A friend of mine was visiting this weekend. She had a brief stint as a public librarian in the northern Miami area. During that time, she got hit by hurricaines Wilma, Katrina, and Rita. During the evacuation, they said all county employees had to stay. By the time they were allowed to leave, it was too late
At our library, the college administration thinks the library is an "essential service." Even if classes are cancelled (which they almost never are at a campus-level), the library is still expected to be open with full services offered unless the governor of PA declares a state of emergency. Our director is of a slightly more practical opinion, thank goodness, and I have so far not had to take advantage of this.
It is flattering to be considered an "essential service," but I don't understand the job requirement of risking one's life to provide library services. Libraries are essential to our society, but a temporary lapse in services for occasional, very good reasons isn't going to hurt anything!