Library Policy

Axtell Public Library Policy Manual & Bylaws

Revised and Approved September, 2017



Table of Contents

Mission and Objectives

  1. Mission Statement
  2. Vision Statement
  3. General Objectives

Personnel Policy

  1. Personnel Policy
  2. Hours and Holidays
  3. Staff Development
  4. Volunteers
  5. Publicity and Public Relations
  6. Personnel

Payroll Policy

Library Services Policy

  1. Borrowing Privileges
  2. Borrower Responsibilities
  3. Circulation Policies
  4. Fines and Charges
  5. Claimed Returned Status
  6. Lost or Damaged Materials

Homebound Patron Policies

Computer and Internet Policy

Interlibrary Loan

Miscellaneous Services

  1. Copy Machine
  2. Office Equipment
  3. Proctoring Tests
  4. Audio Books

Patron Behavior

  1. General Patron Behavior Expectations
  2. Unattended Persons
  3. Penalties
  4. Appeals

Social Media

Exhibits and Displays

Study Rooms

Confidentiality of Library Records

Collection Development Policies


Emergency Procedures

  1. Medical Emergency
  2. Fire
  3. Tornado
  4. Emergency Numbers

Friends of the Library

Teen Advisory Board

Axtell Public Library Board

  1. Board Terms
  2. Board Officers
  3. Duties of the Board
  4. Board Meetings



Financial Control

Facilities Policy

Bulletin Board Policy


Parental Responsibility

Technology Plan

Policy Review


Appendix A

Minor Internet Access Parental Permission Agreement

Exhibit Release Form

Meeting Room Application

Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials


Incident Report


Appendix B

ALA Freedom to Read Statement

ALA Freedom to View Statement

ALA Code of Ethics

ALA Library Bill of Rights


  1. Mission Statement

The Axtell Public Library exists to provide equal access to information, provide quality materials and services, and to promote the enjoyment of reading, culture, and the pursuit of lifelong learning.

  1. Vision Statement

The Axtell Public Library will endeavor to meet and/or exceed standards and guidelines prepared by the Nebraska Library Commission.   The Axtell Public Library will conduct a continuous study of community needs and strive to consistently discover new methods and improvements for better service for the Library’s customers.

  1. General Objectives
  • To serve the community as a center of reliable information through print and non-print collections, technology, and programming.
  • To support educational, civic, and cultural activities of groups and organizations.
  • To provide opportunity and encouragement for children, young people, and adults to educate themselves.
  • To identify community needs, to provide programs of service and technology to meet those needs, and to cooperate with other organizations, agencies, and institutions which can provide programs or services to meet community needs.
  • To provide opportunity for recreation through use of literature, technology, music, films, and other art forms.


  2. Personnel Policy

Personnel employment, salaries, promotions, dismissal, retirement, vacation, sick leave, emergency leave, dress code, and resignation shall be followed as stated in the current Personnel Manual for the Mirage Township of Kearney County.

  1. Hours and Holidays
  2. The Library shall be open as follows:

School Year Hours

Monday 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 3:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Tuesday 3:30 – 6 p.m.

Wednesday 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 3:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Thursday 3:30 – 6 p.m.

Friday 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 2:30 – 5 p.m.

Every Third Saturday of each month from 9 – 11 a.m.

Summer Hours

Monday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Tuesday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Wednesday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.; 4 – 8 p.m.

Thursday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Closed Friday through Sunday

Every Third Saturday of each month from 9-11 a.m.

  1. Holidays
    1. The Library will be closed on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
      1. In keeping with the Mirage Township of Kearney County Personnel Manual, holidays shall be observed on the day they are observed by the courts of the State of Nebraska. When a holiday falls on Sunday, the following Monday shall be observed as a holiday. When a holiday falls on a Saturday, the preceding Friday shall be observed as a holiday.
      2. The Library will be closed Easter Sunday, the Sunday preceding Memorial Day, and the Sunday preceding Labor Day. These days are not official city holidays and will not be paid holidays. No employees will be scheduled on those days.
  • Thanksgiving Eve and New Year’s Eve may vary from normal weekday hours per the Library Director’s discretion. These are not official holidays and will not be paid holidays.
  1. If the Library Director believes the Library should be opened or closed for special occasions (exhibits, etc.), the decision will be made by the Library Director in consultation with the Library Board.
  2. Any changes in this schedule will be posted on the Library’s front door.
  1. Staff Development
  2. The Library encourages the attendance of all staff members and Board members at professional meetings, conferences, and conventions. When possible, time will be allowed with pay for staff members to attend.
  3. Library funds will pay for mileage, registration fees, meals, and lodging for Board members and staff members designated by the Director.
  4. The Library shall pay state and national association dues for the Library Director and Assistant Director. Nebraska Library Association dues, or dues for an equivalent association, will be paid for Library Board members (if they are interested), substitute librarians.
  5. Volunteers
  6. The Library will attempt to place patrons from ninth grade onward with appropriate tasks.
  7. The Library does not place court ordered diversion patrons.
  8. The Library will accept as many students fulfilling school requirements as can be reasonably managed.
  9. Every volunteer can be subjected to a criminal background check (through Kearney County Sheriff’s Department).
  10. Formal orientation for new volunteers will be provided.


  1. Publicity and Public Relations
  2. All publicity concerning the Library shall be under the direction of the Director, who shall inform the public of the services the Library performs and its activities. The various news media will be utilized as considered appropriate.
  3. The Axtell Public Library Board recognizes that public relations involve every person who has any connection with the Library. The Board urges its own members and every staff member to realize that he/she represents the Library in every public contact. Good service/representation supports good public relations.


