ABOUT US

LIBRARY POLICIES

The following policies were approved by the Thomaston Public Library Board of Trustees on October 4, 2021. Click here for a downloadable PDF of these policies.

  • Mission, Vision, and Core Values
  • Patron Code of Conduct
  • Facility
  • Pandemic Policy
  • Volunteer Policy
  • Public Computer and Internet Use Policy
  • Circulation and Borrowing Privileges
  • Reference Services
  • Collection Development
  • Donations, Gifts, and Memorials
  • Forms

Mission Statement

We are a community resource center that actively provides materials, programs, and services to bring people, information, and ideas together.

Vision Statement

We strive to be a warm and welcoming community living room where all gather to learn, connect, discover, create, and inspire.

Core Values

Our mission and vision statements are informed by our core values:

  • Education & Literacy
  • Equity
  • Access
  • Collaboration
  • Patron Service
  • Innovation
  • Intellectual Freedom
  • Compassion

The purpose of the Thomaston Public Library Patron Code of Conduct is to maintain a safe and pleasant environment for all Library patrons. It also ensures access to Library facilities, the safety of users and staff, and the protection of the Library collection, equipment, and facility.

Patrons have the responsibility to use the Library in a manner that: a) does not interfere with the rights of other individuals to use Library materials, resources, and services; b) does not limit the ability of Library staff to conduct Library business; and c) does not threaten the secure and comfortable environment of the Library. Violation of any of the following rules will result in a warning and/or expulsion from the property. Failure to leave as instructed constitutes trespassing. Anyone known to have violated the Patron Code of Conduct or anyone known to have habitually violated the law may be excluded from the Library as a matter of administrative policy.

Whenever necessary, police will be contacted. The Head Librarian and supervisory staff have authority to carry out all powers of this policy. Library staff will file an incident report if a patron is asked to leave the Library or the police are called.

Prohibited conduct includes any illegal activity and may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Willfully annoying, harassing, touching, or threatening another person.
  • Consuming alcohol or controlled substances, being intoxicated, smoking, vaping, or using tobacco products including e-cigarettes.
  • Defacing the Library building or using furniture or equipment in a manner that could cause harm to self, patrons, staff, or personal or public property.
  • Soliciting, posting notices, fundraising, or selling, unless authorized by the Head Librarian or designee.
  • Behaving in a loud, boisterous, or disruptive manner. Fighting or threatening to fight, running, pushing, shoving, or throwing things. 
  • Staring at or following another patron or Library staff member in a manner which is intimidating or can reasonably be expected to disturb.
  • Using a cell phone, pager, audio player or other electronic device in a manner that is disruptive.
  • Impeding access to the building or an area of the building or blocking book stack aisles for extended periods of time.
  • Bringing animals into the Library, except service animals, unless authorized by the Head Librarian or designee.
  • Leaving unattended personal items in the building. The Library assumes no responsibility for lost, stolen, or unattended personal items. Items left longer than 30 minutes may be removed.
  • Leaving suspicious packages that, in the opinion of staff, are of potential threat. These items may be removed from the premises without notice.
  • Entering non-public areas unless accompanied by a staff member or through prior authorization from a staff member.
  • Having offensive hygiene, odor or scent that constitutes a nuisance to other persons.
  • Failing to exit the building at closing or not following directions from staff during an emergency.
  • Relocating or tampering with tables, chairs, equipment, or other furniture without staff permission.
  • Failure to return Library materials or unauthorized removal of Library materials from the Library.
  • Failure to pay fees or replacement costs for lost or damaged materials.
  • Failure to adhere to the Library's Public Computer and Internet Use Policy.

Hours of Operation

The Thomaston Public Library maintains consistent, posted hours of service during which all services of the Library are available to patrons.

The book drop is available for the return of almost all material, apart from certain equipment, discovery kits, or museum passes, during the hours the Library is closed. The book drop is located outside the entrance to the Thomaston Academy Building.

Orientation / Tours

The Library offers orientation and tours of the facility for patrons of all ages. Such activities will be scheduled during regular operating hours. Scheduling should be done prior to need with the Library staff.

Meeting Room Policy

The primary purpose of the Thomaston Public Library meeting rooms is support for Library functions, meetings, and programs. The meeting room may, on occasion, be made available for use to informal groups of Library patrons or organizations not affiliated with the Library. Organizations not affiliated with the Thomaston Public Library may use the meeting room when all the following conditions are met:

  • The organization agrees to pay the current meeting room rental rates as posted on the Library’s website.
  • The organization conducting the meeting is not doing so for the immediate or ultimate gain of a for-profit business or agency.
  • The meeting takes place during regular Library hours.
  • The meeting will not disrupt the ability of the Library to conduct its business in a normal and orderly manner.
  • The meeting room is left in the same clean, orderly fashion in which the organization found it at the beginning of the meeting.
  • The organization assumes all responsibility for setting up and cleaning up the room. If the organization requests the use of Library-owned A/V equipment, Library staff will assist with the setup of that equipment.

Display Space

The Thomaston Public Library maintains a bulletin board and display areas for the exclusive purpose of promoting the services and programs of the Library. Although patrons are invited to make suggestions for themes or parallel agency activities, the responsibility for design and placement of all displays rests with the staff of the Library.

To meet the objectives of the Library as a community resource center, the Library offers additional bulletin boards and a community table to non-profit organizations engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual, or charitable activities as space permits.

