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Library Use

Anyone may use the public library regardless of origin, age, background, or views. Any restrictions on the use of

libraries are for the purposes of ensuring the public’s free access, the safety of patrons and staff, and the protection of library resources and facilities.

Filming and photographing within library facilities is permissible except where the nature of the photograph is
questionable, where locked-off areas have to be opened, where normal library service would be impaired, where
individual patron privacy or security are in question, or where unreasonable arrangement of books or furniture is
required.

All areas of all library facilities are smoke-free.

Northwest Georgia Regional Library System Policy Book, Effective April 1, 2013, page 13.

Patron Behavior

The library is supported by the taxes of the people of Gordon, Murray, and Whitfield Counties, Georgia who expect
each of our facilities to be clean, comfortable, and safe places for selecting materials, reading, researching, studying, and attending programs and meetings. To this end, the library is responsible for establishing rules of conduct to protect the rights and safety of library patrons, volunteers, and staff, and for preserving and protecting the library’s materials, equipment, facilities, and grounds.

These rules of conduct shall apply to all buildings, interior and exterior, and all grounds controlled and operated by the Northwest Georgia Regional Library System (such buildings and grounds are hereafter referred to as the “premises”) and to all persons entering in or on the premises. In order to provide a suitable environment for the use
of library facilities, the following types of behavior are not permitted in any public area of the library (including
parking lot and grounds):

  1. Loud conversation or any conversation disturbing or interrupting other patrons.
  2. Seating at tables beyond the limit of chairs normally assigned to a table.
  3. Unauthorized or unscheduled group meetings or group conversation.
  4. Sitting on tables or stair steps inside the library building.
  5. Loitering or sleeping.
  6. Any games which produce loud noise or conversation.
  7. Listening to the radio or musical devices (except with earphones).
  8. Blocking or interfering with the free movement of individuals.
  9. Animals in library buildings, unless approved (e.g., seeing-eye dogs).
  10. Food or beverages, except for groups using the multi-purpose room.
  11. Use of rest rooms for meetings, loitering, solicitation for immoral purposes, or consumption of alcoholic
    beverages or other proscribed substances.
  12. Theft, mutilation, and defacement of library property, including books.
  13. Taking library property, including books, outside the building without authorization by library personnel
    through established lending procedures.
  14. Automobiles parked on library property when the driver is not using the library or attending a scheduled
    meeting in the building, or beyond standard library hours.
  15. Use of any illegal substance anywhere on the library premises.
  16. Verbal abuse of staff or other patrons.
  17. Misuse of staff time, including insistence on individual assistance beyond reasonable levels or at an
    immediate time, when other tasks are expected of the staff member(s).
  18. Verbal/physical altercations.
  19. Distribution of materials not approved by library staff.
  20. Failure to use established bicycle storage area—patrons may not lock or store bicycles along passage ways, to
    light or flag poles, etc.
  21. Leaving skates or skateboards in aisles, etc.—they must be stored under the patron’s seat or table.

In addition, the library does not allow unapproved solicitation, petitioning, or panhandling, distributing literature, or similar types of appeals by members of the public in the library building, on the grounds, or in the parking lot.

Persons conducting any of the above actions may, after warning by library personnel, be asked to leave the library
premises. Persons who persist in disapproved conduct or who refuse to leave the library buildings and grounds when
requested will be subject to appropriate legal action. Staff may call the appropriate Police or Sheriff’s Department for assistance in any circumstances in which they feel such assistance is warranted.

Delegation of Authority

The library board formally delegates to library management the authority to enforce the Rules of Conduct, including
the withdrawal of permission to remain on library premises and the issuance of exclusion orders. The library director
is authorized to develop procedures for the implementation of this policy. The library board formally delegates to
library management the authority to enforce the Rules of Conduct.

Right of Appeal

A library patron has the right to appeal any action taken by the library system in the enforcement of this policy.
Appeals must be in writing to the Library Board of Trustees and received within thirty (30) days. The decision of the
library board in respect to the appeal will be final.

Patron Complaints

While the Northwest Georgia Regional Library endeavors to provide the highest levels of satisfaction and library
services to its patrons, we recognize that occasionally, patrons may wish to raise a complaint pertaining to an issue
which interferes with their use and enjoyment of the Library. Employees must give prompt courteous attention to all patrons who call or appear personally with a complaint or question. The employee should transfer or refer the patron to the Department Head or Branch Manager, or the employee should take the patron’s name, phone number, and a written message regarding the complaint for a call back later.

If the patron appears to be emotional to the point that the employee feels he/she is being abused, the incident should be reported to the Department Head or Branch Manager. Department Heads or Branch Managers may refer patrons to the specific policy that applies to the complaint and explain that individual employees are obligated to enforce Library policy. If the complaint is about a matter not covered by a specific policy, the Department Head/Branch Manager should attempt to answer the complaint with courtesy and reason.

The final authority in answering patron complaints about individual departmental policies rests with the Department
Head/Branch Manager. Only those complaints dealing with general Library policies should be referred to the Library
Director if the complaint cannot be answered satisfactorily by the Department Head/Branch Manager. A Library patron may complete a Patron Complaint Form (see attached). The Library Director, in consort with the Department Head/Branch Manager, will review promptly all completed Complaint Forms, and where appropriate, attempt to resolve the complaint directly.If the patron is not satisfied with the response provided, and/or if the Director identifies the situation as one in which Board input is warranted, either or both parties may bring the written complaint to the attention of the Board of Trustees. Patrons desiring to do so may also request an opportunity to address the Board at one of its monthly meetings.

