1.0 General Policies
The St. Joseph County Public Library is open to the public during the hours listed below under usual conditions. The Library Board reserves the right to change service hours as necessary.
Main Library Hours
Monday through Thursday - 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday - 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sunday (September through May) - 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday - 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, Thursday – 10:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday - 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Sunday - Closed
Monday, Wednesday, Friday - 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday,Thursday – 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday - Closed
The Library closes for the following holidays:
New Year’s Day Thanksgiving Day
Easter Sunday Mother’s Day
Memorial Day (Sunday and Monday) Christmas Eve – Dec. 24
Independence Day (July 4) Christmas Day – Dec. 25
Labor Day New Year’s Eve – Dec. 31
The Library may close one day per year at the discretion of the Library Board for Library Staff In-Service Day.
The Library reserves the right to close during severe weather or other emergency circumstances.
To meet the goal of offering the best possible service to library visitors, SJCPL has established the following standards of behavior while patrons are on library property.
Shirt and shoes are required while on library property.
Children under the age of seven must be under the direct supervision of a person thirteen or older.
The following are not permitted on library property:
Persons under the influence of drugs or alcohol are not permitted on library property.
Smoking is prohibited within 50 feet of any library building entrance.
Theft, damage or destruction of library property is a crime and will be prosecuted.
Any person who poses a health or sanitary risk or whose bodily hygiene constitutes a nuisance to other persons or damages library property shall be required to leave the premises.
Inappropriate behavior, which disturbs other library patrons or staff, is not permitted.
The Library reserves the right to remove any person whose behavior is disruptive, is inappropriate for a library environment, or interferes with the use of the library by others.
SJCPL is committed to providing a welcoming, clean and comfortable environment for the public. The Library has adopted the following policy for the consumption of food and beverages in public areas of Library facilities.
Library patrons may bring beverages into all library buildings, and consume beverages in all locations within a library building, provided the beverages are in a spill proof container such as a cup with a lid, closeable bottle or sports bottle.
Food is not permitted in any library building except in a location within a library building where the library or café sells food items. In those locations, permitted food items other than those sold in the library café or vending area are limited to pre-packaged snack items.
Food and beverages may not be consumed in a manner that is distracting to other library patrons. Food or beverages may not be used in a way that damages the library materials.
Patrons must dispose of any food and drink related trash in proper receptacles provided in the library building or must remove the trash from the library building.
Patrons are requested to immediately report any spills to library staff.
Groups using library meeting rooms may bring in light refreshments to be consumed within the meeting room. Deliveries of food are not permitted except when specifically authorized for meetings, conference workshops, etc.
Public bulletin boards are used for marketing and promoting Library and cultural events in the community.
Government agencies and organizations that are non-profit, nonsectarian, interdenominational or non-partisan may post notices for programs or events that are not politically partisan or that do not have a religious message.
All notices for posting on any interior or exterior surfaces of the library building and grounds require approval by the administration.
Oversized notices may be limited due to available space.
In support of the Library’s Service Priorities, the St. Joseph County Public Library welcomes exhibits and displays of interest, information and enlightenment to the community. The Library retains priority rights to all exhibit and display space for library purposes. Approval for all exhibits and displays rests with the Library Director or appointed designee.
The Library Board reserves the right to reject or remove any display or item which, in the judgment of the library administration, is illegal or which may interfere with the operation of the library.
The Library assumes no responsibility for the preservation, protection, or possible damage or theft of any item displayed or exhibited. All items placed in the Library are done so at the owner’s risk.
Exhibit and display space is available to groups or individuals, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting this service.
The Library reserves the right to limit the size and number of items, the schedule of any display and the frequency with which the group or organization may have a display.
Distribution or posting of materials by the Library does not necessarily indicate the Library’s endorsement of the issue or events promoted by those materials.
Displays and exhibits may not contain items for sale.
Lost and found materials are turned over to Security Services at Main Library and to the Service Desk in branch libraries.
Unclaimed items are held for thirty days.
The Library provides public space in a safe and inviting environment for community activities, meetings and discussions.
Meeting rooms are available at all library locations.
Meeting rooms are free of charge. A refundable security deposit is required at the time of booking for any audio-visual equipment requested on the meeting room application.
Use of meeting rooms is normally limited to groups within the Library’s service area. A group must consist of at least five individuals.
