Library Policies

POLICIES RELATING TO THE PUBLIC:

 

A. Service Area: The service area of the Red Oak Public Library shall be defined as the geographic area included within the city limits of the City of Red Oak. In addition, the geographic area included within the boundaries of the county of Montgomery, but excluding geographic areas included in the city limits of incorporated communities except the City of Red Oak shall be considered within the service area of the Red Oak Public Library during the fiscal years in which the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors contracts with the Board of Trustees to provide library service to the rural residents of the county. In agreement with the annual Open Access and Access Plus contracts, persons residing outside the service area as here defined may obtain a library card at the Red Oak Public Library entitling them to all services available to resident cardholders by showing proof of their current address.

 

B. Overdues and Fines: All patrons are encouraged to return library materials on time. Late books, magazines, and books on tape are fined 25 cents per day for each item loaned from the adult collection. Children’s items are fined 15 cents per day for each item. The maximum fine per item will be $20.00.

Overdue digital materials are fined $1.00 per day for each item.

Art prints are fined 25 cents per day.

Patrons are responsible to pay fines and/or replacement costs for damaged materials. This revenue assists the library in maintaining its services and collection. For items that are not returned, the library sends a first overdue notice; if materials are not returned, a second notice & then a final notice are eventually sent. If the materials are not returned at that point, a bill is generated and the patron is given the chance to return the items or pay for their replacement.  Any overdue items whose cost exceeds court & legal fees can be prosecuted under the Code of Iowa Chapter 7.14.

Failure to receive a notice does not exempt the borrower from the responsibility to return materials on time, and will not cause the cancellation of fines.

 

C. Limits: The library does not limit the number of materials a non-probationary patron in good standing may borrow. Parents are encouraged to set reasonable limits for their children. Probationary patrons are on a 3-item limit during their first 6-month probationary period.

 

D. Patron Behavior

  1. General: If a person or persons on Library premises behave in a manner that interferes with the opportunity of others to use the resources or services of the Library, or interfere with the ability of the staff to perform their duties, they may be asked by the Director or his or her designee to refrain from so doing and warned that the continuation of the inappropriate behavior may result in their being asked to leave the Library. A list of patron behavior guidelines may be posted at the entrance to the Library on both levels. In general, behavior that interferes with the opportunity of other patrons to use the resources or services of the Library should be evidenced by a complaint to a staff member made by an affected patron and should not be a subjective determination on the part of a staff member, although staff will be allowed some discretion in this matter. If after such a warning, the person or persons persist in the inappropriate behavior, they may be asked by the Director or his or her designee to leave the Library. If they refuse to do so, the Director or his or her designee may contact the Red Oak Police Department/law enforcement for assistance in dealing with the situation.

          In addition any child who is too ill/contagious to attend school should not be in the library.

 

2. Criminal Behavior: If the Director or his or her designee has good cause to believe that a person on the premises of the Library has committed or is committing a criminal act, he or she may contact the Red Oak Police Department for assistance in dealing with the situation. Although individual patrons or staff members may file charges or bring suit against a person relating to actions alleged to have occurred on the premises of the Library, no charges will be filed nor suits brought in the name of the Red Oak Public Library except as determined by a majority vote of the Board of Trustees of the Red Oak Public Library.

 

3. Vandalism: All persons caught in the act of intentionally damaging Library materials or property will lose their borrowing privilege until restitution is made for damages. In the event of misdemeanor vandalism, staff may notify the Red Oak Police. In the event of felony vandalism, staff shall notify the Red Oak Police.

 

E. Red Oak Public Library Conduct Policy:

 All library users and staff should be free of any threat of harm, invasion of property, or gross indignity. In an effort to protect these rights for all persons, the Library Board of Trustees has approved rules prohibiting any conduct that disturbs or interferes with the legitimate use of the library, including, but not restricted to the following:

 

1. Willfully annoy, harass, or threaten another person. Foul or abusive language will not be             tolerated, nor will physical contact or the threat of it.

2. Behave in a disorderly, loud, or boisterous manner, including phone use.

3. Interfere with another person’s passage within the library or on library grounds.

4. Consume or possess alcoholic beverages or controlled substances on library grounds, or       be under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances in a manner that causes public  

disturbance.

5. Possess any firearm, knife, or any device which could be used as a weapon or any weapon   

prohibited by City Ordinance or State Statutes.

