- Internet Acceptable Use Policy
- User Behavior Policy
- Materials Collection Policy
- Meeting Room Policy
- Exam Proctoring Policy
- Food & Drink Policy
- Fines and Fees Policy
- Cell Phone, Wi-Fi, and Group Study Area Policy
Internet Acceptable Use Policy
Middletown Public Library provides a variety of computer-based services to the public, including some personal computing software (such as word processing), specialized databases, and Internet use through Library owned computers and wireless connections. Anyone wishing to use computers at the Library must read and accept the following:
Middletown Public Library is a CIPA-compliant (Children’s Internet Protection Act) facility and will not provide unfiltered access to users under the age of 17. The filtering software is designed to protect against access to visual depictions defined as obscene, child pornography, and material that is harmful to minors, as required by law. Library cannot and does not guarantee that filtering software will block such material, nor can the Library guarantee that the filters will not restrict access to sites with legitimate value
The Library expressly prohibits use of library computers for illegal activities or to access material that contains or makes reference to explicit sexual materials as defined in 18 Pa. C.S. sec 5903, is obscene, contains child pornography, or is harmful to minors.
In compliance with Pennsylvania law regarding the confidentiality of library use, the Library will not release any information on patrons’ Internet use except as required by law or necessary for the proper operation of the Library.
The Library will enforce time limits on computer use.
Library users are responsible for observing all copyright, licensing, and communication laws.
Altering computer settings or software configurations or files belonging to the Library, internal or external network hacking, and damaging computer equipment are prohibited.
Users will not create or distribute computer viruses or destructive computer code over the internet, or deliberately or willfully cause damage to computer equipment or programs.
Users must follow Middletown Public Library User Behavior Policy. The Library reserves the right to terminate an individual’s use of library computers at any time for failure to comply with this policy.
The Library is not responsible for information or work lost during a computer session.
Internet users must evaluate the validity and/or appropriateness of information. The Library is not responsible for the quality or acceptability of content on Internet sites. The Library selects links for their official website to guide users to sites that have been reviewed according to selection criteria used for other library resources.
Parents and guardians are the best and final judges of what is appropriate for their children and are responsible for their children’s Internet use. The Library staff does not act in place of a parent to restrict what a child may access.
The Library’s network and computers may not support some file types or applications that are available on the Internet.
Library users may not store individual files on the Library’s hard drives. Files or other data found on hard drives are deleted as part of daily clean-up procedures. Library users may use USB ports on the fronts of Library computers for their own USB-compatible computing devices, or save documents to a 3.5 floppy disc. The Library is not responsible for any corruption or other loss of data that may occur or for flash drives and other devices used or left in the library.
Online purchases using credit cards, and online banking or online investing are not prohibited but are discouraged. The Library is not responsible or liable for any problems arising from such transactions.
The Library makes no guarantees, implied or otherwise, regarding the reliability of the computers.
– Adopted by the Middletown Public Library Board, 2005
– Revised February 28, 2011
User Behavior Policy
MISSION STATEMENT — Middletown Public Library strives to meet the needs of a well-informed community by providing information and services that address multiple points of view and encourage life-long learning. The Library will serve as the cultural and educational hub of the community by creating a friendly and inclusive environment and by providing programs that respond to community interests.
-June 7, 2005
In furtherance of its Mission, Middletown Public Library will provide an environment that is conducive to the pursuit of library activities such as reading, studying, reviewing Library materials, and participating in Library programs or other services.
Library users may not engage in any act that disrupts or prevents the normal or intended use of the Library by other users or staff.
The following specific activities and behaviors seriously interfere with the provision of Library service, are prohibited in or on Library property, and are grounds for immediate expulsion from the Library and loss of Library privileges up to one year:
- Cutting, tearing, defacing, breaking or injuring Library materials or property.
- Criminal activities.
- Using, giving away, selling, or being under the influence of any controlled substance or alcohol.
- Use of abusive, threatening, harassing, or offensive language.
- Physically abusing or assaulting other patrons or staff.
- Engaging in sexual activity including solicitation, sexual harassment, and indecent exposure.
