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Library Policies

Library Policies

  • Library Byelaws
  • Library Code of Conduct
  • Library Stock Policies
  • Leaflets and Notices
  • Access to and Use of Computers
  • Volunteers in Libraries

Library Byelaws
Made under Section 19 of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964

In these byelaws, unless the context otherwise requires:

a."the Act" means the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964;

b."charge" means any charge imposed in accordance with the Regulations;

c."child" means a person under the age of 8 years;

d."emergency situation" includes situations where a library or part of a library is required to be evacuated for security reasons or because of threat from fire or other hazard and practices and false alarms in relation thereto;

e."last known address" means the last address held on the library authority's records;

f."the library authority" means the the Council of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.

g."library" means:
i)any premises which are occupied by a library authority and are premises where library facilities are made available by the authority, in the course of their provision of a public library service, to members of the public;

ii)any vehicle which is used by the library authority for the purpose of providing a public library service to members of the public and is a vehicle in which facilities are made available; and includes any part of such premises or vehicle;

h."the library officer" means any officer employed by the library authority in connection with its functions under the Act;

i."library property" includes property owned by or provided for the use of the library authority whether or not it is made available by the library authority for use by the public and property obtained by the library authority for the loan to or use of the public;

j."the Regulations" means The Library Charges (England and Wales) Regulations 1991 S.I.1991/2712;

k.words importing the masculine gender include the feminine, words in the singular include the plural and words in the plural include the singular;

l.expressions used, unless the contrary intention appears, have the meaning which they bear in the Act and Regulations.

An act performed in connection with the proper execution of his duty by a library officer shall not be a contravention of these byelaws.

No person shall give a false name or address for the purpose of entering the library or for the purpose of using any library facility.

No person who in the reasonable opinion of a library officer is offensively unclean in person or clothing or both shall remain in the library after having been asked by a library officer to leave the library.

Except with the consent of a library officer, no person shall:

a.cause or allow any dog (other than a working dog accompanying a disabled person or under training for the purpose of being able to accompany a disabled person) or other animal belonging to him or under his control to enter or remain in the library;

b.bring into any part of the library a wheeled vehicle or conveyance other than a wheelchair, pram, pushchair or shopping trolley;

c.enter or remain in any part of the library which a reasonable person would or should know is prohibited to the public; or

d.remain in the library after the time fixed for its closing.

No person shall remain in the library after an emergency situation has been made known to him.

No person shall, unless specifically permitted by a library officer, take or attempt to take any library property from the library or past a check out or security point.

No person shall, without lawful excuse, destroy or damage any library property intending to destroy or damage such property or being reckless as to whether such property should be destroyed or damaged.

No person shall behave in a disorderly manner in the library, use violent, abusive or obscene language therein, or intentionally or recklessly cause or do anything likely to cause injury to any other person or property.

No person shall sleep in the library after having been requested not to do so by a library officer.

No person shall remain in a library without making proper use of the library's facilities after having been requested, by a library officer, to make such proper use of the facilities.

No person shall engage in persistent audible conversation in any part of the library after having been requested not to do so by a library officer.

No person shall intentionally or recklessly obstruct any library officer in the execution of his duty or intentionally or recklessly disturb, obstruct, interrupt, abuse or annoy any other person properly using the library.

No person shall, without the consent of a library officer, intentionally display, distribute, or leave any bill, placard, notice or other document in the library.

No person shall, without the consent of a library officer, offer anything for sale in the library or canvass or seek signatures for petitions.

No person having charge of a child shall without the consent of a library officer, leave him unsupervised in the library.

No person shall smoke, light a match or use a cigarette lighter in the library other than in an area designated as an area where smoking is permitted.

No person in any part of the library shall inhale any toxic substance for the purpose of causing intoxication or take any controlled drug as defined by Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 other than drugs dispensed for and pursuant to prescription issued for him by a doctor under and in accordance with the aforesaid Act.

No person shall, except with the consent of a library officer, partake of refreshment in the library.

