Mercer County Library System Policies (Page 2)

19. INTERNET USE

The Mercer County Library System offers Internet access as a part of its mission to be the gateway to the growing universe of information by developing and providing open access to services and resources which are responsive to, and representative of, the diverse recreational, cultural and educational interests of the community. The Mercer County Library System takes pride in offering state-of-the-art information retrieval from all types of media to its patrons.

The Internet is a global electronic network. Resources available on the Internet supplement and complement the collections of the Mercer County Library System.

19. a. Accuracy & Availability of Information

The Internet and its available resources may contain controversial material. The Mercer County Library System has no control over the information accessed through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content. Library users access the Internet at their own discretion and are individually and totally responsible for any access points they reach.

The Library staff cannot control the availability of information links, which often change rapidly and unpredictably. Not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete or current information. Users need to be good information consumers, questioning the validity of the information they find on the Internet. Users may seek help from Professional Librarians to verify information.

As time permits, a brief introduction to the use of the terminal will be provided. Library staff is not available to offer extensive hands-on assistance to each Internet user but will attempt to give limited assistance, when possible. Please see the system-wide Computer Instruction brochure for a listing of PC and computer related instructional sessions.

19.b. Child Safety on the Internet

Parents or guardians are responsible for the Internet information selected and/or accessed by their children. Children who use the Internet unsupervised may be exposed to inappropriate or disturbing information and images. Parents are encouraged to discuss the use of the Internet in relation to family values and boundaries with their children and to monitor their children's' use of the Internet. To assist parents, the Library has available online and in print the pamphlet, Child Safety on the Internet Information Highway, published by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The website for additionally updated information is http://www.netsmartz.org/Parents. Also, parents may find information on the website of the American Library Association, Great Web Sites for Kids Selection Criteria.

19.c. Rights & Responsibilities of Users

  • Many library computers on which the public can access the Internet are located in public areas that must be shared by library users of all ages, backgrounds and sensibilities. Individuals are asked to consider this point when accessing potentially controversial information and images.
  • Public Internet PC's located in the Children's Areas of the branch will continue to be filtered, regardless of the age of the patron, to ensure a comfortable and safe environment for children and parents using those areas.
  • Library personnel do not monitor or supervise the Internet access except for length of time of use. If Internet searching results in disruption of library services, or if patron behavior when using Internet resources becomes inappropriate for a library setting, the library reserves the right to end the session.
  • Viewing illegal materials, such as child pornography, or using the Internet so as to cause harm to others and/or engage in illegal activity are considered inappropriate uses of our resources. Library patrons observed using the Internet inappropriately will have their Internet session terminated. The library reserves the right to revoke or suspend the library privileges or seek legal prosecution of patrons viewing illegal or inappropriate materials.

19.d. Inappropriate Use of the Internet

Inappropriate use of the Internet computers of the Mercer County Library System includes, but is not limited to

  • Interfere, alter or damage any library computer program, including disabling either their or electronic filters.
  • Use of the Internet workstations to gain unauthorized access to the library's computer system or any other network or computer system. Violate the security system of the library's computers or any other network computer system.
  • Use any library workstation for illegal or criminal purposes.
  • Violate copyright laws or software licenses or agreements.
  • Employ the library's computers for libel, slander, forgery, and fraud or to transmit threatening or harassing material.
  • Display, send, receive or print text, images or graphics of obscene material or materials harmful to minors.
  • Display, send, receive or print text, images or graphics that violate laws relating to child pornography.
  • Engage in activity that is deliberately offensive or creates an intimidating or hostile environment for library staff and patrons.

19.e. Printing and Downloading

Users may bring their own diskettes for downloading. All work must be saved to your formatted disk only. Information cannot be saved to the hard drive. Printing costs .10 per page. The library cannot be held responsible for any damage incurred to a patron's disk or any virus contracted through computer use.

19.f. EnvisionWare Registration Software

EnvisionWare Software is a PC and Internet Registration software product that runs on public access computers in academic and public libraries.

For each computer session, the software prompts the user to type in their library barcode number to uniquely identify themselves. The software validates the barcode number against a database of authorized users.

Internet users will need one of three cards to access the Internet:

  1. A Mercer County Library System Library Card
  2. Internet Only Card: Patrons not eligible for a traditional library card, but who reside in a non-participating municipality in Mercer County, will be required to apply for an Internet Only Card. An Internet Only Card is also issued for those individuals who do not reside in Mercer County, but do use the library's public PCs on a regular basis. There is an annual fee of $2.00 for an Internet Only Card.
  3. Guest Cards: Patrons visiting from out of the area who need access to the Internet during a brief stay should be issued a Guest Card. Use of a Guest Card is limited to three times in a six-month period.

