Library Policies

General Policies

Equipment Use
VCR player and TV, projectors, screens, tape recorders, computers, and other equipment and furnishings owned by the Benton Public Library District may be used only on the Library premises under the supervision of the Library staff.

Smoking, Eating, Drinking
Smoking is not allowed in the library building.  Eating and drinking are permitted only in designated areas.

Shoes and shirts must be worn in the library.

Cell Phones
Cell phones must be turned off while in the library.  Outgoing cell phone calls may be made outside the building or in the entranceway lobby.
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Patron Registration and Library Card Usage

A borrower’s card will be issued without charge to an individual who is a resident of the Library District.  These cards are issued for a period of three years, and are renewable upon request as long as the cardholder continues to reside within the library district boundaries. Identification with proof of residency is required at the time of application, and for renewal of a library card.

A parent must sign library card applications for children under the age of 16 and are responsible for all items checked out by their children.

A library card will be issued free of charge to non-residents who own property within the library district upon presentation of a current tax bill and a picture ID.  This card will be for the exclusive use of the person named on the tax bill and will be valid for one year.

A business which pays library taxes on real estate in the library district is eligible for a free library card for one individual.   The person applying for this card must present a letter on company letterhead authorizing him as the recipient of the library card.  These cards will be valid for a period of one year.

A one-year borrower’s card will be issued, upon application and the payment of an $85.00 fee, to a person who lives outside the District. Other members of the same household will also be issued cards, upon application, without payment of an additional fee.

The Benton Public Library District will also provide reciprocal borrowing privileges to patrons from other libraries in the Illinois Heartland Library System.  A valid library card from the patron’s home library must be presented each time the patron checks out library material, and the patron must provide the library with his or her current address and phone number the first time the library card is used at the Benton Public Library.  Reciprocal card borrowers must request interlibrary loan material from their home library.
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Circulation Policy

Library Cards: Library cards must be presented when checking out materials.

Loan Period: Books, magazines, books on CD and most other library materials are loaned for a 2-week period. Reference and other non-circulating materials may not be loaned. DVDs circulate for 4 days.

Renewals: Books and other materials may be renewed twice, in person or by telephone, with the exception of items on reserve, which may not be renewed. Library card numbers are required for telephone renewal.

Number of items loaned: There is a fifteen item limit on the number of books, magazines, or other materials that may be borrowed on each visit.

DVD Circulation Regulations: The loan period for DVDs is four days with one renewal. Because of the limited collection available, each individual may check out only two DVDs at a time. DVDs will be checked out only to patrons 16 years of age or older. The overdue fine for DVDs is $1.00 per day per DVD. Patrons will be charged $25.00 or the replacement cost for lost DVDs overdue more than one month.

Reserve (Hold) List: Patrons may place their names on a reserve list for books or other items which are currently checked out. Patrons may not reserve more than five items at one time. After the user has been notified that the reserve item is in, the library will hold the item for seven days (Four days for DVDs).  Patrons using Illinois Heartland Library System Reciprocal Borrower Cards may not reserve books or other items.

Fines on Overdue Materials: A fine of $.10 per day per item will be charged for books, CDs, magazines, and materials other than DVDs, if they are returned within three months (one month for DVDs) of the overdue date. There will be no overdue fines for uncatalogued paperback books. Actual costs incurred, such as postage and certified letter charges, during the collection of overdue items may also be added to overdue charges.

Materials, which are more than three months overdue (one month for videos), must be replaced by the library to meet patron request, and therefore materials will be considered lost when three months overdue. A letter reiterating this policy will be sent to patrons when materials are one month overdue. If, however, an item is returned after three months and has not already been replaced, the library supervisor has the option to charge the following fees in lieu of the lost item fee: adult books-$6.00; juvenile books-$6.00; magazines-$6.00. No fine will exceed the cost of the item.

Suspension of Library Circulation Privileges: Circulation will be suspended for any patron holding overdue materials or for any patron who has over $1.00 in outstanding fines.

Responsibility For Fines: At the time of registration the patron accepts responsibility for all fines assessed by the library for overdue materials. If a patron reports an error regarding overdue fine assessment, the library staff will review the incident, and revise the assessment if a library error is found. However, in the absence of clear evidence of a library error the patron remains responsible for the fine. The library staff will provide receipts for returned books or paid fines upon patron request.

