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Policies

Accessibility

Accessibility link

The Austin Public Library is committed to providing equal access to all customers, including those with disabilities, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you require an accommodation in order to access any Library materials, services, programs or public computers, please communicate with Library staff.

All reasonable requests for accommodations will be considered. In the event that a preferred accommodation cannot be provided, Library staff will attempt to provide an effective, alternate accommodation. For more information about accessibility accommodations please call 512-974-7400.

Collaboration Requests Policy

Collaboration Requests Policy link

Overview
Collaboration Requests are proposals by nonprofits, community groups, organizations and/or individuals to present a one-time or limited number of public programs at the Library. The Library welcomes Collaboration Requests that align with the mission and vision of the Library. Successful collaborations in the past include musical performances, tabling at Library events, exercise programs, cultural offerings, STEM classes, and more.

Criteria for Consideration
To be considered, Collaboration Requests with external entities must meet these criteria:

Mission Alignment

  • Does the request resonate with our Library's mission and vision?
  • Will it cater to a broad audience and be accessible to our patrons?

Community Impact

  • Does the request address a known unmet need or demonstrate a new need?
  • Is the impact broad or focused on a specific group?

Capacity and Reciprocity

  • Can we accommodate the request within our current staffing and event space?
  • Does the collaboration offer mutual benefits to both parties?
  • Capacity considerations:
    • Staffing
    • Parking
    • Space
    • Furniture
    • Hours
    • Technology
    • Budget
    • Custodial
    • Security
    • Accessibility
    • Marketing and outreach

Timeliness and Controversy

  • Does it address a contemporary or emerging issue?
  • If this request might be controversial, are there other factors to be taken into consideration such as security needs, communications plans, and executive approval?

Interest

  • Will the request attract an audience based on its appeal?
  • Have similar requests been successful in the past?

Quality

  • Is there evidence that the presenter has expertise in their field and has experience delivering engaging and informative programs or library services?
  • Have they worked with the Library previously or at other libraries in the area?

Metrics for Prioritization
To ensure that partnerships align with the Library’s vision, the evaluation team use the following metrics to evaluate potential collaborators:

  • Demographic Representation: The evaluation team prioritize partnerships that serve underrepresented and marginalized communities, ensuring that our services reach those who might otherwise face barriers.
  • Accessibility: The evaluation team assess partners based on their commitment to accessibility, both in terms of physical spaces and digital content, to ensure inclusivity for all.
  • Inclusive Programming: Partners who propose programs that promote cross-cultural understanding, inclusivity, and diverse perspectives will be given preference.
  • Collaborative Vision: The evaluation team values partners who demonstrate a clear understanding of our mission and a willingness to collaborate in ways that align with the Library’s mission and vision.
  • Measurable Outcomes: Partners should propose achievable goals and outcomes for the collaboration that can be measured and evaluated for their impact.
  • Community Engagement: Partnerships that actively involve community members in planning, decision-making, and implementation will be prioritized.

General Exclusion
In general, the Library does not accept Collaboration Requests for:

  • Storytimes and traditional library programming/services: Storytimes or similar regular programming or library services, as these are integral to our ongoing schedule and designed by our Library staff for consistency and quality.
  • Marketing or graphic design: Services for marketing or graphic design services, which aim to create promotional materials, advertisements, branding campaigns, or similar initiatives, are not generally accepted.
  • Commercial Promotion: Collaboration Requests that primarily aim to promote or advertise commercial products, services, or businesses.
  • Personal Gain: Proposals seeking personal financial gain or personal profit for individuals involved.
  • Partisan Political Activities: Programs or events that are directly affiliated with partisan political campaigns, candidates, or advocacy groups.
  • Illegal or Unethical Activities: Proposals that involve or promote illegal activities, unethical behavior, or actions that go against the Library's ethical standards.
  • Explicitly Religious Activities: Programs that are focused solely on religious worship, proselytization, or instruction in religious doctrine.
  • Hate Speech or Discrimination: Proposals that involve hate speech, discriminatory content, or activities that promote intolerance or harm to any group or individual.
  • Health Claims: Collaboration Requests that make unsubstantiated health claims, promise medical treatments, or present pseudoscientific information.
  • Costs: Programs that entail costs or financial burdens for attendees, such as mandatory materials.
  • Conflict of Interest: Collaboration Requests that involve conflicts of interest or affiliations that might compromise the Library's integrity or neutrality.
  • Inaccurate Information: Programs that disseminate false or misleading information that could negatively impact the community.
  • Infringement on Intellectual Property: Collaboration Requests that violate copyright or intellectual property rights without proper authorization.
  • Explicit Content: Programs containing explicit, offensive, or adult-oriented content that is not appropriate for a general audience.
  • Solicitation: Proposals that involve direct solicitations for funds, donations, or personal information from attendees.
  • Unsafe Activities: Programs that involve dangerous or potentially harmful activities that could pose a risk to participants or attendees.

