Policies

Internet Use

Internet Access in
Youth Areas

  • As with other library materials, a minor’s use of the Internet is principally the responsibility of the minor’s parent or guardian. They should explore the Internet with the minor and provide guidance.  Parents and guardians will find great sites and information for youngsters and teens posted on the library’s website.
  • There are dedicated computer terminals in the youth services area which provide
    filtered access to the Internet. These terminals are principally for the use of minors (and their accompanying parent or adult care giver). These terminals may be used without formal parental permission. However, the library cannot guarantee that any filtering system will actually prevent access to all material that might be considered objectionable.
  • Occasionally, adults are permitted access to the dedicated computer terminals in the children’s area, provided that, such access does not interfere with use by children and teens.

Internet Access in
Adult Areas

  • The dedicated computer terminals in the adult services areas also filter access to the Internet.  However, the filtering program in adult services is not as comprehensive as the filtering in youth services.
  • The dedicated computer terminals in adult services are available to all library users. Therefore, since filtering in this area differs from the filters in youth services, parents may wish to provide specific guidance to minors who plan to take advantage of Internet service in the adult area.

Acceptable use of
Electronic Resources

  • It is the Library’s policy to protect users’ confidentiality. Library users should be aware, however, that a library may be required to disclose data related to usage of computer terminals when it is served with a valid subpoena or court order.
  • The Library’s Internet computer terminals are in public areas shared by persons of all ages. Thus, all users should refrain from accessing potentially offensive information or images.
  • Users should take care that their actions are consistent with Library policies which prohibit harassing, libeling or threatening communications, accessing material that is obscene (in accordance with established constitutional and statutory principles), or that constitutes child pornography, and using electronic resources in violation of applicable law.
  • Internet privileges may be suspended if usage of these electronic resources if not consistent with this policy.

Catalog Search

Privacy

Background

State law provides that personally identifiable information contained in the circulation records of public libraries in Connecticut is confidential. Moreover, for many years, the Code of Ethics of the library profession has stated that librarians should protect a patron’s right to privacy and confidentiality when using the library to obtain information and resources. The Ferguson originally adopted a policy on privacy and confidentiality in 1970. The manner in which information is received, stored and utilized, and the ways in which the public uses libraries, has changed remarkably over the past fifty years. Accordingly, the Ferguson Library has decided to restate its policy on privacy and confidentiality in light of these changed circumstances, as well as the current need to balance security concerns.

Policy

It is the policy of the Ferguson Library to maintain the confidentiality of its circulation records and other records identifying the names of Library users or containing other personally identifiable information, subject to applicable law.  Such records shall not be made available to any agent of the state, federal or local government without the individual’s authorization or consent except pursuant to such process, order or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, state, federal or local law relating to civil, criminal or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative powers.

It is also the policy of the Ferguson Library to create and maintain only those records which are necessary for the efficient operation of the Library. The Library will maintain a schedule for the deletion of records which are no longer necessary, subject to applicable law. The president of the Library shall have the exclusive discretion to determine the appropriate retention of Library records.

Procedures

The president of the Library, and/or any person duly appointed in writing by the president, shall be responsible for handling all law enforcement or similar requests to obtain the Library’s confidential information.  The president shall immediately consult with legal counsel to determine if such request is in proper form and to formulate an appropriate response.

Library staff and volunteers shall immediately refer all law enforcement inquiries to the president or, in his or her absence, to the duly appointed person, and shall not release any confidential information until authorized in writing by the president or the appointed designee.

If the governmental agent does not have a subpoena or court order compelling the production of records, the president or designee shall explain the Library’s privacy and confidentiality policy and the state’s confidentiality law, and shall inform the agent that the Library’s confidential information is not available without the production of a valid subpoena or court order.  If the agent produces a court order, the president shall immediately refer the court order to legal counsel for review.  Based upon advice of legal counsel, the president, or designee shall determine whether to release the requested confidential information.

Subject to the provisions of applicable law, the president of the Library will report in writing to the Board of Trustees, at least monthly, describing each instance, if any, in which the Library has received a request for information from state or federal law enforcement agents, whether informally or by subpoena or court order, including the Library’s response to such request and the current status thereof.
ADOPTED by the Board of Trustees on the 18th day of June, 2003.

Proctoring

We agree to allow students to take exams at the Library subject to the following restrictions:

  • This service is for Stamford residents only
  • Before the student enters the exam room, the librarian on duty will read all the instructions provided by the university.
  • Under NO circumstances will the librarian(s) be responsible for physically monitoring or proctoring the exam, nor will they provide any materials or other information services.
  • All students taking exams are strictly on the honor system. We provide only the space, and a signature to verify that the exam has been taken on the premises.

For more information, please contact Frank Skornia at (203) 351-8220

Social Security Confidentiality

Policy

It is the policy of the Ferguson Library to limit its acquisition and retention of social security numbers to the extent feasible in light of its business and legal obligations.

Patrons

The library no longer collects patron social security numbers.

