SFL

STOWE FREE LIBRARY
To Welcome...To Inspire...To Enrich the Mind

Library Mission, Vision, and Values Statements

Mission Statement

To Welcome … To Inspire … To Enrich the Mind.

Vision

Stowe Free Library strives to be the primary community center and a portal to knowledge, opportunity, and diverse resources.

Values

The Trustees and Staff of the Stowe Free Library value:

  • Maintaining and growing a vibrant, well-loved and well-used community center.
  • Establishing an early and continuing love of reading and learning.
  • Keeping pace with emerging technology.
  • Maintaining a popular circulation collection driven primarily by user interests and requests.
  • An emphasis on customer service.
  • Recognizing and encouraging a diversity of patrons, our supporters and volunteers from Stowe and beyond.
  • Investing in the professional future of our staff to ensure a skilled and creative workforce.
  • Developing web-based services for patrons beyond the library walls.
  • Fostering collaboration with other organizations and groups for programs for our patrons
  • Fostering collaboration with state and national library groups for the success of the library.
  • Trustee advocacy.

Created and approved by the Stowe Free Library Board of Trustees in June 2009. Revised January 2014.

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Membership

Library membership is available to Stowe residents for free and to non-residents for a fee. Both residents and non-residents receive full borrowing privilages.

Stowe Resident Membership - Requires evidence of a physical Stowe address, (driver's license, voter registration, Grand List, recent bill, etc...) as well as timeshare owners, and second homeowners are all eligible for free cards.

Non-Resident Membership - Requires personal identification and a yearly $20.00 fee per person. Children 16 and under are free with a parent or guardian present; children 16 through 18 are free with proof of identity.

Children are eligible to have their own cards once they have attended kindergarten. Parents are responsible for books checked out to any children under age 16; therefore, parents must sign the application for a child's card.

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Rules of Conduct

Rules of Conduct

The Stowe Free Library embraces its role as an inclusive, welcoming facility, which respects all of its patrons and visitors equally, regardless of age. Because the Library is a shared space, all users are expected to observe the same standard of behavior. The role of the Rules of Conduct is to maintain a safe and comfortable environment free of disruption or disrespectful conduct inappropriate to a library.

Specifically not permitted on the Library premise:

  • Loud, boisterous behavior or language that is profane.
  • Threatening gestures or unwanted physical contact to persons or staff.
  • Eating, smoking, and the use of illegal drugs. Patrons impaired by alcohol or drugs are not permitted in the Library.
  • Animals not employed as service animals.
  • Solicitation or distribution of leaflets.
  • Sports equipment, including snowboards, skis, and ski boots.
  • Weapons of any kind.
  • Improper acts that are subject to prosecution under criminal or civil codes of law.
  • Purposeful damage to Town or Library property.
  • Loitering in lobbies and restrooms, as well as inappropriate use of the elevator.
  • Inappropriate attire or undress, especially the lack of shirt and/or shoes.
  • Uncovered beverages or any beverage in the vicinity of the library collection or computers.
  • Cell phone conversations within the library proper. Conversations should occur in the lobbies or outside, and cell phones should be muted.

Any violation of this policy may result in a corresponding action appropriate to the severity of the infraction as decided by the Library Director, and may include a request to leave the premises, the involvement of the police, and/or the issuance of a No Trespassing Notice.

Written and approved by the Stowe Free Library Board of Trustees June 2010; revised and approved September 2011; revised and approved Feb. 2013. Revised and approved December 2015.

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Circulation and Overdue Policy

Stowe Resident Library Card

Individuals of all ages are welcome to register for a Stowe Free Library card for free if they meet the following criteria:

  • The individual is a resident of Stowe, as evidenced by living at a Stowe address (whether renting or owning); owning property in Stowe as a primary, secondary, or vacation residence; owning a time share property; or otherwise appearing on the Grand List.
  • The individual can demonstrate an ability to receive mail from the Library by providing evidence of a valid mailing address (not just a P.O. Box number), such as a valid driver’s license, a utility bill, or a lease or timeshare agreement.
  • A child must be of school age, kindergarten and above, in order to register for a library card. A parent or guardian with a valid Stowe Free Library card must accompany any child under 16 registering for his/her own card.

Non-resident Library Card

Non-residents with proof of identification may acquire a library card. A non-resident cardholder has the same privileges as a resident cardholder, including access to the library’s Inter-Library Loan service.

Individuals who live outside of Stowe or who are visiting on a temporary basis, less than 6 months, may register for a Stowe Free Library card for the price of $20 per year per adult. Children under the age of 16, of school age, and accompanied by a parent or guardian with a valid Stowe Free Library card, may register for a free library card.

