Policies

Behaviour and Conduct

To maintain an atmosphere appropriate for work, study and enjoyment for all library users and staff, the following policy on behavior in the Ritter Public Library and on library property has been established. The policy will be courteously but firmly enforced by library staff or police.

Appropriate library activities include: browsing for materials, reading, thinking, quiet conversation, homework, writing reports and researching. If library games, puzzles, computers or audio-visual equipment are available, they are to be used quietly, so as not to disturb others. Group-study of up to four at one table and quiet tutoring of one or two students are permitted. Group study by, or tutoring of, more than four students at one time, or any other group work which creates enough noise to disrupt other patrons, must be conducted in a meeting room, following meeting-room policies and procedures.

Inappropriate activities include: running, throwing, loud or abusive talking, moving furniture, putting feet on furniture, sleeping, loitering, gambling, inappropriate public displays of affection, proselytizing, soliciting, selling, distributing leaflets, use of tobacco products and any other activities which disrupt the library. Any illegal activities, including vandalism, will not be tolerated.

Disruptive behavior is defined as noisy, boisterous or acting-out behavior which is inappropriate in a setting where business is being conducted. This behavior may represent a physical danger to people or property, or may interfere with the legitimate library business of other users or staff.

Customers who are behaving inappropriately or disruptively will be warned that the behavior must stop. If the behavior is not immediately corrected, the person will be told to leave the premises. For serious violations, customers may be asked to leave even if they correct the problem. Anyone who does not leave after being told to do so will be considered a trespasser and will be treated accordingly, including involving the police. Habitual abusers of library rules may be banned from the premises for a period ranging from one day to three months. A minor (anyone under 18 years of age) who creates chronic problems may be required, for up to three months, to bring a responsible adult who will remain with him or her in the library.

April 11, 1995

Cell Phone Policy
The use of cell phones and other audible devices is acceptable if it does not disturb others. Library staff reserves the right to ask any customer to discontinue using the cell phone or other audible device if it appears that it is interfering with the enjoyment of the other patrons using any library facilities.
Concealed Weapons
The Ritter Public Library prohibits concealed weapons on its premises under the auspices of Ohio Revised Code Section 2923.126(B) (9). Individuals with concealed weapon permits do not have permission, by virtue of those permits, to bring concealed weapons/firearms onto the premises of the library. Any individual violating this policy is subject to prosecution for a violation of O.R.C. Section 2923.22, criminal trespass which is a misdemeanor in the fourth degree, punishable by 30 days in jail and/or a fine of $250. Any individual who is found to possess firearms or concealed weapons will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. In addition, anyone found to have violated this policy shall no longer have library privileges.

The library will post a notice, under the auspices of O.R.C. Section 2923.1212, in a prominent location which informs the users and invitees of the library that O.R.C. 2923.126 prohibits concealed weapons. That notice shall state:

Notice:

The Board of Trustees of Ritter Public Library have enacted by resolution a prohibition on the carrying of concealed weapons upon the premises owned, leased or otherwise occupied by the library unless otherwise authorized by law, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 2913.126. No person shall knowingly possess, have under the person’s control or attempt to convey a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance onto these premises.
Any individual convicted of a violation of the Board’s resolution shall be guilty of a fourth degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by 30 days in jail and/or a fine of $250 in accordance with O.R.C. 2911.21.

Adopted by the Ritter Public Library Board of Trustees
February 10, 2004

Confidentiality of Customer Records

The following is adopted as policy by the Ritter Public Library Board of Trustees in accordance with state and federal law.

