The Library is a public service institution, and every effort is made to maintain regular hours for the public. As a general practice, Library will only close when weather conditions deteriorate to the point where emergency situations prevail, when vital equipment in the building fails (e.g., furnace malfunction, no water in the building, no electricity, etc.) or when there is a general emergency within the Whitefish Bay area.

Decision Making

The decision to close will be made by the Library Director, after consultation with a member of the Library Board and/or Village Manager if available. If the Library Director is unavailable, the Librarian-In-Charge or Circulation Supervisor will make the decision, in which case they must confer with a Library Board member or Village administrator. The Library will not automatically close or delay opening, based on any other institution's closure.

Official Announcements
As soon as possible after a decision to close, the Library Director (or designee) will inform:

1) Village Hall 

2) Police Department On Duty Supervisor 

3) Police Chief (via email)

4) the public via door signage, updated website and/or update voicemail (if possible with remote access)

5) local television station(s)

6) any special guests or sponsors of scheduled programs to alert them of the decision to close, and registered participants

Library staff will assist children in contacting their parents and will deliver them, if necessary, to the Police Department to wait for a ride.

The Library Director will inform full-time staff of closure, who will in turn inform their department’s part-time staff. Further, all staff are instructed to check the designated local news channel/website for closing information during inclement weather.

The decision to close the Library will be based upon:

Adverse Weather / Equipment Failure

  • general conditions of roads in Whitefish Bay.
  • condition of the Library's parking lot and walkways.
  • availability of staff to open and operate the Library.
    • minimal staffing levels are defined as a minimum of at least one circulation clerk and one librarian. The Library can operate with a reduced staff when the number of patrons is expected to be abnormally low.
  • condition of the building's equipment. (e.g., furnace malfunction, no water in the building, no electricity, etc.)
  • requests for closure by local, county or state law enforcement agencies.


Notice of tornado watches or warnings are received via emergency notification radio/scanner. In the case of tornado watches, library business will proceed as usual. If a tornado warning is issued, the Library will be closed for normal business until an all clear is received from the local authorities. The front door will remain unlocked to allow citizens to seek shelter in the building.

Library patrons in the building will be allowed to remain until the all clear is sounded.

Adult patrons may leave at their own risk.

· Unattended minors must stay in the building until a guardian picks them up or until the all clear is sounded.


Per the Village of Whitefish Bay Employee Handbook: When operations are officially closed due to emergency conditions, the time off from scheduled work will not be paid, except that employees are allowed to substitute paid vacation time for time off due to emergency closings.

Revised and approved by the Whitefish Bay Public Library Board of Trustees – January 5, 2015

Supersedes policy approved by the Whitefish Bay Public Library Board February 13, 2007