A non-resident may be exempt from the $20 fee if he/she is:

  • A Stowe High School student, 16 and over, who lives in Lamoille County or Waterbury.
  • An employee of the Town of Stowe.
  • An employee of the Stowe public school system.

Lost Cards

The first replacement is free, but subsequent replacements are $1.00.

Patron Obligations

All borrowers must have a valid Stowe Free Library card in order to borrow library materials. Materials may not be checked out until a card has been issued. Individuals must use their own cards to borrow materials; materials may not be checked out to another individual’s card, unless prior permission is given and noted on patron’s record.

Use of the library card implies acceptance and adherence to all regulations of the Stowe Free Library. Patrons are responsible for all materials checked out on their library card.

Parents and guardians alone have the responsibility to monitor, guide, or restrict their child’s reading or library use. The Stowe Free Library strongly encourages parents and guardians to talk with their children about the materials they access at the library. Information about reserves and checkouts for patrons under age 16 will be given to parents without prior permission from the child.

In town cards require renewal every two years. All non-resident library cards expire on a yearly basis, and non-residents will be required to pay their $20 annual fee. Patrons are advised to help the library maintain valid patron records by providing current addresses and phone numbers and notifying the Library if a library card is lost or stolen. The Library will conduct periodic purges of patron records that have been inactive for 5 years or longer.

Parents/Guardians are legally responsible for debts incurred by children less than 16 years of age.

Loan periods

Loan periods for circulating materials are listed below. A patron may renew an item as long as another patron has not requested the item.

  • Books, circulating magazines, and audio books: 2 weeks - can be renewed up to 2 times.
  • New DVDs: 1 week - can be renewed up to 2 times
  • Older DVDs : 2 weeks- can be renewed up to 2 times
  • Museum/Parks Pass: 2 days - cannot be renewed

Inter-Library Loans may be checked out for two weeks. Renewals in general are not permitted. If a patron feels an additional amount of time is needed, he/she must contact the Stowe Free Library as soon as possible so that the Library may contact the lending library and seek additional loan time for the item.

A patron has three days to pick up a reserved item or an item that has been ordered through Interlibrary Loan. If the item has not been picked up in three days, and the patron has made no special arrangements, the item will be placed back in regular circulation or returned to the lending library.

Circulation Limits

  • Current issues of magazines do not circulate.
  • Reference books, including those in our Vermont Collection, do not circulate. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Director or the librarian on duty to check a reference item out overnight. The item must be returned when the Library opens the next day.
  • DVDs are limited to 5 per family.
  • Museum/Parks Passes are limited to 1 at a time.

The Library Director reserves the right to impose circulation limits or to discontinue borrowing privileges for the misuse of library materials, negligence in returning materials, or failure to make proper restitution for missing or damaged materials.

Overdue Policy

The Stowe Free Library will attempt to contact patrons regarding overdue materials. Library staff will offer to renew items for patrons when checking out new materials, but it is the patron’s responsibility to make sure that items are renewed.

At any time, a patron may renew his/her overdue item as long as another patron is not waiting for the item and the item has not been renewed more than twice. Items that have gone into suspension will be considered to have reached the renewal limit.

Overdue Fines

The library has no overdue fines.

Replacement Costs for Lost or Damaged Items

Patrons are responsible for replacement costs of lost or damaged items. (VSA 22, section 111) If a reasonable replacement cost cannot be determined through the library’s catalog system, the library director will determine the cost. A patron may not borrow any further items until the bill for the lost or damaged material has been paid.

Confidentiality

All circulation records of the Stowe Free Library will be kept confidential. This includes records identifying names of users with specific materials and all registration files identifying names, addresses, and telephone numbers.

Any information regarding patron use, including the identity of an individual who borrows or uses any materials, resources, or services of the Library, may not be disclosed, with the following exceptions (VSA 22, Section 172):

  • To the individual who borrowed or used the materials, resources, or services in question;
  • To persons acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the Library;
  • In response to a court order or warrant;
  • To the custodial parent or guardian of a child under 16.

Revised and approved November 2013; revised January 2015.