Community meeting rooms are open to non-profit groups engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual or charitable activities. Rooms are not available for partisan political meetings, religious services or social functions. No buying, selling, or trading of products or services is allowed, except in support of the Library. Programs and meetings may not be used to promote any private commercial interests or products.
The Library Administration reserves the right to require evidence of not-for-profit status. The Library Board has the final authority to resolve any questions as to which groups may meet on Library property and for what purpose Library property may be used.
Meeting rooms are not available on days the library is closed. Groups may use Main Library meeting rooms on regular open days with the exception of Sundays.
Library programs take precedence over all other scheduled meeting room events. The Library reserves the right to change or cancel meeting room reservations when necessary.
Branch meeting rooms may be used after hours. Groups using Main Library meeting rooms must adjourn by the time the Library closes.
An official representative of the organization using the room must sign an agreement limiting the number of people occupying the room to that specified by the Fire Marshall. The representative accepts full responsibility for any infraction of Library regulations and any damage to Library property incurred during or in connection with the proposed meeting. Responsibility is nontransferable.
The group representative must be a regular Library cardholder over the age of 18. If this representative is unable to be present, there must be someone over the age of 18 present at the meeting.
Responsibility also includes closing procedures at branch libraries if the meeting takes place after hours. All doors at Library branches must be secured.
By order of the Fire Marshall, occupancy is limited as follows:
152 fixed seats
|Humphreys Room||340 standing attendees|
210 seated at tables
|Centre Twp.||65 Room A|
15 Room B
|River Park, Western|
Light refreshments of coffee, punch, tea, cookies, candy, cake and similar items are permitted. No meals may be served.
Clean up is the responsibility of the group.
The Library does not provide coffeepots, kitchen equipment, utensils, paper products, table skirts, office services, equipment or other supplies.
Groups are responsible for loading and unloading their own program materials.
The Library is unable to guarantee parking for meeting attendees.Smoking and alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
The Library sponsors programs which anticipate or respond to the needs and interests of the community. Programs directly support the Library’s service priorities.
Programs are designed for the general public. Priority for registration is given to individuals rather than organized groups. Groups of five or more may be accommodated if space and materials are available on the day of the program.
The Coordinator of Main Library Public Services or the Coordinator of Branch Services approves all programs.
Library publicity is prepared under the supervision of the Publicity Services Manager and is subject to approval by the Director or Assistant Director.
Tours help introduce the public to library services and programs. Special programs geared to classes and community groups offer a customized glimpse of library services.
Library tours are scheduled as time and staff schedules permit. At Main Library, Children’s Services staff arranges visits for children through eighth grade. The Adult Reference staff arranges tours for high school students and adults. The branch manager or assistant arranges branch tours.
Staff assistance for tours and programs is limited to one hour. Tour groups are welcome to stay longer and work independently.
Tour requests should be made at least two weeks in advance.
No tour group shall exceed 30 in number. Supervision is required in a ratio of one adult for every ten children.
Visits and programs for schools, institutions and public events are scheduled as time and staff schedules permit. Requests for visits must be made two weeks in advance. Requests for programs must be made at least one month in advance.
Offsite visits are limited to residents within the Library’s taxing district.
The Readmobile provides materials and services to at-risk children in public schools and other not-for-profit organizations located in neighborhoods that are not within walking distance of a library. Services are also provided for special events, the HeadStart Program and activities such as after-school programs.
A Readmobile service request form must be submitted in advance. Readmobile services are limited to residents within the Library’s taxing district.
The Library accepts all donations of materials in the name of the Friends of St. Joseph County Public Library Foundation, Inc.
Designated library staff may select donated items for addition to the collection.
The Library does not assess the value of non-monetary donations. A blank receipt provided at the time of the donation is available to the donor.
The Library Board must formally accept gifts with a value of $1,000.00 or more.
Materials or monetary donations are accepted within the guidelines of the Library’s materials selection policy.
See also Library Board Policy on the Acceptance of Gifts or Bonuses (Appendix C)
Money donated to the Library for gift books or memorials are deposited in a legally established gift fund. Items purchased with gift funds become the property of the Library and may be disposed of accordingly. Library staff will send a letter to acknowledge gifts of this type.
Items of local historical significance may be donated to the Library for the Local History collection. Designated library staff have sole discretion in the matter of materials retained for the collection.
Patrons may not use library telephones except in cases of emergency.
Patrons will not be paged, except in cases of emergency.
