Stowe Free Library Policies
At the Library
Rules of Conduct
The Stowe Free Library embraces its role as an inclusive, welcoming facility, which respects all of its patrons and visitors equally. Because the Library is a shared space, all users are expected to observe the same standard of behavior. The purpose of the Rules of Conduct is to maintain a safe and comfortable environment free of disruption or disrespectful conduct inappropriate to a library. Specifically not permitted on the Library premise: •Loud, boisterous behavior or language that is profane. •Threatening gestures or unwanted physical contact to persons or staff. •Eating, smoking, and the use of illegal drugs. Patrons impaired by alcohol or drugs are not permitted in the Library. •Animals not employed as service animals. •Solicitation or distribution of leaflets. •Sports equipment, including snowboards, skis, and ski boots. •Weapons of any kind. •Improper acts that are subject to prosecution under criminal or civil codes of law. •Purposeful damage to Town or Library property. •Loitering in lobbies and restrooms, as well as inappropriate use of the elevator. •Inappropriate attire or undress, especially the lack of shirt and/or shoes. •Uncovered beverages or any beverage in the vicinity of the library collection or computers. •Cell phone conversations within the library proper. Conversations should occur in the lobbies or outside, and cell phones should be muted. Any violation of this policy may result in a corresponding action appropriate to the severity of the infraction as decided by the Library Director, and may include a request to leave the premises, the involvement of the police, and/or the issuance of a No Trespassing Notice. Edited and approved, Feb. 05, 2021.
Child Safety Policy
The Stowe Free Library welcomes all children. The purpose of the Child Safety Policy is to establish a safe and secure place for attended and unattended children, but the Library does not provide ongoing monitoring of children on the premises. Parents and caregivers, not library staff, are responsible for the actions and safety of children visiting the library. • Children in third grade and under must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other responsible adult during their entire stay in the library. • Adult supervision is recommended for all children of elementary school age. However, children in fourth grade and up may be left unattended at the library to research an assignment, complete a homework task, attend a library program, use a computer, or to select books or other materials. • In the interest of providing a safe environment, librarians are authorized to restrict the occupation of adults without children in the juvenile area of the library. • Children, as well as adults, are expected to display appropriate behavior consistent with the Rules of Conduct Policy. Any individual or group of individuals who are disruptive to others may be asked to leave the premises. Because loitering in library hallways is prohibited, children may be asked to go outside. Although the library staff does their best to provide library services to children, they cannot know the whereabouts and/or supervise each child inside or outside the building. (During the school year, the library may see as many as 30 children in the building after school). Parents should bear this in mind before sending a child to the library without an adult. Children who are repeatedly unmindful of appropriate library behavior may have library privileges suspended for a period of time. • Parents and caregivers should be aware of library hours. As in all town buildings, patrons will be asked to leave at closing time. If a parent/caregiver feels it is unsafe for a child to leave the building without adult supervision, he/she should make arrangements to have the child picked up well ahead of closing time. • In the event that an unattended child has not been picked up before closing time, the staff will attempt to reach one or both of the parents or a guardian, if possible. If the staff cannot or is unable to reach a parent or guardian, it is the recommendation of Family Services Division of the state Department for Children and Families that the staff should contact the Stowe Police Department and request that the unattended child be picked up at the Library by an officer and held safely at the Police Department until a parent or guardian can be reached. Amended and approved July 2, 2021.
Photography Policy and Release
The Library uses photographs of patrons in its publications, display spaces, and web site to promote the value, and use of library products and services. Taking photographs of patrons is encouraged and puts the Library at no legal liability. The following guidelines however, should be followed. For the purpose of this policy, “photos” or “photographs” applies to any image of a patron, whether moving or still. Photographing Groups of Adults/Children Using the Library No permission is needed to take photos of crowds using the Library or attendees of programs. Photographing Adults If photographing one adult or a small group (3 or less), ask first if they mind having their picture taken. No written consent is needed. Verbal consent is solicited as a goodwill gesture, but it is not legally required. Let the adult know that the photo may be used in future Library publications, on the Library website or in the local newspapers. Photographing Children Under Age 16 If photographing one child or an identifiable group of children get verbal consent prior to taking the photo. Written parental consent is required if the photo is to be used in Library display space, Library publications, on the Library website or in the local newspapers, and written consent is required before a child’s name can be identified. A copy of the consent form is attached to this policy statement. Photo notification and opt out options: We will include the following phrase on library program guides, announcements, newsletter, tickets for special programs and on the website: "SMILE! Your attendance at programs sponsored by the Stowe Free Library may be digitally recorded through photographs or video recordings. These images may be posted on our website, in our newsletter, by local newspapers or ultimately on the Internet. If you do not wish your image to be published, please notify a member of the Library staff before or immediately after the program. No individual identification will be used unless the library has a signed parental consent photo release form for those under age 16." Revised and approved on March 4, 2022.
