Disaster and Emergency Policy

  1. Prevention Measures:

 Procedures before daily closing…

      • Turn off all electrical switches
      • Check restrooms
      • Check thermostats
      • Lock all doors
      • Turn on Security System
  1. Accidents- Blood Borne Pathogens

The Columbia Police Department keeps staff educated in the area of Blood Borne Pathogens. A kit provided by the Columbia Police Department is equipped with plastic gloves, facemasks and directions for keeping away from any contact with blood.


      • Fill out form for an Insurance Report (keep copy and send original to City Hall)
      • If bleeding is involved, put on a mask, plastic gloves for cleaning
      • Call police for discarding contaminated materials.
  1. Disasters
  • Floor plans showing location of items to be rescued are distributed to the Fire Department, Police Station, City Hall, and a copy is taped to the exit door of the workroom.
  • Water, Gas, Electric shut-off’s are clearly marked on the floor plans.
  • Evacuation of the building should be patrons first, followed by employees and the Head Librarian.
  • Emergency closing of the library to be decided by the Head Librarian.


      • Send Patrons home
      • Make any needed emergency phone calls for repair, etc.
      • Call the Board President or other Board Members
      • Put “closed” sign on door
      • Send employees home
  1. Emergency Closings

Should conditions exist in the library building, library parking lot or surrounding roads which present hazardous conditions that may put library patrons or library employees at risk, the Head Librarian shall consult with the Board President to determine whether or not the library should be closed. If the Head Librarian is not available, his/her designee shall consult with the Board President. In the event that the president or vice president is not available, the board secretary, treasurer or city council representative can be contacted. Their decision shall be final.



Parents are responsible for the behavior of their children while they are in the Library.  The Columbia Public Library staff is committed to help children with activities related to the Library.  However, Library staff cannot, nor is it their responsibility to serve as babysitters, teachers, or disciplinarians.  Violations of this policy are grounds for suspension of library privileges.  Whenever advisable, the library will notify the parent of incidents involving an unattended child (Form Follows)

Children under the age of 8 must be accompanied and directly supervised at all times by a parent or other responsible caregiver.  When the safety of an unattended child is in doubt, or the parent or responsible caregiver cannot be located, or if the Library is closing, Library staff is authorized to call the police and stay with the child until the police arrive.

From time to time the Columbia Public Library schedules or provides programs, which are designed and suitable for attendance by children without parental supervision.  Such program announcements will so indicate and if no indication is included then supervision is required.  When so indicated, if a parent or caregiver intends to be absent, they must leave word as to their whereabouts and if possible, a phone number where they or a responsible adult can be contacted.

Children over the age of 8 may use the Library unattended by an adult, subject to other library rules and policies concerning behavior, conduct and demeanor.


     6. UNATTENDED CHILDREN AFTER HOURS: Approved 01/13/04

If a child has been left unattended at the time of closing, Library staff has the responsibility to access the situation using the following guidelines.

  • Assess the situation 30 minutes before closing to determine if any children are alone. Ask the child to call the parent or caregiver to find out if someone is on the way to pick him/her up.
  • In no case should a staff member drive the child home.
  • Two staff members should remain with the child. They should stay inside the building 15 minutes after closing.
  • If a parent or caregiver has not arrived within 15 minutes, the staff will contact the Columbia Police Department.  Library staff   will remain until the police arrive.  A message to the parent or caregiver will be left on the entrance door stating where the child may be found.  DO NOT POST CHILD’S NAME.

    Memo to be posted on Door

  •  Library staff will document incident and notify the director as soon as possible.

Unattended Children Parental Notification Letter


     7. Disruptive Behavior in the Library, Revised 08/14/12

  • Appropriate attire, including shoes, shirts, and pants/skirts must be worn at all times in the Library.
    • Swimsuits are not permitted, unless covered by other clothing.
    • Clothing that is inappropriate or offensive so as to reasonably constitute a nuisance to other individuals using the library is prohibited.
    • Individuals that are not in compliance with the guidelines above will be asked to leave the Library immediately.
  • All library users are expected to conduct themselves in a manner, which shows respect for others using the library.  Disruptive conduct which prevents others from enjoying the library or which endangers people or property is not allowed.  Disruptive behavior includes, but is not limited to:
    • Destruction of property
    • Stealing
    • Harassment of employee and patrons
    • Threats toward employees and patrons
    • Racial insults or hate speeches
    • Fighting
    • Noisy or boisterous behavior that is disturbing other people in the library
    • Running
    • Inappropriate or annoying behavior
    • Eating or drinking on Main floor of library
  • The parent/guardian is responsible for insuring appropriate behavior of their children in the library.  Children/adults who are being disruptive and do not respond to a request from a library staff member to stop a disruptive behavior, will be asked to leave the building in an orderly manner.  In the case of a vulnerable child, the parent/guardian will be called to pick them up.  If a parent or responsible adult cannot be reached or does not respond in 1 hour, the Columbia Police will be called to escort the child to the Police Station. 

Repeated episodes of disruptive behavior will lead to temporary suspension from the library. The parents of the suspended child will be required to speak to a member of the Library Staff before the suspension will be lifted.

  • Patrons whose bodily hygiene is offensive so as to constitute a health and safety concern to other persons shall be required to leave the building.
Disaster and Emergency Policy – Reviewed 1/13/04