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Library Policies

Policies of the Union Public Library


Approved  3/13/15

            Approved  3/13/17

Approved  1/13/2020


RESPONSIBILITIES OF LIBRARY BOARD AND LIBRARIAN                                                                                                                                         

1.     a) Board: Accepts the statutory Board powers of supervising and controlling the Library, dealing with real estate belonging to the Library, and controlling its finances. This legal responsibility cannot be delegated.

b) Librarian: Acts as an administrator.


2.     a) Board: Employs a competent Librarian:

b) Librarian: is responsible for the daily operation of the Library.  Recommends employment of all personnel.

3.     a) Board: Determines and adopts written policies to govern the operation and programs of the Library. Determines the purpose and long-range plans of the Library. Supports Librarian when he or she is following board policies.

b) Librarian: Carries out the policies of the Library as adopted by the Board.  May recommend policies for Board action.


4.     a) Board: Secures adequate funds to carry on the Library’s programs.

b) Librarian: Helps Board secure funds by providing reports and information as needed.


5.     a) Board: Knows the programs and needs of the Library and keeps abreast of standards and trends.

b) Librarian: Keeps the Library Board fully informed concerning Library’s current progress, problems, and future needs.


6.     a) Board: Assists in the preparation of the Annual Budget and approved final budget.

b) Librarian: Assists in the preparation of the Annual Budget in consultation with the Board.  Prepares a current report of expenditures against the budget at each monthly meeting and an annual report at the July meeting.


7.     a) Board: May recommend library materials to be purchased.

b) Librarian: Selects and orders books and other library materials in accordance with Board policy and under budget limitations.


8.     a) Board: Establishes, supports, and participates in planned public-relations programs. Promotes the Library in the community.

b) Librarian: Maintains an active program of public relations.  Strives to promote a pleasant, helpful, friendly atmosphere in the Library.


9.     a) Board: Attends all Board meetings and sees that accurate records are kept

b) Librarian: Attends all Board meetings.


10.  a) Board: Sets policies concerning vacation time, sick leave, and personal leave.

b) Librarian: Is responsible for the operation of the library and shall arrange for an assistant to work whenever he or she is absent. Such person shall be one of the regular staff or a substitute approved by the Board.


11.  a) Board: Keeps abreast of local and state laws relating to public libraries.

b) Librarian: Advises Board of changes in local and state laws as related to the Library.


12.  a) Board: May attend Regional and State Trustee meetings and workshops.

b) Librarian: Affiliates with state professional organizations and attends professional meetings and workshops.


13.  a) Board: Is aware of the services of the State Library.

b) Librarian: Makes use of the services and consultants of the State Library.


USE OF THE LIBRARY BUILDING                                                                         

At the discretion of the Librarian, advertising materials will be accepted from non-profit entities and for school sponsored activities.

No alcoholic beverages may be used in the Library. No smoking is allowed in the building or on the Library grounds. No animal will be allowed in the building with the exception of service animals or animals participating in specific programs.

No guns are allowed on Library grounds in accordance with city and state codes.

The main floor of the Library may be used for library programming or special events sponsored by the Library.

The library basement may be used by any organization, group, or person in the community as long as an adult is present during the entire time the basement is used. Any meeting that is open to the general public, or where a fee is charged or a product sold, or orders taken for a product, must be sponsored or co-sponsored by the Library. The Library Board reserves the right to decide what events they will sponsor.

The Library basement may be reserved for one-time use or on a regularly scheduled basis.  An adult patron must contact the Librarian to reserve a date and make arrangements to have the building open.  Reservations will be made on a first come, first served basis.

The Family Play Space will be available to families during library hours unless the basement is otherwise reserved.  At least one adult must supervise children in the play area at all times.  All toys and materials need to be returned to their appropriate place before leaving the area.

A light lunch or refreshments may be served at meetings; however, there should be no cooking or meals served in the basement.