The following general guidelines apply:

  • Posters and/or other printed materials promoting programs/ projects of a commercial or political nature will not be displayed or distributed.
  • Notices/posters with printed charges are accepted if sponsored by organizations which can prove a non-profit, tax-exempt status.

Items that do not meet these guidelines will be discarded without notification.

Posting of notices does not imply endorsement by the Thomaston Public Library.

The Thomaston Public Library reserves the right to make the final decision as to whether a given piece is to be displayed.

Exhibits

Occasionally, exhibits from sources within the community may be allowed in the Library. All exhibits considered for space within the Library must support the mission of the Library and not cause disruption of the regular flow of Library work and service. Such exhibits will remain in place for a time agreed upon with the Head Librarian, with set up and removal being the responsibility of the exhibitor. The Library assumes no liability for damage or loss relating to any exhibit set up for public viewing in the Library and will take no extraordinary measures to ensure its safety. The exhibitor must sign an Exhibit Agreement Form.

Service to Patrons with Disabilities

The Thomaston Public Library offers the same services to patrons with disabilities as to all other segments of the population. In addition to those services, the Thomaston Public Library acts as facilitator between the patron and Services to the Blind and Physically Handicapped, offers home delivery to patrons with disabilities which prevent them from coming to the Library, and welcomes service animals in the Library.

Emergency Situations

Fire

In the event of a fire, Library staff will sound the fire alarm, report the fire to the Fire Department and assist in evacuating the building.

Medical Emergencies

In the event of an ill/injured patron, Library staff will respond positively with any reasonable help. If the ill/injured person is unable to make calls, the Library staff will assist in notifying a relative or call an ambulance if necessary.

Weather Emergencies

In the event of unexpected dangerous weather (e.g., tornado, flash flooding) when the Library is open, the Head Librarian or designee will notify patrons and staff in the Library of weather conditions and instruct them to take shelter in a location predetermined as the best shelter available. The doors of the Library will remain unlocked so that passersby will be able to seek shelter.

If weather conditions are predicted to be dangerous (e.g., snowstorm, ice storm, hurricane) with sufficient warning, the Library may close in advance to prevent patrons and staff from traveling in hazardous conditions. In these circumstances, the Head Librarian or designee will post storm closures to television channels WGME 13, WMTW 8, WCSH 6, and the Library’s social media.

Summary

The purpose of the Pandemic Policy is to establish the protocol to be used in the event of a pandemic. If there is a pandemic, the library may be required to operate on limited staffing or take unique measures to help slow the spread of the illness, including service restrictions, limited hours of operation, or possible closure. Recovery from a pandemic may be slow, as compared to a natural disaster or other physical crises. It is important to ensure that core business activities of the library can be maintained for several weeks or more with limited staff and reduced hours due to a pandemic.

The Pandemic Policy will provide guidance to the Head Librarian or designee in instituting service level changes, according to local health conditions, state and regional recommendations, and the safety needs of the staff and the public. This policy recognizes that in a pandemic, the management of services will require dynamic response and all contingencies may not be addressed in advance.

Definitions

Pandemic Policy A pandemic policy differs from a general emergency preparedness policy or procedure. With an emergency preparedness policy, there is an assumption that staff will return to the building or begin rebuilding, almost immediately after the event or crisis (e.g., after a fire or storm, or if there is a utility shortage). Recovery from a pandemic may be slow and limited staff, services, and hours may be necessary for an extended period of time.

Pandemic A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease. (World Health Organization https://www.who.int)

Appropriate Staffing Level For the purposes of this policy, Appropriate Staffing Level refers to the minimum number of qualified staff necessary to provide service safely and efficiently, as determined by the Head Librarian or their designee.

Policy Priorities

Staff and Community Safety

This policy strives to position the Library within the context of community safety and a responsibility to reduce community transmissions. In-person services must be responsive to wider health implications. Service decisions require coordination with health officials as well as state, county, and local government for guidance regarding their impact, as staff interactions and in-person services may pose a high risk of virus transmission to staff who may be exposed to infected individuals or infected materials and surfaces. Securing staff and community safety is the top priority of this policy.

Defining and Evaluating Essential Services in a Pandemic

This policy recognizes that services considered as core during normal library operations do not necessarily hold the same priority during a pandemic. It is therefore vital to define which services are critical and assess whether it is possible to provide these services in a way that does not put staff and community safety at risk. It is also imperative to evaluate whether services traditionally provided in person may be transferred online to provide staff and the community with a safer method of access during a pandemic.

Service Level Changes and Library Closure

Public Health Mandate

The Thomaston Public Library will close due to pandemic in the event of a mandate order or recommendation for closure issued by public health or government officials on the local, county, or state level.

Discretionary Service Level Changes

At the discretion of the Head Librarian, the Library may close, reduce its operating hours, or limit services temporarily in the event that there is not sufficient staff to maintain appropriate staffing levels or if unable to maintain adequate social distancing for health and safety. In the event of closure or reduction in operating hours, the Head Librarian or designee will maintain communication with staff, Library Board of Trustees, and the Town Manager.