  1. Personnel
  2. The Axtell Public Library is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All appointments to positions within the Library shall be based on merit and be in accordance with pertinent state and federal government legislation concerning employment, equity, and human rights.
  3. All employees will receive a performance evaluation at least once annually. New employees will receive a 90-day review post hire, all records will be kept in the personnel file.
  4. The Board shall appoint a qualified Library Director who shall be the executive and administration officer of the Library on behalf of the Board and under its review and direction.
  5. The Director is appointed by the Board and is employed by the Mirage Township.
  6. The Director shall receive regular pay plus expenses to attend Board-approved workshops and conventions for continuing education and professional development.  Board members shall also receive expenses for participation in such activities, not in excess of two per year.


  2. The Library Director will review timecards before submitting to the Township secretary. In cases where the Director is not available, the Assistant Director or a member of the Board may approve payroll.
  3. All employees of the Axtell Public Library will be paid by the Mirage Township secretary.
  4. All timecards will be turned into the Mirage Township secretary at the first of the month, specifically between the 1st-5th day of the month. All paychecks will be cut by the 10th of the month, and will be available for pickup or mailed to employees.
  5. All employees (specifically the Library Director and 2 designated substitutes) will meet with the Mirage Township secretary to complete all the necessary employment and tax forms.
  6. All payroll records will be kept on file with the Mirage Township Secretary.


  2. Borrowing Privileges
  3. Residents and non-residents may be issued Library cards at no cost.
  4. Applications for Library cards must be completed by the applicant or a parent/guardian. Identification that shows proof of current address is required, although not mandatory. Identification must include a valid driver’s license or other photographic identification. In the case that the photographic identification does not include a current address, other identification will be required, such as a personalized check blank, or a utility bill.
  5. A parent/guardian must be present or have written consent when a patron age 17 or younger applies for her/his first Library card.
  6. Applications for agency Library cards may be issued to businesses, agencies, and institutions requesting borrowing privileges. The application must be completed by an agency representative. The representative will then assume all borrower responsibilities for this card.
  7. The Library will serve all residents of the Axtell School District and Mirage Township and its trade area. Service will not be denied or abridged because of religious, racial, or social or economic or political status, or because of mental, emotional, or physical condition, age, or sexual orientation.
  8. The use of the Library may be denied for due cause. Such cause may be failure to return Library materials, to pay penalties, destructions of Library property, disturbance of other patrons, or any other illegal, disruptive, or objectionable conduct on Library premises.


  1. Borrower Responsibilities
  2. Patrons are responsible for all materials borrowed on their card, including payment of fines or charges incurred. Parents/guardians are responsible for all materials checked out by a patron age 17 or younger.
  3. Patrons age 16 or older should present their Library card or a valid photo I.D. or identify themselves with demographic information each time Library material is borrowed.
  4. Patrons age 15 or younger may use Library services without a Library card by providing demographic information and/or identification such as a birth date.
  5. Patrons are responsible for notifying the Library promptly of any change of contact information or loss of Library card.
  6. Patrons age 16 or older must possess a Library card in order to use an Internet computer. A valid photo I.D. may be presented if the users do not have their Library card with them.
  7. Access may be granted to visitors age 18 and older who need to use an internet computer and to visitors age seventeen and younger with a parent present.


  1. Circulation Policies
  2. All materials may be used within the Library free of charge.
  3. Materials maybe borrowed only with a Library card in good standing.
  4. Fees or fines for materials lost will be assessed to the patron.  Fees or fines will be brought to the patron’s attention on each visit where they wish to check out materials.  Patrons will be encouraged to make a plan of taking care of this fee or replacing/finding the lost items.
  5. Length of loans:
  • Fiction Books, 21 days
  • Nonfiction Books, 21 days
  • CD Audio Books, 21 days
  • CD Music for Children, 21 days
  • EBooks, 21 days
  • Golden Sower Books, 21 days
  • New Adult Books, 21 days
  • Periodicals, 21 days
  • DVDs, 7 days
  • Downloadable Audio, 21 days

*All renewals are dependent on waiting requests and may be renewed twice.

  1. Items with waiting requests cannot be renewed.
  2. Current issues of periodicals may be circulated.
  3. Reference materials can be circulated. This includes materials housed at the Library but owned by another individual or organization.
  4. Check with a Library Director before loaning any materials not covered in this manual.
  5. Librarians do not have the time to conduct extensive and in-depth research. What constitutes extensive and in-depth research is at the discretion of the Librarian.


  1. Fines and Charges
  2. Service fees for past due items will be a donation to the local food pantry and can be brought to the Library.
  3. The service fee structure for Axtell Public Library is a donation to the local food pantry.  If the item is set to lost status the patron will be charged as stated below.
  4. Accounts with outstanding fees of $25.00 or more will be asked to set up a payment plan.


  1. Claimed Returned Status
  2. If a patron believes that material shown as checked out to them has been returned, Library staff may change the status of the item(s) to claimed returned.
  3. By changing the item to claimed returned, the patron and the Library agree to search for the item over the next 30 days. Having materials on claimed return status does not prevent the patron from continuing to check out other materials.
  4. At the end of the 30-day period, if the item is not found, the Library will contact the patron regarding replacement charges for the item(s). Each patron is allowed to have one claimed returned item waived.
  5. If a patron pays for a claimed returned item and later returns the item, the cost of the item may be refunded to the patron provided no more than one year has passed and the item is determined by staff to be in good condition.