The Librarian or Library Board reserves the right to prohibit the use of the library basement to any group or person. The Librarian or staff may close the area when necessary.


The general welfare of all library patrons and the physical safety of children in the library building is of serious concern to the library staff. The responsibility for the safety and behavior of children in the Library rests with the parent or childcare provider and not with library personnel. The Librarian cannot be responsible for children who are unattended or demonstrating inappropriate behavior. The following guidelines will be followed concerning the child and behavior of library users:

·       Children under school age  must have a parent or a responsible childcare provider present in the Library

·       Children under school age who are attending a library program must be brought into the building by a parent or responsible childcare provider. That parent or care provider must be present to resume supervision of the child at the conclusion of the program.

·       The Library Board, Librarian, and staff assume no responsibility for children left unattended on Library premise. A reasonable attempt will be made to locate the responsible party in the event an under school age child is left unattended. If no responsible party is found, it may be necessary to notify the police.

·       School age children may use the Library unattended, subject to the policies of the Union Public Library concerning behavior, conduct, and demeanor.

·       Disruptive behavior includes, but is not restricted to, loud talking or singing, running, fighting, swearing, teasing other children, disrespectful speech or actions toward the library staff or other patrons, destruction of library materials or property. The staff on duty will determine the severity of the disruptive behavior. It is not the intent of this policy to make the Library a restrictive, repressed environment, but rather to provide a calm, pleasant, and safe place for patrons of all ages.

·       If a child under the age of 18 fails to comply with these policies after one warning, an attempt will be made to locate the child’s parents or a responsible adult who will be asked to come for the child. If no parent or other responsible adult can be reached, the weather conditions and time of day will be considered before the child is told to leave the Library. If the child cannot be asked to leave and his or her behavior continues to be disruptive, the police may be called.

·       Parents are responsible for their children’s behavior while the children are on library property. A staff member will inform the accompanying adult of problematic behavior should the adult fail to notice. If the parent does not control the situation, both parent and child may be asked to leave.

·       A disruptive adult over the age of 18 will be asked to leave the Library if inappropriate behavior does not stop after one warning, failure to do so may result in a police call.

·       Disruptive behavior may result in suspension of library privileges at the discretion of the Librarian or Library Board.  A written record with date and time limitations will be made of the suspension.   

PATRON USE OF COMPUTERS                                                                                                                                                                                                         

One or more computers and I-pads shall be available for patron use. Patrons must be school age or older to use a computer. Use of computers is on a first come, first serve basis.  Adults or students doing homework may use a computer for as long as they need it. If no one is using a computer for business or schoolwork, it may be used for games. Game time will be limited to one hour. Those playing games yield if the computer is needed for business or schoolwork use.

To protect the privacy of patrons, the computers used for library business will not be available for patron use.

POLICY FOR INTERNET ACCESS                                                                        

In response to advances in technology and the changing needs of the community, the Union Public Library endeavors to develop collections, resources, and services that meet the cultural, informational, recreational, and educational needs of the community. It is within the context that the Library offers access to the internet.

Although the Union Public Library does not monitor and has no control over information accessed through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content, such filters as are required by law will be installed and maintained.

All Internet resources accessible through the Library are provided equally to all library patrons.  Out-of-town visitors may use the Internet services at the discretion of the Librarian.  All persons under 18 years of age must have an Internet Consent Form signed by a parent or guardian. Parents or guardians, not the Library or its staff, are responsible for the information selected, and/or accessed by their children. Parents, and only parents, may restrict their children, and only their children, from access to Internet resources accessible through the Library. Parents are advised to supervise their children’s Internet sessions.

Patrons should be reminded that:

1.     The Union Public Library does not censor patron access to materials or protect users from information they may find offensive, explicit, controversial, or otherwise inappropriate.

2.     Not all works on the Internet provide accurate, complete, or current information. Patrons are responsible for being good information consumers, questioning the validity of the information found.

