POLICIES OF THE CHESHIRE PUBLIC LIBRARY
July 1986 Revised April 1990 Revised June 1998 Revised May 2000 Revised December 2001 Revised October 2007 Cheshire Public Library Advisory Board
Revised November 2010 to reflect town-wide building use policy
I. MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Cheshire Public Library is to meet residents’ needs for life-long education, enrichment, and entertainment.
II. VISION STATEMENT
Our vision is to be among the country’s leaders in providing excellent, relevant and dynamic public library service.
III. POLICIES OF THE CHESHIRE PUBLIC LIBRARY
The Cheshire Public Library endorses Freedom to Read, the Library Bill of Rights, and Freedom to View, which are joint statements by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP).
1. The Cheshire Public Library will issue a library card to persons showing proof of Cheshire residency. Acceptable forms for proof of residency include driver’s license or car registration, State of Connecticut Identification Card, Town of Cheshire voter registration card, bank book or checkbook which lists address, official correspondence from a utility company, a Cheshire school report card or Student Identification Card. A parent or legal guardian must sign for library cards for children under the age of 14.
2. The Cheshire Public Library issues one card per patron, which allows the patron to borrow materials anywhere in the Library.
3. Use of the Library or its services may be denied for due cause. Such cause may include failure to return borrowed materials, and violation of the Library Code of Conduct.
B. MATERIALS SELECTION POLICY
1. Although the staff participates in the selection process, the Library Director is ultimately responsible for the selection of materials. The selection criteria are as follows:
Reviews in professional journals
Evident need in subject areas
Professional judgment as to subject, quantity and physical format Topical interest
2. The Library will obtain materials it does not own, either through interlibrary loan or purchase, subject to budget restraints and subject to the selection criteria listed above.
3. The Library will make available, in so far as is possible, materials that present various points of view concerning problems and issues of our times.
4. In the event of an objection to any material, Library staff will ask the person objecting to state his reasons in writing for consideration by the Library Director [See Appendix D, “Request for Reconsideration of Materials Form”]. The Director will apply the selection criteria to the material in question to determine its suitability for continued inclusion in the collection.
5. If, at the discretion of the Library Director, Library materials become dated, obsolete, or unused, these materials will be withdrawn from the collection. Efforts will be made to dispose of withdrawn materials as follows, as storage space and staff time permit:
Free giveaways to library patrons
Sale by the Friends of the Library
Donation to nonprofit organizations that are willing to pick up all materials
Disposal of materials in appropriate waste/recycling receptacles
Gifts of books, periodicals, recordings and any other materials, including those from local authors and artists, are accepted only if there are no conditions placed upon their use and if, in the judgment of the Library Director, they are appropriate to the Library collection based on the selection criteria stated in Section B (“Materials Selection Policy”). Library staff cannot provide appraisals of the value of donated materials. Gifts of materials that cannot be used in the collection will be given to the Friends of the Cheshire Public Library for book sale fundraisers. Monetary contributions to the Cheshire Public Library are accepted. Monetary gifts in excess of $200.00 must be submitted for acceptance and appropriation by the Cheshire Town Council. Contributions can be made payable to the Cheshire Public Library Gift Fund or the Friends of the Cheshire Public Library.
D. PATRON CONFIDENTIALITY
The Connecticut State Statutes, Section 11-25, state that “Records maintained by libraries that can be used to identify any library user, or link any user to a library transaction, regardless of format, shall be kept confidential, except that the records may be disclosed to officers, employees and agents of the library, as necessary for operation of the library…Information contained in such records shall not be released to any third party, except (A) pursuant to a court order, or (B) with the written permission of the library user whose personal information is contained in the records.” (effective 7/1/07, CT General Assembly)
Library staff will not provide personal information to anyone but the patron, or to anyone who is not a minor patron’s parent or legal guardian.
E. PETITIONS, SOLICITATIONS, AND USE OF BULLETIN BOARDS AND HANDOUTS
1. The Library may post petitions on its bulletin boards, as space permits, providing that such petitions are deemed to originate from non-profit community groups whose aims can be considered in the broadest interpretation to be educational, cultural and/or for civic betterment. Before posting, petitions should be addressed to the attention of the Library Director or his or her designee. Normally, permission for posting will be granted for two weeks. Permission may be renewed for additional periods of two weeks.
2. The presence of a petition in the Library does not indicate that either the Board or the staff of the Cheshire Public Library supports it. No one may solicit signatures for their petition in the Library, or hand out literature in support of their position, or otherwise interfere with normal activities of the Library.
3. The Library does not permit any soliciting within the building.
4. Bulletin board space may be made available, whenever possible, for announcements of civic, cultural, educational or recreational activities and items of general interest to the community which are non-partisan by nature. The Library Director or a designated staff member must approve this material before it is posted. Allotment of time, position, and any other decisions related to display of material shall be determined by the Library.