20. LIBRARY PROGRAMS

The Mercer County Library System plans and conducts activities designed to inform, educate, or culturally enrich the public. These activities utilize the library and/or community resources in order to promote awareness of the library and its offerings, extend the use of various collections, and provide a forum for sharing community information.

The library offers a variety of programs for different ages and interest groups. Library programs allow for the expression of a variety of viewpoints. A Branch Manager or their designee may allow a commercial, for-profit organization to present information to the community through a library sponsored program or event. Examples of such programs might include, but are not limited to, estate planning, college funding, small business seminar, garden lecture series, etc. This is a legitimate method for the library to offer its public timely information presented by  knowledgeable or skilled professionals.

In these cases, the organization may not sell materials or merchandise, charge a fee, solicit contributions, engage in fund-raising projects, conduct profit-making ventures or solicit a client base prior to, or during the program. The branch hosting the program either must advertise the program or must review and approve any advertisement the group may wish to do prior to publication. Promotional material must state that permission to use the community rooms does not imply library sponsorship or endorsement of any group, product or program. The County logo should only be placed on library-initiated advertisement and not on publicity the group itself publishes.

All library programs are open to the public. The library system or branch hosting the program must take registration for library programs. Registration may not be taken by the business or organization itself. The library may require advanced registration in order to limit attendance to a reasonable number or to an appropriate age group. When limited space is available, the library may limit registration to Mercer County Library System cardholders. Registration requirements and program information are publicized in advance.

Unless there is an exceptional reason, the same commercial group should not be presenting the same program for several months at a time. This infers use of the community room as an office and monopolizes use of the rooms for other community or not-for-profit groups. Lecture series or theme programs that may continue over a period of several months are not included.

The library staff continuously evaluates program offerings on the basis of their contributions to library service objectives. Attendance statistics, patron evaluation, overall quality and public relations are all valuable considerations for continuing or modifying programs. (See Library Sponsored Informational Seminars, Attachment F)

21. EXHIBITS

As an educational, cultural and informational institution, the library provides space for exhibits initiated by the library or requested by a community group or individual (see Exhibit Reservation Form).

The branch manager or their designee in those locations where space permits coordinates exhibits. The library is not responsible for loss or damage to any property and does not provide insurance for any exhibit or display in the library. The owner assumes sole responsibility.

The library reserves the right for approval of materials on display. Prices or price lists and biographical information about the artist or owner may be distributed, however, sales of materials are strictly prohibited in the library. A commercial company may exhibit as long as the primary purpose of the display is aesthetic, informational and/or educational and not of a promotional nature for the company.

The walls of the Community Rooms and library may be used for displaying artwork wherever feasible, however, no holes are to be made in the walls of either. Exhibits may be displayed for the maximum period of one calendar month unless the Branch Manager or their designee has approved an extended period.

Materials may be accepted for display as long as they do not advocate any political action or promote religious views. Displaying or distributing material does not in any way signify an endorsement by the library of either the content of the literature or the organization from which it comes. Mercer County Library System does not advocate or endorse the viewpoints of exhibits or exhibitors. All exhibitors must provide a description of their exhibit or display to be placed near or on the display in view of the public.

Organizations or individuals not related to the library are not permitted to solicit donations from patrons through receptacles or any other means

22. COMMUNITY ROOMS

Please be aware that your Meeting Room Reservation is only a request to reserve a room. It is not an online reservation system. After submitting a request form (for Lawrence Branch; for all other Branches), you must receive verbal or emailed confirmation from the branch indicating that the room you have requested has been reserved for your group. Without a verbal or emailed confirmation you should not assume that this request has been approved and that the room has been reserved.

The Mercer County Library System provides community rooms for the use of eligible groups to hold meetings for the purpose of conducting business or otherwise serving their membership. The use of these rooms is considered a public service and as such are subject to the following rules and regulations:

22.a. Eligibility of Users

Community rooms of the Mercer County Library System are available without charge to any civic association, study, recreational, social, and cultural or community group, a substantial proportion of whose membership resides in the Mercer County Library System service area. Organizations must not be in violation of any Federal, State, or local law (see Community Room Policy). 