All information contained in a customer record is confidential information and may only be released under the following limited circumstances:

  • A library record or customer information pertaining to a minor child when requested, in writing, by the parent, custodian or guardian of the minor child; or
  • In accordance with a properly issued subpoena, search warrant or other order of a court of competent jurisdiction; or
  • To a law enforcement officer who is acting in the scope of the officer’s law enforcement duties and who is investigating a matter involving public safety in exigent circumstances which do not permit the officer to obtain a search warrant or other order of a court of competent jurisdiction; or
  • The customer, other than a minor child or an incompetent adult, requests such records; or the customer, other than a minor child or an incompetent adult, executes a written, signed release for such records to specifically name other individuals or corporations or government entities; or
  • The library needs to release the records for administrative purposes, including the establishment, maintenance or transfer of the library records management system; or records that document improper use of the Internet at the library, provided that patron identifying information is removed.

When library personnel are served with a subpoena, search warrant or other order from a court of competent jurisdiction, they should immediately notify the director. The director will notify the Erie County prosecutor’s office for legal assistance in these cases.
Customers may release their own library records and the records of minor children under their legal custody and control. A form is available should the need arise for a record’s release.

The library will comply with the U.S. Patriot’s Act of 2001 if a request is made under that act and after consultation with the Erie County prosecutor’s office.

For purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  • Custodian – a person who has legal custody of a child, or a public children’s agency or private child-placing agency that has permanent, temporary or legal custody of a child. Custodian is not a foster parent.
  • Library Record – is a record in any form, written, verbal or electronic, that is maintained by the library and contains any of the following types of non-evaluative, identifying information:
  1. Information the library requires an individual to provide to determine eligibility for services; or
  2. Information that identifies an individual as having requested or obtained specific material or materials on a specific subject; or
  3. Information provided by an individual to assist a staff member to answer a specific question or provide information on a specific question.
  • Customer Information – is any personal, identifiable information about an individual who has used any library service or borrowed any library materials. Non-specific age or gender information is not considered customer information.
  • Exigent Circumstance – those circumstances which are so urgent that a law enforcement officer must choose public safety over the rights granted by Ohio statute to an individual.
  • Guardian – a person, association or corporation that is granted authority by a probate court pursuant to Chapter 2111 of the Ohio Revised Code to exercise parental rights over a child to the extent provided in the court’s order and subject to the residual parental rights of the child’s parents.
  • Internet – is the international computer network of both federal and non-federal, interoperable packet switched data networks, including the graphical sub network called the World Wide Web.
  • Minor Child – anyone under the age of eighteen (18) years.
  • Incompetent Adult – any person who is so mentally impaired as a result of a mental or physical illness or disability or metal retardation, or as a result of chronic substance abuse, that the person is incapable of taking proper care of the person’s self or property or fails to provide for the person’s family or other persons for whom the person is charged by law to provide, and for whom the state has appointed a guardian through a county probate court.

This policy will be strictly enforced. Any questions of staff concerning the implementation of the policy should be addressed to the director.

Adopted by:
The Ritter Public Library Board of Trustees
October 14, 2003

Interlibrary Loan
Interlibrary loan service allows custsomers to borrow library materials not available within the Clevnet system. Requests can take several weeks to be delivered, with no guarantee of being filled. Lending libraries have their own loan regulations and lending periods, to which borrowing customers are subject, and most Interlibrary loan material cannot be renewed. Each request costs $2, which covers handling and delivery fees and must be paid when the item is picked up. Overdue items will accrue the lending library’s fines, in addition to a $1-a-day fine from Ritter Public Library.
Laptop Loan Policy

The library provides laptops for home use for library cardholders 18 and older.

The loan period is two days, and the laptop and must be returned in person one half hour prior to closing in order to avoid late fees and/or replacement costs.

A late fee of $15 per day will be charged.

Cardholders must abide by the conditions listed below:

  • Customer must be an adult library card holder in good standing, i.e., less than $5 in fines, to borrow a laptop.
  • While a customer has the laptop checked out, they are completely responsible for its safety and use. The customer is responsible for any damage or loss that results from accident, theft, misuse or neglect. No food or drink should be consumed in the vicinity of the laptop.
  • Customers should not attempt to download any programs or files onto the hard drive of the laptop.They are responsible for saving to a removable device any work they wish to preserve.
  • When returning the laptop, it should be returned to the library in person.
  • Customers agree to pay all costs associated with damage to this laptop or any other associated peripheral equipment, including replacement costs should the laptop be lost or stolen.