5. At the discretion of the Library Director, organizations may leave materials to be handed out. The Library Director shall decide the time and quantity of such materials.
1. The Library shall take the initiative in establishing informational, cultural and recreational programs that further the Mission and Roles of the Library.
2. Speakers and materials for programming are selected on the basis of cost, availability, and suitability to program subject and quality. As with printed and other media, selection is made according to reviews and/or professional judgment of the program librarians.
3. In the event of a complaint prior to the actual Library-sponsored program, the Library Director shall consider such complaint and decide whether the program meets the criteria established for selection of all forms of material [See Section B, “Materials Selection Policy”]. Whenever feasible, such complaints must be submitted in writing to the Library Director at least 30 days prior to the program date.
1. The public library is founded on the premise that its programs, materials and services are equally accessible to all. To this end, all Library- sponsored programs must be free and open to the public. Anyone involved in presenting programs or exhibits at the Library must observe the “free and open” clause. However, the Library may, at its discretion, permit a performer to sell his work in conjunction with the performance.
2. The purpose of the Cheshire Public Library exhibit program is twofold: to allow creative persons and knowledgeable collectors the opportunity to share their talents with the public and to aid the Library in fulfilling its objective of furthering the educational and cultural growth of patrons.
3. Exhibit space is provided for artists and craftspeople with preference given to local exhibitors. The Library often arranges with the Cheshire Art League to screen and schedule such exhibits. All exhibitors must sign a Hold Harmless Agreement to be able to exhibit in the Library [Appendix E].
4. Preference for exhibits is given to residents of the Town of Cheshire. In accepting an exhibit for display, the Library Director or designee will apply the same selection criteria as described [See Section B, “Materials Selection Policy”] for choosing Library material. Groups are invited to display, provided they elect one person to represent them to coordinate their exhibit with the Library.
5. All exhibits are loaned to the Library free of charge for a specified period. The Library will see that all reasonable care is given to the exhibits. However, the Library shall not be held responsible for damages to the exhibit while on display.
6. The Library reserves the right to refuse an exhibit if, in its opinion, it does not meet the selection criteria as described above.
7. So that exhibits can be as diverse as possible and as many exhibitors as possible can have the opportunity to exhibit, no group should plan on exhibiting more than twice yearly. Exhibits will normally be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis for a period of one month, depending upon the calendar and the convenience of the Library and the exhibitors. Any change in the above is at the discretion of the Library.
8. The exhibit will be set up by the exhibitor with the Library staff at a mutually agreed-upon time during Library hours.
9. The Library is not in any way involved in the sale of any exhibit item. The exhibitor’s address, telephone number, and price lists may be made available to patrons expressing interest.
10. The exhibitor, with the agreement of the Library Director or his/her designee, will handle all press releases and publicity.
11. Exhibitors interested in doing a demonstration, holding a special program, or conducting a class related to their art, craft or collection are encouraged to indicate this interest, verbally or in writing, to the Head of Children’s Services or Assistant Director for Programming and Public Relations.
H. PUBLIC MEETING ROOM USE
Library meeting room use is subject to the Town of Cheshire Building Use Regulations, as adopted by the Cheshire Town Council in July 2008. Applications and guidelines are available on the library’s website at www.cheshirelibrary.org, or at the library circulation desk.
I. INTERLIBRARY LOANS
Interlibrary loan is the process by which a library requests materials from or supplies materials to another library.
1. As a Borrowing Library
The service is available to all patrons. There is no charge to request a search for materials. The Library attempts, in every case, to obtain materials at no cost. That is not always possible, especially regarding photocopies. Therefore, the patron must indicate how much he or she is willing to pay. Renewals must be requested in advance of the due date. Patrons are notified when their materials are available for pickup. There is a limit of 5 active interlibrary loan requests per patron at a time.
2. As a Lending Library
We lend most materials to other libraries. We photocopy free of charge. We lend at no cost and allow one renewal of the item if it is not needed by another patron.
J. POLICY ON USE OF CHESHIRE PUBLIC LIBRARY COMPUTERS
1. Statement of Mission
The Cheshire Public Library is committed to its role of serving the information and lifelong learning needs of its patrons. Providing access to the Internet enables the Library to greatly expand its information services beyond the traditional collections and resources. Use of the Internet resources of the Library shall be in accordance with this policy.
a) Not all sources on the Internet provide information that is accurate, complete, current, or legal. The Cheshire Public Library staff cannot monitor or control the content of the materials on the Internet, which can change rapidly and unpredictably. Therefore, the Cheshire Town Council, on behalf of the Cheshire Public Library and the Town of Cheshire (“the Town”), makes the following disclaimers concerning each patron’s use of the Internet:
i. The Town makes no warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, for the service it is providing.
ii. The Town expressly disclaims liability and shall not be held liable for any material obtained through the Library’s website or its Internet access or the use of such material even if the material is unlawful, incomplete, incorrect, or harmful in any way. Use of information obtained from these resources is made at the user’s risk, and the Town specifically denies any liability for the accuracy or quality of the information obtained through these resources.
