Children at the Library
Service to children is an important goal at the Carroll and Madison Library System. Children of all ages are welcomed and encouraged to use the library materials, programs and services. The Carroll and Madison Library System Libraries are public buildings and are open to all, regardless of origin, age, background and views.
Library staff strives to ensure that all buildings are operated in a safe manner. However, because the buildings are open to all, libraries cannot be considered safe places for unattended children.
The responsibility for the safety and behavior of children in the Library rests with the parents, legal guardians, or other responsible adult caregivers. Library staff is not responsible for the care and safety of unattended children in the library.
In order to maintain a safe atmosphere where reading and study are encouraged, the following policy has been adopted by the Carroll and Madison Library System Board of Trustees, the Carroll County Library Board and the Madison County Library Board:
- Children under the age of 10 must be accompanied continually by a parent, legal guardian, or responsible adult caregiver. A parent or responsible adult caregiver must remain with the children at all times.
- Unless a previous arrangement has been made between the parent or adult caregiver and the Library Director to leave a child at the library for a specific amount of time, if a child age under the age of 10 is found to be unaccompanied in the Library, staff will try to locate the parent, legal guardian, or responsible adult caregiver in the library or by telephone to remedy the situation. If a parent, legal guardian, or responsible adult caregiver cannot be located within 30 minutes, the Police, County Child Protective Services, or other appropriate government agency will be called.
If it is unsafe for a child to leave the building without an adult, that child should never be left unattended in the Library!
- Children age 10 and older may use the Library without a parent or responsible adult caregiver present, but must be able to reach a parent, legal guardian, or responsible adult caregiver immediately, either in person or by phone. All children in the Library must follow the Patron Rules of Conduct and are expected to use the Library appropriately. Children who do not follow these rules are subject to the same consequences as other library users, including being required to leave the Library or losing library privileges.
Because the freedom to read freely from a variety of sources is essential in a democracy, the Carroll and Madison Library System
(CAMALS) believes there shall be no censorship. We subscribe to the book selection principles contained in the Library Bill of
Rights adapted by the American Library Association, and the Freedom to Read Statement endorsed by the American Library Association
Council and the Association of American Publishers. CAMALS recognizes that many books are controversial and that any given item
may offend some patrons. Selection will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the
merits of the work in relation to building the collections and serving the interests of the patrons. All materials added to the
collection shall be judged on the content as a whole, not by detached excerpts. The personal behavior of the creator of any
material has no bearing on the selection of the material.
Maximum effort is directed toward maintaining a standard of excellence in materials selection for all segments of the community, striking a balance between public demand and diversity of material. Factual accuracy, effective expression, significance of the subject, sincerity and responsibility of opinion are acceptable criteria for a high standard of quality. The interest and current needs of the community, the individual merit of each item, and the library’s existing collection, budget and services are the main factors in selection. The Director, with the aid of the library staff, shall be free to use her or his judgment in the selection, retention and withdrawal of materials within the guidelines of this selection policy.
Library materials are selected by the Director and the library staff after consulting professional review media including: Children’s Catalog, Standard Catalog for Public Libraries, Library Journal, New York Times Book Review, Voice of Youth Advocates, Baker and Taylor Booklist. Final responsibility for purchase of materials resides with the Director of the Library.
Standards of Selection
- Adult Fiction – Points considered in adult book selection are informational, recreational, literary and educational value; authority and effectiveness of presentation; and availability of funds and space. Contemporary authors are included as well as those who have demonstrated enduring worth.
- Adult Non-Fiction – Points considered include the author’s competency, the information presented, and the potential usefulness in the library’s collection. The Library Director attempts to 1) meet the patrons’ demands, 2) purchase material that is pertinent and timely, and represents all sides of controversial issues, 3) purchase material in which the author presents the material accurately, clearly, and in a readable manner. The Library Director purchases materials relating to local and regional history and seeks other relevant material in this area to add to the collection.