  1. Lost or Damaged Materials
  2. When the system sends a final notice for overdue, lost, or damaged material(s) it will list the replacement cost for each item and any associated fees. Initially, it will search the item record for the original cost of the item. If the system is unable to locate this information, it will automatically default to the amount assigned to that particular item type.
  3. Charges for some items, depending on title, may be changed from the default amount. For example, some nonfiction titles cost more than $17.00. This will be determined by the Library Director.
  4. Many series and sets of DVDs are sold as a unit. Loss of any part of these series or sets will result in a charge for the whole unit.
  5. If a patron pays for lost material and later returns the material, the cost of the material will be refunded to them, provided no more than one year has passed and the item is determined by staff to be in good condition.
  6. The Library will accept cash or checks for lost materials. The Library reserves the right to use the payment for lost materials in whatever manner it deems most suitable.
  7. Charges for damaged items will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
  8. Charges for lost materials shall be as follows:
  • Single CD for Audiobook, $10.00
  • DVD Case (case, barcode and artwork), $3.00
  • Audiobook Case Replacement for Single Disc, $1.00
  • Audiobook Case Replacement for Multiple Discs, $5.00
  • Periodical, $5.00


  2. Twice yearly outreach efforts will be made to provide services to the homebound members of our community. Specifically, communication to the ministers of our community and others who may be in a position to help with this program.
  3. Items checked out for the homebound program as per Library policy.
  4. Responsibility for lost or damaged items is that of the patron or person checking out on their behalf.
  5. Items checked out from the homebound program may be returned to the Axtell Public Library or the book drop. If unable to return in typical fashion, contact the Library Director or a Board member to make arrangements for delivery services.
  6. Patrons wishing to renew materials may do so by bringing materials back to the Library or phoning the Library.  If phoning the Library, a message can be left on the answering machine and the renewal will be taken care of when the Library is next open.


  2. Computers are available for use by the public at no charge.
  3. Computers are available on a first come first served basis, unless previously reserved. Computers may be reserved for 30 minutes of use. Time may be added if other patrons are not waiting. Reservations may be made up to seven days in advance. Reservations will be cancelled five minutes past the reserved time and the computer will become available for walk-in use. If you walk outside the building, your computer becomes available to other patrons. Patrons may step away from their computer to use the restroom or get a snack without losing their computer access time.
  4. All computer users must hold a valid Axtell Public Library card or a guest-pass. Minor users must have a signed Minor Internet Access Parental Permission Agreement or be seated with a parent/guardian.
  5. Children age six years and younger must be seated with a parent/guardian while using a computer.
  6. Adults using a computer should continue to supervise all children accompanying them to the Library.
  7. The Library is not responsible for damage to any user’s storage device or computer, or any loss of data, damage, or liability that may occur from patron use of the Library’s computers.
  8. Patrons are expected to treat Library equipment with respect and care. The Library reserves the right to restrict or terminate use of the computers if computer use guidelines are not followed.
  9. Library staff cannot provide in-depth training concerning the internet or computer programs. Staff will assist patrons with basic services. Due to the constantly changing and expanding nature of technology, Library staff will not be familiar with every aspect of computers and the internet. Computer training classes will be offered periodically.
  10. Charges for prints are as follows:
    1. Black and white prints, $0.10 each
    2. Color prints, $0.20 each
  11. All internet traffic from Library computers and Wi-Fi is filtered to block access to material that is harmful to minors or obscene. Even with filters, please be aware that the Library cannot guarantee that patrons will not encounter information or images that are offensive or disturbing to them. The provision of access does not mean or imply that the Library sanctions or endorses the content users encounter.
  12. The internet computers are located in public areas used by Library patrons of all ages, backgrounds, sensitivities, and values. Patrons are expected to consider this when accessing potentially controversial information and images.
  13. Patrons may not use the Library computers or Wi-Fi for viewing, sending, or receiving materials that may be determined to be harmful to minors as defined by State of Nebraska Statutes 28-807(6) and 28-807 (10).
  14. Acceptability of screen display will be left to the discretion of the supervising Library staff. Patrons found to be viewing internet sites that are harmful to a minor or obscene will face the following penalties:
  15. First infraction will result in a warning that loss of Library privileges may result.
  16. Second infraction will result in loss of Library privileges for one week or length of time will be determined by the Library Director and/or Board.
  17. Third infraction will result in loss of Library privileges for four weeks or length of time will be determined by the Library Director and/or Board.
    1. Behavior leading to police involvement may lead to more severe penalties. Loss of Library privileges includes not being allowed on the premises as per the Library and/or Board’s discretion.
  18. Police will be notified of any child pornography accessed.
  19. Patrons and/or the parent/guardian are liable for any damage done to a computer’s hardware or software and for any illegal acts performed using the Library’s computers or Wi-Fi. This is not limited to physical damage or vandalism. Tampering with local or remote computer files and/or committing illegal violations will result in permanent loss of internet privileges at the Library and may also result in financial liability and/or criminal charges.
  20. Patrons may not violate licensing agreements and copyright laws (Title 14, United States Code).
  21. Information available through the internet is not warranted by the Library to be accurate, authoritative, factual, or complete. Patrons must be responsible for verifying the accuracy of any material.
  22. Any information, including software, downloaded from the internet may contain a virus. The Library is not responsible for damage to an individual’s property, or loss of data or liability that may occur from that individual’s use of any of the Library’s technology or services.
  23.  Library Director and Board will review all technology at monthly Board meetings and address any issues that arise.
  24.  Outside assistance of computer consultants will be sought as needed to keep our Library in an updated fashion that meets the needs of our patrons.


  2. Interlibrary loan service is provided through the cooperation of individual libraries statewide and nationwide, the Nebraska Library Commission, the Central Plains Library System, and OCLC.
  3. Patrons requesting items not currently owned by the Axtell Public Library may request interlibrary loan service to borrow these items.
  4. Patrons requesting interlibrary loan service must be Axtell Public Library cardholders in good standing and must use their own card.
  5. A service fee for return postage will be assessed for each transaction upon receipt of the borrowed item or items.
  6. Overdue fees for interlibrary loan items are the same as for items borrowed from the Axtell Public Library (see above).
  7. Lost items will be handled as regular lost Library materials (see above).
  8. Damaged materials fees will be assessed by the lending agency.
  9. Renewal of interlibrary loan materials is at the discretion of the lending agency.


