Patron policies

 

Contents:

Proctoring

The Middletown Township Public Library will offer test proctoring services to residents for $10 per test and to non-residents for $25 per test. This fee is due and payable at the time the proctoring is conducted.

Proctoring services shall be provided during regular hours of the library, at the convenience of the library, and in accordance with library policies and procedures.

Effective: July 1, 2013
Approved: June 19, 2013

Memo on donations

January 4, 2013

Official memo on donations of used materials

From time to time I have imposed a moratorium on receiving donated materials – often just post a big book sale, or when we are particularly overstocked with items to sort and sell. In practice, it often makes no difference what we say to the public- they bring the bags and boxes in anyway. The fact is that trying to stem the tide of donations is just a suggestion. This is complicated by the fact that seldom do I remember to set an end-date to any restriction, so some staff might be discouraging donations while others do not.

That said, I hereby declare that the library is accepting donations of gently used or new materials as per donations policy in your Policy Manual. This policy statement is really old and needs updating, as we no longer have a Friends of the Library group, nor do we purchase audiocassettes, etc. I’ll work on getting a revised policy before the Board of Trustees as soon as possible.

For some policies, such as this one, Implementation Notes are a valuable adjunct in ensuring that, to some extent, we are all on the same page. So please read and follow the practices as indicated on the next page.

Thank You,
<signature>
Susan O’Neal

Sought items:

New books and dvds- this is where you can encourage the library customer who also buys books to consider donating to library after they’ve read or viewed them
Children’s books, all kinds- sells well.
Cookbooks- always sell well

Not accepted:

Dirty, smelly, bug infested materials
Books with written notes, underlining or highlighting
Encyclopedias, unless within 3 years of the current date
Textbooks
Cassette products [VHS and audio cassettes]
National Geographic, American Heritage or any other magazine
Games, puzzles
Reader’s Digest Condensed Books

Note on items that the library does not accept:

There may be limited interest for some of these item types with other places that accept used materials, such as the local AAUW- Old First Church location on Kings Hwy, or an incredibly impoverished school, but most of these are pretty junky, and need to be discarded. The AAUW has a published statement that it doesn’t take most of the same materials that we don’t accept. Don’t be a bleeding heart and try to find other places for people to dump their junk. It is better to encourage donors to take the big leap themselves and put them into recycling.

What to do if someone has a large or specialized collection to donate? Get some basic information and inform the Director.

Donation implementation

The general public is usually very bonded to books and National Geographic magazines, and hates to throw them away. They assign value to them, but it is sentimental value and very seldom of real, monetary value. There is also an erroneous assumption that the library would put their discards on the shelf. Not true! Even rare book dealers want gently used items, and would not have interest in the discarded books of the general public. Occasionally, actually rarely, someone does have a specialized collection that might be of interest to another collector – but that match cannot be made through the library. So, please follow these three basic rules of thumb, and read on for more specific information:

  1. Be kind to the donor because he/she is parting with something they think is valuable
  2. Be wary/promise nothing about the disposition of these “treasures.”
  3. Use your common sense

Only gently used items are accepted.

One box or bag per person, per day.

The library does not accept donations that have conditions attached, such as promising to add them to the collection, return to the donor if not needed, etc.

The library will not appraise the value of donations received, but will provide the donor with a written note indicating the number of items donated, and the donor can set the value on his/her own. Donors should include a paper with their name and address, and, if possible, a count of the items donated. It is not necessary to inventory the donations by title.

Items should not be brought into the library, but left on the loading dock. This is hard to enforce if the donor is standing in front of you with a bag of books, but fine for the telephone.

If donated books or media are being sorted in the Borrower Service’s department, be alert to possible items or collections that might be of interest by the librarians for replacements or addition to the MTPL collection. Examples: dvd collections of PBS series, foreign language teaching materials, excellent condition children’s books – frequently sought for prizes, or a title that is currently on reserve list.

Holiday books are stored in the back, and brought out on a seasonal basis. Let the Director know so they can be stored by each holiday.

Donations policy

Middletown Township Public Library does accept the donation of books and other materials. Once donated, the materials become the Library’s property and the Library reserves the right to use and dispose of them in the manner most useful to the Library. This could include adding them to the collection, sending them to the branches, giving them to the Friends of the Library for their book sale, or disposing of them.

