The Fletcher Free Library has policies, rules and ordinances to ensure the best possible patron experience for everyone.
- LIBRARY ORDINANCE
- CIRCULATION POLICY
Total items of any kind: 35
Movies on DVD: 5
To promote greater equity, the Fletcher Free Library has eliminated most overdue fines. Library users are still responsible for fees associated with the replacement of lost or damaged books and other materials checked out. Under this new policy, it is important to understand the difference between overdue fines and billed-item fees. Overdue fines are the daily charges applied to items not returned by their specified due date. Billed-item fees represent the charges applied for lost, damaged, or unreturned materials and are still in effect. Library users are encouraged to be good neighbors and return materials in a timely fashion so others may enjoy these resources.
Museum Passes & Select LONT items $3.00 late fine per day
Telescope and Laptop and WiFi Hotspot Kits $5.00 late fine per day
Lost/Damaged Items or Items not returned after 45 days late incur the Replacement cost of the item plus a $5 processing fee.
*Some items (such as Books on CD, Launchpads, Museum Passes & Playaways, and some LONT items) have high replacement costs. Please contact the front desk for this information at 802.863.3403.
Payments may be made with cash, check, or credit card at our front desk. Credit transactions have a $3.00 additional flat fee.
Books & Audio: 3 weeks
Movies & Tools or LONT items: 1 week
Back periodicals: 1 week
Item may be renewed 5X unless other patrons have placed holds.
Renewals and Placing Holds:
Call (863.3403, ext. 0) or visit the Circulation Desk, or
Use our online catalog via a link above. With your 14-digit Library Card Barcode and 4-digit PIN you can Sign In, then click "My Account" to renew and place holds on line 24/7. (PINs are noted on new cards-- if yours is missing, visit the Circulation Desk in person to get your PIN).
Interlibrary Loan is available for items not in our collection, as long as they are not newly-published.
Items must be checked in at the Circulation Desk before closing on the due date.
The Book Drop located by the front door is open for returns when the Library is closed. Items returned in the Book Drop are checked in on the following day.
Another Book Drop is located in the North End: Miller Center, 130 Gosse Court, near the front entrance. It is currently closed, due to the pandemic.
- MEETING ROOM POLICY
Policy and Rules for Use
The Fletcher Free Library welcomes the use of its meeting rooms by responsible individuals and groups. The mission of the Library is: To inform, enrich and nurture a community of lifelong learners. The rooms are provided to help accomplish this mission.
WHO CAN USE LIBRARY MEETING ROOMS
The meeting rooms are available for non-commercial and non-profit purposes such as civic, community, cultural, or educational activities compatible with Library use. In allowing use of its rooms, the Fletcher Free Library does not discriminate against individuals or groups because of their race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, place of birth, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, marital status, veteran status, disability, HIV status, genetic information, physical or mental impairment, or receipt of public assistance. All reserved meeting rooms must be open to the public and may be monitored by Library staff to ensure compliance with this policy. The Library meeting rooms are not for private meetings, personal or family parties or purely social functions unless approved by the Library Director.
1. Minors using a meeting room must be supervised by at least one adult. Only adults may reserve a meeting room and the adult reserving the room will be responsible for the behavior of the minors attending the program.
2. If children are brought to a meeting, the accompanying adult is responsible for the children’s behavior throughout the building. If children create a disturbance in the Library, they will be required to stay with the adult in the meeting room.
3. When not already reserved, the meeting rooms are available for walk-in use by tutor teams and study groups provided that they check in with the front desk and do not interfere with any subsequently reserved activities.
4. Please notify a librarian as soon as possible if any individuals with disabilities require accommodation to access or use the meeting rooms, and Library staff will work with the appropriate individuals to address the request.
FEES AND CHARGES
1. The rooms are available without charge; however, donations are accepted.
2. No admission fees may be charged. Generally, no buying or selling is permitted, although exceptions, such as the sale of books incidental to a book reading and signing, may be approved by the Director, if determined compatible with Library uses.
