Library Users Policy

Welcome

Sitka Public Library welcomes people of all ages, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and socio-economic levels to use its collection, resources and services.

Entitlement

Sitka Public Library is a limited public forum open to everyone. While each person has the privilege to use the Library facilities, services and resources, everyone is expected to be courteous and not interfere with the ability of others to use and enjoy the Library. As a courtesy for the enjoyment of everybody in the Library, staff request firearms not be brought into the building. Refer to Code of Conduct. 

Registration

Borrowing privileges are free to all permanent residents of the City and Borough of Sitka. Identification and official proof of local residency are required to qualify for a permanent Library card. Short-term residents may apply for limited borrowing privileges as visitors.

Account Eligibility

Purpose

To ensure the Sitka Public Library provides the highest level of access to information through multiple avenues while maintaining strong stewardship of library materials and services.

Account Types

Permanent Resident Account (2 Year Expiration) - full borrower privileges for:

  • Residents of the City and Borough of Sitka and their dependents
  • Minors (persons under the age of 18), provided that a parent or guardian accept responsibility for activity on the minor's account

Unverified Temporary Account (1 Year Expiration) - limited borrow privileges for:

  • Sitka residents without a permanent residence
  • Minors without accepted parent or guardian responsibility of use

Non-Permanent Visitor Account (6 Month Expiration) - limited borrower privileges for:

  • Adults and minors that do not reside in the City and Borough of Sitka but will be here for longer than 28 days 

Sitka Public Library will checkout to any member in good standing of the Alaska Library Catalog (ALC).

Registration Requirements

Permanent Resident Account requires: 

  • Valid picture identification and proof of address within the City and Borough of Sitka for adults
  • The signature of a parent or guardian for minors

Unverified Temporary Account requires: 

  • Adult must provide a valid picture identification
  • Minors must provide their address, phone number, and a parent's or guardian's name

Non-Permanent Visitor Account requires:

  • Valid picture identification and proof of address for adults
  • Signature of parent or guardian who meets eligibility requirements and assumes financial responsibility for items for minors

Procedures will be established for what are acceptable forms for proof of address.

The signature of a parent or guardian is required for minors (persons under the age of 18) to acquire borrowing privileges. The signing adult must also meet the same registration requirements to get a library card. Parents or guardians who sign for a minor's library card accept financial responsibility for items borrowed with that card, as well as any fines or fees incurred with in.

Minors may acquire limited borrowing privileges without a parent or guardian signature if they can provide the required information. See Unverified Temporary Account. 

Circulation Policy – Borrowing

Purpose

The Sitka Public Library strives to provide patrons with the fullest possible access to library materials and services. The intent of this policy is to enhance access for our public and to clarify loan periods. 

Checkout Loan Periods

  • ALC loan period is determined by loaning library.

Materials:

  • Books - 28 days
  • CDs - 28 days
  • Audiobooks - 28 days
  • DVDs - 7 days
  • Magazines - 7 days

Equipment:

  • Projector - 2 days
  • Projector screen - 2 days 

Renewals

  • Material and equipment may be renewed 1 time
  • Material and equipment are eligible for renewal except when on hold for another patron or if owned by another library whose policy does not allow renewal

Borrowing Privileges with Alaska Library Catalog

  • The Sitka Public Library has a reciprocal borrowing agreement with the ALC
  • Materials from participating ALC libraries may be returned to any participating ALC library
  • Registered borrowers are responsible for all fines and fees on library materials from ALC libraries as set by each library's policies
  • Registered borrows disputing the return of items and fines or fees must contact the owning library directly

Borrower Responsibilities

A registered borrow agrees to:

  • Observe library policies while in the library
  • Be responsible for all materials checked out on their card
  • Return all materials on time and in good condition
  • Pay any fees on materials lost or damaged

Lost, Damaged, or Overdue Materials and Equipment

Purpose

To ensure that the quality and size of the collection is maintained in accordance with the library's mission and in concert with the Collection Development policy.

Responsibility

When a library item has been lost, stolen or irreparably damaged, it is the responsibility of the account holder (or the parent or legal guardian in the case of a minor) to pay the replacement fee.

Policy

  • No fines for materials (books, CDs, audiobooks, DVDs, magazines) overdue less than 28 days past its checkout loan period
  • Materials 28 days overdue will be considered lost, and a replacement fee, as determined and updated by the library director, will be charged to account
  • Overdue equipment (projector, projector screen, etc.) past the checkout loan period and less than 28 days overdue will accrue fines at the rate determined and updated by the library director
  • Equipment 28 days overdue will be considered lost and a replacement fee, as determined and updated by the library director, will be charged to account
  • Bills may be paid through patron's online account or in person at the library
  • Materials borrowed from the ALC are subject to the owning library's fines and fees

The library does not accept substitute items for lost, stolen, or irreparably damaged materials.

Code of Conduct

Rules

To ensure the Library is a safe and welcoming space to everyone, the following rules of conduct have been established.