- Carrying any weapon in the Library unless otherwise permitted by law.
- Using library computers in a manner prohibited by the Middletown Public Library “Internet Acceptable Use Agreement”.
Library users engaged in the following activities will be asked to cease the behavior and may be expelled from the Library for up to one week. Subsequent violations may result in the loss of Library privileges for a period up to one year:
- Eating, drinking, or displaying open food, or liquid containers unless done so in a specially designated area of the Library.
- Inappropriate or excessive restroom use, including bathing, shaving, hair or clothes washing.
- Monopolizing Library space, seating, tables, or equipment to the exclusion of other patrons and staff.
- Obstructing aisles, walkways, or doors.
- Leaving personal belongings unattended. The Library is not responsible for stolen or lost property, and the Library shall not be used for storage of personal belongings.
- Presenting poor personal hygiene, including offensive and pervasive odors which are a nuisance to others.
- Unreasonable noise including loud talking, singing, playing of audio equipment which disturbs others, and boisterous activity.
- Leaving children under the age of seven unsupervised by a responsible person over the age of 12.
- Soliciting, begging, and selling any items.
- Distributing or posting printed materials except through authorized Library procedures.
- Entering without shirt or shoes
- Using cell phones outside of designated areas.
- Entering with animals, except certified assistance animals or those preapproved for library programs.
These rules shall be applied in a neutral and nondiscriminatory manner to protect the users, staff, and property of Middletown Public Library and to maintain the availability of Library resources for all users.
A patron who violates these rules may be denied the privilege of access to the Library. A patron whose privileges have been denied may have that decision reviewed by the Board of Trustees by submitting a written appeal to the Library Director within fourteen (14) days of the denial of Library service.
– Adopted September 30, 2003
Materials Collection Policy
Middletown Public Library strives to meet the needs of a well-informed community by providing materials, information and services that address multiple points of view and encourage life-long learning, as well as providing materials and information that are popular with the public and that reflect current cultural and social trends in order to provide opportunities for satisfying recreational experiences. The Library will serve as the cultural and educational hub of the community by creating a friendly and inclusive environment and by providing programs that respond to community interests.
Materials selections are done by the Library Director and any qualified librarian appointed by the director. Materials selected in this manner stand as approved by the Library Board. When selecting materials for the collection, the staff considers the author’s competency, overall excellence of the material (artistic, literary, etc.), superiority in treatment of controversial issues, ability to stimulate further intellectual and social development, appropriateness to the level of user, and potential usefulness to the library’s collection.
First, the library staff attempts to meet patrons’ demands. Second, material is purchased that is both pertinent and timely. The Mission Statement of the Library, Library programs and services, community needs, and space constraints are all factors in selecting materials for the collection.
Selection of materials for the library collection is an ongoing process which includes the removal of materials no longer appropriate and the replacement of lost and worn materials that are still of value for informational or recreational needs. Requests for the purchase of library materials will be subject to this criteria.
As of Jan. 2015, the Middletown Library’s collection consists of over 28,000 volumes including 24,000 volumes of books; 58% Adult titles and 42% Children’s and YA titles. The library has 1,572 DVDs and VHS tapes (Adult and Children’s) and 1,265 Audio CDs, Playaways, and Cassettes. The library also subscribes to certain periodicals and has over 250 rolls of microfilm. The collection is an evolving one and as new media types become readily available the library may choose to collect in other formats as well.
The library shares its public catalog with the Hershey Public Library which has a collection of approximately 117,000 items.
The library shares its Overdrive catalog (our system for e-books and audiobook files) through the Capital Area Library District, which has over 12,500 items.
Patrons also have access to various electronic databases.
The Middletown Public Library is committed to providing appropriate physical and environmental care to the materials in its current collection. Appropriate temperature and protection from the elements, as well as shelving, dusting, and storage of books will help protect the collection from deterioration.
To preserve local history, the Middletown Press and Journal shall be microfilmed annually.
Also, the library preserves and makes available non-circulating reference material such as TMI accident materials and rare Middletown history.