- Young Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction – Both fiction and non-fiction books are selected to meet informational and recreational needs. Materials are chosen from reviews in journals or through booklists from established sources.
- Children’s Fiction – Literary merit and validity of theme whether it be fantasy, history, sport, or contemporary life are deemed of prime consideration in the selection of juvenile fiction. Fiction plays an important role in the learning experience of a child through its ability to introduce a wide range of experiences which otherwise may never be encountered by the child.
- Children’s Non-Fiction – An effort is made to obtain only material that is authoritative and up-to-date. Subjects relating to contemporary issues such as drug abuse and sex education are not be avoided due to their potentially controversial nature; rather such material is purchased for various levels of maturity and for parents to use with children. Book selections for the children’s collection are not curriculum oriented. Books are chosen for their individual values for individual children. Exposure to a broad selection of informational and recreational materials is a good way to stimulate the desire to read and grow intellectually. Final responsibility for an individual child’s selection of library materials rests with the parent or guardian.
Non-book materials are considered an integral part of the library collection. They provide an additional dimension to the book collection and provide alternative methods of access to information and recreation. Standards of quality are the same as those established for the library collection as a whole.
Periodicals – The libraries in CAMALS shall subscribe to periodicals that meet both informational and recreational needs of adults, young adults, and children. Periodical titles are reviewed annually to insure maximum usefulness to the public, taking into consideration the year’s budget and the following criteria: Community interest, accuracy and objectivity, accessibility through indexes, need as a reference source, recommendations from professional sources such as Magazines for Public Libraries, price, and space. Backruns of periodicals are kept for a select number of heavily used titles. No attempt is made to house extensive backruns of all periodicals received.
Newspapers – The libraries subscribe to selected local, state and national newspapers for news, current affairs and business information. Limited backruns of paper copies are maintained along with more extensive microfilm backruns of selected newspapers when available.
The libraries meet both recreational and informational needs through the provision of various formats of non-print materials.
- Audio Recordings – Sound recordings consisting of both music and spoken word are chosen to meet recreational, instructional and educational needs of community members of all ages and abilities.
- Video Recordings – Documentary, instructional, recreational videos for all ages are provided to complement the library’s total collection. Visual recordings are selected by the same general criteria as outlined in this policy.
Electronic Resources – Electronic resources are an increasingly essential format of information delivery and entertainment. These include but are not limited to electronic indexes, electronic encyclopedias and other electronic databases. In addition to criteria used for book selection, such factors as ease of patron use, currency of information, cost and physical requirements of necessary equipment are considered in choosing these materials for the collections.
Basis for Withdrawal
Weeding is part of the continuous evaluation of the Carroll and Madison Library System’s collections by the professional staff. This process is an integral part of collection development and maintenance. Reasons for weeding material from the collection are lack of space, poor physical condition, and outdated information. The primary goal of weeding is to keep the collection current, attractive, and usable. Materials are not removed from the collections solely as a result of pressure or demand from patrons.
Reconsideration of Materials
A patron who questions any material in one of the libraries in CAMALS may register his/her opinion in writing on the form, Request for Reconsideration, and the matter will be referred to the Library Director. The form is available at all libraries in the system.
Upon receiving a written request, the Library Director shall notify the Regional Library Administrator and the local library board that a request has been made, and provide them with all information including the date of the next board meeting when the Request for Reconsideration shall be on the agenda. The item in question will be subject to recall from circulation in time for examination at the meeting otherwise it will remain in the circulating collection of the library.
The Library Director and/or Library Administrator will assemble all information about what selection and retention principles were used with the item, such as reviews, quotations, and the number of circulations.
The local library board shall meet with the Library Director and CAMALS Administrator to consider the item in light of library policy. A decision to retain or withdraw the item shall be made.
Notice of the board’s decision will be sent to the Requestor. If the item is removed or restricted and if the removal or restriction is objected to by anyone in the area served (person hereafter called the Supporter), the Supporter may request reinstatement an/or retention of the item.