Lost and Damaged Materials: The following fee schedule will be applied for damaged and lost items:

*Damage suitable for in-house repair: $2.00

*Rebinding required: cost of rebinding

*Replacement required through loss or damage: Patron must play the replacement cost of the item or its equivalent.
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Reference Policy

The Benton Public Library District 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 most recent standards document, Serving Our Public: Standards for Illinois Public Libraries, provides the model for this reference policy.

The board of trustees and library director of Benton Public Library District 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, which occur between users and the staff, are confidential and not discussed outside a professional context.

Reference service and materials are available to all persons who reside within the jurisdictional boundaries of the library regardless of the age, race, sex, 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. 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, which 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.
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Photocopier and Microfilm Policies

Photocopier Policy
The Library District provides a photocopier for public use. The copier is provided as a convenience for researchers and other patrons who occasionally need a limited number of copies. It is not intended as an alternative to commercial printing services. Copies are available for $0.20 per copy. Double sided copies are $0.20 per side. Assistance with the copy machine is available.

A Copyright restriction notice will be posted on the copy equipment. The library is not responsible for any copyright infringement committed by individual patrons.

The Library Director or the Library Supervisor is authorized to make decisions concerning other aspects of photocopier use if necessary.

Microfilm Policy
The Library District provides equipment for viewing microfilm and microfiche materials. A driver’s license or identification card must be given to staff to use the library’s microfilm collection. A charge of $.50 shall be assessed per page of printing.
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Computer and Internet Policy

Computers are available on a first-come, first-serve basis for a total of 90 minutes per day to patrons using their Benton Public Library card.

Patrons who do not have a Benton Public Library card will be charged a $5 fee for each day (90 minute maximum) of Internet use.

No more than two people may work at one computer at the same time. No lounging, looking on, or socializing will be permitted around the computers.

The library does not censor or endorse the viewpoints found within information accessed through the Internet.

Children under the age of 16 must have parental permission, in writing, to use the Internet. The Benton Public Library assumes no responsibility of the parent or guardian to determine what is appropriate.

Children under the age of 16 must use the computer lab located in the children’s area, even if accompanied by a parent. A parent wishing to use a computer with their child’s assistance must also use the children’s computers

Printing from the computers costs $0.20 per page. Color printing costs $0.50 per page.

A filter has been installed on all public access terminals. This gives the library the flexibility to select Internet content using the same criteria applied as collection development guidelines for other materials.  A filtering device does not replace a parents/guardians responsibility to supervise what is appropriate content for minors’ to access over the Internet.  A filter is not always effective in blocking access to materials in violation of the library’s Internet policy.

Information on the Internet changes constantly and Internet users must be aware that not all of the information found on the Internet is current, accurate, or comprehensive.

Chat rooms and Instant Messaging are prohibited.

The library is not responsible for any illegal activity or commercial activity conducted while using the Internet or e-mail. Illegal acts involving the Library’s Internet Connection are subject to prosecution by local, state, or federal authorities.

In order not to intrude on other patrons’ enjoyment of the library, Internet users at the library must agree to refrain from displaying text or graphics that could be considered obscene.

The library staff may assist patrons in how to start the Internet browser, and other basic functions of our particular Internet system.   Staff will not provide any further instruction or perform searches for patrons.   The computer stations are intended for patrons with prior knowledge and some experience using the Internet.

Patrons with library fines will be restricted from using the computer until fines are paid in full.

The Benton Public Library is not responsible for any loss of data, damage, or liability that may occur from use of the library’s computers.

No software programs of any kind may be added to the computers by patrons.

No data can be downloaded or saved to the computer’s hard drive. You may download or save to your own diskette. Some computers will also allow you to save to a zip disc or CD. Diskettes can be purchased at the front desk of the library for $1.00.  Zip discs can be purchased for $10 each and CD-Rs for $2.00 each

Any violation of computer or Internet rules will result in suspension from computer use.  The first violation will result in suspension from computer use for one month. The second violation will result in suspension for one year. Reinstatement is not automatic. The Library Board must be petitioned for reinstatement of computer privileges after a one year suspension.
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WiFi User Agreement

The Benton Public Library offers free wireless Internet access to patrons using their laptop computers or other mobile devices.

The following conditions must be accepted before users may access the Internet:

The wireless internet access we offer is unfiltered.  By choosing to use this free wireless service you agree to abide by the Internet and Computer Use Policies which prohibit abusive or illegal activity while using the Library’s Internet Service.  These policies can be found in the Computer and Internet Policy above.

It is the responsibility of the user to understand these policies and his/her obligation to refrain from viewing inappropriate websites, spamming or any illegal activities.

