Please note that policies and procedures related to COVID-19 are constantly evolving as circumstances change and guidance from the NYS Forward Guide for reopening is modified.
Contact the library director for recent modifications.
Collection Development Policy
The Hepburn Library of Lisbon’s collection development policy is developed and managed to meet the majority of the cultural, information, educational, and recreational needs of the library’s service area. As such, the library builds and maintains a patron-oriented collection by anticipating and responding to needs and expectations.
Collection decisions are made in conjunction with the strategic initiatives, especially the following:
- Positioning the library as the preferred partner for lifelong learning.
- Embracing diversity.
- Developing library services that incorporate both physical and virtual collections.
- Committing to excellence in service to improve effectiveness and remove barriers.
The American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom to View, and The Freedom to Read Statements have been endorsed by the Hepburn Library of Lisbon Board of Trustees and are integral parts of this policy.
The Hepburn Library of Lisbon Director, The Central Libraries Committee, and the North Country Library System share in the acquisitions process of collection development, including the choice of materials, vendors, and all other aspects.
- The Library Director is responsible for acquisitions for materials and services housed within the Hepburn Library of Lisbon, or owned exclusively by the Hepburn Library of Lisbon
- The Central Libraries Committee, under the direction of the North Country Library System is responsible for acquisitions of materials and services that are shared collaboratively by the system, and housed primarily at the two Central Libraries, Flower Memorial Library and Ogdensburg Public Library. All system libraries are encouraged to make suggestions as outlined in the Central Libraries’ Policies.
- All materials for digital collections owned and managed by the North Country Library System, for which the Hepburn Library of Lisbon pays an annual fee, are under the direction of the North Country Library System. All system libraries are encouraged to make suggestions to NCLS regarding possible titles for purchase.
Although materials are carefully selected, there can arise differences of opinion regarding suitable materials. Patrons requesting that material be withdrawn from or restricted within the collection may submit, in writing, a request for reconsideration of library material.
Collection Maintenance and Weeding
The library continually withdraws items from the collection, basing its decisions on a number of factors, including publishing date, frequency of circulation, community interest, and availability of newer or more valid materials. Items dealing with local history are an exception, as are certain classics, award-winning children’s books, and books belonging to a series. Fiction that was once popular but no longer in demand and non-fiction books that are no longer useful are withdrawn from the collection.
Books withdrawn from the collection may be used for programs such as the book sale, Little Free Library, or given to other local organizations such as schools, senior centers, or other community groups. When unsold or unused materials exceed storage capacity, they will be recycled if possible or disposed of at the Director’s discretion.
Consideration of New Material Formats for Inclusion
The process for including new material formats (e.g. online databases, eBooks, streaming media, games, apps) should be ongoing. Factors to consider in this decision include current demand, trends or growth in demand, and strengths and weaknesses of the format. Accessibility to patrons with special needs should also be considered when purchasing materials. Evaluating new material formats based on these criteria prepares the library to meet patron demands.
Criteria for Selection:
The primary considerations in the selection of materials are:
- Present and potential relevance to community needs
- Suitability of physical form for library use
- Suitability of subject and style for intended audience
- Cost of individual items relative to the overall budget
- Importance as a document of the times
- Relation to the existing collection and to other materials on the subject
- Attention by critics and reviewers
- Potential user appeal
- Requests by library patrons
Gifts and Donations
Accepting gifts and donations is an important way for the Hepburn Library of Lisbon to benefit from the generosity of the community it serves. Gifts and donations of materials are reviewed using the same criteria as purchases. The library reserves the right to dispose of any gifts that are given to the library. The library will determine how to best incorporate such materials into the existing collections. Materials not added to library collections may be used for programs such as the book sale, Little Free Library, or given to other local organizations such as schools, senior centers, or other community groups.
Funds may be given for the purpose of acquiring materials recommended by library staff as prescribed in this policy, or for purchase of specific items suggested by the donor. When the library receives a cash gift for the purchase of materials, the library staff must make the selection with the general selection principles set forth in this policy.
Suitable bookplates will be placed in or on gift items, at the donor’s request. By law, the library is not allowed to appraise the value of donated materials, though it will provide an acknowledgment of receipt of the items if requested by the donor.
Potential Problems or Challenges
The Library recognizes that some materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. Selection of materials will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the basis of the principles stated in this policy.
Responsibility for the viewing of library materials by children rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection of library materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may come into the possession of children.
Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents, and no library material will be sequestered except to protect it from damage or theft.
Responsibility for Selection
The ultimate responsibility for selection of library materials rests with the Library Director who operates within the framework of the policies determined by the Hepburn Library of Lisbon Board of Trustees.
Staff contributes to the development of patron-oriented collections by:
- Engaging in open, continuous two-way communication with library patrons and recognizing that individuals have different ways of expressing their needs based on age, language, economic status, culture, or other characteristics.
- Interacting with patrons with understanding, respect, and responsiveness.
- Handling all requests equitably.
- Working in partnership with one another to understand and respond to community needs.
- Understanding and responding to rapidly changing demographics, as well as societal and technological changes.
- Recognizing that materials of varying complexities and formats are necessary to satisfy diverse needs of library users.
- Balancing individual needs and broader community needs in determining the best allocation of collection budget for acquiring or providing access to materials and information.
- Seeking continuous improvement through ongoing measurement.
- Reviewing the collection on a regular basis to identify areas of community interest that may need to be strengthened.
The Role of Interlibrary Loan
Because of limited budget and space, the library cannot provide all materials that are requested. Therefore, interlibrary loan is used to obtain from other libraries those materials that are beyond the scope of this library’s collection.
In return for utilizing interlibrary loan to satisfy the needs of our patrons, the Hepburn Library of Lisbon agrees to lend its materials to other libraries through the North Country Library System, and when practical, through other networks.
Selecting Materials on Controversial Topics
A balanced collection attempts to represent all sides of controversial issues as far as availability of materials, space, and budget allow. Selection is based upon criteria stated in this policy. The race, religion, nationality, or political views of an author or creator; offensive language; depictions or descriptions of violence or sexually explicit activity; controversial content of an item; or endorsement or disapproval by an individual or group in the community does not cause an item automatically to be included or excluded from the library’s collection.
The Hepburn Library of Lisbon maintains a collection of local history items available for borrowing. This collection includes materials related to the Town of Lisbon, County of St. Lawrence, North Country Region, Adirondack Region, and New York State. Such items are designated as locally significant. Most of these items may be borrowed; a few are for use only within the library building.
The library building is also home to the Town of Lisbon’s historical archives which is managed by the Town Historian under the direction of the Town Supervisor.
Community Room Use Policy
- The community room is available to individuals or organized groups on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use, for the purpose of educational, civic, charitable, and social events. The granting of permission for use of the community room does not constitute endorsement by the Hepburn Library of Lisbon’s Board of Trustees or Staff.
- Library programming takes priority over all other events.
- Persons Patrons reserving the community room must age twenty-one or older, provide photo identification, and be in good standing with all libraries in the North Country Library System. All fines and charges must be paid in full, in cash, prior to reserving the community room. A library card is not required, but patron records will be reviewed to ensure all household members are in good standing.
- Requests for use of the community room are made directly to the circulation desk. Approval is at the discretion of the Library Director.
- All requests, signing of contract, and rendering of payment must be done during normal operating hours of the Library.
- Community Room Rental Fees:
- Single occasion events – $30.00 per event, to be paid at the time of application. The library does not accept credit or debit cards. All reservation requests are granted on a “first pay” basis and not finalized until the contract is signed and payment is rendered.
- Deposit for custodial services and building key – $50.00, to be paid within 72 prior to event, or at the time the key is borrowed.
- All other events – contact the Library Director for rates.
- Refreshments may be provided and served by the group. No alcoholic beverages are allowed on premises.
- No smoking or vaping is allowed in the building, on the grounds, in parked vehicles, or within 100 feet of any library door. This is regulated by New York State Law Public Health Law §1399-o, subdivision 6. The closest public smoking areas to the library are (1) directly across from the front entrance on the far shoulder of County Route 10, or (2) directly behind the library parking area on Church Street. Please note that there is no smoking on any Town of Lisbon property, which includes the Town Highway Department parking area.
- No animals other than service animals are allowed in the building without advance permission by the library director.
- No persons under the age of twenty-one shall not be allowed in library, unattended, without an adult age twenty-one or older.
- No open flames are allowed on the premises with the exception of small birthday-style candles and sterno cans used to maintain food temperature. Fireplaces are not functional and are not to be used.
- The noise level should be maintained such that library patrons are not disturbed.
- The door to the foyer shall be kept closed at all times, except for passage to the restroom.
- There is to be no decorating done near the lift, and no tables or other items set-up near the lift door or operating system. A clear pathway of at least 48 inches must be maintained from the entrance door to the lift. When the community room is to be used outside of Library operating hours, users shall make no attempt to enter the upstairs portion of the Library, storage rooms, or to operate the lift.
- In case of fire or other emergencies, all building occupants should be notified immediately to allow for evacuation of the building before calling 911 to report the emergency; the address of the building is 6899 County Route 10. After hours and/or weekends, renters should evacuate the building, call 911, and then notify library staff as indicated below.
- If there are any other problems or concerns, call the following people:
- Michelle McLagan, Library Director, at 315-854-3868 (text first, if no response, call)
- Malcolm Casselman, Library Assistant, at 315-393-8932 (if the Director cannot be reached)
- In the event of inclement weather, the Library may be open/closed at the discretion of the Library Director. Library closures (Monday through Friday) are posted on the Library’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LisbonHepburnLibrary. In the event of inclement weather on weekends or holidays, the parking lot will be cleared of snow at the discretion of the Town’s Highway Department. Renters should discuss earlier access to picking up the key when inclement weather is forecast, rather than risk the library being closed on the days prior to the event.
- Any group or individual that fails to comply with library policies may be denied access to the community room. The library is not responsible for the loss of any equipment, supplies, materials, clothing, or other items nor does the library assume any liability for groups or individuals using the library.
- Use of the room for illegal purpose or any purpose other than that stated at time of application is prohibited.
- The group representative or individual who signs the community room use agreement shall be responsible for any and all loss or damage to the facility. Criminal prosecution may be pursued when necessary.
- Following the event, renters are expected to: (1) fold up tables and chairs and return them neatly to their storage locations (table against the wall, all chairs neatly organized on the racks and covered); (2) clean kitchen (remove leftover food, wash, dry, and put away dishes/coffee pots, wipe out sink and wipe down counter tops); (3) sweep floor of debris (confetti, glitter, food crumbs) and mop up any spills; (4) empty trashcans if more than half-full and place bags inside door for later disposal; (5) return thermostat to 60 degrees; (6) turn out lights; (7) lock all doors; and (8)return key, if borrowed, on the next business day.
- Upon inspection following event, and return of the building key (if borrowed), the deposit will be refunded to the renter in the same manner it was made (cash, check). Failure to clean up, failure to protect library property, failure to return key on time, or complete loss of key, failure to keep building secure (ie, not locking door when building is unattended); failure to keep second floor secure (ie, allowing event attendees to climb over the security gate); and any other reason that requires library staff to be in attendance during the event may result in forfeiture of room deposit.
Liabilities Losses or Damages
The Renter undertakes to indemnify and hold harmless the Hepburn Library of Lisbon and the Town of Lisbon from any liabilities or damages the Hepburn Library of Lisbon and the Town of Lisbon may suffer as a result of claims, demands, costs or judgments against the Hepburn Library of Lisbon and the Town of Lisbon arising out of the use of Library/Town facilities by the Renter.
I further understand that I will be held financially responsible for any damages made to facilities, appliances, furniture, and any equipment, including the cost of repair for any damage to Library furnishings caused by the use of pens, paints, crayons, dyes, markers, tape/adhesive, or other materials.
I further understand that I will be held responsible for the behavior of all those in attendance at the function proposed above. I understand that the Director or Board of Trustees may cancel our use of the facility if I or my group fails to comply with the user agreement and the Community Room Use Policy.
