MISSION AND VISION STATEMENTS
To give everyone in the community free access to the books, services, programs, and materials that they need and want for the pursuit of knowledge, culture, lifelong learning, and love of literacy..
To be an invaluable cultural resource, responsive to the community and its educational and cultural goals.
THE FOUNDING OF THE FLOYD MEMORIAL LIBRARY
IN GREENPORT, NEW YORK
The establishment of a free public library in Greenport did not happen overnight, nor was it the result of any one person or event; rather it was the culmination of several different forces and events going on, at both the local and national level, in America during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The library does not come to be in a vacuum. It is an expression of its society and its history is the history of the local community and the larger social forces working on the community at the time.
- Luther Moore advertised his Circulating Library as the first in Greenport in the September 8, 1858 issue of the Suffolk Weekly Times. There are no records available for the duration of Mr. Moore’s Lending Library.
- The Greenport Literary Society (first known as the Mutual Improvement Society, founded September 19, 1877) was instrumental in the library’s development
- There were also lending libraries, various reading rooms and other clubs, the Greenport Shakespeare Club, the Stirling Athletic Club, and the Progressive Debating Society.
- In February of 1882, the Library of the Greenport Literary Society was located at the store of Mr. Morris Corwin.
- In January of 1881, it was located in the store of William Moore on the southwest corner of Main and South Streets and consisted of around two hundred and fifty books.
- February, 1881 public notices were posted in village regarding the establishment of a public library in Greenport
- In April 1907, the Greenport Literary Society committed themselves to the formation of a free public library for Greenport.
- January 1908 the trustees had received the Certificate of Incorporation from the State for a library to serve the election districts of Greenport. It was decided that they would rent the room in the Opera House Building from the Sterling Athletic Club for ninety dollars per year
- October 27, 1909 the trustees discussed and considered the idea of moving the library from its present location at the Opera House to the Havens building in order to save ten dollars per year in rent.
- November 23, 1917 dedication ceremony for the new building. Grace Floyd gave the building to honor her father, David Gelston Floyd, a grand-son of William Floyd, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
- In April 1918 the Library Association called a special meeting at which time it was agrees that the Board contact the State Department with the “motive of changing the name ‘Greenport Public Library’ to the Floyd Memorial Library.”’
MAINTENANCE OF PUBLIC ORDER
The following are some guidelines, which are designed for the comfort and protection of all people who use the facilities of the Floyd Memorial Library.
Enjoy yourself, read a lot and feel comfortable here.
Because the following activities interfere with the appropriate use of the library …
PLEASE DO NOT
- Leave young children unattended
- Engage in disruptive behavior (interfering with other people’s use of the library) or disorderly conduct
- Harass or hit people on library property
- Use loud, abusive or threatening language
- Deface, destroy or tamper with library property
- Loiter or solicit on library property
- Put feet on furniture or sit on tables
- Rearrange furniture
- Have bare feet or inappropriate dress
- Use audio equipment without headphones or at a volume that is audible to others
- Smoke, consume alcohol, partake of controlled substances, or carry weapons
- Bring open packages of food or beverages to the library or consume them on library premises
- Bring animals into the library unless necessary for assisting the disabled, or if the animal is being trained to assist the disabled, or if the animal is held or contained
- Distribute leaflets or circulate petitions
Failure to follow these guidelines and the directions of the library staff will result in your being asked to leave the library. Library personnel are authorized to contact the appropriate law enforcement agency to ensure compliance.
UNATTENDED CHILDREN POLICY
Parents or caregivers, not the library staff, are responsible for the behavior and supervision of their children while using the library.
The Floyd Memorial Library does not assume responsibility for children’s safety or behavior when they are in the library.
Parents or responsible caregivers will be notified if children are left unattended and require supervision.
If parents or caregivers are unavailable, proper authorities will be contacted. If at the close of business, a child under 12 is left unattended by a responsible adult, the local police will be asked to take custody of the child.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND AUTHORITIES OF THE LIBRARY BOARD
The duties of trustees are few in number but broad in scope. They are to:
- select, hire and annually evaluate a qualified library director
- secure adequate funding for the library’s service program
- exercise stewardship and accountability in the use of that funding
- adopt policies and rules regarding library use
- plan and evaluate the library’s service program
- promote the library in the local community and in society in general
- seek qualified candidates for future trusteeship (see below)
Everything the library board does either falls within one of these duties or is done in support of them.
Board composition and trustee qualifications.
The board of trustees composition should reflect the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity of the community.
The most important qualification of a library trustee is a strong and genuine belief in public libraries and their mission to the community. A good trustee is a good library patron. A good candidate has professional skills that complement board strengths and the time and energy to carry out the duties and responsibilities of trusteeship.
Adapted from the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State
Malcolm Hill, Mid-York Library System, Utica, NY 2000 edition
The Floyd Memorial Library has earned its good reputation due to the cooperative and dedicated efforts of its employees. Without these employees’ contributions the library would simply be a series of collections and not the highly appreciated source of learning and information for the community it has become. The purpose of these policy statements is to present and clarify the conditions related to employment in the Floyd Memorial Library. It is hoped that this presentation will provide the basis for mutual understanding and good working relationships. It is recognized that all situations change, and these policies will be reviewed and revised periodically.
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
The Floyd Memorial Library is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Library will neither discriminate against nor act in favor of any employee or applicant for employment because of sex, age, race, creed, disability, sexual orientation, or national origin. This policy of non-discrimination is and will be equally applicable to transfers, promotions, demotions and separations from employment, including layoff.
The library is open to the public 64 hours each week on a year-round basis. For safety and security reasons a minimum of two employees or volunteers should be in the building during all hours when the library is open to the public. Individual employee work schedules will be based on the needs of the library with employee needs given whatever consideration is possible.
EMPLOYEE WORK WEEK
Full-time permanent employees work a regular schedule of 35 hours per week.
All permanent employees who regularly work less than 35 hours per week will be classified as part-time permanent employees.
Employees hired for a limited period of time, not to exceed six months, will be classified as temporary employees. The work schedule of temporary employees may vary to meet the current needs of the library.
New employees, other than those hired as temporary employees, will be on probation for the first six calendar months of employment. If their performance is judged as satisfactory at the end of this six-month period, they will be given permanent status and become eligible for paid holidays, vacation and sick leave. This probationary period may be extended if additional training is deemed necessary.
Evening and Saturday work may be required of any employee and will be paid at the employee’s regular rate. Part-time employees working on Sunday will be compensated at one and one-half their hourly rate of pay. Full-time employees will receive a full-day off for each Sunday worked.
Employees working six or more hours in any day may take two ten minute breaks, one in the first and one in the second halves of their workday. Employees working four but less than six hours may take one ten-minute break.
