The policy statements contained herein are established by the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court in order to ensure that the citizens and taxpayers of Fort Bend County receive the maximum benefit from their investment in the library system. The procedures herein provide guidance to the professional library staff in implementing the policies for the Commissioners Court. Ultimate responsibility for the selection of library materials in Fort Bend County Libraries lies with the County Librarian, who is responsible for operating within the policies and procedures established by the Commissioners Court.
2. MISSION AND GOALS
The mission of Fort Bend County Libraries (FBCL) is to provide an environment of lifelong learning and enrichment for the entire, diverse community, through responsive service and access to timely and accurate resources.
Library materials and services are selected, organized, and made accessible in order to support the mission of the library, to meet the library needs of the community, to be responsive to recommendations for selections made by County residents, and to encourage use of the library. A written selection policy provides guidance for the library staff in their role as selectors, to ensure that the library is making the best use of its resources with respect to the needs and requests of the community. The policy also serves as a means of informing the public and county officials of the principles used in making selection decisions.
The public library is dedicated to the concept of service to everyone. In our diverse community, the library strives to make available materials that reflect the needs of citizens of all ages and abilities, as well as people with widely-varying educational, socioeconomic, philosophical, cultural, and religious backgrounds. Within the limitations of budget, space, and availability of materials, the County attempts to provide library collections of adequate size in a variety of formats that reflect the needs of the entire community. Library materials are not selected to promote any particular belief or view; rather, materials are selected to provide differing viewpoints about issues that individuals can use in determining their own opinions.
The library materials covered by the selection policy include printed materials such as books, newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets; microforms; audiovisual materials; electronic resources; educational toys; and the manuscripts and records housed in the Genealogy and Local History Department. Library materials may also include other resources that will be developed in the future and added to the library collections.
Under the policies and procedures established by Commissioners Court, the Library Director delegates responsibility for the selection of materials to coordinators, professional librarians, and other staff who are qualified for this task through education and experience. As directed by the Commissioners Court, the library routinely accepts input from the residents of the County regarding specific titles that are recommended for purchase. Titles may be recommended online by entering a title on the Suggest-a-Title page accessed from the library's home page. Also, any library user can recommend a purchase by giving the information to a staff member working at a reference desk in any of the eight libraries. In addition to recommending specific titles, the library encourages residents to recommend to the staff subject areas of the collections that they believe should be expanded or improved.
3. GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES FOR SELECTION
In making selections for the library, staff are expected to be flexible and open-minded in making their decisions and to be responsive to the changing needs of the community. Because the community changes, materials already in the collections must be carefully evaluated on a continuing basis, as are those items initially added to the collection. In selecting materials, the library staff seek to represent differing viewpoints on a subject and to reflect the problems, aspirations, attitudes and ideals of our diverse community. The County selects, purchases, and promotes materials in any format that enriches and supports the informational, vocational, recreational, and educational needs of library users and that supports the business and civic activities of the community. Materials are evaluated as a whole, and not on the basis of a particular section or sections.
A single guideline cannot be applied to each potential item for selection; however, some of the general criteria for selection include patron demand; relative importance of an item in comparison with similar materials and viewpoints already in the collection; suitability of subject, style, and reading level for the intended audience; timeliness of the materials; reputation of the publisher or producer; authority and significance of the author, composer, etc.; and quality and style of writing or production. In some instances, the cost of an item and availability of the same or comparable material elsewhere in the Houston area may be considerations in selecting items.
In evaluating factual (nonfiction) works, selectors consider the timeliness and accuracy of the information presented, the known competence and objectivity of the author, the comprehensiveness and depth of the treatment of the topic, clarity of presentation, usability of the arrangement of the material, and inclusion of bibliographies and indexes. Considerations involved in evaluating an item that represents a specific opinion include clarity and logic of presentation, usability of arrangement, comprehensiveness and depth of treatment, degree and accomplishment of purpose, and availability of other materials on the subject.
When selectors evaluate a work of the imagination (fiction, picture books, etc.), the considerations include representation of an important movement, genre, trend or culture; vitality and originality; artistic presentation and quality evidenced in the plot, setting, and theme characterization; point of view; style; and potential for sustained interest and entertainment.
4. HOW MATERIALS ARE SELECTED FOR ADULT COLLECTIONS
Materials for adult collections are selected by qualified, experienced adult-services librarians who are knowledgeable about adult materials and who interact regularly with library patrons by assisting them in locating requested information and fiction. Library staff involved in selection represent a cross-section of the county population and reflect the diversity of the community. Consideration of recommendations by County residents is a routine part of selection for adult collections.
Many professional and literary review sources are used to determine which of the thousands of materials published each year are appropriate to add to the library's collections. Other sources are also used to build a balanced collection. Some of these other sources include physical inspection of books and other materials at bookstores and at trade shows, bestseller lists, publisher's catalogs, flyers and information sheets received from publishers, and bibliographies from books already in the collections.
After information is gathered from a variety of sources, selection lists of possible purchases are reviewed and compiled by the Coordinator of Adult Collection Development. Titles for purchase are chosen from the lists by selectors in each branch and at George Memorial Library. The Coordinator reviews all items selected for purchase before the items are ordered. (See Appendix B, Selection and Purchasing Process for Library Materials.)
5. HOW MATERIALS ARE SELECTED FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS (TEENS)
Materials for children's collections are selected by qualified, experienced youth-services librarians who are knowledgeable about children's materials and who interact regularly with children and caregivers by assisting them in locating requested information, picture and easy books, and fiction for young people. Consideration of recommendations by County residents is a routine part of selection for youth collections.
Many professional and literary sources are used to determine which materials are appropriate to add to the collections. Other sources are also used to build a balanced collection. Some of these other sources include physical inspection of books and other materials at bookstores and at trade shows, publisher's catalogs, flyers and information sheets received from publishers, and bibliographies from books already in the collections.
After information is gathered from the sources noted above, selection lists of possible purchases are reviewed and compiled by the Coordinator of Youth Services. Titles for purchase are chosen from the lists by children's librarians from each branch and the Youth Department at George Memorial Library. The Coordinator of Youth Services reviews all items selected for purchase before the items are ordered.
Materials for the young-adult collections are selected by a group of experienced youth- services librarians who are knowledgeable about young-adult materials. Final approval for all purchases is the responsibility of the Coordinator of Youth Services. The same professional sources used for purchasing children's book are used for selecting items for the young adult collections. (See Appendix B, Selection and Purchasing Process for Library Materials.)
6. SPECIAL GUIDELINES USED IN SELECTING MATERIALS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS (TEENS)
The materials chosen for the children's collections are selected to serve the library needs of children from birth, as well as the needs of adults who are concerned about this age group. Materials in a variety of print and non-print formats are selected for all levels of children's understanding and reading abilities. Selection criteria used in choosing children's books apply equally to all materials for children, with special attention given to stages of emotional and intellectual development. Materials are selected to meet the special needs of children for play and recreation, or for verbal, motor and sensory development. The library may select materials that do not meet literary standards in order to provide items that fulfill emotional needs, serve as stepping stones to better reading, or fulfill some other special purpose, such as beginner readers.
In selecting materials for children, the library staff are dedicated to introducing children to the finest-quality books and other materials available. The library selects materials that develop and foster children's enjoyment in books and reading; help children to better understand themselves, their community, and their world; and broaden minds and introduce children to experiences not encountered in their daily lives. The materials selected for children also contribute to their aesthetic experience; stimulate curiosity; improve children's ability to make critical judgments and build informational skills; and promote better appreciation for-and pride in-cultural and ethnic heritage.
In reviewing specific items for purchase, the selectors of children's materials consider each individual book or other material with regard to appeal to children, contributions to the aims of both formal and informal education, subject matter of current and traditional interest, good content and format, authority of the author, literary and artistic merit, and the contribution of single item to the balance of the entire collection.
Fort Bend County Libraries recognizes that young adults (also referred to as "teens") form a special service-population with unique information needs and reading interests. The young-adult collections are, therefore, separately identified to provide a transition from the juvenile to the adult collections and generally serve-but are not limited to-youth in sixth through eighth grades. At FBCL, the emphasis of the young-adult collections is on popular browsing materials, on fiction written specifically for adolescents or with adolescent characters, and on nonfiction uniquely of interest to young teens. In order to ensure the recreational emphasis of the young-adult collections, information for meeting school assignments is available in the adult and juvenile reference and circulating collections, rather in the young-adult collections.
7. SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS IN SELECTING AUDIOVISUAL AND MULTIMEDIA MATERIALS
Adults The audiovisual collections for adults include music CDs and audiocassettes, books on CDs and audiocassettes, CD-ROMs, software, videotapes, and DVDs. New formats will be added as they become available in the future. The same criteria that are used for print materials are used for selecting audiovisual materials, with an additional emphasis placed on appropriateness of format, cost-effectiveness, and production quality.
Videos for adults, both VHS and DVD, must meet additional criteria to be added to the collections. Selected videos must receive above-average reviews or ratings from established rating sources, along with reviews from the same sources used in selecting print materials.
Audiovisual materials for children and young adults are selected on the basis of an acceptable level of quality that has been determined by considering the opinion of qualified reviewers in recognized authoritative review sources; through recognition by prizes, awards, etc., given by critical organizations, institutes, or associations; materials that have appeared on public television networks; and in-house-review evaluation by the FBCL youth coordinator.
Fort Bend County Libraries recognizes the importance of visual experience in the lives of children and teens. In selecting videos for children, special emphasis is placed on a child's developmental needs for stimulation of imagination and mental growth. Video adaptations of children's book, folktales and fairy tales, children's classics, animated stories, informational videos, and feature motion pictures with children as the intended audience are included in FBCL's collections. Concept videos (programs teaching basic concept skills, such as shapes and colors) and parenting videos are also included in the collections. Children's and young adult video selections are purchased for "home-use only."
