3.2 Storm Procedures / Closings

In the event of a weather emergency or other unforeseen circumstance, it may be necessary to close the Library for the safety of patrons and staff. If such an event occurs, the Library Director or the senior staff person on duty in consultation with the Town Manager will make the decision. Once the decision had been made, a message will then be placed on the library’s phone system by 7:30 AM. If the library’s power is out, there will be no working phone system. If power is available at the homes of Library management, they will attempt to put the message on the webpage and on social media. The town will also send out an automated phone call to all Chelmsford residents and employees when town offices are closed. If the library closes, those people scheduled to work will be paid. If the library opens, but a person who is scheduled to work cannot make it in due to the weather, they can use personal or vacation time. Part-time staff may also choose not to be paid. If an employee has requested time off for that day – prior to the storm closure, – the request still stands and that day will be counted as requested time off.


Closings or delayed openings are coordinated with the town offices in the following manner:

  • If Chelmsford town offices are closed due to severe weather, the library will also be closed. A message will be put on the library phone system by 7:30AM. Tech services staff that normally come in prior to that time should delay their start time on days of inclement weather and adjust their schedule accordingly. When possible, the website homepage and social media sites will also be updated to include storm closings and delays. In inclement weather, Library staff should call the library number – 1-978-256-5521 after 7:30 AM or before heading into work. If power outages prohibit library staff from updating phone messages or telephone messages, then library management will text all department heads available and the department heads will notify their staff as they can.
  • If Chelmsford town offices are delayed due to inclement weather, the library will also have a delayed opening at 11 AM. Again, notification procedures will be followed as listed above. If the snowfall necessitates street plowing then the library parking lot must be plowed (and/or sanded and de-iced, whatever conditions warrant) in order to open to the public. The Custodian will call the town department of public works if parking lot has not been plowed when he arrives. He will also notify the senior staff person in charge for the day when the plowing is completed and the library is able to be opened. If the library and staff parking lots are still not plowed in time for an 11 AM opening, staff reporting to work should park across the street in the shopping plaza. The library will open to the public once the parking lot has been plowed.

MACKAY BRANCH: The Branch Library will follow the above stated policy with the following exception:

  • If the library custodial staff is unable to adequately address snow removal and ensure the safety of staff and public at both the main library and the Branch, the Branch will close. At the library director’s discretion, part-time Branch staff should either report to the main library for duty, work on projects at the MacKay Library while it remains closed, request the use of a vacation or personal day or opt not to be paid.


If weather forecasts and road conditions warrant, the Director or senior staff person in consultation with the Town Manager will close the Library early.

If the Director is not at the Library, the staff member in charge at the Main Library should call the Director. If the Director is not available, one of the two Assistant Directors should be contacted. If neither are available, the Town Manager will be make the decision. Please make sure that the decision is communicated to the MacKay Branch Library.

To minimize patron inconvenience during inclement weather, but also aid in library staff safety, management may consider the option of allowing employees to go home early if there is available administrative staff to run the library. Employees leaving early must use personal or vacation time or if feasible, make up the lost hours.


The above guidelines for early closing in the daytime also apply in the evening with the caveat that if the town manager is not available, library management staff is granted the right to close the library if the situation warrants it. However, the Town Offices/Town Manager should be alerted to the early closing as soon as possible. This also applies to closings due to power failures,


On Saturdays, the custodian will contact the senior staff person scheduled for that day and notify him/her of the status of the parking lot. If it is not plowed, the custodian will contact DPW but the library will have a delayed opening at 11 AM. On stormy weekends, library staff should check the library phone message by 8:15 to ensure that there is not a delay. If DPW does not respond in a timely fashion, the senior staff person in charge or the custodian will contact the town manager. (Staff may also opt to contact the library director or one of the two assistant directors who will in turn contact the town manager if the plowing has not been completed.) If plowing is not available that day, the senior staff person in charge will notify the library director or one of the two assistant directors that the library will not open. The senior staff person in charge will change the phone system message by 10:30 and update webpage to notify all scheduled staff.

When the library is only open 1-5 PM on Sundays — severe weather will warrant closing. The decision to close should be made no later than noon. Delays will not be considered. In the event of a Sunday storm, Sunday custodial staff will arrive early enough to contact the DPW and remind them that we are open and in need of plowing. The notification procedure shall be as listed above.

Approved, Library Board of Trustees, December 2015