In providing service safely and efficiently, the following are examples of actions that may be taken at the discretion of the Head Librarian or designee:

  • Increased health/safety measures for staff (e.g., face covering requirements, wearing of gloves, wiping down work areas, etc.);
  • Increased health/safety measures for patrons (e.g., face covering requirements, hand sanitizer use, limited number of patrons allowed in the building at one time, etc.);
  • Restricted access to areas in the library (e.g., closing floors or unmonitored areas for safety);
  • Social distancing practices in public areas;
  • Quarantining of library materials to reduce risk of surface transmission;
  • Reduction of open hours;
  • Cancellation of all programs, special events, and meeting room reservations;
  • Reallocation of employee responsibilities and shift/schedule changes to provide coverage during open hours;
  • Closure of the library.

Staffing

Minimum staffing level for a temporary period of time is defined as two healthy employees available to be present at the Library during all open hours with a maximum 8-hour workday and 40-hour workweek per employee. An inability to maintain this temporary minimal level or a necessity to maintain this temporary minimal level for more than two consecutive days will result in reduced hours or closing the library.

If the Library is open, employees are expected to report to work on time as scheduled, excluding any excused absences per the established Personnel policy. In the event of closure, employees shall be compensated for their regularly scheduled hours.

If the Library is closed or hours reduced, healthy employees may be assigned work-at-home tasks to be completed in their compensated hours. When appropriate, work tools (e.g., laptops, supplies, etc.) will be checked out to employees by the Head Librarian or designee for work-at-home assignments.

Communication

In the event of closure necessitated by pandemic, effective communication about any reduction in services or open hours must be announced in a timely manner. Library staff should follow the normal procedure used for any unexpected closure/program cancellation, which includes posting to WGME 13, WMTW 8, WCSH 6, and the library’s social media.

Prioritization of Services

In the case of reduced staffing or reduced hours of operation, the Head Librarian or designee will prioritize service-related tasks and assign the daily work plan to staff.

Addendum Regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Library Board of Trustees strongly encourages all Library staff and volunteers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Thomaston Public Library believes that involving volunteers in our operation will assist in carrying out our mission of being an active community resource center as well as our vision of providing a welcoming community living room by serving as an important link between the Library and the community. Volunteers help the community understand how the Library works, as well as its importance as a cultural, educational, and recreational resource, and they help expand the Library staff’s understanding of community needs and interests.

Library service is enhanced by volunteers supplementing and assisting the Library staff. Volunteers bring ability, talents, and time, allowing staff to provide enhanced services and embark upon special projects. Volunteers are welcome to help in all facets of the Library operations except in functions that would jeopardize patron confidentiality and their right to privacy.

Volunteer Benefits

As a volunteer, you will:

  • Learn new skills
  • Meet people and make friends
  • Gain experience which could be used on resumes for future jobs
  • Gain personal satisfaction
  • Help your community
  • Learn more about your library
  • Gain recognition for your services

An accountant or financial advisor can advise you whether there are travel expenses or other costs which you, as a volunteer, may be able to deduct from your taxes.

Work Schedules

We ask our volunteers to commit to work the hours agreed upon with the Head Librarian or supervisor. We are dependent on our volunteers to help us do many of the day-to-day tasks that are so important to the operation of the Library. It is important that once you agree to be a volunteer, we can rely on you being present.

Please tell your supervisor at least a week in advance of any vacations or planned absences. If you are ill or have an emergency, please notify the Library as soon as possible.

Training

The Library staff will provide the training for the job you have been assigned. There may be additional opportunities to learn new skills as you grow in your job, also, and we encourage you to take advantage of as many of these as you would like.

If you find that the volunteer job that you signed up for is not an enjoyable experience, please let us know. We value you as a volunteer and will do our best to find a role for you in the Library that is more satisfying for you.

Time Sheets

The Library likes to keep track of the number of hours our volunteers donate for the betterment of the Library. We share these numbers annually with our Board of Trustees and town officials. For us to keep accurate records, we ask our volunteers to complete the time sheet assigned to them each time they are in the Library to volunteer.

Volunteer Dress Code

The Library does not have a strict dress code for its employees and volunteers, but since we are a public service organization, it is important for all to remember that our clothing should be appropriate, neat, and tidy. We all should strive to make a good impression with the community we serve.

Questions

Your supervisor or the Head Librarian is available to answer your questions about the job you have been assigned or any other questions that you might have about the Library.

From time to time patrons may ask you questions as well.  Please feel free to answer directional questions such as the following:

  • Where is the bathroom?
  • Can you tell me where the children’s collection is located?
  • Where is your new fiction?

If you are volunteering at the circulation desk, please feel free to answer the telephone, but we ask that you do not answer technical questions. Please refer the patron to a staff member.

Confidentiality

Volunteers who work at the circulation desk or have access to patron information must do so in such a way as the patron’s privacy is protected. ALL transactions between Library patrons, staff, or volunteers are strictly confidential. Volunteers are required to uphold this policy. This includes any information about materials a patron has looked up, asked for, requested, or checked out, as well as reference questions asked by any Library patron. Maine statutes provide that regarding public libraries, information relating to the identity of a library patron relative to their use of books and other material at the library is confidential (Chapter 4-A, 27 M.R.S. Section 121).

Emergencies

If you or a patron are injured or if an emergency is noticed in the Library or at a Library program, please report it to your supervisor or another member of the staff as soon as possible.

General Policy

The Library provides computer services, including free access to the Internet, in accord with its goal to enrich the community by connecting people to the world of ideas, information, and imagination to support their work, education, personal growth, and enjoyment. These electronic resources and services meet the cultural, educational, informational, and recreational needs of the community.