General Considerations

  • Programs and services are scheduled approximately 6 months in advance.
  • Programs and services developed by the Library staff take highest priority in the Library’s scheduling and development.
  • The Collaboration Review team prioritizes inquiries from local requestors.
  • Programs and services must be free and open to the public.
  • If fees are involved, consult our Event Space Rental or City vendor guidelines, please visit the Library’s Event Space Rental page or register as a Vendor with the City of Austin and contact the Programs & Partnerships team at lib.partnershipsandprograms@austintexas.gov to inquire about becoming a City vendor.
  • Liability insurance and background checks may be required.

Application and Evaluation Process

  • Submission of Collaboration Request: Interested parties must initiate the collaboration process by submitting a Collaboration Request Form through this link: Collaboration Request | Austin Public Library. This form is also accessible through the official website and serves as the initial step to propose a one-time or limited public program or service.
  • Evaluation by Review Team: Collaboration Requests will be collectively evaluated by our dedicated Evaluation Team approximately every 3 weeks. This team comprises experienced library staff members with expertise in programming and community engagement.
  • Approval/Denial Notification: Once the evaluation is complete, if the request has been approved, a designated library staff member will contact the individual who submitted the Collaboration Request.
  • Program Coordination Assignment: Upon approval, a library staff member will be assigned to coordinate the planning and execution of the approved program or service. This staff member will act as the main point of contact and collaborate closely with the proposing individual or organization.
  • Six-Month Planning Horizon: Our Library operates on a proactive planning approach, scheduling programs and services six months in advance. Approved collaborations will be slotted into the library's programming calendar in alignment with this planning horizon.
  • Collaborative Program/Service Implementation: As the program or service date approaches, the assigned library staff member will work closely with the proposer to ensure seamless execution. This collaborative effort aims to deliver a high-quality experience to our community members.
  • Evaluation and Feedback: Following the conclusion of the program or service, an evaluation will be conducted. This evaluation process involves library staff and collaborating partners. Feedback will be collected to assess the impact, effectiveness, and alignment with our goals.

 

Displays, Exhibits, Bulletin Boards Policy

Displays, Exhibits, Bulletin Boards Policy link

Purpose
The Austin Public Library attempts to provide the community with limited, temporary space for displays, exhibits, and bulletin boards to further the Library’s mission to provide information and services that promote lifelong learning, literacy, and love of reading to enrich the quality of life in our community. Not all Library buildings can accommodate postings, displays, or exhibits. To make the most efficient use of the space that is available, the Library has established the following criteria for such material.

Procedure

Any individual or group requesting to post, display, or exhibit materials should bring the material(s) or, in the case of an exhibit, a representative sample of the materials, to the circulation desk.

The Austin History Center develops its own exhibits to display materials in its collections. The responsibility for administering this policy in all locations of the Austin Public Library rests with the librarian in charge or their designee in consultation with the Division Manager, Office of Programs and Partnerships.

Because display space is very limited, preference will be given to the Library, Library support groups, City, and City-related material, and as space permits, announcements of events and activities of tax-supported or non-profit educational, cultural, and charitable organizations. Objective material which presents both sides of controversial issues and which relates to supporting material in Library collections will be preferred. Space for political campaign literature, legislative lobbying, commercial advertising, solicitations, religious proselytizing, and personal notices or communications cannot be provided. Posting of creative writing (e.g., poetry, short stories) whether personal or by well-known authors is only permitted as a part of library-sponsored exhibits.

Acceptance or rejection of material for display does not imply approval or disapproval by the Library of the ideas or opinions expressed. The Library does not assume responsibility or liability for materials exhibited in Library facilities. The Library reserves the right to refuse to post, and the right to remove announcements, posters, displays, or exhibits which do not meet the above criteria or which have been posted for a reasonable length of time. Material left for Library consideration for posting cannot be held or returned. The Library will dispose of all material as it sees fit or, for special displays and exhibits, according to prior arrangement with the artist/exhibitor.

The librarian in charge or their designee must approve all postings, displays, and exhibits. Any item placed on bulletin boards or any items attached to walls or other library surfaces without prior approval will be removed and discarded. All displays, exhibits, and bulletin board postings shall be temporary. All postings shall be dated. The Library reserves the right to establish size and time limits for any announcement, poster, display, or exhibit. This policy does not prohibit the restriction of specific bulletin boards, displays, or exhibit areas to specific uses by authorized Library staff.

The Library does not have the resources to engage in a formal artwork selection process. The acceptance of artwork for temporary display will be based on the best judgment of the librarian in charge or their designee in consultation with the Division Manager, Office of Programs and Partnerships as to its suitability for display in the building and its appeal to the local community. Original artwork displayed shall not have any prices attached; however, artists may provide their names and contact number. Formal exhibits of artwork will be subject to the guidelines of the City Arts Commission. Permanent works of art for Library property shall be acquired according to the provisions in the City Code for Art in Public Places.

This policy supersedes all previous library-wide policies on displays, postings, and exhibits.

Revised: 07/11/2022

Film and Photography

Film and Photography link

Thank you for your interest in the Austin Public Library as a possible filming/photography location. As a City of Austin entity, the library is subject to various regulations and requirements. Please review the information below prior to submitting a request.