Employees working more than six hours in a day shall take a lunch break of one hour’s duration on their own time.
Breaks, other than lunch, shall be taken on the library premises. Employees may leave the library during their lunch period as long as a minimum of two employees and/or volunteers remains in the building.
The Director or Assistant Director must approve variations from these guidelines.
The pay period for the Floyd Memorial Library is semimonthly. Paydays are the 15th and the last day of the month. Paydays that occur on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday will be recognized on the prior workday.
Time worked will be submitted on timesheets to the Director or Assistant Director.
The library participates in the New York State Employees’ Empire Plan health insurance. Full-time employees are entitled to individual health coverage. Family coverage is available and will be paid at the rate of 50% staff 50% library. If full-time employees elect to forego health insurance coverage with the library plan, they will be entitled to an annual payment of $1,200.
All employees who regularly work at least twenty hours a week are entitled to participate in the library sponsored 403 (b) pension plan through TIAA/CREF. The library will match individual pension contributions up to 4% of salary. Employees who leave after fewer than three years of employment may take with them only the portion of the accrued pension that they contributed. Employees leaving after three years or more of employment and participation in the plan will take both their own contributions and the funds contributed by the library.
ABSENCE AND LATENESS
It is important that each employee recognize the need for regular, punctual attendance to enable the library to fulfill its public service function.
Repeated unexcused absence or lateness will result in deductions from the employee’s salary or, if habitual, will result in discharge.
An employee who is unable to report for work at the scheduled starting time must inform the Library Director or Assistant Director as soon as possible. Normally this contact will be by phone.
The library will be closed on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve Day ½ day. If a holiday falls on Sunday, the library will be closed the following Monday. Regular, full-time employees will receive these days off with pay. If a holiday falls on a regularly scheduled day off, full-time employees are entitled to a “holiday” day to be taken within one month at the Director’s discretion. Regular part-time employees will earn their normal working hour pay and benefits if the holiday falls on their regular scheduled work day.
The Library Director and all permanent full-time employees will receive ten working days of paid sick leave eligibility as of January 1st each year. New full-time employees will receive 5/6 working days of sick leave for every month worked upon completion of their probationary period. Part-time employees will receive the equivalent of two-week’s sick leave proportionate to their regular workweek. Unused sick leave can be accumulated up to a maximum of 22 working days. There will be no payment for accrued sick leave upon employee separation.
Sick leave is to be used exclusively for periods of the employee’s own disability or for employee medical or dental visits that cannot be scheduled for non-working hours. At the discretion of the Director, sick leave may be used for the care of an employee’s immediate family.
A doctor’s statement may be required to define an employee’s or family member’s condition when sick leave is taken and/or to certify that the employee is able to return to work.
A doctor’s examination will be required in cases where workers’ compensation is involved.
The Director will receive one week (5 working days) of paid vacation after six months of employment, three weeks (15 working days) of paid vacation after one year of employment, four weeks (20 working days) of paid vacation after five years of employment, and five weeks (25 working days) after fifteen years of employment
Other full-time permanent employees will receive 2 weeks (10 working days) of paid vacation after one year of employment and one additional day of vacation each year thereafter up to a total of three weeks (15 working days) of paid vacation after five years, four weeks (20 working days) after 10 years employment.
Part-time permanent employees will receive the equivalent of one work week’s paid vacation after one year, two weeks’ paid vacation after two years and three weeks’ paid vacation after five years.
Written, dated requests for vacation scheduling shall be submitted to the Assistant Library Director as soon after January 1st as possible. In the case of multiple requests for the same vacation period requested before April 1st, the employee with the longer service will be given preference. Requests for vacation time during holiday periods will be granted on the basis of fairness to all concerned.
Vacation may not be carried over from year to year.
Upon separation, for reasons other than discharge for cause, payment will be made at the employee’s regular rate for vacation not taken.
The Library Director will be granted up to three days of personal leave per calendar year and other full-time permanent employees one day, with no explanation as to its use. These days should be scheduled in advance and will not accumulate from year to year. No payment will be made for unused days upon separation from employment.
Employees required to serve on jury duty will receive their regular compensation.
DEATH OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBER
Funeral pay of up to three days at the employee’s regular rate will be paid to full-time employees upon the death of an immediate family member (parents, spouse, child, or sibling). One day’s pay will be granted upon the death of other relatives. The Board of Trustees will consider any exceptions on a case- by- case basis.
Employees will be paid for their regular hours on any day the library closes early or remains closed for an emergency by order of the Director or Assistant Director. Employees will not be compensated if they choose not to work due to weather concerns. They may choose to use vacation time.
STAFF TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
The Library Director or a subordinate appointed by the Director will train new employees in their duties. The timing and duration of this training will be at the Director’s discretion.
The Board of Trustees encourages employees to increase their work related skills. Applications for attendance at relevant seminars and workshops should be sent to the Board via the Library Director. Fees and travel expenses will be reimbursed for approved attendance.
Members of the professional staff are encouraged to attend professional meetings and conferences. Requests for attendance should be submitted to the Board which will approve the number to be attended each year and the reimbursement to be provided.
From time to time staff members will be required to attend trainings offered by SCLS or other library or professional organizations at locations other than Floyd Memorial Library.
TUITION AID PROGRAM
All full-time permanent employees shall be eligible for tuition assistance under the following conditions:
- Only college level courses taken for credit will be eligible for reimbursement.
- Any course for which reimbursement is requested must be successfully completed with a grade of “B” or better.
- Reimbursement will be paid for 75% of tuition and course fees up to a maximum of $500 per calendar year.
- These benefits apply only to course work taken on the employee’s own time. Transportation to and from the educational institution is not covered.
All employees will receive a performance appraisal at least annually. The purpose of this appraisal will be to recognize good performance and to identify those areas, if any, where improvement may be needed.
The library staff will be appraised by the Library Director and the Director will be appraised by the Board of Trustees or its delegate. Every appraisal will be discussed with the employee within one month of the appraisal date.
Each appraisal will outline the process and identify the areas to be considered. A copy of the completed form will be given to the employee at the time of the discussion.
Employee complaints shall be taken up initially with the Library Director. If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, a meeting will be arranged with the Personnel Committee of the Board of Trustees. If no resolution is reached this point, the matter will be taken to the entire board.
TERMINATION AND RESIGNATION
Professional staff members are required to provide four weeks’ notice of departure or they will relinquish any accrued vacation pay. Support staff is required to submit two weeks notice or lose vacation accruals.
