Internet Access | Community Room | Patron Code of Conduct | Confidentiality of Library and Patron Records | Freedom to Read Statement | Library Bill of Rights | Tobacco Free Policy | Unattended Minor | Petitions and Solitication
Internet Access Policy
The library endeavors to develop collections, resources, and services to meet the needs of the diverse population in our service area. It is within this context that the Dover Public Library offers access to the Internet via the Ohio Public Information Network (OPLIN) and other avenues.
Guidelines for Use
The Internet is a global entity with a highly diverse user population, and library patrons use it at their own risk. As with other library materials, it is the patron, or the parent or legal guardian of minor children, who assumes responsibility for supervising access to Internet and OPLIN resources in the Library. Parents are encouraged to work with children to develop acceptable rules for Internet use.
The Internet will be used for educational, information, and recreational purposes only, not for unauthorized, illegal, or unethical purposes. Users may not send, receive, or display text or graphics that may reasonably be construed as obscene. Users seen accessing such sites will be asked to stop. Failure to do so could result in a loss of Internet and/or library privileges. Library computers are shared resources, and are not for excessive use by any single user nor to support personal, recreational, for-profit, commercial, or other activities.
Users understand that they are responsible for the cost of printing.
Because of the risk of computer viruses, users may not use their own software programs on any library computer connected to the Internet. Dover Public Library is not responsible for any loss of data or damage to a patron’s storage device, or liability that may occur from patron use of the library’s computers.
Users should respect the privacy of others by not misrepresenting themselves as another user; by not attempting to modify or gain access to files, passwords, or data belonging to others; and by not seeking unauthorized access to any computer system, or damaging or altering software components of any network or database.
Access to Internet and OPLIN is normally available during library hours, subject to periodic maintenance. Users may not always be able to access Internet sites for various reasons that could include: restricted use of certain databases, too many users on the host computer, maintenance or addressing problems on the host computer, or temporary disruption of the library’s Internet or OPLIN connection due to technical difficulties or routine maintenance.
The Library has set time limits to ensure that computers are available to as many customers as possible. Customers will be limited as to length of time per log-in; number of log-ins; and total time per day.
Internet Access and Filtering
The Library provides free Internet access for use by authorized persons and for legal activity only.
The Internet is an unregulated medium, and the Library is not responsible for the content or accuracy of information accessed over the Internet, nor can the Library control remote server availability or Internet response time. The Library does not guarantee that any particular website or electronic transaction will work, or be compatible with, library equipment. Anyone using the Library’s computer system consents to all of the Library’s policies and rules.
Confidentiality and Privacy
The Library does NOT guarantee that any username, password, email, credit card number, financial, or any other information entered is private or secure. The Library recommends that you do NOT use the public work station for any financial, confidential, or private transaction.
Access by Minors
Parents or legal guardians are ultimately responsible for a child’s use of the Internet. Library staff is not responsible for monitoring or controlling a child’s use of the Internet, except when aware that the child’s use violates this policy. At its discretion, the Library reserves the right to deny minors use of the Internet when unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
It is understood by users of the Internet and OPLIN that most of the information available is not generated by Dover Public Library or OPLIN. Through OPLIN and other avenues, the library provides access to reference databases of general and special periodical materials, reader’s advisory services, homework centers to assist students with research assignments, and legislative, historical, and archival materials and information.
Information available through the Internet and OPLIN is not warranted by Dover Public Library or by OPLIN to be accurate, authoritative, factual, or complete. The availability of networked information via Dover Public Library does not constitute any endorsement or ratification of that information. Dover Public Library and OPLIN are not responsible for the content of networked information available. The use of the Internet and OPLIN to engage in any activity that constitutes violation of local, state, and/or federal laws is strictly prohibited.
