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  Procedures Manual





Consistency in relationships with patrons by all staff members is one of the most important features of good library service, and the Staff Manual is intended as a guideline for the region. Keep this document handy so that it can be referred to easily. Policies acted upon by the Regional Board of Trustees are included for staff use and support.




The Albemarle Regional Library System welcomes all patrons. Library cards can be issued to patrons who live in bordering counties. Temporary library cards may be issued upon the discretion of the Branch Manager to out-of-town patrons. It is expected that all patrons adhere to current library policies. Library privileges may be suspended for non-adherence to library policies.


*        A valid Albemarle Regional Library Card is required to check out materials at all library locations and MUST BE PRESENTED WITH EACH VISIT.


*        Patrons must show valid proof of address in order to be issued a library card. Acceptable proof includes a valid North Carolina Driver's License or a bill mailed to patron's current address. A parent/legal guardian must accompany children under the age of 18 in order to be issued a library card. Parental signature is required in the presence of library staff.  The first library cards are issued at no cost to the patron. Replacement cards are $3.00 each or such appropriate price as determined by the Regional Library Board of Trustees.


*        Patrons should be encouraged to establish a "password" of their own choosing which allows for access to their library records from remote sites.


*        It is the responsibility of the patron to notify the library should their card be lost or stolen. The library will waive the replacement cost of stolen cards if patron will provide a copy of the police report. Patrons should be encouraged to notify the library should there be a change of address, name, phone number, etc.


*        Library cards are updated on the yearly anniversary date of issue to assist in maintaining more accurate patron records.


*        Patrons are responsible for all materials checked out to their library cards and all fines/fees as applicable.



*        Library cards may be issued to clubs, schools, or other institutions. Cards issued to these groups must be signed by an individual/contact who represents the group and accepts responsibility for all materials checked out to that group including the return of materials, payment for lost or damaged materials, as well as any additional fines and fees associated with lending of materials.


*        New patrons are limited to the amount of materials that they may check out the first time: standard limit should be no more than 2 items. Once those items are returned a patron may check out materials within prescribed limits.





It is the belief of the Albemarle Regional Library System that all patrons be treated equally and fairly in the application of library policies.  Library staff should not extend special treatment to relatives, friends, board members, nor should these patrons expect such.


Library staffs, including library substitutes are exempt from fines and fees associated with normal circulation practices. However, staff should follow standard circulation procedures when checking out materials for personal use. Library staffs are not exempt from fines and fees associated with lost or damaged materials. As a courtesy to patrons, staffs should refrain from checking out best sellers until there are no reserves on those items, and should avoid hoarding materials.


Patrons with overdue materials and/or fines and fees on their records should not be allowed to check out materials until all materials are returned and/or all fines/fees paid.


All materials (including periodicals), with the exception of videos/DVDs, reserve books, equipment and interlibrary loan requests, have a loan period of fourteen (14) days, with one (1) renewal. Books with reserves have a loan period of seven (7) days with no renewals. Videos/DVDs have a loan period of seven (7) days and may be renewed. Equipment is normally checked out for overnight use, but can be checked out over the weekend as determined by the Branch Manager. Special Loan function may be used in those situations. Organizations/individuals must sign "Audio-Visual Equipment Contract" to check out equipment. Interlibrary loan requests must be returned by the date established by the lending institution. There are no renewals on interlibrary loan materials.


Special collections and reference materials are for in-library use only or for a specified number of days to be determined by the branch manager.


*        Materials with historical significance/genealogical materials, or one-of-a-kind items should not be allowed to leave the library.


*        Limit on amount of materials to be checked out: no more than 20 items per day or number designated by Branch Manager can be checked out.


*        A deposit may be required for some special items. Monies collected by deposit should be maintains at the lending institution until items are returned.


*        Videos/DVDs are rented to patrons eighteen years and older at a cost of $1.00 per item, or other such rental fee as the Regional Board of Trustees may determine. Any combination of these two formats should not exceed 6 items per family/person/household. Movies containing multiple videocassettes should be treated as a single video when charging rental fees and in charging overdue fines. Renewals are subject to the rental fee of $1.00 per item. If the item is renewed over the phone the patron should be informed that $1.00 per item will be added to their account and must be paid prior to checking out additional materials. (See Videocassette Lending Policies)


*        Branch Managers may determine if and when materials may be designated for in-library use only - limited materials available to support class assignments.





The libraries within the Albemarle Regional Library system depend on the collection of fines and fees in part to offset deficits in the local operating expenses. They should be collected equally and fairly from all patrons. See the FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT section for additional information on the appropriate disposition of collected monies.