The following are grounds for suspension or immediate discharge
- Falsification of application for employment
- Illegal use or possession of alcohol or drugs on the library premises
- Insubordination- (Charges of insubordination brought by other than the Director shall be heard and decided by the Director. Charges of insubordination brought by the Director shall be heard and decided by the Board Personnel Committee
- Theft of library or individual property
- Tardiness or unsatisfactory attendance
- Violation of any library policy
STAFF CONDUCT AND APPEARANCE
The primary objective of the entire library staff is to provide courteous treatment for all patrons. Difficulties with patrons should be referred to the Library Director.
All members of the staff are expected to dress appropriately for their work. The Library Director will determine appropriate dress if questions arise.
With a small staff, relationships among employees take on added importance. It is vital that everyone be courteous and cooperative.
Employees are expected to act with mutual compassion, dignity, respect, and confidentiality.
STAFF PRIVILEGES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
A small kitchen is provided for staff use during lunch and break periods. Everyone is requested to help keep the kitchen clean and in good order.
Library staff members are asked to park their cars on First Street, leaving North Street parking for patrons.
Library telephones are for library business. Personal phone calls should be made or received only when necessary and should not interfere with job performance or library business. Personal calls should be kept to a minimum.
The staff may purchase books for personal use or gifts through the Baker and Taylor Staff Account.
Staff may borrow library books under the same procedures as for patrons.
A collection of professional materials is maintained in the office area and a wide variety of additional material related to library operation is available from the Suffolk Cooperative Library System. Staff is encouraged to use these resources.
The Floyd Memorial Library recognizes its responsibility to insure for its employees a working climate that is free from any form of sexual harassment.
For the purpose of this document sexual harassment is defined as deliberate or repeated unsolicited verbal comments, questions, representation or physical contact of an intimate or sexual nature, which are unwelcome to the recipient. It can also take the form of making or threatening to make decisions affecting an employee’s job on the basis of acceptance or refusal of a request for sexual intimacy.
The Board of Trustees of the Floyd Memorial Library System recognizes that sexual harassment is an unacceptable form of misconduct that undermines the integrity of the employment relationship. Sexual harassment undermines morale and interferes with the productivity of its victims. While it is not the Board of Trustees’ intent to regulate employees’ social interaction where relationships are freely entered into, conduct constituting harassment will not be tolerated.
The Board of Trustees guarantees the right of sexually harassed employees to exercise formal grievance procedures or to present an informal appeal to an appropriate and impartial supervisor within the organization. The Board of Trustees further guarantees that an employee who is found guilty of sexual harassment can expect serious disciplinary action.
Individuals who feel they have been the object of sexual harassment should advise their supervisor, the Assistant Director, or the Director.
Any person investigating such complaints will observe the following principles:
- The person bringing the complaint will suffer no retaliation.
- The complaint will not be discussed with anyone else without the complainant’s permission.
- If permission is given to pursue the complaint, an investigation will be conducted by the Assistant Director or the Director.
- In conducting an investigation, the right to confidentiality, both of the complainant and of the accused, will be respected.
- The investigation will be conducted as quickly as possible and the results reported to the complainant.
- In the event the complaint is found to be valid, the person found guilty of sexual harassment will receive appropriate counseling or disciplinary action just as he or she would for other violations of library policy.
Collection Development Policy
The purpose of the Floyd Memorial Library is to provide all individuals in the community with carefully selected library materials to support the pursuit of education, information, research, pleasure, and the creative use of leisure time.
Because of the volume of publishing, as well as the limitations of budget and space, the library must have a selection policy with which to meet community interests and needs.
The collection development policy is used by the library staff in the selection of materials and also serves to acquaint the general public with the principles of selection.
The Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom to Read Statement, and The Freedom to View Statement have been endorsed by the Floyd Memorial Library Board of Trustees and are integral parts of the policy.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR SELECTION
The ultimate responsibility for selection of library materials rests with the Library Director, who operates within the framework of the policies determined by the Floyd Memorial Library Board of Trustees. This responsibility may be shared with other members of the library staff. However, because the Director must be available to answer to the Library Board and the general public for actual selections made, the Director has the authority to reject or select any item contrary to the recommendations of the staff.
CRITERIA FOR SELECTION
The main points considered in the selection of materials are:
- individual merit of each item
- popular appeal/demand
- suitability of material for the patrons
- existing library holdings
The lack of a review or an unfavorable review shall not be the sole reason for rejecting a title that is in demand. Consideration is, therefore, given to requests from library patrons and books discussed on public media. Materials are judged on the basis of the work as a whole, not on a part taken out of context.
GIFTS AND DONATIONS
The Floyd Memorial Library encourages and appreciates gifts and donations of funds for the purchase of memorial or honor gifts. Gifts of materials may be accepted with the understanding that the same standards of selection are applied to gifts as to materials acquired by purchase, and that any gift may be discarded at the library’s discretion.
By law, the library is not allowed to appraise the value of donated materials. However, it can provide a receipt for donated items if the donor requests it.
An up-to-date, attractive and useful collection is maintained through a continual withdrawal and replacement process. Replacement or withdrawal of materials depends on current demand, usefulness, more recent acquisitions, and availability of newer editions. This ongoing process of weeding is the responsibility of the Library Director and is authorized by the Board of Trustees.
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS OR CHALLENGES
The library recognizes that some materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. Selection of materials will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval but solely on the basis of the principles stated in this policy.
Responsibility for children’s reading rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection of library materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may come into the possession of children. Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents, and no library material will be sequestered except to protect it from damage or theft.
Although materials are carefully selected, differences of opinion can arise regarding suitable materials. Patrons requesting that materials be withdrawn from or restricted within the collection may complete a “Statement of Concern About Library Resources” form, available in the library. The inquiry will be placed on the agenda of the next regular meeting of the Floyd Memorial Library Board of Trustees.
Floyd Memorial Library
Statement of Concern About Library Resources
Which of the following concerns you:
_____Book _____Audio-visual Resource
_____Magazine _____ Library Program
Author/Publisher or Producer/Date:__________________________________________
What is your concern about this material?
All borrowers must be registered and must have a valid local or Suffolk County library patron card to borrow library materials.
Patrons must fill out an application form to register for a new library card.
Library cards are available to all year-round residents or property owners of Greenport and Oysterponds school districts, upon presentation of proof of address, such as:
- Utility Bill
- Tax Bill
- Driver’s License
Applicants under 14 years of age must have a parent or guardian give their consent on the application form before an initial card can be issued. This parental signature is not required for children who are renewing cards. Children will only be issued library cards if a parent of guardian has a current card with no outstanding fines or overdue library materials.
Library privileges expire after three years. In order to renew a library card, patrons must produce identification and must clear all outstanding fines and bills.