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Meeting Room Policy

The Community Meeting Room of the Stowe Free Library is an important component of the Library’s services. It is available to any community group regardless of that group’s political, religious, or social views, subject to the following:

  • All meetings must be scheduled in advance with the Library. Library programs and municipal functions will have priority for use of the Meeting Room. No group may schedule meetings for more than 3 months in advance, nor for more than one use per month (special exceptions may be made by the Library Director). Users of the room are responsible for publicizing their own programs. Advertising must include the name and phone number of the presenter, and must avoid any inference that their program is sponsored, co-sponsored, or approved by the Library.
  • All meetings must be open to the public, and should be of educational, cultural, or community interest.
  • The Library will not accommodate on-going monthly meetings for community organizations.
  • No person or group may charge an attendance fee for meetings or workshops held in the Community Meeting Room. Charges to cover costs of materials may be levied if the person or group has the express permission of the Library Director in advance.
  • The Library is to be kept locked at all times when it is closed. Therefore, if a group is using the meeting room while the rest of the Library is closed, the person signing this agreement will be held responsible for ensuring the Library doors and windows are locked before leaving the Library.
  • The group using the meeting room will be held responsible for any damages or losses incurred by the Library as a result of the use of the room.
  • The Community Meeting Room must be left in the same condition in which it was found. Any extra tables or chairs set up or rearranged should be returned to their original places. If the kitchen was used, it should be cleaned and the utensils put away. There will be a minimum charge of $25 if the room is not left in its original condition or if the keys are not returned immediately following use.
  • If the organization requesting use of the Community Meeting Room is a non-town sponsored group, a certificate of insurance is required; if one cannot be provided, the signature of the organization’s representative, below, waives all statement of responsibility of the Town of Stowe or the Stowe Free Library.
  • No smoking is allowed in any part of the Library building at any time.
  • Alcohol may not be served as part of a non-Library sponsored program.

The signing of this policy constitutes an agreement by the undersigned to adhere to the rules of the Community Meeting Room Policy and to ensure that no member of the group violates the rules set forth. Please retain the attached page, listing the guidelines for use of the Community Meeting Room, for your records.

Download our meeting room request form; complete and return to the circulation desk or ask to speak with the director to complete the reservation process.

Approved by the Stowe Free Library Board of Trustees in Sept. 2007; Revised and approved May 2012 and May 2016.

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Inclement Weather Policy

As the Stowe Free Library is a community space and is often a refuge from inclement weather, the Library will remain open, as long it is safe to do so. While the Library is open, programming will occur as scheduled barring the unforeseen occurrence of a cancellation by a presenter.

When inclement weather occurs, the Library will close if:

  • The Town and/or State government offices are closed.
  • The Library Director or the most senior staff member, with the approval of the Library Board Chair and/or the Stowe Town Manager, decides to close for safety concerns.

Library procedures for closing should include:

  • Communication with the Library Board Chair and the Town Manager.
  • Posting of closure on the Library entrance doors, the Library website, and the Library’s answering machine as well as a call made to the local radio station, WDEV at 244-7321.

In the event of a Library closure, the Staff of the Stowe Free Library will follow the procedures for compensation set out in the Town of Stowe Personnel Policy.

Approved by the Stowe Free Library Board of Trustees in February 2009; revised and approved December 2015, revised and approved December 2017.

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Interlibrary Loan Policy

The Interlibrary loan program is supported in part by the Institute of Museum & Library Services, a federal agency, through the Library Servcies & Technology Act as administered by the Vermont Department of Libraries. Items that are not in the library catalog may be eligible to request.

Media Formats Eligible for Request

  • Books
  • Audio books
  • DVDs
  • Music CDs
  • Individual journal articles

Media Formats Ineligible for Request

  • Items already owned by the library
  • Items published in the last 6 months
  • Textbooks
  • Oversized Books
  • Magazine Issues
  • TV Series
  • Digital Books (ebooks)

Notifications

We will notify you if the item is not availiable within the Vermont Library system. If an item is avaiable, we will contact you when the library has received it. The standard amount of time that a request takes is 7-10 days to arrive to our library.

Interlibrary Loan Limits

Items are usually loaned out for 2 weeks and renewals can be requested but that is at the lending library's discretion.

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Selection Policy

The Board of the Stowe Free Library recognizes the diverse nature of the greater Stowe community and the varied backgrounds and needs of its citizens. Books and other library materials, exhibits, and programs of the Stowe Free Library shall be selected based on the interests and needs of the people in the community.

The Stowe Free Library subscribes to the principles of intellectual freedom as stated in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement. (See Appendices.) Included in these statements is the commitment to honor the rights of an individual to use the library regardless of age, race, religion, national origin, or social or political views. Accordingly, the Stowe Free Library provides equal service to all users. All registered patrons are equally free to use and borrow from the entire library collection.