SCHEDULING OF ROOMS
1. Reservations of meetings rooms can be made: online at Reservation Request Form or by filling out a paper copy at the Library. Reservations must be made at least two weeks prior to the event date. All reservations are on a first come, first served basis. Reservations are not accepted more than three (3)months in advance of the meeting.
2. Rooms available with the following limitations:
a. Main Reading Room: maximum occupancy 299 (Director’s approval only)
b. Fletcher Meeting Room: maximum occupancy 72
c. Pickering Meeting Room A: maximum occupancy 60
d. Community Meeting Room: maximum occupancy 50
3. Standing reservations for monthly meetings may be scheduled fora three-month time period. Weekly meetings may be scheduled for a one-month time period with the approval of the Director. To ensure access for all members of the community, the Library generally will not allow regular weekly meetings by a single group or individual for an extended period.
4. No group or individual may assign its reservation to another group or individual.
5. Library-sponsored activities will take precedence overall other activities, and the Library reserves the right to cancel any scheduled use of a meeting room if, in the Director’s discretion: (1) It conflicts with the operation of the Library; (2) The room is needed fora Library-sponsored activity; or (3) The individual or group fails to comply with Library policy.
USE OF THE ROOMS
1. The meeting rooms are available during the hours in which the Library is open to the public. All programs outside of public Library hours must be arranged with programming librarian or Director.
2. Reservations must include set-up and clean-up times by the group.
3. Early admittance to the building prior to public opening time is permitted if adequate Library staff is on hand to provide access to the building. All groups are expected to vacate the room15 minutes before the Library closes or must make previous arrangements for use after Library closing.
4. The scheduling party may arrange the chairs and tables to suit their needs. Following the meeting, and the room should be left in good order. Any special cleaning needed after the meeting will be paid for by the scheduling party. If a user fails to leave a meeting room or equipment in its original condition, the person who made the reservation will be charged a fee based on the following rates:
a. Maintenance (reset room, clean carpet, repair furniture): $25/hour
b. Equipment damage or replacement: Cost plus $25 service fee
5. Light refreshments may be served in the meeting rooms. The Library does not provide supplies for refreshments. No alcoholic beverages are permitted without the approval of the Director, and programs must have received the appropriate license.
6. No provision can be made for the storage of equipment and supplies to be used by anyone using the meeting rooms.
7. Special arrangements must be made in advance to use the Library’s audio-visual equipment (minimum 7 days).
8. The Director or designee has the power to terminate any meeting or event disruptive to Library operations or incompatible with Library uses.
9. Room temperature is pre-set and cannot be adjusted by Library staff.
10. The Library does not guarantee parking facilities for those attending a meeting.
11. All participants are required to follow all Library rules or policies and to engage in no illegal activity on Library grounds. Library staff may ask any individual to leave the premises for any failure to abide by this policy.
The Library does not assume any responsibility or liability for loss, damage or injury to any person or property occurring as a result of the activities of any person using the meeting rooms.
1. Use of the meeting rooms does not constitute Library endorsement of the viewpoints expressed by participants in the programs.
2. Publicity for an event that is not sponsored by the Fletcher Free Library or the City of Burlington must not be worded in a manner that would imply Library sponsorship of the group’s activities.
3. The name, address, and/or telephone number of the Library must not be used as the official address or headquarters of an organization.
4. The party scheduling the meeting room shall be responsible for any injury to any participant and for any damage caused by any participant to the Library or other person.
To Reserve a Meeting Room, go to https://www.fletcherfree.org/ReserveAMeetingRoom
- RESTROOM POLICY
The Fletcher Free Library has established certain standards of acceptable behavior on Library property in order to maintain an atmosphere that promotes the use and enjoyment of the resources and services of the Library, promotes the safety of the general public and the Library staff, and protects the building, furniture, equipment, and materials of the Library.
Any activity that interferes with the rights of other patrons to use the Library, disrupts the normal functioning of the Library, could result in physical, emotional, or mental injury to oneself or others, or could result in damage to the facilities, equipment, or materials is considered disruptive and unacceptable behavior.
