Policies And Procedures

GENERAL PURPOSE

 

  1. To operate this library in accordance with the New Hampshire Library Laws and strive to meet the current standards set by the American Library Association and the New Hampshire Statewide Library Development System.

  2. To adhere to the American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights (Appendix A) and “Freedom to Read” statement (Appendix B).

  3.  To offer exhibits and programs for the community.

  4.  To cooperate with the district school library and other libraries in the Statewide Library Development System to strengthen its own services and resources and, in turn, the state’s library system.

 

MISSION STATEMENT

 

      The mission of the library is to promote the development of well-informed and literate citizens through open access to cultural, intellectual and information resources.  The library functions as a community meeting place.  The library is the most reliable source of understanding about our community’s past, present and future.

 

WHO MAY USE THE LIBRARY

 

  1. The library will serve all residents of the town of Epsom.  Persons residing outside the geographical area but owning property or employed in Epsom may use the library.  Non-residents may obtain a card for an annual fee.  Current fees are available at the circulation desk and on the library website.

  2. Residents receive a card for two years; non-residents receive a card for one year. 

  3. Non-resident students attending school in the town of Epsom may obtain a card at no charge, for their use only, for the school year.

  4. Use of the library or its services may be denied by the Library Director or Trustees for due cause.  Such cause may be failure to return library material or to pay penalties, destruction of library property, disturbance of other patrons, or any other objectionable conduct on library premises.

  5. The use of the library meeting room by any non-profit organization may be permitted at the discretion of the Library Director and/or Trustees, subject to the regulations pertaining to its use.  Reservations for the use of the library shall be made with the Library Director or staff, if the Director is not available.

  6. Programs scheduled by the Epsom Public Library shall be considered first meeting room reservations.

  7. Any non-profit organization using the library shall be responsible for leaving the premises as found; a janitorial fee may be charged if necessary.

  8. No admission fee shall be charged for any program held in the library.

 

USE OF LIBRARY MATERIALS

 

  1. Lost and damaged library materials will be billed to the borrower.  If repeated notices are ignored, a five dollar handling fee will be added to the cost of the books. 

  2. The procedure of overdue library materials is as follows:

    • A telephone call is made.

    • A letter and bill are sent.

    • A registered letter and bill are sent.

    • If all of the above steps have been taken and ignored by the borrower, the Library Director may at that time request that police secure the overdue materials and all costs.

  3. Fines are as follows:

    • Books and periodicals are ten cents per library business day.

    • Videos are fifty cents per library business day.

  4. Fines for overdue materials will be charged as determined by the library Trustees.

  5. Library equipment shall remain in the library.

  6. Any equipment may be used for offsite town group meetings if operated by the library staff or a person approved by the Library Director.  Library equipment is not for personal or private use.

 

DISPLAYS

 

  1. Materials, leaflets, or posters which advocate the election of a candidate, political or otherwise, may not be displayed at the library.  All postings need to be approved by the Library Director.

  2. Announcements of civic programs and town news may be displayed.

  3. Exhibits are encouraged, but the library is not liable for any damages.

  4. Other than for support of the library, no organization or individual shall be permitted to place any receptacle in the library which collects donations, nor shall any poster or display be permitted which advocates or solicits consideration of any product or item sold by any commercial enterprise.  Any exceptions require the permission of the Library Director.

 

Collection Development Policy 

 

The Epsom Public Library provides materials and resources that meet the interest of the community and support lifelong learning. This policy is established by the Library Board of Trustees to inform the public  of the principles upon which the library makes decisions regarding the maintenance and use of the  collection. 

Responsibility for Selection of Materials 

The ultimate responsibility for selection of library materials rests with the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees delegates to the Library Director the authority and the responsibility for selection of library materials and for the development of the collection. The general public and all staff members are welcome to recommend materials for selection. Collection management is a  system-wide approach, allowing for the most effective and efficient use of staff time and funds.  

Patron demand is a powerful influence on Library collection decisions. Circulation, patron purchase  requests and holds levels are all closely monitored, triggering the purchase of new items and additional  copies of high demand items. The Epsom Public Library should not attempt to collect materials at a  comprehensive or research level for any subject area other than local issues. A broad range of materials  should both serve and await the needs of the library’s patrons.  

The Library recognizes that materials selected for the collection may be controversial and that any given  item may offend any individual. Selections will be made not on the basis of anticipated approval or  disapproval but solely on the merits of the work in relation to building the collection and to serving the  needs of library users in accordance with the library’s stated goals.  