This Indemnity Agreement shall extend from the date of this Agreement to and including the end of event and/or return of the building key.
Expense, Attorney Fees and Costs
If the Hepburn Library of Lisbon and/or the Town of Lisbon, in the enforcement of any part of this Indemnity Agreement, shall incur necessary expenses, or become obligated to pay attorney fees or Court costs, the Renter agrees to reimburse the Hepburn Library of Lisbon and/or the Town of Lisbon for such expenses, attorney fees and costs within ten (10) days after receiving notice from the Hepburn Library of Lisbon and/or Town of Lisbon of the incurrence of such expenses, costs, or obligations.
Digital Video Surveillance Policy
The Library employs video security cameras to ensure the physical security of the Library facility, staff and patrons.
Access to Digital Images
Recorded digital video images may contain personally identifiable information about an individual who has used any library service or borrowed any library materials, and will be accorded the same level of confidentiality and protection provided to library users by the Library’s Confidentiality Policy.
Only the Director is authorized to access the recorded digital video images in pursuit of incidents of criminal activity or violation of the Library Policies.
General Public Requesting Access to Security Camera Footage
Confidentiality/privacy issues prohibit the general public from viewing security camera footage. If a member of the general public wishes to obtain a copy of video footage they should make the request to the Library Director.
Law Enforcement Requesting Access to Security Camera Footage
Law enforcement requests for security camera footage or still photographs shall be given to the Library Director when a subpoena, warrant, or court order is issued pursuant to law. Before complying with any such requests, legal counsel may be consulted to determine the proper response.
In the event of a search warrant, which is executable immediately, the Library will comply with the search warrant and consult with the Library Board President and/or legal counsel.
Retention of Digital Images
The Library avoids creating unnecessary records, retaining records not needed for the fulfillment of the mission of the Library, as well as practices that could place personally identifiable information on public view.
Recorded digital video images are stored digitally and accessible only with the proper login credentials. Images are kept for a limited period of time and are deleted as new data is recorded.
Security Camera Locations
Reasonable efforts are made to safeguard the privacy of library patrons and employees. The video security cameras are positioned to record only those areas specified by the Director, and will complement other measures to maintain a safe and secure environment in compliance with Library policies. Regarding the placement and use of the digital recording cameras, staff and patron safety is the first priority; protection of library property is of secondary importance.
Cameras may be installed in locations where staff and customers would not have an expectation of privacy. Cameras will not be installed in areas where staff and public have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as restrooms; nor are they deliberately positioned to identify a person’s reading, viewing, or listening activities in the library.
Cameras are not installed nor will they be used for the purpose of routine staff performance evaluations.
The recording of audio is restricted under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and will not be used.
Use/Disclosure of Video Records
Video records and still photographs may be used by authorized individuals to identify those responsible for library policy violations, criminal activity on library property, or actions considered disruptive to normal library operations.
Video records and still records may be shared with authorized library employees or Trustees when appropriate to maintain a safe, secure and policy-compliant environment.
Under certain circumstances, individuals authorized under this policy may use a still photograph or selected portions of recorded data to request law enforcement review for assessing the security risk of a specific individual or for investigating a crime on library property.
The Hepburn Library of Lisbon receives many requests to display materials and post advertisements or brochures in the Library. Because display space is limited, the Library encourages the submission of materials which promote educational, cultural, civic, and community related activities only. Library functions and materials will have first priority.
NO items shall be placed in the Library building for display or distribution without the express permission of the Director, who will also decide the location of each accepted display.
This policy will be in support of the American Library Association Bill of Rights which states:
- “Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.” (Article I)
- “Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” (Article II)
- “Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.” (Article VI)
The following conditions apply to all displays, exhibits, advertisements, brochures or other informational material:
- Library information and sponsored displays are given priority in allocating display space.
- Flyers, advertisements, and brochures may be displayed for no longer than 90 days, and must be removed by the person making the request within two business days after the event or 90-day period, whichever comes first.
- Flyers, advertisements, and brochures left on display longer than the approved period will be removed by library staff and discarded.
- Items other than flyers, advertisements, and brochures should be removed at the agreed upon time, or they will be considered to have become library property and may be discarded by library staff without further notice.
- The Library assumes no responsibility for the preservation, protection, damage or theft of any item displayed or exhibited. All items displayed are done so at the owner’s risk.
- All items shall be submitted ready for exhibit. The library will not furnish any supplies for construction or display.
- Each item or display must provide contact information.
- The Director reserves the right to reject outright any display or item which is illegal, which may interfere with the normal operation of the library, or which does not comply with the general rules above. In all instances the Library administration reserves the right to refuse any item for display it considers in bad taste and/or of doubtful value.
Those who object to the content may request a reconsideration, similar to challenging any library resource. Library staff will not censor or remove materials from exhibits, displays, or areas designated for the distribution of information because someone may disagree with the content or with the identity, beliefs, or affiliations of the sponsors, without proper review under the Reconsideration Policy.
The utilization of exhibit space by any group or individual shall not imply endorsement or approval by the library.
Emergency and Disaster Policy
Carbon Monoxide (CO2) and Fire Alarms
In the event that a carbon monoxide or fire alarm sounds, employees are to immediately evacuate the building and call 911. Employees should monitor all entrances to the building to ensure no unauthorized personnel enter the building.
Emergency Closure and Pandemic Response Plan
In the event that the library is faced with emergency closure due to extended inclement weather or power outages (more than three business days), acts of war, a pandemic, a disaster, or similar situation, the library shall proceed through three levels prior to closure:
Level 1 – Precautionary Measures
In the event of anticipated non-health related issues, the library will endeavor to communicate with library users prior to moving to Level 2.
In the event of increased communicable illnesses, the library will add precautionary measures to include:
- Adding additional cleaning supplies.
- Performing additional routine cleaning of high touch points.
- Promoting healthy habits among employees and patrons.
- Creating social distancing standards for computer users and program users, and for interaction with staff and volunteers.
- Reducing contact with difficult to clean items or areas. For example: removing toys, games, and puzzles from the children’s room; redirecting returned items to an isolated location for cleaning or quarantine; minimizing contact between patrons and staff at the circulation desk by scanning library cards and materials in patron hands rather than passing them back and forth with staff.
Level 2 – Modified or Reduction in Operating Hours or Services
The library will continue with Level 1 Precautionary Measures, and as necessary:
- Reduce or suspend library programming.
- Reduce or suspend community room use.
- Reduce, modify, or suspend services.
- Reduce hours of operation.
- Reduce or suspend services that rely on the North Country Library System such as interlibrary loans, hold processing, and delivery between member libraries.
Level 3 – Closure
The library will completely close the building to the public and suspend all in-person programs, services, and events. Reasons may include, but are not limited to:
- Safety of employees or patrons is at risk.
- Security of the building is at risk.
- Public visitation is too low to warrant keeping the building open and fully staffed.
- Employees are too ill to work, have self-quarantined, or are under mandatory quarantine by health officials.
- Employees are under a stay-at-home order by government agencies.
- Recommendations by recognized library organizations such as the New York Library Association (NYLA) and/or the American Library Association (ALA).
- Recommendations or mandates by local, county, state, or federal agencies.
Working From a Remote Location During an Emergency Closure
Some emergency circumstances allow for some, or all, staff to work remotely, whether from home or another approved location. Working remotely allows for the library to maintain a connection to the community and also allows for a continuation of work flow for projects, programs, services, continuing education, and other tasks that do not directly involve the public through in-person or face-to-face contact.
Remote Meetings and Open Meetings Law
Some emergency circumstances allow for remote meetings for the purpose of conducting library business, whether in the form of a regular library board meeting or an emergency meeting. When allowed by State Executive Order, or through Open Meetings Law, the library shall endeavor to conduct business in a safe and secure environment via remote access technology (ie, Zoom or other platform) while adhering to existing or modified NYS guidelines.
Resuming Partial or Full Service Following an Emergency Closure
The library will resume regular operations on a partial or full basis as soon as reasonably possible, depending on recommendations by government officials, library trustees, and other recognized organizations.
In the event of an extended closure, a partial re-opening may be warranted to allow the library to resume some services while still mitigating other problems or issues.
In some cases, re-opening may be dictated in part by the accessibility of supplies – for example, cleanup after a flood, fire, or natural disaster. In the case of a public health emergency or pandemic, the availability of disinfecting supplies and personal protective equipment (gloves, masks, or other protection) may dictate how quickly the library can proceed from one level to the next.
For a public health emergency or pandemic response, staff shall maintain social distance (one person per workspace) and clean high-touch areas on a frequent basis and between users until public health officials recommend or permit otherwise.
In all cases, the health, wellness, and safety of library employees, library patrons, and the greater community must be balanced with the programs and services offered by the library.
General guidelines include those below. Specific guidelines as mandated or recommended by state, county, or local agencies will be implemented on an as-needed basis until normal library operations are resumed. Such policies shall be found in the Appendix.
Level 1 – Closure
- Library service hours may be limited or modified as needed, and as allowed by state minimum standards.
- Library building is closed to the public.
- Some staff work in the building on modified schedules, as allowed.
- Staff are responsive to telephone calls, emails, and messages on social media.
- Mail is opened and processed.
- Book drop is emptied and cleaned as needed.
- Financial responsibilities are fulfilled – payroll and bills are processed on schedule.
- Custodial services are performed.
- Book sale donations suspended.
- Non-emergency building maintenance projects by outside contractors may be worked on, as allowed.
Level 2 – Closure
- Library service hours may be limited or modified as needed, and as allowed by state minimum standards.
- Library building is closed to the public.
- Some or all staff work in the building on regular or modified schedules.
- Collection development work resumes if previously suspended – materials ordered, processed, cataloged, and shelved.
- Collection maintenance activities such as shelf-reading, weeding, inventory, and reconfiguration of work or public spaces may be done.
- Work performed at home is transferred back to the library and work routines are restored.
- The library is readied for the next phase (or phases).
- If health or safety is not a concern, volunteers with specific skills may be utilized to help facilitate the transition.
- Staff shall maintain social distancing, when appropriate, and increase sanitization between shifts.
Level 3 – Partial reopening
- Library service hours may be limited or modified as needed, and as allowed by state minimum standards.
- Library building is closed to the public or limited to a designated area inside of the building (ie lobby).
- Some or all staff work in the building on regular or modified schedules.
- Some public services are restored outside of the building or in a designated area inside the building which may include a partial implementation of circulation services through no-contact pick-up of library materials.
- Restoration of interlibrary loan (dependent on the North Country Library System).
Level 4 – Partial reopening
- Library building is open but public access is limited to a designated area(s) inside of the building.
- Some or all staff work in the building on regular or modified schedules.
- Limited technology services such as printing or faxing may resume through remote methods.
Level 5 – Partial reopening
- Library is open to the public with regular hours of operation.
- Access to areas may be restricted based on best practices.
- Library programs and services are provided on a limited schedule.
- Regularly scheduled community organizations may be allowed to resume meeting in the community room on a limited basis, as allowed by law or health department guidelines.
- Reservations for private community room activities may be taken when a date for Stage 6 implementation is confirmed.
- For a pandemic response, social distancing and sanitary accommodations are in place to include:
- Moving public seating and computers 6-feet apart.
- Limiting the number of people allowed in each area (or the building) at the same time.
- Limiting computer use (or scheduling computers by appointment) to allow for adequate sanitation between users.
- Closing some areas to the public to reduce sanitation (ie, staff will retrieve materials upon request for patrons).
- Reducing contact with contaminated materials by using a designated area for returns prior to quarantining or cleaning.
- Scanning library cards and materials while in patron hands rather than passing them to staff.
Level 6 – Open
- Library is open to the public for regular hours of operation.
- All business is conducted as usual.
- All library programs and services are provided as normal.
- Community room reservations by the public are restored.
- All volunteers may resume community service hours.
- Book sale donations will be accepted.
In the event that a Level 2 or Level 3 Closure is enacted, the library will adjust policies regarding loans to forgive overdue fines, extend due dates, and/or increase hold and checkout limits in order to provide as much continued library service as is reasonable. The Director will communicate board-approved modifications to the North Country Library System.