6. Deface, destroy, remove, or attempt to remove, library property.

7. Eat, drink, or smoke in the library (unless eating or drinking is specifically

allowed in a particular area or for a particular activity).

8. Remain in the library without authorization after regular closing hours.

9. Solicit funds or panhandle.

10. Interfere with others’ use of the library through poor bodily hygiene that is so

offensive as to constitute a nuisance. Shirts and shoes must be worn.

11. Bring animals into the library building or on library grounds except as

required by persons with disabilities.

12. Use skates, skateboards, or bicycles in the library or on the outside stairway,

ramps, and flower beds. Not parking bicycles in the rack & away from the door.

13. Campaign, petition, interview, or survey patrons or staff in a manner that is

disruptive to library activities.

14. Willfully expose patrons and staff to offensive images or language.

15. Engage in loud or lengthy conservations (including conversations on cell

phones), or play audio equipment at a volume that is disturbing to others.

16. Interfere with the library’s right to maintain a clean, pleasant, and safe facility.

17. Use the library telephone over 3 minutes, or to call and chat with friends, etc. so

the telephone is unavailable to other patrons and staff. 

18. Enter non-public areas reserved for staff use. Patron records are confidential.

19. Not finish using computers or selecting materials within thirty minutes of

closing. All equipment will be shut down at thirty minutes prior to closing time.

20. Attempt to use another patron’s name or card to check out materials.

21. Improper use of the restrooms, their fixtures and contents.

22. Throw objects.

23. Climb on the library building, outdoor or indoor objects.

24. View inappropriate material in front of children as per Iowa code.

25. Use of more than one name or identity or use false identity. The library limits all patrons to one card per patron.

Library staff may ask patrons to stop any other behavior deemed inappropriate for the library. If behavior does not comply with these guidelines, patrons may be asked to leave.

 

F. Unattended Child Policy:

 

The safety and well-being of children left alone in a public library building is a serious concern of the library staff. The responsibility for the safety and behavior of children in the library rests with the parent or childcare provider and not with library personnel. Librarians cannot be responsible for children who are unattended or demonstrating inappropriate behavior. The Red Oak Public Library assumes no responsibility for children left unattended on the Library premises. The following guidelines will be followed concerning the care and behavior of young library users:

1. Children aged nine and under must have a parent or responsible childcare provider present in the Library to supervise the child, if he/she behaves in such a way to require supervision. In the case of children baby-sitting younger children, it will be up to the discretion of the librarian on duty whether or not the childcare provider is “responsible” enough to supervise the child in the Library. The childcare provider must have emergency contact information, and actively supervise the child.

2.      Children aged four and under must be attended by a parent or responsible childcare provider at all times.  This person must supervise the child and make sure appropriate behavior guidelines are followed.

3. Children between the ages of five and nine attending a Library program must be brought into the building by a parent or childcare provider who must remain in the building until the conclusion of the program.  Children will not be asked to leave the building alone.  

4. If an unattended child calls attention to him/herself a librarian will attempt to locate the parent or childcare provider. This includes, but is not limited to, illness or injury of the child, instances of disruptive behavior, abusive language toward other children or library staff members, etc. Any action defined as prohibited conduct in the Patron Behavior Guidelines will be considered disruptive behavior.  In most cases, an attended child under the age of ten who is disruptive will be given one warning. If a child does not modify his/her behavior after one warning, the parent or childcare provider may be asked to take the child out of the library.

5. If the staff is unable to locate the parent or childcare provider, a librarian will have the authority to notify police/law enforcement, particularly if it is time for the Library to close and there is not a parent or childcare provider to pick up the child.

6. Children aged ten and over may be in the Library building unaccompanied by a parent or responsible childcare provider, but they must follow the Patron Behavior Guidelines posted or they may be asked to leave. If this happens and the children tell the librarians they cannot leave because they are not allowed to go home, they are expected to be at the Library, etc., the librarian on duty has the authority to notify police/law enforcement of the situation. In general, an hour is long enough to be at the Library unattended before boredom sets in and disruptive behavior results. Extensions of time may be granted by staff depending on the circumstances.

7. Library staff is not able to give children lunch or supper if they are hungry, provide medical attention if  they are injured or ill, give more than initial help on the computers, referee arguments between siblings or  other children, provide telephone service except in emergencies, etc. If the staff feels there is evidence of neglect of a child, appropriate officials may be contacted.