Collections of up-to-date, multimedia, educational software are maintained in every library for in-house use by children while they are in the library and for checkout for home use. A variety of educational games is selected to support the developmental needs of children through 15 years of age. Selection criteria for multimedia materials are the same as those standards listed for other types of materials. Special considerations in selecting multimedia include placing special emphasis on programs that support and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, that are accurate and are age- appropriate, and that offer creative challenges. For older children, role-playing or dramatic situations, which include conflicts, goals and characters, will be selected. Consideration is given to information organized in a narrative or storytelling form that is the most easily comprehended and remembered.
In order to further meet the educational, recreational, and informational needs and interests of children from birth, toys are an integral part of each of the youth collections. The selection criteria stated throughout the policy apply equally to toys, with special emphasis on safety, sturdiness of construction, appropriateness for targeted age-levels, and suitability for circulation.
8. ELECTRONIC RESOURCES
Fort Bend County Libraries maintains a website that contains information about the library, provides access to the library's catalog, and links patrons to wide variety of resources available on the Internet and in specific databases purchased by the library. New databases that are under consideration for purchase by the library are reviewed by a panel of librarians representing each of the branches and George Memorial. New databases that are added to the collection must meet high standards of integrity, accuracy, ease of use, and timely inclusion of new information. Indexing and full text of many periodicals and newspapers are available through databases available at FBCL. Many titles available in full-text editions through databases are not duplicated in print versions. Databases covering similar materials, such as history or business, are compared to determine which database best meets the needs of FBCL users. Cost of a database and availability of the same information in other resources are also factors considered in selecting a database. Internet and informational databases are available to everyone at the library and from home, remotely. Access to a free homework help resource for youth is available through the Internet.
9. GENEALOGY AND LOCAL HISTORY
Materials for genealogical research and a comprehensive collection of historical and descriptive materials about Fort Bend County and the people and events associated with the county are collected by the Genealogy and Local History Department. Materials from adjacent counties, and from the remainder of the state to a lesser extent, are also collected. All materials in the collection are non-circulating.
Materials are purchased, or accepted as donations, on the basis of interest and research potential. Included in the collection are: censuses; surname histories; heraldry; school, courthouse, church, genealogical and cemetery records; immigrant and land-grant lists; as well as electronic sources, books and periodicals.
The department also accepts papers, photographs, and records that are considered significant to the history of Fort Bend County. The department manager has responsibility for the selection of the materials and acceptance of donated materials. Materials donated to the department will remain the property of the department or be disposed of in an appropriate manner.
Archives of the Regional Historical Resource Depository (RHRD) are held by the department for Fort Bend County and for five adjacent counties. RHRD is administered by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. These non-current city, county, and other local government records of historical value are available for public research. State policies govern the use, handling and preservation of the RHRD collection.
10. ADAPTIVE MATERIALS, SPECIAL NEEDS AND LANGUAGES
Collections of materials to supplement adult basic education, such as literacy and English-as-a-Second-Language tutoring, are part of the library collections. Materials in adaptive formats to accommodate persons with special visual or hearing needs are also part of the collections, including large-print books, books in Braille, audio-books on cassette and CD, and videocassettes and DVDs. Magnifying and color-enhancing equipment, as well as Kurzweil software that can scan and read printed words, are available to assist the visually-impaired in accessing printed information.
Collections of materials written or produced in non-English languages that are the most widely used in Fort Bend County are also maintained and purchased by the library. These collections are built and maintained by librarians and volunteers who are fluent in the language of the collection.
11. LAW LIBRARY
The Fort Bend County Law Library is administered by FBCL. The law library is a reference (non-circulating) collection of legal materials and electronic resources selected primarily for attorneys. These legal references are available for any Fort Bend County residents to use in the Law Library. The Law Library Committee of the Fort Bend County Bar Association decides which items will be added to the collection. Filing fees from cases filed in the county courts fund the County Law Library.
Also, each of the FBCL libraries maintains a self-help collection of legal resources that are available to everyone in the county. The materials are selected by the Adult Collection Development Coordinator.
12. RESOURCE SHARING
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides support for the interlibrary borrowing and lending of library materials. Users of FBCL can borrow library materials from many other libraries in Texas and the nation. In other words, Fort Bend County residents have almost unlimited access to all printed materials. Specialized materials with limited readership-such as highly-technical materials-and out-of-print books are usually obtained for a user by the interlibrary-loan process rather than by purchase. Audiovisual materials can sometimes be obtained through interlibrary loan.
Fort Bend County Libraries is an integrated library system. Access to most library materials at one branch or George Memorial Library are also available to users at other libraries in the system through the online catalog, fax service, the Internet, and daily deliveries. System delivery allows for the purchase of an appropriate number of copies for the system and, in some instances, eliminates the necessity to purchase a copy of a work for each library location.
Individual libraries in the Fort Bend County system do not have identical collections. All libraries have similar basic collections; however, each library also reflects the interests and needs of the residents in the neighborhood, the availability of space in the building, and funding available for purchasing materials.
13. WITHDRAWALS AND REPLACEMENTS OF LIBRARY MATERIALS
Library materials are regularly withdrawn from library collections. Materials are withdrawn when they provide out-of-date and, therefore, erroneous information; are about subjects or authors no longer popular; are excessively worn or dirty; or have been lost. Availability of other copies of the same or similar titles in the system, availability of shelf space in the particular library, and the number of times an item has circulated are also considered in withdrawal decisions. Librarians at each library location remove items for withdrawal. It is not the library's policy to automatically replace each item withdrawn because of loss or damage. An item is replaced when a documented demand for it exists. More-recently-published books on the same subject often replace a withdrawn item. The Coordinators of Adult and Youth Materials review all items considered for withdrawal in each library. Some items are sent to another location for further use; some are withdrawn from the system.
14. GIFTS, MEMORIALS AND DONATIONS
All donations of library material are accepted with the understanding that they become the property of FBCL and may be added to the collections, sold or disposed of at the Libraries' discretion. A form is signed by the donor, and the donation policies are followed. FBCL encourages gifts and is grateful for them. FBCL cannot appraise the value of donated materials for income tax purposes or set aside a special area for donations.
Fort Bend County Libraries' Materials Selection Policy applies to all books donated directly to the library or to any of the Friends of the Library groups. All donations given to the library and to the Friends are evaluated by the appropriate Coordinator of Selection or a selection librarian, in order to identify books and other materials that will be added to the collection based on the selection criteria of the Materials Selection Policy. Books and other donated materials that are not added to the collection are sold by Fort Bend County Libraries Friends organizations. The proceeds from these sales are used to purchase library materials and to support library programs and services.
FBCL encourages monetary gifts donated in memory of or in honor of a person, or in the name of an organization. Selection of items purchased with such gifts is made by the library staff members, with consideration given to the donor's preferences and FBCL's Materials Selection Policy.
15. CONTROVERSIAL LIBRARY MATERIALS
Fort Bend County is a diverse community in which many of the world's religions, ethnic groups, cultures and ideologies are represented; therefore, a great diversity exists in patrons' choices of library materials.
When a controversial issue has two or more-widely supported opinions or theories, the definite facts on the issue have not been established, or the issue by its very nature is not susceptible to factual proof, FBCL will provide material on both or all sides of the issue, if availability permits.
FBCL recognizes an individual's rights to express his/her opinion concerning materials in the library's collection. This Materials Selection Policy and the following "Request for the Reconsideration of Library Materials" (Appendix A; click here to get the form). have been written to assure that objections to controversial library material are handled in an attentive and consistent manner. In order to object formally to a controversial item, a Fort Bend County resident or a FBCL cardholder must submit a completed "Request for Reconsideration for the Library Materials" (click here to get the form) to Fort Bend County.
16. THE RECONSIDERATION AND REVIEW PROCESS
Anonymous complaints or objections will not be considered. The complainant must be willing to provide his/her name and contact information. Requests for reconsideration may be made asking for removal of an item from all library collections, or asking that the item be moved to another collection or location within the library. A step-by-step outline of the reconsideration/review process is as follows: (See Appendix C, Reconsideration and Review Process of Library Materials; call 281-341-2603 to request a copy.)
If a person has an objection to a particular item in the library's collection/resources, (s)he may make that objection in writing or by email. The objection goes to the appropriate Collection Development Coordinator, who compiles reviews and additional information about the contested item and responds in writing or by email to the objecting patron, in an effort to resolve the issue informally. The patron is given the information needed to contact the Coordinator, if (s)he is not satisfied with the Coordinator's initial response. The Coordinator should respond to the initial objection within two (2) weeks of receiving the complaint. If the person filing the complaint is not satisfied with the Coordinator's informal response, the Library Director is notified by phone or email that further action is required.
If the patron wishes to object further, the matter enters a formal reconsideration process. The patron, now referred to as the complainant, is given a copy of the Materials Selection Policy, which includes a copy of the "Request for the Reconsideration of Library Materials" form (Appendix A; click here to get the form). The complainant completes and returns the form to the appropriate Collection Development Coordinator. The Coordinator appoints a review committee of five (5) qualified librarians who are asked to consider the item(s) in question and who are given other relevant information, such as the review material originally used in selecting the item. Each member of the review committee reviews the item and writes an individual opinion about keeping, removing, or relocating the item. Committee members do not share their findings with each other. The committee members' opinions are given the Collection Development Coordinator, who writes a formal response to the complainant that states the committee's recommendation regarding the item under review and provides information for contacting the Library Director if further action is required. The Coordinator will provide a response to the complainant within one (1) month from the submittal of the reconsideration form.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the committee's recommendation, (s)he may request further review of the item(s) in question. The Library Director will ask the Library Board of Trustees to form a five-person committee of members to review the item in question. The Board Committee will review the item and make a recommendation regarding the disposition of the item(s) in question. The Board Committee will return a response to the complainant within three weeks from the date the complaint is given to them for review.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the Library Board Committee's recommendation, the matter will be passed to Commissioner's Court for final disposition. All of the background information and copies of the item(s) in question will be given to each member of the Court. The Court will render the final decision in the matter; its directives will be carried out by the Library Director.
