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Sutton Free Library


To establish the protocol to be used in the event of a pandemic. If there is a serious infectious disease outbreak, the library may be required to operate on limited staffing or take unique measures to help slow the spread of the illness, including service restrictions, limited hours of operation, or possible closure. Recovery from a pandemic may be slow, as compared to a natural disaster or other physical crises.



Pandemic Plan A pandemic plan differs from a general emergency preparedness policy or procedure. With an emergency preparedness policy, there is an assumption that staff will return to the building or begin rebuilding, almost immediately after the event or crisis (such as after a fire or storm, or if there is a utility shortage). Recovery from a pandemic may be slow and limited staff, services, and hours may be necessary for an extended period of time. 

Pandemic A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease. (World Health Organization

Appropriate Staffing Level For the purposes of this policy, Appropriate Staffing Level refers to the minimum number of qualified staff necessary to provide service safely and efficiently, as determined by the Library Director or his/her designee.

Library Closure Public Health Mandate


Sutton Free Library will close to the public due to a pandemic in the event of a mandate order or recommendation for closure issued by public health or government officials on the local, county, or state level, or if there is evidence within Merrimack County of community transmission.

Discretionary Service Level Changes


At the discretion of the Library Director, the Library may close, reduce its operating hours, or limit services temporarily in the event that there is not sufficient staff to maintain appropriate staffing levels. 

In the event of closure or reduction in operating hours, the Library Director or designee will maintain communication with staff, Library Board of Trustees, and the Town Administrator. 

Other possible changes to service:

Canceling Interlibrary Loan service to reduce risk of transmission

Closing the library to the public but offering curbside pickup or delivery of disinfected books.


School Closure Due to Pandemic


In the event that the Kearsarge School District school is closed due to pandemic illness, the Library will remain open, but with changes to services, unless one of the aforementioned requirements for closing is also met. All library programs and special events will be canceled; appropriate measures for disinfecting surfaces and books will be taken; and items such as children’s toys and puzzles that are difficult to disinfect will be put into storage.



If there is a recommendation from public health officials that people stay home if they are exhibiting symptoms of an illness, staff will be asked not to come to work if they are exhibiting those symptoms. In the event that no one is able to work, the library will close.

In the event the library becomes closed, staff hours are cut, or staff are unable to work due to risk factors or illness as a due to a pandemic, staff will be paid for their regularly scheduled hours.

If there is a wide-spread pandemic and recommendations from officials to isolate to avoid risk of infection, staff will be allowed to make their own decisions about risk to the health of themselves and their families, and will not be penalized if they decide that it is unsafe for them to come to work even if the library has not yet decided to close.

If the Library is closed or hours reduced, the Director will monitor email on all days that the library would ordinarily be open and do other work from home as necessary, such as publicizing available online resources.

In providing service safely and efficiently, the following actions may be taken at the discretion of the Library Director or designee. 

∙ Increased health/safety measures for staff (e.g., wearing of gloves, wiping down work areas, etc.);                     ∙Restricted access to areas in the library (e.g., closing floors or unmonitored areas for safety);                                 ∙Social distancing practices in public areas;                                                                                                                            ∙Reduction of open hours;                                                                                                                                                            ∙Cancellation of all programs, special events, and meeting room reservations;                                                           ∙Reallocation of employee responsibilities and shift/schedule changes to provide coverage during open hours;  

∙Closure of the library.



In the event of closure necessitated by pandemic, effective communication about any reduction in services or open hours must be announced in a timely manner. Library staff should follow the normal procedure used for any unexpected closure/program cancellation, which includes posting on, Facebook, and the library website. 



Sutton Free Library follows the guidance of local and state health officials in regards to pandemic protocols. As of 3/3/2022 we are recommending masks be worn inside the library. The only time masks will currently be required is during inside library programming/ meetings when safe distances can’t be maintained. This policy is subject to frequent change.

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