Printing is not available over the WiFi network.

Wireless users should not transmit credit card information, passwords or any other sensitive personal information over the library’s wireless network as the library’s wireless network is not secure. Anti-virus and security protection are the responsibility of the patron.

Use of the wireless network is at your own risk and the Benton public Library is not responsible for any loss of data, or for theft or damage to personal equipment or software.

Library staff cannot provide technical assistance to patrons using the library’s wireless network. Library staff cannot configure your laptop or PCMCIA cards.

There is no guarantee that a wireless connection can be made or maintained.  This service is not to be used as a permanent connection.  The connection shall not be used for time-consuming commercial purposes.

The library reserves the right to terminate a wireless Internet session at any time.
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Conduct Policy

The Benton Public Library is dedicated to providing access to knowledge and information through reading, writing and quiet contemplation, and providing for patrons the right to use materials and services without being disturbed or impeded and providing patrons and employees with a secure and comfortable environment. The Public Library Act provides the Board of Library Trustees with the general power to carry out the spirit and intent of the Act in establishing and maintaining the Library and providing library services, and the specific power to “exclude from the use of the library any person who willfully violates an ordinance or regulation prescribed.”

The Board of Library Trustees of the Benton Public Library establishes its conduct ordinance as follows:

Section 1.

A patron who engages in any activity which materially disrupts the use of library facilities, collections or services by patrons or materially disrupts the ability of the staff to perform its duties shall cease such activity immediately upon request by library personnel.

Section 2.

In such instances involving minor patrons, identification will be requested and the incident may be reported to the parent or guardian.

Section 3.

If, following a request, the patron fails or refuses to comply, or responds to the request in an abusive fashion, he or she will be required to leave the library premises immediately for the balance of that calendar day. If he or she fails to leave, the police will be summoned.

Section 4.

Library personnel will record instances in which patrons are required to leave the library, in a ledger maintained by the Library for that purpose. Upon the second recorded instance in which a patron is required to leave the library premises within a thirty-day period, the Director shall bar the patron from use of library premises for a period of thirty days. Parents or guardians of minor patrons will be notified in writing after the first recorded instance in which a minor patron is required to leave the Library, and advised of the consequences of any further recorded instances.

Section 5.

Patrons/parents wishing to appeal such action may do so upon written request, within seven days of the recorded instance to the Board of Library Trustees.

Section 6.

In the event a patron barred from the use of the Library attempts entry to the Library during any such period of exclusion, the police will be summoned and informed of the prior action.

Section 7.

In the event a patron repeats such abusive conduct or disruptive behavior following such a period of exclusion, the Director shall report to the Board of Library Trustees such conduct, for further consideration by the board for appropriate action which may include longer term exclusion, or permanent exclusion, if such conduction continues to occur.

Section 8.

In the event a patron becomes physically or verbally abusive, brings a weapon into the library, or threatens the safety of the staff or of other patrons in any way, the police will be summoned, and that patron will be banned immediately from the library for a minimum of one year.

Section 9.

This policy shall take effect immediately upon enactment and approval according to law and be in full force and effect thereafter, and a copy shall be posted at the library within three days of enactment. The secretary shall maintain a certified copy in the official records of the Library available for public inspection.

Effective this 14th day of October, 1998.
Revised on September 13, 1999 and September 13, 2010.
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Unattended Children Policy

Parents are responsible for the behavior of their children while they are in the Library.

The Benton Public Library staff is committed to help children with activities related to the Library. However, Library staff cannot serve as baby-sitters, teachers or disciplinarians. Violations of the Library’s Conduct Policy are grounds for suspension of library privileges. Whenever advisable, the Library will notify the parent, or parents, of incidents involving an unattended child.

Children under the age of ten must be accompanied and directly supervised at all times by a parent or other responsible caregiver. When the safety of an unattended child is in doubt, or the parent or responsible caregiver cannot be located, or if the Library is closing, then the Library staff is authorized to call the police and stay with the child until the police arrive.

From time to time the Benton Public Library schedules or provides programs which are designed and suitable for attendance by children without parental supervision. Such program announcements will so indicate, and if no indication is included, then supervision is required. When so indicated, if the parent or caregiver intends to be absent, he or she must leave information at the circulation desk as to this or her whereabouts and, if possible, a phone number where he or she or a responsible adult can be contacted.

Children over the age of ten may use the Library unattended by an adult, subject to other Library rules and policies concerning behavior, conduct and demeanor.

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