All are welcome in Essex Public Library and everyone should feel comfortable while using library resources. In order to provide an atmosphere that is welcoming, safe, and respectful, the Library Board of Trustees approved rules for patron behavior. The following activities are prohibited:
1. Illegal activities
All library users must follow federal, state, and local laws, ordinances, and regulations while on the property.
2. Destructive behavior
Theft, vandalism, or mutilation of any and all Library property is punishable by law.
3. Abusive or harassing behavior
The Library has a policy of zero tolerance for threats, abuse, harassment, and acts of violence. Any person engaging in such behaviors toward staff or patrons will be immediately ejected. Using offensive or abusive language or acting or behaving disrespectfully towards a Library employee, volunteer, or patron will not be tolerated.
4. Unsafe behavior
Unsafe behavior, including roughhousing, climbing on furniture, running, skateboarding, or other potentially injurious actions, is prohibited.
5. Bringing animals into the Library
For the comfort of all library users, pets and animals, other than service animals, are not allowed in the Library unless they are part of a library-sponsored event.
6. Leaving children unattended
The Library holds parents responsible for the supervision and conduct of their minor children when they are using the Library. We encourage parents and caregivers to accompany children to the Library. A parent/caregiver must remain within conversational or visual distance of his/her child(ren) under the age of 8 at all times. Any minor who has been unattended at closing time may be allowed to use a business telephone to call for a ride. If a parent or caregiver does not respond, police will be called.
7. Disruptive Behavior
Behaviors that disrupt library operations or prevent others from being able to utilize library resources are not allowed. This includes but is not limited to:
– Loud phone conversations
– Excessively loud headphones or sounds from a computer or other device
– Lack of hygiene including pervasive body odor
– Cursing and obscene language
– Refusing to leave at closing time
– Monopolizing or misusing the restrooms
8. Smoking or using other tobacco products in the building
10. Engaging in any sexual contact, activities or conduct
11. Inappropriate Dress
Dress must be appropriate for a public setting. Shirts and shoes should be worn. Bathing suits are not allowed.
12. Soliciting or Campaigning
Soliciting and campaigning is prohibited, including distributing pamphlets or flyers without permission from library staff. Selling goods on library grounds is not allowed unless approved by the director.
To prevent disruptive sounds and smells, pest problems, and messy spills, eating is not allowed in the library, except in the meeting room or as part of a library-sponsored event. Drinking from closed beverage containers is acceptable in general reading areas. Beverages are not allowed near public computers or in the Genealogy Room.
Patrons who fail to comply with this policy may be asked to leave the Library building and Library property for the rest of the day. Continuing problems, or extreme misconduct, may result in suspension from the Library building and Library property, on recommendation of the director. Extreme cases of misconduct will result in immediate expulsion. Library staff shall contact the police when necessary. Any patron whose privileges have been denied may have the decision reviewed by the Library Board of Directors.
This policy will be posted in public view, and copies will be distributed to patrons upon request.
Approved by the Essex Public Library Board of Directors on April 25, 2018.
You must sign your name on the sign-up sheet at the circulation desk.
You are only guaranteed 30 minutes at the computer for which you signed. If you need more time for bona fide research you must tell library staff when you sign up. Computers automatically log off if they are idle for 5 minutes
Children under 16 are limited to 30-minutes per day. Proof of age may be required by librarian.
All computer use is on a first-come, first-serve basis. You may continue using the computer and Internet access so long as there is any other available computer. When there is no available computer the person who has been on longest will be the first person asked to leave.
You must sit at the computer for which you signed up. If you must leave the computer briefly, let the staff member on duty know. Otherwise, the computer may be given to another patron.
Appropriate, courteous behavior is expected from all library patrons. If you refuse to cooperate with librarian or to leave a computer when asked you will have your computer privileges revoked.
The library does not restrict access to any resource on the Internet for reasons of content except as required by Virginia Code § 42.1-36.1 regarding software filters. Library staff may disable or otherwise bypass filters required by this section at the request of a patron to enable access for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.
Computer users are bound by local, state, and federal laws relating to copyrights, security, obscenity, pornography, and other statutes regarding electronic media. Unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted material is against the law. Violations of the law will be reported to appropriate law enforcement authorities.
