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Valley Community Library Policies

Service Animal Policy

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), libraries must allow service dogs to accompany patrons with disabilities in all places where the public is permitted to go. The dog may be of any breed. Additionally, miniature horses are permitted under the ADA. The dog (or miniature horse) is not required to wear a vest, and the library may not ask for certification of any kind.

Staff may ask only these two questions if necessary to determine whether the animal is a service animal.

  • Is the service animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

If a dog is out of control, and the handler does not take effective action to control it, or if the animal is not housebroken, the library may ask the handler to remove the animal from the library. Staff will offer the handler the opportunity to receive goods or services without the animal’s presence.

Emotional support animals do not qualify as service animals.

Source: “Must My Library Accommodate Service and Support Animals? Lawyer-librarian answers questions on book displays, video recording, and animals in the library,” by Mary Minow. American Libraries, February 18, 2020.

Approved by the Library Board of Directors, January 2023

Printable Service Animal Policy

Patron Behavior Policy

Everyone is welcome at the Valley Community Library and the staff looks forward to providing its patrons with great service. In return, the Library asks that patrons treat the library, its contents, the staff, and other patrons with respect. Failure to do so may result in the suspension or loss of Library privileges, expulsion, and/or legal action.

Patrons will refrain from any behavior that is illegal or disrupts or hinders the use of the library by other patrons, staff, and/or volunteers. Disruptive and prohibited behavior includes but is not limited to:

  • Physical, sexual, or verbal harassment of staff or library patrons
  • Eating or drinking at the public computers or in the Merli Room
  • Excessive noise including loud talking, loud audio equipment, and use of profanity
  • Viewing, in plain sight, materials which are inappropriate for the surroundings, including potential passersby
  • Smoking, vaping, use of controlled substances, tobacco, alcohol or other drugs
  • Leaving children unsupervised or uncontrolled
  • Sleeping
  • Petitioning, soliciting, or selling merchandise
  • Bringing skateboards, scooters, or roller blades inside the library
  • Animals other than non-disruptive, trained service animals
  • Taking photographs or videos of library users without their permission
  • Engaging in any other activities that are inconsistent with those activities normally associated with the use of public library facilities. Acceptable library use includes reading, studying, attending programs, engaging in educational play, using a computer, and using library materials.

Staff reserves the right to determine what constitutes reasonably disruptive behavior in the library. Patrons may be asked to leave the library at any time. Staff also follows a 1 strike policy. If you are asked to stop engaging in an activity/behavior once and do not comply, you will be asked to leave the library for the remainder of that day.

Patrons must wear proper clothing in the library building at all times including shirts and shoes. The Library Director reserves the right to require guidelines for the safety and well-being of the library staff and its community.

All patrons have the right to submit appeals to the Library Board of Directors within 15 days of an incident.

Approved by the Library Board of Directors, September 2022

Printable Patron Behavior Policy


Unattended or Disruptive Children Policy

Valley Community Library (VCL) welcomes and encourages children to visit the Library, use its resources and services, and attend Library programs. VCL is not, however, able to provide short- or long-term child care, or be responsible for unattended children. Unattended children are children under the age of eighteen who are unaccompanied by a parent, guardian, and/or responsible caregiver.

Parents/guardians/caregivers are responsible for the safety, behavior, and supervision of children at all times in the library and on library property. VCL is a public facility and cannot regulate who enters the building nor take legal responsibility in the case of a medical emergency.

Children are expected to respect library property and adhere to the rules outlined in the VCL Patron Behavior Policy. Parents and guardians are responsible for making sure their children know the Library rules and have a contact number in case of an emergency.

Ages 8 & below
Parent/guardian/caregiver must be in the library and in sight of the child

Ages 9-17
May use library unattended, but parent/guardian/caregiver is still responsible for damage caused or injuries sustained.

Children of any age may not be left at the library for childcare or babysitting purposes.

Library staff will attempt to contact a parent or guardian in circumstances such as the following:
• An unattended child is engaging in behavior that is disruptive to other library users, staff, or the normal operations of library business
• An unattended child is involved in a situation that is potentially harmful to the health or safety of the child and/or others
• An unattended child is left alone at the library at closing time.

VCL assumes no responsibility for unattended children. In the interest of child safety, if an unattended child is in the Library at closing time and attempts to contact a parent or guardian are unsuccessful, VCL will call Blakely Borough Police to report an abandoned child.