  2. Copy Machine

There is a copy machine available for public use. The charge is $0.10 for each black & white printed page. Charges for color prints are $0.20 each.

  1. Office Equipment

Equipment located in any office areas, or on any Library employee’s desk, is for Library employee use only. This includes the office copy machine, phones, and the paper cutter.

  1. Proctoring Tests

Patrons may request the staff to proctor exams. Requests to proctor exams must be scheduled at least three days in advance and are determined based on the availability of staff at the requested time. No exams will be scheduled for proctoring on Saturday or Sunday unless arrangements are made in advance and the Library Director is available.

  1. Audio Books

Audio books in digital cartridge format are available from the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at the Nebraska Library Commission. Application forms for the talking books service are available at the circulation desk or online at


  2.  General Patron Behavior Expectations In order to maintain the Library’s mission as a reliable community resource, in a safe and productive atmosphere, we ask that patrons observe the following expectations of behavior:
    1. In respect of the rights of others, patrons are expected to maintain low noise levels. Listening devices and cell phone conversations should be kept to a reasonably low level. Conversations with other patrons should be kept to a reasonably low level.
    2. Alcohol and/or illegal drugs may not be brought into the Library or onto Library grounds, nor may persons under the influence of either or both use the Library.
    3. For the safety of all patrons, weapons are prohibited in the Library. This ban includes permitted concealed handguns, in accordance with Nebraska Revised State Statutes 69-2441.
    4. Harassment or other disruptive behavior is not allowed. Harassing behavior is defined as behavior that creates a hostile or frightening environment. Examples of harassment include staring at or following another person, unwelcome physical contact, abusive language, and verbal propositions.
    5. Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is not allowed anywhere inside the building.
    6. Covered beverages and light snacks are allowed in the building.
    7. For safety and hygiene reasons, all patrons must wear shoes and appropriate clothing.
    8. Patrons with skateboards and roller blades and hover-boards are requested to carry them while in the Library.
    9. Please respect the rights of others to quietly study, read, or work without interference.
    10. Patrons whose bodily hygiene causes other patrons to complain may be asked to leave the Library.
    11. Library staff will contact the police regarding patrons who refuse to leave when asked, or who are exhibiting threatening or harassing behavior.
    12. Pets are not allowed in the Library, unless they are therapy or service animals.
  1.  Unattended Persons
  2. The Library strives to maintain a safe environment conducive to the welfare of all users of Library facilities. Library staff is not trained or expected to provide care and supervision for children or other persons in need of constant attention. Monitoring the activities and regulating the behavior of children or other persons requiring supervision is the responsibility of the parent/guardian or a caregiver age 12 or older.
  3. Parents and caregivers are responsible for the behavior, safety, and supervision of their children at all times in the Library and on Library premises. Youth age six and under must be kept with a parent/guardian or a caregiver age 12 or older at all times.
  4. When children or persons requiring supervision are unattended, staff will make an effort to locate the responsible parent, guardian, or caregiver. If necessary, appropriate law enforcement or child protective authorities will be notified to assume responsibility for the welfare of the child or person in need of attention.
  5. Parents/guardians who repeatedly leave a child unattended will be reported to the police.
  6. The Library staff is not responsible for the safety, care, or supervision of children of any age at any time whether in the Library or on Library premises.
  7. Library staff is not responsible for making sure children are picked up after closing.


  1. Penalties
  2. Failure to comply with the patron behavior policies will result in the following penalties:
  • First infraction will result in a warning that loss of Library privileges may result or per Library Director discretion.
  • Second infraction will result in loss of Library privileges for one week or per Library Director discretion.
  • Third infraction will result in loss of Library privileges for four weeks or per Library Director discretion.

Loss of Library privileges includes not being allowed on the premises.

  1. Any illegal activity, harassment, or abuse will be reported to the police. Behavior leading to police involvement may lead to more severe penalties than stated in above.
  2. Appeals
    1. If an individual wishes to appeal his/her loss of privileges, he/she may file a written appeal to the Library Director within ten days of the notification of loss of privileges. The Library Director and/or Board representatives will meet with the claimant and will make a determination within five business days thereafter. The Library Director and Board will respond to the individual in writing.


  2. It is the policy of Axtell Public Library to make use of social networking sites, such as Facebook or Instagram, in order to keep the patrons of Axtell Public Library and the community of Axtell, Nebraska, updated on current programs and offerings. Other material that may have significance to the Library community may also be posted at the discretion of the Library Director and/or Board members.
  3. Due to the concern for potential problems, the use of social media sites by Axtell Public Library will be closely monitored by the Library Director and/or Board members.
  4. Updates will be posted by the Library Director and/or Board members.
  5. Updates to social media sites will occur in a timely manner and accounts will be checked and updated on a regular basis.
  6. People and businesses will be allowed to “friend” or “like” Axtell Public Library’s accounts.
  7. Axtell Public Library will advertise its use of social media sites to make the public aware of this new location to receive information about the Library and Library services.


  2. A copy of the Exhibit Release Form is included at the end of this policy manual.
  3. The purpose of exhibits and displays in the Library is to enrich the educational, informational, and recreational quality of life of all citizens of the Mirage Township of Kearney County and Kearney County in addition to all Library patrons. The Library will support free exhibit space for community-based organizations, agencies, and citizens. In doing so, the Axtell Public Library serves as a community-based educational, informational, and civic resource for the citizens of the Mirage Township of Kearney County and Kearney County.
  4. The Library’s provision of exhibit and display space to non-library groups does not constitute sponsorship or endorsement of the policies, views, or beliefs of the group. Only non-profit groups may provide displays.
  5. Displays housed in Library display cases will support the mission of the Library and will be prepared in cooperation with Library staff.
  6. Brochures and postings must be non-profit and are subject to approval by the Library Director or Assistant Director.
  7. Exhibitors will sign an Exhibit Release Form for items on temporary display at the Library.


