Policies and Procedure
The Mendocino County Library is a free, public library. With a library card, anyone may borrow materials, order books, use the public access computers, or use the databases for magazines and newspapers.
- Library Card Information
- Internet Policy
- Standards of Behavior
- Gift Policy
- Mission and Goals
Parents are responsible for their own children in the library. We encourage parents to guide their children in library and computer use. Library staff is not responsible for monitoring items checked out by juvenile or adult patrons. Parents are responsible for their children’s access of the Internet. Parents- and only parents may restrict their children- and only their children- from use of the Library’s public Internet access and should monitor their children’s sessions.
PUBLIC ACCESS INTERNET GUIDELINES
All users of the Internet at this library are expected to use it in a responsible and courteous manner. Please follow all Internet related rules and regulations.
- Know and comply with general library rules of conduct
- Use for authorized items only
- Respect intellectual property right by making only authorized copies of copyrighted licensed software or data
- Respect other’s privacy
- Use only for legal and ethical purposes
- Use computer equipment as is
- Do not alter, damage or delete software
- Do not damage or change the equipment configuration
- Do not propagate computer worms or viruses
- Do not misrepresent yourself or another user
- Do not attempt to gain access to files or passwords belonging to other individuals or computer networks.
PROHIBITED USE INCLUDES
- Copy and use of copyrighted, licensed and protected software
- Transmission or access of obscene or sexually explicit material
- Sending hate mail or using the Internet for harassment or discrimination
- Transmission of material in violation of U.S. or state regulations
NO CHANGES OF ANY KIND ARE ALLOWED TO THE HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE OF PUBLIC ACCESS COMPUTERS. PENALTIES INCLUDE PAYMENT FOR DAMAGES AND LOSS OF COMPUTER PRIVILEGES.
- First time users must demonstrate the ability to turn on a computer, load programs and CD-ROMS and show understanding of the instructions and HELP screens.
- Users, twelve years or younger, must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, caretaker,. Children may not be left alone at the library.
- Only one person over twelve years old may use each computer at a time, unless staff grants permission. People may not congregate at the computers.
- Computer patrons assume responsibility for software during use.
- Personal belongings should not be left unattended.
- Computer copies cost ten cents per page.
- Use appropriate language, respect the privacy of others and do no disrupt other users.
- Internet sources do not always provide accurate, complete or current information. All source materials should be questioned for validity.
- Mendocino County Libraries reserve the right to determine the nature of inappropriate computer use. Suspected internet abuse may be monitored.
- Penalty for abuse of these guidelines is possible revocation of computer privileges for a period not less than two weeks and not more than twelve months. Appeals may be made to the library Branch Manager.
Mendocino county Library, in response to advances in technology and the emerging needs of the community, endeavors to develop collections, resources and services that meet the cultural, informational, recreational, and educational needs of a diverse community. One of its services is providing public access to the Internet.
The Internet is a global communication resource with a highly diverse user population. From its very nature the user cannot expect all sources on the Internet to provide accurate, complete or current information. The Library has no control over the content of the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content. The Library does not censor access to library materials nor does it protect patrons from information. Library patrons accessing the Internet should use it at their own discretion. Patrons found accessing pornographic or offensive sites will be asked to leave, and may lose their computer privileges, if so determined by the Branch Librarian.
All Internet resources accessible through the Library are provided equally to all Library users. Parents or guardians are responsible for their children’s access of the Internet, not the Library and its staff. Parents- and only parents- may restrict their children- and only their children- from use of the library’s public Internet access and should monitor their children’s sessions.
Other than restriction of children’s access based on parental approval, limitations on the amount of time a person can use workstations will be imposed to make workstations more accessible to all potential users. A limitation of two persons per workstation is required in order to reduce disturbing conversation and to discourage behavioral problems. Exceptions may be made for families and special circumstances to be determined by staff.
We welcome you to the Library. Everyone has a right to quality Library service in an atmosphere that is calm, safe and free of disturbances from others. While you are here, please be considerate of others. The Library has created this Code of Conduct to ensure a positive Library experience for everyone who visits any Mendocino County Library.
Respect Library Rules
Patrons must follow rules and policies of the Mendocino County Libraries.
Food or Drink
Eating and drinking in the Library are allowed only in designated areas or for programs and meetings held in the meeting room area of the Library.