A minimum of two Library staff will wait with unattended children until the Police arrive. Library staff may not offer transportation home. VCL is not responsible if children leave library property unattended.

VCL recognizes parents’/guardians’/caretakers’ responsibility for the behavior and well-being of their children. We respect the privacy of all our library patrons and will intervene only when a child is deemed at risk.

Approved by the Library Board of Directors, January 2020

Printable Unattended Children Policy

Social Media Policy for Patrons

We value your opinion and encourage constructive and open discussion. Valley Community Library expects that users will not post content that falls into the following categories and reserves the right to remove postings that are:

• Abusive, disrespectful, defamatory, or obscene
• Fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading
• In violation of any intellectual property right of another
• In violation of any law or regulation
• Commercial promotions, spam, or organized political activity
• Otherwise offensive or considered harassment

Users that repeatedly and/or habitually provide content that meets the criteria above after a warning from the Library may be blocked from posting any further information to the Library’s social media sites.

All patrons have the right to submit appeals to the Library Board of Directors within 15 days of an incident.

Approved by the Library Board of Directors, December 2019

Printable Social Media Policy for Patrons

Faxing Policy

Faxing is available to patrons during library business hours with the following guidelines:

• Only library staff members are permitted to use the fax machine.
• All faxes must be on a standard 8½” x 11” sheet of paper. Photocopies may be made by the patron using the copy machine at the cost of the patron.
• Each side of paper that must be faxed is considered a separate sheet and must be paid for.
• Staff members will attempt to send a fax no more than three times before asking the patron to come back later or another day if the line is busy.
• Patrons are responsible for finding out the correct delivery number of the fax.
• Confirmation pages will be printed and handed to the patron.

Faxing charges:

• $2.00 for the first page of the fax. The cover sheet is provided for free.
• $1.00 for each additional page

The library does not receive faxes for patrons at this time.

Approved by the Library Board of Directors, February 2020

Printable Faxing Policy

Facilities Policy

The Valley Community Library (VCL) welcomes the use of its Gino Merli Room and Conference Room for individuals, community groups, and organizations: whose aims are educational, cultural, and/or civic; who agree to observe the library rules; and, whose activities do not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age, or disability. Rooms are available to individuals and groups regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of their members. The Library reserves the right to revoke permission to use either room.

Limitations: Rooms are not available for social gatherings (such as parties or entertainment), fundraising efforts, sectarian religious services, commercial endeavors, partisan political purposes or platforms, or when, in the judgment of the VCL Director or Board of Directors, the use poses a threat to the life, safety, or property of any individual. No admission may be charged, nor a donation sought. Meetings may not be scheduled on a monthly or weekly basis unless given permission by the Library Director.

Reservations: To reserve either room, a Facilities Use Request form must be submitted and approved by a Library staff member at least one week prior to the meeting date. No request may be submitted more than three months prior to the meeting date. Reservations for a meeting room are on a first-come, first-served basis. Library-related events and usage needs take precedence for all room bookings. The Library does not discriminate with regard to race, religion, sex, or political belief in making meeting space available to any group. Library-sponsored and Library-related meetings have priority and the Library reserves the right to preempt any scheduled meeting. The Library will make every effort to give advance notices of such preemption.

Hours and Emergency Closings: Rooms are available for use during Library business hours and meetings must be concluded 15 minutes before closing time. In the event that the Library closes due to an emergency or inclement weather, use of either room is automatically canceled. During adverse weather conditions, group representatives should call the Library or go to the VCL website at lclshome.org/valley for more information.

Maximum Capacity: The Gino Merli Room may be utilized by no more than 35 people at one time and the Conference Room may be utilized by no more than 12 people at one time. The Library is permitted to allow more than the maximum capacities listed with the approval of the Library Director.

Food and Drink: Food and drink is allowed in the Conference room only. Those who book the Gino Merli Room may not have food or drink inside the room, but can serve it outside of the room in the Young Adult Area. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted. Smoking is not permitted in any part of the Library.

Cancellations: The contact person is the only person authorized to make changes to room reservations, including cancellations. Cancellations may not be rescinded. Groups that fail to give cancellation notices will have their reservation rights suspended. VCL reserves the right to postpone or cancel any scheduled meetings. The Library will make every reasonable effort to contact the group and reschedule the reservation.

