SECTION 1: FREE AND EQUAL ACCESS TO LIBRARY MATERIALS
As part of this policy, the Bethel Public Library Board of Trustees adopts the American Library Association 's Library Bill of Rights (1980, revised 1996), its Freedom to Read Statement (1972, revised 2004), and its related intellectual freedom documents. These endorse free and equal access to Library materials for all people, regardless of race, creed, national origin, age, place of residence, or other personal criteria. It is the policy of the Bethel Public Library that no cardholder in good standing, whether a Bethel resident or a non-resident Connecticard borrower, will be forbidden or hindered from borrowing any item in the Library collection based on strictly personal criteria.
SECTION 2: ACCESS TO LIBRARY MATERIALS BY MINORS
The Library staff and trustees are charged with the responsibility of providing free and equal access to Library materials and services to all eligible people. Moreover, it is impossible for them to know or predict the opinions of parents and guardians regarding the specific borrowing selections made by minor children.
It is the policy of the Bethel Public Library that parents or guardians, not the Library staff or trustees, are responsible for monitoring and approving the selection of materials made by minor children. It is the parents or guardians and only these who may restrict their children and only their children from borrowing specific Library materials. Parents or guardians who wish their children not to have access to certain materials should accompany or otherwise advise their children. The Library staff and trustees cannot and do not act in loco parentis.
SECTION 3: CONFIDENTIALITY OF LIBRARY CIRCULATION RECORDS
The Bethel Public Library recognizes that all Library circulation records are confidential as stated in Connecticut General Statute 11-25: "notwithstanding the provisions of Section 1-19, personally identifiable information contained in the circulation records of all public libraries shall be confidential." (Please see Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records for further explanation.)
SECTION 4: APPLICABILITY OF POLICY
The provisions of this policy apply equally to all checkout points within the Library.
SECTION 5: ELIGIBILITY TO BORROW LIBRARY MATERIALS
Bethel residents who have valid Bethel Public Library cards in good standing are eligible to borrow materials from the Library 's collection. In addition, under the Connecticard reciprocal borrowing system of the public libraries of this state, residents of other Connecticut municipalities are eligible to borrow materials from the collection of this Library, provided they present valid borrower cards in good standing from their own hometown public libraries.
Out of state residents may be eligible to borrow materials from the Bethel Public Library provided they present a valid Library card for use in the Bethel Public Library only. (See Policy on Library Cards and Borrower Registration.)
Library staff will be issued a Bethel Public Library staff card to borrow materials from the Library. All materials borrowed by staff must be charged out on the automated circulation system. Staff may not charge out an item that is on reserve for another patron. Staff is expected to return borrowed materials on time or renew them. Staff will not be charged overdue fines or fees but are responsible for damage or loss of library materials.
Any exceptions to these statements are noted below.
The Library may impose age requirements on the eligibility to borrow particular items, such as equipment, but these requirements will always be based on some reasonable consideration, such as replacement cost or usage complexity.
SECTION 6: TYPES OF LIBRARY MATERIALS
The collection of the Bethel Public Library will be developed to include reading and audiovisual materials in a variety of formats. Other types of materials and new formats may be added from time to time, as developed and subject to budgetary constraints.
SECTION 7: LOAN PERIODS
- Books: Most books may be borrowed for 21 days. Books with long waiting lists and books on the New Book Shelf may be borrowed for 14 days. New books are generally 6 months old or newer.
- Magazines: Magazines may be borrowed for 14 days.
- Audiovisual materials: Compact disks, audio books, CD-ROMs, and other audio visual materials, except videocassettes and DVDs, may be borrowed for 21 days.
- Videocassettes and DVD's: Feature film and fiction videos and DVDs may be borrowed for 7 days. Nonfiction videos and DVDs may be borrowed for 14 days. Videos and DVDs with 3 or more parts may be borrowed for 14 days.
Videocassettes must be rewound before being returned to the Library. Patrons are asked not to repair tape or cassette damage. Bethel Library assumes no responsibility for damage or alleged damage caused to a borrower's videocassette recorder/player by a Library videocassette. Bethel Public Library reserves the right to restrict the videocassette borrowing privileges of patrons violating these regulations.
- Passes to Cultural Sites: Passes to cultural sites may be borrowed for 3 days.
Under terms set forth by the Friends of the Bethel Public Library as donor, only Bethel residents, non-resident taxpayers, and members of the Friends of the Bethel Public Library may borrow passes to cultural sites.
- Interlibrary Loan materials: Interlibrary loan items borrowed from other libraries for local cardholders may be borrowed for 21 days. Interlibrary loan items loaned to other libraries for the borrowing libraries ' cardholders are loaned to the borrowing library for 42 calendar days.
- Reference books: Reference books usually are not available for loan. Within the last 30 minutes of business, however, reference books may be loaned overnight with the permission of the Library Director, Adult Services Librarian, or Children 's Services Librarian or, in their absence, of the ranking staff member on duty. Reference books loaned overnight will be due at opening on the following business day.
- Equipment: Equipment may be borrowed for a loan period determined by the Library.
All other materials may be borrowed for 21 days.