Temporary cards are available to summer visitors or other temporary residents upon payment of $20.00. These cards expire in December of the calendar year in which they are issued.
Guest cards are available to patrons in good standing. These cards may be used by patron’s guests at Floyd Memorial Library They are not valid in other libraries.
New Adult Books: Fiction 7 or 14 days, Non-Fiction 14 days.
Regular Adult & Children’s Books: 14 days.
Music & Books on Tape & CDs: 14 days.
Periodicals & Pamphlets: 7days.
Informational Videos: 14 days.
Entertainment Videos: 7 days.
New Entertainment Videos: 2 days.
DVDs: 2 days.
Software Programs: 7 days.
Slide Projector: 7 days.
Videos and DVDs are nonrenewable.
The Director may establish the loan period for special collections and materials that are temporarily in great demand.
There is no limit on the number of items a patron can borrow at one time, with one exception — two items on a subject is the limit for a known school assignment.
The Library Director will determine the number of each type of non-book media that may be borrowed at one time: DVDs, CDs, VHS, recorded books, for example.
Patrons may reserve materials in person. Patrons will be notified by telephone when the materials are available. There is no charge to the patron for placing a reserve or for interlibrary loan services.
OVERDUE FINES AND CHARGES
There will be no fines for overdue Floyd Memorial Library materials. To encourage return of borrowed materials, patrons with overdue, non-renewable items will not be able to borrow any further materials until the overdue items are returned.
Patrons will be notified by email two days before a borrowed item becomes overdue. Another notice will be sent when an item is one week overdue. Unreturned items will be considered lost and the patron will be billed for the replacement cost of the item and a $10 restocking fee.
If materials are so damaged they are judged by the library as unsuitable for the collection, the patron must pay the replacement cost
INTERNET USE POLICY
The Floyd Memorial Library provides access to the Internet as a means to enhance the information and learning opportunities for the library’s patrons. The Board of Trustees has established the Internet use policy to ensure appropriate and effective use of this resource.
Access to the Internet is available to all patrons and visitors. However, this service may be restricted at any time for use that is inconsistent with the guidelines. Parents of minor children must assume responsibility for their children’s use of the library’s Internet service.
Users should be aware that the inappropriate use of electronic information resources can be a violation of local, state, and federal laws and can lead to prosecution. The user will be held responsible for his/her actions using the Internet. Users are expected to abide by the policies below, which include generally accepted rules of network etiquette. Unacceptable uses of the service will result in the suspension or revocation of Internet use privileges.
The Internet is a decentralized, unmoderated global network, and the Floyd Memorial Library has no control over content found there. The library will not censor access to material nor protect users from offensive information, and it is not responsible for the availability and accuracy of information on the Internet.
The library cannot assure that data or files downloaded by users are virus-free. The library is not responsible for damages to equipment or data on a user’s personal computer from the use of data downloaded from the library’s Internet service.
The use of the Internet and e-mail is not guaranteed to be private. Messages relating to or in support of illegal activities will be reported to the proper authorities.
Users may use the Internet for research and the acquisition of information to address their educational, vocational, cultural, and recreational needs.
Users may use the Internet for the receipt and transmission of electronic mail (e-mail) as long as they use a free e-mail service that will establish and maintain an account for them. The library is unable to manage e-mail accounts for any organization or individual.
Internet use is offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and each user is allowed one session. If there is no patron or visitor waiting for the service at the end of a session at the discretion of the library staff, time can be extended for an additional 30 minute period.
Users will respect and uphold copyright laws and all other applicable laws and regulations. They will not use the Internet for illegal purposes
Users will respect the rights and privacy of others by not accessing private files
Users agree not to incur any costs for the library through their use of the Internet service
Users shall not create and/or distribute computer viruses over the Internet
Users shall not deliberately or willfully cause damage to computer equipment, programs, or parameters
MEETING ROOM POLICY
The primary purpose of the Floyd Memorial Library’s meeting rooms is to serve as a venue for library sponsored services, programs, and activities. Library services, programs, and activities shall have priority over all other activities. The library reserves the right to revoke a meeting room use permit or to reschedule a meeting should there be a conflict with library related services, programs, or activities; or in the case of an emergency.
Permission to use the library’s meeting room may be granted to community groups, organizations, and individuals whose aims are library connected, educational, cultural; and/or civic. Use of the library’s meeting room is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations as well as policies promulgated by the Library Board of Trustees. Availability is determined solely by the library. Such use shall be non-exclusive and shall be open to the general public. Preference shall be given to Library District based organizations and organizations whose membership is primarily comprised of Library District residents.
The room is not to be used for sectarian religious instruction, for religious worship, or for proselytizing. The room may not be used by political parties or representatives of political parties when the purpose of such is to promote a political agenda. In addition, the room is not to be used for the advancement of commercial or profit-making enterprises.
Application to use the library’s meeting room must be made at least one week in advance of the intended use and in writing by an adult on the form provided for this purpose. Forms are available in the office of the Library Director. A Library District resident must sign the meeting room use application form. No application shall be considered officially approved until it is signed by the Library Director or other person designated by the Board of Trustees and returned to the applicant. By executing the application, the applicant agrees to the release of the applicant’s name and telephone number to any person requesting information concerning an organization’s activities or program.
Priority will be given to applicants who are Library District residents, then to residents of other North Fork communities. Any applicant must be an officer of the requesting organization. The organization may be required to provide a copy of its by-laws, membership list, official statement of purpose, and affiliation with other organizations. Applications must be filed a minimum of one week in advance. Applications will be processed periodically as the need arises by the library. The Director or designee will sign applications giving library permission. The Board of Trustees will review applications monthly.
Use of library facilities does not imply the library or anyone connected with the library endorses an organization’s beliefs or program. All publicity and/or media coverage for events in the library, whatever the source, must be approved by the Library Director before issuance or coverage. In all announcements or publicity relating to a meeting room event, the library may only be mentioned as a location, not as a sponsor of an event or as the headquarters of an organization. Any literature or other items to be distributed at a meeting must be submitted to the Library Director at least 48 hours prior to intended distribution. If items intended for distribution are in violation of law or regulation, distribution of same is prohibited.
The applicant must certify that the meeting room shall be used only for the specific activity stated on the application and for no other purpose whatsoever. No activity may disrupt library operations.
The responsibility for the maintenance of public order and safety at a meeting is that of the user. The user shall provide adequate responsible adult supervision. Responsible adults in a ratio to be determined by the Library Director must supervise groups whose membership includes minors.
The Library Director, or designee, is authorized to order the termination of any meeting or activity making use of library facilities in violation of any law or use regulation. The determination by the library official is final. The Library Director, or designee, is authorized to call upon appropriate law enforcement agencies to enforce such action if, in the opinion of the library official, circumstances warrant such an action. Further permission to use the meeting room may be denied to any group that proves to be disorderly or violates any law or regulation.