8. Parents or guardians are responsible for their children’s actions while the children are on Library property (including the lawn, stairs, and sidewalks). Librarians may inform parents or childcare providers of their behavior should the adult fail to notice or volunteer correction.

9. Children must be accompanied by an adult or staff member to ride the elevator.

 

G. Internet Use Policy and Guidelines:

Welcome to the Red Oak Public Library’s Internet Access. To maximize the availability of Internet resources and to insure fair accessibility for all, please follow these internet access policies, which include our internet guidelines, rules, and procedures.

1. Purpose: To fulfill our mission, the Red Oak Public Library, herein called the Library, provides access to a broad range of information resources, including those available through the Internet. We make this service available as part of our mission to provide diverse materials in various formats for self-directed learning, informational services, recreational reading, listening, and viewing.

The Library does not monitor and has no control over the information accessed through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content. The Internet offers access to many valuable local, national, and international sources of information. However, as with printed information, not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete, or current information. Users should evaluate Internet sources just as they do printed publications, questioning the validity of information found. The Internet is a global entity with a highly diverse user population, and Library patrons use it at their own risk.

2. Responsibilities of Users: All Internet resources accessible through the Library are provided equally to all Library users. All Library Internet users must have a valid Red Oak Public Library card and have read and signed the Internet Access policy. The staff may make exceptions under certain circumstances. All persons under 18 years of age must have their Parent/Guardianship Consent Form signed by a parent or guardian, witnessed by the Director or member of the Library staff. It is the Library’s policy that parents or legal guardians must assume responsibility for deciding what Library resources are inappropriate for their children. Parents should let their children know if there are materials, which they do not want them to use. Parents are advised and encouraged to supervise their child’s Internet sessions. The Library does not have the right or responsibility to act “in loco parentis”, or in the place of the parent.

The Library does not censor patrons’ access to materials or protect them from information they find offensive. There is sexually explicit material and other informational resources, which may be considered controversial or inappropriate. The Internet computer is in public view of patrons of all ages. All internet users, adults as well as children, are asked to please use discretion when accessing Internet materials on the computer screen. Failure to do so will result in loss of Internet use.

Internet use is limited to one use per day per patron at one hour per session. Exceptions may be granted by library staff depending upon the circumstances.

Patrons shall not alter the settings on the computer or network.

Patrons shall not conduct loud or abusive calls while on the computers.

Patrons shall not shut the computers off.

 

H. Circulation/Overdue Policies for Stack Materials:

Everyone needs his/her own valid library card to check out materials. Initial library card numbers are provided without cost by showing proof of current, correct address: driver’s license, mail, phone book listing, or other.

This policy acknowledges the principles of the right to privacy and all state laws that govern patron information including Code of Iowa 22.7 (13) Confidential records as follows:

Confidential records:

The following public records shall be kept confidential, unless otherwise ordered by a court, by the lawful custodian of the records, or by another person duly authorized to release such information:

The records of a library which, by themselves or when examined with other public records, would reveal the identity of the library patron checking out or requesting an item or information from the library. The records shall be released to a criminal or juvenile justice agency only pursuant to an investigation of a particular person or organization suspected of committing a known crime. The records shall be released only upon a judicial determination that a rational connection exists between the requested release of information and a legitimate end and that the need for the information is cogent and compelling.

 

1. Loan Periods:

Books: All books for children and adults may be checked out for two weeks at a time (except new adult fiction). Books may be renewed two times, either by calling the library or by bringing the books in for renewal.

New Fiction (Adult 7-Day Books): Books with a 7-day sticker may be checked out for one week and renewed one time.

Audio Items: These are treated the same as books.

Magazines: Magazines are checked out for two weeks at a time. They may be renewed one time.

DVDs: These may be loaned for three days. They may be renewed one time. We recommend children have a note on file from their parent to borrow these items due to replacement cost and fines.

Audio-Visual Equipment: Patrons must be adult borrowers in good standing to borrow overhead projectors and other audio-visual equipment. These items are normally checked out for one (1) day to  one (1) week.

Art Prints: Patrons must be adult borrowers in good standing to borrow art prints. Art prints are loaned for three (3) months with a limit of two (2) prints per patron. They may not be renewed. They may be checked out by the same patron after a waiting period of 2 months.