*Failure to follow the Library Access and Use Policy, guidelines or procedures can result in a loss of the patron’s access privileges. Illegal or disruptive behaviors can result in immediate termination of computer access and may involve intervention by law enforcement authorities. The Library reserves the right to terminate any computer session.
By logging on to this computer I state that I have read and understood and agree to abide by this policy.
The purpose of this policy is to ensure Essex County’s residents have efficient and equitable access to the Library’s meeting room space. The meeting room may be made available to organizations engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual or charitable activities.
Guidelines for meeting room use:
- Applications and reservations: Groups wishing to use the meeting room must fill out an application form prior to the meeting although reservations may be made by phone. Applications will be considered on a first-come first-served basis with Library programs and events having priority over all other reservations. Previously scheduled meetings may be cancelled if a Library activity conflicts. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Reservations are to be made on a fiscal year basis and for no more than 12 months prior to use. Each group must resubmit their reservations in July. Groups will be limited to 24 meetings per year, with some exceptions allowed based on scheduling needs and availability
- Cancellations: If a group needs to cancel a reservation, they should directly notify a library staff member no later than two business days before the scheduled reservation. Because of the high demand for our community meeting space, after three no shows, any subsequent reservations for that group will be canceled and future meeting room privileges for the group will be denied for one year.
- Housekeeping: Groups using the meeting room are responsible for setting up tables and chairs and for cleaning up all areas they use. Light food and drinks are permitted in the meeting room, provided the group cleans up immediately after the meeting and removes trash upon departure.
- Prohibited activities: Direct sales or money-raising activities are not allowed. Smoking or alcohol is not permitted. The meeting room is not intended for private gatherings or functions, including family reunions, birthday parties, funerals, baby showers, etc., unless a specific exception is made by the library director.
- Business use: Essex County businesses may be permitted to use the meeting rooms at no charge for employee training or informational purposes. For any other purposes, for-profit businesses may be charged $20 per hour. Fees must be paid before the business uses the room.
- Advertising and endorsement: Any advertising items about meetings and events may not suggest or imply in any way that the library is sponsoring the event. The fact that a group is permitted to use the meeting room does not in any way constitute an endorsement of the group’s policies or beliefs.
- Available hours: The meeting room is available during regular Library business hours. The meeting room must be vacated no later than ten minutes before the Library closes. The Library’s hours are:
Monday-Tuesday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday-Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Friday 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Penalties: Groups not honoring the above guidelines shall have future requests for use of the meeting room denied. The representative individual who signed the meeting room application form is responsible for any damages to the premises or equipment incurred by the group’s members. The library reserves the right to refuse the use of the meeting room to any group whose history indicates they might be physically destructive.
Updated July 17, 2019 by the Essex Public Library Board
Library Card Registration
Anyone age 6 and older is eligible to obtain a free Essex Public Library card. A library card application form can be completed at the library or through the library’s website. Proof of mailing address must be provided at the time of registration, which may be any document with the applicant’s name and address, including a state-issued ID, utility bill, check stub, etc.
Children ages 6 through 15
- Eligible for a card with a registration form signed by a parent/guardian.
- Child must be present to get a card.
- Parent/guardian must provide proof of address.
Teens age 16-18
- Complete and sign a registration form.
- Provide proof of address.
- Complete and sign a registration form.
- Provide proof of address.
About Your Library Card
- A library card should be presented for all transactions. Presentation of the library card will allow checkout of items on the account.
- Library card account holders are financially responsible for the items checked out and use of the library card. Parents/guardians are responsible for items checked out on and use of children’s library cards.
- Library card accounts are renewed every three years with verbal confirmation of contact information. Expired library accounts that have not been renewed after three years may be deleted.
- Patrons should alert staff as soon as possible of any changes to contact information.
- If an applicant is visiting the area, lives in temporary housing, or does not have a mailing address, he or she is eligible for a non-resident card.
- Non-resident cards expire after one year and allow for the use of online resources, e-books, and checkout of 5 physical items from the library.
- Online registration is not available for non-resident cards.
Loan Periods and Checkout Limits
- All books, audiobooks, and DVDs check out for three week (21 days). Checkout periods vary for non-book items including electronic equipment. Patrons will receive a receipt at checkout that provides the due date for materials. Checkout limits vary for digital collections (e-books, downloadable audiobooks, etc.). Contact the library or visit EPLVA.org for more information.