Selection Principles

  1. The authority for the choice, cataloging, and placement of materials rests with the Director, and, in the case of children's materials, with the Children's Librarian.
  2. The Director and the Children's Librarian exercise professional judgment and expertise, based on an understanding of community needs and knowledge of authors and publishers, in the process of selecting materials, and are aided by authoritative professional reviews, standard lists of basic works, recommendations of professional journals, and bibliographic essays prepared by subject specialists.
  3. Recommendations from the public are welcome and will be given careful consideration in terms of overall objectives and the existing book collection.
  4. The Director and the Children's Librarian will review the collection regularly to assess its continued relevance to the audience and the public it serves, judging its strengths and weaknesses, adding to it or subtracting from it according to general principles given under "Criteria."

Criteria for Selection of Library Materials

Library Materials include books, audio-visual materials, and periodicals. Materials are chosen for the collection on the basis of:

  • Accuracy of information
  • Current usefulness or permanent value
  • Importance as record of the times
  • Patron demand
  • Relation to the existing collection and usefulness in presenting a diversity of information on issues
  • Relative importance in comparison with other works on the subject
  • Sufficient standards of quality in content, format, and binding
  • Materials, both fiction and non-fiction in all formats, should be favorably reviewed in several established professional journals.
  • Careful consideration should be made when adding books and other library materials that do not have a lasting collection value and are readily available through Inter-Library Loan.

Children's materials will account for at least one quarter of the annual collection development budget. Children's material will be selected under the same criteria as the adult collection.

Vermont and Stowe Local History Materials

The library acknowledges its responsibility to preserve local material of historical, genealogical, or literary nature. Books by local authors and other materials of local interest will be given special consideration. Permission from the director is required for use of the books in the locked glass cases in the periodical room. These items may not be circulated or loaned. The library will keep one print copy of all issues of the Stowe Reporter and the Stowe Guide. The library will keep in its collection copies of the annual reports for the Town of Stowe.

Gifts

The library may receive materials or funds as gift donations. Gifts are subject to the same selection criteria as purchased materials.

The library accepts these gifts on the condition that their use is at the complete discretion of the Director. Stipulations as to the type, condition, or timing of materials accepted may be made by the Director and the Board of Trustees, and any conditional gifts, such as the acceptance of a gift of a large specialized collection, must be approved by the Board of Trustees and accompanied by a Collection Development policy for that collection.

All donations become the property of the Stowe Free Library, to be used at its discretion.

Weeding of Library Material

The deliberate, measured, regular evaluation of library materials in relation to the collection, as a whole and the community at large is part of the library's normal procedure.

The same criteria used in selecting materials apply to the systematic removal or replacement of outdated, inaccurate, no longer useful, seldom used, or worn items. Each withdrawal or replacement is judged by standard library tools to determine its retention value as a "classic," as part of the overall collection, or its current usefulness.

The authority for the final withdrawal of materials rests with the Library Director and the Children's Librarian.

Materials no longer useful to the library may be given to other libraries, sold for the benefit of the library, or discarded.

Freedom and rights

The Stowe Free Library adheres to the tenets as set forth in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement adopted by the American Library Association. (See attached appendices.)

All patrons have free and open access to all library materials. It is deemed the responsibility of parents to determine what their children, and only their children, may read, view, listen to, or access electronically. Materials should not be removed from the collection because of concerns of groups or individuals expressing disapproval.

The Stowe Free Library maintains the confidentiality of its circulation records.

Challenges of Library Materials

In the event of a challenge, the procedure will be:

  1. The Director will discuss the challenge and the selection procedure with the complainant.
  2. If the complainant wishes further consideration of her or her objection to the library material under reconsideration, he or she will be requested to fill out a form titled "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials" and submit it to the Director.
  3. The Director will inform the staff members and the Board of Trustees of the complaint.
  4. The challenged material will remain on the shelf during the reconsideration process.
  5. Upon receipt of the completed form, the Director presents it to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees so that the request may be incorporated into the agenda of the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. The complainant will be notified of this meeting.
  6. Prior to the next Board meeting, the Director and the members of the Board who have read, viewed, or listened to the material in its entirety, checked general acceptance of the material by reading reviews and consulting recommended lists, will determine the value of the material to the collection.
  7. The Director and the Board of Trustees present a written recommendation to the complainant. The recommendation will be based on their knowledge of the material as well as their understanding of the library's selection policy and Library Bill of Rights.

Reviewed and approved by the Stowe Free Library Board of Trustees in January 2009. Revised March 2015.