Restrooms for the general public are located on the Mezzanine level. In order to access the general restrooms the user must go to the Main Circulation Desk and exchange their Library Card or ID for the restroom key. At the discretion of staff, other forms of collateral may be accepted, such as a phone or keys. Staff cannot accept large forms of collateral such as backpacks or groceries.
The restrooms located in the Basement level are restricted for use by those attending meetings in the Community Room and Library users requiring ADA accessibility, who can request access at the Main Circulation desk.
The restrooms in the Children’s area are restricted to children, parents and/or caregivers accompanied by a child, or users requiring ADA accessibility.
Bathroom Security Pilot - 5/21/18
The Fletcher Free Library adult bathrooms will be unlocked and propped open on Saturdays and Sundays during the pilot period, beginning Saturday, June 2nd and ending August 31st. Security guards will check the bathrooms several times per hour on these days, with the support of library staff when appropriate or necessary.
- COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT POLICY
In keeping with the Fletcher Free Library’s mission statement, the Collection Development Policy serves to ensure that the Library’s collection serves the diverse educational, cultural, and recreational needs of the community. We strive to develop a robust, up-to-date, well-rounded and relevant collection that reflects and enhances the cultural interests of Burlington.
The purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to provide a framework to guide selection decisions, and establish practices to maintain the collection.
As the largest public library in the state of Vermont, serving an immediate population of over 42,000 people, The Fletcher Free Library provides access to information to a diverse community. Sixty languages are spoken in the homes of Burlington’s school children. Burlington is the home city for several corporate headquarters, supports a thriving creativity sector, and hosts the University of Vermont, Champlain College, and Burlington College.
The Fletcher Free Library collects materials to support the Library’s mission. Materials are collected in a variety of formats for all ages.
Member use and demand is the most powerful influence in collection development decisions. Circulation statistics, title requests, and hold levels are regularly evaluated to monitor the demand for materials. High demand may lead to the purchase of additional copies to provide access to materials in a timely manner.
In keeping with the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, efforts are consistently made to avoid bias in the collection. No beliefs, be they from Librarian, Selector, Commissioner, or Library member, may prevent another’s access to information. The Library provides materials to support each individual’s journey, and does not place a value on one member’s needs or preferences over another’s. The Library upholds the right of the individual to access information, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to others.
The Library’s collection is an ever-changing entity. As items are added, others are reviewed for their ongoing value and sometimes removed from the collection. Great care is taken to retain or replace items that have enduring value to the community. Decisions are influenced by patterns of use, budget, and space limitations, as well as local needs which preclude the Library from duplicating the specialized and comprehensive collections that exist elsewhere in the state of Vermont. Access to these collections is provided through interlibrary loan.
The Library’s Youth and Young Adult collections serve to encourage recreational reading, support scholarly enquiry, and develop life-long learning. The collections should serve to stimulate interest, enhance reading skills, and reflect the diversity of the community. The reading and viewing activity of children is ultimately the responsibility of the parents/guardians who oversee and guide their own children’s development. The Fletcher Free Library does not intrude on that relationship.
Responsibility for Collection Management:
Implementation of the Collection Development Policy and management of the collection is assigned to Library staff. Staff review the collection regularly to maintain its viability and usefulness to the community. The Fletcher Free Library disposes of materials that have been withdrawn according to the Criteria for Weeding and Withdrawal outlined below. The Friends of the Fletcher Free Library serves as an instrument for the Library, reselling or redistributing withdrawn Library materials.
Budgeting and Funding:
Funding for the purchase of materials comes primarily from the City of Burlington’s General Fund. In 1995, a ½-cent tax was approved by Burlington voters to ensure the vitality of the Library’s collection. Additional funding may come in the form of grants or donations.
Selection Criteria and Maintenance:
General criteria for selecting materials to be added to the Library’s collection shall include, but not be limited to the following:
- Relevance to the needs and interests of the community
- Price, availability, and the Library’s materials budget
- Date of publication
- Suitability of the format for library circulation
- Current or historical significance of the author or subject
- Reputation and qualifications of the author, publisher, or producer, with preference generally given to titles vetted through the editing and publishing industry
- Relevance to the existing collection’s strengths or weaknesses
- Local significance of the author or subject
- Extent of publicity, critical reception, and anticipated demand
Certain topics and types of materials become out-of-date more quickly than others. It is the Selector’s responsibility to ensure that the Library is keeping up with current trends in their selection assignment ranges.