In the event that a Level 2 or Level 3 Closure is enacted, the library will cancel in-person programs, community room reservations, and enact emergency policy modifications as is reasonable as a result of the closure. The Director will notify program attendees and coordinators.
As the library moves between Levels of Partial or Full Service Reopening, the library will phase in services and programs with guidance from local, county, and state officials, and with guidance from the North Country Library System.
Changes in status will be communicated to the community via signage, social media, and news outlets.
The library Director shall maintain regular contact with staff and trustees for the duration of the emergency.
The library will cooperate with authorities to the extent that patron and employee confidentiality is maintained and upheld within the law.
Fire Extinguishers/Exit Floor Plan
Employees should familiarize themselves with the placement of the fire extinguishers as well as emergency exits. There are floor plans posted throughout the building highlighting these designated areas.
Health and Safety Equipment
The library will provide personal protective equipment (PPE) as recommended by law and as each situation warrants, and to the extent possible. This may include gloves, masks, goggles, hearing protection, and/or other appropriate health and safety equipment.
Employees must wear appropriate health and safety equipment according to library policy, when required by health and safety officials, or when mandated by local, state, or federal regulations or laws.
A written incident report shall be completed when an emergency involves the health or safety of a library patron or employee.
In the event of an infectious disease outbreak, epidemic, or pandemic, the library will follow all recommendations as provided by local, county, state, and federal agencies including:
Screening and testing of employees and essential visitors using recommended procedures from the health department or responsible agency. The library is prohibited from keeping records of employee health data. (e.g. temperature data). When an employee or essential visitor screens positive for an infectious disease, the library will follow recommended procedures from the health department or responsible agency to implement social distancing, increased hand hygiene and sanitizing, or send the employee home to contact a healthcare provider for further assessment and testing.
The library will not mandate that patrons complete a health screen or provide contact information but may encourage patrons to do so. The library will provide an option for patrons to provide contact information so they can be logged and contacted for contact tracing, if necessary.
Medical or Health Emergencies
In the event of a health or medical emergency, employees are to immediately call 911. The library maintains a small first aid kit and NARCAN kit at the circulation desk.
Minimizing Accident Risk
Minimizing accidents is a collaborative effort between patrons and employees by ensuring that:
- Slip and fall incidents are minimized by keeping floors clean, dry, and free of debris.
- Children’s toys remain in the children’s room and away from the main traffic pathways and stairwell.
- Children’s books and toys are put away after use; no books or toys should be left scattered around the children’s room.
- Spills or wet floors are marked with caution signs.
- Extension cords are taped down or clearly marked.
- Heavy or awkward objects are lifted and moved with the assistance of another person, a hand-truck or cart.
If an employee is working alone at the library and identifies an unauthorized and suspicious individual or vehicle in the parking lot or on the grounds, they are to call the Sheriff’s Department at (315) 379-2222 and ask for the patrol division. The employee is to provide a description of the vehicle or individual(s) involved.
Employees wishing to leave their personal vehicles in the parking lot when the library is closed must receive approval from the Director.
The Hepburn Library of Lisbon is committed to responsible and accurate record keeping of all financial data.
The library Board of Trustees is authorized by the New York State Education Department to spend its annual budget allocation such that the library is operating to meet state minimum standards and achieve its mission to the community. The Board is responsible to ensure that public funds, donations, and bequests are handled with the utmost of care.
Access to Accounts
The library board appoints two persons to act on behalf of the library board with regards to banking and investments: a Treasurer and an alternate.
The library maintains a number of bank accounts designed to keep donations and bequests separate from taxpayer funds. Taxpayer funds are generally used for the day-to-day operations and expenses of the library while donations and bequests are often restricted to the wishes of the donor.
The library board has approved an annual allocation of petty cash in the amount of $100 at the start of each year. That amount is balanced and closed at the end of the fiscal year. Petty cash shall be handled as follows:
- The petty cash shall be divided at the start of the year into two amounts: $35 to be kept in the cash drawer and $65 to be kept in storage at another location in the building.
- Payments for community room rentals, incidental expenses, overdue fines, and fees for lost/damaged materials shall be collected as cash, money order, or check. The library does not accept credit or debit cards within the library. The North Country Library System does offer online payments, and those funds are collected by NCLS and distributed to member libraries annually by electronic funds transfer.
The library does not accept Canadian funds.
- Payments for overdue fines and lost materials shall be entered into Workflows as a credit to the patron’s library card.
- Paper Receipts are issued at the patron’s request.
- Petty cash is generally not used by staff to make purchases. All purchases should be paid by staff personal funds and reimbursed via a voucher. Emergency expenditures from petty cash must be approved by the Director and appropriate documentation (receipts, etc.) submitted.
- On or about the first of each month, two library staff members shall count the petty cash and complete a Petty Cash Reconciliation Form. A copy of the form is placed with the money in an envelope to go to the bank. The original form is to be signed by both staff members, and then signed by the Treasurer (or alternate) when possession is taken. The original form with signatures is kept on file at the library and reconciled against the deposit slip and bank statement.
Payment of Invoices
Under the authority of the library board, the Treasurer is authorized to make recurring payments for products and services when presented with a voucher, invoice, bill, or receipt.
Non-emergency expenses that are not anticipated as part of the annual budget generally require pre-authorization by the board.
The Hepburn Library of Lisbon Board of Trustees has adopted a purchasing policy that complies with State, Federal, and Local laws.
The Director is responsible for seeing that employees comply with this policy. Employees involved with making purchases should be familiar with this policy. All purchasing must be done through the Director.
All purchases, when possible, shall be made using approved library accounts with approved library vendors. When necessary, staff may use personal funds to make library purchases.
Reimbursement of Expenses
On occasion, staff or trustees must use personal funds on behalf of the library. Reimbursement of expenses is done as follows:
- All requests for reimbursement must be on a written voucher as supplied by the Director.
- The voucher must include the date, a description, and amount for each line item.
- Documentation for purchases must include the original invoice, bill, or receipt.
- Mileage for travel related to library business is reimbursed at the current year’s rate as established by the Internal Revenue Service. Mileage should closely match, and may be verified with, an internet mapping source such as Google Maps or MapQuest.
- The Director shall submit for payment all staff and trustee vouchers with the exception of his/her own. Vouchers and expenses for the Director must be reviewed and approved by a trustee other than the Treasurer.
- The Treasurer shall not write checks to him/herself. All vouchers for the Treasurer shall be paid by the alternate.
Responsibilities of the Director
Under the authority of the library board, the Director is authorized to spend the annual budget allocation to operate the library on a day-to-day basis. The Director is responsible for:
- Submitting payroll expenses to an approved payroll company on a bi-weekly basis to ensure that employees are paid on the approved schedule as outlined in the Employee Handbook.
- Ensuring all bills and invoices are accurate when compared to orders placed, packing slips received, and anticipated costs.
- Preparing vouchers, including payment envelopes and postage, for the Treasurer to review.
- Maintaining the annual budget spreadsheet to include all income and expenses as they relate specifically to the fields outlined in the financial section of the New York State Annual Library Report, and collaborate with the Treasurer to ensure the annual report is complete and without error.
- Collaborating as necessary with the Treasurer to ensure the annual audit in January is complete and accurate.
Responsibilities of the Treasurer
The Treasurer is responsible for:
- Ensuring monthly deposits are made in a timely manner.
- Reviewing debits by the payroll company to ensure that salaries and hourly wages accurately reflect the hours worked by employees.
- Reviewing and paying all expenses when presented with a voucher and either an invoice, bill, or receipt.
- Recording all debits, credits, and running balances in the check register.
- Setting up and monitoring any direct deposits.
- Setting up and monitoring any electronic withdrawals.
- Reconciling accounts on a monthly basis to printed bank statements.
- Performing an annual audit in January to ensure that the fiscal year-end balances maintained by the Director and Treasurer are the same.
- Collaborating as necessary with the Director to ensure the financial section of the New York State Annual Library Report is complete and without error.
- The alternate shall write checks on an as-needed basis in the absence of the Treasurer, or when reimbursing the Treasurer for any expenses incurred. Only one signature is required on a check.
Patron Services Policy
Patrons assume full responsibility for all use made of their library card. By registering for a library card, the patron (and signatory parent or guardian) agrees to adhere to all rules and regulations governing the use of the library, library equipment, and library holdings. In addition, the patron (and signatory parent or guardian) acknowledges responsibility for any loss and/or damage to materials borrowed, and agrees to pay all applicable fees and fines assessed for late and/or lost or damaged materials. For this reason, a registration card should never be given to another person for use. Should a registration card be lost, it is the responsibility of the patron to inform the library and replace their library card with a new number.
Patrons who fail to comply with library rules and regulations will have borrowing privileges suspended and/or reinstated or revoked in accordance with library policies outlined in this document.
Library records that are deemed confidential are covered by New York State Law signed on June 13, 1988 (I CPLR 4509).
These records are related to the circulation of library materials that contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of public, free association, school, college and university libraries and library systems, of this state, including but not limited to records related to the circulation of library materials, computer database searches, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, requests, or the use of audio-visual materials, films or records. These records shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except that such records may be disclosed upon the request or consent of the user or pursuant to subpoena, court order or where otherwise required by statute. The Hepburn Library of Lisbon adheres strictly to all sections of this Statute regarding the protection of the confidentiality of its users.
- Black and “occasional” color photocopies and computer printouts: $0.25 per side.
- Color copies where color exceeds 25% of the page: $1.00 per side.
- Fax transmissions: $1.00 per fax, sent or received, to/from the United States or Canada.
- Fax transmissions to/from other countries: $5.00 for the first page and $1.00 per subsequent pages.
Patrons may request a hold to be placed on an item that is on loan. Reserves may be placed in-person, over the telephone, by email, or online. The circulation system software maintains a list of patrons and holds are honored on a first-listed, first-served basis.
When an item is available, the patron will receive an email notice, and/or telephone call from the library. Patrons will have five days to check-out the item. If the item is not collected in five days, the next patron on the list will be allowed to borrow the item. Items borrowed from other libraries will be returned through the delivery system.
Interlibrary Loan (ILL)
The Interlibrary loan (ILL) service supports the mission of the library by providing expanded access to library materials and information. The purpose of interlibrary loan is to obtain materials not available in the library. The library affirms that interlibrary loan is an adjunct to, not a substitute for, the library’s collection. In meeting patron needs, the library will exhaust local resources first, before requesting items on interlibrary loan.
- Patrons must have a library card in good standing to use the Interlibrary Loan service.
- Ten active requests are permitted at any one time per patron.
- Materials will be available for pickup for five days after they are received at the library. If an item is not picked up within five days, the hold will be removed and the item returned to the library where it originated.
- Interlibrary Loan materials are checked out for the same period as items owned by Lisbon, based on the item type as defined in the catalog.
- Interlibrary Loans may be renewed once if the lending library permits renewals.
- ILL requests generally take one week to fill, but may take longer depending on the number of items available in the North Country Library System and the number of patrons on the wait list. Some requested materials will not be available.
- Interlibrary loan within the North Country Library System is provided at no cost to the patron. Requests outside of the system, when available, are generally assessed the postage fee from shipping to/from the library. Patrons are responsible for any postage charges, and must be paid at the time the request is made. In general, the shipping fee is $5.00 to and $5.00 from the library. Heavy items may cost more to ship.
- The patron is responsible for overdue fees and repair/replacement costs for any interlibrary loan items that are damaged or lost.
Adults and persons fourteen years and older may apply to become a registered patron of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon providing their full legal name, date of birth, physical/mailing address, telephone, email address, and photo identification.
Children between the ages of five and fourteen may become registered patrons if their parent or legal guardian applies for a library card on their behalf. The child and parent must both be present for the application process. The parent or legal guardian assumes all responsibility for materials borrowed or used by a minor card holder.
Once a minor child turns fourteen years old, they assume full responsibility of their borrowing privileges and information will no longer be disclosed to their parent or guardian.