The meeting room must be left in a neat and orderly fashion. If not, a written notice will be given to the user stating that a second offense will result in denial of further meeting room use.
Whenever the library is used, there is the possibility that persons may be injured and may bring legal action against the Library Board of Trustees, library employees, and/or the contracting organization, group, or individual for personal liability. It is possible that organizations, groups, or individuals using the property may be sued for personal injury. Each organization, group or individual should, therefore, protect itself by having a temporary insurance policy insuring it against such legal action. The signature of the applicant on the meeting room use application is acknowledgment by the organization, group, or individual that it recognizes this responsibility.
The applicant is to execute a hold-harmless/indemnification agreement in favor of the library, its Board of Trustees, and its employees from any liability or claim action or loss arising from the applicant’s use of the meeting room to include the cost of legal fees and the costs or expenses incurred by the library in connection with defending any claim arising from the applicant’s use. The signature of the applicant on the meeting room use application indicates acceptance by the organization, group, or individual of the indemnification responsibility.
No admission fees may be charged, no donations may be solicited or accepted, and no items may be sold. Use of the facilities will not be granted for fund raising purposes, except as may be permissible under law and with the explicit consent of the Library Board of Trustees. Such permission shall be deemed extraordinary.
The library is not responsible for the safeguarding of any supplies, equipment, or other items owned by the user or by persons attending the user’s activity. The library will not store materials for any user. Items left in the library will be considered abandoned property and will be disposed of in accordance with standard practice.
There shall be no charge for the use of the meeting room during the library’s regular hours of opening. The user may request use outside the library’s normal hours of operation. Should such permission be granted, the user will incur a charge of $25 for each hour or fraction thereof that the user intends to use the meeting room. Under no circumstances will use be approved beyond two hours after the library’s regular closing hour. Checks payable to the library for this purpose must accompany the application. No refunds will be made except in the event of cancellation of the activity by the library or cancellation of the activity by the user at least 48 hours before to the scheduled activity.
The final and sole interpretation of this policy rests with the Library’s Board of Trustees. Implementation and enforcement are delegated to the Library Director.
With advanced notice, the library will set up the room for the user, although any re-arrangement during the event will be up to the user. Any library equipment, if use is granted, will be operated by library personnel, unless a trained operator can be provided by the user. Applicants should not try to use meeting rooms more frequently than once a month. If the demand for library meeting room facilities compels it, this frequency of use may be reduced to equitably apportion the facilities. Any refreshments need approval and must be provided by the user.
APPLICATION FOR MEETING ROOM USE:
Floyd Memorial Library
539 First Street
Greenport, NY 11944
Authorized Officer and Title________________________________________________
Event Date__________________________ Time__________________________
Supervisor responsible while on premises____________________________________
Number of chairs needed_______________
Please indicate room set up:
I have read the Floyd Memorial Library Meeting Room Policy. As an authorized representative of this organization I guarantee compliance with the policy and specifically assure that the library will be held exempt from any claims, liabilities suits or damages arising from our use of the library facilities
DISPLAYS AND EXHIBITS POLICY
The purpose of the Floyd Memorial Library’s display facilities is to increase public awareness of the library’s resources and to support its mission as an educational, informational, cultural, and recreational center for the community it serves. Displays are organized by the library to further this mission. The library reserves the right to determine what displays will be solicited and accepted, and to review all content Exhibits/displays using these facilities shall be for one or more of these purposes:
- Promoting the library services, collections or programs
- Highlighting current issues, events or other subjects of public interest
- Displaying art, crafts, photographs, writings, or collections when they promote or complement the mission of the library
GUIDELINES FOR DISPLAYS
The library reserves the right to cancel displays at any time for any reason.
Each exhibitor must execute an exhibit agreement with the library before the display is installed. This Exhibitors Agreement and Release shall include a descriptive list of all items included in the display.
No items shall be displayed until a signed Exhibitor’s Agreement and Release and a list of all items included in the exhibit are provided to the library.
The exhibitor’s name and telephone number may be included in the display.
The group or individual providing the display must supply any labor and/or equipment necessary to mount the display.
The final decision regarding the display arrangement and content is reserved to the library.
All pieces to be displayed should be framed and/or mounted, and suitable for hanging safely.
Exhibitors agree to leave their work for the period stipulated in the Exhibitor’s Agreement and Release.
The library will not provide storage for the property of exhibitors beyond the period specified in the Exhibitor’s Agreement and Release. Exhibits left beyond this period will be considered abandoned property and will be disposed of accordingly.
The library is not responsible for the security of displayed items. All items are understood and acknowledged to be displayed at the exhibitor’s risk.
The library is relieved of all liability for mutilation or damage or loss of exhibits from any cause whatsoever. Should the exhibitor determine that the display warrants insurance coverage, it is the sole responsibility of the exhibitor to secure such insurance coverage.
The library must approve all public relations announcements and advertising before dissemination. The library assumes no responsibility for publicizing exhibits.
EXHIBITOR’S AGREEMENT AND RELEASE
In consideration of my permitting my property to be exhibited at the Floyd Memorial Library, I hereby agree that neither the library nor its Trustees, agents or employees shall be liable for:
- any theft or damage, by whomever or however caused, or failure to exhibit, store, move or remove said property; or
- any injury which I or others may sustain to any degree attributable to, or in any way relative to, the exhibition.
I represent that the exhibition of my property is not prohibited or restricted in any way, and that title to said property shall not be transferred before its removal from the library. I agree to indemnify and hold harmless the library, its Trustees, agents, and employees concerning any claim or action against any of them because of my property and/or its exhibition.
By signing this Exhibitor’s Agreement and Release, I acknowledge having read the library’s DISPLAYS AND EXHIBITS POLICY and hereby agree (without reservation) to comply with all its terms and conditions.
DELIVERY DATE___________________________ REMOVAL DATE_________________
DATES OF EXHIBIT_________________________TO_____________________________
Signature Print Name
I hereby acknowledge that I have withdrawn my exhibit from the premises of the Floyd Memorial Library.
BULLETIN BOARD POLICY
The primary use of the bulletin boards will be for library purposes. As a center for information, the library will cooperate with government and local non-profit civic, cultural, recreational, and educational organizations by displaying their materials if the following criteria are met:
Exhibit materials to be displayed must be submitted for approval to the library and are subject to review by the Library Director and Library Board or their designee.
No organization or individual shall be permitted to display or exhibit any materials which advocate the election or defeat of any candidate for office, or which advocate any affirmative or negative vote for or against any proposition.
