Commitment to Client Group

Ask ALSC

Welcome to Ask ALSC, where the Managing Youth Services Committee asks leaders in children’s libraries to share their response to an issue or situation.  We hope to showcase a range of responses to topics that may affect ALSC members. If you’d like to respond to today’s topics, or suggest a topic for the future, please leave a comment.

Today’s topic is snow (or cancellations in general). Minnesota and the upper Midwest in general have been dealing with a lot of snow this winter. Schools in my west central Minnesota area have been cancelled numerous times. What does that mean for storytimes or other programs you offer? I am the sole youth librarian in my library. As long as I can make it in to work, I do hold my programs as planned. People still tend to come to the library, even in winter warning conditions so if I can provide an opportunity for fun and support for caregivers, I will do it. I do wonder though if that is a smart decision because overall I would prefer that kids are able to stay home and off the roads.

Of course cancellations come in other forms, like sick days. I’ve been on my job for seven years and at this point, I have not cross-trained any of my staff to take over if I am sick. My new director would like to change that however so I am working on creating basic storytime outlines and book ideas that one of my library clerks can easily adapt and use.

What does your library do when bad weather comes up? Some libraries in my system will cancel all programs if school is cancelled for the day. I have considered that option myself because I think it encourages staying safe and off the roads.

Please share how you handle inclement weather. Whether it is snow, super cold temperatures (another issue Minnesota has been dealing with this winter), torrential rains, etc. Do you have a plan in place? Does your library connect with local news stations or newspapers to advertise that a program is cancelled?

Today’s blog post was written by Sarah Wethern, youth librarian at the Douglas County Library in Alexandria, Minnesota, on behalf of the ALSC Managing Children’s Services Committee.

This blog relates to ALSC Core Competencies of I. Commitment to Client Group and V. Outreach and Advocacy.

One comment

  1. Julie

    Our long standing policy, which we make sure to announce at winter story times and is on our winter flyers, is to cancel if school is closed. These days notice goes out various ways; our new phone system allows the director to add a message remotely so anyone who calls will get the message (especially helpful the morning we were iced in and had a delayed opening), we can remotely update our online calendar so I will go in and add “cancelled” to any affected programs, from there I can also send an email to participants if it is a registered program and we also post on social media.

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