Using the public restrooms for shaving, bathing, or as laundry facilities is prohibited.
Selling, Soliciting, Mass Distribution of Materials or Panhandling
Selling, soliciting, panhandling, or mass distribution of unapproved materials is prohibited.
Public Displays of Obscene Material
Public displays of obscene or visually disturbing material that interferes with the ability of others to use the library, or as prohibited by law, is prohibited.
Loitering in the Library, on Library steps, entryway or Library property thereby creating a nuisance to those who are trying to enter or exit the building or to use Library resources is prohibited. Patrons shall be engaged in activities associated with the use of a public library while in the building.
Sleeping is prohibited.
Furniture and Property
Leave furniture in its place. Avoid putting feet on the furniture. Use the Library’s facilities, materials and furnishings as intended.
Inappropriate or abusive language is prohibited.
Sleeping bags, bedrolls, and packages in bulk or quantity that cannot be stored entirely under the owner’s chair are prohibited. Personal belongings should not be left unattended anywhere on Library property. With regard to animals in the Library, only assistance animals are permitted.
Smoking is prohibited inside the building, on Library steps, all entry ways or outside of any public entryway. Smokers must be at least 20 feet from any entrance to the library.
Offensive Odors and Dress Code
Anyone whose bodily hygiene is offensive so as to constitute a nuisance to other persons shall be required to leave the building. Since many people are sensitive to strong fragrances, patrons are asked to refrain from excessive use of perfumes or colognes. Being fully clothed, including shirt, shoes, and pants, dress, or skirt, is a requirement of using the Library.
Harassing behavior is prohibited. Harassing behavior may take many forms and includes, but is not limited to: unwanted conversations, verbal abuse, advances of a personal or sexual nature that intimidate or make the other party uncomfortable, harassing or obscene gestures or sounds, offensive touching, staring at library staff or at other patrons so that performance of their duties or use of library resources is materially disrupted, and intentionally monopolizing staff time so that performance of duties is materially disrupted even after the staff member has clearly indicated that a reference or customer service transaction has ended. For the purposes of enforcing the Library’s Code of Conduct, harassing behavior directed at a Library employee by a Library patron shall include behavior which occurs anywhere both on and off Library property, over the phone, by mail or any electronic source.
Disturbing anyone by unreasonable noise (e.g., cell phones; videoconferencing applications such as Skype or Face time; loud conversations; loud singing; radios; other electronic devices with headphones turned up at an unreasonable volume; etc.,) is prohibited.
Stalking others in the Library is prohibited. Stalking is the willful, malicious, and repeated following and harassing of another person. For the purposes of enforcing the Library’s Code of Conduct for staff, following/stalking behavior directed at a library employee by a Library patron shall include behavior which occurs anywhere both on and off of the Library property.
Abusive behavior, such as threats or violent behavior toward staff or patrons, is prohibited.
Unsafe behavior such as roughhousing, climbing on furniture, running, skateboarding, or any other potentially injurious action is prohibited.
Trespassing is prohibited. To trespass includes entering any Library building during a period of suspension of Library privileges, entering any non-public area of the Library, failing to leave the Library immediately upon closing, or being in the Library before or after public hours without express permission from authorized Library personnel.
Children are encouraged to visit our Libraries. The Library is concerned about children’s safety and welfare. We recognize parents’ or guardians’ responsibility for the behavior and well-being of their children. We respect the privacy of all Library patrons and intervene only when a child is deemed at risk.
If an unattended child comes to the attention of Library staff, staff will make a good-faith attempt to contact the parent or guardian. If the parent or guardian cannot be reached, the child will be referred to the local law enforcement agency. Children age 8 and under may not be left unattended anywhere in the Library and must be accompanied and directly supervised by a responsible adult.
Unlawful behavior while in the Library or on Library property, including, but not limited to, carrying unlawful weapons, assault, indecent exposure or sex acts, use of drugs or alcohol, damage to library property, theft, attempted theft, brandishing a weapon, public drunkenness or intoxication, public urination and defecation, is prohibited.
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors determines all Library policies, including standards for public behavior on the premises of all public Libraries in the County. The Library retains the right to take any action necessary to ensure a safe and appropriate environment for everyone.
These standards of behavior are available as a brochure and online at www.mendolibrary.org. The County Librarian and his/her designated staff are responsible for interpreting these rules in accordance with applicable law and for ensuring appropriate behavior in all Library facilities.