A patron’s first library card is provided at no charge. Subsequent cards replaced due to loss, theft, or damage will be provided at the cost of $1.00 per card. Patron must show photo identification to replace a library card.
Library cards must be renewed per the schedule adopted by the North County Library Systems and patrons are responsible for updating the library immediately with changes in name, physical address, telephone number and email address.
An individual must possess a library card and account in good standing in order to borrow materials; the library card must be presented with every request to borrow.
Inactive library cards with no charges will be removed from the system per the schedule adopted by the North Country Library System.
Inactive library cards will not be removed from the system if overdue fines, lost item replacement costs, or other charges exist on the account. Library cards and borrowing privileges are shared among all libraries belonging to the North Country Library System.
A patron with a library card from a participating library may use their card at the Hepburn Library of Lisbon; no patrons are permitted to have more than one library card within the system.
Newly registered patrons will be restricted for the first two months to the following: two items checked out at the same time, two items on hold at the same time, two overdue items, and a maximum fine of $2.00 for overdue/lost items. At the end of the two-month trial period, patrons who have remained in good standing for two months will be granted full borrowing privileges.
For full patrons in good standing, there is an overall borrowing limit of 20 items at one time per person/household, including a limit of 2 “new” Blu-Ray/DVDs per person or 4 Blu-Ray/DVDs total per person.
No item will be loaned to any patron (or household) with overdue materials and/or outstanding fines and fees equal to, or greater than, $5.00 per person/household.
Patrons who have been “blocked” by the computerized borrowing system, due to unpaid overdue fees, or lost items, may have their status restricted to the same level as a newly registered patron, at the discretion of the Library Director. Full borrowing privileges will be granted, by the Library Director, after patron demonstrates responsible borrowing behavior.
Through an agreement with the North Country Library System, borrowing privileges will be suspended or revoked if the patron owes more than $5.00 at other libraries.
Loan Periods and Renewal
- Items loaned for a period of one week (7 days): Magazines, DVDs/Blu-Rays, board games, jigsaw puzzles, and items from the audiovisual, tool, and craft collections.
- Items loaned for a period of two weeks (14 days): New books.
- Items loaned for a period of four weeks (28 days): Older books, audio books on CD.
- Items may be renewed once, if there are no patrons on the waiting list. Additional renewals are at the discretion of the Library Director.
- Renewals may be done in person, by telephone, by email, online, or through the library’s Facebook page.
Overdue, Lost and/or Damaged Materials
Patrons will be assessed an overdue fine of $0.15 per day for each overdue book, audio book, or magazine, up to a maximum overdue fine of $15.00 per item.
Patrons will be assessed an overdue fine of $1.00 per day for each overdue DVD or Blu-Ray item, up to a maximum of $15.00 per item.
Patrons will be notified of overdue items in accordance with the schedule outlined by the North Country Library System. Notices are provided by email, telephone, and/or surface mail at various intervals when reports are generated by the circulation system software.
For each damaged item, the patron will be charged a default $25.00 replacement fee. This will be in addition to any overdue fines.
For each lost item, the patron will be charged a default $25.00 replacement fee. This will be in addition to any overdue fines. Items are marked as lost according to the schedule outlined by the North Country Library System.
The library discourages patrons from purchasing replacement items without discussing it with the Director first. The decision to replace an item rests with the Director after consideration of the Collection Development Policy.
In the event the fair market replacement cost of an item is likely to be less than the default price, the Director will consult one or more approved vendors to establish a fair market replacement cost, plus $1.00 to cover processing (book jacket and barcode replacement). The remainder owed will be waived.
Patron Code of Behavior
Under the provision of Chapter 2.26 of the New York State Education Law, The Hepburn Library of Lisbon Board of Trustees may enact regulation that serve to insure the safety of all library staff and patrons, protect the usefulness of the materials collection, and maintain order in the library. The Board of Trustees is committed to providing an atmosphere where people of all ages may come to read, browse, do research, or study. This policy does not prohibit quiet conversations between patrons and/or staff members or conversations required to carry on library programs or business. It is designed to preserve a reasonable quiet atmosphere where library patrons may use library services and materials without disturbance. This policy has been established for all patrons. It is a charge of the library staff to see that the rights of individuals to use the library are upheld. The staff is obligated to enforce these guidelines so that the facility can be used to the fullest by all persons.
- If a patron is not responsive to the needs of other library users or disregards the policies protecting patrons, staff, and library property, the patron will be asked to leave the library.
- The Library Director, acting on behalf of the Board of Trustees, may also suspend the library privileges of any individual who willfully violates library regulations when severity or continued reoccurrence warrants such action. The Library Director will inform the Library Board of any such action taken.
Questions regarding the interpretation of guidelines will be referred to the Library Director. Patrons are expected to observe and follow all aspects of the policies outlined in this handbook, including those outlined below:
- Food and beverage is allowed in the building. Patrons shall take caution in the vicinity of library materials and technology devices. Patrons are fully expected to clean up after themselves (crumbs, spills, sticky residue, etc) and dispose of all garbage.
- Interference with other library patrons’ use of the facilities through extremely poor personal hygiene is prohibited.
- Pets and animals are allowed in the building. All animals shall be on leashes or caged unless otherwise approved by the Director. Pet owners shall keep animals by their sides, and away from other patrons for the duration of their visit. Pet owners are responsible for cleaning up and disposing of any messes. Pet owners assume any and all liability regarding their animals.
- Patrons are welcome to use various electronic devices in the library, as long as such devices are not distracting to other patrons. This includes, but is not limited to, cell phones, tablets, e-readers, and laptops. All electronic ringers and notifications shall be put on silent/vibrate. The library sells earbuds for $1.00 for patrons wishing to listen to media on their devices, or library devices.
- Quiet and decorum are to be maintained at all times. Obscene, offensive, loud, boisterous, and/or distracting or annoying behaviors are prohibited unless part of a library-sponsored program.
- A patron who damages, defaces, or steals library property or services will be required to make restitution and will also be subject to arrest and prosecution. This includes, but is not limited to, damage to computers, headphones, books, DVDs, magazines, and other library property.
- Loitering on the premises under the circumstances that warrant alarm for the safety or health of any person or property in the vicinity is prohibited. Sleeping on the premises by persons over the age of five for more than fifteen minutes is prohibited.
- Patrons may not enter the library before opening or remain in the library after closing time, unless participating in a library-sponsored program or volunteer activity.
- Only persons on library business will be allowed to solicit for the sale of goods and services in the library; such persons will meet only with authorized library personnel. Exceptions may be made for library-sponsored activities, community groups, or organizations affiliated with the library.
- Unattended and/or unsupervised children under seven years of age are not allowed in the library. If a child under seven is attending a library program, it is required that the parent/guardian or responsible person remain in the library throughout the program. Children under seven years of age shall not remove books from the shelves without the direct supervision of their parent/guardian or responsible person.
- There shall be no running, rough-housing, standing on furniture, throwing of toys or other items, or playing on or about the stairs or lift. Children’s toys shall be kept in the children’s room, and put away in the toy bins after each use.
- Parents/guardians or designated persons are responsible for the behavior of children while in the library. Library staff will not assume responsibility for the care of unattended or unsupervised children (of any age) in the library.
- The library’s telephone is not for public use except in case of emergency.
- No patron shall endanger the safety and security of the building or patrons by tampering with any lock, any entry/exit door or doorway, accessibility lift, stairwell gate, furniture, facilities, or other items.
Patrons are responsible for returning all library materials borrowed from the library on or before the due date.
Items may be returned to the circulation desk during normal library hours, in the drop box/slot in the front door of the library, or to another library in the North Country Library System.
Overdue items, or items thought to be lost, must be returned to the circulation desk.
Items shall not be returned to any “Little Free Libraries”, School Libraries, BOCES Libraries, or any other libraries outside of the North Country Library System. The Hepburn Library of Lisbon is not responsible for items returned in these, or other, non-approved locations.
By signing the Registration Application form, the signer acknowledges that he/she has read, understands, and agrees to comply with all policies of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon. Should the application be completed for a minor child, the adult signer accepts responsibility for compliance by said minor. The signer further acknowledges and agrees that the library assumes no liability for any loss or damage to personal data or for any damage or injury arising from the invasion of privacy through computer and/or internet use.
Persons with Disability Policy
The library is committed to providing equitable access for persons with disabilities to library facilities and services is required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, applicable state and local statutes, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
The library has handicap accessible parking, a handicap accessible entrance (community room side door), a handicap restroom (front lobby), and accessibility lift (between the first floor community room and the second floor teen area).
The library endeavors to make sure physical spacing is accessible, but acknowledges that the layout of existing spaces may be challenging to some individuals. Library staff is willing and available to assist in accessing materials that are located in difficult to access locations.
The library will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities unless those accommodations would impose an “undue hardship” on its operations. Persons requesting accommodation should ask to speak to the Director.
A “program” is a planned interaction between the library staff and the program participants for the purpose of promoting library materials, facilities, or services, as well as offering the community an informational, entertaining, or cultural experience. The library does not conduct programming that is purely commercial or religious in nature.
Programming may include such activities as summer library program/reading club for children, story time, speakers for young adults, book or author discussion groups for adults, film showings, arts and craft programs, and any other enrichment activity for the community.
Presenters will not be excluded from consideration because of their origin, background or views or because of possible controversy; however, acceptance of a program or topic by the library does not constitute an endorsement of the group’s or individual’s policies or beliefs.
As with materials selection, library programming should not exclude topics, books, speakers, media and other resources because they might be controversial.
Programs sponsored by the library are generally offered free of charge and are open to the general public. Some programs conducted by library staff may incur a materials fee to cover expenses that are significantly high relative to the library’s overall programming budget. Some programs presented by non-library staff may require an instructional or materials fee paid directly to the presenter. Some programs require pre-registration.
Programs may be cancelled for a number of reasons such as severe weather, absence of the presenter or low registration. In the event a program is cancelled, efforts will be made to let the public know and registered participants will be notified. Cancelled programs are not automatically re-scheduled.
Still Photography and Videography
Attendance at programs sponsored by the library may be digitally recorded through photographs or video recordings. These images may be posted on the library’s website, on our social media accounts, on our website, in our newsletter, by local newspapers and media outlets, or elsewhere on the internet. Patrons not wishing their image to be published, should notify the library before or immediately after the program. No individual identification will be used unless the library has a signed parental consent photo release form for those under age 16.
Virtual or Online Programs
With increased use of the internet, the library has developed and participates in virtual or online programs. The nature of the internet makes it difficult to protect the privacy of patrons in open forums. Children under the age of fourteen (14) should ensure they have parental permission to participate in online library sponsored or affiliated programming. All participants, regardless of age, should use best practices when interacting with persons over the internet to ensure privacy and security.
Intellectual freedom is the right of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Intellectual freedom is one of the core values of the library profession; it promotes access to information and guides the defense against censorship.
The library fully endorses the principles documented in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association. Materials available in the library present a diversity of viewpoints, enabling citizens to make the informed choices necessary in a democracy. The library also selects a wide variety of library materials that satisfy the diverse interests of our community. The library upholds the right of the individual to secure these resources, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to some. The library’s varied collection is available to all; however, it is not expected that all of the collection will appeal to everyone.
Patrons who wish to request the withdrawal or reclassification of materials currently owned by the library are encouraged to discuss their concerns with the Director. If the patron is not satisfied with the response to their request, the Director will provide the patron with information and a form to request formal reconsideration of the library resource.
Within 15 business days of receiving a written request for reconsideration, the Director will make a decision and respond in writing stating the reasons for the decision.
If the individual is not satisfied with the decision, a written appeal may be submitted within 10 business days to the Board of Trustees, who will discuss the request at the next regularly scheduled board meeting. The concerned person is encouraged to attend, and will given the opportunity to express their concerns.
Whether during an informal complaint or a formal reconsideration of a library resource, library staff and trustees complete their work using general agreed-upon principles such as:
- Libraries have diverse materials reflecting differing points of view, and a library’s mission is to provide access to information to all users.
- All library users have a First Amendment right to read, view, and listen to library resources.