Publicity Notices: Publicity notices promoting a meeting or event being sponsored by an outside group or organization must include the following disclaimer: “The Valley Community Library does not advocate or endorse the viewpoints of meetings or meeting room users.” Publicity notices or fliers promoting a meeting must be shown to a Library staff member for approval (with initials) prior to distribution.

The Library shall assume no liability for items left in the building either before, during, or after a meeting. The organization or individual holding the meeting assumes responsibility for any damage done to the room, its contents, the building and grounds, or any personal injuries sustained by attendees. The group or organization is required to sign a statement agreeing to these conditions. Use of a meeting room by any group or organization does not constitute an endorsement by the Library of the policies, beliefs, and/or purposes of any group.

Approved by the Library Board of Directors, September 2020

Printable Facilities Policy

Printable Facilities or Premise Use Request

Lost & Found Policy

Valley Community Library (VCL) is not responsible for any personal items that Library patrons lose or leave behind. Patrons are responsible for their own property and are expected to properly monitor their belongings.

Lost Items

  • All items will be held at the Library’s Lost and Found, located behind the front desk and will be kept for 60 days.
  • Upon receipt, staff will attach a note on the item with the date it was turned in.
  • If owner identification can be easily located on the item that’s turned in, Library staff will attempt to notify the owner via the email or phone number on-file in our system.
  • The Library may access a device in an attempt to identify its owner.

Disposal of Lost Items

  • Hazardous and perishable items such as food, personal care, baby bottles, or plastic water bottles will be disposed of immediately.
  • Dirty clothing and other unsanitary items will be discarded immediately.
  • After 60 days, all other items become Library property and will be handled by staff on a case-by-case basis.

Claiming a Lost Item

  • Patrons may inquire about a lost item at the Library’s front desk and must reasonably identify it to staff and indicate when it was lost.

Approved by the Library Board of Directors, September 2020

Printable Lost & Found Policy

Materials Donation Policy

The Valley Community Library (VCL) welcomes donations of books, DVDs, Blu-rays, CDs, and audiobooks that meet the needs of the Library, either to add to the existing collection, or to be sold at Library book sales. VCL cannot accept all materials and some items may be turned away.


  • Contact VCL via phone, email, social media, or in person to see whether the Library is currently accepting donations.
  • All items must be in good or excellent condition.*
    • *If the items have been stored in a basement, attic, or garage, they are most likely unacceptable.
  • Items must be donated during library hours and not placed in the book drop or left outside.
  • VCL does NOT accept the following:
    • Nonfiction books over 10 years old
    • Encyclopedias or Dictionaries
    • Readers Digest Condensed books
    • VHS and cassette tapes
    • Textbooks
    • Magazines
    • Items that are musty, have notes written in them, are water-damaged, dirty, moldy, highlighted, with loose or missing pages, or with detached or missing covers.
  • Large donations (more than 2 boxes) cannot be accepted without library staff approval beforehand. Donated items are evaluated with care and there is limited room while they are being processed.

Tax-Exemption Receipts

  • VCL is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. Receipts may be requested, but the Library cannot legally provide a value for donated items.

Other Resources

  • To dispose of items VCL cannot accept, contact The Lackawanna County Office of Environmental Sustainability at 570-963-2017 or their website: http://www.lackawannacounty.org/portal/recycling/index.html
  • Charitable organizations such as The Salvation Army or Goodwill Industries may accept donated materials depending on their policies.

Approved by the Library Board of Directors, September 2020

Printable Materials Donation Policy

Exhibits and Display Space Policy

The Valley Community Library (VCL) welcomes the opportunity to allow community groups and individuals to use designated areas at its location for displays and exhibits. Part of VCL’s mission is to provide a wide range of information and materials, and to encourage and support the civic, intellectual, and cultural pursuits of the community. Space is provided for displays of an educational, cultural, intellectual, charitable or recreational nature, and for exhibiting works of area artists and craftspeople. Display areas may also be used for materials from VCL’s collection or to publicize library services, collections, or activities.

Exhibit Policy and Purpose

Exhibit areas are available on an equitable basis regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use. The Library endeavors to present a broad spectrum of opinion and viewpoints. The Library does not endorse content nor imply agreement or disagreement with beliefs or viewpoints expressed in the exhibits or displays. The Library does not accept responsibility for ensuring that all points of view are represented in any single display.