Another option is to send us a check in the amount you wish to donate, indicating your wishes as to the disposition of the gift money. In your letter, please indicate the following:

  1. Do you wish the gift item to be a book, audiocassette, CD or video?
  2. Audiovisual materials do circulate. Books may be designated for the Children’s Room or Adult Room, the reference collection (if appropriate) or the circulating collection.
  3. If you have a preference for subject matter, please indicate. Some individuals mention subject areas they are interested in or, in the case of memorial gifts, the donor will note the subjects that were favored by the deceased.

Based on the above, our professional librarians will select a book and/or audiovisual material that will best meet the donor’s wishes.

Because of processing and the need for pockets to hold date-due cards, audiovisual materials cannot be fitted with donation labels. Books, however are given bookplates on the inside front cover. Please stipulate the wording of the bookplate, i.e., 

  1. Donated by _______.
  2. In Honor of _______ Donated by _______.
  3. In Memory of _______ Donated by _______.

After the item has been ordered, received, and processed, acknowledgement letters are sent to both the donor and the donee or donee’s family (all necessary names and addresses must be included).

Internet agreement

The Middletown Township Public Library offers public access to the Internet. Internet access is available to all users of the Library who agree to these conditions:

  1. User recognizes that some systems may contain controversial materials including those that are offensive and disruptive to other users of the library, will use his or her own discretion in accessing such materials and comply with library staff requests to log off certain sites. Parental supervision and control are strongly advised.
  2. The amount of time spent on the Internet must be shared with other users. Computer use by MTPL cardholders has precedence over non-resident or guest users, and this precedence may be implemented by varying time limits, limits in the number and location of computers available, or by other means.
    1. MTPL cardholders in good standing may access the Internet free of charge for 2 hours per day plus have one guest pass per day.
    2. Effective June 20, 2013, visitors’ passes shall be free but limited to one 30 minute internet use session per day.
  3. Commercial uses of the Library Internet System are prohibited.
  4. User agrees not to order services or merchandise, request or in any manner solicit goods for services offered from other systems while connected to the system at the Middletown Township Public Library.
  5. Users may not upload or download programs or files to Library computer hard drives.
  6. Any vandalism to the system’s components including software, hardware or data of the system shall result in disciplinary action by the Middletown Towns hip Public Library and termination of user privilege.
  7. User’s access to and use of the system may be terminated by the Middletown Township Public Library for any perceived or suspected abuse of the above provisions.
  8. Print cost shall be 25 cents per page.
  9. Internet access computers in the Main Library Children’s Room are to be used by children under the age of 18 only, unless an adult is accompanying a child. Internet access computers in the Teen Zone may be used by those ages 12-18 only.
  10. User’s access to and use of the system may be terminated by the Middletown Township Public Library for any perceived or suspected abuse of the above provisions.

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees: January 15, 1997
Revised: May 20, 1998
Revised: March 21 , 2001
Revised: July 17, 2002
Revised: November 19, 2008
Revised: 
Revisions Introduced: June 19, 2013
Approved: June 19, 2013

Internet access policy

Disclaimer

The Middletown Township Public Library has no control over any of the resources on the Internet and does not endorse the viewpoints or vouch for the accuracy or authenticity of information access via the Internet. Parents or guardians, NOT the Library or its staff, are responsible for the Internet information selected and/or accessed by their children. Parental supervision of the Internet is strongly advised. 
Viewing of certain materials in the public library may be considered improper. The Library staff has the authority to end an Internet session when such material displays on the screen of a Library or personal computer. The Library retains the right to regulate conduct that is offensive and disruptive to the patrons’ enjoyment of the Library. This includes the display of graphically offensive materials.

The Library has installed a virus-checker on its computers, however, the Library provides no warranty on virus protection. The Middletown Township Public Library is not responsible for any damage to patrons’ disks, hardware or software, or for any loss of data, damage, or liability that may occur from use of the Library’s computers.