All books or other items given as gifts will be received with the understanding that they are accepted subject to the approval of the Board of Library Trustees and/or Library Staff. Donated materials are considered with the explicit understanding that such factors as duplication, lack of community interest, processing costs, or inadequate shelf space may prevent their addition to the collection or permanent retention on the shelves.
The library accepts gifts without commitment as to their final disposition. Materials not of use in the library collection are given to the Friends of the Middletown Library book sale.
The term weeding is used to describe the removal of items that are no longer useful or appropriate for the Middletown Public Library Collection. These items are then discarded and may or may not be replaced.
To maintain the vitality of the collection, the removal of outdated, superseded, damaged, seldom used, and excess copies is to be done on a regular and systematic basis. Weeding the collection is an ongoing process and is the responsibility of the Library Director. The goal of the Library is that each section of the collection is to be weeded on an annual basis to keep the collection current. Special attention is paid to Medical, Computer Science, and Technology materials, as they become dated rapidly. Areas of the collection in which there is not enough space on a shelf should be weeded immediately without waiting for the annual evaluation. The collection shall be maintained between 26,000 and 28,000 items.
Materials are discarded from the collection using the CREW guidelines for weeding (Appendix A). Items that are weeded from the collection include ones that are: misleading or factually inaccurate; damaged, soiled or worn; outdated or superseded by a new edition or newer title on the same subject; trivial or have no discernible literary or scientific merit; irrelevant to the needs and interests of the community or contain information that may be obtained more easily elsewhere. Materials that have not circulated in two or more years, duplicate titles no longer needed, or damaged materials are also considered for discarding.
Discarded items in reasonable condition will be placed in the Library book sale. Items in damaged or outdated condition will be recycled or thrown away.
Staff members participating in weeding will make decisions regarding the reordering of worn out materials.
We are dedicated to the free and open distribution of ideas. The First Amendment of the Constitution insures that ideas, even ideas that some find offensive, cannot be restricted by the government. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the library to provide a wide-range of ideas, opinions and information necessary for the functioning of a democratic society.
We are dedicated to free and open use for all. No restriction, outside of the law, is placed on the use of the library’s collection based on age, race, sex, nationality, educational background, physical limitations, or any other criteria that may be the source of discrimination. The library also affirms confidentiality of patron records.
We are dedicated to protecting the individual’s right to decide for themselves and for their children what library materials to use. We will not restrict what we add to the collection, or base decisions on what to remove from the collection, based upon protecting potential users from the contents of the material. We strongly encourage all parents to establish guidelines for their own children’s use of library materials.
The inclusion of any item in the Library’s collection does not constitute an endorsement by the Library staff or Board of the item’s contents.
The Library Board and Staff upholds the principles of intellectual freedom as stated in the American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights,” (Appendix B), the Freedom to Read (Appendix C), and the Freedom to View Statements (Appendix D).
Anyone objecting to any item in the library collection may file a written statement with the Library Director. The Director, in consultation with the appropriate staff member(s) will re-examine the item in question. A decision on the suitability of the item for inclusion in the Middletown Public Library collection will be made based on the Library’s Material Collection Policy. The Library understands that certain items may be found to be controversial. In regards to those items, it is the Library’s goal to act as a neutral observer and agent of information and ideas.
The Library Board has the ultimate legal responsibility for the library’s collection. Collection development and management activities are administered by the Library Director and implemented by staff.
Adopted January 3, 1995
Revised February 11, 2015
Meeting Room Policy
Middletown Public Library currently has several informal meeting areas that we offer for public use for the purpose of presenting educational, cultural, or business programs and workshops or for conducting business or civic meetings. Individuals as well as nonprofit and for-profit organizations may request use of the meeting areas.
- The Library provides meeting space as a public service but does not endorse the view or opinions of groups using these facilities.
- Programs and meetings held in the library must be open to the public at large, subject to the health and safety requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry for public gatherings.
- A schedule of meeting room bookings is posted at the Circulation desk and is available upon request.
- Exercise programs and classes may not be held in library meeting rooms or areas because of insurance restrictions.
- At least one adult (18 years or older) must supervise meetings or programs for groups whose attendees are under 18.