Enforcement of these rules will be conducted in a fair and reasonable manner. Any person who violates these standards will be asked to bring their behavior into compliance immediately or leave the Library. Failure to comply with the Library’s established rules, regulations, and policies could result in removal from the premises and suspension from the Library for a period of one day to one year. Violations could also result in the restriction and/or termination of Library privileges, including use of library computers and other equipment.
A patron has the right to request an Administrative Review of a suspension order that is for a period greater than seven days. Please see Suspension of Library Privileges Notification and Appeal Process Policy.
SUSPENSION OF LIBRARY PRIVILEGES NOTIFICATION AND APPEAL PROCESS
Patrons who do not comply with the Mendocino County Library Standards of Behavior Policy may be asked to leave the Library for a period of one to 30 days by the Branch Librarian or Person in Charge. The County Librarian manages any proposed suspensions of 30 days to up to one year.
A. IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION WITH FURTHER ACTION TO FOLLOW:
The following behaviors will not be tolerated:
- physical abuse or assault
- fighting or challenging to fight
- making violent or threatening statements
- damaging, destroying, or theft of library property
Authorized Library staff will instruct anyone displaying these behaviors to leave the Library facility immediately. Police will be called and additional legal action may occur, as appropriate. In addition, based on the severity of the situation, a suspension of library privileges for up to one year will be applied without advance warning or prior suspension. Library staff will notify Library Administration immediately, where a determination of the appropriate suspension period and procedures will be assigned by the County Librarian.
All other prohibited behaviors will be addressed in the following manner:
- First Violation: Initial warning and given copy of the Standards of Behavior
- Second Violation: Library privileges suspended for the day
- Third Violation: Library privileges suspended for seven days
- Fourth Violation: Library privileges suspended for up to a year
Circumstances, including the seriousness or continuing nature of the conduct may warrant immediate suspension of Library privileges.
At the recommendation of Library staff and branch managers, the County Librarian or designee will issue a letter to the patron specifying the behavior that violated the Mendocino County Library Behavior Policy; penalty for doing so, which may include a suspension of Library privileges from all Mendocino County Libraries and facilities; and the designated suspension time of up to one year.
At the recommendation of the County Librarian, the Board of Supervisors may suspend a patron from Mendocino County Library facilities for a period of one year or more if the patron’s conduct is deemed an ongoing threat to library patrons or staff.
Any patron who has had his or her Library privileges suspended may appeal once in writing to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. An appeal petition must be mailed or delivered to the County Librarian at Mendocino County Libraries, 105 N. Main Street, Ukiah, CA 95482, within 15 days of the suspension. The appeal petition must include all reasons the patron believes he or she is not in violation of the Mendocino County Library Behavior Policy or why the suspension is not appropriate.
The Board of Supervisors, upon hearing the petition during a public meeting and then voted upon, will issue a written determination of the appeal within 60 days of the receipt of the petition. The Board of Supervisors may uphold the suspension, overturn the suspension or propose an alternative. The determination is final and shall have no precedential value. An appeal may not be repeated.
The Mendocino County Library welcomes gifts of library materials, money or real property. These gifts help enrich and improve public library resources. Monetary contributions are added to the library’s Endowment fund, which is allocated by the Library Board for purchase of materials. Memorial books or other library materials may be donated in honor of a friend or relative, and are marked with a special bookplate. Used books and paperbacks can often be used in the library’s collection. Items not needed by the library are sold at a book sale sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Generally, the library does not accept textbooks or books in poor physical condition. The library may or may not accept donations of specialized collections. A decision will be made on an individual basis by the Library Director and the Branch Manager. The library applies the same criteria for evaluating gift items as it applies to purchased material. Gifts will be withdrawn in the same manner as purchased material. The library does not accept responsibility for notifying donors of withdrawal or replacement of gift items. All gifts are tax deductible and the library will furnish a statement for tax purposes, but does not place a financial value on used items. No gifts are accepted unless given to the library without restriction. All gifts may be utilized, sold or disposed of in the best interest of the library. All donations are accepted only if the Library Director feels they can be utilized by the library.
The Mendocino County Public Library is committed to protecting the privacy of the customers and staff of the Library. We subscribe to the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics which upholds each Library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought and received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired, or transmitted.
