Guideline UL-HRG09 Weather and Emergency Library Closures

Main Policy Content


  • Introduction
  • Official Closings and Cancellations Sources
  • Temporary Library Closures (when campus is open)
  • Staffing Levels
  • Timekeeping
  • Communication
  • Cross References


Occasionally severe weather conditions or other emergencies require the University to cancel classes and/or suspend operations at one or more of its campuses. The Libraries follows University Guideline HRG10 Handling “Weather Day” Absences or Official University Closedowns Due to Weather Conditions. Typically, Libraries employees, including employees who work remotely, are not considered to be essential and will not be expected or elect to work during the period of a delay or closure.

Employees required (subject to the approval of Libraries’ administration) to work during the official closedown period will be considered essential for the hours worked during that period and will be compensated in accordance with University Guideline HRG10. Any exceptions must be granted by the supervisor and respective administrator/Associate Dean.


Employees are strongly encouraged to subscribe to PSUAlert, which will push notifications, such as texts and emails, of delays or closures, or other priority alerts. Employees are advised to monitor news sources when severe weather is anticipated.


Occasionally unplanned circumstances, such as HVAC and building conditions, pandemics, or inability to maintain minimum staffing levels will require a campus library to close, operate shorter hours than usual, or halt on-site library services. At the Commonwealth Campus Libraries, the decision to temporarily close or shorten hours will be made by campus library heads in consultation with their director or Associate Dean. At University Park, the decision to temporarily close or shorten hours will be made by department heads in consultation with their Associate Dean.


Minimum staffing levels will be determined for each location in consultation with the department head/head librarian and respective Associate Dean or Administrator. The staffing models should consider the safety and well-being of library faculty, staff, and students.


Full-time employees

Employees are encouraged to make their own decisions as to the safety of travel to and from campus. If employees are concerned about traveling to or from work, leave earlier or later than normally scheduled, or request to shift to a remote workday, they must seek advanced permission from their immediate supervisor. Supervisors are asked to be as supportive as possible of an employee’s decision by providing flexible work arrangements and/or allowing the use of vacation to cover time not worked. For further information regarding handling absence and pay issues associated with weather-related emergencies see University Guideline HRG10 .

Part-time employees

Part-time employees are not permitted to work during the period of a closure and are not eligible for campus closure pay under University Guideline HRG10, unless they meet the criteria of earned-time as described in University Policy HR103 - Employment Conditions for Part-Time Employees. However, supervisors may opt to approve part-time employees to flex hours or schedule additional hours, if permitted by their classification. (Part-time employees who are classified as wage payroll as referenced in the University – Union Collective Bargaining Agreement with Teamsters Union No. 8 and those part-time student employees on F-1 or J-1 visas are both limited to work no more than 20 hours per week.)


All departments are encouraged to have weather/emergency contact lists for their full-time and part-time employees. If any library closes temporarily, the department head or assignee should communicate the updated hours so the Libraries’ website can be updated. It is critical to contact relevant campus, college, or department officials to determine the best communication plan for sharing the information with the campus community. If the temporary closure must extend longer than 24 hours, the department head or assignee shall contact potentially impacted University Libraries’ departments such as Interlibrary Loan, Common Services, etc.


Effective Date: January 19, 2006
Date Approved: January 19, 2006 (Dean/Department Heads)

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • May 2024 – Updated to provide clarity and remove procedural language
  • December 4, 2014 – Updated to include new emergency alert system, PSUAlert
  • November 13, 2009 – Editorial; Revised for applicability to libraries at all locations
  • August 2007 – Editorial
  • October 9, 2006 – Editorial revisions and addition of PSUTXT information
  • January 19, 2006 – Revised to reflect those exceptional circumstances when the Libraries' administration decides to open the Libraries despite a University announced closing
  • November 15, 2004 – New guideline

Last Review Date: May 2024