Due to limited display space, the library reserves the right to restrict the size, number and location of display materials. The library will determine the time span during which the materials are exhibited.
The library assumes no responsibility for the content of the notices or materials, nor for the possible damage or theft of materials.
Items posted are done so for informational purposes only. Posting does not imply an endorsement by the library.
Soliciting funds, except for library purposes, is not permitted.
No organization or individual shall be permitted to place in the library any box, receptacle or canister which solicits donations, except with the permission of the Library Board.
Posters announcing fundraising programs sponsored by any local non-profit organization may be displayed provided there is space available.
Petitions may not be posted in the library.
Geographical limits (only local community and government announcement)
Size limits (i.e. no larger than 8 ½ x 11, etc.)
No collection receptacle of any kind/no soliciting.
Any posting must have a name and telephone number contact for further information or clarification.
REVISION OF LIBRARY POLICIES
The preceding statements of the Floyd Memorial Library’s policies shall be subject to review and needed revision at least every year by the Library Board. Individual policies will be reviewed or added as needed.
SELECTION OF TRUSTEES POLICY
While the trustees of all municipal, school district and special district libraries, as well as a growing number of association libraries, are elected by the public or appointed by an elected municipal body, most association libraries in New York still appoint their own board members. Therefore an important part of every trustee’s job is to be on the lookout for potential new board members who can help keep the library and the board strong and move it confidently into the future. A board should seek out and encourage qualified candidates who can complement board strengths or fill a gap in the current board’s expertise. It is essential that board composition reflect the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity of the community. A clear, generic trustee job description should always be available for interested persons and the news media.
What are the qualifications for a library trustee? The most important qualification is a strong and genuine belief in public libraries and their mission in the community as centers for information, recreation, culture and lifelong education. Good library trustees are also good library patrons. A candidate must also be willing to devote appropriate time and effort to carrying out the duties and responsibilities of trusteeship. These duties will include regular attendance at board meetings, committee service and activities, visibility in the community on behalf of the library and learning about the library and the social, legal and political context in which it exists.
As public libraries move toward an uncertain future dominated by rapid change, the need for other board skills is also becoming apparent. The board should include members who are conversant with information technology, entrepreneurship, finance and public relations. These areas of expertise are keys to ensuring a healthy future for the library.
BYLAWS REQUIREMENTS FOR TRUSTEES
The Board of Trustees shall be composed of seven members, selected by the members of the Library Association at regularly, scheduled, annual meetings of the Association. Four of the Trustees must reside in the Greenport school district, three in the Oysterponds school district.
Each Trustee shall be elected for a term of five years; but no Trustee shall be elected for consecutive terms, either full or partial, which total more than 14 years. A Trustee who has served more than 14 years consecutively shall not be eligible to serve a further term until at least one year has elapsed from the end of the last term which he or she has served.
If a Trustee has vacated her or his office, the Board of Trustees shall appoint a replacement to serve the balance of the unexpired term, subject to confirmation by the members of the Library Association at their next annual public meeting.
Because the library board is self-perpetuating, our nominating procedures should be transparent.
Every individual interested in serving on the board of the library will be given a copy of the Trustee Job Description and will be asked to submit a letter of interest together with such biographical material as they believe will be helpful to the board. He/she will be asked to share thoughts and aspirations for the library in this letter. All letters must be received three months before the annual meeting for the individual to be considered for nomination.
Board members will be notified of any impending vacancy (or vacancies).
At a board meeting prior to the annual meeting, board members will review letters of interest and will present their recommendations. The goal of this procedure is to ensure that each board member has an opportunity to nominate and to ensure that all nominees are considered together.
After discussion the board will rank the candidates in order of their viability, bearing in mind such factors as expertise, geography, links to other community organizations, time constraints, library use and interest, etc.
The board will determine the most appropriate member to approach and invite the candidate to serve.
When a potential trustee has been identified, he or she can be invited to board meetings to learn more about the library’s governance.
Orientation of new trustees
A successful trustee begins with a thorough understanding of libraries and the laws that govern them. A formal orientation with the library director is the best way to learn about the organization. This orientation should include a discussion of the library’s mission and goals, its role in the community and a review of the critical issues facing the organization. A good orientation will provide trustees with the information they need to carry out their responsibilities effectively and will generate a spirit of ongoing curiosity about the library and its role in the community.
Responsibility for planning and conducting the new trustee orientation is shared among the Board President, other board members and the library director. It is essential to have a formal orientation for all new trustees as soon as possible.
All new trustees should receive a tour of the library and an opportunity to meet the staff. The library director or Board President can provide information on:
- Mission, goals, long-range plans and projects in progress
- How the library is organized and governed
- Responsibilities and expectations of trustees
- Funding sources and how the budget is created and managed
- Day to day operations
- Ways the library serves the needs of the community and how it is linked to other organizations and resources
- Recent accomplishments and challenges
- Board relationships with the director, staff and volunteers
Every trustee should receive a thorough orientation and packet of essential documents to keep in a notebook of library related materials. The following information may be provided:
- By-Laws of the Board of Trustees
- Board membership and contact information
- Board Committee memberships
- Minutes of recent Board meetings
- Library policy manuals
- Long range or strategic plans
- Previous annual audit(s)
- Current Operating Budget
- Recent monthly financial reports and statistics
- An explanation of the State Library and the library’s public library system, including the services they provide to the library
- Library newsletters, brochures and related library websites
- Information on the Friends of the Library
- Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State
- Board of Regents Statement on the Governance Role of a Trustee or Board Member
All trustees should keep this notebook up to date by adding to it such documents as minutes and reports that are distributed at board meetings. Trustee Duties and Responsibilities
A trustee is a person to whom property is legally committed in trust. A library trustee’s commitment is to both the physical property and resources of the library and to the services it provides. The library board has the final responsibility to see that its library provides the best possible service to its community. The duties of trustees are broad in scope. They are:
- Create and develop the mission of the library
- Select and hire a qualified library director
- Secure adequate funding for the library’s service program
- Exercise fiduciary responsibility for the use of public and private funds
- Adopt policies and rules regarding library governance and use
- Regularly plan and evaluate the library’s service program
- Maintain a facility that meets the library’s and community’s needs
- Promote the library in the local community and in society in general
- Conduct the business of the library in an open and ethical manner in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations
- All actions of the Board shall be of the Board as a unit. No Board member shall act on behalf of the board, on any matter, without prior approval of the Board. No Board member by virtue of his/her office, shall exercise any administrative responsibility with respect to the library nor, as an individual, command the services of or attempt to supervise any library employee.
Checklist for Effective Library Trustees
Be active and informed about library matters in general and of those affecting our library. Ask questions of the director and study the issues.
