Library Board approved November 19, 2002

The Library’s first priority is always the safety of staff and patrons.  Prior to, during and following a serious weather situation, such as flooding, tornados, and excessive snow, decisions should always be made in favor of people’s safety.  The preservation of property should always be secondary to life safety issues.

There are emergency weather radios at each branch, in the Circulation Department, and in the Executive Director’s office.  The radios should be set to receive emergency notifications for both Cook and DuPage Counties and should be in “automatic alert mode” at all times.  The Managers of the Dole Branch Library, the Maze Branch Library,  the Circulation Department, and the Executive Director are responsible for ensuring that their radios are currently functioning  (the battery is good and a weekly test is being received).


A detailed evacuation, communication and recovery plan is contained in the Oak Park Public Library Disaster Plan.  A copy of this plan has been reviewed, and is in the possession of all department heads.


The village of Oak Park has an emergency warning system in place in the event a tornado is sighted.  When the alarm is sounded, the Librarian-in-Charge is responsible for telling all persons in the library that they may go to the shelter area if they wish to remain in the building.  Patrons may choose to leave the building instead.  Disabled patrons and/or employees will be assisted by Library staff in going to the shelter area or leaving the building.  All other employees will be directed to a designated shelter area.

The Librarian-in-Charge is responsible for determining when the ALL CLEAR has sounded and the TORNADO WARNING is over.  The Librarian-in-Charge will then notify employees and patrons.


Generally the Library does not close for snow, but where the conditions are so extraordinarily adverse as to constitute a threat to human safety, it may elect not to open or to close early.

The decision to close due to snow will normally be made by the Executive Director or the senior person in the Library command structure.  When circumstances allow, the Executive Director or Assistant Director should be consulted prior to closing, or determining not to open due to snow.  If circumstances do not allow for consultation, the Librarian-in-Charge for each facility is authorized to close if conditions warrant doing so.

Snow or blizzard closings will be announced whenever possible on the Voice Mail Auto Attendant and the Branch answering machines.  Telephone trees and the staff “Disaster Announcement Hotline” will be used to notify staff.  Board Members should also be notified by phone and/or email.  In the event of a decision not to open, Maintenance staff already at work will also be notified.

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