In the event that a group or individual would like to appeal the library’s decision to or not to display an item, an appeal may be made by using the Valley Community Library’s Resource Challenge Form.

VCL reserves the right to determine at its sole discretion what materials will be displayed as well as scheduling, duration, and assignment of display spaces. The Library has the right to review the materials in advance. The Library’s decision on what will be displayed in its exhibit spaces shall be final.


  • Displays must be appropriate in scale, material, form, and content for the library environment consisting of a community of all ages.
  • The following are not permitted:
    • Materials containing images that include significant elements of sexually explicit imagery, nudity, or graphic depictions of violence.
    • Exhibits or displays of a purely commercial nature, unless they have a special educational, informational, or cultural value to the community.
    • Materials advocating a particular vote on a candidate or ballot proposition.
    • Material being offered for sale to the public unless the proceeds directly benefit the Library.
  • The Library reserves the right to remove any item from an exhibition or display on the above grounds or if the exhibition is a possible safety hazard, is too large, or otherwise inappropriate for the display space, creates a maintenance problem, exceeds acceptable noise and light levels, or interferes with the public service or other activities in adjacent library areas. If the exhibit contains elements that may be of concern under this policy, the exhibitor should discuss it with the Library Director in advance of the installation date.

Exhibit Guidelines:


  • VCL’s Application for Use of Library Exhibit/Display Space must be filled out.
  • Exhibit space must be reserved in advance.

Insurance and Liability

  • All materials are displayed at the exhibitor’s own risk. The Library does not provide any insurance coverage for exhibited materials.
  • All exhibitors must agree to hold VCL harmless from liability in case of theft, vandalism, accidental damage, fire, or any other loss or damage to the exhibited materials. If the exhibitor desires insurance, they must arrange for it at their own expense.

Installation and Removal

  • The exhibitor is responsible for installing and labeling the exhibit on the agreed upon date and providing all necessary equipment.
  • The exhibitor shall remove the exhibit promptly on the agreed upon date.
  • The library does not have space, nor will it accept responsibility, for storage of the property of exhibitors in the Library building. Therefore, exhibitors are required to deliver and pick up their materials according to the dates established in advance.
  • All displays/exhibits must be set up and removed with as little interference as possible to the daily operations of the Library. Once the exhibit is installed, changes may be made only with Library approval.
  • The library has the right to remove exhibit materials if they aren’t picked up by the agreed upon date. Exhibit materials may be disposed of if not claimed within 30 days.
  • The exhibitor must be identified by name within the display.
  • A notice is to be posted with each exhibit stating that: The material within this exhibit is the presentation of the individual or organization named in the display. The library does not advocate or endorse the viewpoints of exhibits and exhibitors.

Scheduling Procedures

  • Exhibits will normally be scheduled for a period not exceeding one month. Exceptions must be approved by the Library Director.


  • The Library may assume the responsibility for publicizing exhibits. If the exhibitor contributes to the public relations effort, the Library reserves the right to review any publicity material prepared by the exhibitor before release.

Fees and Sales

  • No fees are charged for display spaces. Groups using display spaces may not charge an admission fee or request donations.
  • The library shall not be responsible for handling any money from the sale of items displayed. All inquiries will be referred to the exhibitor who is responsible for providing Library staff with information on how such inquiries should be routed or the exhibitor should include information on how to purchase items in their display.
  • Any items sold during a display period shall remain on display until all items are scheduled to be removed.

Other Guidelines

  • The exhibit areas are open to the public only during the regular open hours of the library unless by special arrangement.
  • Damages to the premises, equipment or furnishings as a result of exhibitor use will be charged to the individual or group responsible.

Bulletin Board Guidelines

Bulletin boards serve to inform patrons of upcoming or continuous events and services. The community bulletin board is located in the vestibule at the front of the library.

  • VCL will only post events that are free to the public or benefitting a local nonprofit.
  • Library staff shall determine what is appropriate for posting and where it shall be posted.
  • Bulletin board notices must be presented to Library staff for approval and posting.
  • Library staff shall remove bulletin board postings and events notices as appropriate and discard notices unless otherwise notified.
  • All posted materials are displayed at the owner’s risk.
  • Paragraphs 1, 2, 3, and 4 of this policy also apply to bulletin boards.