Accessible Use Policy
As part of its ongoing mission, the Stowe Free Library seeks to serve as a center for information, learning, culture, and recreation for all members of the greater Stowe community. The Library Board of Trustees and staff support the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and all of its interpretations, including Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks. The Library supports access to information on subjects that serve the needs or interests of each user. Regarding children’s use of the Internet, it must be noted that all patrons of the Stowe Free Library, regardless of age, have equal access to the materials, information, and technology provided by the library. The Library assumes no responsibility for the use of the Internet by children and young adults under the age of 18. It is the responsibility of parents and/or legal guardians to determine what their children may read, use or access on the Internet. Users of the Library’s Internet connection agree to obey all applicable federal, state, and local laws including, but not limited to, copyright, licensing, and content restrictions. The Library reserves the right to terminate the user’s computer privileges for abuse of these conditions or for unauthorized use of the Library’s Internet connection. BASIC RULES FOR COMPUTER USE General Use •Public access computers are now equipped with the time management software, Envisionware. Patrons are limited to 30 minutes a session, 2 sessions available per day. The sessions may be consecutive if the computer has not been reserved for another patron. •A valid library card is required to login to a public access computer. If a patron does not have one, a temporary card can be requested at the front desk. To log in, the patron must type in the library card number or scan it in using the individual scanner provided at each public access computer. •A reservation may be made for a public access computer for that current day. The reservation will be forfeited if the patron is ten minutes late. •Staff will provide reasonable assistance to patrons regarding technology. •Computers will be turned off ten minutes prior to closing. •Due to space constraints, computer use is limited to a maximum of two people per computer workstation. •Use of the Internet for activities that violate local, state, or federal laws is prohibited. •Display of sexually explicit graphics is inappropriate in a public environment. The Library reserves the right to ask users to refrain from displaying inappropriate computer images. •The Library staff is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the computers. Users should report problems to staff immediately. Children •Computers in the children’s area are reserved for use by children and young adults (through middle school age) only. •Computers in the children’s area are to be used primarily for research including appropriate web sites and educational software. Librarians reserve the right to prohibit chat room use and/or any use that violates library policy. •Computer use is limited to no more than two children per computer. Study groups may request an exception to this rule by speaking to the children’s librarian. Due to the size of the room, no more than four people may use the room at one time. •Children may sign up for one half hour per day. If no one is waiting to use the computer, they may stay on for an additional half hour. If two children are on one computer, they will be considered one user. •Children are expected to respect another person’s privacy and to observe the library’s rules of conduct. Failure to comply with these rules may result in loss of computer privileges. Software •The library cannot be held responsible for any damage or loss of data incurred while using library technology. •Unauthorized access to the Stowe Free Library computer system is strictly prohibited. Users will not engage in any such activity or attempt to access the SFL computer system for the purpose of altering or manipulating hardware or software. •Patrons must not purposely alter, install, remove or damage computer software or hardware, including library files or settings. Charges •The cost to repair damage knowingly caused by any patron to library computers or their peripherals will be charged to that patron. Parents or legal guardians are responsible for the charges of patrons under the age of 18. •Printing charges will be 10 cents per page. Privacy •Use of the Internet and the World Wide Web cannot be considered secure. Patrons should be cautious when using any internet browser or third-party applications on library computers and are responsible for the protection of their information while using library technology. •Non-library files on the computer hard drive, the contents of the temporary folders and the cache, as well as the location bar on the Internet browsers, will be deleted daily. •The Stowe Free Library will treat information displayed on its computers and/or printers, including its patron and circulation records as confidential. Requests for disclosure of information will only be honored when required by local, state, or federal law. Sanctions Users who do not observe these rules may have their library privileges revoked. Appeals may be made to the Library Director who may refer the appeal to the Board of Trustees. Approved by the Library Board of Trustees in March 2009, February 2012. Revised and approved January 2013; revised and approved Dec. 2014.
Meeting Room Policy and Guidelines
The Community Meeting Room of the Stowe Free Library is an important component of the Library’s services. It is available to any community group regardless of that group’s political, religious, or social views, subject to the following: •All meetings must be scheduled in advance with the Library. Library programs and municipal functions will have priority for use of the Meeting Room. No group may schedule meetings for more than 3 months in advance, nor for more than one use per month (special exceptions may be made by the Library Director). Users of the room are responsible for publicizing their own programs. Advertising must include the name and phone number of the presenter, and must avoid any inference that their program is sponsored, co-sponsored, or approved by the Library. •All meetings must be open to the public, and should be of educational, cultural, or community interest. •The Library will not accommodate on-going monthly meetings for community organizations. •No person or group may charge an attendance fee for meetings or workshops held in the Community Meeting Room. Charges to cover costs of materials may be levied if the person or group has the express permission of the Library Director in advance. •The Library is to be kept locked at all times when it is closed. Therefore, if a group is using the meeting room while the rest of the Library is closed, the person signing this agreement will be held responsible for ensuring the Library doors and windows are locked before leaving the Library. •The group using the meeting room will be held responsible for any damages or losses incurred by the Library as a result of the use of the room. •The Community Meeting Room must be left in the same condition in which it was found. Any extra tables or chairs set up or rearranged should be returned to their original places. If the kitchen was used, it should be cleaned and the utensils put away. There will be a minimum charge of $25 if the room is not left in its original condition or if the keys are not returned immediately following use. •If the organization requesting use of the Community Meeting Room is a non-town sponsored group, a certificate of insurance is required; if one cannot be provided, the signature of the organization’s representative, below, waives all statement of responsibility of the Town of Stowe or the Stowe Free Library. •No smoking is allowed in any part of the Library building at any time. •Alcohol may not be served as part of a non-Library sponsored program. The signing of this policy constitutes an agreement by the undersigned to adhere to the rules of the Community Meeting Room Policy and to ensure that no member of the group violates the rules set forth. Please retain the attached page, listing the guidelines for use of the Community Meeting Room, for your records. Download our meeting room request form; complete and return to the circulation desk or ask to speak with the director to complete the reservation process.