  2. Axtell Public Library has one study room which is available during normal Library hours for use by small groups or individuals who require a quiet atmosphere for study and/or discussion. The study room has a table, chairs numbering the room’s maximum capacity, several power outlets, and access to the Library’s free wireless internet. Study rooms are available at no cost.
  3. Reservations and Walk-Ins, Usage
  4. Reservations may be made up to two weeks in advance. When the room is not reserved or in use, walk-ins are welcome. Advance reservations do take priority.
  5. Reservations may be made in person or by telephone.
  6. Persons are limited to two reservations per week (Monday to Saturday) with a maximum of two hours per day. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Library staff.
  7. Reserved rooms will be held 15 minutes beyond the reservation time and then offered to others.
  8. It will be left to the discretion of the Library Director whether or not a patron under the age of 12 years is mature enough to be using a study room alone or with others their age.
  9. Study room length of stay will be determined on an as-needed basis, and can be set in time frames of one-hour increments when the need arises.
  10. Rules Of Use
  11. Persons using study room must comply with all Library policies. Failure to do so will result in the same penalties noted above.
  12. An adult(s) with children may not occupy a study room for the purpose of keeping the children under control.
  13. No items shall be attached to walls or windows of the study room.
  14. Furniture may not be brought into or removed from a study room without approval from Library staff.
  15. Persons who leave the room unattended for more than 15 minutes will forfeit the study room.
  16. The Library is not responsible for materials left in a study room or anywhere in the Library.
  17. Study room must be vacated 15 minutes prior to closing time.
  18. Persons who use study room are expected to leave the room clean and in neat condition. Persons who leave room untidy may lose future study room privileges.


  2. The policy of the Axtell Public Library is to ensure the privacy of the users of its services and to consider any Library records to be confidential in nature.
  3. Nebraska Legislature in 1983 amended Chapter 84, Section 84-712.05 of the Revised Statutes of Nebraska 1643 concerning records that may be withheld from the public. The records include those “kept by a publicly funded Library which, when examined with or without other records, reveal the identity of any patron using the Library’s materials or services.”

Section 84-712.05. Records which may be withheld from the public; enumerated. The following records, unless publicly disclosed in an open court, open administrative proceeding, or open meeting, or disclosed by a public entity pursuant to its duties, may be withheld from the public by the lawful custodian of the records: . . . (10) Records or portions of records kept by a publicly funded Library which, when examined with or without other records, reveal the identity of any Library patron using the Library’s materials or services;

In summary, the Axtell Public Library and staff may not disclose information about a cardholder’s record or use of the Library to anyone other than the cardholder; except by court order or written permission from the cardholder. Persistent requests for this type of information should be directed to the Library Director or Assistant Director.

  1. The Library staff follows the American Library Association Code of Ethics which states: “We protect each user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.”
  2. Library records are for the sole purpose of protecting public property and are not to be used, directly or indirectly, to identify the types of materials used by individual Library patrons. Under no circumstances shall the Library staff answer to a third party about what a patron of the Library is reading or the kind of information requested, from the Library’s collection.
  3. From the American Library Association, “Confidential Library records should not be released or made available in any format to a federal agent, law enforcement officer, or other person unless a court order in proper form has been entered by a court of competent jurisdiction after a showing of good cause by the law enforcement agency or person seeking the records.” The Library Director and/or his/her designee will seek legal counsel from the city attorney’s office in the event of such request for the release of Library records and will respond to the request according to advice of counsel.
  4. The Library Director shall resist the issuance or enforcement of any such process, order, or subpoena until a proper showing of good cause is made in a court of competent jurisdiction. Moreover, any cost incurred by the Library in any search through patron records, even under court order, shall be chargeable to the agency demanding such search.
  5. When a Library staff member contacts a patron via telephone regarding overdue materials or materials requested by an individual, the staff member will not leave specific item information with a third party or on an answering machine. Specific item information will be shared only with the person requesting the material.
  6. Parent or guardian access to confidential information of a minor cardholder is restricted to information related to the payment of overdue fines or lost or damaged materials.


  2. The Axtell Public Library supports a policy of full access to Library materials as follows:
  3. All materials in the collection may be used by anyone regardless of age.
  4. Axtell Public Library recognizes the pluralistic nature of this community and the varied backgrounds and needs of all citizens, regardless of race, creed, or political persuasion. In a democratic society, patrons should feel free to explore any and all ideas in order to decide which are meaningful to them. Therefore, the Library, within the limits of selection standards, chooses representative material espousing all points of view in all fields, including political, social, and religious. The Axtell Public Library believes that censorship is an individual matter and declares that while anyone is free to reject for oneself materials which do not meet with the individual’s approval, one cannot exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom of others. The Axtell Public Library supports the right of each family to decide which items are appropriate for use by its children. Responsibility for a child’s use of the Library materials lies with his or her parent or guardian.
  5. Selection Policy
  6. General criteria for selecting Library materials include: (an item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be acceptable)