Policy

  • A content filtering program for internet access is installed on all public computers and on personal computers used through wireless access.
  • The Library reserves the right to limit or deny access to certain programs or services if that access interferes with or damages the functionality of the network services, including, but not limited to the WEB catalog and specialized subscription databases.
  • Identification is required for access to Internet computers.
  • Time limits may be set and changed by staff as needed to accommodate demand.
  • The Internet Use Agreement and Policy will display on all public computers and require users to accept the terms before each use.

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees: January 15, 1997
Revised by Board of Trustees: December 20, 2000
Revised by Board of Trustees: March 21, 2001
Revised by Board of Trustees: July 17, 2002
Revised: June 15, 2005
Revised: November 19, 2008

Junior internet disclaimer

The Middletown Township Public Library Board of Trustees recognizes concerns regarding access to the internet for children. A filter has been installed on this PC to minimize the risk of exposure to inappropriate material on the internet. No filtering system can guarantee complete protection from inappropriate material.

THEREFORE PARENTAL GUIDANCE AND MONITORING ARE STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

Adopted: September 16, 1998

Internet use agreement

The amount of time spent on the Internet must be shared with other users. Computer use by MTPL cardholders has precedence over non-residents or visitors, and this precedence may be implemented by varying time limits, limits or the number and location of computers available, or by other means.

First Reading: July 18, 2012
Second Reading: August 15, 2012

Library theft policy

The Library Director will, under the auspices of the Board of Trustees, take whatever legal action is necessary to safeguard the library materials. This action shall be governed by N.J.S.A. 2c-20:12 Theft of Library Materials.

Such actions shall include:

  1. Taking a person in to custody when the Library Staff have reasonable grounds to believe that the person is attempting to illegally remove materials or when a person is caught defacing library materials.
  2. At the Director’s discretion the Director: may insist on pursuing the matter as a case of theft, may notify parents of the crime, in cases of persons in their minority and may insist on payment for damages done to library materials including full replacement costs.

If when attempting to identify the person no identification is produced, police may be called to assist in the identification.

“Reasonable grounds” may be construed as:

  1. alarms set off by the book detection system
  2. the removal of card pockets
  3. the cutting or other defacing of materials in attempts to remove pictures or articles from materials
  4. visible attempts to secret materials from the library
  5. testimony of patrons, pages or other staff members
  6. other actions that may create suspicion

The Director shall be empowered to prosecute to the full extent of the law.

OPRA requests

The Open Public Records Act (OPRA) covers public access to library personnel rosters, salaries, contracts, minutes, reports, policies and financial documents of Middletown.

The following procedures shall apply:

  1. Any request for information must be referred to the Library Administration Office. These are handled during regular business hours Monday-Friday.
  1. Only administrative staff or appropriate Township offices, such as the Township Clerk, are authorized to respond to public inquiry about library documents.
  1. Documents must be reviewed in the Administration Office, supervised by Administration staff. The requester will give a written list of photocopies desired and staff will make the copies. There will be fees assessed for copying library records at 20¢ per page.
  1. Certain types of information will be provided immediately, such as current and recent years of official library Board Meeting book, operating budget or bills and vouchers, and contracts. Other requests will require submission in writing. Requests for documents in storage may take a few days to fulfill. All requests will be handled in accordance with the OPRA guidelines.

Within the guidelines of the law, the privacy of library employees will be protected, that is, documents in one’s personnel files. However, verification of dates of employment, job title, salary and qualifications are considered “public under this law.

Rules of conduct

Welcome to the Middletown Township Public Library. The Library is supported by the taxes of the people of Middletown who expect its facilities to be clean, comfortable, and safe places for selecting materials, reading, researching, studying, writing, and attending programs and meetings. To this end, the Library is responsible for establishing and enforcing rules of conduct to protect the rights and safety of Library customers, volunteers, and staff and for preserving and protecting the Library’s materials, equipment, facilities and grounds. Reasonable rules of conduct are not in conflict with the Library’s strong commitment to intellectual freedom and to freedom of access to information.

Library property is defined as the exterior grounds, parking areas and building interiors and exteriors.