Approved by Fort Bend County Commissioners Court
November 9, 2004
The mission of Fort Bend County Libraries (FBCL) is to provide an environment for lifelong learning and enrichment for the entire, diverse community, through responsive service and access to timely and accurate resources. Within this context, we offer access to the Internet. Public use of the Internet in the library provides both expanded access to global resources and an opportunity to become familiar with state-of-the-art information technology.
Internet use in the library shall be consistent with our mission, policies and procedures, and with applicable local, state, federal, and international laws. Websites that present material of a questionable or unethical nature exist; Fort Bend County, its officials and its employees are not responsible for material displayed on the Web. Illegal use of the Internet, including—but not limited to—viewing obscenity or child pornography and infringement of copyright laws, is prohibited and can be grounds for loss of library privileges and/or criminal prosecution.
The Internet offers a wealth of information that is enriching to individuals of all ages. Because it is an unregulated medium that changes rapidly and unpredictably, information may not always be accurate, complete, or current. Library users must accept responsibility for determining the validity and suitability of content.
Our goal is to help the public make the best use of electronic information. Accordingly, the Internet is available on the adult and youth computers in our libraries. Filtering software has been installed on all computers in the Youth Services Departments and is available on the computers in the Adult Services Departments and Computer Labs. Please be aware that, while filtering software is a tool, no filter can block all offensive sites; therefore, it is possible that an offensive site could be visible on any computer at any time. Moreover, filtering software may not allow access to all acceptable websites. We urge parents and legal guardians to be involved in and responsible for deciding what resources are appropriate for their children and to educate their children in using the Internet.
Access to computers and the Internet is obtained through an individual's library-card barcode or a guest card, as follows.
ADULT CARD: 18 years of age or older; will have an option to select filtered or
unfiltered access to the Internet from a pull-down menu that will appear after the
adult has logged into the computer.
JUVENILE/YOUTH CARD: under 18; automatically FILTERED, unless parent(s)
sign(s) a form giving consent for unfiltered access. Parents who later change
their mind about their child's computer access may rescind the original decision
by filling out and signing a rescind form at any of the library locations. The child's
card would again provide only filtered access.
GUEST CARD: for use by those who do not have a library card; will provide only
FILTERED access. Adult guests aged 18 or older who wish to have unfiltered
access are encouraged to apply for and receive (immediately) a library card with
Privacy screens are available for use at all library locations.
The library staff is prepared to offer assistance in locating resources on and/or about the Internet, and training will be provided on a scheduled basis.
Fort Bend County Libraries provides access to the Internet on its public computers through Internet Explorer. All updates to the browser are based on security, network capability, current use, and stability of the browser. FBCL enhances Internet access through the selective installation of plug-in software for special Internet applications. Selection of plug-in software must meet the criteria of common use, security, network capability, library database application and technical management. Therefore, not all plug-in software will be available. Some Internet services, such as email, chat rooms, etc., will have limited or no functionality. Filtered public computers will also experience the same limitations. FBCL has no control over network access speed during times of peak Internet usage.
The mission of Fort Bend County Libraries is to provide an environment for lifelong learning and enrichment for the entire diverse community, through responsive service and access to timely and accurate resources.
Policies and Procedures for the use of meeting rooms in the Fort Bend County Libraries have been developed in accordance with its mission and are hereby established. Responsibility for implementing the policy rests with the Administrative Secretary at George Memorial Library or with the Manager in charge of a branch library. The County Librarian retains authority for enforcing this policy.
1. General Rules
Library activities and programs are given first priority for scheduling of meeting rooms.
All meetings must be open to the public and to the media.
Smoking is not permitted.
No lighted candles or open flames may be used.
No items may be affixed to the walls (e.g., banners, posters, decorations).
No animals will be allowed in meeting rooms unless they are an integral part of a scheduled program or are in the service of a disabled person. Such animals must be leashed or caged at all times.
The length of time that a meeting room is reserved must include time for setting up and for returning the room to good order.
Groups of high school age and under must be sponsored by and their meetings attended by an adult.
2. Meeting rooms may not be used by:
Groups whose use of a meeting room would interfere with regular library functions; or
Groups whose activities involve more than normal wear and tear on meeting rooms; or
Groups meeting for private and/or social activities such as showers, birthday parties, weddings, and recitals; or
Groups that have flagrantly or repeatedly violated library meeting room policies.
3. Publicity must neither state nor imply that the library is either sponsoring or endorsing a program or meeting unless such is the case; neither shall publicity state or imply that attendance is limited to group members. (Publicity must NOT give out the library's phone number as information contact.)
4. No admission fees are allowed.
5. Applications for use of meeting rooms
Applications for meeting-room use at George Memorial Library are to be received from and
returned to the Administrative Secretary. Applications for meetings at branches are to be
returned to the Branch Manager. Application forms may be returned in person, by mail, or by
fax. The person responsible for making a meeting-room application will be considered the
official contact person for the group.
A completed Application for Use of Meeting Room form must be received by the
Administrative Secretary or Branch Manager at least one week prior to the meeting date.
Rooms may be scheduled up to three months in advance. Applications will be accepted and
scheduled in the order received. In order to encourage the most-equitable use of meeting rooms,
only one meeting at a time may be scheduled; following a meeting a group may schedule
another, if the room is available at the desired time.
6. The library reserves the right to change or cancel reservations if an emergency occurs, or if a
special library program intervenes. In such case, 48 hours notice will be given. In either case, the
group may be assigned to another location, or, if no other accommodation is available, the meeting
room commitment will be canceled. A guest group may postpone or cancel a scheduled meeting, but
must notify the Administrative Secretary or Branch Manager at least 48 hours in advance. The
meeting may be rescheduled if a room is available.
7. Choice of hours
Meeting rooms may be used, as available, during regular library duty hours (i.e., when library staff is on duty). Evening meetings must be concluded 30 minutes prior to regular library closing time, and the room must be vacated by closing time.
Any group that fails to vacate library premises at closing may be denied future use of meeting room.
8. Room set-up
The number in attendance at a meeting must not exceed the seating capacity of the meeting
room. Open aisles must be maintained within the seating arrangements to provide clear access
Set-up for the meeting room (tables, chairs, etc.) is the responsibility of the group reserving the
9. Library-owned equipment: Use of library owned equipment must be requested at the time of
application. Changes in requirements can be requested no later than 48 hours prior to the meeting and
are subject to availability of the equipment. At the time of the meeting, no additional equipment may
be requested, nor will library staff be available to assist with equipment. An individual, to be named
by the group, must be instructed in the use of library owned equipment (e.g., audiovisual equipment)
prior to the meeting by the Audiovisual Services Department or by branch library staff. Groups failing
to abide by library-equipment policies may be denied future use of meeting rooms.
10. Group-owned equipment
Groups providing their own equipment or display materials are responsible for transportation to and from the meeting rooms. Library staff should not be asked to assist.
The library is not responsible for equipment, supplies, or other materials owned by a guest
group and used in the library. The library cannot supply storage for equipment and/or materials
and supplies belonging to guest groups.
11. The person reserving a room will be responsible for maintenance of order. This person must:
Be responsible for the group's compliance with library rules and protection of library property.
Notify the building manager when the meeting room has been cleared.
Assure that the room is left in good order.
12. If refreshments are served, sack lunches and finger foods are suggested, but catered meals may be
permitted if special arrangements are made when a room is reserved. Alcoholic beverages may not be
served. Food is to be served only in the scheduled room, and group members must not carry food or
drink throughout the building.
Original version Approved by Commissioners Court February 11, 1997
Revised version Approved by Commissioners Court March 8, 2005
Policies and procedures for the after-hours use of meeting rooms are established by the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court in order to ensure maximum use of the county's facilities. The procedures herein provide guidance to the library staff in implementing the policies for Commissioners Court.
Responsibility for accepting applications for after-hours use of all meeting rooms lies with the Administrative Assistant at George Memorial Library. The County Librarian retains authority for applying this policy following approval by Commissioners Court.
This policy applies to the main meeting rooms in the following libraries:
Albert George Branch (Needville),
Bob Lutts Fulshear/Simonton Branch (Fulshear),
Cinco Ranch Branch (Katy Area),
First Colony Branch (Sugar Land),
George Memorial (Richmond),
Missouri City Branch (Missouri City),
Sienna Branch (Missouri City),
Sugar Land Branch (Sugar Land) and
Univesity Branch (Sugar Land)
All of the meeting rooms at these branches can be accessed when the rest of the building is closed and allow for access to restrooms near the meeting rooms. Only the main meeting room in each library is covered by this policy; small meeting rooms, conference rooms, and storytime rooms are not available for after-hours use. (Mamie George Branch in Stafford has no meeting room and is excluded from this policy. The Law Library is also excluded.)
This policy applies only to hours when library staff is not on duty in the building. Another policy, entitled "Meeting/Conference Room Policy" applies to meeting room use when the libraries are staffed. A different application is required for using a meeting room when staff are on duty. The application and requirements for the other policy can be obtained at any Fort Bend County Library.
Generally, the after-hours policy applies seven days a week, but only when staff are not on duty between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Because each library building is staffed and open to the public different hours, each branch has a specific schedule of available hours for use of the meeting rooms. The specific hours each building is available for after-hours use are shown on page 7.
Elected officials and Department Heads of Fort Bend County using library facilities for County business will be exempt from this policy and shall coordinate use of the facilities with the Administrative Assistant at George Memorial Library.
Events that include use of several public areas of a library, as well as the meeting room, and that benefit Fort Bend County Libraries and/or the Literacy Council of Fort Bend County (and other literacy organizations) are exempt from this policy, upon approval by the Commissioners Court. Other organizations are not exempt from this policy and may not use public areas of the library other than the meeting rooms to which this policy applies.
1. General Rules for After-Hours Use of the Meeting Rooms1
All meetings must be open to the public and to the media.
No admission fees are allowed.