Loans

There is no charge to borrow materials from the Ritter Public Library, provided they are returned in good condition and on time.

You must present your library card to check out items. You may borrow 50 items (adult card) and 25 items (juvenile card) at a time.

Video & DVD 7 days No Renewals
New Books 14 days No Renewals
Books 21 days  
Magazines 7 days No Renewals
Audio Books & Music 21 days  
A-V Equipment 2 days  
CDs-Playaways 14 days  
Educational Kits 14 days  
Fishing Equipment 14 days  
Info/Ed DVDs 14 days  

Selected items may have a shorter or no-loan period

Meeting Room Policy

Meeting Room Application
Meeting Room Description

Ritter Public Library Meeting Rooms Policy

Ritter Public Library is committed to helping build a sense of community by offering free meeting room space to groups, organizations and local businesses when the rooms are not being used for library activities. Provision of space does not constitute an endorsement by the library trustees or staff of any group or its activities. Programs for the public must be non-profit and consistent with the informational, educational or cultural purposes of the library.

Programs must be non-solicitational in nature. Meetings planned as commercial endeavors or to advertise products or services are prohibited. Rooms are not available to individuals for private parties such as birthdays, showers or receptions. The adult representative of the group who signs the application agrees to assume responsibility for the group’s adherence to the rules and any damages to the facility or equipment which may occur as a result of the group’s use.

Only the library, Friends or Endowment Board may sponsor fund-raising activities in the library. Purely social functions may be sponsored by the library, Friends or Endowment Board, or as part of the on-going activities of groups that meet in the library regularly.

Meetings are free and open to the public. Smoking and alcohol are prohibited.

The library will allow its meeting rooms to be used for classes provided by the Vermilion Local School District, the City of Vermilion (Recreation Department, for example), and accredited area colleges and universities, or other organizations of an educational nature which have entered into a partnership with Ritter Public Library to provide classes benefiting the public. Collection of fees or other costs associated with a specific program are permitted.

The library’s meeting rooms may be used by political groups for regular meetings of an organizational nature.  They may be used for public forums, debates and candidates’ nights but not for self-promotion of any one candidate. A form certifying that all sides will be represented must be completed before an application can be approved.

The name, address or telephone number of the library may not be used as the official address or headquarters of an organization. The use of meeting rooms by a non-library group shall not be publicized in such a way as to imply sponsorship of the group’s activities by the library. Except in cases of emergency, messages cannot be conveyed to meeting room participants or attendees.

Adults must be present at any meeting where children are in attendance and assume responsibility for their actions. Children must not be left unattended in the library while their caregivers attend meetings elsewhere in the library.

Reservations

Reservations for use of rooms are on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified groups. Meeting rooms should be booked by a responsible adult (21 years old or older) at least 24 hours in advance, but not more than three months in advance. Use of meeting rooms must be approved by the library. The library reserves the right to determine which room will best accommodate each group’s needs and assign rooms accordingly. Groups are not permitted to use a room until the request has been approved. Reservations for a regular meeting by the same group will be limited to 12 meetings per year.

Needs of the library may result in cancelling or rescheduling the booking.

Attendance Cards

The library reports statistics on use of its meeting rooms. Groups must check in and out at the customer service desk each time they meet. An attendance card will be given to all groups for each meeting. At the conclusion of each meeting, complete requested information and return to customer service desk. If a meeting ends after closing, leave card in room.

Hours

Meeting rooms are available during regular library hours. Mondays through Thursdays, groups whose meetings begin while the library is open may continue to meet beyond the library’s closing time. Normally, the library’s doors are locked and security system is set promptly at 10 p.m.

