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Libraries need policies--but what policies? What should they say? How do you wirte them?

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  • A policy is typically described as a principle or rule to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome(s). (wikipedia)
  • Policywriting

    1. 1. Library Policy Writing<br />
    2. 2. Policy<br />blueprint canon code contract definition dictate directive doctrine expectation formula guideline paradigm parameter plan principle regulation rule standard tenet <br />
    3. 3. Policy:<br />Supports the library’s plans, goals and objectives;<br />Ensures that staff have the information to do their jobs; <br />Guides and determines present and future decisions; <br />Assures the public of what they can expect from the library and that they are treated equitably;<br />Provides a basis for consistent resource allocation;<br />Provides direction and consistency in day-to-day service to the community;<br />Provides support to the staff and Board in the event of complaints or legal action; <br />Prepares the library director and staff to respond in emergencies.<br />
    4. 4. Policy is often about relationships<br />
    5. 5.
    6. 6. <ul><li>Mission and goals
    7. 7. Library philosophy and ethics statements</li></ul>Relationship: library with community<br /><ul><li>Intellectual freedom statements
    8. 8. Challenged materials procedures
    9. 9. Relationship with governing body
    10. 10. Identification of clientele to be served
    11. 11. Service area defined
    12. 12. Service outlets and hours
    13. 13. Parameters of the collection
    14. 14. Purpose of the collection
    15. 15. Type and formats of materials
    16. 16. Maintenance of collection
    17. 17. Friends, Foundation, etc.
    18. 18. Volunteers
    19. 19. Meeting room use
    20. 20. exhibits and displays
    21. 21. Bulletin board use
    22. 22. Equipment furnished by the library for public use</li></li></ul><li>Relationships: library with library users<br />Confidentiality of Records<br />Fines and fees<br />Lost or damaged materials<br />Renewals<br />Holds<br />Responsibilities of borrowers <br />Computer training<br />Customer behavior<br />Unattended children<br />Homebound services<br />Services to the handicapped<br />Materials delivery<br />ADA compliance<br />
    23. 23. Relationships: library with library staff<br /><ul><li>Job descriptions
    24. 24. Performance standards
    25. 25. Salary schedule for each job classification
    26. 26. Employee recruitment, selection, and appointment
    27. 27. Affirmative Action; Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
    28. 28. Conditions of employment
    29. 29. Professional affiliations
    30. 30. Mandatory retirement
    31. 31. Use of substitute staff and volunteers</li></li></ul><li>Relationships: library staffers with other staffers<br /><ul><li>Job Descriptions
    32. 32. Affirmative Action Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
    33. 33. Harassment</li></li></ul><li>Relationships: library with suppliers<br /><ul><li>Selection
    34. 34. Approval Plans
    35. 35. Cooperative Purchasing
    36. 36. Purchasing
    37. 37. Bids for equipment and services</li></li></ul><li>Relationships: library with other libraries <br /><ul><li>Affiliation and reciprocal arrangements
    38. 38. Kinds of libraries, types of groups and agencies
    39. 39. Cooperation with other libraries, reciprocal borrowing
    40. 40. Coordination with local schools
    41. 41. Cooperative purchasing and interlocal service agreements</li></li></ul><li>Do you need a policy?<br />
    42. 42. How to Tell if You Need a Policy<br /> <br />Different staffers and/or volunteers are enforcing standards differently.<br />EXAMPLE: One staffer is very strict about noise in the library, and will expel teens who get rowdy. Another is lenient and enjoys kidding with the teens.<br /> <br />A policy would provide standards for staff and library user behavior and for consequences of not meeting those standards.<br />
    43. 43. How to Tell if You Need a Policy<br /> <br />Some staffers aren’t offering services that the library can make available.<br />EXAMPLE: When the library does not own a book that a library user requests, some staffers don’t offer to borrow it through interlibrary loan because of the paperwork.<br /> <br />A policy would require a particular response to the situation<br />
    44. 44. How to Tell if You Need a Policy<br /> The library is not conforming to laws.<br />EXAMPLE: Game night lasts until 10:30, but there is a curfew for people under 12 of 10p.m. <br /> <br />A policy would make clear that laws must be followed. <br />