Film/Photo Request

General Information

  1. Reservations for filming and photography are based upon availability as determined by library staff.
  2. Requests must be submitted at least 14 calendar days prior to the film/photo date.
  3. Filming and photography must not interfere with the public’s regular use of the facility during open hours.
  4. Professional photography sessions require a $60.00 fee. Professional photography is defined as receiving compensation for taking pictures (money or barter) or taking images for promotional purposes (such as advertising and marketing with a commercial intent). Portraits and other posed sessions with accessories, props and equipment (such as tripods, lights, reflector shields) are included.
  5. Under City Ordinance No. 20080306-038, City fees are waived for filming a movie, television program, commercial, music video or video game. Library staff shall determine if a fee waiver applies. The production company will be billed for actual costs for City staff, utilities, and security associated with any required make-ready activities and specific request(s) or needs.
  6. Per City regulations, insurance is required (see submission requirements for details). Student filmmakers should check with their educational institution to ensure they are covered under the institution's insurance policy.

Submit an Application

  1. Review submission requirements.
  2. Send an email with subject line FILM/PHOTO REQUEST to aplrental@austintexas.gov. Include the following information:
    1. Company or producer name
    2. Date, time and location for shoot
    3. Anticipated crew size
    4. Brief description of project
  3. If the library can accommodate the project, your dates will be reserved and the Event Services Office will provide an Application and Agreement. You will be asked to submit the signed Application/Agreement along with appropriate supporting documentation.

Approval

Once approval has been granted, film/photo crews will receive a badge to be worn onsite during the shoot. Anyone without an approved application or badge may be asked to stop production and return with the proper documentation.

For questions, please contact the Event Services Office at 512-974-7585.

Gift Policy

Gift Policy link

The Austin Public Library appreciates the thoughtfulness of its customers who donate a variety of print and media materials to the Library. Gift materials are accepted with the understanding that ownership passes to the Library. The Library reserves the right to transfer items to the Library¹s bookstore, Recycled Reads, or other suitable agency, and to discard or recycle materials as necessary. Monies accrued from the sale of items not placed in the collection directly benefit the Library.

All Library locations will accept donations of books, DVDs, CDs, and other items circulated by the Library in new or used condition. All donations are accepted with the understanding that the Library selectively adds donations to its collection. Items not selected for the collection will be sent to the Library’s used bookstore “Recycled Reads.” Staff at the bookstore may send items with little retail value to other nonprofit organizations. At the time of donation, staff will accept the donation and will fill out the Deed of Gift form with the donor transferring ownership of the donated items to the Library. The Library staff does not appraise the value of donated books or other materials.

The Austin Public Library will consider adding donations to its collection based on several factors. Items to be added to the collection are restricted to those in “as-new” condition. The list is restricted to:

  • Books that have been on a best sellers list within the past two years
  • Books that have won literary awards within the past two years
  • New book releases
  • Mass-market paperbacks that have OCLC records
  • DVDs and Blu-Rays that have OCLC records
  • Music CDs and audiobooks on CD that have OCLC records
  • Magazine or periodical subscriptions

If an item has been published within the past two years, is in “as-new” condition, has received positive published reviews, and has a cataloging record in OCLC, librarians will use professional judgment to determine if the item meets the Library’s materials selection policy and will enhance the Library collection. In addition, the Library will selectively accept donations of items produced by local authors and items of local interest, regardless of the availability of an existing cataloging record. For the general collection, donations of special gift collections carrying stipulations are not accepted.

The Austin History Center has separate gift guidelines and relies heavily on the donation of local history materials (publications, family, business and organizational records, photographs, etc.) to fulfill its mission as the “Community’s Collective Memory.” Donations to the Austin History Center are evaluated according to its Collection Development Policy on a case-by-case basis for inclusion to the collection.

Library Use Rules

Library Use Rules link

1. Purpose. The Austin Public Library is supported by the taxes of the people of Austin who expect each of our facilities to be clean, comfortable, and safe.  The library is intended for reading, studying, writing and listening to written or electronically transmitted materials, and attending library or community sponsored programs and meetings.  To this end, the library has established these rules to protect the rights and safety of library customers, staff and volunteers, and to help preserve and protect the library’s materials, equipment, facilities, and grounds.

2. Definitions.

(A)  Except as provided, words and phrases in these rules mean what the words and phrases mean in the City Code.

(B)  In these rules:

  1. “customer” means a person, other than an on-duty member of the library staff, who is present in the library, using the library, or borrowing library materials;
  2. “director” means the director of the Library Department or the director’s designee;
  3. “library” means any building or facility of the Austin Public Library, including the entrance ways and adjacent lawns, landscaping, and parking areas.
  4. "parking area" means an area where vehicles are allowed to park such as parking garages, parking lots, or other areas identified for vehicle parking.
  5. “staff member” means a City employee, contractor, or volunteer working in the library, and includes security personnel;
  6. “solicit” means to request by spoken, written, or printed word, or by other means of communication an immediate donation or transfer of money or another thing of value from another person, regardless of the solicitor’s purpose or intended use of the money or other thing of value, and regardless of whether consideration is offered.
  7. “user” means a customer using a workstation; and
  8. “workstation” means a public-access computer and the adjacent space.