If the decision made is unsatisfactory to the Requestor or Supporter, the same or a second Request for Reconsideration may be made through the Library Director. This request will lead to a meeting of the county board or regional board, if the county board has already considered the matter.
Notice of the action taken will be sent to either the Requestor (or Supporter). If the action is unsatisfactory, the Requester (or Supporter) may then request a formal open hearing on the item. Public notice will be given for a minimum of 60 days throughout the library region. The Arkansas State Library, the Arkansas Library Association, and the American Library Association shall be notified. The open meeting will be held at a time convenient to the public.
This will be is an open meeting of the CAMALS Board, and the Requestor (or Supporter) may be asked to explain the Request for Reconsideration and answer questions from the Board. Both the Requestor (and/or Supporter) and the library board may invite testimony from representatives qualified to represent information on the item.
The CAMALS Board will then reconsider the item and decide whether or not to restrict access to the item or withdraw the item from the collection.
Notice of the Board’s decision will be sent to the Requestor (or Supporter) and to any organizations involved or notified of the meeting.
The CAMALS reserves the right to use gifts of materials in a manner in keeping with its collections and with its selection policy. Materials considered unsuitable for the collections will be placed in a book sale or discarded.
CAMALS accepts donations toward the purchase of memorial or commemorative books. Library staff will select the title (or titles) in accordance with the donor’s wishes regarding the subject specified. The Library may accept a donation for a specific title if the title meets collection needs and selection policy standards. An identifying bookplate shall be placed inside the front cover of each memorial or commemorative book.
Confidentiality of Library Patron Records
The Carroll and Madison Library System libraries respect the patron’s freedom to read, listen, view, and gain access to information and materials without public scrutiny. As members of the library profession, the library staff recognizes their ethical responsibilities to protect the privacy of the library’s users, and supports the patron’s right to have his or her library records remains private.
The library has endorsed the recommendations of the American Library Association’s Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records, and will follow Arkansas Code 13-2-701 to 706 regarding the patron’s right to privacy. [Appendix A]
Includes, but is not limited to:
Information Requested, Used, or Obtained
- Patron registration data
- Circulation records
- Overdue and reserve records
- Notes added by library staff to borrower records
- Participation in library sponsored programs
- Record of library visits
- Data containing information linking specific patrons to specific materials or services used
Includes, but is not limited to:
Disclosure of Information
- Circulation of library books or other materials
- Computer database searches
- Interlibrary loan transactions
- Reference queries
- Photocopies of library materials
- Title reserve requests
- Audiovisual materials, films, or recordings
Arkansas Code 13-2-704, allows certain provisions for the disclosure of library records. [Appendix A]
Each patron has individual control over his or her borrower’s card. Presentation of the card permits access to the patron’s library records.
The library may disclose information to any person with the informed, written consent of the patron.
Information will be released to any person, agency, or organization, in response to a valid court order or subpoena, when properly presented to the library director.
Administration of Library Business
The library staff will use patrons’ library records in the administration of their regular library duties. This includes efforts to collect overdue materials, fees, and fines, and to promote special library activities and services.
These efforts are in compliance with Arkansas Code 13-2-705.
Patron Rules of Conduct
The libraries in Carroll and Madison Library System are a limited public forum that is open to the public for specified purposes: reading, studying, and using library materials and meeting facilities when appropriate. CAMALS permits the public to exercise rights that are consistent with those purposes, and endeavors to ensure that the public is allowed to pursue those purposes with encountering unreasonable nuisances in its facilities. Failure to follow the rules of conduct will result in disciplinary action being taken.
Action may range from verbal warning to being permanently barred from CAMALS facilities. Some offenses may be prosecuted under appropriate statutes, ordinances, etc.
- All conversations, including cell phone conversations, shall be limited to a length and noise level that does not disturb others.
- Persons shall not harass, annoy, or interrupt the work or study of other patrons or staff.