No person shall, except with the consent of a library officer, cause or allow any mobile telephone, portable computer, or other electrical equipment, or apparatus for the reception of sound broadcasting or for the reproduction of sound, to be operated in any part of the library to which the public has access.

No person who
a) borrows library property which is returned late or if returned would be returned late,

b) fails to pay any charge shall, unless with the specific consent of a library officer, borrow any other library property.

a. Any person who has borrowed library property which if returned would be returned late and who has been served with a notice by the library authority demanding return of the library property shall return the library property within 14 days from the date the notice was served.

b. For the purposes of this byelaw, a notice may be served upon any person by delivering it to him, or by leaving it at his last known address, or by sending it by post addressed to him at that address.

Any person who contravenes any of these byelaws shall be liable to prosecution by the library authority for contravention of the byelaws, and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale in respect of each offence. In any case involving breach of byelaws 8 or 18, a prosecution may be brought under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 or the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 respectively.
A library officer may exclude any person who contravenes any of the foregoing byelaws from any library maintained by the library authority under the Act.
On the coming into operation of these byelaws, the byelaws relating to libraries which were made by the Council of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames on the 12th day of April 1966 and were confirmed by the Secretary of State for Education and Science on the 27th day of June shall be revoked.
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Library Code of Conduct
The library Code of Conduct is designed to raise awareness of the standard of services we provide for you and the behaviour we expect in return for providing those services.

Library staff will…

  • Help you find the books, other library materials and information you need.
  • Help you use the library’s computers, online resources and other facilities.
    Help you find information relevant to your enquiry.
  • Provide space for you to read or study (where possible).
  • Provide activities, events and book information to help you get the most out of the library.
  • Respond to your comments and suggestions within 7 working days.
  • Treat you with courtesy and respect.
  • Wear a name badge and identity lanyard.

In return, we expect you to…

  • Be considerate to other library users.
  • Keep noise to a minimum, including the use of mobile telephones.
  • Keep the library environment pleasant by not eating or drinking unless on designated occasions; smoking is not permitted in the library.
  • Make appropriate and responsible use of the library’s computers.
  • Treat books, other library materials and facilities with care.
  • Be aware that young children remain the responsibility of their parents or care givers and should not be left unsupervised in the library.
  • Treat library staff and other library users with courtesy and respect.

Library users who do not comply with the Code will be asked to leave the library. Serious or repeated misconduct will always be referred to the Police and may lead to formal action or criminal prosecution.

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Library Stock Policies
The library stock policies and Local Studies collections policy are intended to provide a framework for collection management, purchasing, planning, standard setting and benchmarking.

This stock policies explain:

  • How the library service contributes to achieving the priorities of Richmond upon Thames Borough Council in terms of its stock
  • How we choose the books, DVDs and other materials you find in your libraries
  • How we maintain and promote those materials
  • How we circulate stock between libraries to ensure all libraries are able to provide the widest choice of reading material
  • Why and how we decide to keep some items and withdraw others
  • How we measure stock performance and how this helps to inform stock development


  • Lending Services Stock Policy
  • Information and eServices Stock Policy
  • Local Studies Collections Policy

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Leaflets and Notices
The Library Service will make available cultural, recreational, educational and informational leaflets and notices for the benefit of the community.

Leaflets may be accepted for display in the Borough’s Libraries on condition that:

  • they adhere to the Council’s Equality and Diversity policies and do not infringe anti-discrimination legislation.
  • the material does not constitute political advertising except as determined by the regulations governing a statutory election when it will be subject to the conditions stipulated in the Council’s Lettings Policy.
  • the material is of a non-commercial nature (except for events or advertising sponsored by the Council or its approved agencies)
  • the material does not advertise religious organisations, their views or their religious services
  • we will not accept for display, leaflets / posters which contain a calendar of events / meetings except where these are part of a festival or exhibition.
  • the material is to an acceptable standard of production and that leaflets / posters from charitable bodies must carry their registered charities number.
  • the activities or events take place at a public venue not in a person’s home.
  • the material is not likely to cause offence to public taste and decency
  • the material is to an acceptable standard of production.