For the comfort and safety of customers, volunteers, and staff, and the protection of Library property, the following actions are examples of conduct not allowed on Library property:

  • Engaging in any activity in violation of Federal, State, local, or other applicable law, or Library policy.
  • Failing to comply with a reasonable staff request.
  • Carrying firearms and weapons of any type (except by law enforcement officers and authorized security personnel of the Middletown Township Public Library).
  • Being under the influence of alcohol/illegal drugs, and selling, using, or possessing alcohol/illegal drugs.
  • Verbally or physically threatening or harassing other customers, volunteers, or staff, including stalking, staring, lurking, swearing, and engaging in inappropriate acts of touching, sex, or indecent exposure.
  • Soliciting or conducting surveys not authorized by the Library.
  • Stealing, damaging, altering, or inappropriately using Library property in Library facilities or on Library grounds, including books, periodicals, furnishings, walls, computer hardware and software, printers, copiers, phones, and other equipment.
  • Trespassing in nonpublic areas; being in the Library without permission of an authorized Library employee before or after Library operating hours; leaving vehicles on Library property, or camping on Library grounds.
  • Fighting or challenging to fight, running, pushing, shoving, or throwing things.
  • Creating disruptive noises including, but not limited to loud talking, screaming, or banging on computer keyboards.
  • Gambling, games, and group activities which are disruptive to the Library environment.
  • Using audible devices without headphones or with headphones set at a volume that is audible to others. Using cell phones, pagers, and other communication devices in areas other than those set aside for such activity. Audible cell phone and pager ringers must be turned off or set on vibrate. High frequency ring tones which may be audible only to select persons are not permitted.
  • Using restrooms for bathing or shampooing, doing laundry, or changing clothes.
  • Littering.
  • Smoking, chewing, and other tobacco use in Library facilities, on the patio area at the Main Library or within 25 feet of any public or staff entry.
  • Entering the Library barefoot, without a shirt, with offensive body odor or personal hygiene, or being otherwise attired so as to be disruptive to the Library environment.
  • Consuming food or beverages in public areas of the Library not authorized by the Library.
  • Taking photographs or other images of customers, staff, or volunteers without their permission.
  • Using wheeled devices in Library property or on Library grounds, except in designated areas, including skateboarding, roller-skating, bicycling, scooters, and roller shoes (except for wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers).
  • Moving Library furniture from where it is placed by Library staff.
  • Lying down or sleeping in the restrooms or on any floor, couch, table, or seat in the Library, and by blocking aisles, exits, or entrances by sitting or lying down in them.
  • Neglecting to provide proper supervision of children (see the Middletown Township Public Library Policy on Unattended Children).
  • Bringing in pets or animals, other than service animals necessary for disabilities, into the Library, except as authorized by the Library Director.

Enforcement of these rules will be conducted in a fair and reasonable manner. Library staff and/or Middletown Police Officers will intervene to stop prohibited activities and behaviors. Failure to comply with the Library’s established rules, regulations, and policies could result in removal from the premises and exclusion from the Library for a period of one day to one year, or in arrest or prosecution. Violations could also result in the restriction and/or termination of Library privileges, including the use of Library computers and other equipment.

Library customers have the right to request an administrative review of an exclusion order that is for a period greater than seven days.

Introduced: June 21, 2006
Approved: July 19, 2006

Unattended children policy

Service to children is a very high priority of the Middletown Township Public Library.  Children of all ages are warmly welcomed and encouraged to use the library’s materials, services, programs, and staff.  Every effort is made to provide a pleasant and inviting experience.  At the same time, the library is an open, public building and the well-being and safety of all children is of serious concern.  Children, left alone, may be at risk and they can also become bored, restless, loud or disruptive.

The following policy has been established to protect children and provide all our patrons with a positive library experience.

Parents (or legal guardians) are responsible for the conduct of their minor children, under 18 years of age, in the library or on library grounds regardless of whether parents (or legal guardian) are in the company of their children or not.

  • For children under 12 years of age, except for participation in certain, very specific library programs, a parent, guardian or responsible caregiver (age 17 or older) must remain with or be immediately accessible to the child at all times.
  • Children 12 years old and over are assumed to be mature enough to use the library responsibly by themselves.
  • Minor children, aged less than 17 years, may not be left unattended before or after library hours.

The library staff cannot assume the responsibility to supervise children in the library or on library grounds.  Library staff is authorized to enforce this policy, including contact of police in the event the parent, legal guardian, or caregiver fails to comply.