*        Patrons with overdue items are fined .10 cents per item per day. Limit is $15.00 overdue per item.  Monies are to be paid to the lending library (the place where the items were physically checked out), even though the books may be owned by another library in the Region.

*        Patrons with overdue videos/DVDs are fined $1.00 per video per day. Limit is $15.00 per title. Multipart videos are treated as one video. Monies collected from the rental/fines/and/or replacement costs of audio-visual materials, including cassettes and CDs are used to supplement the Region's audio-visual budget.

*        Patrons with overdue equipment are fined $5.00 per day. There is no limit up to the cost of replacing the equipment. Monies collected belong to the lending library.

*        All funds should be submitted by weekly courier to the Regional Finance Officer.



The following steps will be taken to retrieve overdue materials:


Overdue notices will be sent out approximately every 5-6 weeks.  Two overdue notices are sent out before the Final Bill is sent. Overdue parameters: 7 days overdue (courtesy email notice only); 30 days overdue (1st notice); 45 days overdue (2nd notice, marked lost); 60 days overdue (Final Bill). This schedule is subject to change.


 If the library must replace overdue items in order to fill reserve requests or otherwise, then the patron will be charged the cost of the replacement copies in addition to fines and fees associated with the overdue items. Patrons will be notified either verbally or in writing of the library's intent.


Parents/guardians with overdue materials/outstanding fines or fees will not be allowed to register their children under 18 years of age for library cards until their own records are cleared. Parents may not check out materials on their children's cards in order to avoid overdue fines and fees. The library reserves the right to stop use of any library card for which the delinquent parent/guardian has signed responsibility. Patrons 18 years and older may register for their own cards.


Patrons with long overdue items exceeding $50.00 in value may under North Carolina Generals Statue 14-398 be taken to Small Claims Court. All fines and fees associated with this legal procedure will become the responsibility of the patron. Parents of children under 18 years of age will be legally accountable for all materials checked out to their children.


*It may be possible with automation to notify patrons of overdue by e-mail in the future.




Financial responsibility for all monies collected and monies donated lies ultimately with the Albemarle Regional Library. Should an unusual situation arise concerning the disposition of money the Finance Officer should be contacted. All libraries must maintain the "Monthly Record of Receipts Form" and mail this form to the auditing firm upon request. In addition, libraries should submit a "Branch Library Revenue Form" with reconciliation of funds forwarded to the Regional Finance Office.


*        All checks should be made payable to the Albemarle Regional Library.

*        There will be a $25.00 fee or other such amount as levied by the Region's banking institution for all bounced checks. Staff should accept only cash or money orders in accepting restitution for bounced checks.

*        The only purchases that Branch Managers are authorized to make are those from a postage/petty cash fund. Receipts are required for all purchases made from this fund, and a record of petty cash expenditures should be maintained and submitted as needed. The amount of cash maintained in this fund may vary from $20-$50 dollars. The Finance Officer should be contacted when additional funds are necessary. Should it become necessary to purchase an item that exceeds available funds, the Finance Officer must be contacted PRIOR to making a purchase.

*        Monies collected through fines and fees associated with print materials become part of the lending library's budget. Monies collected for replacement costs of lost or damaged print materials become part of the Region's book budget.

*        Monies collected through fines and fees associated with audio-visual materials, including cassettes and CDs, DVDs, filmstrips, etc., including the replacement costs for lost/damaged audio-visual materials become part of the Region's audio-visual budget.

*        Monies submitted to the Region for staff purchases of materials are placed in the Region's appropriate book/audio-visual line item.

*        The Region does not accept preview items from any vendor prior to purchase.

*        Donated money or money raised for special projects such as the Summer Reading Program, cannot be spent directly.  These monies must be deposited with your other income.

*        Every effort should be made to maintain money in a secure location not physically or visually accessible to patrons when possible.

*        Reconciliation of collected monies should be done weekly when practical to avoid excessive accumulation. Reconciled funds should be returned with the library courier when possible.

*        No one (staff nor Board Member) may purchase any item on state contract through the library system.

*        The Director or Finance Officer must approve all purchase orders.

*        Neither Board Member nor staff may enter into any financial transaction/obligation for any library under any circumstance at any time.




In a Regional System the sharing of materials between locations serves to make the region stronger and allows the region to make available to its patrons a wider selection of materials, thus extending our limited financial resources. It is imperative that staffs utilize this capability to the benefit of their patrons.


