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POLICY MANUAL

I.    STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

Springfield Town Library serves the residents of Springfield and the surrounding towns as the community center for reading and information services. The Library is committed to introducing young children to the world of books and learning, and to stimulating the enjoyment of reading for all. The Library provides a broad collection to meet the diverse reading and information needs of the community and to promote the life-long pursuit of knowledge. It serves as a connection to the resources of other libraries in Vermont and beyond.

The following policies are established to further the general Statement of Purpose above. Specific procedures to implement these policies are established by the Library Director in a Library Procedure Manual.

II.  ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION

           

      A. Governance

          

The Springfield Town Library was incorporated under the laws of the State of Vermont on November 3, 1870. It operated independently under a Board of Trustees until January 1976, when it became a department of the Town Government of Springfield. The Board of Trustees now functions as specified in the Town's Administrative Code, Section 2-41 through 2-49 (and amended by Ordinance O-2003-1 and O-2003-2). See Appendix A.

      B.  Support

The Library's principal source of funds is its annual appropriation as approved by the voters of the Town. The annual budget is developed by the Library Director with the advice and consent of the Board of Trustees and submitted to the Town Manager for approval by the Board of Selectmen. Library Trust Funds are managed by the Trustees

of Public Funds as specified under the Town Administrative Code, Section 2-49. Income from these funds goes into the Town's General Fund to offset Library expenses. Trust Fund principal may be expended in accordance with the terms of the bequests and with the concurrence of the Library Board of Trustees and the Board of Selectmen. Federal, state and other grants may be accepted by the Trustees and Board of Selectmen to further the goals of the Library.

Gifts and bequests from individuals, corporations and foundations may be accepted at the discretion of the Library Director and in compliance with the Town's Gift Policy to further the goals of the Library. Books and other donated materials are accepted with the understanding that those which do not meet the collection development needs of the Library will be sold or disposed of otherwise. The Library will not establish the value of donated materials but will provide a receipt on request. Gifts which may obligate the Town to future expenses are subject to the approval of the Board of Selectmen

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      C.  Administrative Organization

The Library is administered by the Library Director, who is responsible to the Town Manager. The Library Director is charged with full administrative responsibility for the operation of the Library. This includes hiring and discharging staff, training, supervision and performance evaluation of all employees, and fiscal responsibility for the library program of the municipal budget.  

Like all other Town departments, the Library is governed by the Town Charter and Administrative Code. Pay rates and conditions of employment for permanent Library employees are established under the Town's Personnel Policy and the Library collective bargaining agreement. Personnel practices and decisions shall be consistent with the Town's Personnel Policy and the collective bargaining agreement. Job descriptions for the Library Director and all other staff are included in the Personnel Policy (see Appendix B).

The Library Director's relationship with the Board of Trustees is partially covered by the Town Administrative Code, Section 2-47(g). Furthermore, the Library Director acts in the advisory capacity of a professional expert to the Board; recommends policies, programs and changes; attends all Board meetings and has the right to speak on all matters under discussion. The Library Director is not a member of the Board and has, therefore, no vote on matters under discussion. When substantial matters of policy or law are discussed, the Board shall communicate directly with the Board of Selectmen.

      D. Community Relations

Library service is rendered on a strictly impartial and equal basis to all individuals and groups in the community. As an institution supported by public funds, all activities of the Library are motivated by the ideal of providing excellent public service to all regardless of race, age, sex, background or beliefs.

Paramount in each staff member's mind should be the understanding that they serve the public and that their primary job is to provide the best possible library services to meet the needs of the community. Every effort should be made to ensure that each visit to the Library is a positive experience. Criticism of the Library and/or its administrative policies by the public should be referred by the staff and Trustees to the Library Director.

Trustees, Library Director and staff are encouraged to take an active part in community affairs and work consistently toward making the Library an integral part of constructive community activities.

The Friends of Springfield Town Library (FOSTL) is an independent, non-profit corporation organized to support the Library in various ways and is invaluable to the Library. The Library Director and Trustees maintain a close relationship with FOSTL but do not exercise control of the organization. Conversely, FOSTL works closely with the Library but does not make decisions for it. FOSTL's budget is arrived at in consultation with the Library and any donations FOSTL might make are in concurrence with the Library's goals.

