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The Public Policies of the

Cedar Grove Free Public Library

Last amended October 2011

 

 

 

I. General Objectives

 

The Cedar Grove Free Public Library is dedicated to providing access to books and other materials, resources, and services for education, information, and recreation to all individuals and groups in the community on a fair and equitable basis. An open-minded attitude towards new methods and improvements for better service is encouraged.

 

The Library Board of Trustees will establish and maintain a suitable building facility to house the library’s resources economically, efficiently, and effectively.

 

The Board of Trustees will employ a competent professional and non-professional staff.

 

The Board of Trustees will observe professional ethics in relations between board and administration, staff and administration, and among the staff in general.

 

 

II. Hours of Operation

 

 

The Cedar Grove Free Public Library is open:

 

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 9am – 8pm

Wednesday and Friday 9am – 5pm

Saturdays 9am – 1pm (closed on Saturdays during the summer)

 

 

 

III. Loan Periods

 

 

Circulation Guidelines

Material Type

Loan Period

Renewals

Fine

Hold Type

Audio (Music)

21 Days

1

0.1

My Library First

Audiobook

21 Days

2

0.1

My Library First

Book

21 Days

2

0.1

My Library First

DVD

7 Days

1

1

My Library First

J-Audio

21 Days

1

0.1

My Library First

J-Audiobook

21 Days

2

0.1

My Library First

J-Book

21 Days

2

0.1

My Library First

J-DVD

7 days

1

1

My Library First

J-Paperback

21 Days

2

0.1

My Library First

J-Playaway

21 Days

1

0.1

My Library First

J-Video

21 Days

1

0.1

My Library First

New Audio

21 Days

1

0.1

Local Request

New Audiobook

21 Days

1

0.1

Local Request

New Book

21 Days

1

0.1

Local Request

New DVD

7 Days

1

1

Local Request

New item

21 Days

1

0.1

Local Request

New J-Abook

21 Days

1

0.1

Local Request

New J-Audio

21 Days

1

0.1

Local Request

New J-Book

21 Days

1

0.1

Local Request

New J-DVD

7 Days

1

0.1

Local Request

New Video

21 Days

1

0.1

Local Request

New YA Book

21 Days

1

0.1

Local Request

New YA DVD

7 Days

1

1

Local Request

Paperback

21 Days

2

0.1

My Library First

Playaway

21 Days

1

0.1

My Library First

Video

21 Days

1

0.1

My Library First

YA Book

21 Days

2

0.1

My Library First

YA DVD

7 Days

1

1

My Library First

YA Playaway

21 Days

1

0.1

My Library First

Please note that the period of time before all New item types are converted and made available for holds by other libraries is 100 days.

 

 

IV. Explanation of Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement within

PALSPlus library consortium

 

The Cedar Grove Free Public Library is a member of the PALSPlus library consortium. As such, patrons with Cedar Grove Free Public Library Cards are entitled to take advantage of the consortium's reciprocal borrowing agreement. The following libraries are also part of PALSPlus:

 

Bloomingdale Public Library

Caldwell Public Library

Clifton Public Library

Fairfield Public Library

Haledon Public Library

Little Falls Public Library

North Haledon Public Library

Orange Public Library

Passaic County Community College Library

Passaic Public Library

Paterson Free Public Library

Pompton Lakes Public Library

Ringwood Public Library

Totowa Public Library

Wanaque Public Library

Wayne Public Library

West Milford Public Library

David and Lorraine Cheng Library – William Paterson University

Woodland Park Public Library

 

For full contact information for all member libraries visit http://www.palsplus.org/members.html

 

Cedar Grove card holders are entitled to check out materials from any of the member libraries. In addition, patrons can place holds on items from other libraries and pick them up at Cedar Grove.

 

Museum Passes:

 

Currently, the Cedar grove Free Public Library offers the follwing museum passes to Cedar Grove Residents ONLY:

 

The Metropolitain Museum of Art

The Guggheim Museum

The Museum of Natural History

 

All loan periods are for 4 days, with the exception of the Metropolitain Museum of Art. The Met takes the patron's guest pass at the door, and as such the patron is not obligated to return the pass.