3. Not a Public Forum. Except for the limited purpose of accessing information, the library is not a public forum.

4. General Expectations.

(A)  A staff member may not modify or waive the policies stated in these rules.

(B)  A customer must abide by the standards of behavior set forth in these rules.  These rules identify prohibited behavior for library customers, with consideration of the situation and age-appropriateness.

(C)  A staff member must report criminal activity that occurs in the library to an appropriate law enforcement officer. 

5. Children. 

(A)  A child under the age of 10 may not remain in the library unless accompanied by a responsible person who is at least 17 years of age. A person accompanying a child is responsible for the child and the child’s behavior.  Unless so accompanied, a child under the age of ten may not enter, remain in, or be left unsupervised in the library.

(B)  If a library staff member determines that a child may not be safely turned away from the library or that the child is stranded, the staff member shall refer the child to the Austin Police Department.

6. Animals. 

(A)  A customer may not bring an animal in the library unless it is the customer’s service animal. 

(B)  This does not apply to an animal used by the library for a special event.

7. Food and beverages.

(A)  A customer may not consume food or a beverage in the library.

(B)  This does not apply to food and beverages that have been purchased in the library and that are consumed in a designated area.

  1. If, due to a disability, a customer must consume special food, the library will provide a reasonable accommodation for that customer to consume that food in the designated area. 

(C)  This does not apply to water in a clear, capped bottle that is consumed away from a workstation. 

(D)  This does not apply to food brought by an adult supervising a child younger than seven years of age, and consumed by the child in a designated area.

(E)  This does not apply to breast feeding or bottle-feeding an infant.  

8. Attire and Hygiene. 

(A)  A customer may not enter or remain in the library in a bathing suit, or in clothing that does not cover both upper and lower torso, or without shoes.

(B)  A customer may not enter or remain in the library if, because of lack of hygiene or excessive use of perfume or cologne, the person has a strong odor that would be offensive to a person of ordinary sensibilities.

9. Sleeping.

(A)  A customer more than ten years of age may not sleep in the library.

(B)  If a disability is involved with a customer sleeping, the library will provide a reasonable accommodation.

10. Smoking and tobacco use; burning materials.

(A)  A person may not smoke or use a tobacco product in the library.

(B)  A person may not ignite a flame, burn incense or any other material, or light a candle.

11. Restrooms. 

(A)  A customer may not bathe, shave, wash clothes, or dry clothes in a library restroom.

(B)  A customer may use a restroom lavatory only for washing the person’s hands or face. This does not apply to a customer attending an infant.

12. Personal belongings.

(A)  A customer may not bring a bedroll, blanket or sleeping bag in the library.

(B)  A customer may not enter the library with a cart or other wheeled device for carrying baggage. This does not apply to a wheelchair or other similar device for a person whose mobility is impaired.

(C)  A customer may not leave a personal belonging unattended in the library.

(D)  The library is not responsible for a lost, stolen, or misplaced personal item, whether the item was attended or unattended by the owner.

(E)  A customer who brings a personal item in the library assumes the risk of loss or theft of the item.

13. Personal Behavior.

(A)  A customer may not:

  1. unreasonably disrupt the normal use of library services or property by the library staff or other customers;
  2. enter an area that is not open to the public;
  3. block access to an entrance, passageway or resource; or
  4. distribute literature or otherwise solicit customers inside library buildings or parking areas.     

(B)  A customer may not:

  1. enter or remain in the library in possession of any illegal drug or alcoholic beverage;
  2. enter or remain in the library if the person is intoxicated by a drug or alcohol;
  3. use abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language;
  4. make an offensive gesture or display; or
  5. access sexually explicit material on a library computer or on a personal electronic device.

(C)  A customer may not:

  1. harass, sexually harass, abuse, threaten, or fight with a person;
  2. threaten library property;
  3. incite a breach of the peace;
  4. except as expressly permitted by state or federal law, carry or display a weapon;
  5. perform a criminal act;
  6. vandalize, steal, or recklessly or intentionally damage library property or the property of another person.   

14. Violations.

(A)  If a customer violates these rules, a staff member shall orally warn the customer to stop the behavior.  If the customer fails to stop the unacceptable behavior, the staff member must ask the customer to leave the library. 

(B)  If a staff member determines that a violation of this policy is so serious that the customer remaining in the library creates a danger to library property, the library staff, or to other customers, or interferes with the use and enjoyment of the library by other customers, the staff member may ask the customer to leave without an initial oral warning.

(C)  If a customer refuses a request to leave the library, the staff member should seek the assistance of library security or law enforcement personnel. 

15. Denial of Physical Access to the Library.

(A)  This rule is cumulative of the “Rules for Public Use of City Properties” adopted by the City Manager.

(B)  The director shall deny a customer physical access to the library as provided in this section if the customer is asked to leave the library for:

  1. a violation of any combination of these rules in any combination of library properties, for which the person was asked to leave the library three times in a six month period;
  2. any single violation of Section 13(B) that involves physical injury to a person, theft of or damage to City property or to the personal property of another person, or a breach of the peace; or 
  3. any single violation of Section 13(C).

