Policy

Map Location
F, 6
Thread Location
Page 125
Scape

Author
William Zayac

Conversation Starters

1. How much should policies change over the years? How often do changing circumstances actually require policy changes?

2. How should policies initially be set? Should they reflect a current culture of the library, past trends among the library, future possibilities within the library, or the trends in the library world? Should they be preventative, proactive, or reactive? Where would the balance lie?

Related Artifacts

Anonymous. (2005, August). Library policies on the web. Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington. Retrieved November 7, 2009, from http://www.mrsc.org/Subjects/InfoServ/publiclib/libpolicy.aspx

Annotation: This website includes links to several library policy websites (general policies and specific policies) for public libraries in the Washington, DC, metro area. Sadly, some of the specific policy links are outdated and others are incomplete. These do, however, include a variety of types of policies (from comprehensive policies to display and grievance-reporting policies) from these websites. Certain libraries, such as Richland Public Library, simply state the policies and provide little information about reporting occasions when the rules have been broken, whereas others explain the contextualization of such policies and the policies concerning policy address (as with the Spokane County Library District).

Anonymous. (2006). American Association of law libraries: AALL government relations policy. Louisiana Libraries, 68(3), 19.

Annotation: This article simply includes two examples of AALL policy concerning Intellectual Freedom and Information Management, providing examples of the policies of a large nongovernment library group.

Hitchcock, L. A. (2006). A critique of the new statement on labeling. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 32(3), 296–302.

Annotation: Hitchcock traces the various changes in the ALA’s policy on labeling from the 1948 version of the Library Bill of Rights to the 2005 revision of the position document and their effects on the strength of the idea. Some of the changes seem to have been purely superficial (stemming from a feeling of the statement being “dated”), whereas others have focused on the changing labels already provided on materials and constantly used otherwise in culture (such as the MPAA film ratings). The latest revision proves itself to be problematic because the wording could be construed to mean that catalog records are improper labels.

Magi, T. J. (2007). The gap between theory and practice: A study of the prevalence and strength of patron confidentiality policies in public and academic libraries. Library & Information Science Research, 29(4), 455–470.

Annotation: Trina Magi designed and executed a nonrandomized survey of 213 library directors in Vermont concerning the strength of their libraries’ patron confidentiality policies and practices when they have one (of which 149 returned surveys were studied and compiled for their results); 46% of the libraries had received one request for patron information from various groups, although more may have been addressed from government agencies but suppressed by gag orders. Overall, 48% of responding libraries stated that they had written policies or procedures concerning this, whereas 35% of libraries without written policies were planning on developing them within a year. Also, the libraries with MLSholding directors were nearly twice as likely as those whose directors did not hold these degrees to have patron confidentiality policies. Why did so many libraries not have patron confidentiality policies? What made these differences? Magi does not explore these questions; she only reports on the studies.

Terry, J. (2009). ALA testifies on access to copyrighted works for the blind. College & Research Libraries News, 70(7), 416–423.

Annotation: This article provides an example of an actual conflict in policies that occurred, prompting the U.S. Copyright Office and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to call a public meeting about the applicability of copyright legislation on works for the disabled. It also addresses the problem with this decision and its lack of addressing the potential for accessible copies created for international users, which are restricted by trade laws. Another example of public policy explained within this article is the ALA support for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1201 exemption for faculty members concerning audiovisual copying to make compilation tapes to be used in physical classrooms.

Wilson, A. (2009, November 8). Child protection or censorship? Library employees lose jobs over book. Kentucky.com. Retrieved November 11, 2009, from http://www.kentucky.com/latest_news/v-print/story/1011029.html

Annotation: This article explains the problem of little-visible library policy or, at least, one that seems to be seldom enforced. Sharon Cook and several other library workers at the Jessamine County Public Library decided to circumvent the normal book-removal policies and removed the graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume IV: The Black Dossier from circulation themselves, one worker even removing a hold that had been put on the book by an 11-year-old (whom she did not believe should be exposed to the “explicit sexual content” of the graphic novel). The two ladies were fired for their actions, but they claimed that they were unaware that they were doing anything wrong.