Selectors have a variety of tools to use in their selection process. Selectors employ their training, knowledge, expertise, and familiarity with the Burlington community in making selection decisions. Additionally, the Library provides library and publishing trade journals, attendance to professional conferences, vendor databases, and catalogs to keep Selectors abreast of trends and forthcoming publications.
Criteria for Weeding and Withdrawal:
The decision to remove an item from the Library’s collection is as important as the decision to add an item. The process of removing items from the Library’s collections is undertaken on an ongoing basis. Criteria for weeding and withdrawal of Library materials includes, but is not limited to:
- Damage or poor condition
- Number of copies in the collection
- Accuracy or timeliness
- Current demand and frequency of use
- Updated materials covering the topic available for acquisition
- Relevance to the needs and interests of the community
- Local interest
- Potential availability in other formats or from other libraries
- Enduring value of the content
- Coverage of the topic within the Library’s collection
- Limitations of shelving space
If the Selector directs, damaged or dated materials may be replaced with newer copies or editions when available. Other factors in the decision to replace materials may include need, demand, and budgeting constraints.
The Library seeks to provide material appropriate for a wide range of users and their needs. The Library reserves the right to limit use of materials due to formats not suitable for circulation. These may include materials that may sustain damage from normal library wear-and-tear that may prove difficult to repair or replace.
Gifts and Donations:
The Fletcher Free Library accepts unrestricted, irrevocable gifts of books and other library materials in good condition. Gifts and donations are accepted with the understanding that they will be evaluated by the same criteria used to select and purchase materials for addition to the collection. If gifts do not meet these criteria, they may be conveyed to the Friends of Fletcher Free Library for sales to benefit the Library, recycled or otherwise distributed. Gifts will not be returned to the donor if they are not selected for the Library’s collection.
Requests for Reconsideration:
A member may submit a formal Request for Reconsideration in writing. The form is available online or at the Circulation Desk. Upon receipt of a completed Request for Reconsideration, the Library Director will appoint an ad-hoc committee from the professional staff including, but not limited to, the Selector for the subject area of the item in question and the appropriate department head. The committee will consider the request in relation to the Library’s mission, policies, and selection criteria. They will then make a written recommendation to the Library Director, who will make the final decision regarding the disposition of the material. The Library Director will communicate the decision, and the reasons for it, in writing to the member who initiated the Request for Reconsideration. The Library Director will inform the Library Board of all Requests for Reconsideration and the issued decision.
If the member who initiated the Request for Reconsideration is not satisfied with the written decision of the Library Director, the decision may be appealed to the Library Board of Commissioners and Trustees by making a written request to the Chair of the Board. The member making the request will receive a reasonable opportunity to present an oral argument at a regularly scheduled Board meeting. The Board reserves the right to limit the length of the presentation. The Board will consider the merits of the written decision in light of the Library’s policies, and will vote to uphold or override the decision. The Board’s vote determines the final disposition of the material.
You may download and print the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials as a PDF.
Approved by the Library’s Board of Commissioners 07/20/2015.
Definition of Terms and Glossary:
Acquisitions: Used to describe the process where a title chosen by a Selector is ordered, received, invoiced, and paid for before becoming part of the Library’s collection. Also used to refer to the team of Library staff members responsible for performing these tasks.
Collection management: Umbrella term covering all decisions made after an item is part of the collection. Caring for the collection includes repairing, replacing, or withdrawing damaged materials, as well as replacing dated materials with newer editions.
Selector: A Librarian responsible for the choosing and weeding materials to be added to the Library’s collections. A Selector will be assigned a range of topics or genres, and is expected to develop subject familiarity and awareness within their assigned topics. Using professional resources, the selector identifies items for acquisition that will enhance the Library’s members’ experience and knowledge. A selector is expected to set aside any personal bias, and to serve the community by covering issues from all sides.