prospective advertisers accept that:

i.the material is displayed on a first-come-first-served basis.
ii.lack of available space may preclude the display of posters or leaflets which otherwise meet the acceptance criteria.
iii.the Library Service will not hold or store items for future display due to the lack of available storage space and that such materials will be discarded.
iv.the material will be affixed to notice boards by library staff only.
v.items displayed will be monitored and strictly time-limited to ensure the maximum turnover of display materials.
vi.items will be displayed under the hierarchy of priorities stated in the Display Priorities below.
1 “Leaflets” will include all forms and sizes of single page and multi-page leaflet, poster, pamphlet and other informational display material designed to be provided gratis to the public.
2 Tourist information materials and advertising will be made available in accordance with the agreement between the Library Service and the relevant Council agency.

Display Priorities
Items which meet the criteria for acceptance will be displayed according to these priorities:Council information
Statutory organisations
Local information (content directly relevant to the catchment area of the library)
Borough-based information (activities, events and services in the borough by organisations based in the borough)
Non-Borough organisations
Regional information (activities, events and services in the surrounding boroughs by organisations based both inside and outside the borough)
National Information
[Under headings 3 – 6, preference will be given to materials submitted by (i) Voluntary organisations and services (ii) Non-council statutory organisations and services (iii) Commercial organisations and services, in that order]

Complaints and Appeals
All complaints or appeals relating to this Leaflets Policy and its implementation should be made using the LBRuT Complaints Procedure.

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Access to and use of computers
As part of the People's Network, the Richmond upon Thames Library Service has more than 90 computers available for public use in our libraries.

Everyone is welcome to use the library computers, which are available free of charge (other than printing costs) at all libraries in the borough. Library staff will help you to get started and may be able to offer advice. We also provide free IT Taster Sessions. However, please note that we are unable to offer formal training or individual tuition.

Range of services available

  • MS Office applications – Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint
  • Access to the World Wide Web
  • Web-based email
  • Online subscription services including Ancestry, Who’s Who, The Guardian etc.
  • File downloading onto USB memory sticks
  • Printing
  • All PCs have USB ports and every library has a scanner
  • Fully accessible computers offering wheelchair access, screen magnification and text to speech conversion
  • Extra web filtering on PCs used by young people under 18 years of age

Booking a computer
To manage the increasing demand for our public PCs we use a reservations system. Computer sessions may be booked in advance by:

  • Using the online PC booking web site.
  • Telephoning your local library or visiting in person
  • Using the dedicated booking terminal which is available in some of our larger libraries

Sessions may be reserved up to seven days in advance, with a maximum of four advance bookings at any one time.

  • You may use computers on our public network for a maximum of 3 hours per day (this is a borough-wide limit).
  • You are allowed up to four sessions per day, and the maximum session length is two hours

Computer access is normally available in 60 minute slots. Library staff can take bookings up to one week in advance. Any terminal not currently in use can be booked for immediate use.

Please note that:

  • Access to a PC is limited to a maximum of two people at a time
  • Young people under the age of 18 will be assigned to a terminal that is filtered.

To log in to any of the public computers in Richmond Borough libraries, library members should use their library card and their 4-digit PIN.

Conditions of use
On first accessing a library computer, you will be asked to confirm that you have read this guide and that you:

  • agree to follow the Internet policy guidelines.
  • agree to not to use the Email facility for malicious purposes.
  • agree not to interfere in any way with the hardware, software or general operation of the PC.
  • agree to stop any activity if requested to do so by a member of staff.

Internet Policy Guidelines
Before you start

Access to the World Wide Web is available free of charge at all libraries in the borough. Library staff will help you to get started and may be able to offer advice. However, we are unable to offer formal training sessions or individual tuition.