Equipment & Set-Up

Room set-up is each group’s responsibility. Each room must be left in the condition in which it was found unless other instructions are given.

Library audio-visual equipment is available only upon prior reservation. An individual with experience operating electronic equipment must make arrangements in advance for training. Groups that view DVDs must secure all necessary performance licenses and indemnify the library for any failure to do so. Replacement fees will be assessed for failure to secure equipment, and future meetings may be cancelled until restitution is made.

Food and Beverage

Light refreshments may be served. The kitchenette is available for any group use, so long as it is cleaned afterward. A refrigerator and microwave are also available. Groups must bring their own supplies. Storage of equipment and /or supplies is not permitted in the library. Organizations will be responsible for and billed for any equipment or property loss or damage as well as for any cleaning required.

Cancellations

Groups should notify the library as far in advance as possible, but at least 24 hours in advance of cancellations.  Failure to cancel sooner than 24 hours before the scheduled meeting may result in future applications being denied. While every effort is made to honor all reservations, the library retains the right to cancel scheduled meetings if the need should arise. In such an unusual case, as much notice as possible will be given.

The library is not liable for injuries, damage to personal property, or loss of property belonging to individuals or groups using meeting rooms. Whenever personal injury or loss/ damage to property occur in connection with use of meeting rooms, the incident must be reported immediately to staff and an incident report completed. In the event an incident occurs after the library is closed, a form will be provided and contact numbers listed for reporting purposes.

Adopted by the Ritter Public Library Board of Trustees

February 9, 2010

Obituary Index Charges
In 2004, the Ritter Public Library became a contributing partner to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Obituary Index. The library provides obituaries to the master index with entries from the Vermilion News and Vermilion Photojournal. After obtaining information from the master index, individuals may request copies of the full obituaries. The charge for a complete copy of an obituary is $2.50 per obituary (not per person, as some people may have duplicate obituaries).

Staff will provide copies as soon as possible. Turnaround time depends on the amount of requests generated by this master web obituary service.

Researchers may visit the Ritter Public Library in person and obtain copies of the obituaries for $0.20 per page when they do their own searching.

Adopted by the Ritter Public Library Board of Trustees
June 8, 2004

Service Policies

The Ritter Public Library makes services and a variety of materials in various formats available to all persons on an equal basis.

The library promotes the use of new technologies throughout the library when doing so supports the library’s mission, provides greater opportunities for the public to access information and entertainment material, and is cost-effective.

To provide for equitable availability and circulation of materials, the library has established the following policies regarding borrowing eligibility, length of loan for various materials, limits on the number of items that can be borrowed, renewals, reserves, interlibrary loans, overdue and lost-materials charges and damage and replacement assessments.

The library uses the automated circulation component of the Cleveland Public Library (Clevnet) to maintain, monitor and report circulation statistics, generate overdue notices and final bills, and provide a series of ongoing lists for purposes of replacing lost titles.

Borrower Cards

Borrower cards are issued free of charge to individuals who are Ohio residents or who pay property taxes. Companies, agencies and organizations, which are located in Ohio, are also eligible cardholders. To receive a card, you must apply in person and present proof of current address, such as a driver’s license or utility bill. The cardholder (individual or corporation), or parent or guardian for those under 18, is responsible for all use of the card. Lost or stolen cards should be reported to the library as soon as possible. There will be a charge for replacement of lost cards.

Borrowers are expected to bring their card with them any time they wish to borrow materials and present their card to use equipment (including computers) and software in the building. If a cardholder does not have their card with them, materials may be checked out using a photo ID.

Loan Policy

There is no charge to borrow materials from the Ritter Public Library, provided they are returned in good condition and on time. You are expected to show your library card to check out items or if you do not have your card with you, a photo ID will be accepted. You may borrow: 50 items (adult card) and 25 items (juvenile card) at a time.