    45. 45. How to Tell if You Need a Policy<br /> The library director is having difficulty resisting pressures from a small number of vocal citizens to do something that she doesn’t feel is right.<br />EXAMPLE: A group of 3 concerned mothers would like books with strong language in them marked on the spines.<br /> <br />A policy would state the library’s principles, and tell when appeal procedures should be used.<br />
    46. 46. How to Tell if You Need a Policy<br /> Current policy is vague and open to interpretation.<br />EXAMPLE: Policy says that materials may be renewed for a “reasonable period.” Some staffers’ definitions of “reasonable” are much more elastic than others.<br /> <br />A policy would remove the ambiguity.<br />
    47. 47. How to Tell if You Need a Policy<br /> Safety issues are not addressed.<br />EXAMPLE: Staff aren’t sure what to do during a tornado warning.<br /> <br /> <br />A policy would state the goal of keeping people safe and tell when particular procedures should be implemented. <br />
    48. 48. How to Tell if You Need a Policy<br />Current policy has not been reviewed in a while and does not reflect current practice.<br />EXAMPLE: Policy says that food and drink are not allowed in the library, but coffee and snacks are served at the Weekly Senior Social.<br /> A current policy would reflect reality—either the policy would change to allow food, or food would be banned.<br />
    49. 49. How to Tell if You Need a Policy<br /> The library isn’t following through on its strategic goals.<br />EXAMPLE: One goal is to “support technical (computer) literacy.” Yet library staff have not been sent to computer classes they need in order to learn the skills that will enable them to assist library users with computers.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />A policy would require that there be concrete plans to implement goals.<br />
    50. 50. How to Tell if You Need a Policy<br /> Selectors aren’t sure whether to recommend certain titles.<br />EXAMPLE: The Y.A. librarian would like to acquire a series of manga, but the acquisitions librarian has reservations about the “street” language and adult situations.<br /> <br />A policy would list the selection criteria.<br />
    51. 51.
    52. 52. Problem solving<br />Rethink the situation<br />Redesign<br />Reeducate<br />Extend existing policy<br />Create policy<br />
    53. 53. Creating Policy<br />
    54. 54. Terms<br /><ul><li>Policy
    55. 55. Policy Statement
    56. 56. Regulation
    57. 57. Procedure
    58. 58. Guidelines</li></li></ul><li>Policy Statement<br />Regulation<br />
    59. 59. Policy Statement<br />Brief statement that describes why the library does something.<br />Example:<br />http://www.nypl.org/help/about-nypl/legal-notices/rules-and-regulations<br />
    60. 60. Criteria for a Policy Statement<br />A policy statement <br />is brief.<br />describes what is to be accomplished and why.<br />is written from the customer's point of view.<br />has been developed and approved by the library's governing authority.<br />
    61. 61. Example of a policy statement:<br />The library provides a meeting room to enable community residents to share ideas and learn from one another. There is no restriction on who may use the room; only that users must follow the established procedures.<br />
    62. 62. Regulation<br />A specific written rule<br />Example:<br />http://www.nypl.org/help/about-nypl/legal-notices/rules-and-regulations<br />
    63. 63. Procedures<br />Guidelines<br />
    64. 64. Criteria for procedures<br />A procedure<br />is a step-by-step description of how the staff will carry out policies.<br />may be modified by staff under certain circumstances.<br />has been developed by staff who are familiar with the task to be performed.<br />and approved by the library manager. <br />
    65. 65. Procedure<br />Step-by-step description of how the policy will be carried out.<br />Example:<br />Reservations for the meeting room must include the name of the group, date and time desired, number of people expected, and name and phone number of person responsible. The group is responsible for cleaning the room, locking the door, and returning the key.<br />
    66. 66. Policy tells whatProcedure tells how<br />
    67. 67. Guidelines<br />A description of best practices and most efficient ways to carry out procedures.<br />Example:<br />The receipt should be handed to the borrower. It’s helpful to say something like, “here’s a list of the due dates for those 10 items.”<br />
    68. 68. How to Develop a Library Policy<br />1.<br />Determine need<br />6.<br />Have approved<br />7.<br />Distribute<br />8.<br />Review & revise<br />5.<br />Edit/<br />Discuss<br />2.<br />Establish procedure<br />4.<br />Write<br />Investigate/Research<br />3.<br />
