Featured Question and Answer by Joe Eisner:
Q: Are there certain policies or plans that a library is required to have?

A: In reviewing the information in the DLD link, Meeting Standard #4 Written Policies, note that it is suggested, but not mandated, that libraries adopt certain policies — many of which are outlined in the Trustee Handbook or in the link above.

However, there are some policies/plans which a library is required to have — and others that are strongly suggested.

1) Americans with Disabilities Act

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, all libraries must have a written plan for how the library will serve people with all kinds of disabilities.

2) Internet Use Policy

The board of trustees of a public, free association or Indian library which provides public access to the internet shall establish a policy governing patron use of computer terminals which access the internet. Verification of such policy shall be included in the annual report submitted to the department (Education Law s260(12), first paragraph).

Please also reference:
Handbook Highlight: Information Technology: You Should Have a Plan and a Policy

3) Strongly Suggested:

a. Personnel Policies
Personal policies are absolutely necessary for the smooth operation of any organization. Whether it has many employees or only one, every library should have a complete personnel policy manual for its staff.

b. Emergency Procedures and Plans
There is no such statutory mandate of which I am currently aware. However, in these times of apparently more and greater frequencies of occurrence of disasters caused either by weather conditions or other acts of God, it would be prudent for library boards to consider the development of such plans.

In the case of public libraries which, unlike association libraries and cooperative library systems, are subject to audits by the Comptroller , the Comptroller has criticized the lack of existence of a plan to safeguard computerized records essential to the audited entities, which included a small number of libraries and a larger number of municipalities and school districts. Comments extended to lax monitoring of passwords by unauthorized personnel.

c. ALA Policies

It is recommended that boards adopt the following standard ALA policies:

  • Library Bill of Rights
  • Confidentiality of Library Records
  • Free Access to Libraries for Minors: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
  • Freedom to Read Statement
  • Freedom to View Statement

Reference: Meeting Standard #4 Written Policies

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