- Reference and genealogy materials may be used in the library only and are not available for checkout.
- For a new patron’s first checkout, they may borrow up to 5 items. Thereafter, library card holders may check out 35 items at a time, with a limit of 10 DVDs per account.
- Items may be renewed twice, unless a hold has been placed on the item. Renewals may not be allowed on some non-book equipment.
- When an item reaches two weeks overdue, further checkout of materials on the account is prohibited. Returning the item will immediately restore checkout privileges.
Lost or Damaged Items
- If an item is not returned within 90 days after the due date, the item will be billed as lost and the borrower will be charged for the cost of the item. The charges will be cleared if the item is returned within four months. If the item is not returned, the patron’s borrowing privileges will be suspended until the cost of the item has been paid.
- If an item is returned to the library damaged, the borrower will be charged for the cost of the item if the item is too damaged to continue circulating.
- The library does not accept replacement copies of lost or damaged items.
- Material lost or damaged due to extraordinary events such as a house fire, tornado, or flood will be excused with documentation. Billing information will be provided for insurance purposes where applicable.
- If a multiple-item set is returned without all of its parts, the borrower will be charged for the entire item unless all parts are returned. Replacement costs will be waived if all parts are returned within 3 months of notification.
Holds or Requests
- A hold is a request placed for an item which is on our shelves, checked out, or on order.
- For items with multiple requests, a queue is established and each request will be filled in the order in which it was received.
- Holds may be placed on any circulating item.
- After notifying the requestor of its availability, an item will be available for pickup for 7 days before it moves on to the next person in the queue or is returned to the shelves. Pickup periods for some equipment items may be shorter.
Interlibrary Loans (ILLS)
“Interlibrary loan” or “ILL” refers to an item borrowed from another library because it is not available in the Essex Public Library collection.
- ILL requests may be made by Essex County residents with established library accounts in good standing.
- A patron may request or checkout no more than 3 interlibrary loan titles at once.
- Materials borrowed from other libraries through the ILL system are subject to the rules and regulations of the loaning libraries. Any charges for obtaining the item, as well as fees for overdue, damaged, or lost materials, will be charged to the patron.
- ILLs cannot be renewed.
Any time staff recognizes signs of pest infestation in any library item, immediate steps will be taken to quarantine exposed materials and protect the rest of the collection and facility. Items returned by patrons with evidence of insects that are known to be damaging to library materials or that can result in pest infestation may be billed following normal procedures for damaged items. Depending on the severity of the situation, the library reserves rights to suspend borrowing privileges until a patron can produce a letter or a receipt from a licensed pest control company documenting treatment or inspection for bed bugs or other pests at his or her place of residence.
This policy was approved by the Essex Public Library Board of Directors on October 20, 2021.
This policy governs the selection and maintenance of the Essex Public Library’s collection of materials. In keeping with the library’s mission statement, collection development should enrich life, inspire lifelong learning, foster literacy and stimulate the imagination. Through this policy the Essex Public Library strives to offer free access to information reflecting differing viewpoints, needs and interests in order to support an open and democratic society. This Collection Development Policy is in accordance with the American Library Association guidelines including the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read statement.
The intention of this policy is to guide selectors in the process of evaluating and selecting materials which anticipate and satisfy the needs of the residents of Essex County as well as to explain the collection development process to other staff and patrons of the library. The main points of this policy include: objectives, responsibility of selectors, criteria for selection, collection maintenance, gifts, and requests for reconsideration.
The Essex Public Library will make available a wide variety of print and non-print materials that improve, change, enrich and provide enjoyment even if the materials do not have permanent relevancy or value.
- The collection is not archival and is continuously reviewed to make the best use of space and to remain contemporary.
- The collection will reflect a variety of opinions (minority and majority) on a subject.
- The collection will meet the needs of a broad range of people while paying special attention to local concerns and interests.
Responsibility of Selectors
The responsibility for selecting materials for the collection legally rests with the Library Board. The Board delegates selection to the Library Director and his/her designees. Department heads participate in the selection process and all staff are encouraged to submit recommendations for purchase.
Criteria for Selection
Selection of materials, whether purchased or donated, is based on the informational, educational, or recreational need of the community and is dependent on space, budget and availability.