All circulating materials may be placed on reserve. Patrons should be notified by phone when possible that materials are being held for them. They should be informed that the reserve materials will be held for 3 (three) working days before being returned to the owning location or given to the next patron on the reserve list. Should a postcard be required for notification, then allow an additional 3 (three) days for mail delivery.  Requested title(s) should not be listed on the postcard (privacy), only that a book(s) are/is being held.


It is recommended that reserves be first placed on materials within the local collection when possible, though staff should not hesitate to utilize system reserves.






*        Charges are made to individuals and institutions. Institutions shall have a registration card the same as individuals with a person responsible for the materials listed.

*        Patrons are to be encouraged to look for lost items before paying.

*        Once the lost item is paid for, it becomes the property of the patron. There will be no refunds should the lost item be found. Damaged items become the property of the patron after they are paid for and withdrawn from the system.

*        There is a $3.00 per item processing fee charged to offset the cost of re-ordering and processing lost or damages items. The $3.00 processing fee also applies to the replacement of lost or damaged audio-visual storage containers. If the cost of an item is not on the item record Branch Staff my check sources such as Books In Print or to get a price. The actual cost of an item, not its' resale price should be used. If an item cannot be located online the following formula may be used, in addition to the $3.00 processing fee:


a.    Adult fiction hardcover: $25.00

b.    Adult fiction paperback: $6.00

c.     Adult nonfiction hardcover: $27.00

d.    Adult nonfiction paperback: $13.00

e.    Juvenile fiction hardcover: $20.00     

f.      Juvenile fiction paperback: $4.00

g.    Juvenile nonfiction hardcover: $20.00

h.    Juvenile nonfiction paperback: $6.00

i.       Board books: $10.00

j.      Video/DVD: $20.00

k.     Music cassette/CD: $15.00

l.       Magazine: cost of single issue on cover

m.  Equipment:  contact Regional Office


*        Items lost/damaged are re-ordered as deemed necessary by the Branch Manager.






Interlibrary loan is to be used to assist patrons with requests for special materials that are not part of our normal collection. Interlibrary loan requests should normally be limited to non-fiction materials, though requests for fiction materials should not automatically be denied .


Should a particular item be requested in excess of 5 (five) times the Regional Library should consider purchasing the item for its own collection, depending upon the availability and cost of the item in question.


Requests for materials from libraries outside our region should be taken at branch locations. Library staff should assist patrons in filling out the "InterlibraryLoanRequestForm". 


The patron is responsible for paying the postage costs of returning interlibrary loan materials and must be informed of this prior to ordering the items. The cost will be the same amount as incurred by the loaning institution – located on the mailing label and must be collected prior to being checked out by the patron. The patron is responsible for any additional fees, i.e., copying costs, deposits, and etc. that the lending library might impose. Patrons are also responsible for lost/damaged materials at such cost as the lending library might specify.


Renewal is determined by the lending library and must be followed by the patron's library. Generally, materials cannot be renewed. Patrons must be informed of conditions when the materials are checked out.


Interlibrary loan materials should be returned to the loaning library within the ARL system when possible.



The Albemarle Regional Library is pleased to be able to provide its patrons with free access to the World Wide Web. The purpose of this service is to augment existing library materials by providing access to information not otherwise available. The Albemarle Regional Library Board of Trustees believes that in accordance with the library's mission as an educational institution, access to Internet be limited to research and informational uses only. Due to limited resources and the nature of some materials available through Internet, it is necessary to impose some restrictions on its use. (*See the "Internet Acceptable Use Policy" and the "Contract For Responsible Use of Internet")





Reference materials are non-circulating, and instrumental in the effectiveness of any library in meeting the needs of its patrons. Patrons expect to find them available whenever the library is open.


Should the Branch Manager determine that it is necessary to allow the circulation of a Reference item, it should be for overnight only, and checked out prior to closing and returned at the opening of the library. An appropriate deposit, as determined by the replacement cost of the item, may be requested at the discretion of the Branch Manager.




Collections are in each of the county libraries. Genealogy books, microfilm/fiche are NOT checked out for any reason. Many of the materials are one-of-a-kind or out of print or very, very expensive. If materials need to be used at a meeting, for public relations, etc, a staff member MUST take and stay with the information and return it to the library.




The nature of some materials such as study guides, tests booklets, etc., warrant that a deposit be required before they can be checked out. The circulation history of those type items indicates that they are seldom returned. Cash only will be accepted for deposit titles. No cash, no materials. The deposit will be returned in full when the material is returned in the condition in which it was checked out.


Branch Managers should use their own discretion in determining which materials require a deposit.