The Board will promptly review all complaints presented to it, provide a verbal and/or a written response to the
complainant, and take any further remedial action warranted by the particular circumstances. The decision of the Board of Trustees with respect to a complaint shall be final.

Sales on Library Premises

Sales are not permitted on library property, nor may any exhibit be advertised for sale. Library sponsored events
shall be exempt from this requirement as are programs whose primary purpose is to yield a financial benefit for the
library itself such as book sales operated by the Friends of the Libraries.

Solicitation and Sales

It is contrary to library policy for sales people and those soliciting contributions to approach patrons or employees during work hours for the purpose of selling to or soliciting from individuals or staff members. This applies to both profit and nonprofit operations. Likewise, it is contrary to library policy for employees to sell or solicit while on the job.

Signs, Bulletin Board Postings, Pamphlets, and Handouts

Signs, bulletin board postings, pamphlets, and handouts are primarily used to promote reading, education, library
usage, and library news. Themes for signs, bulletin board postings, pamphlets, and handouts may be educational,
seasonal, patriotic, cultural, or community focused.

Signs, bulletin board postings, pamphlets and handouts should be formulated to appeal to the entire community.
Selection is based on the widest community appeal and interest, as well as format, space, staff, and budget
allowances. The library retains priority rights to all signs, bulletin boards postings, pamphlets, and handouts for
library purposes. Approval for all signs, bulletin boards posting, pamphlets, and handouts rests with the library
director or appointed designee(s). Any unapproved sign, bulletin board posting, pamphlet or handout displayed,
posted, or distributed will be removed with no notice.

Signs, bulletin board postings, pamphlets and handouts are usually content neutral, since the library rarely takes
sides in political or social controversies. The library will generally not be used as a forum for the presentation and
dissemination of one particular viewpoint. Distribution, exhibition, or posting of signs, bulletin board postings,
pamphlets and handouts by the library does not indicate the library’s endorsement of ideas, views, beliefs, or events
promoted by those materials.

The library assumes no liability in the event of damage, destruction, theft, or removal of signs, bulletin board
postings, pamphlets and handouts. It is not the intent of the library to serve as a public forum or limited public forum. (Adopted January 24, 2006)

Theft

The library is not responsible for articles stolen from a patron or staff member while in a library branch, on the
grounds, or in library parking lots. If a theft does occur, however, the staff member who learns of the theft should
notify the branch manager, director, deputy director, or assistant director. Staff should assist patrons wishing to
report thefts to the police in any way possible.

Unattended Children in the Library

Liability and staff availability concerns will not allow the library to accept responsibility for the care and safety of unattended children in the library, or of children who leave a library building or its grounds. Therefore, it is library policy that all children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a responsible adult while in the library. For their safety and the ability of all library patrons to use the library’s services and facilities, children are subject to library building rules and regulations.

The library will not be responsible for children left on the premises (including parking lot and grounds) after regular hours of operation. Parents should be aware of library hours, which are posted near the front entrance. The staff will call the appropriate Police Department or Sheriff’s Office to pick up children left at the library past closing time.

Service Animals

Under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “public accommodations” — including public libraries — are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Title III requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are
generally allowed.

As of March 15, 2011, the Library System will comply with Department of Justice (DOJ) rules amending regulations
implementing Titles II and III of the ADA pertaining to the new definition of “service animal.” Previously, a service
animal was defined as “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for
the benefit of an individual with a disability.” As of March 15, 2011, the rule defines “service animal” as “any dog that is individually trained….” Other types of animals do not qualify as service animals (except for trained miniature horses, subject to certain limitations).

The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability. Examples
include assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals
who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work,
pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens,
retrieving items, and providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities.

Dogs that are used purely for emotional support are not considered service animals. However, psychiatric service
animals that are trained to do work for individuals with an ADA-protected psychiatric disability are covered.
The Library System has the right to ask the service animal’s handler: (1) if the animal is required because of a
disability, and (2) what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. However, these inquiries are not
permitted when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a
disability (e.g., the dog is clearly guiding an individual who is blind). The handler is not required to produce
documentation about the service animal.

The Library System may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if the animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it, or if the animal is not housebroken. The service animal must be under the control of its handler at all times. It should have a harness,
leash, or other tether, unless the handler is unable to use a tether or it would interfere with the service animal’s ability to carry out its work, in which case the animal must still be under the handler’s control via voice control, signals, or other effective means. (Adopted January 25, 2011)

Northwest Georgia Regional Library System Policy Book, Effective April 1, 2013, pages 15-20.

Lost and Found

The library is not responsible for personal items left in the library or on the library premises. When a member of the public leaves an item, a reasonable attempt will be made to notify the owner in a timely manner. Upon notification, he/she will then have 7 days to claim the item. If the owner of a lost item visits the library and satisfactorily identifies the item, the item will be returned to them. In most cases, items that are lost and found in the library or turned in to library personnel by the public or staff are held for four weeks, at such time, they will be disposed of by the Library Manager.

Hazardous and perishable items are discarded immediately. For items that are believed to be illegal in nature, staff will contact the Police Department for assistance.

Items of obvious value, including but not limited to wallets, cellular phones, jewelry, laptops, cash, and credit cards are held in a secure location. If items are not claimed within four weeks, they will be disposed of by the Library Manager by being discarded, turned over to the Police Department, or donated to the Friends of the Library or other charity, as appropriate. Cash that is not claimed will be deposited in the Library’s donations account.

Bicycles that are chained to a fixed object on library property for longer than five days will be removed and turned over to the Police Department. (Adopted October 30, 2012)

Northwest Georgia Regional Library System Policy Book, Effective April 1, 2013, pages 14-15.

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