Vendors

Acquisition and retention of social security numbers from vendors is limited to those vendors to whom the Library must issue an IRS Form 1099 at the end of the tax year. This information is maintained in the business office in lockable filing cabinets and access to such information is limited to administrative and business office personnel.

Library Staff

By law, it is necessary for the Library to acquire and maintain the social security numbers of staff members. This information is maintained in the business and personnel offices, in lockable filing cabinets. Access to this information is limited to the staff in these offices and to administrators and supervisors with a need to know. Social security numbers are also maintained digitally in the business office for payroll purposes. Access to this information is password-limited to staff members involved in the payroll process.

Destruction of SSN Information

When social security number information becomes outdated or otherwise no longer needed, it will be disposed of in a manner that protects against unauthorized access. In the case of hard copies,  such information will be shredded and disposed of. In the case of digitally maintained information, it will be erased in a manner that  prevents retrieval by means of equipment controls.

Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  6. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996. Adopted 1969 by The Ferguson Library Board of Trustees; reaffirmed June 21, 2016.

Freedom to Read Statement: A joint statement by the American Library Association and Association of  American Publishers

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004. Adopted 1969 by The Ferguson Library Board of Trustees; reaffirmed June 21, 2016.

Volunteering

Qualifications

  • Applicants must be at least age 16 in order to volunteer. Applicants under 18 must have the consent of their parent or guardian.
  • Applicants must be fluent in spoken and written English.
  • Applicants who are tentatively selected as volunteers must consent to a criminal background check which will be conducted before a final decision is made.
  • Applicants who are selected as volunteers must commit to work at least 3 hours per week over 6 consecutive months.

Application

  • Applications may be filled out and submitted online by going here.
  • Applications may also be obtained, filled-out and submitted at each of the Library’s facilities.
  • All submitted applications will be forwarded to the office of the Director of Human Resources and General Counsel, who serves as the Library Volunteers Coordinator.
  • The library may require a background check for volunteer applicants.

Processing of Applications

  • All applications submitted will be logged in the office of the Director of Human Resources and General Counsel. Where the application indicates a desire to volunteer in one of the used book shops, a copy will be transmitted to the Volunteers Coordinator for the Friends of the Ferguson Library.
  • The role of the Library Volunteers Coordinator is to maintain a continuing awareness of the availability of volunteer opportunities in all of the Library’s departments and branches and to match the interests and talents of applicants with volunteer opportunities.
  • Applicants who appear to possess the requisite qualifications, abilities and experience to fill available volunteer opportunities will be referred to the appropriate department or branch supervisor, or his/her designee, for an interview and testing where appropriate.
  • Department and branch supervisors will make the decision whether or not an applicant should be assigned to work, in consultation with the Library Volunteers Coordinator. The decision to accept an applicant as a volunteer shall be tentative, subject to the criminal background check, which shall be conducted by the Library Volunteers Coordinator.

Assignments

  • Successful applicants for volunteer positions will be assigned to work by department and branch supervisors in accordance with their determination regarding the needs of the Library and the hours of work available for volunteers.
  • Volunteers will not be assigned as replacements for full-time staff members or regular part-time employees  without the approval of an administrator.
  • Department and branch supervisors will keep a record of each volunteer’s assigned days of work and his/her attendance on a form to be supplied by the Library Volunteers Coordinator.
  • Volunteers will be informally reviewed by the supervisor of the department or branch to which they are assigned and may be removed from their volunteer position for unsatisfactory performance or attendance by the supervisor after consultation with the Library Volunteers Coordinator.
  • Volunteers are expected to give at least 7 days notice to the Library of their intention to resign their volunteer position.

Ferguson Library Gift Acceptance

As part of its fundraising initiatives, such as the annual appeal, spring benefit, or other similar endeavors, The Ferguson Library encourages financial contributions from individuals, estates, foundations and business organizations (collectively, ‘donors’). The Library may also accept unsolicited, and/or unrestricted contributions, as well as bequests and other gifts.

Exceptions to this Gift Acceptance Policy may be made with approval of the Board of Trustees, under special circumstances.

Routine Gifts

Unrestricted contributions not made in anticipation of naming opportunities will be credited to such purposes as the President of the Library shall, in his or her discretion, determine after due regard for any wishes expressed by a donor.

Restricted Gifts/Endowments

Gifts to the Library may be restricted in their use if such proposed use is consistent with the Library’s stated mission and the restrictions do not violate the Library’s ethical standards or require illegal discrimination. Designated gifts of any size may be made to an existing program, collection or related fund of the Library, and may be pooled with other such gifts that have been designated for a like purpose.

Contributions made in anticipation of naming opportunities will be reviewed and recommended, on a case-by-case basis, by the President of the Library or his/her designee for approval by the Board of Trustees.

Naming Opportunities for Library Facilities and Program

Naming opportunities provide the Library with occasion to recognize exceptional contributions to the Library and the community. Consideration of a naming opportunity will be left to the discretion of the Board of Trustees.

This policy encompasses opportunities for the naming of:

  1. buildings and definable portions of buildings, (collectively termed “facilities”) and
  2. endowed funds for programs, lecture series, collections, and similar activities (collectively termed “programs”), as well as named endowment funds within the general endowment or for the upkeep and improvement of the facilities or programs of the Library.