Responsible caregiver is defined as an individual possessed with the ability to assume responsibility for the supervision of minor children 11 years and younger.  The responsible caregiver must be at least 17 years old.

  1. Library staff will attempt to reach parents by telephone when there are violations of policy and specify if:
    1. A child under  12 is unattended in the library for any length of time, or
    2. An unattended child exhibits fear, anxiety, illness or disruptive behavior.
    3. If parents do not arrive within 15 minutes, or are uncooperative in providing supervision of their children, The Middletown Township Police Department will be called.
  2. In the event that a minor child, up to age 17 is left at the library after hours, the library staff will follow these procedures:
    1. Two senior staff must stay with the child inside the Main Library building.  Note:  Staff can ask a child to return to the building if they have gone outside, but cannot force them to do so.  Personal judgment on the age of the child and conditions should prevail.
    2. A phone call will be made to parents within 5 minutes of library closing. Repeated calls will be made to parents up to 15 minutes.
    3. If parents cannot be reached or cannot arrive until 15 minutes past closing, the Police will be notified. The two staff members are to remain with the child until the police have arrived.
    4. An incident report must be filed with Administration to document any occurrence when a child is left after closing.

Approved: 4/16/03
Revisions Proposed: 6/18/08
Revisions Approved: 7/16/08

Revised: 1/21/15

Revised: 3/21/18

Unattended children procedures

  1. Library staff will attempt to reach parents by telephone when there are violations of policy and specifically if:
    1. a child under 9 is unattended in the library for any length of time, or
    2. a child between the ages of 10-12 is unattended more than two hours or
    3. an unattended child exhibits fear, anxiety, illness or disruptive behavior.
  2. If parents do not arrive within 15 minutes, or are uncooperative in providing supervision of their children, the Middletown Township Police Department will be called.
  3. In the event that a minor child, up to age 18, is left at the library after hours, the library staff will follow these procedures:
    1. Two senior staff shall stay with the child inside the Main Library building. At a Branch, the sole staff member shall remain with the child. Note: Staff can ask a child to return to the building if they have gone outside, but cannot force them to do so. Personal judgment on the age of the child and conditions should prevail.
    2. A phone call will be made to parents within 5 minutes of library closing. Repeated calls will be made to parents for up to fifteen minutes. The staff will advise parents on the steps for proper identification and release of child that will be followed.
    3. If parents cannot be reached or cannot arrive until 15 minutes past closing, the Police will be notified.
    4. Release of children to parent or adult family member or other adult:
      1. If Police are on the scene when the child is picked up, identification of parent or adult family member and release of the children is the responsibility of the Police Officer.
      2. If not (1) above, the parent or adult family member must come into the building to pick up the child. The child must identify the person who must produce identification which will be photocopied and the copy retained by the library. NOTE: This procedure is especially important when several unrelated minors are picked up by the parents of one of them, and must be followed exactly so we have a record of with whom the child left the library.
      3. Staff should write up any unattended child problem as an incident report for the Library Director. In the event the police are called, the Director should also be notified by telephone.
      4. If, at any time in this process, staff have problems or are in doubt regarding the release of a child, the Police should be called.

Approved: 4/16/03
Amended: 1/19/05
Revisions Proposed: 6/18/08
Revisions Approved: 7/16/08

PATRIOT Act

Section 215 of the U.S. Patriot Act gives the FBI authority to seize “any tangible thing” including books, records, papers and documents from businesses or organizations in connection with “an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” Libraries and librarians must comply with federal grand jury subpoenas, federal search warrants, and other federal court orders. Furthermore, those served with Section 215 orders are prohibited from disclosing the fact to anyone else.

Library customers’ borrowing history, and records of internet computer use, including the hard drive itself, are among the items that are subject to investigation and seizure by the FBI. Our computers are set to eliminate website usage information when customers log-out. Your name, the number of times you use the computer, and total minutes used are information retained in our reporting software. The Middletown Library’s automated circulation system retains limited information attached to customer records. This includes items currently checked out, outstanding fines, items on hold, history of overdues, holds not picked up and fine payments. When the customer returns library materials on time, no record of this transaction is maintained.

If you have any questions, contact Library Administration.

>> Text of the USA PATRIOT Act.

Adopted: 11/16/05

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