Collection and Lending Policies
The Board of the Stowe Free Library recognizes the diverse nature of the greater Stowe community and the varied backgrounds and needs of its citizens. Books and other library materials, exhibits, and programs of the Stowe Free Library shall be selected based on the interests and needs of the people in the community. Selection Principles The authority for the choice, cataloging, and placement of materials rests with the Director and, in the case of children's materials, with the Children's Librarian. The Director and the Children's Librarian exercise professional judgment and expertise, based on an understanding of community needs and knowledge of authors and publishers, in the process of selecting materials and are aided by authoritative professional reviews, standard lists of basic works, recommendations of professional journals, and bibliographic essays prepared by subject specialists. Recommendations from the public are welcome and will be given careful consideration in terms of overall objectives regarding the entire library collection. The Director and the Children's Librarian will review the collection regularly to assess its continued relevance to the public it serves, judging its strengths and weaknesses, adding to it or subtracting from it according to the guidelines provided through the Criteria for Selection of Library Materials. Criteria for Selection of Library Materials Library Materials include books, audio-visual materials, periodicals, and electronic material. Materials are chosen for the collection on the basis of: •Accuracy of information •Current usefulness or permanent value •Importance as record of the times •Patron demand •Relation to the existing collection and usefulness in presenting a diversity of information on issues •Relative importance in comparison with other works on the subject •Sufficient standards of quality in content, format, and binding Materials, both fiction and non-fiction in all formats, should be favorably reviewed in several established professional journals. Careful consideration should be made when adding books and other library materials that do not have a lasting collection value and/or are readily available through Inter-Library Loan. Children's materials will account for at least one quarter of the annual collection development budget. Children's material will be selected under the same criteria as the adult collection. Withdrawal of Library Materials The deliberate, measured, regular evaluation of library materials in relation to the collection, as a whole and the community at large, is part of the library's normal collection development procedure. The same criteria used in selecting materials apply to the systematic removal or replacement of outdated, inaccurate, no longer useful, seldom used, or worn items. Each withdrawal or replacement is judged by standard library tools to determine its retention value as a "classic," as part of the overall collection, or its current usefulness. The authority for the final withdrawal of materials rests with the Library Director and the Children's Librarian. Materials no longer useful to the library may be given to other libraries, sold for the benefit of the library, or discarded. Vermont and Stowe Local History Materials The library acknowledges its responsibility to preserve local material of historical, genealogical, or literary nature. Books by local authors and other materials of local interest will be given special consideration. The library will keep one print copy of all issues of the Stowe Reporter and the Stowe Guide, as well as the Town of Stowe Annual Reports. Donations The library may receive materials or funds as gift donations. Donated materials are subject to the same selection criteria as library purchased materials. Purchases made with donated funds follow the same criteria. The library accepts material donations on the condition that their use is at the complete discretion of the Director. The Director and the Board of Trustees may enforce any stipulations as to the type, condition, or timing of materials accepted. The Director and the Board of Trustees must approve the acceptance of any conditional donations such as the donation of a large specialized collection. Individual specific collection development policies must be created for those types of collections. All donations become the property of the Stowe Free Library, to be used at its discretion. Concerns Regarding Library Materials Articulated concerns regarding library materials and their appropriateness within the collection will be addressed by following the procedures described below. Ultimately, the Library Director and the Library Board will make decisions on whether or not to keep the item(s) in the collection. The Director will discuss the concern and the selection procedure with the complainant. If the complainant wishes further consideration of his or her objection to the library material under reconsideration, he or she will be requested to fill out a form titled "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials" and submit it to the Director. The Director will inform the staff members and the Board of Trustees of the complaint. The challenged material will remain on the shelf during the reconsideration process. Upon receipt of the completed form, the Director presents it to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees so that the request may be incorporated into the agenda of the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. The complainant will be notified of this meeting. Prior to the next Board meeting, the Director and the members of the Board who have read, viewed, or listened to the material in its entirety, checked general acceptance of the material by reading reviews and consulting recommended lists, will determine the value of the material to the collection. The Director and the Board of Trustees present a written recommendation to the complainant. The recommendation will be based on their knowledge of the material as well as their understanding of the library's selection policy and Library Bill of Rights. Revised and approved March 2018.