 

The fine for overdue museum passes is $5 a day. The replacement costs for lost passes is $125.00 for Guggheim, and $92.50 for the Museum of Natural History.

V. Fines and Fees

The fine for overdue materials is $0.10 a day. The overdue fine for DVD's of any classification is $1.00 a day. A user will be BLOCKED and lose borrowing privileges if he or she has $5.00 or more in overdue fines and/or 5 or more overdue books at any given time.

People who do not reside in, attend school in, or own property in Cedar Grove are welcome to apply for an Out-of-Town library card. A $75 annual fee (January through December of the current calendar year) is charged for an “out of town” registrant. Patrons who apply for an Out-of-Town card will receive a receipt with their library card at the time of registration. Applicants must be 18 years or older, otherwise they must be between the ages of 3 and 17 and accompanied by a parent or guardian at the time of registration. Such a user is classified byPALSPLUS as a paid user.

 

An Out-of-Town library card entitles the holder to only charge out materials at the library that issued the card.

Lost Items - If it is determined that a patron has lost an item, he or she will bear the full cost of the item's replacement, or will furnish an exact duplicate of the lost item in NEW condition. In the case of lost books, a paperback can not be submitted in the place of a lost hardcover book. The choice of whether to replace the item or pay the cost of a new item is left to the patron, and he or she has 7 days to replace/pay for the lost item. If an item is out of print, a flat fee of $25 will be incurred. If the patron has chosen to pay for the item, and the item is found within 6 months of the due date, the patron will be issued a full refund. This excludes paperbacks and magazines, for which a refund will never be offered.

When a damaged or lost material is paid for or replaced fines associated with that item are forgiven.

VI. Use of the Photocopiers

 

Photocopies may be made for $0.10 each black and white. Pages may be printed from the network printer for $0.15 each for black-and-white or $0.40 each color.

 

 

VII. Selection of books and other library materials

 

General Selection

 

The Library Director is responsible for the selection and maintenance of the collections of the Cedar Grove Free Public Library.

 

The Library Board of Trustees, recognizing the pluralistic nature of this community and the varied backgrounds and needs of all citizens, regardless of race, creed, or political persuasion, declares as a matter of book selection policy that:

 

  1. Book and library material selection is and shall be vested in the director of the library, and under his or her supervision, such members of the professional staff deemed qualified by reason of education or training.

 

  1. Selection of books and other library materials shall be made on the basis of their value of interest, information, entertainment, and enlightenment of all people in the community. No book or library material shall be excluded by reason of race, nationality, or political or social views of the author or creator.

 

  1. The Library Board of Trustees believes that censorship is a purely individual matter, and declares that while anyone is free to reject for him or herself books or other materials he or she does not approve of, he he or she cannot exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom of others.

 

  1. The Library Board of Trustees adopts and declares that it will adhere to the following:

 

    1. Library Bill of Rights of the American Library Association Council last amended January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.

    2. Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association, 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.

 

VIII. Weeding Policy

In order to continue to provide the patrons of the Cedar Grove Free Public Library with a collection of materials that is up to date, well selected and accessible and in good condition, the weeding guidelines and schedules contained in the CREW Manual (Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin Texas 2008) will be adhered to as closely as possible. In general, these guidelines recommend examination of the entire collection over the course of the year and the removal and discarding of those materials who’s condition, use, age, or history fall within the guidelines for each specific section of the collection.

Additionally, those books with covers or pages that are torn, damaged by water, or made illegible by some other manner are to be eliminated from the collection immediately if they can not be repaired. Water damaged and/or mildewed materials pose an immediate threat to other library materials and staff, and should be discarded immediately. Books or other materials that are to be discarded due to their condition will be replaced where there is a demonstrated demand for the item (classic title, locally popular subject matter, multiple patron requests, etc).