Weeding: The process of identifying items that have become damaged, dated, or have had low demand, amongst other considerations. These items are removed from the shelves and removed from the catalog. Selecting items to be weeded from the collection is as important to maintaining a healthy collection as selecting items to be added to the collection.
- LOCAL HISTORY COLLECTION POLICY
The Local History Collection of the Fletcher Free Library is established to maintain Vermont’s heritage and to enlarge understanding by preserving published documents that pertain to the artistic, cultural, economic, legal, literary, social, and technological development and history of the peoples, towns, and cities of Vermont with particular emphasis on Burlington. Some duplication with the University of Vermont’s research collection will be unavoidable. The collection is non-circulating; however, it will be readily available for use.
Criteria for inclusion are: historic significance, size and condition; monetary value; ability of the item to withstand library use; special shelving; care and restoration; security arrangements required to guarantee preservation of the item, and academic qualifications of the author or editor.
All donated materials are subject to the library’s gift policy.
- TECH CENTER RULES & POLICY
The Tech Center is for those of High School age and older. Computers in the Youth Library are available for youth in 8th grade or younger.
You must use your own Library Card or Computer User Card*. Using a barcode number not assigned to you will result in loss of Tech Center privileges.
Guest Reservations are limited to 3 per person; subsequent access requires obtaining a Library Card of Computer User Card*. Repeated refusal to get a card will result in loss of Tech Center privileges.
You may have THREE 30-minute sessions per day.You may be permitted an extension if no one is waiting to use a computer.
Turn off your cell phone ringer. Cell phone conversations are permitted ONLY in the Library's stairways, or outside.
No more than 2 people at a computer.
If you need to talk, please whisper. If you use audio, please use low volume.
Viewing pornography or tampering with equipment will result in loss of Tech Center privileges.
*The Computer User Card does not include borrowing privileges, but is free for those who do not have a Fletcher Free Library Card and would like to use the Tech Center more than once or twice. Either card can be obtained at the Circulation Desk.
- COMPUTER WORKSHOP POLICY
Because there is limited availability in each class, the following rules apply to all computer classes at the Fletcher Free Library:
A patron is only allowed to repeat the same class 2 times within two years. After 2 times a patron may only repeat the class at the discretion of the instructor.
A patron must call the Library if they are unable to attend a class they signed up for. If a patron misses 2 or more classes within a year they will not be permitted to take future classes without instructor approval. If a patron calls and cancels their participation in a class it is not counted as a missed class.
If, in the opinion of the instructor, a class participant's behavior in the class is detrimental to the learning environment they will not be permitted to take future classes and may be asked to leave the classroom. This behavior may include, but is not limited to, the following: Asking inappropriate questions that are unrelated to the subject matter, taking up an inordinate amount of the instructor's time, or acting in an aggressive or hostile manner to class participants or to the instructor.
Adopted by the Library Board of Commissioners, April 11, 2007; put in effect September 2007.
- INTERNET USE POLICY
Fletcher Free Library (hereafter referred to as the "Library") serves the evolving educational and cultural needs of the Greater Burlington community. Our urban public library offers a welcoming place for people to gather and to learn. A trained staff helps patrons locate the materials and information they need for work and pleasure.
The Internet, a world-wide network of computer networks, is an essential medium for obtaining and transmitting information of all types. Therefore, public access to the Internet for personal enjoyment and access to information is germane to the Library’s mission.
The Internet is an unregulated medium. The Internet provides access to some information that is outdated, inaccurate, or incomplete or that some people may find offensive or disturbing. The Library is unable to control or monitor the content of the Internet, some of which changes quickly and without warning. Internet resources are not subject to the same selection criteria that the Library uses for other materials, although the Library identifies on its web site specific Internet sites that have potential interest for Library users. The Library specifically disclaims any responsibility for the accuracy, timeliness, authoritativeness, usefulness or fitness for a particular purpose of information obtained on the Internet, and the Library will have no liability for direct, indirect or consequential damages related to the use of information accessed through the Library's Internet service.