The use of volunteers to assist the Library staff and expand the ability of the Library to meet community needs for library service is encouraged. The use of volunteers is intended to supplement, but not replace, Library staff.

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III.PLAN OF SERVICE

A.  The Library shall adopt a long-range Plan of Service, identifying users and their needs and establishing goals to meet those needs. The Library shall adopt annual objectives during the life of the planning cycle to implement those goals and evaluate its performance.

      B.  The Library has recognized three roles as its primary emphasis:

1. Community Information Center

2. Popular Materials Center

3. Children's Services Center

IV. GENERAL OPERATION OF THE LIBRARY

      A.  MINIMUM STANDARDS

The Library shall make every effort to annually meet the Minimum Standards for Public Library services established by the Vermont Board of Libraries.

      B.  HOURS OF SERVICE

The Library shall be open for service on a regular schedule designed to best meet the needs of the public as determined by the Library Director and approved by the Board of Trustees. The Library will be open at least 40 hours per week and will include evening

and weekend hours.

Exceptions include the official Library holidays as established in the collective bargaining agreement (New Year's Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the day after Christmas) and announced closings for other Town holidays or emergencies, at the discretion of the Library Director. The Library will be closed on Saturday following a Friday holiday or before a Monday holiday

      C.  AVAILABILITY OF SERVICE   (Revised & Adopted 9/6/2011)

The Library provides many types of services and it is the policy of the Library to make those services available to everyone regardless of age, sex, race, lifestyle, language, reading ability or personal viewpoint, striving to provide a safe, enjoyable experience and environment for everyone who visits.

The Library welcomes and encourages all children to use and enjoy its facilities, programs and services. Sharing this environment with other people requires that everyone follow the posted Guidelines for Library Behavior (see Appendix C). Library staff members do not serve in loco parentis for children in the Library, and parents should not view the Library as an alternative to childcare.

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Accordingly, all children under 8 years of age must be accompanied and directly supervised by a parent or responsible caregiver who assumes full accountability for the child’s safety and behavior while in the Library. “Directly supervised” means the child and caregiver must be able to observe one another at all times, except when a child is participating in a Library program.   However, the caregiver is expected to remain in the building and rejoin the child immediately following the program.

If a child under 8 years of age appears to be unattended or unsupervised, Library staff will attempt to locate the parent/caregiver, advise them of this policy and have them return to their child. If a child is left unattended or unsupervised on multiple occasions, the Library may contact the police or Vermont Department of Children & Families.

Children 8 year of age and older are welcome to use the Library unattended as long as their behavior is in accordance with the posted Guidelines for Library Behavior. As with adults, children who fail to behave appropriately may be asked to leave the Library. Parents, please remember that even in your absence you are still responsible for the actions and safety of your minor children.

For the safety of any children left waiting at the Library after closing time, police may be notified.

A valid Library Card is required to borrow any materials from Springfield Town Library. Library Cards are issued free of charge to all Springfield residents. The signature of a parent or guardian accepting responsibility for materials borrowed with the Library Card is required before issuing a Library Card to a child under 16 years of age. Children will not be restricted in their use of the Library beyond the rules which apply to all borrowers. A Library Card may be issued to non-residents upon receipt of an annual fee not to exceed the per capita tax support of Springfield Town Library, or without charge to non-residents who pay Springfield property tax at least equal to the Library's annual per capita tax support. Temporary Springfield residents may be issued a Library Card for a period of six months upon receipt of the annual non-resident borrower's fee. One half that fee will be refunded when the Library Card and all materials borrowed with it are returned and any obligations incurred are paid in full.

Inter-Library Loan service is offered at no charge to all who hold a valid Library Card, except that when the lending library charges a fee, that fee will be the responsibility of the borrower.

Reference & Information service is available to all Library users, in person or from remote locations and regardless of whether they hold a Library Card, within the limitations of the Library's resources and availability of staff time. Time-consuming genealogical or other research inquiries will generally be referred to more appropriate agencies or individual researchers.

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Except for loaning Library materials to non-residents, and nominal fees for copying, printing, diskettes and other fees noted above, all services provided within the Library are available to everyone, resident and non-resident, at no charge; however, the Library will gladly accept voluntary donations to offset the cost of providing these services.