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Museum Pass Policy

The Stowe Free Library offers museum passes for borrowers. The passes give the passholder free or reduced admission to a variety of museums and parks. The passes are sponsored by the Friends of the Stowe Free Library.

  1. Museum passes may be borrowed by anyone holding a library card in good standing. To check out a reserved pass, the patron must present their library card.
  2. You may check out one museum pass per family, per day and two per family, per month.
  3. Museum passes are available on a first come, first serve basis. Museum passes may be reserved by phone. To reserve a pass, call the day you want the pass to see if it is available. Museum passes must be picked up the day they are reserved. Passes not picked up by the end of the day, will be considered a no-show and released to the public.
  4. Laminated passes are checked out for 48 hours. They are due before the close of business on the day they are due. When returning them during library business hours, return them inside the library. The book drop can be used to return passes when we are not open. Coupon passes do not have to be returned.
  5. If passes have not been reserved by other patrons, same day walk-in pick up will be honored.
  6. Laminated passes must be returned the day they are due. Late passes will be charged a $2.00 fine per day up to the cost of the pass. Lost passes will be charged the replacement value of the pass.

The Board of Trustees reserves the right to amend this policy, and to rule on situations not specifically covered herein. The Board of Trustees and the Library Director shall review this policy as deemed necessary.

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees in 2011.

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Photograph Policy and Photo Release Form

The Library uses photographs of patrons in its publications, display spaces, and web site to promote the value, and use of library products and services. Taking photographs of patrons is encouraged and puts the Library at no legal liability. The following guidelines however, should be followed. For the purpose of this policy, “photos” or “photographs” applies to any image of a patron, whether moving or still.

Photographing Groups of Adults/Children Using the Library

No permission is needed to take photos of crowds using the Library or attending programs.

Photographing Adults

If photographing one adult or a small group (3 or less), ask first if they mind having their picture taken. No written consent is needed. Verbal consent is solicited as a goodwill gesture, but it is not legally required. Let the adult know that the photo may be used in future Library publications, on the Library website or in the local newspapers.

Photographing Children Under Age 16

If photographing one child or an identifiable group of children get verbal consent prior to taking the photo. Written parental consent is required if the photo is to be used in Library display space, Library publications, on the Library website or in the local newspapers, and written consent is required before a child’s name can be identified. A copy of the consent form is attached to this policy statement.

Photo notification and opt out options:

We will include the following phrase on library program guides, announcements, newsletter, tickets for special programs and on the website:

"SMILE! Your attendance at programs sponsored by the Stowe Free Library may be digitally recorded through photographs or video recordings. These images may be posted on our website, in our newsletter, by local newspapers or ultimately on the World Wide Web. If you do not wish your image to be published, please notify a member of the Library staff before or immediately after the program. No individual identification will be used unless the library has a signed parental consent photo release form for those under age 16."

If you have been requested to fill out a photo release form, please fill out this form and return it to the library.

Created and approved by the Stowe Free Library Board of Trustees in May 2009.

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Volunteer Policy

The Stowe Free Library sees over 140,000 people a year walk through its doors, each of whom has his/her own information needs. It is only with the help of our volunteers that the staff of the Stowe Free Library can provide the highest quality customer service to its patrons. Volunteers enable the library to accomplish far more than would be otherwise possible. A volunteer is anyone who, without compensation or expectation of compensation beyond reimbursement for legitimate library-approved expenses, performs a task at the direction of and on behalf of the library.

The volunteer will be asked:

  1. To work with the library staff in setting up a mutually agreeable work schedule.
  2. To be reliable and to give the library reasonable notice when unable to attend.
  3. To notify a staff member with any problem related to the work at the library.
  4. To respect patron confidentiality.
  5. To undertake any training required.
  6. To follow policy guidelines established by the library.
  7. To become familiar with the locations of materials within the library.
  8. To function as a goodwill ambassador for the library.

Volunteers at the Stowe Free Library may choose from a variety of tasks and time commitments. Specific tasks and various time commitments are described in the SFL Volunteer Handbook. Volunteers will receive on-the-job training to provide them with the information and skills necessary to perform their volunteer assignments. The timing and methods for receiving such training should be applicable to the complexity and demands of the assignment.

The library accepts the service of volunteers with the understanding that such service is at the sole discretion of the library. The library and/or the volunteer may at any time choose to discontinue the volunteer services. Notice of such a decision should be communicated as soon as possible to the volunteer and/or the librarian who oversees the volunteers.

While volunteers shall not be utilized to displace any paid employees from their positions, it is important that volunteers be thoroughly trained in their designated duties at the library and be allowed to serve in any reasonable capacity, as the Director sees fit.