Smoking, gambling, and use of alcoholic beverages are not permitted in
No food or drinks (other than water) may be brought in or used in the
No library technical equipment, including audiovisual equipment and
computers owned by the county, may be used by groups using the building
No open flames are permitted in the rooms. No person shall bring in or use
an open flame, flame producing devices, or any flammable or combustible
material, such as candles, incense, tea lights, charcoal, etc. Smoke
machines are also prohibited.
No items, including banners, posters, or decorations, may be affixed to the
walls, ceilings, or other fixtures in the room. Users should bring their own
freestanding easels for exhibiting items.
No animals shall be allowed in the meeting rooms, unless they are in the
service of a disabled person. Such animals must be leashed at all times.
The length of time that is reserved for use of the room must include time for
setting up and for returning the room to good order.
Groups comprised of persons 18 years of age or younger must have at
least one (1) adult chaperone for every eight (8) guests. Chaperones must
be at least 21 years of age and must be present throughout the duration
of the function.
Users shall not post, exhibit, or allow to be posted, any signs,
advertisements, show bills, posters, or flyers, inside or outside to any part
of the building, except as authorized by the Library.
Publicity generated by the group using the meeting room must neither
state nor imply that the library is either sponsoring or endorsing a program
or meeting, unless such is the case; neither shall publicity state or imply
that attendance is limited to group members. Publicity must not give out
the library's phone number as an information contact.
Meeting rooms may not be used for activities involving more than normal
wear and tear on the rooms; by groups meeting for private and/or social
activities, such as showers, birthday parties, weddings, and recitals; by
groups that have flagrantly or repeatedly violated library meeting
Fort Bend County will not be responsible for any equipment or personal
property that is not the property of Fort Bend County.
Users are not allowed to store equipment or supplies at the facility other
than during the hours that are specified on the application.
Application for Use of a Meeting Room
Applicants must be 21 years of age or older.
Library reservations will occur on a first come, first served basis.
A library meeting room may be reserved for specific days and times for a
six-month term, with a right of first refusal for three (3) consecutive
six-month terms. Applications and notice of refusal must be received by the
library at least 30 days prior to commencement of use or end of use. Notice
of refusal must be provided in writing.
Payment for use of a meeting room shall be made by personal check at the
time an application is accepted by the library, at least 30 days in advance
of using the room. No partial payments shall be accepted; applicants must
pay for an entire interval of use prior to using the room.
Applicants shall familiarize themselves with the facility before applying. Fort
Bend County provides only the tables and chairs that are listed on page 7.
Any other equipment or supplies must be furnished by the user.
At no time shall a reserving party sublease or assign its reservation to
another group or organization. Nor shall use of the library be for any
purpose other than what was stated on the application.
Applicants renting a meeting room are limited to the hours specified on
their application. Any unauthorized or inadvertent use of the meeting room
the day prior to, or following, a function will be billed at the same hourly
Application forms may be obtained from the Administrative Assistant's
office at George Memorial Library and at all of the branches. To request a
form by phone, call 281-341-2603. A form will be mailed or faxed upon
Completed applications must be brought in person to George Memorial
Library (second floor, office of the Administrative Assistant) by the person
signing the application, or another person designated to handle all
transactions involving the application and use of the meeting room.
Groups must submit, on their application, a list of authorized
representatives (with names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone
numbers) who have approval to make inquiries and reservations on behalf
of the organization.
Renters will be charged a per hour fee (see Application Form) by Fort Bend
County, for a minimum of two (2) hours of use. Parts of an hour will be
charged as one hour. Renters will also hire and pay a peace officer for a
minimum of two (2) hours of work and at least as long as the room is in
use and/or rented . All peace officer arrangements must be made through
the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office at 281-341-4735 with the designated
Sheriff's Security Coordinator for the libraries. Law enforcement officers
will be provided by the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office at their contract
cost rate. All law enforcement fees must be paid in full at the time the
reservation is made. The officer on duty will be given the keys by the
library staff and will be in charge of opening and closing the library at the
requested time and for providing law enforcement during the rental period.
Applicants using the library meeting rooms shall comply with all County
ordinances and Federal and State laws. As in accordance with County fire
codes, all exits and doorways must remain clear and unlocked during
functions, and access to all hallways and fire extinguishers shall remain
clear. All marked fire lanes will be kept open at all time. Applicants agree to
abide by the designated room capacity as shown on page 7.
Fees for elections, or similar events, may be waived by the County
The applicant, or her/his designated representative, is required to be
present in the meeting room and available to County personnel during the
entire course of the event for which the applicant made a reservation.
3. Other Responsibilities
Applicants assume liability for the cost of repairing any damage to County
property or equipment.
When it is deemed necessary, the County reserves the right to require
applicants to provide public liability and/or property damage insurance and
any other coverage needed to protect the property of Fort Bend County.
Each meeting room has a variety of tables and chairs for users. None of the
furnishings may be taken outside of the facility for any reason.
Fort Bend County reserves the right to require additional police officers,
paid by the applicant, if it is determined that there is additional security
needed. If additional police officers are called out due to a disturbance, the
applicant will be charged for the extra officers at a rate that is 1 ½ times
their regular hourly rate.
Applicants are solely liable for the meeting room and must secure the
building and its contents at all times during the reserved time. All property
missing during this time will be charged to the reserving party.
Users are responsible for all clean-up. The applicant agrees to dispose of all
garbage off-site, pick up trash in the parking lot left by the event, clean
and return all tables and chairs to their original locations, and otherwise
return the building and grounds to the condition they were in before the
applicant's rental period.
Any events which have been scheduled due to false or misleading
information provided by the user shall be rejected and cancelled without
return of fees.
h) In the event of an emergency or extreme situation beyond the control of
the County, a confirmed reservation may have to be cancelled. All groups
should be aware of this possibility. Should a reservation be cancelled, it
may be rescheduled or a refund given.
In the event that a group or organization using a room wishes to cancel
their reservation, the library must be notified in writing at least 30 days in
advance, in order to give others an opportunity to use the meeting room.
Should a reservation be cancelled, a refund will be given.
If the library staff is called out to respond to an emergency that is not the
fault or responsibility of the County (including the pulling of fire alarms in a
non-emergency situation), the applicant will be billed for any charges
incurred by the library.
j) In case of building emergencies during the use of the meeting room,
including, but not limited to, plumbing problems, power failure, or air
conditioning problems, the user shall call the Library Maintenance
Coordinator at 713-545-6099 (cell phone/pager) or the people listed on
the emergency contact sheet to be provided at the time of application.
In case of security-related emergencies, contact the relevant local law
enforcement agency (police or Sheriff's department) or call 911.
Page 7 begins
Meeting Room Information
University Branch Library
14010 University Blvd.
Sugar Land, TX 77479-4295
Sienna Branch Library
8411 Sienna Springs Blvd.
Missouri City, Texas 77459-7119
1 Many of the General Rules listed here are the same as those applied to the business-hours meeting room policy.
Original version Approved by Commissioners Court March 8, 2005
Revised version Approved by Commissioners Court March 14, 2006
Library list updated February 28, 2012
Page 7 ends
FORT BEND COUNTY LIBRARIES APPLICATION FOR AFTER-HOURS USE OF MEETING ROOM (Application must be made in person at George Memorial Library.)
Today's date _________________
1. Name of organization ________________________________________________
2. The undersigned representative of the organization agrees that use of the meeting room will be in accordance with the policy established by the Commissioners Court regarding after-hours use of library meeting rooms. The undersigned representative agrees that he/she is responsible for use of the room. It is the responsibility of the person named below to pay for any fees for use, or additional charges incurred during use. Fees for required services for peace officers will also be paid by this person.
Signature ______________________________________ Date _______________
Title in organization __________________________________________________
Fees to be paid for peace officer are $25.00 per hour.
5. Clean-Up Agreement
I agree to assume full responsibility for cleaning of the meeting room in
accordance with the policy. I further acknowledge that I will be financially responsible for payment of custodial services if I fail to clean up the facility and grounds properly.
The policy statements contained herein are established by the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court in order to ensure that the Fort Bend County Libraries circulation policy is applied consistently throughout the library system. The policy provides guidance to all library staff and relevant volunteers in implementing the circulation of library materials on behalf of the Commissioners Court. Ultimate responsibility for circulation in Fort Bend County Libraries lies with the County Librarian, who is responsible for operating within the policies and procedures established by the Commissioners Court.
The Fort Bend County Libraries mission is to provide an environment of lifelong learning and enrichment for the entire, diverse community, through responsive service and access to timely and accurate resources.
In order to provide for the efficient and equitable circulation of materials, the library sets the following policy regarding borrower eligibility, confidentiality of library records, privileges and responsibilities, limits on the number of items that can be borrowed, renewals, items on hold, interlibrary loan, overdue-materials charges, and damaged and lost charges.
II. CONFIDENTIALITY OF PATRON RECORDS
A. It is the policy of Fort Bend County Libraries, and state law, that all
circulation records and other records identifying the names of library users
and their transactions with the library remain confidential. These records
include, but are not limited to, the following: personal names, addresses,
phone numbers, and email addresses; items in circulation, reserved and/or
previously consulted; library accounts denoting outstanding fines, fees,
and items lost; computer-use records; database-searching records;
interlibrary loan requests; and reference requests. Library staff and
volunteers must protect each user’s right to privacy regarding materials
used and information sought.
B. Individual library cardholders may choose to release their library barcode
number to others and, in this way, determine their own degree of privacy.1
In order to support an individual’s choice, access to the account or to
information associated with a valid Fort Bend County library card will be
released to a person other than the cardholder only under the following
1) Information will be released to a person other than the
cardholder upon presentment of the account-holder’s library
card and valid identification in person to a library staff
member. The person requesting the information may be
asked to provide personal information about the borrower,
such as address, phone number, and date of birth, in order to
confirm the validity of the request for information.
