be made by the director in consultation with appropriate city offices; however, there may be times when this consultation may not happen due to time constraints in decision making or availability of other parties, in which case the director will make any decision in light of the aforementioned factors and communicate after the fact/leave messages to update the Board of Trustees and city offices as to closures of the library. In the event that the director cannot be reached, the assistant director or most senior member of the staff should assume these responsibilities.
In accordance with our Safe Children Policy, the following remains pertinent and accurate for unattended children upon early closures of the library:
“When unattended children are left in the Library at closing time, the staff will attempt to contact parents or guardians. If it is not possible to make telephone contact, or if the telephone call does not result in prompt arrival of those responsible for the child, the police department will be called and will assume responsibility for the situation. Parents/guardians/caregivers should again consider the child’s ability to relay pertinent information, phone numbers, and knowledge of approved plans for transportation, emergencies, etc., before allowing a child to remain at the library without supervision.”
During other inclement weather that does not require closure of the library, staff will communicate appropriate watches and warnings to patrons, so they may make appropriate decisions for their own safety and travel. The library has a weather radio, and staff also monitor weather conditions via reputable websites, etc. Upon any storm warning with imminent threat which prompts the sirens, the library will be locked and all patrons will be asked to relocate to the storm shelter, which is the Council Chambers. All patrons will be encouraged to stay during those times, and the library will not be unlocked until the warning expires; however, all patrons have the ability to choose to leave at any time. Please be aware that, in this event, the library will be locked and all staff relocated downstairs; phones will not be answered during the time there is an active warning.
Adopted May 2012
Reviewed January 2016
Amended November 2017