 

2. Reserve Materials: In order to provide equal access to high-demand items needed for school projects, some materials will be set aside for in-library use for a specified time period. These items may be used in house, but these books will not circulate until they are removed from the Reserve list.

 

I. Sex Offenders against Minors Policy:

In accordance with Chapter 692A of Subtitle 1 of Title 16 of the Code of Iowa, the Board of Trustees prohibits the presence of sex offenders convicted of sex offenses against minors upon or within 300 feet of Library property without written permission of the Library Director.

The Library Director may only give written permission as the result of a majority vote in favor of granting permission at a meeting of the Board of Trustees at which a quorum is present.

Persons barred from Library property under the law remain entitled to Library service. It is the responsibility of the Library user to contact the Library Director for permission by phone, letter, or courier to request permission to use the Library or to arrange for a courier to select, check out, and return materials to the Library through possession of the Library user’s card.

Persons barred from Library property under the law will not be served by the Library’s homebound delivery service.

The issuance of a library card number to individuals who have been convicted of a sex offense involving a minor does not grant those individuals permission to enter the Library or to be present on Library property. Individuals convicted of a sex offense against a minor must follow the above listed procedure to request and obtain written permission to be on Library property, regardless of whether or not they possess a valid Library card number.

Suspicious persons or persons who appear to be “loitering” will be reported to the police to be checked out and investigated.

Background checks will be performed using the National Sex Offender Registry on all employees, potential employees, and volunteers who are or will be working on Library property.

Violations of this policy will be immediately reported to law enforcement.

 

J. Emergencies:

 

1. Medical:

a. Staff and Volunteers: In the event of a medical emergency involving an on-duty staff member or an on-duty volunteer, the Director or his or her designee may contact an ambulance service for assistance in dealing with the situation. Within 24 hours of an injury to an on-duty staff member, whether the injury requires treatment or not, the staff member should complete a first report of injury with the City of Red Oak and follow City injury protocol.

b. Other persons: In the event of a medical emergency involving anyone except an on-duty staff member or volunteer who is unable to make or communicate his/her own decisions regarding emergency care, the Director or his or her designee may contact an ambulance service for assistance in dealing with the situation.

2. Fire/Tornado/Major Emergency: In the event of a fire /related emergency on the premises of the Library, the Director or his or her designee shall call 911 for assistance in dealing with the situation and shall follow the displayed fire plans for escape. In the event of a tornado, the Director or designee shall use the plans displayed to assist persons in taking cover. As soon as possible, everyone in command will be notified such as Director (if not on duty), City Hall and the Library Board President.

  1. Maintenance: In the event of an emergency involving the physical plant of the Library, including its electrical and mechanical systems, doors, windows, and other critical operational equipment, the Director or his or her designee may contact appropriate contractors and authorize emergency repairs.

 

Meeting Room Policy:

Scheduling the use of the meeting room rests with the Library Director who retains final authority for all scheduling.

The meeting rooms of the Red Oak Public Library may be used by the general public during the regular hours that the library is open. The meeting rooms may be reserved for meetings, programs, seminars, and exhibits.

There is no charge for the use of the library meeting rooms.

Use of the library's meeting rooms does not constitute endorsement by the City or the Library of points of view expressed by the group. No advertisement or announcement implying such endorsement will be permitted.

The Library will not provide promotion for non-library related events.

Attendance at meetings must be limited to the seating capacity specified by the library.

Chairs and tables available in the meeting rooms must be set up and put away by each group using the rooms. No additional furniture or equipment other than that already available in the meeting rooms will be provided unless prior arrangements have been made.

The length of time needed for the meeting room should include time for setting up the meeting room and putting it back in order at the end of the meeting. If the meeting extends beyond scheduled time, the librarian in charge will request that the meeting be adjourned.

All meetings need to conclude 10 minutes prior to closing.

Open aisles must be maintained within the seating arrangement to provide clear access in case of emergency.

Equipment, supplies, or personal belongings cannot be stored or left in the library before or after use, except items such as voting machines or materials to be used for on-going exhibits sponsored by the library.

The library will not be responsible for lost or damaged materials used in exhibits or programs.

With the consent of the Director, the kitchenette may be used for light refreshments with prior approval and should be left in the same order it was found. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

Groups must obtain permission from the library before affixing articles to the walls in the meeting rooms.

Smoking is not allowed in the library.