Policy Changes

The Board of Directors reserves the right to make changes in this policy as it deems advisable and may cancel or withdraw permission for use of the Library facilities when in its opinion, such action is advisable.

Approved by the Library Board of Directors, November 2020

Printable Exhibits and Displays Policy

Printable Exhibit and Display Space Application

Printable Materials Donation Policy

Conflict of Interest Policy


The purpose of this policy is to protect the Valley Community Library (hereafter known as the Library) interests when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of a board member, officer, or member of a committee with governing board delegated powers, or employee who is considering a proposed transaction or arrangement for the Library; or might result in a possible excess benefit transaction. This policy is intended to supplement but not replace any applicable state and federal laws governing conflict of interest applicable to governmental, nonprofit or charitable organizations.


  1. Contract — An arrangement for the acquisition or use by the Library of services, supplies, materials, equipment, land or any other personal or real property.
  2. Interested Person — Any board member, officer, or member of a committee with governing board delegated powers, or Library employee who is considering a proposed transaction or arrangement who has a direct or indirect financial interest, as defined below, is an interested person.
  3. Financial Interest — A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, through business, investment, or family:
    1. An ownership or investment interest in any entity with which the Library has a transaction or arrangement,
    2. A compensation arrangement with the Library or with any entity or individual with which the Library has a transaction or arrangement, or
    3. A potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual with which the Library is negotiating a transaction or arrangement.
  4. Compensation — Direct and indirect remuneration as well as gifts, gratuities, or favors that are not insubstantial.

A financial interest is not necessarily a conflict of interest. Under the instructions below “Determining Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists”, a person who has a financial interest may have a conflict of interest only if the appropriate governing board or committee decides that a conflict of interest exists.

Ethical Guidelines

Each board member, officer, or member of a committee with governing board delegated powers, or Library employee is expected to perform his or her duties in accordance with the law and the highest ethical standards. As a board member, officer, or member of a committee with governing board delegated powers, or Library employee, you, or any member of your family, are prohibited from having a financial interest in any contract with the Library in which you are employed or influencing, or attempting to influence, the making of any contract in which you have a financial interest.

 Acceptance of Gifts, Gratuities, or Favors

No board member, officer, or member of a committee with governing board delegated powers, or Library employee, any member of his or her immediate family, or any business in which he or she has a principle interest, shall accept any gift, gratuity or favor from any source doing or seeking to do business with the Library or attempting to influence the judgment of such employee or official.

Except as otherwise prohibited by law, the foregoing shall not prohibit the Library from accepting any gift, gratuity or favor of a fair market value (regardless of the donor’s cost) of one hundred ($100.00) dollars or less, provided the gift, gratuity or favor shall be physically retained by the Library and made available for the use or enjoyment of all employees of the Library, and provided further, only one such gift from the same donor may be accepted annually.

Any offer to the Library of a gift, gratuity or favor of a fair market value in excess of one hundred ($100.00) dollars shall be referred to the Library board which shall determine at a public meeting whether to accept or reject such gift, gratuity or favor on behalf of the Library.

This policy is not intended to prohibit a board member, officer, or member of a committee with governing board delegated powers, or Library employee, or members of their families, while in attendance at a conference or gathering of a statewide or regional association of such people, from accepting meals and/or hospitality from sponsoring entities, provided all persons in attendance at such conference or gathering are invited to attend or participate in the sponsored activity.