- Organizations not fulfilling their obligations as stated in this and other library policies may be denied use of the Library’s meeting facilities.
Available meeting areas:
- Basement area maximum occupancy 50
- Children’s reading area maximum occupancy 8
- Reading area maximum occupancy 10
Meeting Room Fees and Sales in a Meeting Room:
Use of Library’s meeting areas is free of charge as long as the meetings or programs are open to the public, are free of charge, and do not directly generate revenue or promote specific services or organizations that may result in revenue.
Organizations or individuals using the meeting areas for the purpose of directly or indirectly generating revenue will be charged a fee of $40.00 per hour per area.
Revenue is defined as proceeds from sales, admission, or attendance fees or tuition by an individual, or a nonprofit, for-profit, or government organization or agency. This includes “free” educational programs which specifically promote a product or service that may generate future revenues for the presenter.
An exception is made for fundraising endeavors held for the benefit of the library. An organization or individual wishing to charge a fee or to sell items or services for the benefit of the library must obtain written permission from the Director before such an event occurs.
No reservation is final until payment is received.
Scheduling a Meeting Room:
- Meeting room areas may be reserved by Dauphin County residents over 18 years of age who have a Middletown Public Library account that is in good standing.
- Applicants must submit the Library’s request form to the Library Director for each booking period. Booking periods are January through June and July through December.
- Meetings may be scheduled up to four months in advance. Applications may be submitted one month before or anytime during the booking period.
- An individual or organization may book no more than four (4) meetings/programs per month.
- The Library will contact the applicant within 10 workdays of receipt of the application to confirm or deny the request.
- In the event that a meeting is cancelled, the Library must be notified as soon as possible so that the space may be made available to others. If the group or individual wishes to change the assigned area, they must request a change from staff.
- The Library reserves the right to schedule and alter room assignments according to the Library’s needs. If the library cancels or changes the use of a meeting room, Library staff will notify the group or individual as soon as possible.
Eligible Meeting Room Users:
In general, groups are prioritized in the following order when there are conflicting requests for rooms:
- Library and Friends of the Library Programs—which involve efforts of the library staff.
- Local Government Meetings/Programs—official meetings or programs of the Commonwealth, Dauphin County or Municipal government agencies or departments.
- Programs of an Educational, Cultural, Civic, or Social Organization—prepared for the public.
- Activities of Profit-Making Organizations/Businesses including classes, workshops, and meetings held with the intention of generating revenue for their own organization/business.
The Library has a limited number of tables and chairs available. Each booking organization must handle its own setup and may arrange furnishings as needed, as long as the furnishings are not at a risk of damage. Walls may not be used for mounting or hanging pictures, displays, posters, etc.
Equipment, materials, or furniture belonging to any group cannot be stored in the Library buildings.
The library does not maintain audiovisual equipment. Booking agencies that wish to bring AV equipment to the Library should check that there are adequate electrical outlets and/or data lines
Programs or meetings must be held during hours that the Library is open to the public. The group or individual must clean up and vacate the meeting area by the Library’s closing time. Only Library staff, and the Library Board or Friends may use the Library outside of regular hours. A staff member must be in the building for such exceptions.
Cleanup and Damage:
The sponsoring group or individual making application for use of the facilities assumes all responsibility for damage to library property and for leaving the premises in the condition in which they were found, including the arrangement of furnishings and the cleanup of trash. A minimum $ 30.00 fee will be assessed for excessive cleanup if a room is not vacated by the scheduled time. Damage to the facility will be billed to the group or individual responsible for the room and could result in the restriction from further use.
Smoking and Alcoholic Beverages:
Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the Library, and consumption of alcoholic beverages is not permitted in or on Library property.
Questions and Appeals:
Disputes regarding this meeting-room policy and established procedures will be resolved by the Director. In the event the applicant wishes to appeal the Director’s decision or a denial of application, the applicant may file a written request to the Library Board of Directors within fourteen (14) days.
The Middletown Public Library Board of Directors shall be the final authority in granting or refusing permission for the use of Library facilities.