Selection Criteria 

The criteria considered in the selection of library materials include: 

∙ Existing library holdings 

∙ Patron demand 

∙ Community interest and significance 

∙ Individual merit as determined by documentation, awards, professional reviews and/or subject  area experts 

∙ Budget 

∙ Quality of the physical format 

∙ Availability of the material or information elsewhere.

 

Points considered in the selection of materials: 

 

1. Objectionable language and vivid descriptions of sex and violence when dealt with realistically  within the context of the book will not be criteria for rejecting the book.  

2. The responsibility for children's choices in reading material rests with the parents and legal  guardians. Selection of library material will not be limited by the possibility that it may come into the  possession of minors. 

3. Material is judged on the basis of the work as a whole and not by a part taken out of context.  

4. The lack of a review or an unfavorable review shall not be the sole reason for rejecting a title  that is in demand.

5. Due to limited budget and space, the Library cannot purchase all materials that are  requested. Interlibrary loan may be used to obtain materials from other libraries in New Hampshire for  the use of our patrons or when a request is outside the scope of the collection. 

Gifts 

The Epsom Public Library accepts donations of books and other materials. The Library retains the  authority to accept or reject gifts with the understanding that the same standards of selection are  applied to gifts and donations as to materials acquired by purchase. Gifts and donations become the  sole property of the library, and the Library’s staff makes all decisions as to the use, housing, and final  disposition of donations. The Library Director and/or Trustees  are not qualified to evaluate or appraise gift materials for tax purposes and cannot provide this information to the donors of the gifts.  

 

Maintaining the Collection 

 

As ordering materials is an ongoing process, so is discarding materials. In an effort to keep the collection interesting, appealing, up to date and accurate, the library removes materials from the collection which are outdated, worn, or no longer in demand. The goal of consistent and routine weeding is to ensure that the collection remains useful and relevant to the community. Each item, through its quality, reliability, current usefulness and appearance must contribute to the reliability, reputation, and attractiveness of the Library. 

 

The Library staff follows the CREW method of collection maintenance. CREW stands for Continuous  Review, Evaluation, and Weeding. 

1. Weeding: A current, useful, and accessible collection is maintained through a continual  evaluation and discarding /replacement process. Replacement of worn volumes is dependent upon  current demand, accuracy, usefulness, more recent acquisitions, and availability of newer editions. The  responsibility and authority for weeding print and non-print material rests ultimately with the library  director, who may delegate weeding tasks to other members of the library staff. The CREW method  gives six general criteria for considering weeding an item from the library's collection. These have been  summed up with the acronym MUSTIE: 

M= Misleading: factually inaccurate 

U= Ugly: worn beyond mending or rebinding 

S= Superseded by a new edition of by a much better book on the subject

T= Trivial: of no discernible literary or scientific merit 

I= Irrelevant to the needs and interests of the library's community 

E= Elsewhere: the material is easily obtainable from another library 

2. Disposal of Discarded Material: Weeded materials may be disposed of at the discretion of the  Library Director, either through book sales, donations, buy-back programs, or proper trash disposal. 
 

Reviewed and approved by Trustees on Jun 8, 2022

 

Challenged Material or Program Policy 

The Board of Trustees of the Epsom Public Library believes that censorship is a purely individual matter  and declares that while anyone is free to reject material of which one does not approve, one cannot  exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom of others. 

The Epsom Public Library selects materials based on the criteria specified within this policy. In its  selection of Library materials, the Epsom Public Library and its Board of Trustees endorse and support  the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association. They  subscribe to the principles put forth in the ALA Labels and Rating Systems, the ALA Resolution on the  Removal of Challenged Materials, Freedom to View Statement, and Access for Children and Young  Adults to Nonprint Materials. Copies of these items are available in the Appendix.  

According to RSA 202-A:6, “the library trustees shall have the entire custody and management of the library and all the property of the town relating thereto…” Only the Board of Trustees may remove or restrict materials in the collection in response to a written request by a patron. All resources and programs  will remain in use, pending resolution by the Board of Trustees. 

Patrons requesting that material be withdrawn from, relocated, or restricted within the collection or that a Library program/service/display be discontinued may complete a Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources (see Appendix) form which is available from the Director.  The challenged material/program/service/display will remain in the collection/service while it is being reviewed.

  1.  The request shall be given to the director who will sign and date it. 

  2. The director will inform the Board of Trustees of the formal request, and provide a copy of the completed form. 

  3. The written objection will be reviewed by the Library Trustees. The challenger’s appeal will be placed on the agenda of the next regular meeting of the Epsom Public Library Trustees. Decisions of the Library Board are final and are made within 60 days of receipt of the appeal. The patron shall receive a written reply. 

