Pandemic Policy

I: Purpose

To establish the protocol to be used in the event of a pandemic. If there is a serious infectious disease outbreak, the library may be required to operate on limited staffing or take unique measures to help slow the spread of the illness, including service restrictions, limited hours of operation, or possible closure. Recovery from a pandemic may be slow, as compared to a natural disaster or other physical crises.

II: Library Closure

Public Health Mandate: The Salisbury Library will close to the public due to a pandemic in the event of a mandate order or recommendation for closure issued by public health or government officials on the local, county, or state level, or if there is evidence within Merrimack County of community transmission.

Discretionary Service Level Changes: At the discretion of the Library Director, the Library may close, reduce its operating hours, or limit services temporarily in the event that there is not sufficient staff to maintain appropriate staffing levels.
In the event of closure or reduction in operating hours, the Library Director or designee will maintain communication with staff, Library Board of Trustees, and the Town Administrator.

Other possible changes to service:

  • Canceling Interlibrary Loan service to reduce risk of transmission
  • Closing the library to the public, but offering curbsibe pickup or delivery of disinfected books.

III: School Closure Due to Pandemic

In the event that the Merrimack Valley School District school is closed due to pandemic illness, the Library will remain open, but with changes to services, unless one of the aforementioned requirements for closing is also met. All library programs and special events will be canceled; appropriate measures for disinfecting surfaces and books will be taken; and items such as children’s toys and puzzles that are difficult to disinfect will be put into storage.

V: Staffing

If there is a recommendation from public health officials that people stay home if they are exhibiting symptoms of an illness, staff will be asked not to come to work if they are exhibiting those symptoms. In the event that no one is able to work, the library will close.
In the event the library becomes closed, staff hours are cut, or staff are unable to work due to risk factors or illness as a due to a pandemic, staff will be paid for their regularly scheduled hours.

If there is a wide-spread pandemic and recommendations from officials to isolate to avoid risk of infection, staff will be allowed to make their own decisions about risk to the health of themselves and their families, and will not be penalized if they decide that it is unsafe for them to come to work even if the library has not yet decided to close.

If the Library is closed or hours reduced, the Director will monitor email on all days that the library would ordinarily be open and do other work from home as necessary, such as publicizing available online resources.

VI: Communication

In the event of closure necessitated by pandemic, effective communication about any reduction in services or open hours must be announced in a timely manner. Library staff should follow the normal procedure used for any unexpected closure/program cancellation, which includes posting on wmur.com, Facebook, and the library website.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees, March 17, 2020