2.0 Information Policies
The goal of information services at SJCPL is to provide consistent and high quality public service in response to patron requests. This is accomplished by helping patrons obtain materials and providing accurate information, readers’ advisory and patron instruction. Information services should be delivered in an efficient, timely, courteous and impartial manner. Information services staff subscribe to the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics, 1995.
Patrons of all ages and circumstances, including individuals with special needs, are treated with equal attention and with sensitivity to their particular needs.
All information requests from patrons are legitimate and are to be handled as such.
Patrons will receive information, not staff opinions, in response to their requests. It is the responsibility of staff to provide information in an impartial and business-like manner, even when it is contrary to their personal beliefs.
In order to provide accurate and authoritative information, every response should have a published source and the citation of the source should be given.
As part of their professional work, librarians assist patrons in choosing materials. Readers’ advisory should be unbiased and based on a thorough, continuing and up-to-date knowledge of the collection.
In all cases, staff will strive to give as much help as possible.
If a question cannot be answered, staff will attempt to make a referral to another information source or organization.
All library patrons will receive basic library services at no cost. Some services may be subject to fees established by the Library.
SJCPL offers the following services at its reference desks and other service points:
Ready Reference – a search which requires little, if any interaction with the patron in determining the nature of the inquiry and search strategy which would best provide the answer. Ready reference questions are those in which answers can be found and read in 10 minutes or less.
Intermediate Reference – a search that requires up to 20 minutes to provide an answer. Intermediate reference requires more interaction with the patron in determining the nature of the inquiry and search strategy.
Extended Reference – a search that requires considerable interaction with the patron in the development of strategies to find the best answer in the most cost-effective way. Extended reference involves questions which require more than 20 minutes of staff time.
Directional Question – an informational contact which facilitates the use of the library and its environs and which may involve the use of sources describing the library such as schedules and floor plans.
Instructional Question – Instruction on the use of printed and electronic resources is limited to 20 minutes or less.
The limit of service provided will, of necessity, vary according to several factors. These include the number of patrons who need assistance, the number of staff available to help, the complexity of materials and the amount of information needed.
2.3.1 In Person Reference
SJCPL offers ready reference, intermediate reference, directional information and instruction on using resources to patrons in person.
Priority is given to in person reference over telephone and electronic reference.
In-person reference questions are answered on a first-come, first-served basis.
SJCPL offers ready reference via telephone. Library staff will direct calls to the appropriate library area as needed.
Priority is given to in person inquiries over telephone inquiries.
Telephone inquiries are answered in the order in which they are received.
Staff will attempt to search and answer all telephone information questions within a 10-minute time limit.
Due to time constraints, staff will generally answer a maximum of 5 questions.
Staff will consult only ready reference sources for homework and trivia contest questions.
For requests that are not resolved within the time limit, staff may ask the patron to come to the library to continue research or may take the patron’s telephone number and call them back.
Staff will leave voice mail for patrons unless instructed by the patron to do otherwise.
SJCPL offers ready reference and intermediate reference electronically via e-mail and Instant Messaging (IM). Staff will give priority to patrons in person first, phone second, IM third, and e-mail last.
Staff will attempt to search and answer all electronic reference questions within a 10-minute time limit.
Due to time constraints, staff will generally answer a maximum of 5 questions.
The Library will respond to e-mail reference questions within 24 hours, except on weekends.
Responses should reflect the Library favorably in form, content and grammar.
Reference logs may be monitored to ensure quality control.
Priority is given to in person, telephone and electronic reference over written inquiries.
Staff will normally reply to written correspondence within 7 days. Letter writers who reside within the Library’s service area may be answered via telephone, if appropriate. Letter writers outside the SJCPL service area are sent a form letter referring them to their local library for general information.
Letters containing questions concerning local information and/or answered from sources unique to our collection may be answered in detail.
Staff will limit their search to 30 minutes before referring the letter writer to another source.
Responses should reflect the Library favorably in form, content and grammar.
Letters and their responses are kept for 30 days to assure the patron’s receipt of response, and then the request is destroyed.
The patron is charged current photocopy fees for any printing.
Instructional assistance is limited to 20 minutes or less.
Use of the public access catalogs is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Staff should use the full range of reference interview skills when working with patrons on these topics. Patrons should be encouraged to consult professionals in the appropriate field rather than to rely on printed sources alone. Brief definitions and descriptions can be read verbatim from published sources in answer to telephone inquiries. Additionally, callers should be encouraged to come to the library to avail themselves of a variety of sources to make informed decisions. Staff does not interpret, give opinions, advise or make proposals.