 

SERVICES

 

  1. The library staff shall search for information beyond its own resources.

  2. Correspondingly, the library shall lend to other libraries materials which are requested.

  3. The library shall be open sufficient hours to meet the needs of the community. 

  4. The Trustees will provide a library representative at the Epsom Public Library Historical Center for a minimum of four hours per month with the exception of winter months. This representative will maintain the historical collection and reference materials, and provide reference service. The hours will be posted at the Epsom Public Library Historical Center.

  5. Library materials may be loaned to registered patrons for the designated length of time as approved by the Board of Trustees.  Reference, unique or fragile items may be restricted to use within the library building.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY OF CIRCULATION RECORDS

 

      The Board of Trustees supports and accepts the American Library Association’s “Code of Ethics” point III which states:  “We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and materials consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.”  Further, although these records may be necessary for the pursuit of justice by law enforcement agencies, they shall not be released except by subpoena.

 

ACCESS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE TO DVDs AND OTHER NONPRINT FORMATS

 

      The Board of Trustees supports and adopts the American Library Association’s Free Access to Libraries for Minors, an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights which states:  “The ‘right to use a library’ includes free access to and unrestricted use of all the services, materials, and facilities the library has to offer.  Every restriction of access to and use of library resources, based solely on the chronological age, educational level, or legal emancipation of users violates Article V.  Parents and only parents have the right and responsibility to restrict the access of their children to library resources.”

 

COMPUTER AND INTERNET ACCESS POLICY

 

      As part of the Epsom Public Library’s goal to meet the cultural, informational and educational needs of the community, we offer computer services, including Internet access, to library patrons.

      The Epsom Public Library, Trustees and staff subscribe to the American Library Association’s “Freedom to Read” and do not limit the information available to patrons of any age, sex, or racial background.  The library assumes no responsibility for information available through electronic access which patrons may find to be inaccurate, offensive or illegal.  Therefore, parents are responsible for the information their children receive on the Internet.

      It is not the responsibility of the library staff or volunteers to provide detailed instruction to anyone using the computer.  The staff will be happy, to the best of their ability and time, to answer general computer service related questions, and to provide instruction for the various computer programs.

 

The staff will begin shutting down the computers ten minutes before the closing time of the library.

  1. The computers are available to registered library patrons in good standing.  All overdue fines must be paid in advance of computer usage.  Users under the age of 16 must have a parent/guardian come into the library and countersign the application for unsupervised access (Appendix D).

  2. Signing the Internet Users Registration Form means that you understand and consent to the rules governing use of the computer and access to the Internet.  Violation of the computer policies will results in the loss of computer privileges for a period of time as determined by the staff and/or the Board of Trustees.

  3. No one age 12 or under will be allowed to use the computer without an adult present.

  4. Users sign in at the circulation desk. They must show their library card and library staff will verify that the patron has no outstanding fines.

  5. Users may reserve a computer in advance.  A limit of one reserved hour per day per user is established to ensure equitable availability.  Unreserved time may be used on a walk-in basis if approved by the library staff.  In the event no one has reserved or is waiting to use the computer when a user’s reserved time is up, the user may continue to use the computer until a request is made.  Users who are late for their reserved time will have that time deducted from their service.  Users over 15 minutes late will forfeit their reserved time.

  6. The user agrees to obey all applicable federal, state and local laws governing copyright restrictions.

  7. No more than two patrons at a time may be at a computer station.

  8. After the first five pages, printing costs are 15 cents per page.

  9. Users are not permitted to download information to the computer’s hard drive.  Users may download to their own device. 

  10. Materials ordered from a vendor through the Internet must be paid for by the user via their credit card.  The Epsom Public Library will not be responsible for these items.

  11. No food or drink is allowed near the computer station.

  12. There is no public computer access when the library is closed.

  13. Any damage to the computer or its peripheral devices is the responsibility of the user.  Abuse of the equipment or service will result in the user being denied further access to the service.

 

RULES OF BEHAVIOR FOR USE OF LIBRARY FACILITY

 

      It is library policy to provide a respectful environment for its patrons.  Since the library is a public building, we are also obligated to provide a safe environment for patrons and staff in order to facilitate the public’s use of the library’s resources and services.

      Disruptive behavior includes behavior which intrudes on another patron’s or staff member’s ability to read, study, work or use library materials without distraction.  Unacceptable behavior guidelines also apply on the library grounds and may include harassment of other people.  Disruptive behavior by any patron may result in the following progressive actions by library personnel:

 

  • A verbal warning:  the behavior is unacceptable.

  • If the behavior continues, the person(s) will be asked to leave the library property.