(C)  The director must give a customer who is denied physical access to the library written notice and an opportunity for a hearing as provided in the “Rules for Public Use of City Properties” adopted by the City Manager.   

(D)  The period for which a customer is denied physical access to the library under this section is:

  1. one year, beginning on the effective date of the denial; or
  2. in the case of a customer who has had a previous denial of physical access under this rule that was not rescinded, the denial of physical access is permanent.
  3. A customer who is denied physical access to the library may continue to access library information and programs in ways that do not require physical access, so long as the customer meets other requirements for access to the information and programs. If a disability is involved, the director shall provide a reasonable accommodation under applicable law.

(E)  Denial of physical access may be enforced through a criminal trespass notice.

16. Internet Policy. 

(A)  A user may not:

  1. circumvent filtering software;
  2. have more than one active logon ID registered in the user database;
  3. share a logon ID with another person;
  4. use another user’s  logon ID;
  5. use a workstation if the user owes the City for charges associated with the user’s use of a workstation or for damage caused by the user to a workstation.

(B)  In consideration for the use of a workstation, a user must agree, and affirmatively state that:

  1. the user has read, and agrees to comply with, all library policies and procedures;
  2. the user understands and agrees that the Internet contains information, both written and pictorial, which may be offensive or harmful to the user or to others;
  3. the user releases and indemnifies the City of Austin from any liability for damages associated with the user’s viewing of, use of, or exposure to any information, machine-readable file, picture, graphical representation, or illustration  encountered while using a workstation, whether or not the information appears or is delivered through the station the user operates;
  4. the user will not violate any state or federal laws including, but not limited to, those related to child pornography or the display of harmful materials to minors; the user will not access sexually explicit sites on any workstation or any personal electronic device used on library property;
  5. the user creates, stores, and uses personal files at the user’s own risk. The library is not responsible for the loss of the user’s personal electronic documents, storage devices, or files;
  6. the user is financially responsible for damage the user causes to the library's computers whether physically, or by the use of damaged or virus-infected software, or by any other means, and the user must promptly pay the City for cost of repair or replacement of equipment resulting from the damage; and
  7. the user shall promptly pay for all pages the user prints. 

(C)  A user of a workstation that does not have filtering software:

  1. must be at least 18 years of age;
  2. must provide photo identification that includes the user’s date of birth to the library staff before using an unfiltered workstation; and
  3. may not permit another person to use or view the workstation during the user’s session unless the other person has also provided library staff with photo identification proving that the other person is at least 18 years of age.

17. Meeting Room Policy.

(A)  This rule applies to the use of a Library meeting room by members of the public. It does not apply to use of a Library meeting room by the Library or by another department of the City of Austin.  This rule is cumulative of other Library use rules. This rule supersedes another Library rule to the extent of a conflict.  This rule may be referred to as the Meeting Room Policy. 

(B)  Terms of Use.

  1. The use of a Library meeting room by a group or a customer signifies the group’s or customer’s acceptance of the terms of the Meeting Room Policy.
  2. There is no charge for meeting room use. 
  3. The use of, and the scheduling of the use of, a meeting room is subject to the needs of the Library, and may not interfere with the Library’s operations or the use of the Library by customers. City or Library needs preempt any other scheduled event in a meeting room. 
  4. The use of a meeting room does not constitute Library or City of Austin endorsement of a viewpoint expressed by a group or by a participant in a meeting or activity. 

(a)  A group using a room may not advertise or announce an event to be held in a meeting room if the advertisement or announcement states or implies the endorsement of the Library or the City of Austin. 

(b)  An announcement or notice to publicize an activity may not be posted or distributed on Library premises without advance approval from the librarian in charge. 

(C)  Who May Use a Meeting Room?

  1. A Library meeting room may be reserved by a not-for-profit, non-commercial group of at least three individuals engaged in an educational, cultural, intellectual, or civic activity.  If a meeting room is equipped with videoconferencing equipment installed by the Library it may be reserved by a group or by a single individual.
  2. A use of a meeting room must be open to the public and may not be restricted to the membership of the group.  A member of the public that sees a meeting taking place may enter and participate in the meeting. 
  3. A customer may not reserve a meeting room for individual use.
    1. (a)  A Library customer may, upon request, use a meeting room which is not in use until the next group’s reservation time. 
    2. (b)  A customer must sign in at the service desk for individual use of a meeting room. 
    3. (c)  Other customers may use the room at the same time, in the same manner.  
  4. A child under the age of 10 may not be in a meeting room unless accompanied by a person who is at least 17 years of age, and who is responsible for the child’s behavior. 
  5. A meeting room may not be used for commercial purposes. A group or customer using a meeting room may not solicit money or another thing of value, charge admission, or sell, or advertise for sale, goods or services. 
  6. A meeting room may not be used for a social gathering such as a wedding shower, a baby shower, a birthday party, a dance, or a similar activity. 
  7. A meeting room may not be used for a political rally or a campaign for or against a specific ballot issue or candidate. However, a meeting room may be used for a forum or study group on a political issue. 
  8. A meeting room may not be used to provide a direct healthcare service, including an examination, a hands-on demonstration, or a treatment. However, a meeting room may be used for a forum on or the sharing of information about healthcare services. 
  9. Permission to use Library meeting rooms will be withheld from a group that has failed to comply with the Meeting Room Policy or from a group that damages a meeting room, the carpet, equipment, or furniture, or causes a disturbance. 