      D.  CONFIDENTIALITY OF LIBRARY RECORDS   (Revised & Adopted 4/21/2014)

In order to encourage the free and open use of the Library and its services, and in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws, all patron registration records and patron transaction records as defined under 22 VSA § 171 and including any information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted, are strictly confidential.

In accordance with 22 VSA §172, employees, Trustees, volunteers and agents of the Library will not disclose any patron records EXCEPT: Certain records may be shared

at the library's initiative in matters relating to the safety and security of library facilities, collections, personnel, and patrons, under exemptions as defined in 22 V.S.A §172; OR

with the written permission of that patron;OR to the custodial parents or guardians of patrons under age 16;OR to Library employees and authorized agents to the extent necessary for Library operations;OR in response to an authorized judicial order or warrant directing their disclosure.

Only the Library Director, or the designated Acting Director in the Library Director’s absence, is authorized to comply with requests for library patron records from a law enforcement officer. The Director (or Acting Director) will confer with the Library’s legal counsel before determining the proper response. Only when a subpoena, warrant, court order or other investigatory document is determined to be in proper form and issued by a court of competent jurisdiction after a showing of good cause will those specific records be released. Library Trustees reserve the right to contest such an order. All cases involving confidentiality shall be reported to the Town Attorney and the Board of Trustees, unless prohibited by existing federal legislation.

The Library collects a variety of information provided by its patrons to provide them with library services. Any personally identifiable information collected by the Library remains confidential and will not be sold, licensed or disclosed to any third party except with written consent; to comply with the law or a valid court order; or for authorized administrative purposes. The Library’s contracts, licenses and computer service arrangements comply with these policies and legal obligations. For the protection of our patrons, parents seeking records of their minor child, under age 16, may be asked to provide proof of their child’s age as well as evidence they are the custodial parent. Statistical records may be maintained in aggregate, summary data where all personally identifiable information is deleted.

Library patrons who have questions, concerns or complaints about the Library’s handling of their privacy and confidentiality rights should submit written comments to the Library Director who will respond in a timely manner and may conduct an investigation or review of the policy and procedures. 22 VSA §173 provides a right of civil action if their confidentiality has been violated.

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      E.   PENALTIES AND FINES (Revised & Adopted 5/10/2010)

Fines for materials kept beyond their due date are set to encourage borrowers to return their materials by their due date, not to raise funds for the Library. Overdue fines will be charged only for days the Library is open, up to a maximum fine per item to encourage the return of overdue materials. Following due process as described in the Library Procedure Manual, borrowers who have still not returned or paid for Library materials will be referred to a collection agency. A collection agency fee may be added to the maximum fine to recover long- overdue materials. The schedule of fines and associated fees will be established by the Library Director with the approval of the Board of Trustees. The Library Director may waive fines and/or fees when there are mitigating circumstances.

      F.   CHARGES FOR LOST OR DAMAGED MATERIALS

Any borrower who fails to return, loses, or damages materials beyond usefulness shall be charged their replacement cost as determined by the price listed in the current issue of Books in Print. For materials which are no longer in print (with the exception of particularly valuable materials), a standardized price will be charged based on the average price by category in the current edition of the Bowker Annual. Charges for materials of special value will be determined according to their current price in the out-of-print or rare book trade. The Library Director may suspend any or all of these charges when there are mitigating circumstances.

      G.  LOSS OF LIBRARY PRIVILEGES (Revised & Adopted 5/10/2010)

The Library has established, and posted at the Reference & Information Desk, Guidelines for Behavior within the Library and on Library grounds (Appendix C). Use of the Library implies agreement to abide by theseGuidelines and failure to do so may result in exclusion from the Library for a specified period of time at the discretion of the Library Director.

The Library has established, and posted at the Reference & Information Desk, a Policy onPublic Access to Computers & the Internet. If use of the computers results in disruption of Library services or a user fails to comply with the Terms and Conditions of Use, the Library reserves the right to end the patron's session and/or suspend or restrict access to the Library's computers.

Failure to pay overdue fines, replacement cost for lost or damaged materials, or other fees incurred as specified in the Library Procedure Manual may result in the suspension of borrowing privileges.

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      H.  SPECIAL SERVICES

Special services, consistent with the goals of the Library, are offered to groups and individuals.