Internet Use Disclaimers

The Internet is a global computing network that provides access to a wide range of educational, reference and recreational resources, many of which are not available in print. The Internet does not fall under the control or governance of any single agency, government, or organization, and therefore the Library can make no guarantees regarding the accuracy, content, nature, or quality of information obtained through the Internet. Further, the Library does not endorse viewpoints presented on the Internet.

In no event shall the Library have any liability for damages of any kind arising from its connection to the Internet. Users of the Library’s computers and Internet access, wireless internet access, including, in the case of minors (as defined by Maine law), their parents or guardians, agree to assume full liability (legal, financial, or otherwise) for actions.

A variety of destinations (links) and search tools are available on the Library’s public computers and the Library’s website. These links have been selected by Library staff as a service to help the user navigate the internet. Selections are made solely in accordance with expected future utility to Library users. Selection as a link implies no endorsement by the Library as to content of a web site, and users must be aware that content of external links may and will change without our knowledge.

Disclosures

Internet access in the Library allows access to ideas, information, images, and commentary beyond the scope of the Library’s collections, selection criteria, and collection development policy. Some of the Internet material may be controversial. Court decisions over the years have interpreted libraries to be a “limited public forum” and, as such, the Library may not discriminate against constitutionally protected content or viewpoints.

The exception to the “limited public forum” doctrine is the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Under CIPA it is not acceptable for a minor to receive any material through any website, Email, chat room or other direct electronic communication, if it is deemed harmful to minors. CIPA defines harmful as “any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction” that, with respect to minors, which:

  • taken as a whole, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion
  • depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual conduct, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of genitals
  • taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

To offer some safeguards for children, the Library provides filtered access for individuals using Library computers. A filter is third-party software that blocks access to certain websites. Parents and guardians should understand that filters limit, but cannot eliminate, a child’s exposure to potentially harmful or undesirable information. Therefore, it is a parent or guardian’s responsibility to monitor and control the internet usage of minor children. The Library will implement filters that endeavor to identify sites that would not comply with the provisions of CIPA but will not apply filters to generic word lists or lists of sites not relevant to CIPA.

The Library’s computers are also subject to access by law enforcement authorities, acting through federal or state law. The Library will cooperate in the prosecution of violations arising out of use of its computers for illegal purposes and activities.

Guidelines for Use

Therefore, Library users may not perform the following actions and Library staff shall intercede when these policies are violated.

Persons using Library-supplied Public Access Computers or wireless internet services may not:

  • Use these services in a way that violates local, state, or federal law. Illegal acts involving Library resources may be subject to prosecution by local, state, or federal officials. Electronic gambling via the Library’s computers is strictly prohibited by this policy.
  • Post, transmit, access, or display obscene and illegal m This includes sending, receiving, or displaying inappropriate materials, defined as text or graphics.
  • Use the services for illegal or criminal purpose.
  • Use the services to harass or defame others.
  • Violate copyright laws or software licensing agreem
  • Use sounds or visuals which may be disruptive to others.
  • Violate another Library user’s privacy.

Persons using Library-supplied Public Access Computers may not:

  • Attempt to change any pre-established system
  • Install or download any software onto the computer hard drive or BIOS.
  • Damage computer equipment or software.

Further Guidelines for Use

  • Communication services such as email, instant messaging, and social networking sites are only available as internet services. The Library does not provide accounts or storage for these services.
  • Patrons may save data to preformatted discs, or to their own flash drives. They may not save to the hard drives of Library com If a working copy of a document is left on a Library computer, there should be no expectation that that document or file will be available at a future session.
  • If a Library computer user finds a site that is inadvertently and inappropriately blocked by a filter or other technological impediment, the user may report this site to staff. Staff will endeavor to review this site and determine whether it is being actively filtered, and if so, whether it should be and whether to permit temporary or unlimited access.

Security

The Library endeavors to protect the privacy and confidentiality of Library users. Internet users should be advised, however, that because security is technically difficult to achieve, electronic transactions and files could become public.

 

Please note that the wireless access provided by the Library is non-secured and potentially subject to monitoring by third parties within range of the building and with the technical capability to do so.

Patrons must be responsible for protecting their privacy and the confidentiality of their information.

Enforcement

Enforcement of this policy will be done in accordance with the Library’s Patron Code of Conduct.

Registration Requirements

The Thomaston Public Library is a quasi-municipal public library. This means that people residing within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Thomaston Public Library pay taxes to partially support the Library. Those people who live or own property within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Thomaston Public Library need pay no additional fee to be eligible to receive their first Library card. Library cards are renewed every year without additional fees, provided the card holder continues to reside or own property within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Thomaston Public Library and is a patron in good standing. There is a fee of $1.00 to replace damaged, destroyed, lost, or stolen Library cards.

Individuals residing beyond the jurisdictional boundaries of the Thomaston Public Library and owning no property within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Thomaston Public Library, may purchase a non-resident card for the price of $15 per year.

Individuals residing within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Thomaston Public Library for six months or less each year are eligible to purchase a part-time resident Library card for $7.

Adults wishing to register for a Library card, renew an expired card, or replace a lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed card at the Thomaston Public Library must bring with them a photo ID and proof of address, such as a lease, mail, or utility bill that shows both their name and address, if their ID does not have their current address.

Children under the age of 16 must have a parent or guardian present to obtain a Library card. Children may use the proof of address provided by their parent. Children 16 and over may choose to provide their own proof of address or use that of their parent.