Written and approved by the Stowe Free Library Board of Trustees in June 2010; revised May 2013.

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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. Amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; and January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996, by the ALA Council.

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Freedom to Read Statement

American Library Association

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which are unorthodox or unpopular with the majority.
  2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation contained in the books 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 books should be published or circulated.
  3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to determine the acceptability of a book on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
  4. 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.
  5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept with any book the prejudgment of a label characterizing the book or the author as subversive or dangerous.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
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A key to children’s reading success is making their reading experience entertaining, relaxing and enjoyable. Allowing children to choose their own reading materials while at the same time assisting them in finding books that pique their interest is the role of the children’s librarian. Evaluating the content of each book in order to assess its appropriateness for a particular child is the role of the parent. Bearing that in mind, there are different areas in the Stowe Free Library Children’s and Young Adult Room.

  1. Picture Books and Easy Readers
    These books feature a wide array of books for both children being read to and children beginning to read on their own. Some picture books are written for babies and toddlers, some for 3-5 year olds, and some for more sophisticated readers up through early elementary school. The Red Clover Picture Book Award program, offered at most Vermont elementary schools, was designed to educate kids about the wide range of picture books and to help them become critical evaluators of both written and illustrated content. Yes, it is okay for a 3rd grader to enjoy reading picture books!

  2. Easy Readers
    These books are designed with the new reader in mind. Each publishing company has its own leveling system. The very early levels may have only a few words per page. As the child becomes more proficient at reading, more words are added. The highest level Easy Readers have small chapters and a much more extensive vocabulary.

  3. Juvenile Fiction (JF)
    This area covers a wide range of reading and interest levels, generally 1st grade through 5th grade. Anything marked JF is usually a chapter book or “novel” for children. Due to varying content and reading levels, there are more sophisticated classics such as The Secret Garden and Tom Sawyer, as well as very beginning chapter books such as the Horrible Harry series or the Junie B. Jones books.

  4. Young Adult (YA)/Teen
    This section is for readers ranging in age from 5th-12th grade. Reading levels are higher and content may be more sophisticated. Adolescent concerns such as sexuality, fitting in, drugs and alcohol, school violence, eating disorders, etc. are now in a separate Teen section. Books in YA have a higher reading level than most JF books and may cover topics such as death, divorce, or war. At least half of the books on the DCF (Dorothy Canfield Fisher) list are considered young adult.

  5. Nonfiction
    These areas are comprised of books that are factual. They are organized by the Dewey Decimal Subject Classification system. The YA nonfiction area contains books that were written with the teenager in mind. Topics may include questions about religion, sexuality, drugs and alcohol, eating disorders, astrology, fashion, etc.

Librarians are happy to assist children, young adults, teachers and parents who may need help navigating the childrens and young adult area. Please do not hesitate to ask.

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Message to Parents

The Staff and Board of Trustees of the Stowe Free Library encourage the use of the library by children who come to study, read, do homework and attend programs. Due to the increase in the number of children who are using the library without accompanying adults, we would like to communicate our concerns. We urge that parents review these materials and discuss them with their children.

  • The library does not provide day care services. Some children are coming to the library after school for up to 2 hours a day, several days a week. Some children are sent to the library every day after school.
  • Some children come to the library directly after school to wait for specific extra-curricular classes or athletic practices. The waiting period may be up to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Children need some kind of physical or social outlet after a long day at school. They may also be hungry and thirsty. The library does not provide or allow food or drink inside the building.
  • Some children whose needs are not met after school and do not have library-related work to do may become disruptive and display inappropriate behavior in the library setting. Verbal warnings sometimes go unheeded.
  • Sometimes, children have not been picked up before the library closes for the day and the building is locked.
  • Library space is limited and shared freely with people of different ages and library needs.
  • The library is located in a Town building that is shared by the Helen Day Art Center with common front and rear entrances. Lobbies obstructed by children and their belongings may hinder access to the library and the art center.
  • The property surrounding the Helen Day Memorial Building is owned and maintained by the Town and is located near busy intersections. Unsupervised children playing outside may cause damage to the building, the landscaping, or themselves.
  • It is important to remember that while Stowe is a small town with a strong community ethic, it is also a busy tourist destination with an international array of visitors and workers who are strangers to the community.

Our new library policy regarding the use of the library by unattended children reflects our concern for the welfare of all children.

Rules of Conduct

These rules apply to all patrons of the library regardless of age.