All users of the service agree to hold Dover Public Library and OPLIN harmless from any and all claims, losses, damages, obligations, or liabilities directly or indirectly relating to the use of the Internet and OPLIN, caused thereby or arising therefrom. In no event shall Dover Public Library or OPLIN have any liability for lost profits or for indirect, special, punitive, or consequential damages or any liability to any third party, even if Dover Public Library or OPLIN is advised of the possibility of such damages.
Customers agree to hold the Library harmless from any claims, losses, demands, liabilities, obligations, cause of action, suit, judgment, expense (including attorney’s fees), etc. relating to the use of the Library’s computer equipment, network, phone lines, wireless service, or Internet connection.
Failure to comply with this policy may result in the loss of Internet and/or library privileges.
Community Room Policy
The primary purpose of the Dover Public Library’s Community is to provide a space for library and library-related activities. The needs of the Library, the needs of the Board of Trustees, and the needs of the Friends of the Dover Public Library will take precedence. The Community Room is for the use of:
• Library Board of Trustees meetings
• Library staff meetings
• Meetings of library-affiliated organizations
• Public meetings of general interest to the community.
Community groups and sponsors of educational and cultural events are welcome to use the Community Room subject to availability and adherence to the following policies and guidelines.
Those wishing to use the Community Room must complete a Community Room Application. Library-sponsored activities, as stated above, will have first priority. Reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The room reservation must be made by an individual, over the age of 18, who will be in attendance throughout the meeting, and who will be responsible for returning the room to its original condition.
Use of the Community Room must be approved by the Library Director or designee.
Persons requesting use of the Community Room must have a valid Dover Public Library card.
No admission may be charged for any meeting, except for library-sponsored programs.
Groups or organizations using the Community Room must adhere to maximum capacity standards as specified by the Dover Fire Inspector. Capacity and an evacuation route are posted in the Community Room.
The Community Room is available during normal Library operating hours and is provided free of charge. Meetings must be finished by the time the library closes.
The Community Room is not available for private parties or meetings of a strictly social nature unless sponsored by the Library or the Friends of the Library.
Meetings and programs must be open to the public and free of charge. The person making the room reservation, who must be an adult, is responsible for the orderly conduct of the group, and in the event of any damage to library property and/or equipment that individual will be liable. Young children accompanying adult users of the Community Room shall not be left unattended in the Library.
Smoking and alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Groups serving refreshments are responsible for providing all serving utensils and for cleaning up following their meeting.
Storage of personal property, equipment and/or supplies is not permitted in the library.
The name, address, or telephone number of the Dover Public Library may not be used as the official address or headquarters of any organization other than the Friends of the Dover Public Library.
The name, address, and phone number of the person reserving the room is a matter of public record. Upon request, this information will be shared with anyone seeking to contact that individual or the group he/she represents.
The Dover Public Library reserves the right to deny use of the Community Room to any organization which or individuals who have abused their privileges in the past. The library also reserves the right to cancel or reschedule any meeting or to limit the frequency of use by a single group.
The use of the Community Room by a group does not imply endorsement by the Dover Public Library of the policies or purposes of the group. Community Room use should not be publicized in such a way as to imply library sponsorship.
The Library Board of Trustees and the Library staff do not assume any liability for groups or for individuals attending any meeting or program in the Library.
Adopted by the Dover Public Library
Board of Trustees
January 1, 2015
Patron Code of Conduct Policy
The Dover Public Library welcomes all patrons, young and old alike, who by their presence acknowledge their responsibility to maintain an atmosphere conducive to the best use of the library and its services. Patrons must be considerate of others while they browse, read, aspire, ponder, research, do homework, discover, photocopy, use computers, and/or attend programs.
Behavior of persons, regardless of age, which is disruptive or detracts from that use, will not be tolerated. Some examples of inappropriate behavior include, but are not limited to:
- Disrespect of staff
- Abusive/vulgar language
- Disorderly conduct
- Use of tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs
- Loud talking, crying
- Aimless/restless roaming
- Unsuitable dress (no shirt, shoes)
- Destruction of library property
- Using public restrooms to bathe or wash clothes
- Seating at library tables and chairs is limited to the number of persons for whom the furniture was designed.