  • If necessary, the police will be called.  Appropriate procedures will be followed to consider the safety of a child who is asked to leave the library property. 

 

      Any time a staff member feels that a patron’s behavior is threatening to the safety of other patrons or staff members, the staff member will call the police immediately.

 

SAFE CHILD POLICY

 

       The Epsom Public Library welcomes children of all ages to use and enjoy the facilities, collections and programming offered by the library.  The library attempts to provide a safe environment for children to select books and other materials and to attend library programming.  However, young children are not safe when left unattended in the library.  The staff cannot know if children are leaving the building with their parents or with strangers.  For the safety of minor children and the enjoyment of all patrons using the library, we have developed a specific policy regarding unattended children.

 

  1. Children under the age of twelve may not be left unattended at the library.  A child is unattended if he/she is in the library without a parent or responsible adult over the age of fifteen.  This includes children participating in library programming; a parent or other responsible adult over the age of fifteen must remain in the library during the program.

  2. Parents are responsible for the behavior of minor children at all times, even if they are not located in the library with the child.  Library staff does not serve in loco parentis, in place of the parent.  If a child’s behavior is inappropriate for the library, and he/she does not respond to appropriate guidance from library staff, the parent will be contacted to remove the child from the library.  If the parent cannot be reached and the child’s behavior is deemed dangerous or unduly disruptive, the Police Department will be called.

  3. If a child is left at the library without a way home one-half hour prior to closing time, library staff may call the child’s home or place of business using information provided by the child, the patron database, or the telephone directory.  If contacted, the parent will be told that their child must be picked up immediately.  If the parent cannot be located or if a parent has not picked up the child within one-half hour, the library staff may contact the Police Department.  At no time should there be fewer than two staff members or volunteers with an unattended child.

  4. Under no circumstances will a staff member give a child a ride home.

  5. The Epsom Public Library and its staff do not assume responsibility for any child left unattended in the library.

  6. All library patrons are subject to the “Rules of Behavior” policy concerning disruptive behavior.

  7. As used in this policy, the term “parent” may include legal guardians or other persons having custody or control of a minor.

 

NO SMOKING POLICY

 

      No smoking is allowed in any areas of the library or within 30 feet of the building.  Employees, patrons, visitors, and vendors are expected to comply with the non-smoking policy.  Any concerns or complaints with respect to anyone violating this policy should be directed to the Library Director.

 

VOLUNTEERS

 

      The Epsom Public Library welcomes volunteers aged 14 or over to assist the staff in extending the library’s service to the community.  Volunteers may work in many areas of the library according to the needs of the library and their own interest and skills.

      A volunteer’s role and responsibilities will be clearly outlined and a volunteer will serve at the direction of the Library Director or the Director’s designee.  The Library Director will develop procedures for running background checks, recruiting, appropriate placement, orientation, training, and evaluation.  The library will maintain a file on each volunteer regarding his/her service at the library.  Volunteers will be given periodic feedback on their contributions to the library program.  Those who do not meet performance standards, are not reliable or who violate the public trust will not be included or continued in the program.

 

MEETING ROOM POLICY

 

Room Use:

  • Use of the meeting room does not imply that the library endorses or advocates the viewpoints of meeting room users.

  • The meeting room is available for local, non-profit organizations (not available for commercial or private use).

  • Scheduling of all programs and meetings requires the approval of the Library Director or designated staff person.

  • Non-profit groups can reserve the meeting room after completing the Application for Room Use and the Release of Waiver of Liability and Indemnity Agreement (see Appendix E).

 

Application Guidelines:

  • Applications for the use of the meeting room should be made to the Library Director or designated staff person at least one week prior to the event – a tentative reservation may be made by phone, but final confirmation will not be made until all signed forms are received.

  • Use of the room is based on the order in which applications/release-waiver forms are received.

  • The library reserves the right to deny or revoke permission to use the room.

  • No group or organization using the meeting room will discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, age, sexual orientation, disability, gender, religion, national origin or citizenship status in the provision of services.

  • No admission fee may be charged – all activities in the room must be open to the public.

  • All publicity must carry the name of the organization sponsoring the meeting – the library may not be identified as sponsor.

  • Youth groups must have an adult sponsor and at least one adult in attendance for every fifteen young people.

  • Cancellation of the meeting room reservation should be made at least 24 hours before the scheduled meeting time; failure to notify may result in the forfeit of future use of the meeting room.

 

Room Rules:

  • Set-up and clean-up of the meeting room is the group’s responsibility; removal of trash (except from restrooms) is mandatory.

  • Fire code regulations limit the number of persons in the meeting room to 60 for banquet style and 132 for assembly style set-up.