Since software and information downloaded from any source, including the Internet, may contain computer viruses, users are advised to utilize virus checking software on their home computers. The Library is not responsible for damage to users’ disks or computers or for any loss of data, damage or liability that may occur from use of the Library’s computers.
Internet computers may only be used for legal and ethical purposes. Examples of unacceptable use include, but are not limited to, the following:
- viewing obscene material;
- destroying, damaging, or modifying equipment, software, or data belonging to the Library;
- introducing computer viruses;
- compromising the safety and security of minors when using e-mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electric communications;
- using the workstation to make unauthorized entry to any other machine accessible via the Internet;
- using another person’s barcode number or permitting another person to use his or her barcode number to access the computer network and Internet.
In addition, display of sexually explicit graphics is inappropriate in a public environment and is prohibited.
Access to the Library’s computer network and Internet is a privilege, not a right. Patrons found violating the Fletcher Free Library Internet Use Policy or such rules and procedures established by the Library staff to ensure the fair and reasonable use of Internet access will not be allowed to use the computers at the Library.
- WI-FI INTERNET POLICY
The Library provides free wireless Internet access via an open, unsecured wireless network. It is strongly recommended that you do not use our networks to transmit personal, financial or legal data. It is not possible for the Library to protect you against malicious theft or interception of such data transmitted over the wireless networks.
The Library will not assume responsibility for the safety of equipment or for harm done to mobile device configurations, security, or data files resulting from connection to the library’s wireless service. Virus and security protection is the responsibility of the wireless user.
The mobile device owner is responsible for setting up their equipment to access the Fletcher Free Library wireless network. The library provides limited technical assistance to assist wireless users connecting to our network (please see below). The Library is not responsible for any changes you make to your computer’s settings and cannot guarantee your hardware will work with our wireless connection. Library staff does not provide technical assistance with wireless access, and will not under any circumstances make changes to the configuration of a privately owned wireless device.
Get Connected to the Fletcher Free Library’s Wi-Fi Networks
The Fletcher Free Library has two wireless network available for free public use. Neither is password-protected. The networks are named “Library” (provided by Burlington Telecom) and "FFL Main Reading Room WiFi" (provided by Comcast).
When connected to the “Library” network, once a browser window is opened, Burlington Telecom's terms of service page will appear. Click the check box to agree to the terms of service, and click on the “Submit” button in order to use this network. Comcast's "FFL Main Reading Room WiFi" network does not have a terms of service page.
Technical tips for connecting to the Library's Wi-Fi networks:
- Make sure our device's wireless radio is on.
- Your device may detect and connect to our wireless networks automatically. If not, open your device's Network/Wireless/Internet settings to view a list of available wireless networks. From here you can see which networks are in range, and connect to the "Library" or "FFL Main Reading Room WiFi" network. (Even though it may show up on the list, you will not be able to connect to the Library's "CompCenter" network.)
Please contact us if you have questions about wireless access at the library.
- GIFT POLICY
The Fletcher Free Library accepts gifts of materials and funds providing the conditions of acceptance shall not place undue restrictions on the library and providing the library has the right to use and/or dispose of such gifts as it may deem advisable. Respect for the wishes of the donor will be accorded to the greatest degree possible.
- BULLETIN BOARD POLICY
The large bulletin board in the vestibule is for notices of community events – programs, performances, lectures, or meetings open to the public.
No personal notices (i.e. no lost pets, roommate wanted, truck for sale, etc.) are permitted.
Postings pertaining to for-profit children’s services (daycare services, babysitting, music lessons, etc.) go to the Youth librarians for their vertical files.
All postings will be removed and discarded on the first of the month.
The following notices are pulled off and unceremoniously thrown away:
Anything stuck to the wall
Anything stapled to the board (instead of affixed with push-pin)
A notice that covers other notices
Anything that in the judgment of the library staff will create litter
- ART COLLECTION POLICY
The main purpose of the Fletcher Free Library is the collection and dissemination of books. While the library hosts exhibitions, it collects art only as it relates to the history of Chittenden County. The only other art acquisitions are those commissioned by the library for the décor of the building. Works proposed for the collection will be evaluated by the library’s Collection Committee for possible acceptance.
- SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
FLL Social Media Policy
The Fletcher Free Library has established social media sites primarily in order to inform Library users about Library programs, events (including those co-sponsored with other organizations), and materials, and to encourage dialogue and the exchange of information and knowledge between users and Library staff about these programs, events and materials. The Library’s social media sites are not intended to be traditional public forums for the general exchange of ideas and viewpoints, but a limited forum for discussing library related programs that is open to users of all ages.
Social mediais any website or application which allows users to generate and share content. The library uses several social media tools, including Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.
The Fletcher Free Library welcomes public comments on our social media networks. Individuals are fully responsible for the content of their comments. Although the site is not monitored at all times, the Fletcher Free Library reserves the right to delete any post including following:
User Responsibilities and Use Restrictions:
Off-topic (not related to library business or to the particular article being commented upon) posts
Commercial and/or solicitations, promotions or spam
Endorsements of any financial or commercial entities
Comments that threaten or defame any person or organization
Comments that promote, foster, or perpetuate discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, or receipt of public assistance or that harass another person on one of those bases
Comments with explicit or overly suggestive sexual content or links to sexual content
Threatening, hateful, or racist language and personal attacks
Private, personal information published without consent
Violent, obscene, profane, or libelous content
Comments that suggest or encourage illegal activity
Copyright (or other protected legal interest) infringement/plagiarized material
Posts that violate laws or library policies
Information that may compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems
Comments in support or opposition to any political campaign or ballot measure
Posts that contain spam or links to spam
Violations of any of the below may warrant, at the Fletcher Free Library’s discretion, an indefinite blocking of a user from our page(s).
Users of all ages have the responsibility to protect their privacy and should not post personally identifying information, such as last name, school, age, phone number or address. The library does not act in place of, or in the absence of, a parent. The library is not responsible for the quality or content of information encountered on the internet. The Library also assumes no responsibility for any claims, liabilities, actions or damages to personal property arising from use of any library-owned or leased electronic services, or resulting from the use of data made available through electronic information services.
Below are important statutes and statements that our library adheres to.
- VERMONT LIBRARY STATUTES ON LIBRARY CONFIDENTIALITY
(Cite as: 22 V.S.A. § 172)
§ 172. Library record confidentiality; exemptions
(a) A library's patron registration records and patron transaction records shall remain confidential.
(b) Unless authorized by other provisions of law, the library's officers, employees, and volunteers shall not disclose the records except:
(1) with the written permission of the library patron to whom the records pertain;
(2) to officers, employees, volunteers, and agents of the library to the extent necessary for library administration purposes;
(3) in response to an authorized judicial order or warrant directing disclosure;
(4) to custodial parents or guardians of patrons under age 16; or
(5) to the custodial parents or guardians of a student, in accordance with the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, by the library at the school the student attends.
(c) Statistical records pertaining to the patronage, circulation activities, and use of any service or consultation the library provides, provided that they do not contain the names of patrons or any other personally identifying information, shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter. (Added 2007, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
- AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION FREEDOM TO READ STATEMENT
The 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION 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.
I. 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, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. 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.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. 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.
Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
- AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION CODE OF ETHICS
As members of the American Library Association, we recognize the importance of codifying and making known to the profession and to the general public the ethical principles that guide the work of librarians, other professionals providing information services, library trustees and library staffs.
Ethical dilemmas occur when values are in conflict. The American Library Association Code of Ethics states the values to which we are committed, and embodies the ethical responsibilities of the profession in this changing information environment.
We significantly influence or control the selection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information. In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry, we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information. We have a special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations.
The principles of this Code are expressed in broad statements to guide ethical decision making. These statements provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.
1. We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.
2. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.
3. We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
4. We respect intellectual property rights and advocate balance between the interests of information users and rights holders.
5. We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.
6. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.
7. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.
8. We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.
Adopted at the 1939 Midwinter Meeting by the ALA Council; amended June 30, 1981; June 28, 1995; and January 22, 2008.