- Bicycles are to be parked in provided racks, and are not permitted in the library public area or entryway. Roller skating, rollerblading and skateboarding are not permitted in the library or its grounds. Wagons and strollers may not be left obstructing a corridor, hallway, aisle, entry or exit.
- Selling products or services, or soliciting donations is not permitted in the library, except as part of a library-sponsored program, or when authorized by library administration.
- Taking surveys, circulating petitions, distributing leaflets, and other similar activities are permitted in the library only when authorized by library administration.
- Animals, except those used to aid persons with disabilities, are not permitted in the library unless they are part of a library-sponsored program.
- Patrons are responsible for their personal belongings.
- Patrons are not permitted to loiter in large groups on library property. Library staff can ask loiterers to disperse. Police will be contacted for assistance if need be.
- Patrons must leave the library promptly at closing.
- Under the Ohio Revised Code no person shall possess a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance.
Staff members are well-trained, good natured library professionals who strive to provide excellent service to every patron. However, the staff has authority to ask patrons whose behavior monopolizes their attention and/or restricts others’ use of the library to leave. Security officers and/or off-duty policemen may be present during business hours to aid in maintaining an orderly atmosphere. Patrons involved in criminal behavior against the library will be prosecuted. Chronic offenders will be denied use of the library. Return to the library and reinstatement of privileges are by Director’s permission only.
Adopted by the Dover Public Library
Board of Trustees
July 15, 2010
Confidentiality of Library and Patron Records Policy
The Dover Public Library specifically recognizes that its library records (as defined below) and patron information are confidential in nature. Such records will be made available in the following situations:
- Parents, guardians, and custodians will have access to their minor children’s records.
- In accordance with a subpoena, search warrant, or other court order, or to a law enforcement officer who is investigating a matter involving public safety in exigent circumstances.
- With the consent of the individual who is the subject of the record or information.
- For library administration purposes.
Library records are defined in this policy as a record in any form that is maintained by a library and that contains any of the following types of information:
- Information the library requires an individual to provide in order to be eligible to use library services or borrow materials.
- Information that identifies an individual as having requested or obtained specific materials or materials on a particular subject.
- Information that is provided by an individual to assist a library staff member to answer a specific question or provide information on a particular subject.
“Library record” does not include information that does not identify any individual and that is retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the use of a library and its materials and services.
Adopted by the Dover Public Library
Board of Trustees
September 16, 2010
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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; revised January 28, 1972, January 16, 1991, July 12, 2000, June 30, 2004, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee.
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.
I. 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.
II. 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.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. 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 18, 1948, by the ALA Council; amended February 2, 1961; amended June 28, 1967; amended January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 24, 1996.
Tobacco Free Policy
In accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 3794, the Dover Public Library provides a tobacco free environment for all those that wish to utilize its grounds and facilities.
All tobacco use (smoking tobacco/other substances, chewing tobacco, or electronic substitutes) is prohibited on the Dover Public Library’s grounds which include parking lots, sidewalks, outside and doorway entrances/exits and buildings.
Signs restricting the use of tobacco use will be posted in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 3794.
Adopted by the Dover Public Library
Board of Trustees
October 24, 2013
Unattended Minor Policy
The Dover Public Library welcomes children to use its facilities and services. However, the responsibility for the care, safety, and behavior of children using the Library rests with the parent, legal guardian, or designated caregiver.The safety of children left alone in a library building is a serious concern of the Library staff. The Library is a public building, open to all. In order to create an environment of safety and maintain an atmosphere where reading and study can be encouraged, the following policy has been established.