Acceptable use of Internet Facilities
On first accessing the Internet on a library terminal, you will be asked to confirm that you have read this guide and that you agree to abide by it. In doing so, you agree that you will not access any material which:

  • is obscene, racist, defamatory or illegal
  • causes harassment or gross offence to others
  • would be a breach of copyright

In addition, you are agreeing that you will not interfere in any way with the hardware, software or general operation of the PC. Any user must stop any activity if requested to do so by a member of staff.

Young People and under 18s
In children’s libraries we provide filtered access and recommend high quality web sites.

Acceptable practice
Please note that some of the information available on the Internet may be inaccurate, misleading and a matter of individual opinion. Some aspects of the Internet can also be of questionable legality. We accept that there is some material on the web, which some users may find offensive. Our policy on access is informed by the same freedom of information principles, which apply, to the provision of all library material. If any user breaks our conditions for using the web, we warn the user to stop. If he or she persists, then we will ask them to leave the web and we shall record the incident. If the same user re-offends, then future access to the web will be denied to that person at all libraries across the borough.

Staying within the law
It is your responsibility as a user (or as a parent or guardian) to be aware of the following and act accordingly. Failure to do so may result in sessions being terminated or, where the law is broken, prosecution:

  • Obscene Publications Acts (1959 and 1964). Pornographic material must not be viewed, downloaded or printed.
  • Telecommunications Act (1984). Applies to e-mail and forbids the transmission of messages or any other matter that is of a grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character over the public telecommunications system.
  • The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988). You must make sure that you have the necessary permission before copying material from the Internet.
  • Computer Misuse Act (1990). Covers gaining unauthorised access to a computer (computer hacking) and writing or the intentional introduction of computer viruses.
  • Data Protection Act (1998). Applies to obtaining, using and publishing information about identifiable individuals on the Internet.

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Volunteers in Libraries
By 2014 our libraries will be the focal points of their communities providing accessible and enjoyable services that are tailored to the needs of local residents and delivered in partnership with them. We will use our buildings, collections, technology and expertise to promote reading, support learning and encourage full participation in the rich cultural and community life of the borough.

Library volunteers play a key role in enhancing and supporting our library services. A volunteer is someone who gives their time and energy to help a community, an organisation or an individual, through personal choice and without expectation of financial reward. It is someone who makes a commitment to work alongside our paid members of staff to enhance or extend the library services we are able to offer to our local communities. The Library & Information Service in Richmond upon Thames does not use volunteers as a replacement or substitute for paid members of staff. The exception to this statement is at Heathfield Library Access Point (LAP) which is a temporary community facility. Volunteers working at the LAP are under the supervision of paid members of staff.

The aim of this policy is to set out our commitment to volunteering in the Library & Information Service and to individual adult volunteers. It defines the role volunteers in the service and explains how they will be supported throughout their placement. It also helps to ensure that paid staff and senior managers fully understand the involvement of volunteers and the valuable role they play within the service.

Volunteer Agreement
A Volunteer Agreement which outlines the role of the volunteer and the library must be read and signed by both the volunteer and volunteer supervisor.

Selection and Recruitment
As a public library service we are keen to recruit volunteers of all ages and from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, who bring different skills, ideas, experiences and knowledge to our service. We welcome volunteers of all ages. We aim to make our volunteer recruitment procedures accessible and understandable, and will adapt them as necessary to ensure that disability is not a barrier to recruitment.

Volunteers will be recruited using a variety of approaches:

  • Through local volunteer centres
  • Through our partnerships with schools, colleges and adult education providers
  • Through our partnerships with local community organisations and agencies
  • By advertising in libraries and on the our website
  • By attending and raising awareness at community events

All volunteer placements will have a role description. Each prospective volunteer will fill out an application form and be interviewed to discuss their skills and expectations. References will be required. Volunteers will also be required to provide a Criminal Records Bureau Standard Disclosure to the satisfaction of the Library & Information Service. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 volunteers are required to declare all criminal convictions including any spent convictions. This information will be treated in confidence and will not necessarily prevent the recruitment of prospective volunteers.