IX. Gifts and Donations

Gifts Received - The Library Board of Trustees recognizes that the private giving of gifts to the library can promote the library’s ability to serve the public. Therefore it is the policy of the Board of Trustees to consider acceptance of gifts of monies and other library materials, included but not limited to furnishings, artwork, and equipment. These gifts will be acceptable within the limitations of space, usage of facilities, or requirements on staff time. The board shall accept these gifts free from any instructions or directions of the donor(s).

The Cedar Grove Free Public Library accepts donations from the public of books and other library materials that are in good condition. The library expressly prohibits the donations of newspapers, magazines, and textbooks. The director, or anyone appointed by him or her, will determine whether or not the donated materials are suitable for inclusion in the library collection. Any materials not included in the collection will be sold in the library book sale or sold to a book liquidation agent. Receipts will be given upon request only for the quantity of books or other library materials donated, no monetary value will be assigned or acknowledged. Neither the Library Board of Trustees nor any member of the staff is qualified to, or will serve as professional appraisers for any gifts of books or other materials to the library.

Gifts Requested - Because the Cedar Grove Free Public Library is a tax-supported, non-profit institution, it is the policy of the Board of Trustees to refrain from making any contributions in the name of the library to any organization or individual.

X. Volunteers

The Cedar Grove Free Public Library encourages members of the public to become volunteers at the library. Anyone can volunteer any amount of time. Please find a copy of the Volunteer Application Form on the following page:

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PAGE WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE AS A PDF



Library Volunteer Application

Date:

Name:

Address (please print):

 

Phone Number:

Do you have any special skills?

 

 

Why do you want to volunteer?

 

 

Do you have any health restrictions?

 

 

When are you available?

 

 

Please list an emergency contact person:

Phone:







XI. Use of Meeting Rooms

Please refer to the following policies regarding the library's meeting room:

Meeting Room Policy

for

Non-Profit Organizations

 

  1. Use of the library meeting room for library purposes shall have priority over all other uses or applications for its use by others.

  2. The meeting room shall be available only for functions or activities sponsored by local organizations engaged in educational, cultural, civic, or artistic activities. These programs must be non-commercial in intent and not political or partisan. Children and youth groups may use the meeting room provided two or more adults supervise them. In larger groups, the adult to child ratio should be maintained at 1 adult per 6 children.

  3. An application for use of the meeting room signed by a duly elected or appointed officer of the applicant shall be submitted to the Library Director or programming librarian at least 3 days prior to the date for which the use of the meeting room is requested. An application shall be deemed granted when signed by the director. Such signed copy shall constitute the permit and shall be delivered to the applicant.

  4. All meetings, functions, or activities held or sponsored by a permittee shall be open to the public.

  5. Any person seeking entry to meetings, functions, or activities shall be admitted providing that the room capacity not be exceeded.

  6. NO meeting or function shall continue past 8pm without special permission from the Library Director, and meeting room users are expected to be out of the library by 5 minutes prior to its closing.

  7. Any materials, furnishings or rubbish left after the use of the meeting room or any part of the library shall be removed. If not removed within 12 hours the cost of the removal will be required from the applicant. No materials shall be affixed to walls or the ceiling by any means whatsoever.

  8. Smoking or the use of open flames is strictly prohibited in any part of the building.

  9. Permittees are subject to copyright laws in their use of film, video, music, etc and are responsible for observing the admission policies and guidelines of the MPAA.

  10. The library will not care for or store any permittees materials and will not take responsibility for any materials left behind by a permittee. The library will not be responsible for any damages or costs associated with the cancellation of meetings due to library closings for emergency reasons.

  11. Neither the name nor address of the Cedar Grove Public Library may be used as an official address or headquarters of any organization.

  12. While the serving of food in conjunction with permitted meetings or functions is not encouraged, the service of refreshments may be allowed if requested at the time of application and approved by the director. The consumption of alcoholic beverages in the library is prohibited. Utensils and supplies must be furnished by the permittee.