Eligibility to Borrow

Individuals presenting a valid Thomaston Public Library card are eligible to borrow materials from the Thomaston Public Library when the following conditions are met:

  • No materials which are more than one circulation period overdue on their card.
  • No outstanding charges in aggregate excess of $5.00 have accrued to their card.
  • No materials borrowed for them from another library are overdue in any amount.

The Library staff may not waive these regulations without the specific permission of the Head Librarian. However, the patron may request and receive a 24-hour hold on the item(s) they wish to check out to allow the patron to correct the situation which has resulted in loss of eligibility to borrow.

Length of Loans

The Thomaston Public Library circulates materials in a variety of formats including but not limited to books, audiobooks on CD, Kindle Fire tablets, DVDs, and Discovery Kits. The following terms of loan are applicable as indicated for materials owned by Thomaston Public Library:

                                                            Length of Loan                       # of Renewals

Books                                                        3 weeks                                         2

Audiobooks                                              3 weeks                                         2                     

Kindle Fire                                                3 weeks                                         2                     

DVDs (limit of 5 discs at 1 time)              1 week                                           2

Farnsworth Art Museum Passes               1 week                                           0

Discovery Kits                                          2 weeks                                         0

Due date reminders and overdue notices are sent on the following schedule automatically by the Library’s computer system for patrons who have an email address on file:

  1. Courtesy reminder due date is approaching: 2 days before due date
  2. 1st overdue notice: 5 days after due date
  3. 2nd overdue notice: 5 days after 1st overdue notice
  4. Bill notice for replacement cost: 10 days after 2nd overdue notice

For patrons who do not have a valid email address on file, they will receive a phone call in lieu of the 1st overdue notice, a reminder by postal mail in lieu of the 2nd overdue notice, and the bill notice for replacement cost by postal mail.

Though the Library will confirm a patron’s contact information, including email, phone, and mailing address, once per year, it is the ultimately the patron’s responsibility to provide correct information to the Library.

The Thomaston Public Library does not charge overdue fines; however, habitual failure to return materials on time impedes other patrons’ access and may result in the limitation or loss of borrowing privileges.

Interlibrary Loan

When patrons want material that is not available within the Thomaston Public Library, we ask other agencies to provide it. This is the process of interlibrary loan. Materials borrowed through interlibrary loan have a circulation period determined by the lending library or the shared library system they participate in, not the Thomaston Public Library. The Library is happy to borrow materials from other libraries for patrons but ask that patrons respect the date by which those materials must be returned to their home libraries. When a Thomaston Public Library patron is lax in returning materials borrowed through interlibrary loan, the Library can lose the privilege of borrowing materials in that way for any of its patrons. It is crucial that materials borrowed through interlibrary loan be returned in a timely manner. Habitual failure to do so may result in individual loss of the privilege to preserve the privilege for other Library patrons.

The Thomaston Public Library is part of a shared library system known as MILS, which is part of the larger consortium known as MaineCat. Libraries that are part of either of these systems make many of their materials readily available to borrow through interlibrary loan. Materials borrowed through these systems will typically have the following loan periods, though variances may occur, and the due date provided to the patron at checkout should be adhered to:

                                                            Length of Loan                       # of Renewals

MILS – All Material Types                    2 weeks                                   1 (2 weeks)

MaineCat – Print Material                      4 weeks                                   1 (2 weeks)             

MaineCat – A/V Material                       1 week                                     1 (1 week)

Lost and/or Damaged Materials

Materials borrowed via any mechanism are the responsibility of the Library patron. Replacement cost (not original purchase price) is the responsibility of any patron who borrows and loses any library material. In the case of children under the age of 18, it is the parent or legal guardian’s responsibility to pay for lost or damaged items.

Replacement Cost Guidelines:

  • Retail replacement cost of any item which is lost or damaged beyond repair and for which a current price can be found
  • Average replacement cost for any item which is lost or damaged beyond repair and for which a current price cannot be found
  • Materials borrowed through interlibrary loan which are lost or damaged are charged to the patron according to the bill provided by the lending agency

If the material belongs to Thomaston Public Library and was not obtained through interlibrary loan, any replacement costs charged to the patron’s account will be waived if the material is returned to the Library in good condition.

If the material was obtained for the patron through interlibrary loan and the patron does not either return the material or pay the replacement cost as billed by the lending library within one month of a bill notice being sent, the Thomaston Public Library will pay the bill on the patron’s behalf and the patron’s borrowing privileges will be revoked.

Holds

Patrons may reserve materials which are not immediately available for patron use but are in the collection of the Thomaston Public Library or available for interlibrary loan. When the reserved materials are available to the patron who has placed the reserve, the Library will notify the patron via email or phone. The specific title of the material will not be stated to anyone other than the Library patron who placed the reserve. If the patron is not available by phone, a message will be left. The date of the message will be noted and the material will be held for the patron for a period of one week. If additional patrons are waiting for the material, the next patron on the list will be called and notified of the availability of the item, and the same procedure will be followed. If no additional patrons are waiting for the material, the material will be placed back into general circulation. In no circumstance will the Library leave more than one message regarding a hold on a specific item. Relay of the message to the appropriate person in the household, and prompt retrieval of the material, are the responsibilities of the patron.