  1. Duty to Disclose: In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, an interested person must disclose the existence of the financial interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts to the governing board, or members of committees with governing board delegated powers who are considering the proposed transaction or arrangement. In the case of a Library employee, the matter shall be referred to the governing board for decision following the procedures listed below.
  2. Determining Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists: After disclosure of the financial interest and all material facts, and after any discussion with the interested person, they shall leave the governing board or committee meeting while the determination of a conflict of interest is discussed and voted upon. The remaining board or committee members shall decide if a conflict of interest exists.
  3. Procedures for Addressing the Conflict of Interest: An interested person may make a presentation at the governing board or committee meeting, but after the presentation, they shall leave the meeting during the discussion of, and the vote on, the transaction or arrangement involving the possible conflict of interest.
  4. The chairperson of the governing board or committee shall, if appropriate, appoint a disinterested person or committee to investigate alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement. In the case of Library employees, the matter shall be referred to the governing board for decision.
  5. After exercising due diligence, the governing board or committee shall determine whether the Library can obtain with reasonable efforts a more advantageous transaction or arrangement from a person or entity that would not give rise to a conflict of interest.
  6. If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably possible under circumstances not producing a conflict of interest, the governing board or committee shall determine by a majority vote of the disinterested board members whether the transaction or arrangement is in the Library’s best interest, for its own benefit, and whether it is fair and reasonable. In conformity with the above determination it shall make its decision as to whether to enter into the transaction or arrangement.
  7. Violations of the Conflicts of Interest Policy:
  8. If the governing board or committee has reasonable cause to believe an individual has failed to disclose actual or possible conflicts of interest, it shall inform the individual of the basis for such belief and afford the individual an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose.
  9. If, after hearing the individual’s response and after making further investigation as warranted by the circumstances, the governing board or committee determines the individual has failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action.
  10. Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including discharge, and possible prosecution Disciplinary actions shall be consistent with board policies, procedures, [applicable collective bargaining agreements] and state and federal laws.
  11. In the event an investigation determines that a violation of this policy has occurred involving a federal award, the violation shall be reported in writing to the federal awarding agency in accordance with that agency’s policies.

Records of Proceedings

The minutes of the governing board and all committees with board delegated powers shall contain:

  1. The names of the persons who disclosed or otherwise were found to have a financial interest in connection with an actual or possible conflict of interest, the nature of the financial interest, any action taken to determine whether a conflict of interest was present, and the governing board’s or committee’s decision as to whether a conflict of interest in fact existed.
  2. The names of the persons who were present for discussions and votes relating to the transaction or arrangement, the content of the discussion, including any alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement, and a record of any votes taken in connection with the proceedings.


A voting member of the governing board who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the Library for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.

  1. A voting member of any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the Library for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.
  2. No voting member of the governing board or any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the Library, either individually or collectively, is prohibited from providing information to any committee regarding compensation.

Annual Statements

Each board member, officer, member of a committee with governing board delegated powers, and Library employee who consider proposed transactions or arrangements shall annually sign a statement which affirms such person:

  1. Has received a copy of the conflict of interest policy,
  2. Has read and understands the policy,
  3. Has agreed to comply with the policy, and
  4. Understands the Library is either a government agency or is charitable and in order to maintain its federal tax exemption it must engage primarily in activities which accomplish one or more of its tax-exempt purposes.

Organizational Conflicts

Organizational conflicts of interest may exist when due to the Library’s relationship with a subsidiary, affiliated or parent organization that is a candidate for award of a contract in connection with federally funded activities, the Library may be unable or appear to be unable to be impartial in conducting a procurement action involving a related organization.

In the event of a potential organizational conflict, the potential conflict shall be reviewed by the Library Board to determine whether it is likely that the Library would be unable or appear to be unable to be impartial in making the award.  If such a likelihood exists, this shall not disqualify the related organization; however, the following measures shall be applied:

  1. The organizational relationship shall be disclosed as part of any notices to potential contractors;
  2. Any Library employees or officials directly involved in the activities of the related organization are excluded from the selection and award process;
  3. A competitive bid, quote or other basis of valuation is considered; and
  4. The Board has determined that contracting with the related organization is in the best interests of the program involved.

Approved by the Board of Directors 1/25/2021

Printable Conflict of Interest Policy

Programming Policy

In support of the Valley Community Library’s (VCL) mission, library staff uses many criteria in making decisions about program topics, speakers, and accompanying resources, including, but not limited to:

  • Community needs and interests
  • Relation to Library or community collections, resources, exhibits, and programs
  • Educational significance
  • Availability of program space
  • Presentation quality
  • Presenter background/qualifications in content area
  • Budget

All Library programs are free and open to the public. A materials fee may be charged if additional materials are required. Registration may be required for planning purposes or when space is limited.

Library programs must be non-commercial. Presenters may not promote or solicit existing or future products or services during presentations or during the presenter’s time in the Library. Presenters are not allowed to require sign-ups or contact information from program attendees. Presenters may provide their contact information so that attendees may voluntarily contact them after the program has concluded. Librarians who present programs do so as part of their regular job and are not hired as outside contractors for programming. VCL will not be held responsible for any presenters’ damaged items or materials.