            1.   Schools

            The Library actively cooperates with schools serving students of all ages in Springfield,                 from pre-school through college, in as many ways as possible, including class visits to                       the Library, classroom visits by the Children's Librarian, Teacher Loan (Appendix D)                     and Student Loan. Suggestions from teachers and school administrators regarding unmet needs will be given full consideration

            2.   Groups

The Library will attempt to meet the library and information needs of all local groups, including business firms and associations, civic groups, fraternal and social clubs, and study and cultural groups, consistent with the goals and policies of the Library.

            3.   Disabled

The Library shall comply with all state and federal laws pertaining to serving the disabled, cooperate fully with the Vermont Department of Libraries to make special services available to disabled individuals, and make every effort to provide outreach services and materials to those who are unable to visit the Library by reason of disability.

            4.   Meetings and Exhibits

The use of Library facilities for meetings and exhibits is part of the Library's overall program of service and, in accordance with the Library Bill of Rights, is available to the public on an equal basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of the individual or group requesting their use. In granting meeting or exhibit space, the Library will not seek to censor or amend the content of the meeting or exhibit, nor does it endorse the opinions expressed.

Individuals wishing to use the Library for meetings may apply to the Library Director for permission. Such meetings must be free and open to the public, must not interfere with access to Library services, and must meet the goals of the Library as stated in this Policy Manual. Groups or individuals denied the use of Library facilities may appeal to the Library Board of Trustees.

Recognizing the lack of accessible space in Springfield, the Library Director may allow meetings for the disabled or other special groups which are not open to the public, providing they can demonstrate reasonable need and otherwise comply with the Library Policy and Meeting Area Regulations (Appendix E).

The Library Director will only schedule meetings for those who can demonstrate that they will be responsible for the building and its contents, and who have signed and completed a Meeting Area Regulations & Application Form. Individuals and groups using the Library will be responsible for custodial fees and other services provided.

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Individuals and groups may apply to the Library Director for permission to prepare a display or exhibit for use in the Library. Displays and exhibits in the Library should conform to the goals of the Library as stated in this Policy Manual.

Recognizing its role in the community as a public forum for the open discussion of ideas from all viewpoints and to promote access to the political process for all citizens, the Library provides space for all petitions (including nomination petitions for elective office) on an equal basis. In doing so, the Library does not endorse any petition or candidate, and the views expressed are not those of the Library, its Board of Trustees, employees or the Town of Springfield.

Exhibits of items or services offered for profit will not be allowed without the consent of the Board of Trustees. Exhibits of items for sale by non-profit groups may be allowed

at the discretion of the Library Director. Recognizing the unique role of writers, artists and craftspeople in Vermont, the Library Director may allow exhibits of their works which are for sale. Prices will not be given as part of the exhibit but will be made available upon request.

The Library does not insure articles exhibited and assumes no responsibility or liability for damage or theft. Exhibitors are encouraged to make their own arrangements for insurance.

The Library maintains a Bulletin Board for community events and public services. Notices posted on the Library Bulletin Board must be for educational, cultural or civic events presented by non-profit organizations or for community services available to the public. Business advertising will not be posted on the Library Bulletin Board.

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V.  COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT POLICY

A. GENERAL PRINCIPLES

The Springfield Town Library Board of Trustees declares as a matter of policy that the materials comprising the Library collections are its primary resource in providing library and information services to meet the needs of the community.

The Board of Trustees strongly supports the principles of intellectual freedom and the right to read.   It accepts and adheres to the "Library Bill of Rights" and the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View Statements, adopted by the American Library Association, which are made a part of this document (see Appendix F).

B. SCOPE OF COLLECTION

As the largest public library in the immediate area, Springfield Town Library recognizes its obligation to provide as broad and diverse a collection as possible, including current, classic and noteworthy materials in a variety of print and non-print formats and various reading levels to meet the needs of the entire community. In as far as practicable, the Library will attempt to provide a balanced collection presenting a broad spectrum of opinions and viewpoints.

Particular attention will be given to providing accurate, up-to-date information resources and popular materials for all ages in appropriate print and non-print formats. Sufficient copies of titles in high demand will be provided.

Overall, the collection will be aimed at a general, lay audience and will not normally include textbooks or highly technical, academic or specialized materials. While the Library does not attempt to develop a comprehensive research collection, every effort will be made to develop as complete a collection as possible of materials pertaining to the Springfield area, books written by local authors, vital records, genealogies of local families and Vermontiana.