∙ Public demand, interest, or need

  • Contemporary significance, popular interest, or permanent value

∙ Attention of critics or reviewers

∙ Prominence, authority, and/or competence of author or creator

∙ Timeliness of material

∙ Relation to the existing collection

∙ Statement of challenging, original, or alternative point of view

∙ Authenticity of historical, regional, or social setting

∙ Local or regional significance

  1. Selection
  • “Selection” refers to the process that determines which materials are added to the collection or retained in the collection.
  • The ultimate responsibility for the selection of materials rests with the Library Director. The responsibility for selection is shared by the professional Library staff.
  • The Library will maintain access to a collection of up-to-date selection tools to aid staff in the decision-making process, such as reviewing services and catalogs of recommended purchases. Examples of these resources are: professional journals, collection development tools, and supporting electronic resources.
  • The Library will always strive to balance general demand with those of special group interests, and to actively work to present both sides of controversial subject matter in a balanced and fair manner.
  • Public demand is a valid factor in materials selection. However, we also give consideration to the interests of the few patrons as well as the many.
  • Patrons may request materials not found in the Library collection. These requests will be considered for purchase and addition to the collection. Interlibrary loan services (see section 6) will be utilized to obtain requested materials if they are not purchased.
  • Library staff is not able to purchase materials through telephone solicitation nor will they accept preview boxes from vendors.
  • Duplicate titles are purchased for those deemed historically significant and/or as popular demand indicates.
  • Patrons finding certain materials objectionable to the community may request that they be reconsidered by using the “Request for Reconsideration” form.
  • “Request for Reconsideration” forms will be returned to the Library Director.
  • A copy of the “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” Form is included in Appendix A.
  • Copies of the ALA Freedom to Read Statement, the ALA Freedom to View Statement, the ALA Code of Ethics, and The ALA Library Bill of Rights are included in Appendix B.
  1. GIFTS
  2. Gifts of books and other materials may be made directly to the Library. The Library does not accept materials that are not outright gifts and reserves the right to assign any of its materials wherever the need is greatest. Materials will be considered for addition to the Library collection using the same principals of materials selection applied to items purchased for the Library collection.
  3. All gifts of books and materials must be in useable physical condition. Due to limitations of space, money, and staff, the Library reserves the right to accept or discard, at its discretion, any materials given to the Library.
  4. Gift materials not utilized for the Library collection will be disposed of through sales and recycling as deemed appropriate by the Library Director.
  5. Unrestricted gifts of money, lands, or property will be gratefully accepted by the Board. Gifts, memorials, or bequests with specific restrictions attached will be reviewed by the Board before acceptance or rejection.
  6. The Library does not provide appraisals of gifts or potential gifts.



Emergency procedures for the Axtell Public Library shall follow the Emergency Preparedness Procedures set forth by the Mirage Township of Kearney County.


  1. Medical Emergency
  2. If serious, call 911.
  3. Calm the person and call for assistance
  4. Do not move the victim unless circumstances become life threatening.
  5. Get the person’s name, address, and phone number.
  6. Call the person’s home if necessary.
  7. Submit an “Incident Reporting Form” to the Library Director as soon as possible afterwards. Forms are located in the appendix.
  8. Fire
  9. Call 911 to report the fire.
  10. Alert all building occupants by voice and/or alarm system of the situation to start evacuation procedures. Thoroughly check the bathrooms, study rooms, book stacks, meeting rooms, etc.
  11. Standby at the meeting area until released by fire department officers.
  12. Staff will assist disabled patrons by helping them out of the building. If getting them out of the building is not possible take them to the nearest exit or stairway where the fire fighters can easily get to them.
  13. The designated supervisor will do a final check for employees or patrons in the building prior to exiting away from the danger area.
  14. Report to meeting areas. Meeting areas for the Library are the South sidewalk in front of Kat’s Korner or the corner beside Shelley’s Beauty Salon. Follow instructions of fire department personnel.
  15. Submit an “Incident Reporting Form” to the Library Director as soon as possible afterwards. Forms are located in the appendix.


  1. Tornado  
  2. A Tornado Watch is issued when there is a potential for tornadic activity in the area. Staff should alert patrons and check the building to see if there are any deaf patrons who need to be informed of the watch. No other action is necessary and you should continue work as usual.
  3. Any windows with window coverings will be put into place as time necessitates. Move patrons away from window areas.
  4. A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted in the area. City warning sirens will sound. Staff should alert patrons and quickly check the building to see if there are any deaf patrons who need to be informed of the warning, or blind, or otherwise disabled, patrons who may need assistance.




  1. The tornado shelter for this Library is the men’s or women’s bathrooms. Escort patrons to this location.
  2. Remain in the designated area until the all clear is given.
  3. Submit an “Incident Reporting Form” to the Library Director as soon as possible afterwards. Forms are located in the appendix.


  1. Emergency Numbers  
  • Axtell Fire, Police, Ambulance Emergency – 911
  • Non-Emergency – Fire 308-743-2601
  • Non-Emergency – Sheriff 308-832-2805
  • Village of Axtell – 308-743-2437



The Board of Directors of the Axtell Public Library endorses the organization of a Friends of the Axtell Public Library. The Axtell Friends of the Library group is a nonprofit volunteer group with a commitment to promote good Library service.  The Axtell Friends of the Library Group supports the Library by fundraising and volunteering.



The Board of Directors of the Axtell Public Library endorses the organization of a Teen Advisory Board. The Teen Advisory Board is a nonprofit volunteer group with a commitment to promote good Library service to the teens and younger adults and children that use our Library.  The Teen Advisory Board supports the Library by fundraising and volunteering.