Unsolicited offers from individuals or organizations to present programs will be evaluated by the same standards used by Library staff when planning Library programing. The Library draws upon other community resources in developing programs and actively partners with other community agencies, organizations, educational and cultural institutions, or individuals to develop and present co-sponsored public programs. The Library may partner with an agency or hire a speaker who is a professional or who has expertise in a particular area.

The Library’s philosophy of open access to information and ideas extends to Library programming, and the Library does not knowingly discriminate through its programming. Library sponsorship of a program does not constitute an endorsement of the content of the program or the views expressed by participants. Program topics, speakers, and resources are not excluded from programs because of possible controversy.

The effectiveness of a Library program will be based on attendance and/or audience satisfaction. Other evaluation criteria include attraction of new patrons to the Library, the promotion of Library goals, and addressing the needs of a specific target audience.

Approved by the Board of Directors 3/22/2021

Printable Programming Policy

Seed Library Policy

The purpose of the Seed Library of Valley Community Library (VCL) is to encourage our community to start or continue home gardens, educate about seed saving, nurture locally-adapted plant varieties, and foster a community culture of sharing.

The Seed Library’s focus is:
1. To establish, grow, and curate a depository of seeds available to all Lackawanna County Library System (LCLS) residents at no cost.
2. Provide information, instruction, and education about sustainable gardening.

Donation of Seeds
VCL accepts donations of fruit, vegetable, herb, and flower seeds from commercial seed companies, seed banks, individuals, and other local, partner organizations with a shared interest in seed collection. Donated seeds must be from open-pollinated, non-genetically modified, non-hybrid plants that are not listed as invasive species by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/Conservation/WildPlants/InvasivePlants/InvasivePlantFactSheets/Pages/default.aspx). VCL reserves the right to refuse or dispose of donated seeds that do not meet these criteria.

Donated seeds must include the following information prior to acceptance by the library: common name, variety, seed source, pesticide use, location of harvest, year of harvest, seed saving technique (dry, wet, fermentation), and any notes pertinent to the seeds. Donated seeds must be less than three years old. Donations must be made using the VCL Seed Library Donation Form and handed in at the library’s front desk.

Organization of Seeds
Donated seeds will be sorted, packaged, and labeled by library staff or volunteers assisting with the seed library project. Seeds will be kept at the library’s designated Seed Library area. A seed inventory will be maintained in a spreadsheet.

Borrowing Seeds
Participants may check out a limited amount of seed packets as determined by the library and based on inventory. Limits are subject to change as the seed library expands. Participants may check out seeds by completing the VCL Seed Library Checkout Form and handing in at the front desk. Check out forms will be treated with the same confidentiality as other library records. No personal information will be shared, and records will be retained only as long as administratively necessary.

Returning Seeds
Participants are encouraged to return at least twice the amount of seeds they originally borrowed. Seeds should be saved according to best practices, as explained in seed saving workshops or by partnering organizations. Alternately, the library can recommend seed saving books or literature. Seeds should not be returned to the library unless the grower knows how to properly save them. Returned seeds should be dry and labeled clearly with information specified above in the Donation of Seeds section. Returns must be made using the VCL Seed Library Donation Form and handed in at the library’s front desk.

Disposal of Seeds
Seed packets may be disposed of as necessary due to age, exposure, contamination, report of problems, etc. VCL reserves the right to cease borrowing of any variety of seed at any time and to cease existence of the Seed Library at any time due to the needs of the library.

Approved by the Board of Directors 4/26/2021

Printable Seed Library Policy

Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for the development and maintenance of a well-balanced collection to meet the needs of the community within the limits imposed by availability, funds, and space. This policy will guide librarians and staff of Valley Community Library (VCL) and inform the public of the principles upon which selections are made.

Mission Statement

VCL’s mission is to provide equal access to educational and entertainment resources for all in the community and to promote reading and lifelong learning.

Community Served

VCL’s service area includes Archbald, Blakely, Dickson City, Jessup, Olyphant, and Throop. As part of the Lackawanna County Library System, VCL offers library service free of charge to any resident of Lackawanna County.

Materials Selection Criteria

Library staff utilize professional judgement and expertise in making collection development decisions, including decisions about choosing titles, identifying quantities for purchase, and selecting locations for materials. Anticipated demand, community interests, strengths and weaknesses of the existing collections, system-wide and regional availability, physical space limitations, acquisitions procedures, and fiscal resources are all factors taken into consideration. Materials are acquired in multiple formats when appropriate, including print and audiovisual items. Highest selection priority is given to those materials in all formats having the broadest appeal. Suggestions from patrons are welcome and are given serious consideration.