  13. The library or the Cedar Grove Cable committee reserves the right to audiotape and or videotape any programs presented in the library.

  14. All library property is made available conditionally upon the good behavior of the user of library facilities. If any of the library rules or these regulations are violated, or if any property of the library is damaged by the permittee, its servants, agents, employees, contractors, guests or invitees, whether by carelessness, negligence or otherwise, the director may, at his/her discretion, deny or reject future applicants by the permittee. The permittee shall be responsible for the preservation of order and shall be liable for any damage or loss of property to the library that may result from the use of the facilities of the library pursuant to the permit issued. The library reserves the right to request a refundable deposit up to $500.00 that may be required to cover any damage or loss. The library shall be the sole judge of the cost of such damage or loss.

  15. The Library Director reserves the right to modify or amend this policy.

 

Meeting Room Policy

for

For-Profit Organizations

 

  1. Use of the library meeting room for library purposes shall have priority over all other uses or applications for its use by others.

  2. An application for use of the meeting room signed by a duly elected or appointed officer of the applicant shall be submitted to the Library Director/programming librarian at least 3 days prior to the date for which the use of the meeting room is requested. An application shall be deemed granted when signed by the director. Such signed copy shall constitute the permit and shall be delivered to the applicant.

  3. All meetings, functions, or activities held or sponsored by a permittee shall be open to the public. Retail sales are not allowed, except by permission of the Library Director. Meeting rooms are not available for private parties such as birthday parties, showers, or family reunions.

  4. For-profit organizations wishing to use the meeting room shall be charged a fee of $50.00 per hour for use of the meeting room.

  5. Any person seeking entry to meetings, functions, or activities shall be admitted providing that the room capacity not be exceeded.

  6. NO meeting or function shall continue past 8pm, and meeting room users are expected to be out of the library by 5 minutes prior to its closing. The meeting rooms are available for use during library hours. No member of the organization may enter the library before it officially opens, and all participants must leave by the time the library closes. Groups needing setup time for their meeting should allow for it in their reservations.

  7. Any materials, furnishings or rubbish left after the use of the meeting room or any part of the library shall be removed. If not removed within 12 hours the cost of the removal will be required from the applicant. No materials shall be affixed to walls or the ceiling by any means whatsoever.

  8. Smoking or the use of open flames is strictly prohibited in any part of the building.

  9. Permittees are subject to copyright laws in their use of film, video, music, etc and are responsible for observing the admission policies and guidelines of the MPAA.

  10. The library will not care for or store any permittees materials and will not take responsibility for any materials left behind by a permittee. The library will not be responsible for any damages or costs associated with the cancellation of meetings due to library closings for emergency reasons.

  11. Neither the name nor address of the Cedar Grove Public Library may be used as an official address or headquarters of any organization.

  12. While the serving of food in conjunction with permitted meetings or functions is not encouraged, the service of refreshments may be allowed if requested at the time of application and approved by the director. The consumption of alcoholic beverages in the library is prohibited. Utensils and supplies must be furnished by the permittee.

  13. The library or the Cedar Grove Cable committee reserves the right to audiotape and or videotape any programs presented in the library.

  14. All library property is made available conditionally upon the good behavior of the user of library facilities. If any of the library rules or these regulations are violated, or if any property of the library is damaged by the permittee, its servants, agents, employees, contractors, guests or invitees, whether by carelessness, negligence or otherwise, the director may, at his/her discretion, deny or reject future applicants by the permittee. The permittee shall be responsible for the preservation of order and shall be liable for any damage or loss of property to the library that may result from the use of the facilities of the library pursuant to the permit issued. The library reserves the right to request a refundable deposit up to $500.00 that may be required to cover any damage or loss. The library shall be the sole judge of the cost of such damage or loss.

  15. The Library Director reserves the right to modify or amend this policy.

 

 

XII. Displays and Exhibits

General

No poster, sign, display, pamphlet, brochure, leaflet, or booklet shall be displayed or placed in the library for distribution without permission from the Library Director. Distribution literature will be accepted within the limits of available space. Displaying or distributing such materials does not in any way signify the endorsement by the library of either the contents of the literature or the organization from which it comes.