Patrons are encouraged to have fun exploring the Internet, but are reminded that many times the specific information can be found in the Library in books or periodicals.

GUIDELINES FOR ACCESSING THE INERNET                                                    

1.     A patron will need a current Union Library patron number. Arrangements to obtain these must be made with the library staff. The applicant must be school age.

2.     Patrons must check in with the Librarian before using the computers and/or accessing the Internet.

3.     The Library will make the Internet Access computers available for patron use as many hours as possible.

4.     Patrons may send and receive e-mail from patron-use computers, provided they have personal accounts.

5.     Patrons may not use their own software programs on Library computers. This is to minimize the potential for the introduction of a computer virus which could then be spread to subsequent users. Viruses are common on public computers.

6.     The Union Public Library is not responsible for damage to a patron’s personal storage device or computer, or for any loss of data, or damage that may occur from patron use of the library’s computers

7.     Misuse of the computer or Internet Access will result in the loss of computer privileges. The length of suspension is at the discretion of the library staff and will be documented.


The Union Public Library will serve all residents of the City of Union and rural areas. For a fee, the Library will contract with cities in the geographic area that do not have a library to provide library service to their residents.  Service will not be denied because of religious, racial, social, economic, or political status.

To access the Library’s services, one must obtain a patron number by providing a form of contact such as email address, physical address and phone number. The Library Board recognizes that the circulation records of this Library are confidential in nature and requires all Library personnel that such records shall not be made available to anyone, including any agency of federal, state or local government, except pursuant to federal, state or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative investigative power.  Furthermore, the Library will resist the issuance or enforcement of any such process, order or subpoena until such time as a proper showing of good cause has been made in a court of competent jurisdiction.

All library materials, with the exception of DVDs, are loaned for 2 weeks, renewable once unless on reserve for another patron. DVDs are loaned for 5 days and are renewable unless considered new or on hold by another patron. DVD checkout is limited to 3 per person or 6 per family at one given time.

The Library will make its collection available for interlibrary loan.

The Library will work with local entities to make materials available from its collection and will request materials on interlibrary loan for their use. Bulk loans of materials on certain subjects will be made for 1-2 months or whatever time needed when requested by school librarians, classroom teachers, day care centers, home schools, or other groups.


1.     There will be fines for overdue materials. An email will be sent when an item is 2 weeks overdue. A fine of $1.00 may be charged when an item is 4 weeks overdue and an additional $1.00 when the item is 6 weeks overdue. A fine of $1.00 may be charged every 3 days for DVDs. After 2 months, the library patron shall pay the replacement cost for the lost or damaged book or other library material. If the costs and fines are not paid at this time, the patron will be put on “Restricted” status and will not be allowed to check out additional items. Patrons with fines will be asked to arrange to pay the fine.

2.     Efforts will be made to retrieve overdue items by telephone, email and personal contact. If these efforts fail, a letter or email may be sent to any patron who has materials 2 months overdue. The goal is to retrieve the missing items, not to punish the borrower. Therefore, the Library may waive fines if the materials are returned. The letter or email will contain the following language:

      “Section 714.5 of the Iowa Code deals specifically with the theft of library materials and equipment.  According to the section, failure of a person to return library materials for two months or more after the date the person agreed to return the library materials is ‘evidence of intent to deprive the owner.’  Enclosed is a listing of the materials you have which are overdue.  Demand is hereby made that you return these materials within two weeks of the receipt of this letter.  GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.”

3.     A patron who returns a damaged item, and states that he is unable to use the item because of the damage, should not be expected to pay for faulty materials.  The damage may have been caused by this patron, by an earlier patron, or be the result of normal wear and tear.  The Library will absorb such losses in the interest of public relations.


