Earlier we talked about procedures being practical rather than philosophical. Think of them as a way to keep your library running smoothly. They are very important for training new staff, so you should make sure you have the necessary procedures and that they are kept up to date. Procedures don't have to be fancy or long. They just need to tell the reader how to do that process. Your library probably already has some procedures, and hopefully even has a manual. Consider putting all of your procedures in one manual. This makes them easy to find. If your library doesn't have typical procedures written down, work with library staff to develop some. The person who does a particular job should be the one to write the procedure. Although procedures don't need to be approved by the library board, it can still take time to develop them. What procedures typically need to be included in a manual?

  • Opening and closing the library
  • Circulation: check-out, check-in, etc.
  • Interlibrary Loan
  • Ordering materials: how? who?
  • Receiving/processing new materials
  • Collecting statistics
  • Setting up board meetings
  • Special events, such as storytime
  • Other special procedures, such as reserving the meeting room
  • Emergency procedures: who to call in the event of an emergency, what to do
  • Budget preparation
  • Summer Reading Program
  • Annual report
  • Use of library meeting room

By now you should have observed that these procedures cover routine tasks. Tasks can be done daily, weekly, monthly or even annually. Some of these tasks may require special forms. Be sure to include a copy of the forms in the procedures manual.

A Policy List for Public Libraries

(Excerpted from the Montana State Library Trustee Handbook)

The following list of policies may be relevant to your needs. It is arranged in the form of an outline to show how policies relate to one another.

  1. Mission and Role Statement
  2. Board Bylaws
  3. Public Service Policies
    1. Eligibility for borrowing and services
      1. Resident and nonresident
      2. Programming and outreach
    2. Collection Management Policy
      1. Mission and goals with community description
      2. Responsibility for selection
      3. Selection criteria for each format
      4. Scope and priorities of collection
      5. Selection procedures and vendor relations
      6. Evaluation, weeding and maintenance
      7. Censorship, access and challenged materials procedure
      8. Intellectual Freedom Statement, Library Bill of Rights
      9. Gifts and donations
    3. Circulation Policy
      1. Loan period and renewal
      2. Confidentiality
      3. Reserved material
      4. Fines, damages
      5. Interlibrary loan
      6. Special collections
      7. Audiovisual equipment
      8. Fees
    4. Reference Policy
    5. Facilities Policy
      1. Hours of operation
      2. Americans with Disabilities Act compliance
      3. Security
      4. Meeting room use
      5. Exhibits and displays
      6. Copiers and other equipment use
    6. Community Relations Policy
      1. Cooperative borrowing agreements
      2. Relations with schools
      3. Volunteers
      4. Friends groups
    7. Patron Behavior Policy
      1. Unattended children
      2. Respect for staff, users and library property
    8. Internet Use Policy
  4. Management Policies
    1. General
      1. Responsibility and authority
      2. Budget, accounting and financial management
      3. Procurement, including gifts
    2. Personnel
      1. Responsibility and authority
      2. Job descriptions and classifications
      3. Salaries and benefits
      4. Hours, annual and sick leave, overtime, holidays
      5. Hiring, termination, resignations and nepotism
      6. Performance evaluation and promotion
      7. Continuing education/professional development
      8. Discipline and grievances
      9. Americans with Disabilities Act compliance
      10. Fair Labor Standards Act complianceSexual harassment
      11. Personnel records
    3. Facilities
      1. Responsibility and procedures for maintenance
      2. Acquisition and ownership
      3. Insurance and liability
      4. Emergency preparedness
      5. Americans with Disabilities Act compliance
      6. Use of equipment, vehicles, etc.

ASPeN: The New Library Directory

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