The Cedar Grove Free Public Library is a tax-supported institution and as such can not be used by businesses or individuals to advertise their goods or services.

No organization or individual shall be permitted to place in the library a receptacle which solicits donations without the permission of the Library Director.

Exhibit Space

The Cedar Grove Free Public Library has space dedicated to the exhibition of materials of general or local interest, as well as space for art exhibits. Applications to display an exhibit in the dedicated exhibit space(s) shall be submitted to the Library Director, and is subject to approval based on the guidelines listed in the “Art Display Policy” (see below).

The scheduling of exhibits created/scheduled by the library have precedence over outside exhibits.

XIII. Art Display Policy

 

 

  1. The Cedar Grove Public Library offers exhibit space for collections of artwork, crafts, and collections of unique or historically significant items. Exhibitions of paintings, photographs, sculptures, crafts, etc. are intended for civic, cultural, educational, and recreational purposes.

  2. All exhibits are open and free to the public.

  3. Exhibits will run one full month, 11 exhibits a year. There will be no exhibits in December.

  4. Exhibit space is made available on a equitable basis to individuals and groups with respect to artwork that meets the standards for acceptance. While anyone is encouraged to exhibit, priority is always given to residents of Cedar Grove.

  5. Library use of display area takes precedence over any other use and the library reserves the right to cancel the use of the display area by a user at any time.

  6. Application for exhibit space is submitted to the Library Director. Acceptability of an exhibit is at the discretion of the Library Director, though his or her decisions may be appealed to the library board of trustees. While exercising this discretion, the director will consider artistic merit, degree of interest to the local community, and degree to which the exhibit is responsive and consistent with the library's mission statement. Exhibits should reflect the library's role as an educational and cultural center presenting a balanced program of exhibits in all suitable media. Items of high value or extreme delicacy are generally not selected.

  7. The Cedar Grove Free Public Library is NOT responsible for the theft or damage to items on exhibit. Insurance is the sole responsibility of the exhibitor.

  8. Any and all publicity for exhibits will be handled by the library.

  9. Subject to the permission of the Library Director, and provided that the artist has agreed beforehand on a specified percentage of all proceeds to be donated to the library, works of art may be offered for sale, with prices established by the artist. The artist is responsible for handling any actual sales transactions, NEVER library staff. If work is not for sale it should be clearly marked as such. Works sold will remain on exhibit for the duration of the exhibit schedule.

 

 

              1. XIV. Library Property

 

The responsibility of the Board of Trustees of the Cedar Grove Free Public Library encompasses the library building and all of its collections and equipment. Since the maintenance of the grounds around the building are the province of the Township Council, all decisions regarding permanent structures should be referred to the Township Manager's office.

 

XV. Behavior in the Library

In order to maintain a proper atmosphere it is the responsibility of the library staff to monitor the behavior of its patrons. Any individual(s) who, in the judgment of Library Director, violate acceptable behavior standards may be asked to leave the library. These persons may be prohibited from re-entering the library by the Library Director. The person(s) are free to appeal to the Library Board of Trustees.

The following activities are not permitted within the Cedar Grove Free Public Library:

  • Playing audio equipment loud enough to disturb others.

  • Smoking.

  • The consumption of drugs or alcohol.

  • Carrying weapons into the library, unless authorized by law. Any patron authorized to carry a weapon must notify library staff that he or she is carrying the weapon in the library.

  • Misusing the restrooms. For example, using the restrooms as a laundry or washing facility.

  • Leaving a child under the age of 7 unattended in the library.

  • Talking, or making noise, loudly enough to disturb other patrons.

  • Interfering with another person's use of the library, or with library personnel's performance of their duties.

  • Proper attire, including shoes and shirts, must be worn while in the library.

Future library privileges will limited for the following reasons: Damaging library property, stealing library materials, physically threatening or harming staff or patrons, and having outstanding fines.