  1. Eating, drinking, smoking and the use of illegal drugs are prohibited.
  2. Soliciting or distribution of leaflets within the library is prohibited.
  3. Animals are not permitted except as guide or assist animals.
  4. Appropriate attire, including shirts and shoes, must be worn at all times. Ski boots must be removed before entering the library.
  5. Skis, snowboards, and other sports equipment are not allowed in the building.
  6. Neither the library nor its staff is responsible for patrons’ personal belongings left unattended.
  7. Cell phone use is not permitted in the library.
  8. Loud, boisterous behavior is not acceptable.
  9. Physical or verbal harassment of other patrons or staff is prohibited.
  10. Any purposeful damage done to the material, equipment, furniture, building, or property of the library is against the law and may be reported to the police.
  11. Loitering in the front and back lobbies is prohibited.
  12. Running up and down the stairs in the front or the back of the building is prohibited.
  13. Elevator use is limited to adults or children with accompanying adults.
  14. The wheel-chair lift in the back lobby is reserved for the disabled only.
  15. Rest rooms should be used only for appropriate reasons.
  16. The Helen Day Memorial Building and grounds should be treated with respect.

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Child Safety Policy

The Stowe Free Library welcomes children of all ages. The Board of Directors and the staff want the library to be a safe and secure place for all patrons, especially children. Our Child Safety Policy speaks to this concern.

  • Children in third grade and under must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other responsible adult during their entire stay in the library.
  • Adult supervision is recommended for all children of elementary school age. However, children in fourth grade and up may be left unattended at the library to research an assignment, complete a homework task, attend a library program, use a computer, or to select books or other materials. Children, as well as adults, are expected to display appropriate behavior consistent with the Rules of Conduct Policy.
  • Regardless of age, any individual or group of individuals who are disruptive to others may be asked to leave the premises. Because loitering in library hallways is prohibited, children may be asked to go outside. Although the library staff does their best to provide library services to children, they cannot know the whereabouts and/or supervise each child inside or outside the building. (During the school year, the library may see as many as 30 children in the building after school). Parents should bear this in mind before sending a child to the library without an adult. Children who are repeatedly unmindful of appropriate library behavior may have library privileges suspended for a period of time.
  • Parents and caregivers should be aware of library hours. As in all town buildings, patrons will be asked to leave at closing time. If a parent/caregiver feels it is unsafe for a child to leave the building without adult supervision, he/she should make arrangements to have the child picked up well ahead of closing time.
  • In the event that an unattended child has not been picked up before closing time, the staff will attempt to reach one or both of the parents or a guardian, if possible. If the staff cannot or is unable to reach a parent or guardian, it is the recommendation of Family Services Division of the state Department for Children and Families that the staff should contact the Stowe Police Department and request that the unattended child be picked up at the Library by an officer and held safely at the Police Department until a parent or guardian can be reached.

Parents and caregivers, not library staff, are responsible for the actions and safety of children visiting the library.

Approved by the Stowe Free Library Board of Trustees in September 2007; revised and approved September 2011. Ratified October 2015.

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Acceptable Use Policy

As part of its ongoing mission, the Stowe Free Library seeks to serve as a center for information, learning, culture, and recreation for all members of the greater Stowe community. The Library Board of Trustees and staff support the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and all of its interpretations, including Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks. The Library supports access to information on subjects that serve the needs or interests of each user.

Regarding children’s use of the Internet, it must be noted that all patrons of the Stowe Free Library, regardless of age, have equal access to the materials, information, and technology provided by the library. The Library assumes no responsibility for the use of the Internet by children and young adults under the age of 18. It is the responsibility of parents and/or legal guardians to determine what their children may read, use or access on the Internet.

Users of the Library’s Internet connection agree to obey all applicable federal, state, and local laws including, but not limited to, copyright, licensing, and content restrictions. The Library reserves the right to terminate the user’s computer privileges for abuse of these conditions or for unauthorized use of the Library’s Internet connection.

BASIC RULES FOR COMPUTER USE

General Use

  • Public access computers are now equipped with the time management software, Envisionware. Patrons are limited to 30 minutes a session, 2 sessions available per day. The sessions may be consecutive if the computer has not been reserved for another patron.
  • A valid library card is required to login to a public access computer. If a patron does not have one, a temporary card can be requested at the front desk. To log in, the patron must type in the library card number or scan it in using the individual scanner provided at each public access computer.
  • A reservation may be made for a public access computer for that current day. The reservation will be forfeited if the patron is ten minutes late.
  • Staff will provide reasonable assistance to patrons regarding technology.
  • Computers will be turned off ten minutes prior to closing.
  • Due to space constraints, computer use is limited to a maximum of two people per computer workstation.
  • Use of the Internet for activities that violate local, state, or federal laws is prohibited.
  • Display of sexually explicit graphics is inappropriate in a public environment. The Library reserves the right to ask users to refrain from displaying inappropriate computer images.
  • The Library staff is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the computers. Users should report problems to staff immediately.