Exceptions may be made to the above loan periods, with the approval of the Library Director, for reasonable purposes (such as seasonal heavy demand.)
SECTION 8: SPECIAL LOAN PERIODS
In order to satisfy the special needs of cardholders, items in the Library 's collection occasionally may be loaned for special loan periods that differ from those specified above. Special loan periods may be granted by the Circulation Supervisor or, in his/her absence, by the staff member supervising the Circulation Desk at the time.
Up to 5 items may appear on a cardholder 's record as borrowed on a special loan period at the same time.
Special loan periods should not exceed 6 weeks from date of loan.
The following items normally will not be eligible for special loan periods: items owned by the Library for 6 months or less, items on reserve for other patrons, reference materials, interlibrary loan items loaned to the Bethel Public Library by other libraries, and books listed on the Bethel school system 's required/suggested reading lists (during periods of heavy demand, as determined by the Library staff.)
Abuse of this privilege will result in suspension of this privilege by written notification.
SECTION 9: DUE DATES TO AVOID CLOSED DAYS
Library materials will not be made due on a day on which the Library is closed. Items will be due on the next Library business day.
SECTION 10: RENEWALS
Most Library materials may be renewed once for a similar loan period. (See Section 6 above.) Renewals may be made online, in person or by telephone. Videos and DVDs, passes to cultural sites, items on reserve for another patron, equipment, and reference books loaned overnight may not be renewed.
Interlibrary loan items borrowed from other libraries for local cardholders may only be renewed if permission from the owning Library is obtained by Bethel Public Library staff.
Overdue items may be renewed as long as the patron has not exceeded the maximum fine/fee limit. Renewal of overdue materials does not exempt the patron from payment of any associated fines or fees.
SECTION 11: RESERVES
If the item or items wanted by a patron are checked out, he/she may reserve it/them using the procedures and forms established by the Library staff. Only items owned by the Bethel Public Library may be reserved. Items may not be reserved for specific dates. The only exceptions to this rule are the passes to cultural sites, which may be reserved in advance for use at a later time. Otherwise, a reserve will be satisfied at the time the requested item becomes available. Some equipment is loaned on a first-come, first served basis, and may not be reserved in advance.
When they can be identified ahead of time, materials needed for class assignments may be placed on in-house reserve in the Reference Room or the Children 's Room.
When a reserved item becomes available, the Library staff will notify the requesting cardholder. Reserved items of all types will be held aside for the requesting cardholder for 5 business days following the day of notification. Any reserved item not called for within this period will be given to the next requesting cardholder or, lacking further reserves, shelved back into the collection.
No reserve requests will be honored while a person 's library privileges are suspended.
SECTION 12: QUANTITY LIMITATIONS
- DVD's: No more than 3 children's titles per cardholder at one time. (NOTE: DVD titles consisting of more than 1 disk count as 1 title.)
- Nonfiction books: No more than 3 children 's nonfiction books on the same topic per cardholder at one time, at the discretion of the Children 's Services Librarian. No more than 3 adult or young adult nonfiction books on the same topic per cardholder at one time, at the discretion of the Adult Services Librarian, whenever such items are widely required in connection with school assignments or other special purposes.
- Children's holiday books: No more than 3 per cardholder at one time during the appropriate season, at the discretion of the Children 's Services Librarian, based on demand.
- Audio books: No more than 3 children's titles per cardholder at one time.
- Books listed on the Bethel school system's required/suggested reading lists: Limits may be placed on these books at the discretion of the Adult Services and/or the Children's Services Librarians depending on collection inventory and demand.
Patrons are strongly encouraged to present their Library cards at the time of checkout. No more than 50 items total may be checked out at any given time per cardholder.
SECTION 13: OVERDUE MATERIALS
Library patrons are responsible for returning borrowed materials on or before the due date, as noted in or on the items borrowed. Returns may be made either in person or by using the book drop provided by the Library. Exception: equipment borrowed from the Library may not be returned in the book drop.
It is the policy of the Bethel Public Library to notify cardholders regarding the overdue status of Library materials in their care, as well as regarding overdue fines and/or replacement charges for non-returned items. The Library staff will determine notification procedures and forms.
SECTION 14: OVERDUE FINES AND FINE MAXIMUMS
Overdue fines are 10 cents per day on most adult materials and 5 cents per day on most children 's materials. On overdue videos, DVDs, passes to cultural sites, and equipment the fine is $1 per day. For reference books, the overdue fine is $1.00 per hour beginning with the second hour the Library is open. For equipment, the overdue fine is $2 per day.
Fines as assessed are collected when the patron presents an overdue item to the staff at the Circulation Desk. Fines from materials dropped at the desk or in the book drop will be noted on the patron 's record and will be collected at a later date.
No overdue fines are assessed on donation paperbacks (those without a card and pocket.) Purchased paperbacks are subject to the same fines as other books. Fines are charged only for days the library is open.
In recognition of in-kind services rendered, current Library staff and volunteers are exempt from paying overdue fines.
Overdue fines are not charged to patrons receiving homebound delivery service.
