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Guidelines for Handling Weekend Emergencies at the Library

   January 23rd, 2013

Hello, I'm IN CHARGE badgeThis has been in my "to blog" folder for awhile, but better late than never, I suppose.

In the fall, my library was able to reopen for Sundays for the first time in like five years. This is great news for patrons, but since our seasonal Sunday hours are voluntary (with paid overtime), we sometimes have a shortage of staff willing to work them.

In my library, there needs to be a Department Head in the building at all times. Generally this isn't a problem, but if no Department Head volunteered to work a particular Sunday, other staff (with library degrees) can be acting Department Head.

Since these acting Department Heads would be in charge of the building, we created some "Sunday Department Head Guidelines" for them to refer to if something unusual happened - and also to make sure the library delivered the same level of service on Sundays as we do the rest of the week. The goal was to have all necessary information - procedure, contact information, passwords, etc. - in one place.

I really like lists like this*, so I thought I'd share. Obviously it is primarily applicable to my library, and even then primarily only on Sundays (as other times follow slightly different procedures in certain situations), but perhaps it might inspire other libraries to also document procedures like this. Feel free to download and use these however you like (names, phone numbers, and other vital information removed):

I know the staff here appreciated it, as it can be daunting to be in charge when something goes wrong.


*Some people say I have a love of rules, but that's not true - orderliness and answers are what I like. Take that, entropy.

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3 Responses to “Guidelines for Handling Weekend Emergencies at the Library”

  1. Anne Says:

    This is wonderful! It really is daunting sometimes to be in charge. I love that this spells out that IT’S OK to call the administrators at home (it is their job to respond to emergencies after all!).

  2. Brandy Says:

    I loved the fact that you have a spare wheelchair in case of an emergency evacuation.

  3. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Anne: I thought so too, which is why I thought I’d share this – I’m sure lots of libraries have similar documents. And it’s rare that one of the admins does get called at home, but it is totally part of the culture here (which really is great).

    @Brandy: Ha – it was donated to us by someone whose parent didn’t need it anymore, and luckily we’ve never had to use it.