- The Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association can be used as guiding documents.
- Any person has the right to express concerns about library resources and expect to have the objection taken seriously.
- When library resources are reconsidered, the principles of the freedom to read, listen, and view are defended rather than specific materials.
- A questioned item will be considered in its entirety, not judged solely on portions taken out of context.
- Parents or guardians have the right to guide the reading, viewing, and listening of their children but must give the same right to other parents/guardians.
- Questioned items will remain in circulation during the reconsideration process.
The decision of the Board of Trustees is final.
Records Retention and Disposal Policy
The Hepburn Library of Lisbon adheres to the SARA (State Archives and Records Administration) Records Retention and Disposition Schedule MU-1, issued pursuant to Article 57-A of the Arts & Cultural Affairs Law, and containing legal minimum retention periods for local government records.
In accordance with Article 57-A: (a) only those records will be disposed of that are described in Records Retention and Disposition Schedule MU-1 after they have met the minimum retention periods described therein; (b) only those records will be disposed of that do not have sufficient administrative, fiscal, legal, or historical value to merit retention beyond established legal minimum periods.
Sexual Harassment Policy
The Hepburn Library of Lisbon is committed to maintaining a workplace free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of workplace discrimination. The Hepburn Library of Lisbon has a zero-tolerance policy for any form of sexual harassment, and all employees are required to work in a manner that prevents sexual harassment in the workplace. This Policy is one component of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon’s commitment to a discrimination-free work environment.
Sexual harassment is against the law. All employees have a legal right to a workplace free from sexual harassment, and employees can enforce this right by filing a complaint internally with Hepburn Library of Lisbon, or with a government agency or in court under federal, state or local antidiscrimination laws.
- The Hepburn Library of Lisbon Policy applies to all trustees, employees, applicants for employment, interns, whether paid or unpaid, library patrons, contractors and persons conducting business with the Hepburn Library of Lisbon.
- Sexual harassment will not be tolerated. Any employee or individual covered by this policy who engages in sexual harassment or retaliation will be subject to remedial and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
- Retaliation Prohibition: No person covered by this Policy shall be subject to adverse employment action including being discharged, disciplined, discriminated against, or otherwise subject to adverse employment action because the employee reports an incident of sexual harassment, provides information, or otherwise assists in any investigation of a sexual harassment complaint. The Hepburn Library of Lisbon has a zero-tolerance policy for such retaliation against anyone who, in good faith complains or provides information about suspected sexual harassment. Any employee of Hepburn Library of Lisbon who retaliates against anyone involved in a sexual harassment investigation will be subjected to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Any employee, paid or unpaid intern, or non-employee working in the workplace who believes they have been subject to such retaliation should inform the Hepburn Library of Lisbon Director. Any employee, paid or unpaid intern or non-employee who believes they have been a victim of such retaliation may also seek compensation in other available forums, as explained below in the section on Legal Protections.
- Sexual harassment is offensive, is a violation of our policies, is unlawful, and subjects the Hepburn Library of Lisbon to liability for harm to victims of sexual harassment. Harassers may also be individually subject to liability. Employees of every level who engage in sexual harassment, including managers and supervisors who engage in sexual harassment or who knowingly allow such behavior to continue, will be penalized for such misconduct.
- The Hepburn Library of Lisbon will conduct a prompt, thorough and confidential investigation that ensures due process for all parties, whenever management receives a complaint about sexual harassment, or otherwise knows of possible sexual harassment occurring. Effective corrective action will be taken whenever sexual harassment is found to have occurred. All employees are required to cooperate with any internal investigation of sexual harassment.
- All employees are encouraged to report any harassment or behaviors that violate this policy. The Hepburn Library of Lisbon will provide all employees a complaint form for employees to report harassment and file complaints.
- Employees are required to report any complaint that they receive, or any harassment that they observe to the Director.
- This policy applies to all employees, paid or unpaid interns, and non-employees and all must follow and uphold this policy. This policy must be posted prominently in all work locations and be provided to employees upon hiring.
Library Employee/Patron Relationship
The Hepburn Library of Lisbon is committed to ensuring an environment where all Hepburn Library of Lisbon library patrons are free of sexual harassment. The Library Board of Trustees views sexual harassment of patrons by library employees as an abuse of authority and, therefore, such harassment will not be tolerated. Likewise, sexual harassment of library employees by patrons will not be tolerated. See examples of sexual harassment below.
Any patron who suspects that she or he has encountered sexual harassment should report the incident to the Hepburn Library of Lisbon Director as soon as possible. Any employee who witnesses or has knowledge of sexual harassment by a library employee against a patron shall immediately report it to the Director. Any employee who is being sexually harassed by a patron shall immediately report this to the Director.
What Is “Sexual Harassment”?
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is unlawful under federal, state, and (where applicable) local law. Sexual harassment includes harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and the status of being transgender. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct which is either of a sexual nature, or which is directed at an individual because of that individual’s sex when:
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, even if the complaining individual is not the intended target of the sexual harassment;
- Such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment; or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting an individual’s employment.
A sexually harassing hostile work environment consists of words, signs, jokes, pranks, intimidation or physical violence which are of a sexual nature, or which are directed at an individual because of that individual’s sex. Sexual harassment also consists of any unwanted verbal or physical advances, sexually explicit derogatory statements or sexually discriminatory remarks made by someone which are offensive or objectionable to the recipient, which cause the recipient discomfort or humiliation, which interfere with the recipient’s job performance.
Sexual harassment also occurs when a person in authority tries to trade job benefits for sexual favors. This can include hiring, promotion, continued employment or any other terms, conditions or privileges of employment. This is also called “quid pro quo” harassment.
Any employee who feels harassed should complain so that any violation of this policy can be corrected promptly. Any harassing conduct, even a single incident, can be addressed under this policy.
Examples of Sexual Harassment
The following describes some of the types of acts that may be unlawful sexual harassment and that are strictly prohibited:
- Physical assaults of a sexual nature, such as:
- Touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, brushing against another employee’s body or poking another employees’ body;
- Rape, sexual battery, molestation or attempts to commit these assaults.
- Unwanted sexual advances or propositions, such as:
- Requests for sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt threats concerning the victim’s job performance evaluation, a promotion or other job benefits or detriments;
- Subtle or obvious pressure for unwelcome sexual activities.
- Sexually oriented gestures, noises, remarks, jokes or comments about a person’s sexuality or sexual experience, which create a hostile work environment.
- Sexual or discriminatory displays or publications anywhere in the workplace, such as:
- Displaying pictures, posters, calendars, graffiti, objects, promotional material, reading materials or other materials that are sexually demeaning or pornographic. This includes such sexual displays on workplace computers or cell phones and sharing such displays while in the workplace.
- It is understood that displays of library materials as part of routine operations (including responding to requests for assistance, creating exhibits, checking out and processing books), are consistent with the library’s mission and are not a violation of this policy. As an example: routine operations involving a book containing nude pictures would not violate this policy. That said, deliberately placing that same book in the locker or workspace of a colleague or patron, with no operational basis, could be considered harassing. This policy will always be applied with the mission of the library and the ALA Freedom to Read and Freedom to View Statements in mind, while that mission and freedom will never be miss-applied to excuse or disregard complaints of harassing behavior.
- Hostile actions taken against an individual because of that individual’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and the status of being transgender, such as:
- Interfering with, destroying or damaging a person’s workstation, tools or equipment, or otherwise interfering with the individual’s ability to perform the job;
- Sabotaging an individual’s work;
- Bullying, yelling, name-calling
Who Can Be A Target of Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment can occur between any individuals, regardless of their sex or gender. New York Law protects employees, paid or unpaid interns, and non-employees, including independent contractors, and those employed by companies contracting to provide services in the workplace. A perpetrator of sexual harassment can be a superior, a subordinate, a coworker or anyone in the workplace including an independent contractor, contract worker, vendor, library patron, client, customer or visitor.
Where Can Sexual Harassment Occur?
Unlawful sexual harassment is not limited to the physical workplace itself. It can occur while employees are traveling for business or at employer sponsored events or parties. Calls, texts, emails, and social media usage by employees can constitute unlawful workplace harassment, even if they occur away from the workplace premises or not during work hours.
What is “Retaliation”?
Unlawful retaliation can be any action that would keep a worker from coming forward to make or support a sexual harassment claim. Adverse action need not be job-related or occur in the workplace to constitute unlawful retaliation.
Such retaliation is unlawful under federal, state, and (where applicable) local law. The New York State Human Rights Law protects any individual who has engaged in “protected activity.” Protected activity occurs when a person has:
- filed a complaint of sexual harassment, either internally or with any anti-discrimination agency;
- testified or assisted in a proceeding involving sexual harassment under the Human Rights Law or other anti-discrimination law;
- opposed sexual harassment by making a verbal or informal complaint to management, or by simply informing a supervisor or manager of harassment;
- complained that another employee has been sexually harassed; or
- encouraged a fellow employee to report harassment.
Reporting Sexual Harassment
Preventing sexual harassment is everyone’s responsibility. The Hepburn Library of Lisbon cannot prevent or remedy sexual harassment unless it knows about it. Any employee, paid or unpaid intern or nonemployee who has been subjected to behavior that may constitute sexual harassment is encouraged to report such behavior to the Hepburn Library of Lisbon Director. Anyone who witnesses or becomes aware of potential instances of sexual harassment should report such behavior to the Hepburn Library of Lisbon Director.
Reports of sexual harassment may be made verbally or in writing. A form for submission of a written complaint is attached to this policy, and all employees are encouraged to use this complaint form.
Employees who are reporting sexual harassment on behalf of other employees should use the complaint form and note that it is on another employee’s behalf.
Employees, paid or unpaid interns or non-employees who believe they have been a victim of sexual harassment may also seek assistance in other available forums, as explained below in the section on Legal Protections.
All employees who receive a complaint or information about suspected sexual harassment, observe what may be sexually harassing behavior or for any reason suspect that sexual harassment is occurring, are required to report such suspected sexual harassment to the Hepburn Library of Lisbon Director.
In addition to being subject to discipline if they engaged in sexually harassing conduct themselves, supervisors and managers will be subject to discipline for failing to report suspected sexual harassment or otherwise knowingly allowing sexual harassment to continue.
The Director and Trustees will also be subject to discipline for engaging in any retaliation.
Complaint and Investigation of Sexual Harassment
All complaints or information about suspected sexual harassment will be investigated, whether that information was reported in verbal or written form. Investigations will be conducted in a timely manner, and will be confidential to the extent possible.
An investigation of any complaint, information or knowledge of suspected sexual harassment will be prompt and thorough, and should be completed within 30 days. The investigation will be confidential to the extent possible. All persons involved, including complainants, witnesses and alleged perpetrators will be accorded due process to protect their rights to a fair and impartial investigation.
Any employee may be required to cooperate as needed in an investigation of suspected sexual harassment. Employees who participate in any investigation will not be retaliated against.
Investigations will be done in accordance with the following steps:
- Upon receipt of complaint by an employee, volunteer or intern, the Director will conduct an immediate review of the allegations, and take any interim actions, as appropriate. If the complaint is oral, encourage the individual to complete the “Complaint Form” in writing. If he or she refuses, prepare a Complaint Form based on the oral reporting. If a complaint is made by a patron, or trustee, the Director with conduct an immediate review and follow the actions listed above.
- If documents, emails or phone records are relevant to the allegations, take steps to obtain and preserve them.
- Request and review all relevant documents, including all electronic communications.
- Interview all parties involved, including any relevant witnesses;
- Create a written documentation of the investigation (such as a letter, memo or email), which contains the following:
- A list of all documents reviewed, along with a detailed summary of relevant documents;
- A list of names of those interviewed, along with a detailed summary of their statements;
- A timeline of events;
- A summary of prior relevant incidents, reported or unreported; and
- The final resolution of the complaint, together with any corrective actions action(s).
- Keep the written documentation and associated documents in the employer’s records.
- Promptly notify the individual who complained and the individual(s) who responded of the final determination and implement any corrective actions identified in the written document.
