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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

MPLCP Library Building Programs: Heating, Cooling, and Powering Centers

Power outages and other emergencies

Is your library a heating, cooling, and powering center?

This may be an official municipal designation or a more informal decision made by the library trustees. The requirements for this level of service during an emergency are far lower than those for official Emergency Disaster Recovery Centers.

Special considerations:

  • Emergency Generator
    • Adding the extra circuit and switch required for a generator is a great idea, whether or not you will purchase a generator with library funds. The emergency management agencies will appreciate the ease of plugging one into your connection.
    • Another consideration is whether you want to power the entire library or only a portion of the building (usually the meeting room) during a power outage. If you want to power the whole building, you may decide to purchase an integrated generator as part of the electrical system.
  • Solar Battery Backup
    • If you have a PVA, or photovoltaic array, a set of battery backup panels can take the place of a fossil-fuel-powered generator. This technology is evolving rapidly, so talk to your solar energy consultant.
  • After-hours access to your meeting room and restrooms becomes essential.
  • Policy considerations must be considered, especially if this is an official municipal designation. Work with municipal emergency management personnel to determine expectations and roles.