MISSION, VISION & HISTORY
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 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.
Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedure
The FLOYD MEMORIAL LIBRARY is committed to ensuring that any form of sexual harassment is not tolerated. This policy offers guidance for recognizing conduct that violates the FLOYD MEMORIAL LIBRARY’s sexual harassment policy and provides information about informal and formal procedures for investigating and resolving claims.
The FLOYD MEMORIAL LIBRARY is committed to providing a safe work environment in which all its employees’ are free from discrimination and harassment including sexual harassment. The FLOYD MEMORIAL LIBRARY has a zero tolerance policy for any form of sexual harassment and no one will be retaliated against for making a complaint in good faith. This policy covers all staff at the FLOYD MEMORIAL LIBRARY.
WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?
Sexual Harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive work environment.
Sexual harassment can involve one or more incidents. Actions constituting harassment may be physical, verbal and non-verbal. Examples of conduct or behaviors which constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
- Unwelcome physical contact including patting, pinching, stroking, kissing, hugging, fondling or inappropriate touching.
- Physical violence, including sexual assault
- The use of job-related threats or rewards to solicit sexual favors.
- Comments on a worker’s appearance, age, private life, etc.
- Sexual comments, stories and jokes
- Sexual advances
- Repeated and unwanted social invitations for dates or physical intimacy
- Insults based on the sex of the worker
- Condescending or paternalistic remarks
- Sending sexually explicit messages (by phone or text or email)
- Display of sexually explicit or suggestive materials
- Sexually-suggestive gestures
What should I do if I think I am being sexually harassed?
If sexual behavior in the workplace occurs and you feel uncomfortable or you think it is inappropriate, the FLOYD MEMORIAL LIBRARY encourages you to address it.
HERE IS A CHECKLIST OF STEPS YOU MAY TAKE:
- Let the harasser know that the behavior is unwelcome and that you want it to stop.
- Report and discuss the behavior with your supervisor and enlist your supervisor’s help.
- Discuss the problem with a supervisor or manager who does not oversee your work.
- Make a formal complaint of sexual harassment to the Assistant Director or Library Director.
What kind of records should I keep and how will it help?
Keep a contemporaneous log of what has happened. It may help you clarify what behavior occurred and what steps to take.
If you keep a log, you should record the date of any incident, describe what occurred, record your responses and note any witnesses.
What is the best way to make a formal written complaint asking the FLOYD MEMORIAL LIBRARY to investigate harassment?
To make a formal, written complaint about sexual harassment: You may tell any supervisor or manager that you want to make a complaint. The Library Director will provide you with a copy of the complaint form, and you or the manager or supervisor will send it directly to the Library Director or Assistant Director. If your complaint is against the Library Director, you should interact directly with the President of the Library Board of Trustees. The officers of the board are listed on our library website (http://floydmemoriallibrary.org) in the ABOUT section of the navigation menu.
A copy of the complaint form and Instructions can be found at the end of this policy.
What should I put in the complaint?
The complaint should be specific as possible about what happened and how you responded. Be sure to describe each event and the date when it occurred (or as close to the dates as you can remember). Providing names of people who know about the harassment, either because you told them or because they witnessed something, is also helpful. If you have kept a log of the harassment, now is the time to use it.
Don’t feel confined to the space provided in the compliant form. Use additional sheets if you need them to complete your answers.
What will happen once I make the complaint?
Filing a formal complaint will start an investigation conducted by the appropriate administrative staff. During the investigation, you, the person you said harassed you and others who may have information about the harassment will be interviewed. The investigation will be handled with sensitivity and with the greatest degree of confidentiality practicable. Once your case has been investigated you will receive a report of findings and any sanctions that have been deemed appropriate. The person about whom you complained will also receive a copy of the determination.
Will I have the opportunity to appeal the decision?
You and the person about whom you complained both have the right to appeal the determination. The appeal must be made within 30 days of the date you receive the determination.
If you appeal, your case will be reviewed in its entirety.
Is there any limit on the time for bringing a complaint?
If you are going to file a formal complaint, you should do so within one year of the time when the harassment occurred. If you wait longer, doing a fair and thorough investigation becomes more difficult.
I want to keep this as quiet as possible. Do I have a right to expect that my complaint will be treated confidentially?
All inquiries, complaints and investigations are treated confidentially. Information is revealed strictly on a need-to-know basis. However, the identity of the complainant is usually revealed to the respondent and witnesses. Steps will be taken to ensure that the complainant is protected from retaliation.
Are there outside agencies that can help me with a sexual harassment claim?
A number of governmental agencies have jurisdiction over charges of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Both the New York State Division of Human Rights and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigate charges of sexual harassment.