Without a library card, information will be released to
someone who is designated by name as an authorized agent
of the cardholder on the library-card account and who
presents his/her (the agent's) own photo identification (valid
Texas driver's license or government-issued photo
Information will be released to a parent/guardian listed on
the relevant library card with presentation of his/her (the
parent/guardian’s) own photo identification (valid Texas
driver's license or government-issued photo identification).
Information about charges due will be released with
presentation of a library notice (mailer). A library notice
cannot be used in lieu of a library card, driver's license, or
government-issued identification for the purpose of checking
C. A person attempting to verify a personal identification number (PIN) in
person must provide the relevant library card or photo identification (valid
Texas driver's license or government-issued photo identification), and may
be required to give the cardholder’s name and date of birth.
D. A person attempting to verify a PIN by email or by telephone must provide
the cardholder’s name, library barcode number, and date of birth in order
to receive the information.
E. A relevant library barcode number and a PIN number are required in order
to access a personal account on the online library catalog.
F. A person requesting action to be performed on specific titles by email or
Telephone must provide his/her name, library barcode number, and date of
III. A BORROWER’S RESPONSIBILITY
A. By signing a library card, an individual who applies for a library card accepts
full responsibility for the use and return of all library materials borrowed
under the account. As a borrower, the individual whose signature is on a
card will be charged fees by Fort Bend County Libraries for any items that
are damaged during their use by the cardholder, returned with missing
pieces, or lost. If a library card is lost or stolen, the cardholder must
immediately inform the library. Materials checked out on a lost or stolen
library card are the responsibility of the cardholder until proper notice is
received that the card is lost.
B. Fort Bend County Libraries reserves the right to deny or limit borrowing
privileges to anyone who repeatedly violates the library’s circulation policy
and procedures and fails to take appropriate measures for lost or
damaged library materials.
IV. OBTAINING A LIBRARY CARD
A. Applicants residing in the State of Texas
Any resident of the State of Texas may apply for a Fort Bend County library
card at no charge. A resident must apply in person and present photo
identification, including but not limited to, a valid Texas driver’s license, or a
government-issued photo identification and proof of current residence.
Proof-of-residence identification must contain the applicant's name and
current street address.
B. Applicants under age 18
Applicants under age 18, who reside in Texas, must have the application
signed by a parent or legal guardian, who must be present and must show
proof of residence and photo identification. Proof-of-residence identification
must show the applicant’s name and current street address; for example,
a utility bill, an auto-insurance document, a personalized check or bank
statement, etc. While anyone may use the library’s resources, patrons
must provide all required information to obtain a library card.
Parents may obtain library cards for all of their children, even those not
present. On the application, the parent may list another adult(s) who may
also have access to this account. The original parent applicant listed on the
library account may add other names at a later date. The names listed as
guardians may have access to all information concerning this account, upon
presentment of a valid Texas driver’s license or government-issued photo
Because the concept of family has changed, children may reside with
grandparents, other relatives, friends, or in group homes. For library-card
registration purposes, the adults responsible for a child’s care may be
considered that child’s guardian. The adult applicant is financially
responsible for all library materials checked out on the card. If guardianship
for a child changes, a new card will be issued to the guardian, who must
reside in Texas, sign the new application, show proof of residence, and
photo identification, as with application of any new card. The new guardian
will be financially responsible for all library materials checked out on the
Residents who are under age 18 but declare that they are emancipated
children because of marriage or military service may obtain a library card by
presenting photo identification and proof of residence.
C. Applicants residing in group homes
Applicants (adult or children) who reside in a group home may obtain a Fort
Bend County library card. A representative of the group home may provide
a letter to the library on organization letterhead stating that the individual
is a resident of that group home. In some cases, the applicant may provide
the letter on organization letterhead, because he/she is living
independently. Library cards given to residents of group homes are valid
for six months and the borrowing privileges are limited to a total of five
items checked out at any one time. In order to renew the library card,
proof of residence must again be verified by a representative of the facility
or by a letter from the group home. The group home is responsible for all
items checked out and for all fines/fees on the library card.
D . Applicants residing in shelters
Applicants or children who reside in a shelter may obtain a Fort Bend
County library card. The individual may bring in a letter on the shelter’s
letterhead stating that they are a resident of that shelter. These library
cards are valid for three months. Borrowing privileges are limited to a total
of five items checked out at any one time and two holds per library card. In
order to renew the library card after three months, proof of residence at
the facility must again be verified. The card holder must bring in a letter
from the shelter, on the shelter’s letterhead, stating that he/she is still a
resident there. The individual is responsible for all items checked out and
any fines/fees on the library card account.
E. Individuals who are homebound
Homebound applicants may obtain a Fort Bend County library card by
contacting a branch library via telephone and requesting an application by
mail. The application will allow the applicant to designate an authorized
agent to check out library materials on his/her behalf. The authorized
agent returns the completed application to the library in person and
presents proof of the applicant's address and his/her (the agent's) own
photo identification. The library card is valid for two years and has the
standard borrowing privileges and responsibilities. Upon renewal, the
authorized agent must complete the above process. The authorized agent
must present the applicant’s library card each time library materials are
checked out. The applicant may change the authorized agent on the library
card at any time by notifying the library in writing of this change. The
applicant is responsible for returning library materials and for any fines or
fees that may occur.
F. Cards for corporations, outreach sites, and other organizations.
Fort Bend County library cards may be obtained by corporations, outreach
sites, and organizations in Fort Bend County. The library card will be issued
in the name of the corporation or other organizations. One employee will
be designated by the corporation to use that library card. The corporation
or other organization or outreach site is responsible for all items borrowed
and for any charges for overdue items, missing, damaged or lost library
materials. A designated employee of the corporation or other organization
or outreach site must apply in person and must have a letter from its
administrative offices, on company letterhead, stating that he/she is the
borrower for the library card. The designated employee must also show
photo identification when the library card is issued and again at renewal.
Only one (1) Fort Bend County library card will be given to a Fort Bend
County corporation or other organization or outreach site. The library card
must be renewed annually by following the above process again. The
employee designated to use the library card may be changed at any time,
if a new letter is presented from the corporation or organization or
G. Applicants who reside out-of-state
Out-of-state residents may obtain a Fort Bend County library card upon
paying an annual fee (see attached fee schedule). Application must be
made in person by providing photo identification and proof of current
residence. Non-resident library cardholders are subject to the same
responsibilities and privileges as residents of the State of Texas.
V. RENEWAL AND/OR REPLACEMENT OF LIBRARY CARDS
A. Renewal of library cards
The standard registration period for library cards is two years, but the
period may vary according to the card type or borrower type. Renewals
must be made in person by presenting the library card, a valid Texas
driver’s license or government-issued photo identification and proof of
residence. Library cards for children under the age of 18 may be renewed
by the child’s parent or guardian upon presentment of the library card,
proof of residence, and photo identification of the parent or guardian.
B. Replacement of lost or stolen library cards
Lost or stolen Fort Bend County library cards must be reported to the
library immediately, to prevent others from charging materials to the
account. When the patron reports the lost card, the patron account will
reflect a lost card status which will prevent the library card to be used by
anyone but the cardholder. The cardholder is responsible for all fines and
fees that may accrue on the account until the library receives notice that
the card is lost. The cardholder will be charged for a replacement of the
lost, stolen or damaged library card (see attached fee schedule).
VI. UPDATING LIBRARY CARD INFORMATION
A. Change of status at age 18
Patrons updating a library card upon turning 18, or at the next renewal of
his/her library card, may be issued a new card, even if fines/fees have
accrued on the old card while the cardholder was a minor. The issuance of
a new card allows the 18-year-old to have a clear history on his/her new
library record. The standard identification and proof of residence must be
presented to obtain the new card. The fines/fees due on the original card
remain the responsibility of the parent or guardian who is listed on that
patron record. If an 18-year-old wants to pay the fines/fees accrued on the
earlier account, he/she may do so, although it is not required.
B. Name change
If a patron changes his/her name, he/she must update his/her patron
record. An adult must bring in his/her library card, photo identification and
a document that shows his/her new name, such as a bank statement, a
utility bill, or an updated Texas driver’s license, etc. For children under the
age of 18, the parent or guardian listed on the account must update the
account in person and present his/her own photo identification. Upon the
parent/guardian’s declaration that the child’s name has been changed,
library staff will update the child’s library record.
C. Change of address
It is important that a patron’s record be accurate and that all pertinent
information be up-to-date. Because the library may need to communicate
with a cardholder by mail, telephone or email, a patron shall provide notice
of changes needed to that account. To make an address change on his/her
library record, a patron must be present at the library, have his/her library
card or photo identification, and have proof of the new address; e.g., a
bank statement, a utility bill, or an updated Texas driver’s license. If the
adult is listed as a parent or guardian on any other accounts, he/she may
make changes on the child's library records at the same time.
Children under the age of 18 may change the address on their own library
card, if they present their library card in person.
D. Change of telephone number or email address
To update a telephone number or email address in person, a patron may
come to the library and present their library card or a valid Texas driver’s
license or government-issued photo identification. To update by email or
telephone, a patron must provide the correct name, library barcode
number, and date of birth on the library account.
VII. TEXSHARE CARDS
Fort Bend County Libraries is a participant in a cooperative program, TexShare, instituted by the State of Texas to improve library service to Texans. Fort Bend County Libraries may issue TexShare cards only to the residents of Fort Bend County. The TexShare cards allow our residents to use all academic and public libraries in Texas that are participants in the TexShare program. To obtain a TexShare card from Fort Bend County Libraries, a patron must be a Fort Bend County resident and a Fort Bend County Libraries registered cardholder in good standing, without overdue items, fines or fees. The patron must present his/her Fort Bend County library card and photo identification. TexShare applicants under age 18 must have a parent or legal guardian sign the application, present a photo identification, including but not limited to, a valid Texas driver’s license, a government-issued photo identification , and proof of current residence. Other Fort Bend County Libraries cardholders who do not reside in Fort Bend County must obtain a TexShare card from the library located in the county or city where they reside.