An agreement between the Library and a donor shall be prepared in writing by the Library President and approved by the Board of Trustees to memorialize the conditions associated with the donation. Any naming opportunity gift which the donor requests to run over a period of years during the lifetime of the donor, shall be secured by an agreement. All such naming opportunities are subject to approval by the Board of Trustees.

Unless otherwise stated by the Board of Trustees, the naming of facilities or any portions of a facility for individuals, families or nonprofit foundations shall be determined by mutual agreement between the Library and the donor. The naming of facilities or a portion of a facility for corporate benefactors, when authorized by the Board of Trustees, shall have a set number of years to the naming, to be determined on a case-by-case basis and noted in the signed gift agreement. If a name is associated with a program, it shall be designated for a specified period of time. Naming associated with a particular facility or space shall not preclude further naming of a subdivision within the facility or space.

In the event a building or facility is completely replaced with new construction, not due to a natural disaster, or its purpose is drastically altered through remodeling, the Board of Trustees reserves the right to add to, or alter, the naming opportunities of the new facility.  In such a case, the original naming recognition shall be suitably commemorated in the new facility, e.g., by a plaque placed in a prominent location. When a facility or portion of a facility is proposed for renaming, the Library shall make all reasonable efforts to inform in advance the original donors or honorees and their immediate family members.

If at any time following the approval of a naming, circumstances change substantially so that the continued use of the name may compromise the public trust, such as actions by the donor or activity which are inconsistent with the Library’s mission or ethical standards, the Board of Trustees reserves the right to remove a name from any and all named facilities, programs, or named funds, and offer the return of any unspent funds remaining in the account.

Facilities for Potential Naming:

  1. Main Library Auditorium
  2. Main Library New Materials Room
  3. Main Library Children’s Room
  4. Main Library Teen Room
  5. Main Library Lower Level Program Room (children’s)
  6. Main Library Board Room
  7. Main Library Computer Classroom
  8. Harry Bennett  Branch Auditorium
  9. Weed Memorial & Hollander Branch Community Room
  10. Weed Memorial & Hollander Branch Fireplace Room

Securities

Publicly traded securities will be valued at the average of the high and low market value on the day the Library receives the asset. Securities that are not readily marketable (closely held stock, limited partnerships, joint venture interests, etc.) must be approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees and may be valued at the per-share cash purchase price of the most recent transaction, or as established by a qualified appraisal at the donor’s expense. The Library reserves the right to liquidate donated securities at any time.

Noncash Gifts

Gifts of real and personal property, including art, antiques, book collections and real estate, will be accepted only on a case-by-case basis, subject to Board approval, when the gift is consistent with the Library’s mission and when the Library can utilize the gift in its operations, and/or when it is expected the gift can be converted into cash within a reasonable amount of time. Such gifts will be accepted only upon release of all title or other claim to the property by the donor, and only upon valuation by an accredited, independent appraiser. Property encumbered by a mortgage or other indebtedness cannot normally be accepted unless the donor agrees to assume all maintenance costs until the property is liquidated. Any gift which will cause the Library to incur annual or periodic maintenance costs must be separately endowed by the donor to the satisfaction of the Library. The Library reserves the right to liquidate, relocate, remove or dispose of any accepted gift at any time in the future.

Bequests and Planned Gifts

The Library accepts gifts from annuities, charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts and life insurance policies, but does not serve as an administrator or guarantor for such gifts. The Library encourages all donors to disclose their bequest intentions to the Library in writing to ensure the Library is able to carry out the donor’s wishes and that the gifts conform to the Library’s overall policy statement.
Upon request, the Library may provide to the donor sample bequest language for restricted and unrestricted gifts to ensure that a bequest is properly designated. The Library may also provide, upon request, IRS-approved prototype trust agreements for review and consideration by the donor and his or her advisors. The Library cannot act as a professional advisor and shall encourage donors to seek their own counsel in matters related to bequests, life income gifts, tax planning and estate planning.

The following gifts cannot be accepted by the Library:

  1. Gifts that violate any federal, state or local statute or ordinance
  2. Gifts that contain unreasonable or impractical conditions (e.g. a lien or other encumbrance) or gifts of partial interest in property. The Library reserves the right to refuse gifts from anonymous donors.
  3. Gifts that are financially unsound or cannot be converted into cash within a reasonable amount of time
  4. Gifts that could expose the Library to liability.

Adherence to the Law

The Board of Trustees will assure itself that fundraising activities comply with local, state and federal laws.

Required Reporting of Gifts to the Internal Revenue Service

Should the Library sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of any gift (other than checks, cash, or publicly traded stocks or bonds), within two years after the date of the gift, the Library will furnish the Internal Revenue Service and the donor with a completed Form 8282 (Donee Information Return)

Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources

The Ferguson Library has established reconsideration procedures to address concerns about library resources. Completion of this form is the first step in the process.

Behavior and Supervision of Children

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