Service Continuity at the University of Pittsburgh HSLS

In early February, the Mid-Atlantic region was hit with a major snowstorm.  Pittsburgh was hard hit, resulting in a 3-day closure of the University of Pittsburgh.  University of Pittsburgh’s Health Sciences Library System was closed during those three days, but core services were maintained from the homes of designated staff.  Barbara Epstein, library director, has shared the following notes from an Executive Committee debriefing session held soon after library staff returned to work:

1. The University of Pittsburgh’s HSLS relies on the university’s emergency notification system.  Therefore, all staff are to subscribe to the system and should also check the university’s web site.  If the message is “University is closed & essential personnel only” to report, then HSLS libraries will be closed.  Weekends are not considered workdays, so any closure decisions are made by library administration.
2.  Computer systems staff are considered “essential” to maintaining servers and the Web site.  They are responsible for keeping these services running from home or in-person if necessary.
3.  Systems staff will post information about library closure on their Web site, and will advise users to submit questions via Ask-a-Librarian (AAL).  Designated managers will check AAL regularly from home.
4.  Designated ILL/Document Delivery manager, working from home, will facilitate or forward any urgent patient care requests.  Some firewall problems were identified and resolved by systems staff.

Further reading: Director’s Reflection…a Blizzard of Online Services