Damage and Replacement Charges

Borrowers are responsible for all materials checked out, and are liable for any damages beyond normal wear and tear, which may occur to library materials. Fees assessed for damaged materials may include minor repair to the item or packaging, rebinding of books or actual item replacement if extent of the damage is such that the item cannot be repaired. The head of circulation evaluates damaged materials, determines appropriate repair or replacement and notifies the borrower. All damage charges are attached to the borrower’s record until paid.

Reserves and Interlibrary Loans

Reserves may be placed on books, books on tape, and CDs. Customers may request a total of ten items on reserve at one time. An item not available through Clevnet may be borrowed through interlibrary loan. There may be charges involved, which the customer will pay for at the time the material is checked out at the library.

Adopted by:
The Ritter Public Library Board of Trustees
March 14, 2000

Use of the Internet

The mission of the Ritter Public Library is to develop, provide, and publicize a variety of informational, recreational and educational materials and services that support the needs of the entire community of Vermilion.

Use of the Internet is part of the library’s mission to deliver these materials and services to the public. All Internet and wireless Internet resources accessible through the library are provided equally to all library customers.  The library may establish time limits, queues or other forms of network management in order to provide quality service and to ensure the limited number of access points that will be available to as many customers as possible.

The Internet is a worldwide, unregulated electronic medium; neither library staff nor trustees can control or be held responsible for the content and accuracy of information accessed, including electronic mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, peer-to-peer or social networks, or future forms of electronic communication. Users may be subjected to materials that are unreliable, personally offensive or illegal under Unites States law, and each individual user must take responsibility for his or her own activities on the Internet and for the activities of his or her children.

Individuals who violate this policy or its corresponding procedure will be denied access to the Internet. Reinstatement of use is at the discretion of the director and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Eligibility

Library cardholders from Ritter Public Library or a Clevnet member library are eligible to access the library’s public workstations. A minor child’s card may not be used by an adult parent or guardian to access the Internet. Any Ohio resident may apply for a library card free of charge. Out-of-state visitors must obtain a temporary guest pass from the customer service desk. Minors under the age of 18 must have the form signed by a parent or guardian in the presence of library staff.

Safety and Security of Minors

As with other library materials, parents of minor children must assume responsibility for their children’s usage of the library’s workstations and the Internet. Parents and legal guardians should educate minors to follow basic Internet safety guidelines:

  • Never give out personal information such as name or address.
  • Never arrange to meet someone face-to-face via electronic networks.
  • Never respond to threatening or suggestive messages.
  • Remember that people online may not be who they say they are.
  • To prevent loss of data, always store needed information on removable  devices.
  • Use of any information obtained via the Internet is at your own risk.

Children eight years old and younger must have an adult seated with them while using library workstations. The parent or guardian will also be notified when any minor loses his or her privileges.

Staff Assistance

Library staff is happy to assist users in accessing the Internet; each user is nevertheless responsible for his or her own session. Staff cannot provide in-depth personal training in the use of the Internet or of personal computers. Library staff will attempt to assist with technical issues stemming from the library’s computers or network, but cannot be held responsible for problems with outside sites or services.

Printing

Users may print information from the library’s workstations and the Internet. Black-and-white copies are $0.20, and color copies are $0.25 per page and may be picked up at the customer service desk.

Acceptable Usage

The Internet may not be used for any purposes which conflict with the mission of the library or for illegal, unethical or inappropriate purposes. This responsibility also applies to the users of equipment connecting to the library’s wireless Internet. These responsibilities include:

  • Respecting the privacy, security and sensibilities of other users.
  • Respecting the legal protection provided by copyright and license to programs and data.
  • Respecting the integrity of the library’s computer systems and network.
  • Please protect your personal data and privacy. Users should download and save files to their own removable storage devices, or may purchase one from the library for a nominal fee.