- Inform the individual who complained of their right to file a complaint or charge externally as outlined below.
Legal Protections and External Remedies
Sexual harassment is not only prohibited by the Hepburn Library of Lisbon but is also prohibited by state, federal, and, where applicable, local law.
Aside from the internal process at the Hepburn Library of Lisbon, employees may also choose to pursue legal remedies with the following governmental entities at any time.
New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR)
The Human Rights Law (HRL), codified as N.Y. Executive Law, art. 15, § 290 et seq., applies to employers in New York State with regard to sexual harassment, and protects employees, paid or unpaid interns and non-employees regardless of immigration status. A complaint alleging violation of the Human Rights Law may be filed either with DHR or in New York State Supreme Court.
Complaints with DHR may be filed any time within one year of the harassment. If an individual did not file at DHR, they can sue directly in state court under the HRL, within three years of the alleged discrimination. An individual may not file with DHR if they have already filed a HRL complaint in state court.
Complaining internally to [Hepburn Library of Lisbon] does not extend your time to file with DHR or in court. The one year or three years is counted from date of the most recent incident of harassment.
You do not need an attorney to file a complaint with DHR, and there is no cost to file with DHR.
DHR will investigate your complaint and determine whether there is probable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred. Probable cause cases are forwarded to a public hearing before an administrative law judge. If discrimination is found after a hearing, DHR has the power to award relief, which varies but may include requiring your employer to take action to stop the harassment, or redress the damage caused, including paying monetary damages, attorney’s fees and civil fines.
DHR’s main office contact information is: NYS Division of Human Rights, One Fordham Plaza, Fourth Floor, Bronx, New York 10458, (718) 741-8400 [appropriate other contact info], www.dhr.ny.gov
Contact DHR at (888) 392-3644 or visit dhr.ny.gov/complaint for more information about filing a complaint. The website has a complaint form that can be downloaded, filled out, notarized and mailed to DHR. The website also contains contact information for DHR’s regional offices across New York State.
United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The EEOC enforces federal anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII of the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act (codified as 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.). An individual can file a complaint with the EEOC anytime within 300 days from the harassment. There is no cost to file a complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC will investigate the complaint, and determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred, at which point the EEOC will issue a Right to Sue letter permitting the individual to file a complaint in federal court.
The EEOC does not hold hearings or award relief, but may take other action including pursuing cases in federal court on behalf of complaining parties. Federal courts may award remedies if discrimination is found to have occurred.
If an employee believes that he/she has been discriminated against at work, he/she can file a “Charge of Discrimination.” The EEOC has district, area, and field offices where complaints can be filed. Contact the EEOC by calling 1-800-669-4000 (1-800-669-6820 (TTY)), visiting their website at www.eeoc.gov or via email at email@example.com
If an individual filed an administrative complaint with DHR, DHR will file the complaint with the EEOC to preserve the right to proceed in federal court.
Many localities enforce laws protecting individuals from sexual harassment and discrimination. An individual should contact the county, city or town in which they live to find out if such a law exists. For example, employees who work in New York City may file complaints of sexual harassment with the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Contact their main office at Law Enforcement Bureau of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, 40 Rector Street, 10th Floor, New York, New York; call 311 or (212) 306-7450; or visit www.nyc.gov/html/cchr/html/home/home.shtml
Contact the Local Police Department
If the harassment involves physical touching, coerced physical confinement or coerced sex acts, the conduct may constitute a crime. Contact the local police department.
Social Media Policy
“Social media” is defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary as “forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos).”
The Hepburn Library of Lisbon participates in social media for many reasons but primarily to communicate information about library services and resources, community news and activity, and to engage with the community about topics relevant to the library’s mission or goals.
Social media sites may have their own terms of service, privacy, acceptable behavior, and stated consequences for violating those terms of service. It is up to the user to review those terms of service prior to engaging in social media.
The Hepburn Library of Lisbon uses social media for community engagement on several levels, to be determined on a post-by-post basis:
- The library posts information related to its programs, services, and operations. The library may also post information that is related to the Lisbon community, surrounding areas, or to library users in general.
- The library may or may not seek comments on individual social media posts. The library reserves the right to close comments at a predetermined time and not in response to the commentary received.
- All social media interaction should be appropriate for audiences of all ages.
- The library strives to provide accurate, timely, and appropriate content on social media. However, social media users should exercise their own judgment about the quality and accuracy of any information presented through social media.
- Public comments on social media do not reflect the views of positions of the library, trustees, or employees.
- Unacceptable behavior by library patrons or the general public on library social media accounts that is not protected by the First Amendment, such as copyright violations, obscenity, child pornography, defamatory or libelous comments, or imminent or true threats against the library or individuals are prohibited and may result in deleting comments or blocking of the user.
- Posting of unrelated material such as “spam”, illegal activities, items for sale, or other commercial solicitation on library social media accounts will be removed.
- The library does not intend to infringe on the freedom of speech, but users are expected to maintain the same code of conduct online that is expected and enforced for in-person behavior within library property.
- Reconsideration of social media posting or comment is subject to the same procedure as reconsideration of any other library materials or programming.
The Hepburn Library of Lisbon provides free computing access to the community. The library’s goal is to provide digital literacy through a combination of desktop and/or portable devices. Wireless access is provided to patrons at no charge.
Technology hardware and software is reviewed annually in anticipation of including necessary upgrades in the next year’s budget. Upgrades to technology will be made after a review of current functionality, patron and staff usage, and future technology standards.
To ensure the best service to the community, library employees must remain current on how to use available technology and online resources. Employees are expected to attend relevant classes provided by the North Country Library System (NCLS) or other organizations.
The Library does not guarantee the computer system to be error free or without defect. The Library is not responsible for:
- The actions of its patrons.
- The accuracy or quality of information accessed through the computer.
- Any damage or loss of data, or interruption of service patrons may suffer while using the computer.
Library users access the Internet at their own discretion and are responsible for any access points they reach.
The library offers access to the Internet as an electronic means of reaching ideas and information and greatly expanding its information services beyond the traditional collections and resources. Because of this, the library has been recognized by the New York State Department of Education as an Electronic Doorway Library.
The Internet provides access to many valuable local, national and international sources of information. However, not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete or current information. The user must evaluate the validity of the information sources. The library cannot control the accuracy of information, the validity of the information, availability of links, nor the availability of material that some may find offensive. As is the case with other media – film, print, television, and music – it is the responsibility of parents to monitor and restrict access to material as they see fit.
Rules Governing Use
- Use of computers is on a first-come first-served basis. No reservations may be made.
- Computer time is limited to thirty minutes when other users are waiting.
- Use is limited to a maximum of two people per computer at a time. Quiet must be maintained.
- Computer use is limited to the hours that the library is open.
- A user may save information to their own information storage device, such as a flash drive or cloud storage. The library does not provide storage devices, and no storage is allowed on the library computer’s hard drives. The library is not responsible for damage to data storage devices or any virus that may be transmitted to the data storage device.
- No software, documents, photos or other materials may be downloaded or installed.
- The library’s computers and/or software may not be modified or reconfigured by the user in any way—to include changing or adding screen savers and wallpaper, modifying passwords, or anything else that affects safety and security of other patron or staff.
- No personal compact discs or programs requiring installation to the hard drive may be used on the library’s computers.
- Headphones or earbuds must be worn when using multimedia programs. The library does not lend headphones for library users in an effort to reduce transmission of cold/influenza viruses, head lice, and other bacterial infections. Users may supply their own headphones/earbuds, or purchase earbuds from the circulation desk. Earbuds cost $1.00 per pair.
- Computer volume shall be adjusted to ensure privacy of audio transmissions, and to avoid bothering others in the library.
- All copyright regulations and software licensing agreements must be observed.
- The computer system may not be utilized for commercial purposes: i.e. the purchase or selling of materials or services.
- The user is responsible for any consequential damages arising from their use of the computer or the library’s software.
- If something is broken or not working properly, please do not attempt to fix it yourself. Report the problem to library staff.
- Exit from all programs when you are finished, but computers are to be left on after use.
- A user must not use a PC to gain unauthorized access to the Library’s network or computer systems or to any other network or computer systems.
- A user must not obstruct other people’s work by consuming large amounts of system resources or by deliberately crashing any library computer system.
- A user must not make any attempt to cause degradation of system performance.
- A user must not make any attempt to damage computer equipment or software.
- A user must not use any Library computer for any illegal or criminal purpose.
- A user must not engage in any activity which is deliberately and maliciously offensive, libelous, or slanderous.
- The visual, verbal or written use of the computer to receive or transmit harassing material is prohibited. Any misuse of this rule will result in suspension of the offending user’s computer privileges.
- Patrons are not to display text or graphics that may be defined by State and/or Federal laws as illegal pornography, obscenity, or child pornography.
- The privacy of other patrons using the Internet must be respected at all times. However, computers are located in a public area. Electronic transactions of information and viewing screens could become public. As a result, the Library cannot guarantee privacy or confidentiality.
- The library supports the Freedom to View and Freedom to Read, but does not support offensive or harassing conduct. Because the library is a public place and computer screens are in open view of passersby and other computer users, the library reserves the right to direct any patron displaying sexually explicit, offensive, or harassing content on the computer screen to close the screen and refrain from displaying similar content. Failure to comply will result in loss of internet privileges. Library staff reserves the right to remove inappropriate materials from the computer and to instruct the patron to refrain from seeking similar sites. Library users who wish to view potentially offensive or harassing materials may use their personal devices in a discrete manner such that any potentially offensive content is not in view of other library users.
- Interruption of service–due to periodic and temporary technical difficulties (to include lapse of internet or printer accessibility) may occur while using the computer. Such occurrences are unfortunate; the library cannot guarantee all systems to be operational at all times.
- The library is not responsible for and assumes no liability for any loss of opportunity (to include financial, personal, or employment) perceived by any patron to have occurred due to an interruption of internet or computer service during use, or because of closure of the library for any reason.
Additional Rules Governing Computer and Internet Access by Minors
It is the policy of the library that parents or legal guardians are responsible for monitoring what library materials and resources, including internet access, are appropriate for their minor children (children under 14 and/or children 14 to 18 whose library card required endorsement by a parent or guardian).
If a parent or guardian allows the minor child access to the library, the library cannot and does not guarantee that the minor will not visit or encounter sites objectionable to the parent or guardian. Library employees will not be responsible for supervising minors while they are using the internet. Parents/guardians may wish to personally supervise their children’s internet sessions.
Children under the age of seven are not allowed to use the computer or internet without the direct supervision of an adult (at least 18 years of age).
Tobacco, Marijuana, and Vaping Policy
The Hepburn Library of Lisbon property, including the building and grounds, is free from tobacco, marijuana, and vaping use.
In addition, the library is committed to compliance with New York’s prohibition of smoking on the grounds of public libraries that effective June 19th, 2019.
According to Public Health Law §1399-o, subdivision 6:
Smoking shall not be permitted and no person shall smoke within one hundred feet of the entrances, exits or outdoor areas of any public or association library as defined in subdivision two of section two hundred fifty-three of the education law; provided, however, that the provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to smoking in a residence, or within the real property boundary lines of such residential real property.
“Smoking” is defined in Public Health Law §1399-n(8) as “burning of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco.” Library policy extends to marijuana and “vaping”, defined as the use of an electronic cigarette, regardless of its inclusion in the Public Health Law.
The library provides signage where smoking is restricted. Signage is posted at each door of the building, regardless of whether such door serves as a public entrance or exit, located approximately where the 100-foot restricted perimeter begins, or as close to the restricted perimeter as possible. The signage clearly denotes that smoking and vaping is prohibited and contains the language: “New York State law prohibits smoking within 100 feet of public library doorways.”
Under Public Health Law §1399-s, the library is required to post signage at each location under the library’s administrative control; make good faith and reasonable efforts to ensure employees, contractors, and volunteers comply with the law; and designate an agent or person responsible for informing other individuals when they are in violation of the law. The library director shall be the designated person.