Children

  • Computers in the children’s area are reserved for use by children and young adults (through middle school age) only.
  • Computers in the children’s area are to be used primarily for research including appropriate web sites and educational software. Librarians reserve the right to prohibit chat room use and/or any use that violates library policy.
  • Computer use is limited to no more than two children per computer. Study groups may request an exception to this rule by speaking to the children’s librarian. Due to the size of the room, no more than four people may use the room at one time.
  • Children may sign up for one half hour per day. If no one is waiting to use the computer, they may stay on for an additional half hour. If two children are on one computer, they will be considered one user.
  • Children are expected to respect another person’s privacy and to observe the library’s rules of conduct. Failure to comply with these rules may result in loss of computer privileges.

Software

  • The library cannot be held responsible for any damage or loss of data incurred while using library technology.
  • Unauthorized access to the Stowe Free Library computer system is strictly prohibited. Users will not engage in any such activity or attempt to access the SFL computer system for the purpose of altering or manipulating hardware or software.
  • Patrons must not purposely alter, install, remove or damage computer software or hardware, including library files or settings.

Charges

  • The cost to repair damage knowingly caused by any patron to library computers or their peripherals will be charged to that patron. Parents or legal guardians are responsible for the charges of patrons under the age of 18.
  • Printing charges will be 10 cents per page.

Privacy

  • Use of the Internet and the World Wide Web cannot be considered secure. Therefore patrons should consider their Internet activity as public information and limit their activities accordingly.
  • Non-library files on the computer hard drive, the contents of the temporary folders and the cache, as well as the location bar on the Internet browsers, will be deleted daily.
  • The Stowe Free Library will treat information displayed on its computers and/or printers, including its patron and circulation records as confidential. Requests for disclosure of information will only be honored when required by local, state, or federal law.

Sanctions

Users who do not observe these rules may have their library privileges revoked. Appeals may be made to the Library Director who may refer the appeal to the Board of Trustees.

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees in March 2009, February 2012. Revised and approved January 2013; revised and approved Dec. 2014.

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Wireless Policy

The Stowe Free Library provides wireless access to the library’s Internet service for properly equipped and configured laptops and hand held devices. When patrons use the Library's Internet service they are accepting the Library's Acceptable Use Policy. Patrons are asked to take the time to read the policy before accessing the network; copies of these policies are available at the front desk.

Advantages

  • No waiting for an available computer
  • No enforced time limits – unlimited connection
  • Library card is not required
  • Work in a quieter area of the building
  • Fast access
  • Download files
  • Save files permanently on a personal device

Limitations

  • A Wi-Fi network is less secure than a wired network (see "How Safe is Wi-Fi?" below)
  • Signal strength varies within the library

Accessing the wireless signal

The wireless signal may be accessed throughout the Library, although the signal may be weaker (and therefore the connection not as fast) out on the front porch and towards the back of the Library.

How safe is Wi-Fi?

Using Wi-Fi poses the same risks to personal information that a wired network poses, but with the added vulnerability of having the network more open and less secure. This is the nature of Wi-Fi – the network is easily accessible to many people. Cautious Wi-Fi users may choose not to transmit their credit card information and passwords while using any Wi-Fi "hotspot", including the Library's. The Library cannot assure the safety of the user’s data when the library’s wired or wireless Internet is being accessed.

Staff Assistance

  • Patrons are responsible for setting up their own equipment.
  • Library staff cannot assist them with laptop cards or configuration.
  • The library cannot accept the liability of handling patron-owned equipment.

Wireless Technical Information

Wireless hardware and software varies as to the operating systems on laptops or personal devices, so the same instructions may not work for everyone. In many cases, clicking on the browser is all that is required. Most wireless software has an indicator that tells when a signal is being received. Make sure that both the link quality and the signal strength are "good." If not, move about the room to a location that has a stronger signal.

The Library shall not be responsible for any loss of data or damage to personal equipment.

Reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees in March 2008; revised and approved May 2012; revised and approved January 2013.

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Printing Fees

Printing, including wireless, and copying services are available. The cost is $.10/page letter or $.20/page legal.

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STOWE FREE LIBRARY | 90 POND STREET, STOWE, VT 05672 | 802-253-6145

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