The Library is an active participant in the Vermont Inter-Library Loan network and utilizes the resources available in other libraries to supply materials beyond the scope of its own collection. The Library also makes its resources available to other libraries through the Inter-Library Loan network. Borrowing libraries are responsible for the safe return of all materials loaned to them.

C. RESPONSIBILITY FOR MATERIALS SELECTION

Materials selection is and shall be vested in the Library Director by reason of professional education, training and expertise, judgement, and knowledge of the community. The Library Director may assign other staff to select materials in their area of expertise, although final responsibility for materials selection remains with the Library Director.

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D. SELECTION CRITERIA

Library materials shall be selected to further the Library's overall purpose as stated in Article I of this Policy Manual and to fulfill the goals and objectives of its Plan of Service.

Materials will be selected and retained in the collection based on the following criteria:

Literary, recreation, information or education value

Authority, accuracy and effectiveness of presentation

Anticipated demand

Significance and timeliness of subject matter

Significance, reputation and popularity of author/producer/publisher

Diversity of viewpoint

Local author, setting or significance

Each work should be appraised as a creative whole, with consideration given to the overall purpose of the entire work.

It is the responsibility of parents, or legal guardians, to determine what Library materials their children, and only their own children, may read or otherwise use. The selection of materials will not be restricted by the possibility that some young people might obtain materials that their parents may consider inappropriate for their own children. Likewise, no materials will be excluded on the basis of race, religion, gender or nationality or because of the political, social or personal views of the author or producer.

The Library subscribes to current selection tools to assist in the selection process. Materials are selected using various sources, including professional review journals, standard library catalogs, publishers' catalogs and Vermont Dept. of Libraries material review sessions. Older materials and those not reviewed in the professional journals may be selected from other sources to fill specific needs in the collection. Patron requests for specific titles and/or subject areas will be given thorough consideration and will be met either through purchase, lease or Inter-Library Loan as best meets the collection development needs of the Library.

E. GIFTS

The Library is pleased to accept donations of books and other materials, as well as memorial gifts, when offered on an unrestricted basis. Gifts offered with restrictions are subject to the approval of the Library Director and Board of Trustees. All gifts are accepted with the understanding that only those materials which meet the selection criteria and the needs of the collection will be retained. Those not added to the collection will be disposed of at the discretion of the Library Director.

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F. WITHDRAWING MATERIALS FROM THE COLLECTION

Recognizing that a small public library best serves the community by providing a collection of materials which is actively used, the Board of Trustees supports the concept of regular weeding of all library materials.

Items which are unused because of inaccuracy, lack of interest or physical deterioration will be removed from the collection under the supervision of the Library Director who may assign other staff to select materials to be withdrawn from their area of expertise. The same criteria used in selecting materials will be used in removing or replacing materials from the collection.   Items withdrawn from the collection will be disposed of at the discretion of the Library Director.

G. INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM

The Library does not promote any particular beliefs or viewpoints, and the presence of an item in the collection is not an endorsement of its contents. Rather, the Library presents high-quality, authoritative materials representing a diversity of opinions and points of views in a balanced collection for examination by the public.

The Library is not responsible for enforcing parental choice in using Library materials. It is the responsibility of parents or legal guardians to determine and enforce which Library materials their children, and only their own children, may read or otherwise use.

Despite the care taken to select materials appropriate for use by the community, the Library is aware that one or more persons may object to the selection of a specific item or materials on a given subject. All objections and complaints will be treated with courtesy, respect and promptness.

In the event a patron wishes to protest the inclusion of a particular item in the collection, (s)he may submit a written "Request for Reconsideration of a Work" to the Library Director on the form attached as Appendix G. The Library Director will review the complaint, inspect the material, check reviews and determine if it conforms to the Collection Development Policy of the Library. The Director will respond in writing to the request, explaining why the item was purchased and the options available to the patron. Material subject to complaint will remain in use pending final action. An additional copy may be purchased and placed on the open Reference shelf for in-Library use only to accommodate public review. The patron requesting reconsideration of the material may request a review by the Board of Trustees.

Materials found to meet the established selection criteria, serving the purposes of the Library and fulfilling an existing need or interest will not be removed from the collection because of pressure by an individual or group expressing disapproval. As a final appeal, a patron may request the Board of Trustees to reconsider and revise this Collection Development Policy.  

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