1.     Fees will be imposed only for services that go beyond those which are considered basic to any modern, full service public library.  For example, access to a particular article in a periodical owned by the Library is considered a basic service, but providing a photocopy of that article for personal convenience is regarded as a special service for which a reasonable fee may be imposed.  Fees are subject to change.

2.     Printing will be provided to patrons as a special service.  Printing fees will be 15 cents per page for black and white copies and 30 cents a page for color copies. 

3.     FAX fees are $1.00 for the first page and 50 cents for subsequent pages.

LOANING LIBRARY FURNITURE AND EQUIPMENT                                                                  

The Library will not loan tables and chairs, computers or projector.


The Library will accept non-commercial displays for a maximum of 1 month. Displays must fit the space available and be approved by the Librarian.

COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT                                                                                

The Library’s selection policy will reflect its role as a children’s library and a popular materials library.  Special effort will be given to the selection and acquisition of a collection of “Easy” books and audio visual materials for preschool and elementary children.  Current popular fiction and non-fiction that is in high demand will be purchased to meet the recreational needs of patrons.  The Union Library will maintain a special collection of book CDs and quality children’s DVDs, as well as a collection of DVDs for adults which include both classics and recent releases.  All new acquisitions will be placed on the Iowa Locator.

Book selection is the responsibility of the Librarian who will select library materials that meet the needs of the community.  Selection tools used will be: (1) Booklists, Library Journals, and reviews in other publications; (2) Requests from patrons; and (3) Information from automated circulation system which can print out  information concerning the subjects currently in demand, which authors are most popular, and the materials that circulate well.                  


The Union Public Library subscribes to the Library Bill of Right of the American Library Association and Freedom to Read Statement, which affirms its belief in the following basic policies:

·       All material selected for the Library should be chosen for values of interest, information, and enlightenment of all the people of the community. No material will be excluded because of race or nationality, or the political and religious views of the writer.

·       Material selection will represent all points of view concerning the problems and issues of our times.

Library materials are selected on the basis of interest, imagination, and demand in the community. A great effort is made to provide a balanced collection. It is the policy of the Library to make available to everyone who needs or desires them, the widest possible diversity of views and modes of expression, including those which are strange, unorthodox or unpopular. The function of the Library is to provide information, not endorse every idea or point of view contained in the materials made available. It regards the race, nationality, personal history, or political affiliations of an author as irrelevant to the acceptance of his/her book.

All books shall be put out in open shelves except for those in need of repair or processing. All library materials shall be available to all library patrons. Limitations on juvenile reading or viewing are considered a parental responsibility and not a function of the Library. The Library welcomes comments and criticisms of its collection.

Although no citizen has a right to prevent another from reading a specific book by demanding its removal from the library shelves, careful consideration shall be given to any patron’s objections to any part of any book. A printed form will be provided for the objector to explain his position. This written objection may be given to the Librarian or the Library Board at their next scheduled meeting.


Re-evaluation of the existing collection will be systematically performed in order to maintain the effectiveness and quality of resources.  Material which is obsolete, outdated, or worn will be withdrawn from the collection.  Space must be effectively utilized.  Weeding is based on the CREW method: Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding.

An inventory of the total collection is done each year.  Library items that are missing are held in a special account in the circulation system for 1 year and then deleted from the collection.

PERSONNEL POLICY               

Hiring:  The Union Public Library is an equal opportunity and an “At Will” employer.                                                                

Certification: The librarian shall be certified by the Iowa State Library. Other staff are encouraged to become certified.

Salary: The Librarian’s salary should be sufficient to attract and keep a competent person. Other employees’ salaries should be comparable to those paid for comparable work.

Work Week:  A regular work week is 40 hours.  Since the Library is open 6 days a week, staff will be expected to work both evenings and weekends.

Tenure:  There will be a probationary period of 3 months.  Tenure begins after the first year of employment.  The Librarian is protected against unfair discharge or demotion without sufficient cause.  No such action may be taken without a hearing before the Library Board.  Discharge will not be effective without 1 month’s notice.