22.b. Responsibilities of Users

  • Supervision of Children: Meetings that are primarily for children must include at least one responsible adult for every 15 children in attendance.
  • Promotion and Advertisement:
    • Any advertisement must be reviewed by the Branch Manager or their designee before publication.
    • Promotional material must state that permission to use the community rooms does not imply library sponsorship or endorsement of any group or program.
  • Condition of the Room: The authorized representative is responsible for the condition of the community room. It should be left clean, neat, chairs replaced on racks, lights off and doors locked, if so directed.

22.c. Logistics

  • An authorized representative of the organization will arrange scheduling with the Branch Manager or designee. The representative is required to complete a registration form and sign a statement of responsibility.
  • Access to the community room is not available prior to opening of the building in the morning.
  • Simple refreshments may be served in the outside community rooms only.
  • The library is not able to store or provide supplies for any group.
  • The library is not responsible for loss or damage to any group's property or injury to any person occurring during use of the community room. Damage to library property is the responsibility of the authorized representative.

22.d. Prohibited Activities

  • Fundraising projects (non-library sponsored) and commercial profit making ventures may not be conducted.
  • Fees may not be charged.
  • Contributions may not be solicited.
  • Alcoholic beverages or drugs are not permitted.
  • Activities that disturb other library patrons will not be tolerated and will result in termination of the meeting by the library staff.
  • Refreshments may not be served in the inside community rooms.

22.e. Denial of Future Use

  • Failure to comply with any of the conditions stated above will result in the denial of future use of the community rooms.
  • Failure to show up for three consecutive meetings will result in denial of future use.

23. BULLETIN BOARDS

The bulletin boards located in the entranceways or vestibules of the library entrance are meant to serve as a source of community and local information for patrons. The Mercer County Library System reserves the right to screen materials submitted for posting on the bulletin boards.

Materials may be posted providing the following criteria are met:

  • The item is not a petition, does not advocate partisan political action or promote individual religious views. Legal announcements are acceptable.
  • The item does not require a disproportionate amount of space.
  • The item is considered to meet general standards of good taste.
  • The library may limit the length of time any item is to be displayed.
  • County, municipal agencies and civic associations will receive priority when space is limited.

Inside display of materials is reserved for library, county, state, municipal or related non-profit associations. No other material is accepted for inside display.

Displaying and/or distributing material does not in any way signify an endorsement by the library of either the contents of the literature or of the organization from which it comes.

24. PETITIONS

Unattended petitions may not be circulated or placed in the libraries. However, the library grounds are public property and citizens may solicit signatures on petitions outside of the building. Inclement weather may cause a petitioner to want to come inside the building. The Branch Manager or their designee may accommodate the petitioner in the vestibule of the building, if the petitioner does not block access to the entrance or egress or disrupt the operation of the library or harass the patrons of the library.

Attachments

Attachment B

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:

  1. 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 origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because or origin, age, background or views.
  6. 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. Amended February 2, 1961, June 27, 1967 and January 23, 1980. Reaffirmed January 23, 1996 by the ALA Council.

Source: Office of Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association. This document and many others related to Intellectual Freedom are available from the Office of Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611.

Attachment C

MERCER COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM
CITIZEN'S REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF LIBRARY MATERIALS TYPE OF MATERIAL:
Please circle one:  Book, Cassette, Record, Compact Disc, Videotape, Film, DVD, Book on Tape, Book on CD, CD-ROM, Pamphlet, Magazine, Newspaper. 

AUTHOR: ____________________________________________________________________

TITLE: _______________________________________________________________________

PUBLISHER (IF KNOWN): ______________________________________________________

REQUEST INITIATED BY: ______________________________________________________

STREET ADDRESS: ____________________________________________________________

CITY/TOWN: ______________________STATE: _________ZIP CODE: _________________

TELEPHONE NUMBER: ______________________BARCODE NO. ___________________ 

EMAIL ADDRESS: _____________________________________________________________

1. To what in this title do you object? Please be specific; cite pages, parts or scenes. ______________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________ ______________________________________________ ________________________________ ______________________________________________

2. For what age group would you recommend this title? ________________________________

3. Is there anything good about this title? ____________________________________________

4. Did you read / view / listen to the entire work?                Yes                                  No

If not, what parts? ____________________________________________________________

5. Are you aware of any reviews of this title by professional critics?      Yes                 No

6. What do you believe is the theme of this work? _____________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ 

7. What would you like your library to do about this title? ______________________________  ________________________________ _____________________________________________

8. Other comments? Please feel free to use the back of this paper or attach pages:________  ____________________________________________________________________________

Attachment F

COUNTY OF MERCER
DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES
MERCER COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM

TO: Branch Managers & Supervisors, Library System

THROUGH: Richard J. Cavallo, Chief Fiscal Officer, Library

FROM: Ellen Brown, Supervising Librarian

DATE: October 23, 2000

re: Library Sponsored Informational Seminars

In the past few weeks, the Library System has experienced a few problems with for-profit or commercial organizations wishing to present educational or informational programs in our Branches. For the sake of consistency and to avoid future miscommunication, please review the following procedures and attached form.