We collect and maintain only that personal information about our users which is required to deliver Library services. Library staff do not give or sell to third parties or private or public agencies any information about Library users, the materials they check out, the information they seek, the online resources they access, or other services they utilize, unless we are required to do so by court order, or as a result of a subpoena or search warrant. Library users should be aware, however, that the USA Patriot Act of 2001 increases the power of federal investigative agencies to compel the disclosure of personal information.
Registration & Circulation
By law (California Government Code Section 6267), circulation and registration records of Library users are confidential. The Library collects only that information needed to verify the identity of borrowers, to enable contact for Library operations purposes, and for minors, contact information for a parent or legally responsible adult. The Library takes reasonable steps to safeguard this registration data and to prevent unauthorized access to it.
Upon request, the Library will provide information to parents and guardians about fines, fees, or other charges incurred by their minor children.
Users have the right to access their personal information and to verify its accuracy through “My Account” in the Library catalog. A Library card number and PIN are required to access your record which include materials currently checked out, holds to be filled, money owed, and personal reading lists in “My List.”
Records of items borrowed are maintained electronically. Links between users and the items they borrow are broken after the items are returned. Records of fines and fees may be retained for several years according to Mendocino County Library System policies. “My List” is managed by each individual user, but lists inactive for 90 days are purged. Circulation system back-up is maintained as necessary to allow data rebuild in the event of system problems.
Radio Frequency Identification
No personal information is recorded on the RFID tag when an item is checked out or checked in (only some materials have RFID tags). The only information stored on the tag is the barcode of the item. Links between borrowers and the items they borrow are maintained in the Library’s circulation system and are broken after the item is returned. The Library’s Public Catalog is not searchable by barcode. The Library takes reasonable steps to safeguard its circulation system and prevent unauthorized access to it, and complies with all State Laws regarding Public Records, specifically Library circulation records.
Electronic logs of visits to the Library catalog and Library web pages from inside the Library or from home are purged regularly. Software programs summarize anonymous statistical data such as numbers of user sessions, time of day of sessions, and browser types being used. This anonymous data helps the Library make its site more useful to visitors. The Library has no control over the privacy practices of other web sites which are included as links on Library web pages.
To use Library subscription databases from home, Library users are required to enter their Library card numbers to ensure that only Mendocino County Public Library cardholders may access these resources as required by licensing agreements with database vendors. Individual users’ personal information or IP addresses are not passed on to the database vendors and are not linked to searches performed in the subscription databases.
No personal information is required of users in order to obtain reference service in Library branches or by telephone. Contact information, however, will be required if you wish to receive follow-up information or ask questions by e-mail. All logs of reference service transactions are discarded within one month after anonymous statistical data is compiled. By County policy, invoices for billable services such as mail and fax reference service are maintained 5 years.
In order to utilize some special services such as attending Library programs which require registration, computer classes, delivery of talking books, interlibrary loan, newsletters, meeting room reservations, and literacy services, Library users must provide sufficient identifying information to enable the delivery of these services. These records are generally purged when the users’ transactions are complete or they choose to stop using a continuing service such as a newsletter. Comments about Library service and suggestions for purchase of Library materials are deleted when they have been acted upon.
In order to provide equitable access to public computers, the Library requires all users to sign up for sessions. Public use PC sign-up records are destroyed daily. On the Library public computers, all documents created, Internet search histories, temporary files, cache, and certificates are purged upon closing of the browser and/or daily rebooting of the PC’s. While the Library takes measures to ensure the privacy of public computer users, it cannot guarantee that every task completed is private.
The Library’s mission statement was developed after community town hall meetings and written by a community of citizens. It reads:
Our Library provides educational and recreational materials which fill the needs of a culturally diverse population. It does these tasks with care for the quality and timeliness of its materials and with attention to their accessibility. The Library through its staff interprets and guides the use of materials to enable as many people as possible to apply in their daily lives the record of what is known.
The goals of the Library are to:
- Provide and improve accessibility to information through a variety of means for all library users.
- Encourage young children to develop an interest in reading and learning.
- Support individuals of all ages in pursuing a sustained program of independent learning.
- Feature current, high-demand, high-interest materials in variety of formats for persons of all ages.
- Provide a stable funding base adequate to maintain the desired levels of service.