Materials will be selected based on, but not limited to, the following criteria:

  • Public demand, interest, or need
  • Contemporary significance, popular interest, or permanent value
  • Attention of critics, reviewers, and public
  • Prominence, authority and/or competence of author, creator, or publisher
  • Timeliness of materials, reflecting new areas of knowledge or changing conditions of the contemporary scene
  • Relation to existing collections
  • Need to present alternate viewpoints or balance on a specific subject matter in the collection
  • For nonfiction, accuracy of information as determined by reviews in reputable review sources
  • Suitability of physical form for library use
  • Price and availability of funds

Intellectual Freedom

VCL endorses the Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom to Read Statement, and The Freedom to View Statement of the American Library Association. VCL upholds the right of the individual to secure information, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to others. Materials available present a diversity of viewpoints, enabling people to make the informed choices necessary in a democracy.

In no case will library materials be excluded because of race, nationality or social, political, or religious views of the authors, nor will materials be proscribed or removed from the library because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

Reconsideration of Materials

  • Controversial Materials

The Library recognizes that it has an obligation to provide materials which reflect current interests, although they may not have enduring value. The Library also recognizes that many materials are controversial and at any given time may offend some patrons. Selections will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval but on the basis of anticipated usage, merits of the item, and its relationship to the collection and interests of library readers. No materials will be removed from open shelves or kept in a restricted area because of their controversial nature or because their subject matter, viewpoint, or treatment may be distasteful to certain individuals or groups.

The Library does not stand in loco parentis. Parents and guardians have the responsibility to guide the reading, listening, and viewing choices of their own minor children. Selection of adult collection materials cannot be inhibited by the possibility that items may be accessed by minors.

  • Request for Reconsideration of Materials

No challenge materials that have been duly selected shall be removed from the Library’s collection except upon the recommendations of the Library Director or upon formal action of the Board of Library Directors when a recommendation of the Director is appealed.


    1. A patron challenging any part of the collection should first be offered a copy of VCL’s Collection Development Policy to read.
    2. If material is still questioned, a copy of the form “Library Resource Challenge Form” should be filled out completely by the patron.
    3. The Library Director will review the form and make a reply to the patron.
    4. If the patron is not satisfied with the reply, they should bring the matter to the attention of the Board of Directors, not less than one week prior to a scheduled meeting.
    5. The Board of Directors will review the communication, the decision, and the issues raised and will respond to the patron when the review process is complete. The Board has the legal responsibility for the collection and its protection under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

Donated Materials

VCL accepts donated materials as outlined in the “Materials Donation Policy.” Retention and/or utilization of donated material is at the discretion of library staff. Donated items will become the property of VCL upon acceptance by library staff. Staff may use their discretion in determining if such items will be accepted for the collection or will be placed in the Friends of the Valley Community Library book sale.

Memorial/Honorarium Book Program

VCL accepts cash donations for the purchase of items to commemorate important events in the lives of its patrons. Donors may suggest a subject area or title for purchase and the Library will make every effort to consider suggestions. However, the Library reserves the right to make the final selection based on the guidelines in the Materials Selection section above. The Library reserves the right to remove such items from the collection based on the criteria outlined in the Collection Maintenance section below.

Collection Maintenance

  • Weeding

A strong collection requires ongoing evaluation and maintenance. Materials will regularly be weeded (withdrawn) from the collection based on the following criteria:

    • Accuracy and currency of information
    • Physical condition of materials
    • Availability of newer, more comprehensive, or more accessible material
    • Relevance to collection and scope of collection
    • Ease of borrowing materials from another library
    • Relevance to community needs
    • Date of last circulation and number of circulations
    • Number of copies in the collection

Weeded materials will be offered to charitable, historical, or educational institutions, or sold to the public at the Friends of the Valley Community Library book sales. Weeded materials or donations of little or no value or interest will be discarded.

  • Rebinding, Repair, Replacement

Whenever possible, damaged materials that are still useful will be repaired. Items that cannot be mended will be replaced if funds are available, but items withdrawn because of loss or damage are not necessarily replaced. Popular or classic titles in condition too poor for circulation will be replaced whenever possible.

Approved by the Board of Directors 5/24/2021

Printable Collection Development Policy

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