As a participating member in the TexShare program, Fort Bend County Libraries will issue a Fort Bend County library card to an individual who presents a valid TexShare card that was issued from another participating Texas library. If the person presenting the TexShare card is a Texas resident, he/she will be issued a regular Fort Bend County library card. If the person presenting the TexShare card is not a Texas resident— for example, a college student from another state—he/she will be issued a Fort Bend County library card that is valid for one year and is limited to 10 items checked out at any one time. The individual must present photo identification and proof of residency before receiving the Fort Bend County Libraries card.
VIII. BORROWING LIBRARY MATERIALS
A. Checkout of library materials
A patron who is 18 or older must present a valid Fort Bend County library
card or his/her Texas driver’s license or a government-issued photo
identification in order to check out library materials. A patron under the age
of 18 who has a Texas driver's license may use his/her valid library card or
their driver’s license to check out library materials.
Borrowers may have a two-part library card that includes both a full-size
card and a smaller, identical, key-tag card. Borrowers often choose to give
the smaller card to another member of their family or other designated
individual who may check out items for them with the smaller card.
Cardholders may also give their valid library card to another individual who
can check out materials by presenting the card at check-out. In some
branches, and at George Memorial, anyone may choose to use a valid
library card and check out materials at the self-check machine.
A valid library card is one that has not expired and has no more than the
maximum allowed in accrued fines or fees (see attached fee schedule). All
library materials may be checked out for three weeks (21 days) and may
be renewed once for another three weeks, if the item is not requested by
another patron. There are no limits on the quantity of books and
audiovisual items that may be borrowed; however, Story Kits and Toy Kits
are limited to three of each per library card.
The library staff will examine each library item for inclusion of all pieces and
for any damage before it is checked out. If an item is excessively worn, to
be solely determined by library staff, or in any way damaged, it will not be
checked out. All items returned to the library are checked for all pieces and
damage before the item(s) is cleared from the patron’s library account. The
library staff will contact the patron if the item(s) is damaged or if there are
missing pieces. The patron is responsible for all fees for missing, damaged
or lost items that are checked out on his/her library card. The patron is
responsible for inspection of all materials before checkout.
B. Fines and fees
As a courtesy, the library will notify a library cardholder of overdue item(s)
on his/her account. The library will contact the cardholder three times
through an automated phone service or by email. If item(s) are not
returned within the designated borrowing period, applicable fees will be
assessed to the cardholder’s account. Failure of the cardholder to receive
any phone calls, email notices or library mailers for any reason does not
eliminate the library cardholder’s responsibility for all fines and fees
accrued to his/her account.
C. Lost or damaged materials
The library cardholder is responsible for all fines and fees on his/her library
account. Charges for overdue items accrue at a set rate per day per item
(see attached fee schedule). Library materials that are lost or damaged
are the responsibility of the cardholder. The cardholder is responsible for
the both the cost of the item and a processing fee (see attached fee
schedule). Fort Bend County Libraries does not accept replacement items
in lieu of payment for lost items. Borrowing privileges are suspended until
the lost/damaged matter is resolved and the library record is clear.
Overdue fines are not charged when a patron pays for a lost item;
however, overdue fines are charged to the patron if the lost item is found
before the lost fee is paid. See the attached fee schedule for the maximum
Anyone may settle unpaid fines or fees on a library card, but without
presentation of the library card, only the amount of the fines and fees may
be discussed. Information about the authors, titles, or subjects of the
overdue, lost or damaged materials will not be discussed without
presentation of the library card.
D. Refunds and credits
Lost or damaged library materials are the responsibility of the last patron
who checked them out. That patron is responsible for the full cost of the
item and for a processing fee (see attached fee schedule). A patron may
obtain a refund on a payment made for lost item if the item is returned in
good condition to the library within one year from date of payment; the
patron will receive a refund for the cost of the item but not for the
processing fee. If the item is returned to the library system after the one-
year period, or the patron does not come in to claim their refund within the
one-year period, then the amount on the account becomes a credit that
can be used for any current or future fines/fees on their account. A library
cardholder may choose to use that account credit for payment on another
library cardholder’s account. The library cardholder with the credit must be
present in the library to authorize the use of the credit on another patron’s
E. Claims Returned items
“Claims Returned” is a process by which a patron may attempt to resolve a
claim that overdue or lost items have been returned to the library. Once an
item is changed to “Claims Returned” status on a patron account, every
library location will search for the item on a monthly basis, for six (6)
months. The patron will also be asked to continue to search for the item. A
patron may request to have one or more items placed in Claims Returned
status at one time; however, in order to prevent patrons from repeatedly
placing items in claims returned status, additional library materials may not
be placed in Claims Returned status at a later time until the item(s) in the
first Claims Returned status have been resolved.2
If the Claims Returned item is found and returned by the patron, overdue
fines will be assessed to the library card account not to exceed the
maximum overdue fee (see attached fee schedule). If six (6) months pass
and the item is still in Claims Returned status, it will be declared “Lost,”
and applicable charges will be assessed. The patron is then responsible for
all assessed charges.
IX. HOLDS ON LIBRARY MATERIALS
Patrons may request a specific item(s) to be placed on hold to be picked-up at one of the library locations. Patrons may have no more than ten (10) holds on materials in the library system at any one time. Library materials that are on hold may be retrieved and checked out by the patron who placed the hold or by the authorized agent listed on their library record, such as a parent or guardian.
Borrowers may have a two-part library card that includes both a full-size card and an identical, smaller, key-tag card. Borrowers often choose to give the smaller card to another member of their family or other designated individual who may retrieve and check out held items for them. Cardholders may also give their valid library card to another individual who can retrieve their holds and check out materials by presenting the card at checkout or by using the self-check machine.
A person without the library card of the person placing the hold can retrieve a held item by providing the title(s) on hold and personal information as listed on the account of the person who placed the hold, including name of the cardholder, address, phone number, and date of birth.
For confidentiality, hold items that are in public areas will display the first three letters of the patron’s first and last names. The items will be covered with paper so that the title of the hold item cannot be identified.
X. INTERLIBRARY LOANS
Interlibrary loan ( ILL) is a service that allows Fort Bend County Library patrons to borrow materials that are not owned by our library system from other public, academic or special libraries throughout Texas, the United States , and other countries. Patrons using this service must have a valid Fort Bend County library card account. The library card account may not include fines/fees exceeding the maximum overdue checkout limit (see attached fee schedule). The borrowing patron is responsible for an ILL postage charge (see attached fee schedule), whether or not he/she checks out the item after it has been received from the lending library. Some lending libraries may require additional charges for borrowing or photocopying materials, and that cost is the patron’s responsibility. The loan period and any limits concerning renewals are set by the lending library, and may vary by institution. Fort Bend County Library patrons are responsible for all costs for lost or damaged interlibrary-loan materials.
1Borrowers may receive a two-part library card that includes both a full-size card and
a smaller, identical, key-tag card. Borrowers often choose to give the smaller card to
another member of their family, or other designated individual, who may check out
items or pick up holds for them with the small card. The library makes a distinction
between a direct, specific request for information regarding a borrower's account
(e.g., address and date of birth) and a situation in which one person checks out items
using another borrower's card or retrieves a held item for them.
2 Patrons who repeatedly place items in "claims returned" status may be abusing the
system by not returning their books on time over and over.
POLICY REGARDING CONFIDENTIALITY OF LIBRARY RECORDS
The policy statements contained herein are established by the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court in order to ensure that the records of citizens and taxpayers remain confidential. The policy and the attached procedures provide guidance to all library staff and relevant volunteers in implementing the policy for the Commissioners Court. Ultimate responsibility for confidentiality in Fort Bend County Libraries lies with the County Librarian, who directs library operations within the policies and procedures established by the Commissioners Court.
The purpose of this policy is to protect the individual user's right to privacy with respect to 1) information sought or received; 2) materials consulted or borrowed; and 3) the status of one's financial accounts with the library.
It is the policy of Fort Bend County Libraries that all circulation records and other records identifying the names of library users and their transactions with the library remain confidential. These records include, but are not limited to, the following: personal names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses; items in circulation, reserved and/or previously consulted; library accounts denoting outstanding fines, fees, and items lost; computer-use records, database-searching records, interlibrary-loan requests, and reference requests. Library staff and volunteers must protect each user's right to privacy regarding materials used and information sought.
Records of Fort Bend County Libraries that identify, or serve to identify, a person who requests, obtains, or uses library materials or services are confidential and are exempt from required disclosure under the Texas Open Records Act (VCTA Government Code Sec. 552.124). To release such information in any manner not in accordance with the Open Records Act is a misdemeanor and is punishable by either or both a fine up to $1,000 and confinement in the County Jail for up to six (6) months. (VCTA Government Code Section 552.352 (b)).
The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act ( USA Patriot Act) became law on October 26, 2001. Under provisions of the act, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and law-enforcement officials may seek court orders for access to library records for investigations relevant to national security or terrorism. Libraries or library staff served with search warrants may not disclose, under penalty of law, the existence of such warrants or the fact that records were disclosed as a result of the warrants. Patrons cannot be told that their records were given to law-enforcement agencies or that said patrons were the subjects of FBI investigations.
Library records may be disclosed if the library determines that disclosure is reasonably necessary for the operation of the library and the records are not confidential under any state or federal law; if the records are released to the person or their authorized agent (as indicated by a signature on a person's library-card application or by the name of a guardian designated on the cardholder’s library record); if the Texas Attorney General has determined that the information should be released; or if the records are released to a law-enforcement agency or prosecutor under a court order, warrant, or subpoena according to library procedures.
II. CONFIDENTIAL RECORDS
A. Circulation records
Individual library cardholders may choose to release their library barcode
number to others and, in this way, determine their own degree of privacy.
In order to support an individual’s choice, access to the account or to
information associated with a valid Fort Bend County library card will be
released to a person other than the card holder only under the following
1) Information will be released to someone who presents the
relevant library card in person to a library staff member.