Overdue fines are not charged to senior citizens, 60 years of age or older.
Maximum fines per item are $5 on most materials; $10 on reference books, videos, DVDs and passes to cultural sites; and replacement cost on equipment.
A processing fee may be added to the fine if an overdue notice is sent to a collection agency.
No overdue fine is to exceed the cost to replace the item involved.
No maximum overdue fine is established for individual Library cards.
SECTION 15: REPLACEMENT COSTS
- Library cards: Patrons who lose their library cards will be charged $2.00 for replacement. There is no charge for a new card when a patron changes his/her address or phone number. Also, there is no charge to replace a well-worn and well-used library card.
- Library Materials: Patrons who lose or damage Library materials in their care will be expected to pay the cost to replace those items. The replacement cost for a lost or damaged Library material of any format will be either the original purchase price of the item as recorded in Library records, or the minimum replacement charge for that type of item, whichever is higher.
The Library recognizes the fact that library materials can be misplaced or mis-shelved and that some mistakes in record keeping can happen. Therefore, the Library will accept 1 (one) "claims returned" per patron within a 12 (twelve) month period, with a maximum of 2 (two) items included in the claim. After that if the item(s) cannot be located within the library, the patron will be held liable for the item(s). The same applies for library materials returned to the library via Connecticar. This policy does not apply to equipment or inter-library loan materials (i.e. materials borrowed by the Bethel Public Library for the borrower from another library.)
Donation of a new copy of the lost or damaged item, or of a reasonable replacement item for out-of-print materials will be accepted in lieu of paying replacement charges. The Library will determine reasonable replacement. The donated replacement copy must be in at least as good condition as the original item (i.e., a hardcover for a hardcover, etc.). The Library must receive donated replacements within 2 weeks of notification.
Overdue fine charges will not be added to the cost of replacement once payment for a lost or damaged Library material is made. However, the Library reserves the right to pass on any service fees incurred in attempting to retrieve long overdue items (such as collection agency charges.)
A cardholder who pays the replacement cost for a Library material lost while in his/her care will be given 90 days in which to locate and return the item to the Library in good, usable condition. Within this time period, upon presentation of a payment receipt, the cardholder will be given a full refund of the replacement cost paid. There will be no refund of fines or other fees paid. If the Library replaces an item before the 90-day refund period expires, no refund will be given.
SECTION 16: FINANCIALLY-RELATED BORROWER SUSPENSIONS
A Bethel Public Library cardholder will have his/her Library borrowing privileges suspended whenever he/she owes ten dollars ($10.00) or more in overdue fines/fees and/or replacement charges. Borrowing privileges will be suspended immediately upon borrowed equipment becoming overdue. Suspension of borrowing privileges from the Bethel Public Library may mean suspension of borrowing privileges from other libraries in the area and around the state.
At the discretion of the Library staff, payment of a maximum fine to remove a financially-related borrowing suspension may be delayed until a future date and the patron may be allowed to borrow materials in the intervening time.
SECTION 17: DISCRETION IN FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS
The trustees and staff of the Bethel Public Library wish to provide excellent customer service. They acknowledge that the Library can make mistakes. They recognize that, when dealing with large numbers of Library materials and cardholders, unlikely circumstances and accidents can occur. Therefore, staff members are authorized to reduce or even to cancel overdue fines, replacement costs, and other charges owed to the Library by cardholders, if circumstances seem to warrant.
The Library does not charge overdue fines resulting from the death, hospitalization, or serious illness of a cardholder or a member of the cardholder 's close family (as determined by the Library staff.)
SECTION 18: CLASSROOM COLLECTIONS
The public and parochial schools of Bethel, as well as those in surrounding towns, receive funds through their governing boards to develop school Library collections that respond to the specific curriculum needs of their students and teachers. Moreover, the items purchased for the collection of a public Library are intended to be available for the benefit and enjoyment of all the citizens of Bethel. Therefore, it is the policy of the Bethel Public Library not to lend large numbers of items from the Library collection to schoolteachers for use in their classrooms.
As a courtesy to Bethel 's public, parochial, and nursery schools, the Children 's Services Librarian may, at his or her discretion, lend from the Children 's Room collection a maximum of 30 items to a teacher needing such materials in the classroom. It will be left to the discretion of the Children 's Services Librarian to limit the number of items on the same topic that may be borrowed. These items may be borrowed for 60 calendar days and may not be renewed. Materials must be checked out at the Children 's Room Service Desk. No teacher may have more than 30 items checked out at any one time for classroom use. Such loans will be subject to the same rules regarding overdue fines and replacement charges as those specified above.
SECTION 19: POLICY EFFECTIVE DATE, AMENDMENTS, AND REVISIONS
This policy is effective upon approval of the Library Board of Directors. Amendments and/or revisions to this policy shall be formulated and recommended to the Board by the Policy Committee. The policy may then be amended and/or revised at the regular meeting of the Board, following the meeting at which the amendment and/or revision was proposed.
|Approved by the Library Board May 22, 1979
||Revised and approved 9/23/02
||Revised and approved 7/26/2010
||Revised and approved 4/25/11