No single selection standard can be applied to all acquisitions to the library. Each item should be considered individually and take into account its intended audience. When available, annotations or descriptions should be taken into account. Some items, however, may be chosen simply on artistic value or scholarship.
In order to build well-rounded collections the following criteria will be applied to selecting items whether they be purchased or donated:
- Appropriateness and effectiveness of format.
- Suitability of subject, style, and reading level for intended audience.
- Opinions from critics, reviews, public opinion, and professional selection aids.
- Present and potential relevance to community needs.
- Importance as a document of the times (publication date).
- Reputation and/or significance of author, producer or publisher.
- Prize or honor received.
- Relation to existing collection and other materials on the subject.
- Availability and accessibility of the same material in the SOVALUe electronic collection.
- Demand or request for materials.
Patrons of the library may request specific item titles to be considered for the collection. In most cases the request will be granted. However if the item does not meet the general criteria, the selector reserves the right to reject the request.
All collections of the library should be weeded over the course of the year. Weeding of the collection insures that materials found in the library are useful and accessible. Collections should change over time to meet the changing needs of the community, the advancement of science, changes in the world and goals of the library.
Weeding decisions ultimately depend on the professional judgments of the library staff. Removal of damaged or antiquated materials should be a continual process.
Criteria to consider for removal of an item:
- Publication date
- Accuracy of information
- Circulation statistics
- Last use vs. date added
- Subject material
- Physical condition or overall appearance of the item
Extensive information on weeding is provided in CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries (http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/crew/), which is the Library’s preferred guide to weeding its collections.
Criteria of what not to weed:
- Local history items
- Items by local authors or artists
Items are regularly withdrawn from the collection to make room for items newer, more useful or popular. The following are the steps to be taken when discarding an item:
- Change the status of the item record to “Withdrawn” in the automated library system.
- Stamp books “Withdrawn.” Try to stamp in places where the book has identifying markings such as the title page and the item barcode.
- Note date withdrawn on inside cover
- Place items on our book sale shelves for sale 3 months.
- After 3 months put items with other donations to be considered for donation or disposal.
A replacement is an item purchased to take the place of an identical title previously in the collection. A selector should consider replacing an item that has been damaged, stolen or lost using the same criteria used in considering an item for purchase. Not all items that are damaged, stolen or lost should automatically be replaced. Donations may be considered as replacements.
Gift books are books purchased with money donated for that specific purpose. It is the responsibility of the selection team to select the books. Donors may suggest ideas for subjects or designate a reading level.
Donations of books and other materials are accepted with the understanding that the items might be added to the collection, placed on the sale shelves, or disposed of. New titles acquired in this manner are subject to the basic standards of selection, and replacement and duplicate copies are added to the collection only if needed.
The library will provide receipts indicating the number of donated items upon request for gift books for tax deductions or other purposes.
Reconsideration (Challenges) Procedures
The Essex Public Library recognizes that differences of opinion may exist in the community about the validity and value of materials in the Library’s collection. It is the library’s position that while anyone is free to reject for himself materials of which he does not approve, he cannot exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom of others.
Responsibility for the reading of children and young adults rests with their parents or legal guardians. Essex Public Library does not stand in loco parentis. It is the responsibility of parents to monitor what their children check out.
Library materials are not marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents. No book or other library material is sequestered, except for the purpose of protecting it from injury or theft. Items that have been accepted into the collection as qualifying under the criteria for selection will not be automatically removed at the request of those who disagree with its content. The following procedures are a guide for handling a request for reconsideration.
- A member of the Collection Development Team should informally explain the selection process of the library to the person who is making a challenge.
- If that does not resolve the protest, the complainant will need to fill out a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Material” form.
- Inform the Library Director of the issue.
- The challenged material remains on the shelf until a decision is made.
- Director appoints a Review Committee made up of a member of the staff, the library director, a board member, and a non-partial community representative.
- The following steps are carried out by the Review Committee
- Read, view, or listen to material
- Reference general acceptance of the item by reading reviews and consulting recommended lists.
- Determine the extent to which the item meets the selection policy, and consider the written complaint.
- Discuss the material confidentially.
- Write a report.
- The library director then presents the committee’s decision.
This policy was adopted on October 17, 2012