– revised 7/1/05
Exam Proctoring Policy
The proctoring of written (open or closed book), emailed, or online examinations is a service offered by the Middletown Public Library to the public. The library will offer proctoring services based on the availability of personnel, facilities and technology to do so.
There is a fee of $15 for each exam proctored. All fees are payable just prior to taking the exam. The library accepts cash and personal checks. If the exam requires more than one day to complete, $15 will be charged for each day. If there are several exams to be taken in one day, $15 will be charged for each exam.
The Library reserves the right to charge a $15 cancellation fee if less than 24 hours notice is given by the student, or upon multiple cancellations by the student.
It is the student’s responsibility to contact the library and make an appointment for proctoring. Tests must be scheduled with the proctor a minimum of 7 days in advance. Unscheduled requests for proctoring or walk-ins cannot be accommodated. Tests will be scheduled during the proctor’s regular work hours, as allowed by her schedule.
Students should arrive promptly at the agreed-upon time, prepared with the items required for taking the test. These may include picture I.D., money, pens/pencils, or calculator. If the test is computerized, you may bring your own or use one provided by the Library.
The Library will provide space to take the exam, and, if necessary, a public access computer for online exams.
The student will allow sufficient time to take the examination before the deadline established by the institution. Get in touch with the proctor by email or phone prior to your test to make sure the test or login information has arrived. The proctor does not contact you when the exam arrives.
The student must contact the institution to ensure that the examination and other required exam materials are sent to the Library proctor. The institution may have specific requirements for proctoring. The student should check with the proctor to make sure the Library can meet all of the requirements.
Prior contact between the testing institution and the proctor is required so that credibility and testing requirements can be verified.
The student will be required to present a valid picture I.D. at the time of the exam.
Proctors will remain in the vicinity of the student during the exam, while attending to library related duties. The Library does not guarantee that a quiet study room or constant supervision of the student will be provided.
Proctors will enforce any time limits that are placed on the exam, as well as other rules set forth in the examination materials. The use of cell phones or visiting with others is prohibited. Any perceived violation of the posted rules for the exam will be reported to the educational institution.
Librarians will not sign a proctoring verification that attests to more than the staff member has been able to do.
Middletown Public Library will provide a public access computer for online exams. The computer will have Microsoft Work and Internet access. Tests offered in a computer format must be compatible with the hardware and software available on the Library workstation. Online tests which require the installation of software on the library’s computers cannot be proctored. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the library’s computing resources are adequate for their test taking requirements. The student may provide their own laptop for online exams. The Library cannot guarantee that technical problems will not occur during online exams. The Library will not be responsible for tests that are interrupted by Library emergencies, power failures, computer hardware or software failures, or loss of Internet connection.
The Library reserves the right to cancel the date of any proctor test due to inclement weather, computer malfunctions and the like. The test will be rescheduled.
Completed written exams are returned directly to the testing institution by fax or USPS mail at the student’s expense. Middletown Public Library is not responsible for exams once they have been mailed back to the educational institution. Librarians will not grade examinations.
Exams not taken by the date on which they were to be completed are either shredded or returned.
– Adopted by the Middletown Public Library Board March 1, 2011
Food and Drink Policy
Only water in a securely covered container is permitted throughout the Library. Drinks are not allowed at or near computers, photocopier, or other electronic equipment.
Food may not be consumed in the Library unless it is offered as part of a designated Library program, or otherwise approved by the Library Director.
Food is permitted in the lobby.
Please immediately report any spills to Library staff.
Please help keep the Library clean for other Library users by disposing of waste in trash receptacles located throughout the Library.
Users refusing to follow the Library Food and Drink Policy may be subject to further action, including being directed to leave the library premises and loss of Library use privileges.
– Adopted by the Middletown Public Library Board March 1, 2011
Fines and Fees Policy
A. Fines for overdue materials:
1. $.25 per item per day for all materials except videos, DVDs and interlibrary loans (Hershey Library- same cost).
2. $1.00 per day for videos and DVDs (Hershey Library-$1.50 per day).
3. $1.50 per day for interlibrary loans—i.e. items borrowed from Capital Area Library District and beyond.