(D)  Reserving a Meeting Room. 

  1. A group may request the use of a meeting room online, in person, or in writing. The Library will consider requests on a first-come, first-served basis. 
  2. To provide an opportunity for other groups to use the meeting rooms, a group may use a meeting room at a particular branch only once each month, and may reserve only one meeting room for use at the same time. 
  3. A group that is cancelling a meeting must provide notice of the cancellation to the Library’s Meeting Room Coordinator as soon as possible. A group forfeits its reservation if the group fails to appear within 30 minutes after the scheduled time.  
  4. If a group fails to appear for two consecutive meetings without making a cancellation, all future reservations of the group are cancelled until the group reschedules. 
  5. Meetings may not be scheduled before or after library hours. Group representatives may not enter library buildings, nor will deliveries be accepted, before the regular opening time. 
  6. A group may not assign or transfer its reservation to another group. 

(E)  Care and Use of a Meeting Room.

  1. A group or customer using a meeting room may not make noise that disturbs another Library customer or the Library staff. 
  2. A group or customer using a meeting room must completely vacate the room at least 15 minutes before the Library’s closing time. 
  3. A group or customer must leave a meeting room in the condition in which the room was found. 
  4. The Library does not set up or arrange furniture or equipment in a meeting room.
    1. (a)  If a group or customer rearranges the furniture, the group or customer must return the furniture to the original arrangement before leaving the room.
    2. (b)  A group or customer may not bring furniture or equipment from the main area of the library into a meeting room. 
    3. (c)  A group may bring its own furniture or equipment into a meeting room with advance approval by the Meeting Room Coordinator. 
      1. (i)  Arrangements for the use of such furniture or equipment must be made at the time the room is reserved. 
      2. (ii)  A group or customer must notify Library Security or the Branch Librarian when furniture or equipment is brought into the Library, and must promptly remove the furniture or equipment at the end of the meeting.
    4. (d)  A group or customer may not store equipment, furniture, supplies, or personal effects in a meeting room before or after use.
  5. A group or customer may not leave trash in a meeting room. A group that has produced trash during a meeting must remove that trash from the library at the end of the meeting. 
  6. A group or customer may not affix, tape, or fix with an adhesive any item to any part of a meeting room, including a wall, door, window treatment, or woodwork. 
  7. The library does not provide audio, video or other equipment other than that which is already installed in the room.  Written instructions for the use of the equipment within the meeting room are posted in the room. The Library does not assist with the equipment. 
  8. A group or customer must keep all doors unlocked at all times. Open aisles must be maintained within the seating arrangement to provide clear access to exits. 
  9. A group or customer must use a public entrance for all access to and from the building, including all deliveries. 
  10. Attendance at a meeting is limited to the capacity of the individual meeting room. Seating or furniture may not be placed in a corridor outside the meeting room. 
  11. Food and Drink in a Meeting Room: 
  12. (a)  Food and drink may be consumed in a meeting room if the food or drink is individually packaged and does not have to be maintained at a certain temperature, for example:  packaged snacks, individual containers of soda, whole pieces of fruit, and cookie trays. 
    1. (b)  Food items that are not individually packaged or that must be maintained at a certain temperature require a temporary food permit issued by the Austin/Travis County Health & Human Services Department. 
    2. (c)  Kitchen facilities or equipment are not provided by the library, except for minimal kitchen facilities at the Carver Branch and the Austin History Center which may be used with permission from the librarian in charge. 
    3. (d)  Protective mats or tablecloths must be used on tables when refreshments are being served.   
  13. The individual making the reservation, as well as the group as a whole, is responsible for damages that result from the group’s use of the meeting room. 

(F)  The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Reasonable accommodations will be provided on request. 

Materials Selection Policy

Materials Selection Policy link

Purpose:
To articulate the principles, policies, and criteria that guide the staff in selecting materials to develop responsive collections for the library system and to inform the public on these principles and selection standards used by the Library.

Commitment:
We are committed to providing easy access to books and information for all ages through responsive professionals, engaging programs, and state-of-the-art technology in a safe and friendly environment.