Because Library staff members are not health care professionals, they cannot offer medical advice or an interpretation of medical information. Interpretation is defined as the explanation of what is not immediately plain, explicit or unmistakable. Prognoses will not be read over the telephone or given electronically.
Staff members will assist patrons in the library in finding information about a disease or medical condition using print and non-print sources.
Staff members may read a definition over the telephone of a medical term or description of a disease or condition from an available source. The source is cited and quoted verbatim. When the definition is difficult to understand, staff will define terms used in the definition or description by using other sources, but will not give an interpretation of the term.
Staff members may read brief information over the telephone about prescription drugs from a drug dictionary when the name of the drug is given. The source is cited and quoted verbatim with no interpretation. Terms used in the text will be defined by using another source. Staff will not identify a drug from a physical description nor give recommended dosages.
Staff members will advise patrons to consult a medical specialist when additional information is needed but will not recommend a specific physician.
Staff members will refer patrons to other health agencies in the area when these resources seem most appropriate to answer the patron’s needs.
During a reference telephone transaction, the patron is informed that staff members are reading from the best available library sources; there may be other authorities or more current information.
Because library staff members are not attorneys, they cannot offer legal advice or any interpretation of the law or legal terms or recommend specific legal or tax forms. Interpretation is defined as the explanation of what is not immediately plain, explicit or unmistakable. Although staff members will be as helpful as possible in locating and providing necessary legal materials, it is the responsibility of the patron to determine what the law “means.”
Staff members may assist patrons in the use of legal materials, explaining their organization and format.
Staff members may read over the telephone a definition found in a law dictionary.
Staff members will direct patrons to the U.S. Code, the Indiana Code, the Municipal Code and other legal resources.
Staff members will advise patrons to consult an attorney when additional information is needed but will not recommend a specific attorney.
Staff members will refer patrons to local law libraries to research specific case law.
During a reference telephone transaction, the patron will be informed that staff members are reading from the best available library sources; there may be other authorities or more current information.
Local History specializes in information about St. Joseph County, Indiana.
Staff offers limited assistance as time permits with genealogy and local history research.
Library volunteers will respond to letters requesting local history research.
Items from the clipping file are used inside the library, one file at a time. The staff will hold identification while the patron uses the file. Browsing is not permitted in the local history clipping files.
Individuals living outside of St. Joseph County are charged a flat fee for up to one hour of research related to one or more submitted questions.
Because each request takes time, the patron will be charged even if the staff is unable to locate information.
Foreign language translation is limited to words and phrases found in current reference sources.
Staff do not translate documents for patrons due to foreign language proficiency problems, time constraints and far-ranging legal ramifications that could result.
Staff will refer requests for translations beyond this scope to appropriate community resources, including foreign language departments of colleges and universities and the Library’s Community Connection database that lists current ethnic clubs.
Staff will not complete homework assignments. Students and parents are invited to come to the library and will be assisted in finding materials.
Staff will assist students in learning how to use the catalog as well as appropriate electronic and print materials.
Computer workstations support the Lifelong Learning service priority with a variety of software applications and productivity tools for patron use as well as access to the Internet.
Use of the stations is on a first-come, first-served basis. Children up through the eighth grade are eligible to use the stations in the Children’s Room.
Instructional assistance is limited to 20 minutes or less. Staff provides limited assistance for basic start up procedures. Patrons who have never used a computer or who have specific questions about software, may use instructional manuals, online tutorials or sign up for library classes.
The library uses time management software to optimize access to computer workstations.
In order to maximize availability of the stations, patrons are limited to a total of 2 hours per day, regardless of how many terminals are used.
Length of individual sessions may vary based on patron usage and number of workstations.
Downloading information to a patron-supplied storage device is allowed within the limits established by copyright laws. Patrons may be held financially responsible for any damage they cause to the Library’s hardware or software.
The Library is not responsible for the loss of or damage to personal storage devices. Patrons are limited to the programs provided by the library.
There is a per page fee for printing. Children 14 and under receive up to 10 free printed pages per day.
The Main Library staff will fax reference information to local homes or businesses. The patron must be a cardholder in good standing.
The Library does not operate any type of commercial fax service for patrons.
Special Services focuses on service to adult new readers as well as their tutors and teachers. Special Services staff is unable to provide tutoring but facilitates the use of the departmental resources by tutors and their students.
Special Services also provides referral services to the many community agencies serving adult new readers’ literacy needs.