iii. The Town does not endorse the content of any material obtained from the Internet.
iv. The Town shall not be liable for damages suffered by the user from errors or omissions of the user, of any patron, or of any Library staff member. Such damage may include, but is not limited to, loss of data resulting from delay, non- delivery, mis-delivery, or service interruption.
v. The Town shall not be responsible for illegal actions, or the consequences of those actions, which are perpetrated through the use of Town equipment.
b. The Town does not guarantee successful connections to the Internet.
c. The Town recognizes patrons’ rights of privacy and confidentiality; however, Internet security is technically difficult to achieve, and electronic communications and files could become public. The Town shall not be responsible for loss or damage resulting to a user from such a breach of privacy or confidentiality.
d. Although the Cheshire Public Library uses a virus scan on its Internet access computers, this program is not infallible. Files downloaded from the Internet may contain viruses. All users are encouraged to use virus-scanning software on their own personal computers. The Town is not responsible for damage to a user’s equipment or for loss of any data, damage or liability that may occur from the use of the Library’s computers.
3. Acceptable Use Requirements
a. The electronic information resources of the Cheshire Public Library shall be used only in accordance with this Policy.
b. No illegal use is permitted.
c. No obscene material shall be intentionally accessed.
d. All users and, as appropriate, their parents or guardians, shall evaluate the resources available on the Internet and shall access the Internet at their own risk.
4. Minors and the Use of the Internet
a. Parents and guardians of children under 18 years of age are solely responsible for their children’s use of the Internet and all other Library resources and equipment. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to supervise their children’s Internet sessions. The Library is not responsible for censoring or monitoring any patron’s (including a minor’s) access to materials or protecting minors from information that may be considered by individuals to be offensive, controversial, or explicit.
b. Information about child safety on the Internet is available on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website at www.missingkids.com.
5. Training and Education
a. All patrons with access to electronic information resources shall have a basic working knowledge of computer operations and Internet access methods. Staff cannot routinely coach patrons on basic computer skills.
6. Interruption of Service; Maintenance
a. All material that is electronically stored on the Cheshire Public Library’s equipment is the property of the Town. The Library shall access, review, edit, and delete all user files and any material stored on any system provided by the Library.
b. The Library staff shall interrupt patrons’ Internet use if access is required for Library business purposes, periodic maintenance, technical difficulties, or staff use.
7. Penalties for Violations
a. The use of the Cheshire Public Library’s resources is a privilege, not a right.
b. Any user of electronic information resources who is found to have violated any provision of this policy shall be subject to progressive disciplinary action, which may ultimately lead to suspension or revocation of Library privileges.
c. All users shall be required to compensate the Cheshire Public Library or others for any and all damage caused by their violation of this policy.
d. When appropriate, legal action will be initiated to address violations of the policy, as dictated by state and federal law.
The Library reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to amend this policy and to modify and suspend Internet use privileges.
APPENDIX A : The Freedom to Read Statement
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.
Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.
These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.
Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.
Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the
freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.
The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.
Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.
Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.
The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.
It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.
7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.
The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is
possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.
This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.
Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.
A Joint Statement by:
American Library Association Association of American Publishers
Subsequently endorsed by:
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression The Association of American University Presses, Inc. The Children’s Book Council
Freedom to Read Foundation
National Association of College Stores
National Coalition Against Censorship
National Council of Teachers of English
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression
APPENDIX B : FREEDOM TO VIEW STATEMENT
The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:
1. To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.
2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public’s freedom to view.
This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989. Endorsed January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council
APPENDIX C : LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 18, 1948, by the ALA Council; amended February 2, 1961; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
Welcome to the Cheshire Public Library. Please help us keep the Library a place where all may read or work in comfort.
The following are not permitted:
Soliciting or Petitioning
Disorderly or Disruptive Behavior
Smoking or Drinking Alcoholic Beverages Consuming Food and Drink, Unless in Designated Areas Bringing in pets, except service animals
Using skateboards or rollerblades
Leaving children under age 12 unattended Operating a private business
Inappropriate use of electronic information resources
Violation of any of these guidelines may subject the individual(s) involved to exclusion from the Library.
1. Patrons will first be notified that their behavior violates the Library’s Code of Conduct, as well as the disciplinary consequences of such behavior.
2. Upon continued violation, patrons will be given a second verbal warning to discontinue the behavior.
3. After the second verbal warning, patrons shall be required to leave the Library for the remainder of Library business hours or, for more serious violations, for a longer period of time, after consultation with the Cheshire Police Department or other public safety authority.
Exceptions to the 3-step disciplinary process may be made, depending on the relative severity of the offense.
Patrons who are disciplined in the above manner by Library staff shall have the opportunity to appeal the disciplinary action to the Library Director within 5 days of the disciplinary action.