Everyone in the Library is expected to:

  • Understand the Library is a community gathering space open to everyone
  • Avoid behaviors that disrupt Library operations
  • Act courteously to other patrons and Library staff
  • Treat Library materials and equipment carefully, to preserve them for other patrons
  • Be responsible for personal possessions
  • Comply with all federal, state and municipal laws
  • Parents or guardians are responsible for not leaving children 8 years of age or younger unattended.

The following categories are identified as unacceptable behaviors that disrupt Library operations:

Category 1. Immediate Eviction

No one shall:

  • Possess or display a firearm in a manner inconsistent with state and federal laws
  • Use or be under the influence of intoxicating substances
  • Steal Library property; make unauthorized use of Library equipment or materials
  • Physically attack, threaten, verbally abuse or harass Library patrons or staff in any way, including sexual harassment, or attempt to engage anyone in unwanted discussion
  • Smoke any substance from any medium, including electronic devices, inside the Library or on Library grounds

Category 2. Unacceptable Behavior

No one shall:

  • Trespass into any unauthorized area including behind the circulation desk, all study and meeting rooms, any storage room
  • Remain in the Library after operating hours, unless attending a program
  • Consume any food in the building unless authorized by Library staff
  • Bring any beverage into the Media Room. All beverages in other areas of the Library must be properly contained as to not risk spills.
  • Use a bicycle, skateboard, scooter, or skate in the Library or directly in front of the main entrance doors
  • Emit any odor that is so distracting to others that it interferes with the patrons' use of Library resources or staff work including, but not limited to, bodily hygiene, perfumed fragrance, alcohol or smoking products
  • Use sinks in restrooms for any purpose other than washing hands and face.
  • Bring any animals into the Library with the exception of service animals, or animals as part of approved Library programs
  • Use personal devices to communicate with people not in the Library that creates a disturbance to other Library patrons
  • Walk on Library property without shoes or wear clothing that does not fully cover upper and lower torso.
  • Sleep in the Library or camp on Library grounds.

Enforcement

Library staff is authorized and responsible for enforcing patron conduct in the Library. Category 1 offenses will result in immediate eviction for the day. Patrons violating Category 2 offenses will be informed of the policy and warned that continued violation of the policy may result in eviction for the day. Patrons may be evicted for the day if instructions from staff are disregarded.  Failure to leave the Library after being asked to do so is considered trespassing and will result in police intervention. Category 1 violations or repeated evictions for Category 2 violations may result in suspension of Library privileges or permanent exclusion from the premises.  

Children

Children are welcome in the Library, and we are concerned about their welfare and safety. Parents, guardians and care givers are responsible for monitoring the activities and behavior of their children while they are in the Library. If an unattended child is being disruptive, is left unattended for a long period of time or appears to be at risk, staff shall try to locate a parent, guardian or care giver. If necessary, law enforcement or child protective authorities will be notified to take custody of the child.

Public Relations Policy

We wish to ensure that the public receives consistent and accurate information about Library policy, procedures, programs and services. Contacts to the media initiated by the Library will be handled by the person in charge of the specific program, service or policy being addressed. Contacts initiated by the media should be directed to the Library Director. Speaking engagements will be scheduled with the Library Director.

Internet Safety and Use Policy

Purpose

Sitka Public Library provides access to a broad range of informational resources, including those available through the Internet. The Library makes this service available in support of its mission to provide free and equal access to all types of information in a variety of formats for library users of all backgrounds and ages. Consistent with its mission, the Library is guided by a commitment to safeguard the principles of intellectual freedom, equity of access, First Amendment rights, individual responsibility, and confidentiality of information about users and their use of library resources.

Choosing and Evaluating Sources

The Internet is a vast repository of information providing unprecedented access to a wealth of information which can be personally, professionally and culturally enriching. The Internet is a vast, unregulated information network. It enables access to ideas, information, images and commentary beyond the Library’s collection, mission, selection criteria and collection development policies. Because of this access, the Library cannot protect users from information and images which they might find disturbing or offensive. Some sources provide information that is inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated. As with print information, users are encouraged to use critical judgment when evaluating the validity and appropriateness of information found electronically. The Library cannot control the information available over the Internet and assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from connections to the Internet. The Library makes no guarantees, either expressed or implied, with respect to the quality or content of information available on the Internet. Providing access does not mean or imply that the Library sanctions or endorses the point of view or content of any information which may be found on the Internet.

Privacy

When using a Library computer, complete privacy cannot be guaranteed. Users are cautioned that public access computers are located in public areas which must be shared by Library users of all backgrounds, sensibilities and ages. Individuals are asked to consider this and to respect the sensibilities of others when accessing potentially offensive information and images. Users are cautioned that because security in an electronic environment such as the Internet cannot be guaranteed, all transactions, files and communications are vulnerable to unauthorized access and use, and, therefore, should be considered public.