An ancillary focus of Special Services is service to the deaf community (TTY line) and the blind and visually impaired. Service includes material resources maintained for these populations.The Homebound Program serves patrons in the library’s taxing district who are unable to visit a library due to physical disability.
3.0 Circulation Policies
Library information in any form about library users and their use of the Library is private in nature, and should be protected to preserve their intellectual freedom.
Confidentiality extends to information sought or received, and materials consulted, borrowed, or acquired, and includes database search records, reference interviews, circulation records, interlibrary loan records, and other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities, and services. Library employees shall regard these records as confidential.
The library records of library users shall only be accessed, or altered, when the user requests access to, or updating of, the information or when access to the record is essential for library business.
The Library will provide to custodial parents or guardians any and all library records of children under the age of 18 relating to fines, fees and overdue materials charged to the parents or guardians.
The Library will comply with a process, order, subpoena or other legal document issued by an agency or individual of any local, state or federal government, pursuant to a process order or subpoena authorized under the authority of and pursuant to federal, state, or local law relating to a civil, criminal, administrative, legislative or investigative power requesting library records. Upon receipt of any such process, order, subpoena or other legal document, the Library Director will consult with the Library’s Attorney to determine if the process, order or subpoena is in proper form and if there is a valid basis for its issuance before complying with the request for library records.
Residents of Centre, Clay, German, Greene, Harris, Liberty, Lincoln, Olive, Penn, Portage, Union and Warren Townships in St. Joseph County, Indiana, may obtain a free library card.
Individuals who own real property in one of the twelve townships are also eligible for a library card. Individuals must provide a current real estate tax receipt in their personal name. Businesses and corporations are ineligible.
Individuals may have one valid SJCPL card at any given time.
Resident library cards are valid for two years from the date of issue. Expired cards can be reactivated when the Library staff verifies residency, normally with photo identification.
The St. Joseph County Public Library participates in Indiana’s Public Library Access Card program. Any resident of the state of Indiana may purchase a PLAC which allows them to check out material at any public library in the state. PLAC is an individual card, good for twelve months from the date of issue. The fee for PLAC is set annually by the state of Indiana.
Families or individuals who reside outside one of the twelve townships served may apply for a non-resident fee card. The card is valid for 12 months from the date of issue. The Library Board establishes the fee annually, based on state statute. Cards may be issued to every member of a household when a family card is purchased.
Residents with transient or temporary addresses, such as hotels and motels, are eligible for a library card after three months of residence at the same address. Temporary residents must show three months of rent receipts for the same address. These cards are valid for three-month periods and may be renewed by showing an additional three months of rent receipts.
Residents in an agency-sponsored residence must present a letter from the sponsoring agency stating residency status and the approximate date of the end of that status.
Patrons must also produce one other form of identification in order to qualify for a library card. Acceptable forms of identification include:
Credit card statement
Food stamp identification
Social Security card
State of Indiana identification
Voter registration card
Workplace picture identification
Agency-sponsored cards expire on the date given by the sponsoring agency, not to exceed six months. Temporary cards may be renewed, based on recertification by the sponsoring agency.
Temporary residence cardholders are limited to five items at any one time, which includes one video/DVD and up to two toys at any one time.
Patrons who live in the Library’s taxing district and are unable to come to the library due to a temporary or permanent handicap may be eligible for a Homebound library card, available through Literacy and Outreach Services.
After 500 hours of service to the library, volunteers receive a special gold-colored library card. This award provides the volunteer with fine-free status during their time as a volunteer and for two years following their resignation date from the SJCPL volunteer program.
Friends of the Library Board member receive fine-free status during their time as a Board member and for two years following their resignation from the FOL Board.
Library Board members receive lifetime fine-free status.
SJCPL will issue a fine free status library card (Platinum card) valid for life to any St. Joseph County youth up to age 21 who achieves individual national or international first place recognition.
A staff member must witness the signature of any adult who registers for a library card.
A parent or guardian’s signature is required for children under the age of 14. The parent’s or guardian’s signature indicates financial responsibility for fines and fees accrued by the cardholder up to age 14.
New patrons must present identification.
The following forms of identification are acceptable:
Valid Indiana Driver’s license with current address
Valid State of Indiana ID with current address
Indiana Driver’s Learner Permit with current address
School ID with photograph (for youth from age 14 to 17)
In the absence of any of the above forms of identification, the patron may also present one item from each of the lists below as acceptable forms of identification for a library card.