If I file a complaint, how do I know I will not be treated unfairly?
The FLOYD MEMORIAL LIBRARY’S policy is to protect employees against retaliation from making a complaint in good faith.
A retaliation claim could be an independent claim of harassment and will be investigated regardless of what happens with the original complaint.
Please attach any additional information you may have about the claim and return to the Human Resources Department
Complete this form to file a claim of discriminatory treatment with the FLOYD MEMORIAL LIBRARY. THE FLOYD MEMORIAL LIBRARY is committed to preserving your confidentiality. Any individuals contacted by the investigator(s) will be asked not to disclose the facts or contents of your claim unless disclosure is necessary.
Title: _________________________________________ Department: ____________________________
Home Address: _________________________________________________________________________
- I believe that I have been treated in a discriminatory manner based on my:
|Race ___||Color ___||Sex (including Sexual Harassment) ___|
|Age ___||Disability ___||Religion ___|
|Marital Status ___||National Origin ___||Sexual Orientation ___|
|Gender Identity or Expressions ___||Domestic Violence status ___||Genetic Status ___|
|Other (please specify): ________________________________________|
- I believe that the act of treatment described below is discriminatory:
- I believe that the following individual(s) has (have) acted in a discriminatory manner:
- Date of act or treatment (or indicate if ongoing):
- Witnesses (include names, work locations and telephone numbers):
I authorize the Floyd Memorial Library to use my name in investigating this claim.
Signature:__________________________________________________ Date: ________________________________
Please attach any additional information you may have about the claim and return this form or a copy of it to the your Direct Supervisor, Manager or Library Director.
WHISTLE BLOWER POLICY
The Floyd Memorial Library is committed to the highest possible standards of openness, honesty and accountability. In line with that commitment, we expect employees who have serious concerns about any aspect of the Library’s work to come forward and voice those concerns. These concerns include questionable or improper accounting or auditing matters; violations and suspected violations of the Library’s Code of Ethics; or other policies that are ethical in nature. This Whistle Blower Protection Policy is intended to encourage and enable employees to raise serious concerns within the Library rather than overlooking a problem or seeking a resolution of the problem outside the Library.
Employees are often the first to realize that there may be something seriously wrong within the Library. However, they may decide not to express their concerns because they feel that speaking up would be disloyal to their colleagues or to the Library. They may also fear harassment or victimization. In these circumstances, they may feel it would be easier to ignore the concern rather than report what may just be a suspicion of malpractice.
The Library adheres to the NYS Labor Law 740 which outline employee rights regarding retaliation in the workplace. No employee who in good faith reports a violation shall suffer harassment, retaliation or adverse employment consequences. An employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment. A volunteer may be removed from an appointed or elected position.
The Library’s open door policy suggests that employees share their questions, concerns, suggestions or complaints with someone who can address them properly. In most cases, an employee’s supervisor is in the best position to address an area of concern. However, if the employee is not comfortable speaking with his or her supervisor or the employee is not satisfied with their supervisor’s response, the employee is encouraged to speak to anyone in management whom they are comfortable in approaching, including the Director. Assistant Directors, supervisors and managers are required to report suspected violations to the Director who is required to look into all reported violations and forward a written report to the Library Board, including appropriate recommendations with respect to all reported concerns.
The employee may directly report the concern in writing to the Board of Trustees (in care of the library). Concerns may be submitted anonymously.
After an investigation has been completed, the employee reporting the improper activity shall be advised of a summary of the results of the investigation, except that personnel actions taken as a result of the investigation shall be kept confidential.
Thereafter, Library employees may report information about the activity directly to the appropriate government agency which has responsibility for investigating the improper activity if the Library employee has a reasonable belief that one of the following two conditions exists:
- An adequate investigation was not undertaken by the Library to determine whether an improper activity occurred, or
- Insufficient action has been taken by the Library to address the improper activity.
Library employees who fail to make a good-faith attempt to follow Library procedures in reporting improper activity shall not receive the protection provided by the Library in these procedures.
Protection Against Retaliatory Actions
Library officials and employees are prohibited from taking retaliatory action against a Library employee because he or she has, in good faith, reported an improper activity in accordance with these policies and procedures.
Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for reporting an improper activity should advise the Library Board. Library Board officials shall take appropriate action to investigate and address complaints of retaliation.
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. These cards expire one year from date of issue.
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: 7 days.
Informational DVDs: 14 days.
*New Entertainment DVDs: 2 days.
*Older DVDs: 7 days.
Software Programs: 7 days.
Slide Projector: 7 days.
*Entertainment 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 or online. Patrons will be notified by telephone or email 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 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.
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.
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.
Last approved and revised: 6/7/2021.
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
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