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What CT Libraries Can Do Right Now
Develop and implement fundamental policies and practices to provide an appropriate library environment and to insure constructive use of library facilities, materials, and services as well as the safety and personal comfort of all library patrons and staff.
- COLLABORATE with your local authorities including public safety department and the fire department to develop a comprehensive Emergency Response Plan. This plan should address natural disasters, fire safety and other emergencies affecting public safety such as bomb threats, active shooters, hostage situations and environmental emergencies such as chemical spills and gas leaks among others.
- ESTABLISH a relationship with your public safety department. Police departments are not always aware of the unique public safety issues libraries face on a daily basis and should be engaged to help libraries identify possible issues and develop action plans to resolve them. Conduct a walkthrough of the library with public safety to bring awareness of the building layout to plan for library responses and police responses to a certain threats and emergencies Libraries should maintain a liaison with the police department to keep them informed of potential issues.
- DEVELOP or update a Patron Code of Conduct Policy. This policy can establish guidelines for patron conduct and give staff a tool to enforce rules and behavior. The Code of Conduct can reference existing policies such as Internet Usage, Unattended Children, Meeting Rooms, Security Camera Use policies in addition to establishing standards and guidelines for patron conduct. A Patron Code of Conduct Policy establishes guidelines to ensure constructive use of Library facilities, materials, and services, as well as the personal comfort and safety of all patrons.
- ADOPT the use of incident reports (separate from accident reports required by OSHA). Incident reports are used to document patron infractions of established policies, activity deemed to be in violation of state law, emergencies, and accidents. Incident reports merely document situations they are not disciplinary.
- FIND OUT if your municipality has contracted with a risk management company. Risk management companies can conduct safety audits of buildings and make recommendations based on findings; provide training and resources.
- DEVELOP a communications plan to address news media and public inquiries. Establish a News Media Policy including social media for library staff to use during and after an emergency. An established policy will avoid miscommunication and speculation surrounding an emergency.
PowerPoint Presentation from the Connecticut State Library:
Tragic events in Newtown CT and Boston MA, as well as Super Storm Sandy have confirmed the necessity of emergency planning in all public institutions including public libraries. The Connecticut State Library recognizes this critical need and offers recommendations, best practices, and sample preparedness plans to assist CT libraries in preparing and implementing emergency plans.
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