Alien ID card
Food stamp identification
Social Security card
Voter Registration card
Workplace picture identification
Credit card bill (current)
Paycheck stub (current) with preprinted name and address
Property tax receipt
Utility bill (current)
For youth: Current report card or progress report envelop mailed “To the parents of”
Patrons may check out 2 books or magazines at the time of registration if they present valid identification.
The library mails the library card to the patron.
The card owner is responsible for all materials checked out on the card, unless it is reported lost or stolen.
The first time a card is reported lost or stolen, the card owner is responsible for payment of the first $50.00 in charges for lost material and a notation is made in the patron’s record. The owner is responsible for all charges for any subsequent cards reported lost or stolen.
To maintain a viable patron file, library card numbers expire after two years. Patrons may reactivate their borrowing status by producing acceptable forms of identification.
Card holders may receive one free replacement card per calendar year for cards reported lost. Patrons must pay a service charge for any subsequent lost cards reported within a calendar year.
Patrons may check out materials without their library card by presenting photo identification with their current address.
Children under 14 who are without their library card must recite their address and birth date.
A Public Library Access card may be purchased at any public library. Patrons from other public libraries who wish to purchase a PLAC from SJCPL must possess a valid public library card issued by another public library in Indiana or pay the non-resident card fee. SJCPL will contact the patron’s home library to verify the applicant’s status. Patrons are limited to 2 print items until their status has been verified.
The Library allows a grace period of one day before fines begin to accrue for all print and audio material. There is no grace period for video, DVD and CD-ROM software.
Materials may be renewed at any agency in the Library system as well as by telephone and via the Library’s Web site, with the exception of videos, DVDs and CD-ROM software. In order to allow more patrons to access the collection, materials may only be renewed one time. Materials on hold for another patron may not be renewed.
Special Services materials may be renewed at the discretion of the Special Services Manager.
Fines are accrued on a daily basis for the days the library is open.
Patrons who exceed the limit of accumulated charges must bring their account below this threshold in order to use their card. The Library does not send notices to patrons for accumulated fines.
The Library issues three separate notices for overdue materials.
When a patron has been discharged in personal bankruptcy and produces supporting documentation, all fines and fees will be waived for that person’s account. Any charges for unreturned materials will remain on the account until the materials have been returned or charges have been paid.
The Library may report accounts more than 60 days past due to a collection agency. All collection agency fees are added to the patron’s account.
Patrons who have been reported to the collection agency may not use the Library’s computer resources without making minimum regular payments using a payment plan.
Based on the demand for school assignments or holiday materials, library staff may restrict the number of items that may be checked out by one patron. Patrons may check out only one copy of a specific title at any one time.
Reserves are allowed on all material except DVDs, videocassettes, digital audiobooks, laptop computers and iPods.
There is a limit of 20 outstanding reserves per person.
Interlibrary loan is intended to complement the Library’s collection. ILL is based on a tradition of sharing resources between various types and sizes of library and rests on the belief that no library, no matter how large or well supported, is self-sufficient in today's world.
Print material is loaned to other libraries through the Interlibrary Loan Network. The Library does not loan new books, within six months of publication. The Library does not loan non-print materials.
If the loaning library charges a fee or postage, the charge is passed on to the patron.
Patrons who claim they have returned materials charged to their library card may be excused from fines and fees on the first and second occasion. These exceptions are noted in the patron record. The third claimed returned may be denied and charged to the patron.
Library charges for lost material or materials damaged beyond repair include the cost of the item, a processing fee, and any accumulated collection agency charges. All fines are waived.
Children are allowed to check out four books per visit on the Readmobile.
Participants in the Readmobile program are considered a special patron type by the system and are charged 10¢ per day for overdue items. The maximum fine for each item is $1.00.
Readmobile patrons must keep charges on their account below the fine limit established by the Library Board in order to use their card.
Patrons must be 14 years old in order to check out a laptop computer. Patrons must present two forms of identification including a library card in good standing from SJCPL and some type of photo identification.
Laptops must be used within the library building.
Patrons with PLACards are not eligible for laptop checkout.
4.0 Collection Development
The St. Joseph County Public Library Materials Selection policy exists to serve as a guide in the selection of materials and to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made.
The St. Joseph County Public Library is dedicated to serving people of every age, ethnic origin, socioeconomic level, education and viewpoint. The Library offers a place for learning and enriching experiences to turn first time patrons into lifelong patrons. Library staff create collections and services for the community of contemporary interest and enduring value, featuring both print and non-print media. The Library acquires, organizes and maintains these materials in order for library patrons to learn, discover and enjoy.