Returned materials should be shelved in its appropriate location daily in order to make the materials available to other patrons.


New books are first displayed in the "new books" sections with the month and year penciled on the last page (usually blank) or the inside cover at the back of the book. They should be shelved in the general collection after six months of display or at the discretion of the Branch Manager.


New reference materials should be first placed in a "new" section of the reference area if available. The Branch Managers should insure that all staff members are aware of the reference material and its contents.


Paperback books, which are processed in the system, should be shelved when possible in alphabetical order by author (including spine label) in the general collection. This facilitates access to those materials by patrons and staff.


Donated paperbacks not processed in the system and used for the paperback exchange program should be shelved on paperback racks if available.  No particular order is required.


Easy books should be shelved in A-B-C order though not necessarily alphabetically within the letter.




Shelf reading is an ongoing, never ending process necessary to the smooth and orderly operation of a library. Shelves should be read constantly to assure that materials are shelved in proper order. With that belief, no library staff should ever be able to say "I have nothing to do".  An item shelved improperly is in essence a lost book.


Physical appearance is one factor used to determine if the materials warrant discarding or replacement.




Audio-visual materials, which are available for circulation, (videos/DVDs, books-on-tape, books-on-CDs, music CDs/cassettes, etc.) can be placed on reserve at any location.


Beginning in January 2003, each library should receive an annual circulation report on audio-visual materials that have not circulated in a two-year time period. The Branch Manager (in consultation with the Regional Director) may choose to withdraw specific items and make them available to other libraries within the region. These items should NOT be placed in the book sale until all Branch Managers have had the opportunity to peruse the discarded items.


Damaged audio-visual materials should be withdrawn and placed in the book sale or discarded as appropriate to its condition. Branch Managers should determine if the damaged material warrants replacement, depending of course upon item availability and the availability of funds, as well as if the item has outlived its usefulness or currency.


(See "Videocassette/DVD Lending Policy")






Some libraries may have 16-mm projectors, filmstrip viewers, and video projectors, slide projects and overhead projectors with viewing screens available for checkout to community groups and organizations.


These materials should be barcoded so that an accurate record of their circulation can be kept. Equipment is checked out for overnight use only except when used over a weekend.


Overdue equipment is subject to an overdue fine of $5.00 per day. Patron must sign the "Audio-visual Equipment Contract" prior to checking out any equipment.




Copyright law must be posted and followed by anyone connected with the library system. This law is based upon "fair use," and any copy made in lieu of purchase is in violation of the law.


The Albemarle Regional Library Board of Trustees sets charges per page. Current charges are .15 cents per page for black & white copies. Double-sided copies are considered two pages. Copies made on 17 x 11 inch paper are .25 cents per page.


Computer/Internet generated prints are .15 cents per page for black  & white prints; $1.00 per page for color prints.


Microfilm reader copies are .25 cents per page.


Supplies are ordered through the Regional Offices, expenses incurred are charged to each library's supply line item.





Each library maintains a collection of large print books. Materials weeded from these collections should first be offered to member libraries prior to discarding. Those titles not selected by another library may be placed in the book sale.




Where convenient, libraries may have exhibits provided by other agencies or organizations. (See "Exhibits Policy" and the "Application for Meeting Room and Exhibits Spaces")






The Albemarle Regional Library System welcomes gifts of varied and sundry materials as long as those gifts fall within established guidelines. The same standards for the purchase of materials will be applied to gifts. No special shelves will be provided as a condition of acceptance.


Gifts will be used in the library to which they were given if possible and then in other libraries in the region if desired. If gifts are not used or have historical value, they may be sold and that money used to buy books for the intended library.


(See "Gifts and Donations Policy" for additional information.)




Guidelines to determine the use/non-use of available meeting rooms by the public are determined by each applicable library's local board of trustees. (See "Meeting Room Policy for Non-Public Use")


Should a local board allow their meeting room to be used by the public, certain guidelines should be followed. (See "Meeting Room Policy" and "Application for Meeting Room and Exhibits Spaces")




This statute has two parts. While it enables the head of a public facility to maintain order, it also makes it obligatory for that person to do so for the safety of others. (See "Disruptive Behavior Policy")




The Albemarle Regional Library System welcomes children of all ages to utilize our materials and services. However, the libraries do not serve in the capacity of providing daycare/after school care for unattended children. Libraries however are public facilities. As such, anyone can enter and leave the building without being noticed by library staff. A young child left alone in the library may be persuaded to leave with a stranger; he or she could become ill or disoriented while left unattended. The library cannot assume responsibility for parental negligence in the caring for minor children. 


