For the safety of our patrons and with a continued effort to “flatten the curve," all Athens Regional Library System branches in Athens-Clarke, Franklin, Madison, Oconee and Oglethorpe counties will remain closed until such time that it is deemed safe to reopen to the public. Library staff remain on the job  serving our communities virtually.  Please feel free to contact us at if you have any questions regarding library service during this time. We will update the community as more information becomes available.

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Article X - Inclement Weather Work Procedures

The Athens Regional Library System expects all employees to make every effort to report to work during periods of inclement weather. However sane judgment should be used to prevent injury, loss of life/or property.

The library director or designated representative will decide when local weather conditions are severe enough to justify closing the library and to excuse employees from reporting to work. Only on such occasions will salaried employees be paid for absences. If an employee does not report to work, and the library is open, the employee will be charged annual leave time for each hour he/she is not at work. If the employee has no accrued annual leave the time will be leave without pay. Announcements will be made by radio and employees will be notified by telephone if it is possible to do so.

As a general rule, if the county government closes for the day or part of the day, the library in that county will do the same. If the county school buses do not run because of bad weather, the bookmobile will not operate. However, the library may remain open, so employees should listen for announcements on the radio.

The library has weather radios and in case of the threat of bad weather the radio should be turned on and monitored for bulletins. During a storm that has lightning, stay off the phone and computer. If there is a tornado warning, an announcement will be made over the public address system and everyone should come to the first floor of the library near the center of the building and stay away from the windows and outside walls. If possible, try to get under something sturdy to protect head, face and body because flying debris is the cause of most tornado related deaths. Follow the same procedure as a fire alarm and check the bathrooms and study rooms, etc. to direct patrons from the second floor down the stairs.


Athens Regional Library System makes every effort to maintain regular operating hours; however, situations such as inclement weather, utility outages, or other emergency conditions may require the library and/or branches to close during regular hours. If closings are not announced, all employees are expected to make reasonable efforts to safely report to work. ARLS values the safety of its staff and does not advise employees to take unwarranted risks when traveling during inclement weather.

The Director or designated representative will make any decisions to open late, close early, or close for entire days. A decision to close one branch or worksite does not necessarily mean that any other sites will be closed. An established procedure will be followed (such as use of a call tree and radio and website announcements) to communicate opening and closing statuses. Employees should be familiar with the proper procedure to learn the status of their assigned worksite, and should keep their own supervisor, and/or the supervisor on duty, informed as to their status and ability/inability to get to work.

As a general rule, decisions to close various locations will be based on the status of other government agencies in those locations. Closing decisions will be modeled following the county or municipality offices, not on the open or closed status of the public schools. The ARLS courier will follow local school operations and will not run to counties when their schools are closed due to road and weather conditions.

In the event of closings, salaried staff will record the time as administrative leave. Hourly employees will not be compensated for hours not worked, but may request supervisors for opportunity to make up some or all of the missed time during the same pay period. Salaried employees who are not able to report to work when their locations are open will be required to take the time missed as annual leave.


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