It is the responsibility of the St. Joseph County Public Library to provide, within its financial ability, a general collection of materials which embraces broad areas of knowledge and interest -- including materials of contemporary significance and of permanent value.
The Library recognizes an obligation to make available materials for enlightenment and recreation, even though such materials may not have enduring interest or value. Major guidelines governing selection of Library materials are:
The Library Bill of Rights of the American Library Association;
The needs and demands of people and community organizations, both expressed and anticipated;
The merit of the work (material is judged on the basis of the work as a whole, not by selected or random passages);
The obligation to reflect within the collection differing points of view on controversial subjects;
The existing collection, budget and services.
The Library does not provide multiple copies for school use, nor does it supply locally adopted textbooks.
Interlibrary loan provides access to materials available only in other libraries.
The Library Board of the St. Joseph County Public Library has the final responsibility for selection of materials. The Library Board, in turn, delegates to the Library Director the authority to interpret and guide the application of the selection policy. The Director assigns librarians qualified by training or experience to apply this policy in building and maintaining collections.
Controversial library materials will not be marked or identified by Library personnel to show approval or disapproval of the contents, and no item is controlled except for the express purpose of protecting it from damage or theft.
The Library Bill of Rights of the American Library Association states that the rights of an individual to the use of a library should not be denied or abridged because of age, race, religion, national origins or social or political views.
The Library and its staff are not “in loco parentis.” The responsibility for reading, listening to, viewing and using library materials and equipment by minors rests with parents or legal guardians.
In selecting library materials for children, the Library's policy is to provide a collection that meets the informational, recreational, and cultural needs of children from birth through 8th grade.
In the children's collection, materials are included which meet the general demands of the majority of children, along with materials whose special qualities make them valuable to children with special needs, talents, problems or interests.
The library will remove from its collections any materials which no longer serve a need.
5.0 Computer and Network Use
The St. Joseph County Public Library provides Internet access as well as access to other electronic formats to individuals for informational, educational and recreational purposes.
Various formats of electronic information are extended to patrons as a privilege, not as an automatic right or as an obligation of the Library.
Computer resources may not be used for:
Violation of any applicable federal, state, or local laws, ordinances, rules, or regulations.
Harassment of other persons or parties.
Libel or slander of other persons or parties.
Destruction of or damage to equipment, software, or data belonging to the library or other users.
Gaining or attempting to gain unauthorized access to any computing, information or communications devices or resources.
Disruption or unauthorized monitoring of electronic communications.
Unauthorized copying of copyright or other protected material.
Violation of computer system security.
Unauthorized use of computer accounts, access codes or network identification numbers assigned to others.
Use of computer communications facilities in ways that unnecessarily impede the computing activities of others (such as randomly initiating interactive electronic communications or email exchanges, overuse of interactive network utilities, etc.).
Violation of software license agreements.
Violation of network usage policies and regulations.
Violation of another person's or party's privacy.
Any and all other matters which the Library, in its sole discretion, subject to constitutional limitations, and in consideration of the best interests of the public, determines to be an unacceptable purpose.
Violations of policies for legal and ethical use of Library computing resources will result in the suspension or revocation of Library privileges in the sole discretion of the Library Administration. Illegal acts involving Library computing resources may also be subject to prosecution by local, state or federal authorities.
Use of Library computing resources to display or disseminate sexually explicit or sexually suggestive (obscene/pornographic) material in any Library building is prohibited.
Since the Internet is a global electronic network, there is no state/county control of its users or content. The Internet and its available resources contain material of a controversial nature. The Library cannot protect patrons from all offensive information. Parents of minor children must assume responsibility for their children’s use of the Internet through the Library’s connection.
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.
The St. Joseph County Public Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from use of its Web Server or from its connections to other Internet services.
All patrons who wish to use the Library’s computing resources are required to click on “I Agree” to the following “Limitation of Liability” statement:
The patron also acknowledges that the St. Joseph County Public Library assumes no liability for any loss or damage to the patron’s data, or for any damage or injury arising from invasion of privacy in the patron’s computer accounts, programs, or files. In consideration for use of Library computer resources, you (the patron) agree to hold harmless and indemnify St. Joseph County Public Library, its directors, officers and administrators, employees and agents from any and all liabilities for any claims, demands and damages to your person or property whatsoever.