The care and behavior of minor children visiting the Dover Public Library is the responsibility of the parent/guardian. While the Library welcomes minor children to enjoy the Library and library materials, staff cannot accept responsibility for the safety and supervision of children left in the building without a parent/guardian present. Preschool children are not permitted to be left unattended in any part of the Library.
Parents should be aware of the Library’s hours and keep in mind that those hours may change due to holiday schedules, inclement weather, or other unforeseen emergencies. Parents must make contingency plans for the child’s immediate pick-up due to unexpected closings. To avoid having your child become anxious or frightened, please inform him/her of your whereabouts and how to contact you in an emergency.
Teachers, daycare providers, or other youth leaders are responsible for any groups of children they may have in the Library.
When a situation develops that warrants the attention of a minor’s parent/guardian (e.g. personal illness/injury; minor child left alone when the building closes) but that individual is not present, Library staff will attempt to contact the parent/guardian. (This will not necessarily be the case when a minor is asked to leave library property for violating the “Patron Code of Conduct Policy.”) In the event that the parent or legal guardian cannot be contacted, the Dover Police Department will be called. Two staff members will wait with the child until law enforcement officers arrive. A note will be placed on the door notifying the parent, legal guardian, or designated caregiver that the child is in the care of the Dover Police Department.
Under no circumstances shall a Library staff member transport or take a child away from the Library building.
Adopted by the Dover Public Library
Board of Trustees
March 10, 2011
Petitions and Solicitation Policy
The Dover Public Library has the authority to make reasonable rules that are universally applicable regarding the allowed use of library buildings and property, including content-neutral restriction of conduct involving passing out literature. The public sidewalks around the library property are a traditional public forum subject to reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on those wishing to use them for purposes protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. As such, the Library allows people to circulate petitions and distribute leaflets outside library facilities, subject to the following rules and regulations:
- Persons circulating petitions for signatures or leafleting may stand on Library
property; however, they may not engage in collecting signatures or distributing
leaflets inside Library buildings.
- Petition circulation or leafleting must take place outside Library buildings at least
twenty feet (20′) from entrances and exits.
- Persons circulating petitions or leafleting shall not block, hinder, interfere, or
otherwise impede patrons and staff wishing to enter or exit Library buildings or to
use book returns, nor seek to intimidate patrons or staff into signing a petition or
accepting a leaflet.
- Persons circulating petitions or leafleting shall not occupy areas designated as
fire or emergency lanes and shall not occupy parking spaces.
- Persons circulating petitions or leafleting are not allowed to place or erect tables,
chairs, or signs on Library property.
- Only one person at a time is permitted to solicit signatures for a single petition or
- No work or petitioning on behalf of candidates for elected office is allowed in
Library buildings or on Library property.
- No leafleting or distribution of literature, or solicitation is permitted for the
purposes of selling items, merchandise, tickets, or other for-profit activities.
- Panhandling is not permitted on Library property.
- Any person wishing to solicit signatures for a petition or leaflet shall inform the
Library of his or her desire and intent to solicit signatures for a petition or to
distribute leaflets. Each such individual shall provide his or her name, address,
and a copy of the petition or leaflet to Library staff.
- The Library staff, Friends of the Library, and members of the Library Board of
Trustees are exempt from the above constraints in promoting Library activities
Persons who fail to comply with any of the above policies or procedures will be asked to leave the Library premises and may be barred from the right to circulate petitions or distribute leaflets in the future.
The Library will not assume responsibility for any harm or injury suffered by persons circulating petitions or distributing leaflets, or by those who are signing a petition. The presence of persons circulating petitions for signatures or distributing leaflets outside a library facility does not constitute the Library’s endorsement of any candidate, nor does it constitute support or opposition of the subject matter of any initiative or referendum. The presence of a person circulating petitions or distributing leaflets outside a library facility does not constitute the Library’s endorsement of the policies, beliefs or political affiliations of any person or group circulating petitions for signatures or distributing leaflets.
Adopted by the Dover Public Library Board of Trustees
December 10, 2015