- Attend all board meetings and be fully prepared to participate knowledgeably.
- Question issues until you understand. Don’t be reluctant to vote no on a proposal you don’t understand or are uncomfortable about.
- Be a team player and treat your fellow board members with respect.
- Support board decisions even if you disagree. A democracy works by the rule of the majority. Seek reconsideration in the future if circumstances change.
- Understand the roles of all involved – the board, director, staff, Friends, patrons, etc.
- Conflicts of interest by any board member are the concern of all members of the board. A trustee or family member may not receive any gain, tangible or intangible, in dealing with the library.
- Advocate for the library in every manner possible.
- Support competitive salaries in order to attract and retain qualified staff. Appropriate compensation is a direct measure of the commitment and respect a community has for the institution and its staff.
- Understand and respect the role of the director and support the director’s administrative decisions.
- Always remember that your job is to provide the highest quality library service possible for your community.
Every trustee makes a personal commitment to contribute the time and energy to faithfully carry out these duties. Although the board is legally responsible for all aspects of the library as an institution, it is unreasonable to expect a trustee or the whole board to be expert on every activity or concern that affects the library. Sometimes the most important thing a board can do is acknowledge that it does not have enough information or resources, and to ask for help. A trustee must make decisions based on the best information available. It is often wise to consult specialists such as lawyers, accountants, architects, computer analysts and other experts and to act upon their advice.
Under New York State law, library boards have broad and almost exclusive powers and authority to administer the library. The board should not only be concerned with the internal operations of the organization but also alert to external trends and changes that can affect the library’s program of services. Being proactive and open to change is imperative in order to survive and thrive in a world in which change is the only constant. Continuing Education
Trustees must learn and grow during their tenure on the board, developing an ever-deepening awareness of the affairs of their own library and an appreciation and understanding of other libraries and library organizations and how they relate. The public library is a multifaceted organization functioning in a complex world.
The first step in the learning process is the orientation of a new trustee. However, education cannot cease once a person has reached the board table. Board meetings can be an excellent forum for continuing education. Many boards set aside time at every meeting for a presentation or discussion of some aspect of the library’s work or programs. Such a session might include a training video, an overview of a staff member’s work responsibilities, a presentation by a representative of the public library system or simply a few minutes of philosophical discussion and reflection on the role and purpose of the library. The importance of board self-assessment cannot be overstated.
There is an extensive body of literature on trusteeship and board development, and public library operation and management. A small sampling is included in the bibliography of the Handbook for Library Trustees in New York State. In addition to organizations such as New York State Association of Library Boards (NYSALB), Association for Library Trustees and Advocates (ALTA) and the Public Library Association and Library Administration and Management Association offer extensive resources as well.
Outside the library field there are many organizations concerned with non-profit administration and management. BoardSource and Leader to Leader (Peter F. Drucker Foundation) are especially helpful and complement the offerings of the library organizations well. Many of these publications can be obtained through the library or public library system. Trustees should also ask the library director to let them know about articles or books in all fields that may be helpful to an understanding of the library’s affairs.
Workshops and conferences provide an excellent opportunity for continuing education both from the program content itself and from the opportunity to meet and share experiences and ideas with other trustees. NYSALB sponsors an Annual Trustee Institute and most public library systems offer workshops and seminars specifically aimed at trustees. The annual NYLA Conference offers an excellent opportunity to learn about new developments, programs, and activities across the state. NYSALB always offers a special package of trustee-oriented programs within the NYLA conference. On a national level, the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates (ALTA), a division of the American Library Association, offers a program track for trustees at the annual ALA Conference as well.
Financial constraints or the perception of public disapproval make some boards reluctant to approve dues, registration fees, and travel expenses for the continuing education of trustees. However, these expenses are essential to keep libraries alive and vibrant through a better-informed and more effective board and staff.
Effective and knowledgeable trustees undergo a constant process of growth and learning. Attending board meetings and voting on current questions is not enough. Continuing education, for trustees as well as staff, represents an important investment in the library’s future.
Library trustees have a responsibility to help make the Commission’s vision a reality. A good public library benefits and serves the entire community. While trustees are not usually involved in the day-to-day activities of the library, they make policy and fiscal decisions crucial to the life and direction of the library. Their decisions impact the lives of people and the future of their community.
Library trustees are responsible to the library and to the public it serves. Trustees must fulfill the duties commonly referred to as care, loyalty, and obedience, and must be tireless advocates for improving library services. Forward-looking, informed trustees are needed to guide their libraries through the information age in a knowledge-based society.
Ethics Statement for Public Library Trustees
Trustees in the capacity of trust upon them shall observe ethical standards with absolute truth, integrity and honor.
- Trustees must avoid situations in which personal interests might be served or financial benefits gained at the expense of library users, colleagues, or the situation.
- It is incumbent upon any trustee to disqualify himself/herself immediately whenever the appearance or a conflict of interest exists.
- Trustees must distinguish clearly in their actions and statements between their personal philosophies and attitudes and those of the institution, acknowledging the formal position of the board even if they personally disagree.
- A trustee must respect the confidential nature of library business while being aware of and in compliance with applicable laws governing freedom of information.
- Trustees must be prepared to support to the fullest the efforts of librarians in resisting censorship of library materials by groups or individuals.
- Trustees who accept library board responsibilities are expected to perform all of the functions of library trustees.
Ethics Statement Adapted from the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates (ALTA) a division of the American Library Association
Floyd Memorial Library Policy adapted from Handbook for Library Trustees in New York State, 2005 Edition
This policy establishes the direction for the management of financial assets of Floyd Memorial Library. It is the Library’s intention to invest its funds in a manner that will provide a reasonable investment return with the maximum security, while meeting daily cash flow needs.
Preservation of Capital
The preservation of capital is the foremost objective of the investment program. At no time should the safety of the portfolio’s principal investment be impaired or jeopardized. All investments shall be undertaken in a manner that first seeks to preserve capital and secondly attempts to fulfill other investment objectives.
The Library’s investment portfolio is to remain sufficiently liquid to enable the Library to meet those operating requirements that might be reasonably anticipated.
Eligible securities used for collateralizing deposits shall be held by the depository bank and or a third party bank or trust company subject to security and custodial agreements.
The market value of collateral will at all times exceed the principal amount of the deposits.
Return on Investments (Yield) The Library’s investments should generate the highest available return without sacrificing the first two objectives.
Investments shall be made with judgment and care, under circumstances then prevailing, which persons of prudence, discretion and intelligence might exercise in the management of their own affairs.