Free wireless Internet access is available at all locations of the St. Joseph County Public Library.
The Library attempts to make wireless access as available as possible in all library buildings, but patrons may encounter areas in a library where wireless reception may be limited.
The Library's wireless network is not secure. Information sent to and from a patron’s notebook/laptop computer or other wireless device may be captured by anyone else with a wireless device and the appropriate software.
Library staff is not able to provide technical assistance and no guarantee can be made that a wireless connection is always possible.The Library assumes no responsibility for the safety of equipment or for notebook/laptop computer or other wireless device configurations, security, or data files resulting from connection to the Library's wireless access.
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of age, race, religion, national origin or social or political views.
VI. Libraries, which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 18, 1948. Amended February 2, 1961, and January 23, 1980, Inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996, by the ALA Council.
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as citizens devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.
Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary citizen, by exercising critical judgment, will accept the good and reject the bad. The censors, public and private, assume that they should determine what is good and what is bad for their fellow citizens.
We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they need the help of censors to assist them in this task. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.
These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy.
Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.
Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture.
We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings. The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox or unpopular with the majority.
Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but also why we believe it.
2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.
Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept with any expression the prejudgment of a label characterizing it or its author as subversive or dangerous.
The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for the citizen. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large.
It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive.
7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one; the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.
The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but also the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all citizens the fullest of their support.
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous, but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.
This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.
Adopted June 25, 1953; revised January 28, 1972, January 16, 1991, July 12, 2000, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee.
Gifts or bonuses of both a cash and non-cash nature to the St. Joseph County Public Library with a value in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) will require formal acceptance by the Library Board in an open Library Board meeting. The Library Board reserves the right to determine in each individual case whether the gift or bonus should be accepted or rejected. Gifts or bonuses to the Library may or may not be accepted by the Library Board if any condition of use by the donor is attached. When appropriate, Library Board approval shall be required before money is raised or allocated for a particular gift or bonus. Gifts or bonuses to the Library under one thousand dollars ($1,00.00) may be approved by the Library Director, but such gifts are reported at the Library Board at its next open meeting following receipt of the gift or gifts.
Items given to the Library become the property of the Library and are subject to the same controls and regulations that govern the use and disposal of all Library-owned property. As with all the Library's facilities, equipment, and supplies, all gifts or bonuses given to the Library are dedicated to the purposes of the Library and, except as expressly authorized in writing by the Director, gifts or bonuses given to the Library are not available for personal use nor for Library use at one's residence or anywhere outside the Library without the express written permission of the Director.
Monetary gifts or bonuses, for which no specific purpose has been designated by the donor, may be placed in a special fund at the discretion of the Library Board, and such funds are inviolate, that is, only the interest earned from investments of such funds may be used for purchases, programs or other Library needs, as determined by the Library Director and the Library Board.
To be considered for acceptance, a gift or bonus should satisfy the following criteria:
- the gift or bonus is consistent with the public service program, goals and objectives of the St. Joseph County Public Library.
- the gift or bonus would not imply the endorsement of any particular business or product or any specific political or religious point of view.
- the gift or bonus would not result in excessive maintenance, installation, or an excessive continuing cost to the St. Joseph County Public Library.
- the gift or bonus would not be inappropriate or harmful to the welfare of the St. Joseph County Public Library, its staff, or its patrons.
- the gift or bonus would not be in conflict with any provision of Library Board policy, Indiana State or Federal Law.
- the gift or bonus, if it constitutes a piece of equipment, would meet accepted quality, performance and safety standards - the gift or bonus, if constituting a book or set of books, magazines, films, audio or video recordings, or any other form of media, would meet the requirements of the Library's Materials Selection Policy and must be recommended for acquisition to the Library's collection by the appropriate members of the Library's professional staff.
- the gift or bonus would not be of such a nature to begin an on-going program or service which the Library Board would be unwilling to continue when the gift or bonus or grant funds are exhausted.
- gifts or bonuses of pay for services of personnel may be accepted by the Library Board with the understanding that the Library Board shall in all cases retain the responsibility for hiring, evaluation and termination of such personnel. At the time of preliminary review, the Library Director or his/her designee shall indicate any special conditions or stipulations that shall apply to the acceptance of such gifts or bonuses involving personnel.
- nothing in this policy shall be intended to prevent or discourage the acceptance of gifts, bonuses or volunteer services through the Library's volunteer program.
Appendix D: Fines & Fees