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Library Emergency Response Plan: Epidemic

What to do in case of an emergency at the Grace Doherty Library

What qualifies as an epidemic?


An epidemic occurs when an infectious disease spreads rapidly to many people. (WebMD)

The goals of this plan

  • Mitigate transmission of infection in the library
  • Continue to meet the needs of Centre College during an epidemic
  • Ensure the safety of the Centre College Community
  • Ensure the safety of the staff of the library

Epidemic - College remains open

If there is an epidemic, the library will add additional measures to its regular routines to help prevent the spread of germs.

Public Spaces
Student workers will disinfect tables, computers, railings, and chairs throughout the day.

Desk Shifts
Service desk operators will wipe down their desk and computer at the start of the shift.
People at the Reference Help desk will wipe down the copier touch screens and lids at the start of their shift as well.

Hand Sanitizers/Sanitizing Wipes
Hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes will be placed on tables, near the public computers, at service points, and in the copier room.

Book Handling & Cash Transactions
All library employees need to sanitize their hands after handling books and cash transactions, attempting to try to not touch their face in between.

Staff Kitchen
Staff will wipe down high touch areas in the kitchen daily including sink, paper towel dispenser, fridge doors, microwave, toaster and all counter tops.

Staff Bathroom
Staff will wipe down high touch areas such as the doors, paper towel dispensers, and faucet sinks.

The library appreciates the extra work the housekeeping staff puts in during epidemics and understands it is a group effort.

Epidemic - College Open: Library is Short Staffed

If the library is understaffed due to illness, library staff on-site will make a determination about our ability to be open and will communicate the closure to the Dean, Security, and the Centre Community to the best of their ability.

Semester Weekdays/Weekends
If one staff member is available AND there are students or other Access Services/Librarians working: we stay open. At any point where there are no staff members working OR only one person working, we will be closed. 

Library Instruction
Librarians unable to make it to work last minute will notify the library distribution list about their need to cancel and see if another librarian can teach in their place. If that is not possible then the librarian will contact the professor to reschedule. 

If determination is made to close early
1. Alert all staff that the library will be closing by texting the library staff
2. Alert Jami Powell to update the library website.
3. Alert Crystal Ellis to update social media.
4. Lanna McAninch will print notices and place outside the library door.
5. Follow normal closing procedures at agreed upon time.

If any of the above named are unable to perform their duties, they will assign another and if that is not possible Carrie will.

Epidemic - College Open: Social Distancing Practice

If the library is recommended to engage in social distancing practices while the college remains open--the library will engage in the following practices.

The library assumes in this that Postal and Print is still running operations and student workers are still allowed to work.

Reduce Hours
Hours will be shortened to 8:30am-4:30pm Monday-Friday.

Cancel Classes 
All classes will be canceled in the library. 


Close Stacks
Library stacks will be closed to use. Patrons are directed to use the Hold function in the catalog to select books directly from the catalog. They
will receive emails to pick up materials directly from the counter.

College is Closed

If the college is closed, the work of the library will be impacted in the following ways.

Not Occurring

  • Book checkout--books in hand will be renewed by staff until the college is back open.
  • Physical Interlibrary Loan
  • At the judgment of the staff, purchasing physical material
  • Cataloging and checking-in physical material
  • In-person instruction and research help
  • Cash transactions

Virtual Service

  • Electronic Interlibrary Loan (assuming other libraries have access) (did we make a decision on this?)
  • Research Help through email, call, library chat, and video
  • Purchasing non-physical material (Kanopy, databases, services)
  • Instruction via Zoom
  • Modified Work by Staff at Home

Those who are working from home will be expected to work from 8:30-4:30, check in via email or text message when they start working, check email throughout the day (if possible), and be available for phone or Zoom meetings when necessary with their manager, department, or Library Staff. 

Unfortunately, we do not have any work from home options for student workers.