Additional resources will be provided upon request:
- American Lung Association of the Northeast
- Center for Public Health and Tobacco Policy
- New York State Smoker’s Quitline
- New York State Tobacco-Related Laws
- New York State Department of Health Tobacco Control Program
- Reality Check NYS
- Tobacco-Free New York State
Whistleblower and Ethical Behavior Policy
The Hepburn Library of Lisbon is committed to upholding the highest standards of ethical, moral, and legal business conduct, and the commitment to open communication. All staff members, trustees, and volunteers are required to uphold high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities.
Hepburn Library of Lisbon encourages all staff, board members and volunteers, acting in good faith to report suspected or actual wrongful conduct. Any Hepburn Library of Lisbon staff member, board member or volunteer who reports a suspected or actual wrongful conduct, in good faith, will not be fired or otherwise retaliated against for making the report. This policy applies to all employees, volunteers, and agents of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon, including the Director and the Board of Trustees.
The objectives of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon Whistleblower and Ethical Behavior Policy are to establish standards of conduct and procedures for:
- The submission of concerns, on a confidential basis, regarding:
- Harassment and bullying, sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment, or resulting in a tangible change in an employee’s employment status or benefits;
- Questionable accounting or auditing actions by employees, trustees, officers and other stakeholders of the organization;
- Wrongful conduct such as a violation of applicable state and/or Federal laws and regulations; a serious violation of Hepburn Library of Lisbon Policy; or the use of Hepburn Library of Lisbon property, resources, or authority for personal gain or other non-Hepburn Library of Lisbon purpose except as provided under Hepburn Library of Lisbon policy.
- The receipt, retention, and treatment of complaints received by the organization regarding harassment, accounting, internal controls, auditing matters or other wrongful conduct.
- The protection from retaliatory actions of trustees, employees, and volunteers reporting concerns.
Each trustee, employee, and volunteer of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon has an obligation to report in accordance with this Whistleblower and Ethical Behavior Policy (a) harassment or bullying; (b) questionable or improper accounting or auditing matters; (c) violations and suspected violations of this policy and; (d) wrongful conduct.
Authority of the Board of Trustees
All concerns submitted in writing will be forwarded to the President of the Board of Trustees in accordance with the procedures set forth below. The President shall be responsible for designating the appropriate committee to investigate and make appropriate recommendations to the Board of Trustees with respect to the following: (a) concerns that originate from trustees and other non-employees or; (b) concerns submitted by employees that have not been resolved by the Hepburn Library of Lisbon Director to the satisfaction of the complainant.
Reporting Procedures and Corrective Action for Employees
Employees should first discuss their concern, in confidence, with their immediate supervisor. If, after speaking with his or her supervisor, the employee is convinced that his or her concern is unwarranted or that, in the opinion of the employee, the supervisor will take appropriate steps to resolve the employee’s concern no further action is required by the employee.
- However, further action is required if the employee: (a) continues to have reasonable grounds to believe the concern is valid and that the response of his or her immediate supervisor is not adequate or; (b) the immediate supervisor recommends that the issue should be referred to a higher level in the organization. In this situation the employee should write a formal complaint which the first level supervisor is obligated to take to the Hepburn Library of Lisbon Director (or Acting Hepburn Library of Lisbon Director) in five working days.
- The Director shall promptly inform the employee of receipt of the complaint. A copy of the complaint shall be forwarded to the President of the Board of Trustees. The Director shall investigate the circumstances of the complaint in a timely fashion and, where warranted, take disciplinary and other actions. At the completion of the investigation, the Director shall provide the employee initiating the complaint and the President with a written summary of the action taken.
- Notwithstanding the procedure stated above, if the employee’s supervisor is the subject of the employee’s concern or is possibly involved, the employee may choose to discuss their concern directly and in confidence with the Director and then write a formal complaint. It is the responsibility of the Director to investigate promptly the circumstances of the complaint in the manner stated in the previous paragraph.
- In extraordinary circumstances, and after due consideration, an employee who suspects or believes that the Director is involved in unethical or illegal behavior may take his or her concerns directly to the President of the Board of Trustees using the procedure below entitled “Reporting Procedures for Trustees and Other Volunteers”.
Reporting Procedures and Corrective Action for Individuals Not Employed by Hepburn Library of Lisbon
Hepburn Library of Lisbon trustees, volunteers, and individuals in the North Country Library System and members of the general public should submit concerns in writing directly to the President of the Board of Trustees. If the President of the Board of Trustees is not available or is the subject of the concern, the complaint should be directed to the Vice-President of the Board of Trustees.
- The President shall be responsible for designating an appropriate committee, as circumstances dictate, to investigate and make appropriate recommendations to the Board of Trustees, with respect to all concerns received in writing. The designated committee has the authority to retain outside legal counsel, accountants, private investigators, or any other source deemed necessary to conduct a full and complete investigation of the allegations.
- The President shall inform the originator of the receipt of the written complaint. All trustees of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon shall be informed of the nature of the complaint with emphasis on maintaining the confidentiality appropriate for personnel issues.
- The Board of Trustees and its designated committee shall resolve all complaints in a timely fashion and inform the individual submitting the complaint of the Board’s final action.
Acting in Good Faith
Anyone reporting a concern must act in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates harassment or bullying; a questionable or improper accounting or auditing practice; a violation or suspected violation of this Hepburn Library of Lisbon Policy; or wrongful conduct.
The act of making allegations that prove to have been made maliciously, recklessly, or with the foreknowledge that the allegations are false, will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense and may result in discipline, up to and including termination of employment or dismissal from the trustee or volunteer position.
Reports of concerns and their investigations shall be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation. Disclosure of reports of concerns to individuals not involved in the investigation will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense and may result in discipline, up to and including termination of employment. Such conduct may also give rise to other actions, including civil lawsuits.
No Retaliation Provision
This Whistleblower and Ethical Behavior Policy is intended to encourage and enable employees, trustees, volunteers and others to raise concerns within the Hepburn Library of Lisbon for investigation and appropriate action. With this goal in mind, no trustee, employee or volunteer who, in good faith, reports a concern shall be subject to retaliation or, in the case of an employee, adverse employment consequences. Moreover, an employee, trustee or volunteer who retaliates against someone who has reported a concern in good faith shall be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment or dismissal from the trustee or volunteer position.
Revision of Library Policies
The preceding statements of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon’s policies shall be subject to review and revised as necessary by the Board of Trustees. Comprehensive or individual policies will be reviewed or added as needed. Registered patrons and other users of the Hepburn Library of Lisbon will be bound by any and all revisions and additions to library policies.
No revision should be undertaken while a formal challenge to a library resource is occurring. It is important to follow the current governing board-approved policy and process to maintain good faith with the community, complainants, and supporters. Revisions should occur after the final decision on the questioned material has been made. When a challenge has been resolved, those involved should reflect on the reconsideration experience and use new knowledge to revamp the current policy.
APPENDICES: Forms and Other Documents
Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
- Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, age, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
- Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
- Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
- Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
- A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
- Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
- All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.
Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; January 29, 2019.
Inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
Freedom to Read Statement
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.
Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.
These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.
Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.
Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.
The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
- It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.
Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
- Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.
Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
- It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
- There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
- It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.
The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
- It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.
It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society, individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.
- It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.
The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.
This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.
Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.
Freedom to View Statement
The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:
- To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.
- To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
- To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
- To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
- To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public’s freedom to view.
This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.
Endorsed January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council.
Curbside and Grab & Go (2020)
On March 7, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order 202, declaring a state of emergency in response to COVID-19. Community transmission of COVID-19 has occurred throughout New York. To minimize further spread, social distancing of at least six feet must be maintained between individuals, where possible.
On March 20, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.6, directing all non-essential businesses to close in-office personnel functions. Essential businesses, as defined by Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) guidance, were not subject to the in-person restriction, but were, however, directed to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health (DOH), and were strongly urged to maintain social distancing measures to the extent possible.
On April 12, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.16, directing essential businesses to provide employees, who are present in the workplace, with a face covering, at no-cost, that must be used when in direct contact with patrons or members of the public during the course of their work.
On April 15, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.17, directing that any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering must cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance.
On April 16, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.18, directing that everyone using public or private transportation carriers or other for-hire vehicles, who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering, must wear a mask or face covering over the nose and mouth during any such trip. It also directed any operators or drivers of public or private transport to wear 2 a face covering or mask which covers the nose and mouth while there are any passengers in such a vehicle.
On April 26, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced a phased approach to reopen industries and businesses in New York in phases based upon a data-driven, regional analysis.
On May 4, 2020, the Governor provided that the regional analysis would consider several public health factors, including new COVID-19 infections, as well as health care system, diagnostic testing, and contact tracing capacity.
On May 11, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced that the first phase of reopening would begin on May 15, 2020 in several regions of New York, based upon available regional metrics and indicators.
In addition to the following standards, both essential and non-essential businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining clean and safe work environments issued by DOH.
Please note that where guidance in this document differs from other guidance documents issued by New York State, the more recent guidance shall apply.
Standards for Responsible Curbside / Grab & Go Pickup
No curbside and grab & go pickup activity will occur without meeting the following minimum State standards, as well as applicable federal requirements, including but not limited to such minimum standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The State standards contained within this guidance apply to all curbside and grab & go pickup activities in operation during the COVID-19 public health emergency until rescinded or amended by the State. The library board of trustees has designated the library Director as the person responsible for meeting these standards.
The following guidance is organized around three distinct categories: people, places, and processes.
The library must ensure that for any curbside and grab & go pickup activity, the workforce presence is limited to only the employees necessary to conduct curbside and pickup activities, but no more than 50% of the maximum occupancy for a particular area as set by the certificate of occupancy or no more than one person for every 150 sq ft of available space, inclusive of patrons picking up library materials who must maintain six feet of separation from others or wear an acceptable face covering; and
The library must ensure that a distance of at least six feet is maintained among employees at all times, unless safety of the core activity requires a shorter distance (e.g. operating the circulation desk, moving and lifting materials). Any time employees must come within six feet of another person, acceptable face coverings must be worn. Employees must be prepared to don a face covering if another person unexpectedly comes within six feet.
- Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings and disposable masks that cover both the mouth and nose.
The library will modify the use and/or restrict the number of work spaces and employee seating areas, so that employees are at least six feet apart in all directions (e.g. side-to-side and when facing one another) and are not sharing work stations or spaces without cleaning and disinfection between use. When distancing is not feasible between work stations or spaces, the library must provide and require the use of face coverings or enact physical barriers, such as plastic shielding walls, in lieu of face coverings in areas where they would not affect air flow, heating, cooling, or ventilation.
- Physical barriers should be put in place in accordance with OSHA guidelines.
- Physical barrier options may include: strip curtains, plexiglass or similar materials, or other impermeable dividers or partitions.
The library will take the following measures to facilitate curbside and grab & go pickup, in accordance with OSHA guidance “COVID-19 Guidance for Restaurants & Beverage Vendors Offering Takeout or Curbside Pickup”:
- Display signage with the services available, instructions for ordering and pickup, and hours of operation for pickup.
- Avoid direct handoff, when possible.
- Advise pick-up time windows to stagger patron arrivals.
- Encourage patrons to pick-up materials one at a time while remaining patrons wait six feet away.
- Remind patrons of the need to use a face covering, particularly when a distance of at least six feet from others is not possible.
The library will encourage patrons to use touchless payment options for payment of library fines, lost items fees, or other services such as printing, copying, or faxing. Minimize handling cash, library cards, and mobile devices, where possible.
The library will modify layouts so that employees are at least six feet apart in all directions, unless physical barriers are in place (e.g. Plexiglass or other barriers at the circulation desk).
- The library must require that employees use cloth face masks when interacting with patrons.
- The library must reserve adequate space for employees to work, considering appropriate social distancing (e.g. close high-density areas, rearrange fixtures, have employees use separate computers, when available).
The library will prohibit the use of tightly confined spaces (e.g. closets, behind the circulation desk, narrow book stacks, lift) by more than one individual at a time, unless all employees in such spaces at the same time are wearing acceptable face coverings. However, occupancy must never exceed 50% of the maximum capacity of the space, unless it is designed for use by a single occupant. The library should increase ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible (e.g. opening windows, leaving doors open), while maintaining safety protocols.