 In addition to the Community Room Registration Form signed by groups who wish to use our rooms, please have the for-profit or commercial organizations that are providing any type of educational or informational library sponsored program or presentation sign the Registration Form and the attached form.]

The following procedures should be presented to a group presenting a Library sponsored educational or information seminar/ program at any branch of the Mercer County Library System:

The Community Rooms are available for use by community or non-profit groups. The Library may allow, at manager discretion, a commercial or for-profit organization to present information to the community through a library sponsored program. Examples of such programs might include but not be limited to, estate planning, college funding, a small business seminar, or a garden lecture series. This is a legitimate method for the Library to offer to its public timely information presented by knowledgeable or skilled professionals.

In such a case, the organization may not sell materials or merchandise, charge a fee, solicit contributions, engage in fund-raising projects, conduct profit-making ventures or solicit a client base prior to or during the program. All such programs are to be free and open to the public.

The branch hosting the program either must advertise exclusively or must review and approve any advertisement the group may wish to do prior to publication. Promotional material must state that permission to use the community rooms does not imply Library sponsorship or endorsement of any group or program. The County or Library logo should only be placed on Library initiated advertisement - not on publicity the group itself publishes.

The Library System or the branch hosting the program must take registration for the program. Registration may not be taken by the business or organization presenting the program. This is to avoid commercial businesses from soliciting clients or using our community rooms to meet clients under the guise of presenting a free educational seminar.

Unless there is an exceptional reason the same commercial group should not be presenting the same program for several months at a time. This infers use of the community rooms as an office and monopolizes use of the rooms for other community and not-for-profit groups. Lecture series or theme programs that may continue over a period of several months are not included.

Failure to comply with any of the conditions stated on the Community Room Registration Form or this addendum will result in the cancellation of the program and denial of future use of the community rooms.

Mercer County Library System Library

Sponsored Informational Seminars
Community Room Registration Addendum

Thank you for your interest in presenting an educational seminar to our community. The Community Rooms are available for use by community or non-profit groups, however, a branch manager or their designee may allow a commercial or for-profit organization to present information to our patrons through a library sponsored program. This is a way for the Library System or an individual branch to offer to our public timely information presented by knowledgeable or skilled professionals.

Please carefully read the following guidelines established by the Library System for use of our rooms under this circumstance. This form is to be signed and is in addition to the Community Room Registration Form.

We appreciate your assistance in adhering to our policies and helping us maintain the highest level of integrity and service we can provide to our public.

The Community Rooms are available for use by community or non-profit groups. The Library may allow, at manager discretion, a commercial or for-profit organization to present information to the community through a library sponsored program. Examples of such programs might include but are not limited to, estate planning, college funding, a small business seminar, or a garden lecture series. This is a legitimate method for the Library to offer to its public timely information presented by knowledgeable or skilled professionals.

In this case, the organization may not sell materials or merchandise, charge a fee, solicit contributions, engage in fund-raising projects, conduct profit-making ventures or solicit a client base prior to, or during the program. All such programs are to be free and open to the public.

The branch hosting the program either must advertise exclusively or must review and approve any advertisement the group may wish to do prior to publication. Promotional material must state that permission to use the community rooms does not imply Library sponsorship or endorsement of any group or program. The County or Library logo should only be placed on Library initiated advertisement - not on publicity the group itself publishes.

The Library System or the branch hosting the program must take registration for the program. Registration may not be taken by the business or organization presenting the program.  Unless there is an exceptional reason, the same commercial group should not be presenting the same program for several months at a time. This infers use of the community rooms as an office and monopolizes use of the rooms for other community and not-for-profit groups. Lecture series or theme programs that may continue over a period of several months are not included.

Failure to comply with any of the conditions stated on the Community Room Registration Form or this addendum will result in the cancellation of the program and denial of future use of the community rooms.

Signature: ________________________________________    Date: __________________

Name of Organization you are representing:_______________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________

Issued 10/00

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