Resignation: The Librarian and full time employees shall provide the Library Board with 30 days advance written notice.  Permanent part-time employees shall provide the Library Director with 2 weeks advance written notice. 

Training:  The full time Librarian and permanent part-time librarians working at least 20 hour per week will be allowed time off work with travel expenses and registration fees paid for workshops, meetings, and classes that offer the 45 CE credits that are required during a 3 year period for state certification or recertification as a librarian.  The CE credits must be for job training for positions held and have the approval of the Librarian.  Pay for work, travel, or fees beyond the 45 credits must be approved by the Library Board.

Holidays:  Library holidays are New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve Day, and Christmas Day.  Full time employees and permanent part-time employees, who are regularly scheduled for at least 20 hours work per week, shall receive pay for the time they would normally work when any of these holidays falls on what would be a regularly schedule work day.

Vacation: Vacation time will be awarded from January 1 to December 31 and must be used during the calendar year. Vacation time will be awarded after the completion of 6 consecutive months of service.  Full time staff will be paid for 2 weeks vacation. Permanent part-time employees who are regularly scheduled for at least 20 hours of work per week will be eligible for 2 weeks vacation with pay each year. The actual number of paid hours is equal to the number of hours regularly scheduled for a week (i.e., a person who regularly works 20 hours per week will receive 2 weeks of 20/week paid vacation.) Vacation time will be based on the scheduled work week.  All employees may take a split or complete vacation period. Vacation leave must be applied for and approved by the Librarian, with due consideration to the continuation of normal library services. Officially designated holidays falling during a vacation period shall not be counted as days of vacation. Twelve days additional vacation time may be allowed without pay if approved by the Librarian, or in the case of the Librarian, by the Library Board. Time beyond this must be approved by the Library Board.

Evaluation: Job performance of all staff will be evaluated yearly. The Library Board will evaluate the Librarian using the Administrator’s Evaluation form. The Librarian will evaluate all other staff.

Volunteers: Volunteer help will be encouraged. After volunteers make a definite commitment, they will be assigned work by the Librarian that is of interest and is commensurate with their abilities and experience. Volunteers will be treated like all other staff and must follow Library Policy . The Librarian will provide sufficient training and supervision.  Additional training will be encouraged as needed. The Librarian will help volunteers become familiar with the library’s policies and services so that they may help interpret them to patrons and community. The same job performance will be expected from volunteers as from any staff member.

OTHER POLICIES:                                                                                  

The Librarian will use her judgment in accepting gifts or books which can be used in the Library.

The Librarian will order books for patrons if requested. Patrons will be charged list price plus any postage or shipping fees. Library Board members and staff will be charged the library’s cost.

Sex offenders against minors policy:                                                  

In accordance with Chapter 692A of Subtitle 1 of Title 16 of the code of Iowa, the Library Board prohibits the presence of sex offenders convicted of sex offenses again minors upon or within 300 feet of library property without written permission of the Library Director.

1.     The Library Director may only give written permission as the result of a vote at a meeting of the Library Board at which a quorum is present.

2.     Persons barred from library property under the law remain entitled to library service. It is the responsibility of the patron to arrange for a courier to select, check out, and return materials to the Library using the patron’s library number.

3.     Persons barred from library property under the law will not be served by the library’s homebound delivery service.

4.     The issuance of a library number to individuals who have been convicted of a sex offense involving a minor does not grant those individuals permission to enter the Library or to be present on library property. Individuals convicted of a sex offense against a minor must follow proper library procedures and policies to obtain written permission to be on library property regardless of whether or not they possess a valid library number.

5.     Suspicious persons who appear to be “loitering” in or around library property will be reported to the police for investigation.

6.     The National Sex Offenders Registry will be used to perform background checks on all employees, potential employees, and volunteers who are or will be working on library property.

7.     Violations of this policy will be immediately reported to law enforcement.