Unacceptable uses include:

  • Damaging, destroying or deleting equipment, software or data belonging to the library. This includes attempts to bypass network security functions, obtain passwords or alter the configuration of library computers in any way.
  • Unauthorized copying of copyrighted or licensed material.
  • Harassing others.
  • Using the Internet for any illegal activity.
  • Wasting finite resources (including printing without paying).
  • Using library computers to store personal files and data.

Warnings and Restrictions

Staff reserves the right to monitor any Internet activity for improper use. It is strictly prohibited to use the Internet for illegal or criminal purposes. Any unauthorized access will result in immediate suspension of Internet access. Users agree to comply with federal, state and local laws including those related to obscenity, pornography and delivery to minors material deemed harmful to them. Users understand that Internet sites may contain both written and pictorial information offensive to themselves and others.

Youth Safety
The library welcomes youth to use its facilities and services. Responsibility for the behavior and well-being of children using the library rests with the parent, guardian, or assigned caregiver. The library staff cannot accept responsibility or supervision for unattended children or for youth once they are picked up or leave the grounds of the library. No public place, including the library can guarantee the safety of children. This policy is meant to clarify the limited role the library staff may exercise in the supervision of youth.

The board wishes the public to have free and liberal use of library services. However, staff cannot take on the role of a parent in the protection and supervision of youth. That responsibility is lodged by law with the appropriate parent, guardian or caregiver and will not be assumed by the library, its agents or staff.

Unattended Children under age 8

Children under the age of 8 years may not be left unattended by an adult in any part of the library. If children under the age of 8 years are found to be without an adult caregiver, parent or guardian, library staff will attempt to contact the parent, caregiver or guardian first. If unsuccessful, library staff is required by library policy to notify the Vermilion Police Department to come and take the child into their care.

During storytimes or other programs, adults who do not attend the program with the child must remain in the building and stay in the children’s area until the end of the program, or until reunited with their child.

Unattended children ages 8-12

Children between the ages of 8 and 12 years old are permitted to be in the library during normal business hours without the immediate presence of a parent, guardian or caregiver. However, the library will not accept responsibility for the safety of these children who are left unattended. If children who fall within these age groups are in the library at closing, they will be permitted to call a parent, guardian, or caregiver from library phones to arrange for pickup, 10 minutes before closing. If the parent, guardian, or caregiver does not arrive within 10 minutes to pick the child, library staff is required to notify the Vermilion Police Department.

Over age 12

Children over the age of 12 years are considered capable of arranging their own transportation and will be required to honor the library’s hours of business. Staff cannot assume responsibility for unattended youth while they either wait outside for transportation or leave the property.

Procedure for staff in cases where youth are left unattended

If children under the age of 8 years are found to be without an adult caregiver, parent or guardian library staff will attempt to contact the parent, caregiver or guardian first. If unsuccessful, library staff are required by library policy to notify the Vermilion Police Department.

If children who are between the ages of 8 and 12 years of age are in the library at closing, they will be permitted to call a parent, guardian or caregiver from the library phones to arrange for pickup. If the parent, guardian or caregiver does not arrive within 10 minutes to pick up the child, the library staff is required to notify the Vermilion Police Department.

If the library closes, and the child has been turned over to the Vermilion Police Department, staff will post a notice on the Liberty Ave. entrance, which states the address and phone number of the Vermilion Police Department.

Staff is required to complete an incident report in cases where a child is left unattended and staff notifies the Vermilion Police Department. Staff is also required to complete an incident report when a youth violates library policies to the extent where removal of the youth is required.

During regular business hours, if library staff determines that any child is not behaving properly; staff will request a parent, guardian or caregiver to remove the child from the library. If the parent, guardian, or caregiver cannot be located immediately, the library staff is required to notify the Vermilion Police Department. The library reserves the right to deny access to library services to any child who violates library rules.

Amended and Adopted by:
The Ritter Public Library Board of Trustees
April 8, 2003