Confidentiality of Records

The Thomaston Public Library abides by Maine Statute Title 27, Chapter 4A, section 121 Confidentiality of Library Records which states that the records of patron transactions and the identity of registered Library patrons is confidential material. The Thomaston Public Library does not make available the records of patron transactions to any party except in compliance with the law. The Thomaston Public Library does not make available lists of registered Library patrons except in compliance with the law.

The Thomaston Public Library serves a diverse public with unique individual needs and levels of ability to conduct research independently. At times of peak activity within the Library, it is mandatory that rules for providing reference assistance be established.

The Board of Trustees and Head Librarian of Thomaston Public Library encourage staff of all levels to pursue continuing education opportunities which will enable them to better meet the needs of the Library’s patrons. All staff members receive in-house training regarding appropriate responses to patron questions, including reference questions. This training includes reference interviewing techniques, reader’s advisory service, and bibliographic instruction. All staff members are taught to treat each question asked with respect insofar as the level of assistance required and the topic of the question. Names of users and the transactions that occur between users and the staff are confidential and not discussed outside a professional context.

Reference service and materials are available to all regardless of the age, race, sex, gender, social, or economic status of the patron. Reference service and materials are available during all hours the Library is open and are provided in response to all forms of inquiry including but not limited to patrons in the Library, the telephone, email, and TTY. The reference questions of patrons visiting the Library are given the highest priority. All requests for information receive an answer or status report within one working day. Questions that cannot be answered with onsite resources are referred to another agency. Such referrals are verified and/or mediated by Library staff.

In the instance of legal, medical, investment, or tax reference questions, the staff may only guide the patron to the material available on the topic of interest. The staff may not evaluate or interpret the information provided nor may the staff define the meaning of terms, offer investment advice, select income tax forms, or serve as a surrogate for a professional in any of the fields listed above. If all materials within the Library are beyond the understanding of the patron, the patron will be advised to consult with their professional from the above listed fields for additional information or advice.

Reference materials regardless of format may not be removed from the Library.

Telephone Reference Service

The Library provides telephone reference service during the hours of Library operation. Priority attention is given to patrons who are in the building and needing assistance. If possible, all information inquiries are handled on a first come-first served basis. If the Library staff cannot provide immediate help, patrons wanting service will be contacted as soon as possible.

Photocopying, Faxing, Scanning, and Printing

Copyright laws are to be followed by all patrons making photocopies, faxing, scanning, and printing. The Library has no responsibility for personal violations of copyright law.

Fees are posted in the library for the following services:

  • Copies: If enlargement or reduction is required by the patron, the per page fee applies to each step in that process. Enlargement and reduction are difficult to get right and may take several pages.
  • Scan to an email or a flash drive
  • Fax (transmission only): Faxes are sent only within the continental United States. Thomaston Public Library is not able to receive faxes.
  • Computer printouts: Applies to all material printed by Library printers including, but not limited to, Internet downloads, CD product information, personal work, and graphics.

 

Please note that the Library is only able to accept payment in cash or local check. It is the responsibility of the patron to check the printer settings and the print preview to ascertain whether they are printing in color and how many pages will be printed. The Library is not responsible for unwanted printouts or copies.

Purpose of the Collection

The purpose of the Thomaston Public Library materials collection is to provide resources to assist individuals in their pursuit of educational objectives, intellectual and emotional growth, the enjoyment of leisure time and practical solutions to daily problems. The Library is responsible to its potential constituency to announce this purpose statement, to evaluate and alter it as the community changes and to increase the opportunity for all potential users of its resources to achieve their purposes through the Library.

The Library keeps the collection vital and useful by retaining or replacing essential materials, and by removing, on a systematic and continuous basis, those works that are worn, outdated, of little historical significance, or no longer in demand. Materials that are removed from the Library collection may or may not be made available for public purchase at book sales.

The Thomaston Public Library endeavors to build a collection representing varying points of view. The choice of Library materials by users is an individual matter. Responsibility for the reading materials of children and adolescents rests with their parents or legal guardians. While a person may reject materials for themselves or their children, they cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to the materials by others. The Library supports intellectual freedom and has adopted the following statements as policy: ALA Freedom to Read Statement, ALA Library Bill of Rights, and the “Freedom to View” statement of the American Film and Video Association.

Requests for reconsideration of Library resources may be made only by registered patrons, and shall be made in writing and given to the Head Librarian for a written response. Appeals are directed to the Board for the final decision.

The Purpose Statement assumes specific definitions for the term "Resources" and for the four categories of activity to which these resources are directed. The term "Resource" includes:

  • Print and non-print materials available within the Thomaston Public Library.
  • Electronic database sources.
  • Resources in other libraries or locations to which the Library may achieve access through interlibrary loan or a similar resource sharing process.

These resources respond to four categories of activity:

  • Resources for Education
    • Materials that supplement the formal curriculum of primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools.
    • Materials that support self-education pursued apart from a structured or formal program.
  • Resources for Emotional and Intellectual Growth
    • Materials that satisfy a personal need and relate to self-directed attempts at personal understanding and personal growth. The acquisition of these materials represents a commitment to the improvement of the quality of life of the individual.
  • Resources that Enhance the Enjoyment of Leisure Time
    • Materials purchased as a source of pleasure and fun for the user. These materials are not purchased as goal-oriented items, and therefore acquisitions decisions may rest more heavily upon the potential pleasure to be derived by the user than the critical appraisal of the materials.
  • Resources that Assist in the Practical Solution of Daily Problems
    • Materials that empower the individual to live more independently.
    • Materials generally directed at the solution of short-term problems.
    • Materials that help individuals save money, improve health, save time, etc.