The library will put in place measures to reduce bi-directional foot traffic using tape or signs with arrows in narrow book stacks, hallways, or spaces, and post signage and distance markers denoting spaces of six feet in all commonly used areas and any areas in which lines are commonly formed or people may congregate (e.g. circulation desk, front stairs, and lobby).
The library will post signs outside the building to remind individuals to adhere to social distancing instructions.
The library will post signs, consistent with DOH COVID-19 signage. The library may develop their own customized signage specific to their workplace or setting, provided that such signage is consistent with the Department’s signage. Signage should be used to remind employees to:
- Cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when six feet of social distance cannot be maintained.
- Properly store and, when necessary, discard personal protective equipment.
- Adhere to physical distancing instructions.
- Report symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19, and how they should do so.
- Follow hand hygiene and cleaning guidelines.
Gatherings in Enclosed Spaces
The library will limit in-person gatherings to the greatest extent possible and use other methods such as online messaging whenever possible, per CDC guidance “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”. When online messaging is not possible, the library should hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces and ensure that individuals maintain six feet of social distance between one another.
The library will put in place practices for adequate social distancing in confined areas and will develop signage and systems to restrict occupancy when social distancing cannot be maintained in such areas; and
The library will stagger or schedules for employees to observe social distancing. Employees who can work from home will continue to do so on a modified schedule.
The library will take measures to reduce interpersonal contact and congregation, through methods such as:
- limiting in-person presence to only those staff who are necessary to be on site while other staff work remotely;
- adjusting workflow to reduce employee and patron contact;
- batch activities, where possible, so employees can adhere to social distancing and reduce the number of hands touching library materials;
- The library will adjust hours for curbside or grab & go as necessary to enable enhanced cleaning procedures.
Movement and Commerce
The library will prohibit non-essential visitors on site.
The library will establish designated areas for pickups and returns, limiting contact to the extent possible.
The library will arrange patron waiting areas to maximize social distance among other patrons and minimize interaction with others in the area. Where possible, the library will implement a touchless pickup system whereby patrons collect items from a designated pickup area.
The library employee will sanitize hands before and after transferring library materials (e.g. to or from a library patron, or from the returns/drop box, or between employees.)
The library will ensure employees wear face coverings when interacting with patrons or coworkers within six feet distance AND without a physical barrier (e.g. plexiglass).
In addition to necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) as required for certain workplace activities, the library will procure, fashion, or otherwise obtain acceptable face coverings and provide such coverings to employees at work at no cost to the employee. Acceptable face coverings may include, but are not limited to, cloth (e.g. homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana), surgical masks, N95 respirators, and face shields.
Face covering must be cleaned and may not be shared. Employees will be responsible for washing or sanitizing face coverings between work shifts, and ensuring they arrive at work with sufficient clean coverings for the work day. Please consult the CDC guidance for additional information on cloth face covers and other types of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as instructions on use and cleaning.
The library will allow employees to use their own acceptable face coverings but cannot require employees to supply their own face coverings. Further, this guidance shall not prevent employees from wearing their personally owned additional protective coverings (e.g. surgical masks, N95 respirators, or face shields), or if the library otherwise requires employees to wear more protective PPE due to the nature of their work. The library will comply with all applicable OSHA standards.
The library will put in place measures to limit the sharing of objects, such as library materials, office supplies, computers, and other items, as well as the touching of shared surfaces; or, require workers to wear gloves when in contact with shared objects or frequently touched surfaces; or, require workers to sanitize or wash their hands before and after contact.
The library will train workers on how to adequately put on, take off, clean (as applicable), and discard PPE, including but not limited to, appropriate face coverings.
Hygiene and Cleaning
The library will ensure adherence to hygiene and sanitation requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19,” and the “STOP THE SPREAD” poster, as applicable. The library will maintain cleaning logs that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning.
The library will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations on site, as follows:
- For handwashing: soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels.
- For sanitizer: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing facilities may not be available or practical.
The library will provide appropriate cleaning / disinfection supplies for shared and frequently touched surfaces and encourage employees to use these supplies before and after use of these surfaces, followed by hand hygiene.
The library will conduct regular cleaning and disinfection of the building and more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high risk areas used by many individuals and for frequently touched surfaces. Cleaning and disinfecting must be rigorous and ongoing and should occur at least after each shift, daily, or more frequently as needed. Please refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19” for detailed instructions on how to clean facilities.
- The library will ensure regular cleaning and disinfecting of restrooms. Restrooms should be cleaned more often depending on frequency of use.
- The library will ensure distancing rules are adhered to by reducing capacity where feasible.
- The library will ensure that equipment is regularly disinfected using registered disinfectants, including at least as often as employees change workstations. Refer to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) list of products registered in New York State identified by the EPA as effective against COVID-19.
- If cleaning or disinfection products or the act of cleaning and disinfecting causes safety hazards or degrades the material or equipment, the library will put in place hand hygiene stations between use and/or supply disposable gloves and/or limitations on the number of employees using such equipment.
The library will provide for the cleaning and disinfection of exposed areas in the event of a positive case of COVID-19 of an employee, with such cleaning to include, at a minimum, all heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g. shared equipment, handrails, bathrooms, door knobs).
CDC guidelines on “Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility” if someone is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 infection are as follows:
- Close off areas used by the person who is sick. The library does not necessarily need to close operations, if they can close off the affected areas.
- Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
- Wait 24 hours before cleaning or disinfecting. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
- Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as the circulation desk, bathroom, common areas, and shared equipment.
- Once the area has been appropriately disinfected, it can be opened for use.
- Employees without close contact with the person who is sick can return to the work area immediately after disinfection.
- Per CDC’s “Evaluating and Testing Persons for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19),” considerations when assessing close contact include the duration of exposure (e.g. longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk) and the clinical symptoms of the person with COVID-19 (e.g. coughing likely increases exposure risk as does exposure to a severely ill patient).
- If more than seven days have passed since the person who is sick visited or used the library, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary, but routine cleaning and disinfection should continue.
The library will quarantine returned library materials for a minimum of 72 hours (or as recommended by a library or government authority) prior to lending those items to another patron.
For activities involving the handling of shared objects (e.g. computers), areas (e.g. circulation desk and/or pickup area), and/or surfaces (e.g. doors), the library will ensure that such areas and objects are cleaned daily, at a minimum.
The library will phase-in reopening activities so as to allow for operational issues to be resolved before library services or work activities return to normal levels. The library will limit the number of employees, service hours, programs, services, and number of patrons available to be served when first reopening so as to provide operations with the ability to adjust to the changes.
The library will affirm that they have reviewed and understand the state-issued industry guidelines, and that they will implement them.
The library will develop a communications plan for employees, visitors, and patrons that includes applicable instructions, training, signage, and a consistent means to provide employees and patrons with information. The library will communicate with patrons via signage and the internet.
The library will encourage patrons to adhere to CDC and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE, specifically face coverings when a social distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained, through verbal communication and signage.
The library will post signage inside and outside of the building to remind employees and patrons to adhere to proper hygiene, social distancing rules, appropriate use of PPE, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
Screening and Testing
The library will implement mandatory daily health screening practices.
- Screening practices may be performed remotely before the employee reports to the library, to the extent possible; or may be performed on site.
- Screening will be required of all employees and essential visitors (but not patrons) and completed using a questionnaire that determines whether the worker or visitor has:
- knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19,
- tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or
- has experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
According to CDC guidance on “Symptoms of Coronavirus,” the term “symptomatic” includes employees who have the following symptoms or combinations of symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, or at least two of the following symptoms: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.
The library will require employees to immediately disclose if and when their responses to any of the aforementioned questions changes, such as if they begin to experience symptoms, including during or outside of work hours.
Daily temperature checks may also be conducted per Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or DOH guidelines. The library is prohibited from keeping records of employee health data (e.g. temperature data).
The library will ensure that any personnel performing screening activities, including temperature checks, are appropriately protected from exposure to potentially infectious employees, essential visitors, or patrons entering the library. Personnel performing screening activities should be trained by employer-identified individuals who are familiar with CDC, DOH, and OSHA protocols.
Screeners will be provided and use PPE, including at a minimum, a face mask, and may include gloves, a gown, and/or a face shield.
An employee who screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to enter the library and will be sent home with instructions to contact their healthcare provider for assessment and testing. The library must immediately notify the local health department and DOH about the suspected case. The library will provide the employee with information on healthcare and testing resources.
An employee who has responded that they have had close contact with a person who is confirmed or suspected for COVID-19 may not be allowed to enter the library without abiding by the precautions outlined below and the library has documented the employee’s adherence to those precautions.
The library will review all employee and essential visitor responses collected by the screening process on a daily basis and maintain a record of such review. Employees essential visitors will report to the library Director if they are experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms, as noted in the questionnaire. In the event the Director is ill, the board president will be notified.
The library Director will be the safety monitor whose responsibilities include continuous compliance with all aspects of the safety plan.
To the extent possible, the library will maintain a log of every person, including employees and essential visitors, who may have close contact with other individuals at the library; excluding deliveries that are performed with appropriate PPE or through contactless means. Log should contain contact information, such that all contacts may be identified, traced and notified in the event an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19. The library must cooperate with local health department contact tracing efforts.
The library will not mandate that patrons complete a health screen or provide contact information but may encourage patrons to do so. The library will provide an option for patrons to provide contact information so they can be logged and contacted for contact tracing, if necessary.
The library and employees should take the following actions related to COVID-19 symptoms and contact:
- If an employee has COVID-19 symptoms AND EITHER tests positive for COVID-19 OR did not receive a test, the employee may only return to work after completing a 14-day self-quarantine. If an employee is critical to the operation or safety of the library, the library may consult their local health department and the most up-to-date CDC and DOH standards on the minimum number of days to quarantine before an employee is safely able to return to work with additional precautions to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- If an employee does NOT have COVID-19 symptoms BUT tests positive for COVID-19, the employee may only return to work after completing a 14-day self-quarantine. If an employee is critical to the operation or safety of the library, the library may consult their local health department and the most up-to-date CDC and DOH standards on the minimum number of days to quarantine before an employee is safely able to return to work with additional precautions to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- If an employee has had close contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time AND is symptomatic, the employee should notify the library and follow the above protocol for a positive case.
- If an employee has had close contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time AND is NOT symptomatic, the employee should notify the library and adhere to the following practices prior to and during their work shift, which should be documented by the library:
- Regular monitoring: As long as the employee does not have a temperature or symptoms, they should self-monitor under the supervision of the library’s occupational health program.
- Wear a mask: The employee should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure.
- Social distance: Employee should continue social distancing practices, including maintaining, at least, six feet distance from others.
- Disinfect and clean work spaces: Continue to clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, and shared electronic equipment routinely.
- If an employee is symptomatic upon arrival at work or becomes sick during the day, the employee will be sent home immediately, following the above protocol for a positive case.
Tracing and Tracking
The library will notify the local health department and DOH immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 test result by an employee or essential visitor at their site.
In the case of an employee, essential visitor, or patron who interacted at the library testing positive, the library will cooperate with the local health department to trace all contacts in the library and notify the health department of all employees, essential visitors, and patrons (as applicable) who entered the library dating back to 48 hours before the employee, essential visitor, or patron (as applicable) began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive, whichever is earlier, but maintain confidentiality as required by library policy, federal and state law, and regulations.
The local health department will implement monitoring and movement restrictions of infected or exposed persons including home isolation or quarantine.
Employees who are alerted that they have come into close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19, and have been alerted via tracing, tracking or other mechanism, are required to self-report to the library at the time of alert and shall follow all required protocols as if they had been exposed at work.
The library will conspicuously post completed safety plans on site. The State has made available a business reopening safety plan template to guide business owners and operators in developing plans to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
Additional safety information, guidelines, and resources are available at:
New York State Department of Health Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Website
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus (COVID-19) Website
Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 Website