Library staff are instructed to remain with minor children left at the library after closing for fifteen (15) minutes. Staff are then to call the police to pick up the child if the child's ride does not come within that time. Under no circumstance are staff members to offer transportation to those left at closing. (See the "Safe Child Policy" for additional information.)




Branch Managers should attempt to provide adult and children's programming as part of their public service commitment to their communities. All library-sponsored programs   must be attended by at least one staff member from the sponsoring library.


These programs are held in or out of libraries and must reflect the library objectives of public service. They are given by staff or person/s retained by the library for that purpose. No partisan opinions may be presented such as those of a political or religious nature.


Children's programs can be given in or out of libraries by a staff member or person/s retained by the library for that purpose. Staff must present books along with other mediums unless the program is advertised as a film program. When using films/videos of any kind a lead-in and lead-out discussion must be conducted with or presented to the children.




The Albemarle Regional Library System is proud to provide outreach services to the citizens of the four-county library region. However, we have neither the staff nor time to provide outreach services to all individuals or organizations. Outreach services are by necessity limited to the homebound patrons who have either physical or mental limitations that do not allow them access to a library; nursing/retirement homes and adult daycare centers. Bi-weekly courier service is provided for branch libraries. Users of this service are required to read and sign an "Outreach Services Policy/Agreement".)


Circulation will normally be on a once a month basis, with special arrangements made when feasible to cover holidays, vacations, etc. See "Outreach Materials Guidelines" for information on materials circulated through outreach.


Currently users of these services are not subject to late fines and fees. They are, however responsible for the cost of all lost and or damaged materials.


In order to facilitate the orderly transfer of materials/reserve requests between all library locations a weekly courier service is provided. 






All records, formal and informal, in the Albemarle Regional Library System relating to patron registration and the subsequent circulation by patrons of library materials provided by the library are considered to be confidential in nature. The library may release this information if necessary for the collection of overdue materials/fines/fees, etc., to an agency with whom the library has contracted for collection purposes. (See NC General Statues 125-18 and 125-19).


Parents of minor children under 18 may request information as might apply to payment of fines/fees and lost or damaged materials as the parent is ultimately responsible for materials checked out by children under 18. (See the "Privacy of Records Policy" for additional information.)




Descriptions cited below cover each position on a broad level only and are not meant to be inclusive of the responsibilities associated with that position.


Technical Services Associate (AV):  Works with the branch staff and Director in assuming responsibility for audio-visual materials selection, acquisition and processing.  Maintains counts of materials processed and locations where materials are sent.


Director: Oversees the overall operation of the libraries within the region, including materials selection, budget development and presentation to Boards and funding agencies, and the dispensing of funds within guidelines. Works with staff to revise and present policies changes to the Regional Board. Provides staff support, training and evaluation.  Plans for future library service projects. Reports to the Regional Library Board of Trustees. Maintains public relations on a general level. Represents region at state and national levels so that local interests and needs are considered.


Finance Officer: Responsible for financial records, paying bills and financial reports to the government and to the Boards of Trustees. Maintains periodical subscriptions. Responsible for overseeing library operations in the absence of the Director.


Outreach Services Librarian: Makes regular monthly deliveries of library materials to homebound patrons, nursing homes and daycare centers. Gathers materials for delivery, and keeps a record of circulation. Makes deliveries to the libraries bi-weekly. Maintains the resource collections, which are materials such as books, flannel boards, puppets, activity sheets and so forth used by daycare providers.


Regional Assistant: Orders and routes supplies. Serves as interlibrary loan librarian. Assists the Finance Officer with fines/fee receipts. Records all kinds of leave for staff. Picks up/sorts and routes mail as requested. Processes materials as requested.


Systems Administrator: Responsible for the maintenance/operations of all technology associated with the operation of the library system.  Designs and implements training programs for staff, and assists branch librarians in designing computer-training programs for the public. Serves as Web Master.


Technical Services Associate: Works with the Branch Managers and Director in the selection, acquisition and processing of books. Keeps count of new titles and number of copies of books added in region. Maintains circulation records of all materials.




Statistics indicate that a well-weeded collection helps to keep the collection vital and useful. Automated reports on material circulation will be generated periodically to assist in that process. See "Book Withdrawal Policy" for additional information.




General Considerations. The intent of selecting books, magazines, newspapers and audio-visual items is to provide citizens with up-to-date library materials for circulation and reference whether their use is for information, education or recreation. These collections are not all inclusive because funds, space and staff are limited. (See "Materials Selections Policy".)




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