2) Information will be released to someone who is listed as an
authorized agent of the cardholder on the library card
account and who presents his/her (the agent’s) own photo
identification (Texas driver's license or government-issued
3) Information will be released to a parent/guardian listed on
the relevant library card with presentation of his/her (the
parent/guardian) photo identification (Texas driver's license
or government-issued identification).
4) Information about charges due will be released with
presentation of a library notice (mailer). A library notice
cannot be used in lieu of a library card, driver's license, or
state-issued identification, for the purpose of checking out
A person attempting to verify a personal identification number (PIN) in
person must provide the relevant library card or photo identification (valid
Texas driver's license or government-issued photo identification), and may
be required to give the cardholder’s name and date of birth.
A person attempting to verify a PIN by email or by telephone must provide
the cardholder’s name, library barcode number, and date of birth in order
to receive the information.
A relevant library barcode number and a PIN number are required in order
to access a personal account on the online library catalog.
A person requesting action to be performed on specific titles by email or
telephone must provide their name, library barcode number and date of
B. Paper and electronic records
In addition to circulation records, the library protects patron's privacy and
confidentiality in regard to paperwork and other records that contain
patron information. All records, hardcopy or electronic, concerning a
patron’s interaction with the library is confidential and falls under the same
disclosure policies as library circulation records. Paperwork or electronic
records are retained until they are not necessary for a particular function.
These records include, but are not limited to, library-card applications,
program-registration sheets, Suggest-A-Title forms and paperwork,
meeting-room applications, audiovisual requests, interlibrary-loan forms,
receipt books, and paperwork for minors’ access to the Internet.
In regard to public computers, the library does not record or retain
information from the use of public computers by patrons in our facilities.
The library also does not record or retain usage information of any access
by patrons using their personal computers at library facilities through WiFi
Internet access. Patron monetary accounts for printing charges are
confidentially retained and fall under the same disclosure as library
C. Reference questions
Reference interviews and services are confidential. A reference interview
will be conducted as discreetly and quietly as possible, to preserve
confidentiality. When patrons are particularly interested in privacy, they
may ask to discuss their request for information in a closed room. Staff will
not discuss a patron's questions or reading habits, except in the course of
conducting library business.
III. CONFIDENTIALITY ISSUES THAT PARTICULARLY PERTAIN TO YOUTH
The information recorded on Summer Reading Club logs, such as those used by the Texas Reading Club program, will be confidential. Reading logs must be taken home by the reader/participant, and entries of books read should be made by the reader or the reader's agent. Any log accidentally left at the library will be stored away from all public areas. No reading logs may be accessed by the public. It is not appropriate to send lists of participants of the Summer Reading Club or other youth activities to school principals or librarians without obtaining permission from the child's parent or guardian. Such lists are unacceptable, because they link a specific child to a specific library program.
The Attorney General of Texas has ruled that it is permissible to post children's names on the wall, glass, etc. as part of a promotional activity designed to encourage reading and library use. The Attorney General of Texas has also ruled that is it permissible to display photographs of children in the library, because the photographs are considered promotional activities designed to encourage reading and library use. Fort Bend County Libraries’ policy regarding photography in the facilities, however, dictates that no person will be photographed in a library without written permission from an adult individual or without written permission by the parent or guardian of a child.
The Attorney General's office is adamant that nametags should be stored between scheduled storytime programs and should only be displayed just before a program, when children are picking up their own nametag. It is preferred that new nametags be written for each program.
Fort Bend County Libraries (FBCL) uses a time/access-management software called SAM to allow patrons to access the public computers at all library locations. To use a public computer, patrons must either have a FBCL card or get a visitor’s card at any Reference or Youth public-service desk. Patrons using their library card to access the computers must also know their Personal Identification Number (PIN). If you do not know your PIN, please ask at the Circulation Desk; you will be required to show proof of identification.
Computer Availability Some computers at each location may be reserved up to a week in advance; others are available only on a walk-in basis. To check availability visit Reserve a Computer.
Logging On to a Public Computer The public computer will display a welcome screen that has two boxes for you to fill in. Enter your library barcode number (it should begin with 23219) in the box on the left, and your PIN (case sensitive) in the box on the right. Click the OK button. You may be prompted to verify your PIN. Finally, you must read and accept FBCL’s policy for computer and Internet use. The computer will then open to the desktop, and you may begin using the computer.
Session Use Patrons may use a computer for up to one (1) hour at a time, 4 times per day. Please note, however, that patrons must wait one (1) hour between sessions—or even partial sessions—before they can again get on any library computer.
Leaving a Computer If you need to leave this computer only for a moment, do not end your session. Ending your session means that you will not have access to any library computer for the next hour. To leave your computer temporarily, click the Personal Session Timer on the bottom task-bar and click the Lock PC button. To unlock the computer, enter your library barcode number. NOTE: Locking your computer will not extend your session; you still have only one (1) hour from the time you logged on.
When you are through working at the computer and want to log out, click the Personal Session Timer on the bottom task-bar and click the End Session button. Just remember that doing this means that you will not be able to get on any library computer for at least one hour.
ABOUT WI-FI ACCESS
Our WiFi network allows patrons to use their own wireless devices to connect to the Internet. Wireless networks have been installed at all Fort Bend County Libraries locations. If your computer is WiFi-compliant (either 802.11 b/g/n at Sienna or 802.11 a/b/g at all other FBCL locations), you can connect to the Internet wirelessly while at one of our libraries. Is there a fee?
No. The library offers WiFi as an information service, free of charge to its patrons, so the service is limited to http/https for surfing the Web. The number of connections available at each location is also limited, so access is strictly on a first-come, first-served basis.
Is the network secure?
Our WiFi access is an open, public-access network. For your protection, you should always make sure that you are on a SSL-encrypted web page before sending or receiving confidential data, and you should keep your antivirus software up to date. In most cases, you can tell you are on a secure web page when you see the “https” on the address bar or a lock icon on the task bar.
What equipment do I need to access the network? Your wireless device (laptop, PDA, Blackberry, etc.) must be equipped with a standard Internet browser (the library’s webpages are built on an Internet Explorer standard) and a WiFi-compliant (either 802.11 b/g/n at Sienna or 802.11 a/b/g at all other FBCL locations), wireless Ethernet card.
Note: The SSID is broadcast at each site. On newer laptops that have internal WiFi capability, the operating system will often alert the user to the presence of an available WiFi net-work when the computer is on. If it does not, you must enter the appropriate SSID: fbclib.
How do I connect to the network? Make sure your WiFi software and card are properly installed, then turn on your computer. The SSID for Fort Bend County Libraries is fbclib, which is broadcast. Open your web browser, review our acceptable-use statement, and accept the terms and conditions. On the next page, you should see a gray background that says, “Connection Successful. You can now use all our network services over the wireless network.” Simply start surfing the Internet from the browser address bar. (If a security alert pops up at any time, just click the option to continue.)
My web browser did not display any pages... what's wrong? Here are some things to check if you’re having problems.
1. Make sure that data encryption (e.g.,
WEP and WPA) is DISABLED (or OFF).
2. Make sure that any LAN connections are
3. If you have Windows Vista or Windows 7
operating systems on your computer,
make sure that your security settings are
not blocking access to open WiFi connec-
4. RESTART your computer.
5. If you still have trouble, speak to a staff
person at the Adult Reference Informa-
tion Desk. Although we provide no
support to personal computers, we will
test to make sure the wireless service is
All Fort Bend County Libraries locations have WiFi access.
Interlibrary Loan Policy and Procedures
Interlibrary loan (ILL) is a service that allows patrons of Fort Bend County Libraries to borrow from other public, academic, or special libraries throughout Texas, the United States library materials that are not owned by our system. Non-circulating Reference and Genealogy materials owned by Fort Bend County Libraries cannot be borrowed from other libraries through interlibrary loan.
Eligibility Patrons using this service must have a valid, unexpired, Fort Bend County Libraries card, with no fines or fees owed. The interlibrary-loan borrowing privileges of patrons with fines/fees will be suspended until sufficient payments are made to clear the overdue balance. Failure to return interlibrary loan items on time or to pick up items requested may result in the suspension of interlibrary loan services for the patron.
Materials Available Through Interlibrary Loan Fort Bend County Libraries will attempt to borrow books and journal articles not owned by our library system. Noncirculating Reference and Genealogy material owned by Fort Bend County Libraries, cannot be borrowed from other libraries through interlibrary loan. Some libraries will not lend specific materials, and access to certain collections may be limited.
Restrictions Each patron will be permitted to maintain a maximum of 10 active ILL requests on their library card. If a patron submits more than that number, the requests will be held until a sufficient number of items are returned.
Electronic books and serials are not available through ILL. Because of copyright restrictions, Fort Bend County Libraries is limited to borrowing five copies of articles from the current five years of a periodical title during the calendar year. Beginning January 1 of the new year, up to five more requests can be ordered from the same title. Fort Bend County Libraries, as a lender to other institutions, will not lend genealogy or refernece materials, nor will it lend popular, high-demand materials that have been published in the last six (6) months.
Submitting Requests Interlibrary loan requests may be submitted at any Fort Bend County library, in person, by telephone, by email, by fax, or online. Materials may take up to three weeks to arrive after the request is made. Patrons will be notified by telephone or email when materials have arrived.
Loan Period and Renewals The loan period and any renewal terms are set by the lending library and will vary by institution. To request a renewal, patrons must call Fort Bend County Library at 281-341-2675.
Charges and Fees There is no charge for requesting an ILL at Fort Bend County Libraries. However, some lending libraries may have additional charges for borrowing or photocopying materials, and that cost is the responsibility of the patron. Patrons may choose not to pay the additional charges, but must say so when making the ILL request; under this circumstance, FBCL may not be able to fill the request. Patrons will be charged $1.00 per day for overdue items and are responsible for all costs for lost or damaged materials.