The individual making the reservation, as well as the membership of the group as a whole, will be held responsible for any and all damage that may occur as a result of the use of the facilities.

Permission to use the library meeting rooms may be withheld from groups whose members or invitees damage the room, carpet, equipment, or furniture, or fail to comply with these rules and regulations. Individuals causing disturbances during meetings will be asked to leave.

The individual making the reservation, as well as the membership of the group as a whole, agree to comply with all applicable federal, state, county, and city ordinances, rules and regulations now in force or which may hereafter be enacted or promulgated.

The individual making the reservation, as well as the membership of the group as a whole, agree to indemnify and hold the City harmless from and against any and all losses, expenses, demands, and claims made against the City arising in any manner from such group's use of the library facilities, whether such losses, expense, demand, or claim made against the City is caused by the City's negligence or not.

Reservations that are Library-related functions will be given first priority.

Other requests will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis but all previous approvals may be canceled at any time. This also applies to groups that meet at the library on a continuing basis. If the room is needed on an emergency basis for official governmental business or the reservation conflicts with library programming, the reservation shall be canceled and may be rescheduled at the group's request.

Requests for the use of the meeting room shall be made in person or by e-mail.

The library will keep a calendar of scheduled use of the meeting rooms. This calendar will be accessible to the librarian on duty. The Director reserves the right to schedule the usage of all rooms.

Groups reserving a meeting room for the first time will be shown the meeting room & restrooms.

Since many organizations wish to use the meeting room facilities, groups should reserve the room in advance of the date needed. Based on demand, reservations may be subject to time, place, and manner restrictions.

Groups holding reservations are requested to notify the library of any cancellation at the earliest possible date in order to free the meeting room or other groups.

 Meeting rooms may be reserved for book sales or other fund-raising events, the proceeds of which will go to the direct benefit of the library. However, the meeting rooms may not be reserved for the solicitation or sale of any other goods, services, etc. for any other purpose.

 

Red Oak Public Library Proctor Policy:

To meet the needs of students and institutions of higher learning, the Red Oak Public Library agrees to cooperate with patrons and institutions to support their lifelong learning goals by offering proctoring services.  This service is based on the availability of personnel, facilities, and technology to do so.  

The Library will attempt to meet the needs of patrons who require test proctoring as long as the normal functions of the Library are not compromised.

 The Library will conform to the testing institution's conditions for proctoring to the extent possible under normal, circumstances as long as the time is prescheduled and approved by the director.

It is the student's responsibility to follow up with the institution to ascertain that the test was received. The Library will not keep copies of test materials unless it is specifically requested by the institution.

Student Responsibilities:

The student will ask the library staff to proctor the exam.

The student is responsible for providing a copy of this policy to the educational institution if needed.

The student is responsible for making arrangements to take the exam including calling the library to make sure the test has arrived (electronically or via mail) and scheduling a time to take the test.  The student will schedule the exam time to END no less than 30 minutes before the closing of the library.

The student is responsible for ensuring that the computer resources at the library are adequate and available for test taking.

The student will provide a valid driver’s license or photo ID (if required) for verification of identity or the test will not be proctored.

The student will arrive prepared with the necessary or required supplies to take the exam.  These supplies will be made available for approval by the proctor if required.

The student is responsible for return postage and envelope for any exam which does not include a self-addressed stamped envelope.  Further if it is required to fax the test to the institution, the student will be responsible for that cost.

Responsibilities of the Library and staff:

The library staff will provide the student with a copy of this policy.

A library staff person will proctor the exam only with the permission and approval of the Director.

The proctor will observe the student while performing other tasks and assisting other patrons.  Proctoring at the library will include issuing the exam, being aware of the student taking the exam, periodically observing the student, and signing the proctor form and mailing the completed exam.  If an institution requires the student to receive constant uninterrupted observation the library may be unable to proctor the exam.

Library staff will not sign any statement required by the educational institution inconsistent with our policy or with how the test was administered.

Library staff may loan the use of a laptop computer if necessary to administer the exam.  The library does not allow the installation of any special software that may be needed to complete the exam on a library computer.

Library staff may refuse to proctor an exam too burdensome or exacting in its demands.

The library cannot provide proctoring for a group of students.

The library is not responsible if the website or email is not working.

The library is not responsible for exams that are lost by the postal system or electronically.

 

 

These policies were approved and adopted by the Red Oak Public Library Board of Trustees  2/10/2020