Vandalism-Since vandalism and the destruction of library property are always serious, the Library Director and staff should not hesitate to inform the police immediately of any potential or real problem.

Unattended Children – Children ages 9 and under may not be left in the library unattended.

XVI. Policy for the Public Access Computers

The Cedar Grove Free Public Library offers access to the internet through both public access computers and a free wifi connection.

 

The Internet is a global network of information accessible through a computer. Internet access opens up a universe of informational, educational, and recreational resources, and the Library is pleased to offer it to the public.

PATRONS SHOULD NOTE, however, that the Internet is an open, unregulated forum and that the Library cannot control, select, or monitor the constantly changing material accessible though it. Library users access the Internet at their own discretion and may find some materials inaccurate or objectionable. As with all Library materials, individuals are responsible for determining what is appropriate for them and their families. The Library strongly urges parents and guardians of minor children to monitor and set guidelines for young people's Internet use.



Guidelines for Internet Use

  • Computers are provided primarily for research, education, and job searches.

  • The library prohibits the use of library equipment to access child pornography or any other obscene material.

  • Use is limited to signs posted – 2 one-hour sessions per day per person unless otherwise permitted by staff.

  • Black and white printing is 15 cents per page, 40 cents per color page.

  • No more than two people may use an internet station at any one time unless otherwise permitted my staff.

  • Food and beverages are not permitted at the computers.

  • Users are not permitted to add, delete, or alter any hardware or software in the library's system. Patrons are liable for any damage they inflict should they violate these restrictions.

  • Library staff retains the right to terminate an internet session at any time for failure to comply with these policies.

  • Anyone aggrieved by loss of library privileges may appeal to the Library Board of Trustees.

 

The Township of Cedar Grove, including the Cedar Grove Free Public Library, is not responsible for any user's misuse of copyright or other violation of local, state, or federal law or regulation; the user agrees, by use of the City's equipment, to indemnify, defend and hold the Town of Cedar Grove, its officers, agents, employees and volunteers harmless from any claim, action or loss arising from the use of the Town’s equipment and services, including Internet access.

 

The Library assumes no responsibility for any damage, direct or indirect, arising from the use of its Internet services. The Library specifically disclaims any warranty as to the information’s accuracy, authoritativeness, usefulness, or fitness for a particular purpose .



XVII. Emergency Procedures

Accidents – In the event of a serious accident staff should call 911 immediately. In the case of a less severe accident please note that the staff must not provide first aid. The first aid kit located behind the circulation desk may be offered to a patron. Staff should always ask an injured patron if they would like the ambulance/Rescue Squad to be called on their behalf. If there is doubt, call.

Employee Accidents – In the event of an accident involving a library employee in which medical attention is required that employee must be treated at the following location:

Town Medical, 271 Grove Ave Verona · (973) 239-2600

Be sure to fill out an accident report in the event of both an accident involving a patron and an employee.

Violent or threatening person – Library staff who encounter a violent or threatening person in the library should immediately contact the police. Never meet the threat alone. Call other staff members for assistance. Whenever possible, move away from the violent person and instruct members of the public to move away as well.

Fire – In the event of a fire call 911 immediately. As soon as the fire alarms go off library employees shall direct all patrons to leave through the nearest fire exits. While the smoke alarms will notify the fire department, the door alarms will NOT – and as such 911 must be dialed. Staff should meet together at the bike rack outside to make sure everyone is accounted for.

The library complies with the New Jersey Dept. of Community Affairs Division of Fire Safety in regards to the Uniform Fire Code (NJAC 5:18-1 et seq.) promulgated pursuant to NJ Uniform Fire Safety Act (NJSA 52:27D-192 et seq.), and provides an inspection certificate to be posted in a conspicuous location at the premise.

Appendix:

The American Library Association 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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

The 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 that 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.

 

 

Compliance with Americans With Disabilities Act

 

The Cedar Grove Free Public Library is in compliance with the ADA.