Definition of Patron Needs to be Addressed by the Library

The Library acknowledges that each person has information needs that are important to that individual. It also recognizes that it has limited financial resources to respond to these needs. The Library has a responsibility to use its funds in ways that are advantageous to the largest number of its constituents. While the Library's materials collection will not deny any need consistent with its mission, the Library will nevertheless develop its collections with the recognition that it can meet certain needs more effectively and efficiently than other needs. It is cognizant of the availability of complementary information-giving institutions in the region and has examined the collections of other public and academic libraries in the area.

Selection Responsibility

The responsibility for book selection rests with the Library, operating within the framework of the policies enunciated herein, and adhering to generally accepted professional practices.

Copyright Restrictions

The copyright laws of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) govern the reproduction, distribution, adaptation, public performance, and public display of protected material.

Under certain conditions, public libraries are authorized to lend, lease, or rent copies of computer programs and videotapes to patrons for nonprofit purposes. Any person who makes an unauthorized copy or adaptation of a computer program or videotape or redistributes the loaned copy or publicly performs or displays the computer program or videotape, except as permitted by Title 17 of the United States Code, may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to fulfill a loan request if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the request would likely lead to violation of the copyright law.

Materials Selection

Selection is the decision to add, retain or delete material as part of the Library's resource collection. All materials, whether purchased by the Library or donated to it, are evaluated in accordance with these guidelines. Each item is evaluated on its significance as an entire work rather than upon the merit of individual parts. Selection decisions may be made upon one or a combination of guidelines as applicable to the item in question. Guidelines used by the Thomaston Public Library to evaluate materials to be selected for its collection include:

  • The needs of the community.
  • The overall balance of the collection.
  • The spirit of service and the philosophy of the Library.
  • The availability of material from other sources.
  • Budgetary limitations.
  • Suitability of the format of the item for Library use.
  • Relation to existing collection and other material on the subject.
  • Reputation or significance of the author.
  • Reviews in professional literature or patron request.
  • Accuracy of the item.
  • Appearance in standard bibliographies and indexes
  • In-print availability.
  • Literary merit.
  • Locally produced or authored material.
  • Price.
  • Suitability of reading level, interest level and treatment of subject to the age of the intended audience.
  • Use of the material locally as assigned reading, viewing, or listening.

Selection Tools

Because it is impossible for librarians to examine all items being considered for purchase, they depend on reliable selection aids. The librarians regularly depend on the reviews found in standard sources. Other selection aids, such as “Notable Book” lists chosen by the American Library Association, National Book Awards lists, Pulitzer Prize lists, and published lists of bestsellers may also be used as required.

Non-Book Materials

The criteria for and the methods of selection of non-book materials are the same as for books.

Non-book items purchased by the Library for in-house use or for circulation may include films or television series on DVD, pamphlets, study prints, art prints, computer software, microfilm, CDs, recordings of books on CD, games, toys, puzzles, and puppets.

The acquisition of a variety of non-book materials is under constant evaluation and is subject to change. Cost of items, budget, use, and availability of new items are the determining factors in selection.

Collection Maintenance

Duplicate Copies

The number of copies purchased varies with the expected use of any item. As extensive use for individual titles is demonstrated, duplication to meet the demand may be implemented.

Weeding

To maintain the best possible collection of materials, a continual weeding process takes place. Items are discarded if they are outdated, if they no longer circulate, if there are more duplicate copies than needed, or if they are in poor physical condition.

Items discarded are plainly marked and may be donated to the Friends of the Library for sale or made available to the public free of charge.

Disposal of Surplus Library Material

Library property (i.e., print and non-print materials, equipment, supplies, or any personal property) which in the judgment of the Head Librarian is no longer necessary or useful for Library purposes, may be disposed of in the following manner:

  • Books and non-print materials from the Library's collection or gift materials may be discarded, sold, or, upon the approval of the Head Librarian, be given to local philanthropic, educational, cultural, government or other not-for-profit organizations.
  • Any other personal property having an individual current value of less than $100 may, at the discretion of the Head Librarian, be discarded, turned in on new equipment or made available for sale in accordance with the policies of the Library's governing body.
  • No favoritism shall be shown to Library employees, members of the Library Board of Trustees or members of their immediate families who make bids on or purchase any Library item declared surplus.

Revision of Selection Policy

Because the needs of the community change, this materials selection policy is revised as needed and/or is reviewed at least every five years.

Patron Requests

The Library welcomes patron interest in the collection and will seriously consider all requests that specific materials be acquired. The Library is under no obligation to fill any request if not deemed suitable to the collection. Patron requests will be reviewed using the materials selection criteria listed previously in this document.

Any patron who would like to request a specific item for purchase should fill out a Suggested for Purchase Form (see attachments).

Request for Reconsideration of Materials

The Thomaston Public Library subscribes to the provisions of the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement as adopted by the American Library Association. These documents are considered a part of this policy. All individuals have the right to choose which Library materials they will use. However, no one has the right to restrict the freedom of others to read whatever they wish. No book or other material in question is automatically removed from the collection because of an objection to it.

