Occasionally severe weather conditions or other emergencies require the University to cancel classes and/or suspend operations at one or more of its campuses. Essential employees are asked to report to work during these emergencies. The Libraries follow University policy. When University administrators or campus chancellors mandate a special closing due to situations such as severe weather conditions, the Libraries will conform.
Libraries’ employees are not considered essential employees. When University administrators or campus chancellors call for a special closing, and consequently the Libraries are closed, staff cannot elect to work. Any exceptions to this must be granted by administrators within the parameters of University policy.
Employees will be alerted to emergency closings through the official sources listed below. If inclement weather causes the University to close before the start of a workday, the University will normally declare the closure by 5:00 a.m. It is every employee’s responsibility to monitor one or more of the following sources when severe weather is predicted:
In addition, early information about weather-related closings will be available on:
Other radio and television stations may not be notified immediately, and may not provide the most up-to-the-minute changes and information. Nevertheless, local radio and television stations often will carry information about campus weather emergencies as well as PSUAlert.
Employees are encouraged to make their own decisions as to the safety of travel to and from the campus. This should include delaying their departure from home to work until they can confirm whether the University has officially closed or not. If employees are concerned about traveling home from work and decide they want to leave earlier or later than normally scheduled, they must seek permission from their immediate supervisor. Supervisors are asked to be as supportive as possible of an employee’s decision by providing flexible work arrangements and/or allowing the use of vacation or personal time to cover time not worked.
If an employee arrives at work and finds the University and the Libraries closed, the employee should:
If the University closes during the regular work day, or if weather conditions deteriorate later in the day creating potential problems for employees who work evening and late night shifts, Libraries’ administration will inform all units of pending closures and will provide instructions for employees.
Employees reporting for shifts later in the day should consult the immediate supervisor if they are concerned about deteriorating weather, or if they suspect that the University may close. Supervisors are encouraged to exercise reasonable judgment in maintaining staffing under severe conditions. If the University is not officially closed, the hours not worked must be charged as vacation or personal time, or unpaid time, if applicable. If there are not enough employees to keep a unit open, the unit head or supervisor should consult the appropriate department head or dean for permission to close the unit.
If a unit closes prior to the normal posted closing time, the unit supervisor or staff must post appropriate signs, and notify other units (branches in close proximity, Lending Services, and other campuses) that they will not be open. Posted information should include the reason for closing and anticipated time to resume business.
"Due to severe weather conditions the XX Library will be closed until 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, MM/DD/YY."
There may be exceptional situations that call for the Libraries to open during a University or campus closing. The Libraries’ administration or the campus head librarian, in consultation with the campus chancellor and Senior Associate Dean, will make this decision. In doing so, they will take into account the:
In the past there have been two types of circumstances that required exceptional response to the general policy and guidelines:
Employees required or volunteering (subject to the approval of Libraries’ administration) to work during the official closedown period will be considered essential for the hours worked during that period and will be compensated in accordance with Human Resources Guideline No. 10, Handling “Weather Day” Absences or Official University Closedowns Due to Weather Conditions.
In some weather emergency situations, such as delayed openings, the Extended Hours area in Pattee Library may remain open, in order to minimize disruption and for employee safety. As a 24-hour facility the circumstances can require a different response than for other library facilities. Decisions are made in consultation with the Head of Access Services.
If severe weather threatens on a weekend and information on University closures is not available via one of the previously mentioned official sources, the Head of Access Services, the Head of Public Services, the Head of Library Learning Services, or other administrator will notify unit heads and supervisors of the Libraries’ intent to close.
Each emergency situation is unique. Decisions made to open, close, or delay services will be made collectively by administrators on the advice of various authorities including key library supervisors and staff. These decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis according to the best available information at the time.
All departments are encouraged to have weather/emergency contact lists for their full-time and part-time employees. Individual unit supervisors are encouraged to prepare unit-level contact lists as well.
For further information regarding handling absence and pay issues associated with weather-related emergencies see Human Resources Guideline No. 10, Handling "Weather Day" Absences or Official University Closedowns Due to Weather Conditions. The provisions outlined in this guideline apply to all full-time employees and those part-time employees who meet the criteria for earned time (see the Paid Time Off section of Human Resources Policy No. 41, Setting Hourly Wage Payroll Rates for Part-Time and Casual Employees).
Minimum staffing levels for the branch libraries will be determined by each branch in consultation with the Head of Reference, Collections, and Research.
For Pattee/Paterno, the requirement will be a minimum of four staff capable of opening the complex and providing minimal but adequate service.
For campus libraries, minimum staffing levels will be determined by the head librarian in conjunction with the campus chancellor and the Senior Associate Dean. In any given weather emergency, local conditions often will determine staff availability.
Effective Date: January 19, 2006
Date Approved: January 19, 2006 (Dean/Department Heads)
Last Review Date: November 2009