Howard County Library

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Library Policies

The following policies govern how we use our library.
  • Acceptable Use of the Internet and Library Public Computers

Howard County Library

Computer Acceptable Use Policy

The Internet is a worldwide network of computers that contain millions of pages of information and diverse points of view.  Because of its global nature, users of the Internet may encounter material that is inappropriate, offensive and in some instances, illegal.  Howard County Library cannot control the availability of this information or restrict access to it.  Users are hereby notified that they are responsible for the material they view.  Patrons are expected to use computers legally, responsibly and ethically.  Users must adhere to the following INTERNET ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY.

1.  Children ages 13 through 17 must have a parent or guardian the Internet Access for Minor’s Statement in the presence of a staff member.

2.  Children, who are 12 years of age or under, must have a parent of guardian present when using computers.

3.   Access is limited to current cardholders or persons with a valid driver’s license or Texas identification card.

4.   All users must register at the Computer Desk before they access a computer.

5.   Only one (1) patron per computer.  Parent/guardian may supervise up to two (2) children at one (1) computer.

6.  Users must take next available computer for Internet use.

7.   Users will be limited to a total of two (2) hours per day.

8.   Computers may be reserved in person for same day use and will be held ten (10) minutes before computer is forfeited.

9.   Failure to use computer stations appropriately and responsibly shall result in loss of Internet and/or Library privileges.  Illegal use may result in criminal charges being filed against you.

10.   Printing is $.20 per page for black and white, $.25 per page for 11x17 copies, and $1.00 per page for color copies. 11x17 color copies are $2.00 per page.

11.   Howard County Library reserves the right to change this policy without notice.

*Users with special needs may make appointment by telephone for extra assistance as scheduling permits.         

  • Behavior in the Library

USE OF THE LIBRARY

In order to provide patrons with equal access to Howard County Library’s collections and services and to achieve the most out of the Library’s facilities, the Howard County Commissioner’s Court has adopted these rules governing the use of the Library.

Patrons shall be engaged in activities associated with the use of a public library while in the building.  Patrons not engaged in reading, studying, using the library materials or participating in library programs or events may be asked to leave the building.

The following are not permitted in the Library and surrounding areas:

Ø      Eating or drinking.

Ø      Smoking.

Ø      Sleeping.

Ø      Playing audio equipment so that others can hear it.

Ø      Bringing animals into the library, except when needed to assist a person with a disability.

Ø      Misusing a restroom (e.g., as a laundry or bathing facility).

Ø      Leaving a child unattended (i.e., without adult supervision) in the library.

Ø      Solicitation of contributions, signatures or panhandling

Ø      Conducting surveys without the permission of Director.

Ø      Photography on the library premises without the permission of the Director and those being photographed.

Ø      Talking loudly, making noises or engaging in other disruptive conduct.

Ø      Interfering with another person’s use of the Library or with library personnel’s performance of their duties.

Ø      Patrons whose overwhelming odor that constitutes a nuisance to other library patrons or staff and thereby interferes with the rights of others to use the Library will be asked to leave.  They may not return until situation is rectified.

Ø      Patrons without shoes or shirts.

Ø      Persons with large backpacks, duffle bags, suitcases, etc.

Ø      Be in the Library, without the permission of authorized Library staff, before or after Library operating hours.

Ø      Threatening, harassing, staring at or physically harming library patrons or staff.

Ø      Carrying a weapon, unless authorized by law.  Any patron authorized to carry a weapon must notify library staff.

Ø      Steal, damage or alter any property of the Library (with exception of normal wear and tear), including, without limitation, any computer equipment, systems, software or programs.

Activities in the Library are also governed by local, state and federal statutes regulating conduct in public places.  These regulations prohibit:

Ø      intoxication

Ø      assault

Ø      criminal mischief

Ø      disorderly conduct

Ø      harassment

Ø      drug paraphernalia

Ø      public indecency

Any patrons violating the Library’s rules or local, state or federal regulations may be required to leave the premises.  Police assistance may be utilized if deemed advisable by the Library staff. 

Persistent violations of the Library’s rules may result in the suspension of library privileges, including the right to use the facilities and/or borrow materials.  Such suspension may be enacted by the Director.  An appeal may be made to the Commissioner’s Court of Howard County. 

  • Children Alone in the Library: Guidelines for Parents and Staff

POLICY ON UNATTENDED AND/OR

DISRUPTIVE CHILDREN

Howard County Library is a public facility that offers services to a wide range of citizens, and children are especially welcome.  HCL has the responsibility to provide an environment that is safe and comfortable for every patron who is appropriately using its services and facilities.  Children and young people are expected to adhere to the same standards of patron conduct expected of adults.  Parents, guardians, or assigned chaperones are responsible for the behavior of their children while in the library.

Children under the age of six (6) should never be left alone in any area of the library; they MUST be accompanied by an adult or other chaperone.  If the responsible adult cannot be found, staff will call the appropriate child welfare office (Howard County Sheriff’s Department or Big Spring Police Department) and report an abandoned child.  School age children may use the library unattended, subject to all policies and procedures of the Library.

Older children who are disruptive will be asked to leave the Library.  If the child cannot safely leave the library to return home on his/her own, staff will permit the child to call a parent.  If no parent can be contacted, library staff will either allow the child to remain at the Library under close supervision until a parent can be contacted or the Library will contact the Howard County Sheriff’s Department or Big Spring Police Department, depending upon the severity of the situation.

Children who have not been picked up at closing time will be given the chance to call a parent.  Children who have not been picked up within fifteen (15) minutes of closing will be left in the care of the Howard County Sheriff’s Department or Big Spring Police Department.  Under no circumstances will staff transport children in a vehicle or accompany them home.

  • Statement on Privacy and Confidentiality of Library Records

PRIVACY OF PATRON RECORDS

Howard County Library supports every patron’s right to have his/her library records remain confidential.  Library records include patron registration data, circulation data, overdue and reserve records, record of library visits, and/or any data that contains information that links a specific patron to specific materials or services used.

Each patron has individual control over his/her borrower’s card and presentation of this card permits access to information about the borrower’s current circulation record.  When a patron has not used his/her card in a time period determined by the Director, his/her record is no longer needed for library administration purposes and will be expunged.

In compliance with Vernon's Annotated Civil Statutes, Article 6252-17a, referred herein as the Texas Open Records Act, no information will be released to any person, agency, or organization, except in response to a valid court order or subpoena, properly presented to the Director. 

Howard County Library specifically recognizes that its circulation records and other records identifying the names of library users with specific materials are confidential in nature.  No such records shall be made available to any agency of state, federal or local government, or to any individual not specifically authorized by the director, except pursuant to such process, order or subpoena as may be authorized under the author of, and pursuant to, federal, state or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigatory power.

Nothing in this policy shall prevent authorized library personnel from using library records in the administration of their regular duties.  By separate action, Howard County Library has endorsed the recommendations of the American Library Association’s Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records and the Texas Library Association’s “Statement of Intellectual Freedom.”