  2. Board Terms
  3. The Board shall consist of five members, upon nomination by the current Board.
  4. Members shall be elected for a three-year term. Members may serve up to two consecutive terms. After two consecutive terms, the member shall sit off the Board for two years before being eligible for another term.
  5. Starting in 2018, and every fourth year thereafter, three members shall be appointed for a three-year term.  In 2019, and every fourth year thereafter, two members shall be appointed for a three-year term.
  6. Any Board member may resign at any time by giving written notice to the President. Any Board member may be removed for cause by a majority vote of the Board. Any vacancy on the Board arising from any cause, other than the expiration of the term for which the member was appointed, is filled for the unexpired portion of the term only.
  7. Board Officers
  8. At the annual Board meeting, the following officers shall be elected from the appointed members: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer.
  9. The officers shall serve a term of one year from the annual meeting at which they are elected and until their successors are duly elected.
  10. The president shall preside at all meetings of the Board, authorize calls for special meetings, appoint all committees, have the authority, along with another appointed officer, to sign checks on the Library fund accounts, and generally perform all associated with that office.
  11. The president shall appoint committees of one or more members each for such specific purposes as the business of the Board may require from time to time. The committees will report its progress at each Board meeting. No committee will have other than advisory powers unless granted by the Board.
  12. The Vice-President, in the event of the absence of disability of the President, or of a vacancy in that office, shall be an alternate signer for checks on the Library fund accounts and shall assume the duties of the President.
  13. The secretary shall keep an accurate record of all meetings of the Board, shall issue notice of all regular and special meetings, and shall perform such duties as are generally associated with the office.
  14. The treasurer shall be the disbursing officer of the Board, sign or cosign checks on the Library account and shall perform such duties as generally associated with the office. In the absence or disability of the treasurer, such duties shall be performed by other members, as designated by the Board.
  15. Duties of the Board
  16. The Board shall determine the policies, plans, and services of the Library.  This includes bylaws, service policies, mission statement, long range plan, significant changes in levels or type of service and changes in Library hours.
  17. The Board shall select and appoint a qualified Library Director.
  18. The Board shall advise in the preparation of the budget, approve it, make sure that adequate funds are provided to finance the approved budget.
  19. Board Meetings
  20. The regular meetings shall be held monthly at a time agreeable to both Library Director and Board members.
  21. The annual meeting, which shall be for the purpose of the election of officers and the adoption of the annual budget report, shall be held at the time of the regular meeting in January of each year.
  22. The order of business for regular meetings shall include, but not be limited to, the following items:
    1. Call to order
    2. Roll call of the members
  • Disposition of minutes
  1. Financial report
  2. Report of the Director
  3. Unfinished business
  • New Business
  • Adjournment
  1. Special meetings may be called by the secretary at the direction of the president or a Board member for the transaction of business as stated in the call for the meeting.
  2. A quorum for transaction of business at any meeting shall consist of three members of the Board present in person.
  3. Proceedings of all meetings shall be governed by Roberts’ Rules of Order.
  4. An affirmative vote of the majority of all members of the Board present at the time shall be necessary to approve any action before the Board. The president may vote upon and may move or second a proposal before the Board.
  5. The Library policy may be amended by the majority of all members of the Board provided written notice of the proposed amendment shall have been given to all members at least 10 days prior to the meeting at which such action is proposed to be taken. With a majority vote, a special consideration may be given to amendments when time constraints dictate otherwise.
  6. Any rule or resolution of the Board, whether contained in this policy manual or otherwise, may be suspended temporarily in connection with the business at hand, but such suspensions, to be valid, may be taken only at a meeting at which two thirds (four) members of the Board shall be present and two thirds of those present approve.


  2. The Board shall cooperate with other public officials and Boards and maintain vital public relations.  The Board represents the Library to the community and the community to the Library.  
  3. The Board shall work collaboratively with the staff to build and maintain good relationships with individuals and community organizations and ensure continued support for the Library.
  4. The Board shall work collaboratively with the staff to bring issues forward relating to public Library at the state and federal levels of government and ensure support for the Library.
  5. The Board shall work collaboratively with the Township Board on a continuous and consistent basis to ensure support for the Library.


  2. Increase public awareness of Library programs and services as well as spreading word that the public Library is a community hub.
  3. Promote friendly service and relationship building with patrons.
  4. Offer Library materials that fit the community’s needs.
  5. Offer up-to-date technology for patron’s use.
  6. Provide quality information retrieval services.


  2. The fiscal year for Axtell Public Library runs from July 1 to June 30.
  3. Disposition of surplus property:
    1. The Library may dispose of Library material, equipment, or furniture which is no longer required or appropriate for Library use. Library materials with little or no value may be disposed of at the discretion of the Library Director.
  4. Charges given against a patron must be paid by cash or check. The Library will not allow credit. The Library shall not charge overdue book fines, but instead would take a donation to the food pantry instead.


  2. The Axtell Public Library is a place of discovery where people gather to create, to explore, and to learn. In order to achieve safe and welcoming shared spaces, we expect everyone to treat Library patrons, staff, and property with respect.
  3. Service animals and animals in authorized programs are welcome in the Library.


  2. Bulletin board materials may be submitted for posting by nonprofit organizations for civic, educational, or cultural purposes. Such organizations may submit literature publicizing a specific event. Limited space generally allows only short-term notices. The Director must approve all postings and may prohibit postings which do not meet Library standards. Library staff will place and remove postings promptly.


  2. Regular discarding of materials is important to keep the collection current and relevant to community needs and in a state of good repair.  It will entail the same care, thought, and judgment as selection and will be based on the same guiding principles as written above.
  3. Materials that are lost or damaged will be replaced depending on the availability, cost, and demand for the item.


  2. The Library will not assume parental authority by restricting materials or services available to children. It is the prerogative of parents or guardians to develop, interpret, and apply their code of acceptable conduct in their own families.
  3. Responsibility for the control and safety of children in the Library rests with the parent, guardian, or caregiver and not the Library staff.  Neither the Library, nor the Library staff, assumes the role of a parent, nor do they assume the role of a daycare or childcare provider.
  4. A parent, guardian, or caregiver age 12 or older must accompany a child under the age of five.
  5. Children under the age of five may not be left alone or unattended in the Library at any time.
  6. Parents should encourage their children to respect the Library property and the rights of others who use the Library in regards to play, noise, and safety. Although the Library is a fun place for children, playground behavior is not appropriate in the Library.
  7. The parent, guardian, or caregiver is responsible for the behavior and supervision of any child under the age of five in their care while at the Library and, therefore, must be in the immediate vicinity of and in visual contact with the child during the length of the Library visit.


    1. The policies of the Axtell Public Library will be reviewed by the Library Director and Library Board every two years, but may be reviewed and updated more frequently as needs and services change.