    69. 69. 1.<br />Determine need<br />
    70. 70. 2.<br />Establish development procedure<br />
    71. 71. 3.<br />Investigate/Research<br />
    72. 72. 4.<br />Write<br />
    73. 73. It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience. <br />--Albert Einstein <br />
    74. 74. 5.<br />Edit/<br />Discuss<br />
    75. 75. 6.<br />Have approved<br />
    76. 76. 7.<br />Distribute<br />
    77. 77. 8.<br />Review & revise<br />7.<br />Distribute<br />
    78. 78. The 4 Questions<br />
    79. 79. 1. Does the policy conform to current law?<br />This is not just a matter of whether a policy is legal. If laws change, then policy may also have to change. Remember that the body of law includes not only legislation and regulation, but the history of judicial decisions as well. A Library Board may need legal advice on some of their policies. The next three questions will help to determine if policies conform to the law.<br />
    80. 80. 2. Is the policy reasonable?<br />A policy may sound legal, but it could be successfully challenged in court if it is unreasonable. For example, most libraries have policies that spell out consequences for the non-return of borrowed materials. Restrictions on borrowing additional materials, payment for replacement of lost materials, or fines are typical consequences. It would be reasonable to suspend borrowing privileges until materials are returned; it would probably be unreasonable to bar offenders from the library forever.<br />
    81. 81. 3. Can the policy be enforced in a non-discriminatory manner?<br />Everyone should receive the same treatment—no special privileges for “good patrons,” or rules that are not enforced across the board. A policy, no matter how reasonable or legal, might be challenged if it is not applied equally to all. <br />
    82. 82. 4. Is the enforcement of the policy measurable?<br />A policy should describe specified or prohibited behaviors in terms that make determining whether behaviors conform an either-or matter. For example, if a circulation policy limits the number of items that may be checked out on a card at any one time, then it should specify a number. A library is inviting a challenge if the policy states that the number of items borrowed must be "reasonable." If staff must determine what "reasonable" means on a case-by-case basis, charges of favoritism or discrimination will soon follow. A policy against “disruptive” behavior might need to describe such behavior in terms of loudness or duration. The measurable parts of the policy are often the provisions in the regulations portion of the policy.<br />
    83. 83. Effective policy manuals:<br />Define current practice<br />Reflect the library’s priorities<br />Are current, comprehensive and consistent<br />Can be accessed easily by all staff and are user-friendly<br />Are in compliance with all local, state and federal regulations<br />Are developed and reviewed by all staff who will be affected by the policy statements, regulations, procedures, and guidelines<br />--Nelson & Garcia, 2003, p. 3.<br />
    84. 84. Policies Required for Public Library Accreditation<br />Enhanced Level<br />All those, +<br /><ul><li>collection development</li></ul>Essential Level<br />mission statement <br />circulation<br />collection development<br />personnel<br />finance<br />confidentiality of patron records<br />internet use<br />emergency and safety issues <br /> <br /> <br />Excellent Level<br />All those, + <br /><ul><li>weeding
    85. 85. public services
    86. 86. complaints
    87. 87. continuing education, facilities
    88. 88. use of meeting rooms
    89. 89. use of technology </li></li></ul><li>
    90. 90. http://www.statelibraryofiowa.org/ld/Policies<br />
    91. 91. http://dpi.wi.gov/pld/policies.html<br />
    92. 92.
    93. 93. Creating policies for results: from chaos to clarity, by Sandra S. Nelson and June Garcia. Chicago: American Library Association, 2003. ISBN: 0838935354 (pbk.; alk. paper); 9780838935354 (pbk.; alk. paper). <br />
    94. 94. Model policies for small and medium public libraries, by Jeanette Larson and Herman Totten. New York : Neal-Schuman Publishers, 1998. ISBN: 1555703437; 9781555703431. <br />
    95. 95. The public library policy writer: a guidebook with model policies on CD-ROM, by Jeanette Larson and Herman Totten. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2008. ISBN: 9781555706036 (alk. paper); 1555706037 (alk. paper).<br />
    96. 96. Laura Johnson<br />Continuing Education Coordinator<br />Nebraska Library Commission<br />402.471.2694<br />laura.johnson@nebraska.gov<br />
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