  • Light refreshments, excluding alcoholic beverages, may be served.

  • No smoking is permitted in the library or within 30 feet of the building.

  • No program in the library may be broadcast or televised without the permission of the Library Director.

  • Displays and decorations require prior approval of the Library Director.

  • DO NOT USE tacks, nails, post-it notepaper or tape on the walls.

  • The Library does not loan AV equipment off premises.

  • Adults attending functions in the meeting room accompanied by children will be held responsible for the behavior of their children.

  • The Library Director may deny use of the meeting room to any group that fails to comply with these rules.

 

GIFTS AND MEMORIALS

 

  1. Books and other materials shall be accepted on the condition that the library has the authority to make whatever disposition it deems advisable.

  2. Gifts of money, real property, and/or stock shall be accepted if conditions attached thereto are acceptable to the Board of Trustees and subject to any applicable laws.  Personal property, art objects, portraits, antiques and other objects shall be accepted only upon approval of the Library Trustees.

  3. With the exception of special exhibits, the library reserves the right not to accept for deposit materials which are not outright gifts.

  4. The Library Director and/or the Board of Trustees are not qualified to evaluate gifts for tax purposes and cannot provide this information to the donors of gifts.

 

DISPOSITION OF MONEY

 

      Monies are collected at the library from fines, photocopying, donations made to the library, Friends of the Library products such as canvas bags, mums and other items.  All cash transactions are to be handled only by paid library staff.

      Since the library is as vulnerable as any other business to theft, at no time shall there be more than $100 cash at the library.  Money should be deposited into the appropriate accounts on a regular basis. 

 

PROVIDING PATRONS WITH RIDES

 

      In the event that a patron at the library requests a ride home or to another location, library staff are to politely refuse this request.  Library staff are not insured to transport patrons in their car.  Library staff who transport a patron, which results in injury of the patron, are liable for the injury on their personal insurance policy.

SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY

The Epsom Public Library uses various online social media platforms/services to provide public forums for sharing events, ideas, programs, and information about library related topics and issues. In keeping with our mission to “promote the development of well-informed and literate citizens through open access to cultural, intellectual and information resources” the Epsom Public Library will use social media to:

 

  • Communicate with members of the Epsom community and library patrons by presenting information about library events, resources, services, and library-related news. 

  • Engage with our community members by offering opportunities for them to ask questions and post library related comments

 

Definition of Social Media:

 

Social media is defined as websites where users are able to share and generate content, and find and connect with other users of common interest. Such social media platforms may include, but are not limited to: blogs, instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

 

Parental Controls and Privacy:

 

The Epsom Public Library does not act in place of, or in the absence of, a parent/guardian, and thus can not be responsible for enforcing any restrictions which a parent/guardian may place on a minor’s use of social media. 

 

The library does not collect, maintain or otherwise use the personal information stored on any third party site in any way, other than to communicate library related information. Users may remove themselves at any time from Epsom Public Library social media pages. Users should be aware that third party websites have their own privacy policies and should proceed accordingly. 

 

Commenting:

 

Comments, posts, and messages are welcome on the Epsom Public Library social media pages. While the library recognizes and respects differences of opinion, all such interactions will be regularly monitored for content and relevance. The purpose of our participation in social media is to allow and encourage the Epsom Public Library to communicate with the community and library patrons on topics of interest to the library such as library events, services, and news. The topics of discussion will be set by the Library Director, and it is expected that comments made will be on topic. Comments that are off topic may be removed. Epsom Public Library reserves the right to report, mute, flag, or remove posts that are deemed to be abusive, defamatory, in violation of copyright, trademark right, or other intellectual property rights of any third party, or otherwise inappropriate for the service. The Epsom Public Library further reserves the right to remove posts which contain any of the following:

 

  • Comments unrelated to the library, its mission, or its activities

  • Commercial promotions or spam

  • Factually incorrect information

  • Hyperlinks to materials that are not directly related to the discussion topics 

  • Personal attacks, insults, or threatening language

  • Photos or other images unrelated to the library, its missions or activities 

  • Plagiarized or copy-written material

  • Political activity

  • Potentially libelous statements

  • Private personal information published without consent of the individual

  • Obscene or racist content

 

All comments are in the public domain. 

 

By posting content, the user agrees to indemnify Epsom Public Library and its officers and employees from and against all liabilities, judgments, damages, and costs incurred by any of them which arise out of, or in connection with, the posted content. 

 

Liability and Participation: 

 

The Epsom Public Library does not endorse content outside of the pages maintained by the library. Participation in Epsom Public Library social media pages implies agreement with all the library policies and the Terms of Service for each third party service.