Austin Public Library prioritizes a commitment to equity ensuring that all members of the Austin community have equitable access to library services and programs. Diversity and inclusion are about respecting, understanding, honoring, and welcoming all members of the staff and community into the library. Decisions about hiring, collection development, policies, and programming are made with a lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

  1. Principles
    The Austin Public Library Materials Selection Policy is based on the following principles:
    1. Materials are selected which provide for the interest, information, enlightenment, entertainment, education, development, and enrichment of all library customers, within budgetary constraints and availability of materials.
    2. The freedom to read, along with the freedom to hear and to view, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. This freedom, essential to our democracy, will be upheld, supported, and defended in the selection and accessibility of all library materials. In this regard, the library upholds the principles of the American Library Association's Library Bill of RightsFreedom to ReadFreedom to ViewStatement on Labeling, and Free Access to Libraries for Minors as well as to the Texas Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Statement.
    3. Selection of materials does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content, viewpoint, implications, or presentation of the materials.
    4. The library staff does not serve in loco parentis. It is the parent(s), and only the parent(s), who may restrict their children, and only their own children, from access to library materials. Responsibility for children's reading rests with their parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s). Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may inadvertently come into the possession of children.
    5. The library is not a judicial body. Laws governing obscenity, subversive materials, and other questionable matters are subject to interpretation by the courts. Consequently, no challenged material will be removed from the library for complaints of obscenity, pornography, subversiveness, or any other category covered by law until after receipt of an independent court order. Conversely, materials previously judged unlawful will not knowingly be selected.
  2. Policy
    In accordance with the above principles, the following policies apply in regard to materials selection and accessibility for the general library collection.

    Materials missing or withdrawn from the Library’s collection are not automatically replaced. The decision to replace items is based on the following criteria:

    1. Selection
      As budgetary constraints limit the purchase of materials, the selections made follow the aforementioned principles while attempting to maintain diversity, quality and responsiveness to patron interest patterns. As such, selections are made on the basis of any one, several, or all of the following considerations:
      1. Diversity is pursued by attempting to meet the needs of all ages, backgrounds, and educational levels, by providing as many subject fields as possible, and by providing alternative perspectives on unpopular or unorthodox as well as popular materials. The collection represents various opinions and viewpoints on all issues of general concern and should broadly reflect the various ethnic and social groups in the City.
        • The collection represents industry accepted equity, diversity, and inclusion topics including, but not limited to, Asian, Black, Disabilities & Neurodiversity, Equity & Social Issues, Hispanic & Latino, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+ & Gender Studies, Mental & Emotional Health, Middle Eastern & North African, Multicultural, Religious, and Substance Abuse & Addiction.
      2. Quality is pursued by applying professional discretion and standards established by the library profession and through the use of appropriate selection aids, including book reviews, best seller lists, etc.
      3. The Library staff responds to community interests by careful consideration of the following: patron requests for purchases, use patterns for existing materials, purchase trends of similar materials from retailers, and any other source of information indicating community interests. The Library collection serves, to the degree possible, the interests of a diverse community without exclusion. Responsiveness to the interest of one individual or group is not restricted on the basis of dislike or objection of another individual or group.
      4. Undue duplication of materials is avoided, either in the library itself, or with other institutions in the community. Esoteric or very technical works, and materials available elsewhere to special interest groups, are generally excluded from the collection. Materials may also be excluded if the existing collection already covers the field.
      5. Materials with formats that do not conform or lend themselves to library use are usually excluded.
      6. Gifts, unsolicited materials, and citizen suggestions for purchases are all evaluated under the same policies, principles, and selection criteria as regularly purchased materials.
    2. Criteria

      Library materials, whether purchased or donated, are subject to the criteria listed below. An item need not meet all of these standards to be included in the Library’s collection:

      1. Public interest or demand
      2. Relevance to the community
      3. Contemporary significance
      4. Enduring value
      5. Readability and style
      6. Treatment of subject for intended audience
      7. Physical durability, and attractiveness
      8. Suitability of the format for library use
      9. Creative, literary, or technical quality
      10. Cost
      11. Availability from our contracted vendors
      12. Reviews in the professional journals
      13. Reviews in popular media
      14. Professional or literary reputation of the author, publisher or producer
      15. Circulation of similar material
      16. Relation to existing collection and other materials on the subject

      Materials missing or withdrawn from the Library's collection are not automatically replaced. The decision to replace items is based on the following criteria:

      1. Availability of other copies or editions in the collection
      2. Public interest
      3. Adequacy of coverage in the subject area
      4. Circulation of withdrawn or missing item
      5. Cost
      6. Availability from our contracted vendors
    3. Formats collected include books, periodicals, newspapers, maps, audio and video recordings, graphic novels, online eBooks and audiobooks, online databases, and “library of things” such as tools, manipulatives, etc. New and/or emerging formats will be considered when appropriate. The collection does not include pop-up books, coloring books, workbooks, cutout books, or fragile, multipart items that will not withstand circulation.
    4. Periodicals and newspapers are selected to include current information not available in book format. Back issues are retained in paper, microform, or electronic formats considering reference usefulness, customer interest, and space limitations.
    5. The Austin History Center, a special collection of the library, collects, preserves, and manages information about Austin and Travis County. Due to the nature of the materials collected, the Austin History Center has its own collection development policy.

Revised October 1, 2021

Meeting Room Policy

Meeting Room Policy link

The Austin Public Library welcomes public use of its meeting facilities in keeping with the Library’s mission “to provide a wide range of information and services to enrich the lives of all members of our community.”