It is the goal of Fort Bend County Libraries (FBCL) for all patrons to expect and receive quality library service from a friendly and helpful staff. Every patron of FBCL should receive service in an atmosphere that is safe and with minimal disturbances from other patrons. In return, the staff of FBCL should be able to provide services without fear of abuse or threatening behavior from patrons.
The purpose of this policy is to provide the highest level of service and safety to library patrons, to provide a pleasant and safe environment for FBCL staff, and to protect library materials and property. This policy applies to all FBCL buildings, interior and exterior; to all grounds controlled and operated by FBCL; and to all persons of any age entering into or onto FBCL premises.
FBCL has adopted the following rules for patron rules of conduct. FBCL staff are authorized to enforce these rules and may ask a patron to leave FBCL premises for failing to comply with them. Non-compliance with these rules may lead to a request for assistance from the local police department, to legal action, or to criminal prosecution.
The following actions by any FBCL patron are not permitted:
1. The violation of any federal, state, or local laws;
2. Displaying or concealing guns, stun guns, tasers, knives, explosive devices, dangerous substances or materials, or other weapons;
3. Any threats of violence (whether an imminent threat or a threat of future violence) and/or any action endangering library staff, patrons or others; any actions that may appear to be a danger to life or to the safety of one’s self or others, including any acts of violence or the threat or attempt to commit such crimes;
4. Physical or verbal harassment, or harassment of any other kind, of patrons or staff, or other harassing behaviors such as, but not limited to, spitting, staring at or following another person, or using offensive, vulgar or abusive language or gestures. Harassment many also include any deliberate and/or repeated behavior that makes another person uncomfortable;
5. Failing to wear shirts and shoes or other footwear; poor personal hygiene; bathing, washing hair, shaving, or washing clothes in library restrooms;
6. Smoking and the use of tobacco products in the library or within 25 feet of public entrances;
7. Eating or drinking on FBCL premises, except as part of a pre-approved program or reception;
8. Disorderly conduct or disruptive behavior that interferes with the normal operation of the library or that disturbs patrons or staff, including but not limited to the following: running, horseplay, throwing books or other items, climbing on furniture or shelving, moving furniture, dialing 911, or pulling fire alarms when no emergency exists;
9. Possession of alcohol, illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, or appearing to be intoxicated or under the influence of illegal drugs;
10. Exhibitionism (indecent exposure), voyeurism (peeping), and crimes of obscenity, sexual activity, or excessive displays of affection, including any physical contact deemed inappropriate for a public setting;
11. Theft and vandalism, including graffiti; FBCL reserves the right to inspect all bags, purses, briefcases, backpacks, etc., when there is a reasonable suspicion that they might contain library material that has not been properly checked out;
12. Littering, loitering, selling, soliciting, panhandling, exchanging funds or fees (cash, checks, etc.) for services or products, proselytizing, or gambling;
13. Loud talking, the creation of other loud noises, loud or disruptive conversations, cellular telephone use, the audible use of music or other electronic devices, constant and incessant crying, laughing or temper tantrums, and yelling or screaming;
14. Refusing to comply with a request of FBCL staff;
15. Entering non-public work areas or public areas that have been temporarily restricted, using library business telephones without permission, or remaining in the library after closing time;
16. Refusing to return to the circulation desk when the library security gates sound an alarm;
17. Bringing in shopping or other carts, bedrolls, blankets, excessively large bags or items; placing personal belongings so that they interfere with the free passage of library patrons or staff, or leaving personal belongings in the library. FBCL is not responsible for personal belongings left unattended in the library;
18. Operating roller skates, in-line skates, heelys, skateboards, scooters, or other similar devices in buildings or on walkways; bringing bicycles into the library, or parking bicycles in a manner that interferes with the free passage of others;
19. Polling, campaigning, or petitioning, except during elections when voting takes place at the library, and only then with prior approval by the Library Director;
20. Conducting surveys, interviewing, photographing or filming on library premises without prior permission from the Library Director or the Public Information Officer;
21. Bringing animals into the library, except animals trained to assist individuals with disabilities and animals allowed at a library-approved event or program;
22. Sitting on tables, rocking or tilting back in chairs, or putting feet on tables or chairs;
23. Sleeping, snoring, sprawling on furniture or floors as a result of sleeping;
24. Violating FBCL’s Public Internet Access Policy or other library regulations.
FBCL does not act in loco parentis (in the place of a parent). A responsible adult or caregiver should accompany all children on FBCL premises. While in Fort Bend County Libraries buildings, parents and caregivers are responsible for monitoring and regulating the behavior of their children in accordance with these rules. This includes a child left at a computer, in a program, or in a department while the parent or other responsible party is in another part of the building. Disruptive children are subject to the rules listed in this policy, and may also be asked to leave the premises for any violations. (See also Unattended Children Policy.)
FBCL staff may restrict adult use of children’s or young adult areas within the library.
Any person violating these rules will be given a warning, in most cases. If violating actions continue, the patron will be asked to leave the FBCL premises. FBCL staff may, at their sole discretion and without warning, expel any patron whose violation of this policy results in situations that create a threatening atmosphere or an emergency.
The library privileges of frequent offenders of these rules may be suspended for a period of time to be determined by the Department Manager. Any patron who has been asked to leave the premises for violating this policy and who refuses to do so, or anyone whose library privileges have been suspended but who returns to the library before the suspension has expired, shall be considered to be trespassing. FBCL staff will contact the local authorities in all such cases.
Approved by Commisssioners Court February 26, 2008
The library is a public building, and as in all public places, it is not safe for young children to be left alone. Although children and adults are equally welcome at Fort Bend County Libraries (FBCL), responsibility for the safety, well-being and behavior of children while on the premises of the library rests with the parent, guardian or caregiver, and not with the library staff. Neither the library nor library staff assumes the role of a parent, known as in loco parentis, nor do they assume the role of a daycare or childcare provider.
Many materials, programs and services are offered to make the library enjoyable for children and to help them develop a love of books, reading and libraries. However, when children are left unattended at the library, any number of problems may arise. Young children may become frightened, tired, bored or disruptive. Children who are left unattended in the building may encounter potential hazards such as stairs, electrical outlets, or automatic doors, to name a few. If an unattended child has a medical emergency, the library staff cannot take legal responsibility, other than to call 911.
There may be times when the library must close due to an emergency such as a storm or power outage. In such instances, library staff will be on the alert for any child in need of assistance and will make every effort to contact a responsible adult. However, staff members are prohibited from transporting children in their vehicles. Additionally, “Stranger Danger” is a serious concern in any public setting, including the library. Library staff have no way of knowing if a child is interacting with or leaving the building with a stranger.
It is the intention of this policy to enlist the cooperation of parents and other adults responsible for children, to ensure that Fort Bend County Libraries provides a safe and pleasant experience for all who use it. To that end, Fort Bend County Libraries has adopted the following policy:
Library staff members are not responsible for the care or supervision of children at any time.
Children under age 12 may not be left alone or unattended in the library at any time.
A parent, guardian or caregiver aged 14 or older must accompany a child under the age of 12 at all times, while in the library.
The parent, guardian or caregiver is responsible for the behavior and supervision of any child under age 12 in their care while at the library and, therefore, must be in the immediate vicinity of and in visual contact with the child during the length of the library visit.
An exception to this policy may be allowed when children attend a library program without a parent/caregiver in the room. In this situation, parents, guardians and caregivers are expected to remain in the library building and immediately reunite with the child when the child leaves the program.
Children 12 years old and older may use the library without being accompanied by an adult. Parents, however, are still responsible for the actions and safety of their children under the age of 18. Parents who wish to limit or restrict the reading, viewing, or listening of their own children must personally oversee their children’s selections.
All children are subject to the rules listed in the Rules of Conduct Policy. The failure of any patron, including children, to comply with FBCL policies will result in their removal from the library.
In the event library staff becomes aware of any child under age 12 left unattended while on library premises, staff will attempt to contact the parent, guardian or caregiver. If contact cannot be made, library staff may report the situation to the police and/or the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Approved by Commisssioners Court February 26, 2008
Exhibits, Displays and Distribution of Free Materials
The mission of Fort Bend County Libraries is to provide an environment for lifelong learning and enrichment for the entire, diverse community through responsive service and access to timely and accurate resources.
General Principles Fort Bend County Libraries is a public forum, where ideas and information are freely communicated,
where a broad spectrum of opinion and a variety of viewpoints is presented in displays and exhibits.
The existence of a particular viewpoint in a display, leaflet, or exhibit is an expression of the library's
policy of intellectual freedom, not an endorsement of the particular point of view. Partisan politics and matters
applying to only one faith, sect, or political viewpoint are strictly avoided in displays, exhibits, and flyers.
Responsibility The responsibility for approval of exhibits, displays, and postings rests with the Library Director or appointed designee(s).
In most instances, such designees will be the Public Information Officer, Department Manager at George Memorial Library, or Branch Manager at library branches.
Decisions will be based on availability of space, relationship of the material to the mission of the library, size and/or quantity.
Priority is given to the library, followed by not-for-profit groups. Profit-making organizations may display materials only for the following:
(1) community-service events such as fingerprinting of children; (2) events which are in support of not-for-profit organizations.
The Libraries will not act as agent for the sale of any displayed items.
Merchandising activities are permitted to library Friends groups and Staff Association.
The designated staff member must have approved all materials posted.
Only library-related or Friends-related items will be displayed on specified bulletin boards near circulation desks at George Memorial Library and some branches.
Notices of meetings, not-for-profit sales, and cultural activities may be posted on other bulletin boards, space permitting, with the following exceptions:
political materials promoting the candidacy of a particular person or persons or a particular political issue;
materials of profit-making groups or individuals advertising products or services for sale (except for posters used to promote the use of libraries and/or library materials).
Posters and notices should not be submitted more than 30 days before an event; they will be removed after the event. Notices for ongoing events will be displayed for no longer than 90 days.
Items no larger than 8 1/2 " x 14" are preferred. Larger notices will be accepted on a space-available basis.