Access by Minors

Sitka Public Library currently uses no technology protection measures to block or filter the Internet or other forms of electronic communications. Library staff does not censor or deny access to inappropriate information. We uphold the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected materials and affirm the right and responsibility of parents and legal guardians to determine and monitor their children in the use of library materials and resources. We encourage parents and guardians to guide their children in the use of the Internet and inform them of materials they should not use.

The Library cautions minors to keep in mind the following safety guidelines when using electronic mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications. We also recommend that patrons refrain from the unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal information regarding minors by urging them to observe the following procedures:

  • Never give out identifying information such as home address, school name, or telephone number 
  • Let parents or guardians decide whether personal information such as age, marital status, or financial information should be revealed
  • Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone via the computer without parents’ or guardians’ approval
  • Never respond to messages that are suggestive, obscene, threatening, or make one uncomfortable
  • Have parents or guardians report an incident to the National Center for Missing or Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 if one becomes aware of the transmission of child pornography
  • Remember that people online may not be who they say they are
  • Remember that everything one reads on the Internet may not be true

Children’s Internet Protection Act

It is the library’s policy to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act [Pub. L. No. 106-554 and 47 USC 254(h)] as it is currently applied to public libraries.  

This Internet Safety Policy was adapted by the Sitka Public Library Board Commission at a public meeting, following normal public notice, on June 26, 2002. It was revised and adopted on January 29, 2003.

Library Policy and Guidelines

To make the Internet available to as many people as possible and to ensure that it is used in a manner consistent with Library policies, the Library has adopted rules regarding acceptable use of electronic resources. All Internet users are asked to respect the privacy and rights of others. Compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, including laws governing the transmission and dissemination of information while accessing the Internet, is required. Internet users must make reservations, check-in and pay for copies with personnel at the front desk. Violation or attempted violation of any laws, regulations or policies may result in loss of library privileges and possible civil or criminal penalties. Internet users may not:

  • Use the network to make unauthorized entry into other computational, informational or communications services or resources
  • Distribute unsolicited advertising
  • Engage in any activity that is harassing or defamatory
  • Use the Internet for any illegal/unauthorized activity, including the violation of copyright law
  • Make any attempt to damage or tamper with computer equipment or software
  • Remove privacy screens from monitors
  • Use an Internet access computer for more than one hour a day without staff permission

Supervision and Monitoring

The Library endeavors to provide Internet access in an inviting, healthy learning environment in which individuals are encouraged to safely access, explore and discover the world. The Library staff neither supervises nor monitors Internet access for the public.

Guidelines on Access to Information

Sitka Public Library is guided by the following American Library Association statements on access to information:

  • The Library Bill of Rights
  • Freedom to Read
  • Intellectual Freedom Statement

Policies Regarding Law Enforcement Requests for Patron Information

Background

Sitka Public Library has certain legal obligations that come from the "USA Patriot Act" as well as professional concerns for privacy and information in a free society. The Library Board Commission has established guidelines for responding to requests from law enforcement authorities for Library records involving patron data, while keeping in mind the American Library Association Code of Ethics which recognizes that we protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality.

Application of the Law

The "USA Patriot Act" supersedes state laws that control access to patron records.

Should an individual or individuals representing themselves as law enforcement agents approach the Library staff requesting access to records involving patron data or information about library users with or without any form of written authorization, staff shall inform them that they are not authorized to provide the information and immediately notify the Library Director or Acting Library Director and the City Attorney.

The existence of an information request, the nature of the request and the names of the library patrons are to be treated in the strictest confidence and are not to be discussed or revealed, as required by the USA Patriot Act.

Patron Data Retention

Library Records, which may be the focus of law enforcement requests, include electronic, print, and other forms of patron information. Archives of information that reveal identities of individuals should be kept only when clearly necessary for the regular operation of library business.

Display Policy

Sitka Public Library displays are prepared or approved by staff, who use experienced judgment regarding display materials and topics of community interest.  The Library welcomes exhibits and displays of interest, information and enlightenment to the community by individuals, organizations or community groups. Application for exhibits or displays will be made through the Displays Librarian on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Library shall have the final decision on the arrangement of all exhibits or displays.

In developing library exhibits, staff will present a broad spectrum of ideas and viewpoints. Just as libraries do not endorse the beliefs or affiliations of those whose work is represented in their collections, libraries do not endorse the beliefs or viewpoints of topics which may be the subject of library exhibits. Patrons concerned about display topics or materials are encouraged to discuss those concerns with a library staff member and/or the Library Director. Patrons who wish to have the library reconsider display topics or materials may use the library's Request for Reconsideration form. The Library Director will decide what action is appropriate and notify the patron. If the complainant is not satisfied with the Library Director's decision, (s)he may submit a written appeal to the Library Board Commission, which will review the matter during its next meeting. The Library Board Commission will consider the appeal and inform the complainant(s) of its decision. If the patron is not satisfied with the Commission's decision, he or she may make an appeal to the City Manager.

The Library assumes no responsibility for the preservation1 protection or possible damage or theft of any item exhibited or displayed. All items placed in the library are done so at the owner's risk.



Items can be renewed online, in-person, or over the phone.