The procedure for handling complaints regarding Library materials is as follows:

Upon receiving a complaint regarding a Library resource, the Library employee shall try to resolve

the issue informally:

  1. The Library employee shall explain to the questioner the Library’s selection procedure, criteria, and qualifications of those persons selecting the resource.
  2. The Library employee shall explain the particular place the questioned resource occupies in the Library collection, its intended value, or shall refer the party to someone who can identify and explain the value of the resource.
  3. If the questioner wishes to file a formal challenge, a Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources Form shall be offered to the party concerned.

Request for Formal Reconsideration

  1. The Library will keep on hand and make available the Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources Form. All formal objections to Library resources must be made on this form.
  2. The Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources form shall be signed by the questioner and filed with the Head Librarian or Assistant Head Librarian.
  3. The Head Librarian or Assistant Head Librarian will examine the challenged resource, determine professional acceptance by reading critical reviews of the resource when possible, consider the intended use of the resource and its appropriateness, and decide whether the resource should be kept in the collection or discarded. They will respond to the questioner in writing to inform them of their decision.
  4. If the questioner chooses, they may appeal the decision by submitting the Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources to the Library Board of Trustees.

Appeal to Library Board of Trustees

Upon receipt of a request for formal reconsideration of a Library resource, the Library Board of Trustees shall:

  1. Examine the challenged resource.
  2. Review the response from the Head Librarian or Assistant Head Librarian to the original Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources.
  3. Discuss the challenged resource in the context of the Library’s Collection Development Policy.
  4. Discuss the challenged item with the individual questioner when appropriate.
  5. Prepare a written report.
  6. The written report shall be retained by the Head Librarian, with copies forwarded to the Library Board of Trustees, the Library staff, and the questioner.
  7. Written reports, once filed, are confidential and available for examination by trustees and Library staff only.
  8. The decision of the Library Board of Trustees is binding.

The Thomaston Public Library is grateful for gifts, and its collection has been enriched by donations of materials as well as by contributions. Through donors, the Library has been able to acquire materials which could not have been purchased otherwise. The Library staff can supply, upon request, a list of needed materials for consideration by the donor.

Donation of Books and Audiovisual Materials

In accepting a gift of materials, the Library reserves the privilege of deciding whether items donated should be added to the collection. Out of the many books and other materials which citizens so generously give, a considerable proportion can be used. Some materials cannot be used because any Library material, though of value in itself, may be: (1) a duplicate of an item of which the Library already has a sufficient number; (2) outdated--interesting but not of sufficient present reference or circulating value to the Library; and/or (3) in poor condition--which would not justify the expense of processing it, i.e. cataloging and preparing it for circulation. The material will be judged by the same standards of selection as those applied to the purchase of new materials. The Thomaston Public Library accepts gift books with the understanding that books which are useful to the Library collection will be retained and other books disposed of in whatever manner the librarian deems best. The Library necessarily reserves the right to interfile gifts with other collections on the same subject, so that all collections are organized and classified according to Library standards for the best public service.

Donation of Art Objects and Other Types of Materials

Although such gifts are usually welcomed and valued, final decision on their acceptance rests with the Head Librarian and the Library Board of Trustees.

Use of Gifts

All gifts are accepted with the understanding that it may someday be necessary that they be sold or disposed of in the best interest of the Library. The Library cannot commit itself to perpetually housing a donation.

Restriction

No donation can be accepted unless it is given to the Library without restrictions unless the Library Board of Trustees has specifically adopted an agreement to do so. All gifts may be used, sold, or disposed of in the best interest of the Library. All donations are accepted only if, in the opinion of the Head Librarian and the Library Board of Trustees, they are in the best interests of the Library.

Form

A Gift Agreement Form must be signed by the donor and approved by the Head Librarian for unrestricted gifts and the Library Board of Trustees for restricted gifts.

Tax Statements for Material Gifts

The Library cannot appraise the value of a donation of materials or art. It will, however, issue the donor a letter acknowledging the donation. It is the donor's decision whether they will determine the value of the donation or utilize an independent appraiser. While material gifts to the Thomaston Public Library as a government entity if made for a public purpose are tax-deductible under section 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, the donor will have to consider their circumstances for the specific effect on their financial situation.

Monetary Donations

The Library welcomes cash contributions, gifts of real property, stocks, and bond, and it is suggested that these donations be made through the Friends of the Thomaston Public Library, which is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) whose mission is to support the Library. It is our custom to expend cash gifts on materials, equipment, or a project which is acceptable to the donor. Although it is unlikely, there may be an occasion in which the restrictions set by the donor make it impossible for the Library, through the Friends of the Thomaston Public Library, to accept the contribution. All donations are subject to the approval of the Friends of the Thomaston Public Library, with the support of the Head Librarian and the backing of the Library Board of Trustees.

Memorial or Honor Books

The Library welcomes monetary contributions specifically for book purchases in memorial to or in honor of named individuals, and again suggests that these donations be made through the Friends of the Thomaston Public Library. In order that the Library can properly honor the generosity, a special form to record the information is used and should be completed.

Recognition of Gifts

For memorial or honor books to the Library, the Library may place within the book the name of the donor, if desired. A letter explaining the gift will be sent to the family of the person honored. The donor will also receive an acknowledgement of this tax-deductible gift from the Friends of the Thomaston Public Library.

Tax Statements

While the gifts to the Friends of the Thomaston Public Library as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) qualify as tax-deductible, and a letter of acknowledgement will be issued, the donor will have to consider their circumstances for the specific effect on their financial situation.