- Persons must wear shoes and, as appropriate, trousers, outer shorts, skirts, blouses, shirts, etc.
- Clothing must be zippered, buttoned, or fastened to avoid indecent exposure.
- Personal hygiene shall conform to the generally accepted standard of the community, and shall not be so offensive as to disturb others.
- Any carrying device may be searched when the person leaves the building.
- The police or a juvenile welfare-related agency may be called if children under 14 years of age are left unattended prior to regular opening time or have not been picked up prior to closing time.
- Persons shall not enter spaces marked “Staff Only” unless they have specific permission from CAMALS staff.
- Persons shall not engage in fighting or using abusive language.
- Persons shall not deface or mutilate any library property.
- Eating or drinking is not allowed in the library except in designated meeting areas.
- Smoking is not allowed in the library.
- Sleeping is not permitted in the library.
- No animals, except service animals, are allowed in the library.
- Public restrooms shall not be used for bathing, shaving, or changing clothes.
- No weapons are allowed in the library.
- Non-library approved solicitation in any form is forbidden.
- Littering within the building or on the grounds is forbidden.
- Library computer users must sign in and agree to the Public Computer and Internet Use Policy.
Public Computer and Internet Use Policy
To fulfill its mission to provide information to the public, the Carroll and Madison Library System Libraries provide free public access to the Internet.
The Internet is a global, digital network with no centralized control over its users or content. Information on the Internet may be reliable and current or it may be inaccurate, out-of-date, or unavailable at times. The Library cannot be responsible for its content.
As with other library materials, restriction of a child’s access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent/guardian. The Internet may contain material that is inappropriate for viewing by children. The Library Staff cannot monitor and supervise children’s use of the Internet.
Displaying, sending or receiving material inappropriate for viewing in a public place is prohibited by Arkansas Code 5-68-205. Inappropriate material is defined as pictures or text which could reasonably be construed as obscene pornographic, as defined by Arkansas State Code 5-68-302.
Patrons must note:
The Library may deny or withhold computer, Internet or even library access privileges for infractions of these policies. In accordance with Arkansas State Code 13-2-103(a)(3), the Carroll and Madison Library System Libraries requires all users to signify their agreement with its policy before accessing the Internet at any Library public access computer.
- Starting any computer application or software on the Library's computers signifies agreement with the Library's rules for computer use.
- Library staff can assist with basic computer use but may not be able to assist with the use of software or Internet resources.
- Computer users may not install or use any software not installed by the library.
- Attempts to damage computer equipment or alter computer configuration are unacceptable uses of the Library’s electronic resources.
- If Internet searching results in disruption of library services or if patron behavior when using Internet resources becomes inappropriate for a library setting, the Library reserves the right to end the session.
Individual Library Policies
Procedures and polices regarding computer use vary in each library in the Carroll and Madison Library System. Please check for these individual policies and procedures.
Public Service Policy
Service will not be denied nor abridged because of religious, racial, social, economic or political status.
The libraries in the Carroll and Madison Library System (CAMALS) will cooperate with area agencies and organizations in order to meet the needs of the community.
The libraries will initiate programs, exhibits, book lists, etc. to stimulate the use of library materials for the benefit of people of all ages.
As no single library can meet all demands in a community, the libraries in CAMALS encourage active participation in cooperative effects with other libraries. The libraries in CAMALS will borrow materials for patrons which are not owned by the libraries and which cannot be purchased or materials for which the demand does not justify purchase. The CAMALS libraries will lend to other libraries materials, which are requested, however, CAMALS patrons have priority in the use of materials.
The libraries in CAMALS will cooperate with, but cannot perform the functions of, school or other institutional libraries, which are designed to meet special or curricular needs.
The libraries in CAMALS will protect, as far as possible, the privacy of any person who uses the library according to Arkansas Code Title 13-2-701 to Title 13-2-704, Confidentiality of Patron’s Records.