The duly elected Treasurer of the Library Board of Trustees is the Fiscal Officer of the Library. Management responsibility for the Library’s investment program is delegated to the Fiscal Officer and the Director. Therefore, the Fiscal Officer and the Director are responsible for the implementation of the investment program and the establishment of investment procedures consistent with this policy and shall act only in accordance with the wishes of the Board as described in this Investment Policy.
The Board may wish to retain an Investment Advisor to manage the investment portfolio. In that case, the Investment Advisor shall act only in accordance with the wishes of the Board as described in this Investment Policy.
Authorized and Suitable Investments
The following investments are deemed to be suitable for inclusion in the Library’s investment program. The Library Director and Treasurer are authorized to invest library funds only in those investments specifically delineated below:
- Interest-bearing accounts, certificates of deposit or interest-bearing time deposits at commercial banks and insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
- Money market mutual funds.
- Notes, bonds, treasury bills or other securities, which are guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States of America.
- U.S. Treasury Bills and Notes, for which the full faith and credit of the United States Government is pledged for the repayment of principal and interest;
- Demand deposit accounts (such as checking accounts) established with local financial institutions, and properly insured through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
- Certificates of Deposit (CD’s) issued by local financial institutions, and properly insured through the FDIC.
The Director and Treasurer are responsible for establishing and maintaining internal control to insure that the assets of the Library are protected from loss, theft or misuse. The internal control structure shall be designed to provide reasonable assurance that these objectives are met.
Maturity of Investments
No investment shall have a maturity date of more than five years from its date of purchase by the Library, unless an investment is matched to a specific obligation of the library.
Diversification of Investments
The Library shall diversify its investments to the best of its ability based on the type of funds invested and the cash flow needs of those funds. Diversification can be achieved by the type of investment, number of institutions, and length of maturity. The Library’s portfolio shall be deposited with more than one financial institution.
Ethics and Conflicts of Interest
Those involved in the investment process shall refrain from personal business activity that could conflict with the proper execution and management of the Library investment program, or that could impair their ability to make impartial decisions.
When investments are made in accordance with this policy, no Library staff member with investment authority shall be held liable for a loss resulting from default or insolvency of a depository of Library funds.
The Director and Treasurer shall provide the Board of Trustees with reports which clearly provide the following information regarding the investment portfolio: Types of investments; depository institutions; principal balances; rates of return; maturities.
Restricted Funds – Building Fund
Money or securities may be accumulated in the Library Building Fund for the purpose of anticipating necessary future capital expenditures such as the purchase of land, the purchase and construction of buildings or structures, or the construction of additions or improvements to existing structures.
Restricted Funds – Capital Improvement Fund
Money or securities may be accumulated in the Capital Improvement Fund for the purpose of anticipating necessary future capital expenses such as major repairs to maintain the integrety of the structure.
Unrestricted Funds –Fund Balances
Unexpended funds at the end of the fiscal year may be accumulated in the unrestricted Fund Balance up to an amount equal to 50% of the annual operating budget. Any additional funds shall be designated to a restricted fund.
Investment Policy Adoption
The Library’s investment policy shall be adopted by resolution of the Library’s Board of Trustees. The policy shall be reviewed no less than annually by the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees and any modification made to it must be approved by the Board of Trustees.
LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
- 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.
- 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.
- Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
- Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
- A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
- 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.
American libraries exist and function within the context of a body of laws derived from the United States Constitution. The Library Bill of Rights embodies the basic policies which guide libraries in the provision of services, materials, First Amendment and programs.
In the preamble to its Library Bill of Rights, the American Library Association affirms that all [emphasis added] libraries are forums for information and ideas. This concept of forum and its accompanying principle of inclusiveness pervade all six Articles of the Library Bill of Rights.
The American Library Association stringently and unequivocally maintains that libraries and librarians have an obligation to resist efforts that systematically exclude materials dealing with any subject matter, including gender or sexual orientation:
- Article I of the Library Bill of Rights states that “Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.” The Association affirms that books and other materials coming from gay presses, gay, lesbian, or bisexual authors or other creators, and materials regardless of format or services dealing with gay lifestyles are protected by the Library Bill of Rights. Librarians are obligated by the Library Bill of Rights to endeavor to select materials without regard to the gender or sexual orientation of their creators by using the criteria identified in their written, approved selection policies (ALA policy 53.1.5).
- Article II maintains that “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.” Library services, materials, and programs representing diverse points of view on gender or sexual orientation should be considered for purchase and inclusion in library collections and programs. (ALA policies 53.1.1, 53.1.9, and 53.1.11). The Association affirms that attempts to proscribe or remove materials dealing with gay or lesbian life without regard to the written, approved selection policy violate this tenet and constitute censorship.
- Articles III and IV mandate that libraries “challenge censorship” and cooperate with those “resisting abridgement of free expression and free access to ideas.”
- Article V holds that “A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background or views.” In the Library Bill of Rights and all its Interpretations, it is intended that: “origin” encompasses all the characteristics of individuals that are inherent in the circumstances of their birth; “age” encompasses all the characteristics of individuals that are inherent in their levels of development and maturity; “background” encompasses all the characteristics of individuals that are a result of their life experiences; and “views” encompasses all the opinions and beliefs held and expressed by individuals.
Therefore, Article V of the Library Bill of Rights mandates that library services, materials, and programs be available to all members of the community the library serves, without regard to gender or sexual orientation. This includes providing youth with comprehensive sex education literature (ALA Policy 52.5.2).
- Article VI maintains that “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.” This protection extends to all groups and members of the community the library serves, without regard to gender or sexual orientation.
The American Library Association holds that any attempt, be it legal or extra-legal, to regulate or suppress library services, materials, or programs must be resisted in order that protected expression is not abridged. Librarians have a professional obligation to ensure that all library users have free and equal access to the entire range of library services, materials, and programs. Therefore, the Association strongly opposes any effort to limit access to information and ideas. The Association also encourages librarians to proactively support the First Amendment rights of all library users, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Adopted June 30, 1993; amended July 12, 2000, by the ALA Council.
THE FREEDOM TO READ STATEMENT
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:
- 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 why we believe it.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
Subsequently Endorsed by:
- American Association of University Professors
- American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
- American Society of Journalists and Authors
- American Society of Newspaper Editors
- Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith
- Association of American University Presses
- Center for Democracy & Technology
- The Children’s Book Council
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Feminists for Free Expression
- Freedom to Read Foundation
- International Reading Association
- The Media Institute
- National Coalition Against Censorship
- National PTA
- Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
- PEN American Center
- People for the American Way
- Student Press Law Center
- The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression
FREEDOM TO VIEW STATEMENT
The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:
- To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression.
- To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
- To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
- To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
- To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public’s freedom to view.
This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.
Endorsed by the ALA Council January 10, 1990