Appendix A


Axtell Public Library

Minor Internet Access

Parental Permission Agreement

As the parent or legal guardian of the minor child signing below, I have read and agree to Internet Access Policies. I also agree to abide by all other rules posted at the Internet Access Location. I understand that some material on the Internet may be objectionable, but I accept the responsibility and agree to allow my child under the age of 18 to use the Internet independently. All minor access is filtered.

I hereby grant permission for my child to access the Internet at the Axtell Public Library.


Child’s Name (Please print)

Child’s Age

Child’s Birthday

Child’s Signature

Parent’s Printed Name

Parent’s Signature

Staff Initial



Exhibit Release Form

I would like to lend the following items described for exhibit at Axtell Public Library.

I release the Library from responsibility for any loss, damage, or destruction while said items are on display at Axtell Public Library.

Location of exhibit:

Dates of exhibit:

Brief Description of materials:

* If the display is left for more than 60 days beyond the end date for the exhibit, the items will be considered abandoned and they will be disposed of.







Axtell Public Library Meeting Room Application

Organization name

Mailing address



Zip Code

Contact person



Check-In Representative



Meeting topic

Expected number of attendees


Single use:

Meeting date

Start time*

End Time*

Multiple uses:

Meeting date(s)

Start time*

End Time*


* Meeting Room Hours: May be used only during regular business hours as stated above.

As an authorized adult representative of the above organization, I hereby apply for the use of the meeting room as indicated above. I have read the policies and rules governing the use of the meeting room facilities and agree that they will be carefully observed. If a meeting is cancelled, I agree to notify the Library as far in advance as possible.

Signed___________________________________ ____ Date __________________

Please note: Meeting room reservations are not confirmed until this completed form has been reviewed and approved by designated Library personnel. A deposit of $20.00 must be made prior to the meeting and will be refunded if the room and equipment are left in good condition. Appeal process: Groups or individuals who are denied use of a Library meeting room may appeal in writing to the Library Director. Mailing address: Axtell Public Library, 305 North Main, P.O. Box 65, Axtell, NE 68924 Email address:


FOR LIBRARY USE ONLY Application approved

Application denied

Signed __________________________________

Date ____________________________________

Date of Event Contact’s Signature ____________________________

Deposit Paid _______ cash check other (please circle one)

Deposit Returned Contact’s Initials _______ Yes No Staff Initials _______




The Axtell Public Library serves the entire community. Selection of books and other materials is guided by community interest and demand and is grounded in the Library’s Collection Development Policies (a copy is available on request). If you feel that a particular item is not suitable for inclusion in the Library’s collection, please fill in the form below and either give it to a librarian, or send to the Library Director, 305 North Main, P.O. Box 65, Axtell, NE 68924.

Books and other materials

Identify the library item to which you object:

Type of material (book, audio, DVD, etc.):

Your name



Do you represent: Yourself _______

An organization (name)

  1. Please summarize your reasons for requesting reconsideration of the work:
  2. Did you read, listen to, or view the entire work? If not, what parts?
  3. Are your objections based on age of the potential user or to the point of view expressed?
  4. What do you believe is the theme or intent of this work?
  5. Are you aware of judgments of this work by reviewers or critics?
  6. What action would you like the Library to take in regard to this work?

Notification of decision regarding Request for Reconsideration will be mailed within 10 days.



Date:  ______________

Patron Name:  ______________

Phone Number:  _____________


Complaint/Grievance: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Was the Library Director informed of the complaint/grievance?   Yes  No

Did the Library Director resolve the situation?  Yes No






Library Board Review

Date:  _________

Members Present:  ___________________________________________

Action required:  Yes No

Plan for resolution:



Additional Comments:


Incident Report Form

Date:  ______________

Time:  ______________

Patron Name:  ______________

Phone Number:  _____________

Address:  ________________________________


Incident: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Was the Library Director informed of the complaint/grievance?   Yes  No






Library Board Review

Date:  _________

Members Present:  ___________________________________________

Action required:  Yes No

Plan for resolution:



Additional Comments:


Appendix B





ALA Freedom to Read Statement

Axtell Public Library endorses the following ALA Freedom to Read Statement.

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights. We therefore affirm these propositions:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

  1. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.

Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

  1. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

  1. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

  1. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.

  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.

The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.


This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers. Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004. A Joint Statement by: ∙ American Library Association of American Publishers Subsequently endorsed by: ∙ American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression ∙ The Association of American University Presses, Inc. ∙ The Children’s Book Council ∙ Freedom to Read Foundation ∙ National Association of College Stores ∙ National Coalition Against Censorship ∙ National Council of Teachers of English ∙ The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression



ALA Freedom to View Statement

The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:

  1. To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.
  2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
  3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
  4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
  5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public’s freedom to view. This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989. Endorsed January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council



ALA Code of Ethics

As members of the American Library Association, we recognize the importance of codifying and making known to the profession and to the general public the ethical principles that guide the work of librarians, other professionals providing information services, Library trustees and Library staffs.

Ethical dilemmas occur when values are in conflict. The American Library Association Code of Ethics states the values to which we are committed, and embodies the ethical responsibilities of the profession in this changing information environment.

We significantly influence or control the selection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information. In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry, we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information. We have a special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations.

The principles of this Code are expressed in broad statements to guide ethical decision making. These statements provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.

  1. We provide the highest level of service to all Library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.
  2. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor Library resources.
  • We protect each Library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
  1. We respect intellectual property rights and advocate balance between the interests of information users and rights holders.
  2. We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.
  3. We do not advance private interests at the expense of Library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.
  • We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.
  • We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession. Adopted at the 1939 Midwinter Meeting by the ALA Council; amended June 30, 1981; June 28, 1995; and January 22, 2008.

ALA Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other Library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the Library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  • Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  1. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  2. A person’s right to use a Library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  3. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.





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