4. Fines are charged only for days the library is open, with a one-day grace period.
5. Maximum fine is $15.00 per item.
B. Lost or damaged material:
1. Items that are damaged but still usable may incur a processing fee.
2. If material is lost or damaged beyond use, the listed cost of the item and overdue fines must be paid. The patron may keep the damaged item after the item has been paid for.
a. If the patron replaces the item with an exact duplicate instead of paying the listed cost, they will be charged a processing fee.
3. If a lost item is found, the cost of the item will be refunded if the item is found within 30 days of payment and the patron provides a receipt. Fines paid and processing fees will not be refunded. If the item has already been replaced by the library it cannot be refunded.
4. The library will assess a $1.00 charge per item for audiobooks, videos, or any other item denoted with a “do not return to book drop” sticker that is returned to the outside book drop.
C. Payment of fines:
1. In order to check out any material, patron account must have no fines
2. The library will accept fines for Hershey Public Library up to $ 50.00.
3. All lost or damaged items (including items from Hershey Library) must be paid to the owning library, not the loaning library, but payments are accepted at Middletown Public Library
D. Collection procedure:
1. Two weeks after the item is due, patron receives a 1st notice
2. After one month, patron receives a 2nd notice
3. After two months, patron receives a bill for the item
4. After three or four months patron receives a certified letter.
a. Certified letters get sent for any item(s) with a total listed cost(s) $25 or over.
b. Listed costs from children’s cards are counted toward the account of the parent who signed for the card.
5. If the overdue items are not returned or paid for within 30 days of the mailing of the certified
Letter, the account is sent to the District Justice. If the certified letter comes back to us “no valid address,” it still gets sent to the District Justice.
6. The District Justice collects fines associated with that item (maximum fine is $15) and listed
7. Filing at the District Justice is at the discretion of the Library Director. If the Director chooses not to file a complaint, the patron is blocked from borrowing library materials until his/her record is cleared.
– Adopted by the Middletown Public Library Board February 6, 1996
Revised: September 7, 2004
Revised: April 14, 2015
Cell Phone, Wi-Fi, and Group Study Area Policy
The user’s expectation is that the Library is an environment conducive to reading, study, research, consultation, and quiet collaboration. We have kept that in mind in designing the Middletown Public Library policy regarding the use of mobile devices (cell phones, tablets, etc.) and laptops.
The Library offers free Wi-Fi and you can utilize this on all mobile devices and laptops throughout the library, but if you need to use sound (playing a video or listening to audio) you are required to use headphones.
Cell Phone Use:
Talking on your cell phone in the Middletown Public Library should be kept to a minimum. When entering the Library, please set cell phones or other electronic devices to silent or vibrate mode. If it is necessary to talk on your cell phone while you are in the library, choose one of the following locations:
• The main lobby
• Outside garden area
The library has established the following Quiet Zones in Middletown Public Library where noise should be kept to a minimum:
o Periodicals Reading Area
o Non Fiction stacks
Group Study Areas:
These are the areas which might be used for gatherings, meetings, programs and group study. These are the areas in which quiet collaboration with someone in person would be acceptable.
o Table in audiobook/DVD section
o Entire second floor
If noise is a problem:
Please be considerate of those around you.
If you are being disturbed in an area designated as a quiet zone, remind that person that the area is intended for quiet study and direct them to a Group Study Area. If this does not resolve the problem, contact a library staff member.
If you are collaborating with someone and someone else asks you to be quiet, please comply or move to a Group Study Area. If you are already in a Group Study Area please try to lower your voice.
These guidelines were developed in response to concerns from patrons and staff about the increased noise in the Library. Please use common sense and courtesy when adhering to this policy so that everyone can enjoy the library.
The Library’s User Behavior Policy prohibits the following “Unreasonable noise including loud talking, singing, playing of audio equipment which disturbs others, and boisterous activity.”
And it further states that Library users who violate this would be asked to cease the behavior and may be expelled from the Library for up to one week. Subsequent violations may result in the loss of Library privileges for a period up to one year
– Adopted by the Middletown Public Library Board December 2011
Revised April 2015