The Library & Information Service retains the right to reject any volunteers who are inappropriate for a role or to suggest an alternative volunteer placement.

Volunteer Placements
The Library & Information Service seeks to provide a range of volunteer placements to enhance and extend local library services. Roles for volunteers include but are not limited to the following:

  • Supporting first time online training for adults
  • Facilitating reading groups for adults
  • Helping to deliver the Housebound Library Service
  • Supporting the Local Studies Library and Archives
  • Shelving and shelf tidying
  • Helping prepare Bookstart packs for delivery
  • Assisting with the daily running of Heathfield Library Access Point

Induction and Training
Before starting a placement with the Library & Information Service volunteers will have a full induction with a member of library staff. This induction will include:

  • An introduction to the paid members of library staff and volunteers
  • An explanation of the Library & Information Service’s purpose and priorities
  • An explanation of the Library & Information Service’s structure and staff responsibilities
  • An explanation of the Library & Information Service’s volunteer policy and agreement
  • An explanation of the roles and responsibilities of the specific volunteer placement
  • An explanation of health and safety procedures and a tour of the building and facilities
  • Provision of a personal identification badge and explanation of the dress code
  • An explanation of how to claim expenses

All volunteers will be given training that is relevant to their roles. Volunteers will also be able to identify relevant further training or development needs with their named supervisor. Volunteers will be entitled to receive an employment reference from the Library & Information Service.

Supervision and Support
Volunteers will have a named supervisor to support their volunteer placement. Group support meetings for volunteers may also be arranged where this is appropriate. All volunteers will have regular catch-ups with their named supervisor to review their satisfaction with the volunteer placement, their achievements, and areas for further learning and development.

Volunteers will be offered reimbursement of any reasonable out-of-pocket travel expenses incurred in the course of their volunteer placement (e.g. bus, train, tube fare). The maximum amount which will be reimbursed for a volunteer’s journey between their home and the library is £5 per day.

In the case of housebound volunteers, the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames will reimburse mileage costs should their vehicle be used to travel to and from the customer’s residences. The council will also reimburse pay and display parking expenses incurred whilst delivering the housebound service.

Please note that volunteers are fully responsible for paying any penalty parking tickets or any penalty charge notices issued for driving offences whilst volunteering.

Volunteers are covered by Public Liability insurance when under library service supervision. Under the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames Public Liability insurance volunteers are indemnified against third party claims made against them in respect of injury, loss or damage arising solely from their agreed volunteering activities on behalf of the Richmond libraries. Please be aware that personal belongings are not covered under the Council’s policy.

Should a volunteer’s placement involve use of their own motor vehicle, it is the responsibility of the volunteer to inform their insurance company and provide the Library & Information Service with copies of their driving license and motor vehicle insurance documentation – including written confirmation from their authorised agent or insurer that the volunteers vehicle is insured for at least third party liability in respect of the volunteering activities being undertaken. Alternatively, in lieu of providing written confirmation from their authorised agent or insurer the volunteer may choose to complete an Insurance Declaration form stating that they have the relevant insurance coverage for their volunteering activities.

Equal Opportunities and Diversity
The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames is firmly committed to equality of opportunity and diversity in all areas of its work. Volunteers are expected to work in accordance with the Council’s Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy.

Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure
Volunteers should raise any concerns or problems with their named supervisor. The Library & Information Service will always try to resolve problems as quickly as possible. Any concerns or problems which remain unresolved, or grievances against the volunteer’s named supervisor, should be referred to the Library Operations & Performance Manager.

Customers have the right to expect high standards of service and professionalism in their dealings with the Library & Information Service. Volunteers who persistently fail to perform their duties to a satisfactory standard will be asked to meet with their named supervisor to discuss the issue. If the performance of a volunteer does not improve, it may be necessary to discontinue their volunteer agreement and placement.

Volunteers are bound by the same requirements for confidentiality as paid members of staff. Volunteers must not disclose any information about employees, customers, councillors, Council finances or another other Council business either directly or through a third party.

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