The Meeting Room Policy establishes rules and procedures for the use of the Library’s meeting facilities. The librarian in charge of the building where the meeting room(s) is located is responsible for implementing this policy and for maintaining reservation lists.

Use of Library meeting rooms by any group signifies acceptance of the terms of this policy.

Permission to use Library meeting rooms may be withheld from groups that have failed to comply with the Meeting Room Policy and from any group that damages the room, carpet, equipment, or furniture, or causes a disturbance.

The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications will be provided upon request.

Questions not covered in this policy should be addressed to Library Administration, 512-974-7449.

General Guidelines

General Guidelines link

Meeting rooms at the APL are designed to meet general, non-commercial, informational, educational, cultural, and civic needs including activities such as discussion groups, panels, lectures, conferences, and seminars.

To be eligible to use a meeting room, any group or organization must be not for profit and should include three or more individuals.

There is no charge for meeting room use.

Use of the Library’s meeting rooms does not constitute Library or City of Austin endorsement of viewpoints expressed by participants in the program. Advertisements or announcements implying such endorsement are not permitted.

All activities held in the Library’s meeting rooms must be open to everyone.

Commercial uses of meeting rooms are prohibited; this includes solicitations, admission or other charges, money-raising activities, and/or sales. Delivery of direct, hands-on healthcare services is also prohibited.

Meeting rooms may not be used for social gatherings such as showers, birthday parties, dances, etc.

Meeting rooms may not be used for political rallies or campaigns for specific partisan political issues or candidates (however, forums and study groups are permitted).

Meeting rooms may not be used to provide any kind of direct healthcare services including examinations, hands-on demonstrations, or treatments (however, the sharing of information about healthcare services is permitted).

Noise levels from meeting rooms must not disturb library patrons or staff.

All meeting rooms must be completely vacated prior to the Library’s closing time. Exact times may vary by location.

City or Library needs may preempt any other scheduled event.

Children must be supervised by an adult at all times.

Smoking, alcoholic beverages, open flames, burning incense, and lit candles are not allowed.

Reservations

Reservations link

Requests for use of a meeting room may be made online, in person, by telephone, or in writing. Requests will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis.

Reservations will only be held for 10 days until signed reservation form is received. If your planned meeting will take place in less than 10 days and the meeting room is available, a reservation will be tentatively accepted with the signed form due at least 3 days prior to the meeting.

When making a reservation, please provide:

  • Name of organization
  • Name, address, and telephone number of the responsible person
  • Total number of persons expected to attend

Reservations may be made up to 90 days in advance.

To provide an opportunity for all groups to use the meeting rooms, a group may reserve one meeting room up to 3 times in a rolling 90 day period.

Notice of cancellation should be made to the library’s Branch Manager or Assistant Manager as soon as possible. After 30 minutes a group may forfeit its reservation if it fails to appear as scheduled.

If a group fails to show for two meetings in a row and does not call to cancel, all future reservations are forfeited until the group calls to reschedule.

Meetings will not be scheduled before or after Library hours. Group representatives may not enter Library buildings, nor will deliveries be accepted, before the regular opening time.

Groups may not assign or transfer their reservations to other groups.

An individual library customer may, upon request, use a meeting room which is not in use until the next group’s reservation time. Please sign in at the circulation desk for individual use. If other individuals want to use the room at the same time, they may do so; consistent with APL’s policy of having the room open to all.

Care and Use of Facilities

Care and Use of Facilities link

Please leave meeting rooms as they are found. If the furniture is rearranged, it should be returned to the original arrangement at the end of the meeting.

The Library cannot provide AV or other equipment.

Furniture and/or equipment from the main area of the Library may not be brought into meeting rooms.

Personal furniture or equipment may be provided by a group with prior approval. Arrangements for the use of any personal furniture or equipment should be made at scheduling time. In order to ensure easy removal of equipment after the meeting, the appropriate staff member (either Library Security or the Branch Librarian) should be notified when the equipment is brought into the building.

Equipment, supplies, or personal effects cannot be stored or left in Library meeting rooms before or after use.

Keep all exits unlocked at all times. Open aisles must be maintained within the seating arrangement to provide clear access to exits.

Public entrances are to be used for all access to and from the building, including all deliveries.

Any announcements or notices to publicize an activity should not be posted or distributed on library premises without prior approval from the librarian in charge.

Attendance at meetings will be limited to the capacity of the individual meeting rooms as listed at the end of this policy. Seating and/or supplementary furniture are not allowed in corridors outside the meeting rooms.

Food and drink may be consumed in the meeting rooms as long as the food or drinks are individually packaged such as packaged snacks, individual containers of soda, pieces of fruit, box lunches, etc. Food items that are not individually packaged such as a sandwich tray, cookie tray, pizza, etc. must be served by an individual who has completed an accredited food handler training program. Contact the City of Austin Health Department by calling 3-1-1 for further information. Kitchen facilities or equipment will not be provided by the Library. (Minimal kitchen facilities are available at the Carver Branch and the Austin History Center with permission from the librarian in charge.)

All trash resulting from the serving of refreshments must be removed by the organization.

The individual making the reservation, as well as the group as a whole, will be held responsible for any and all damages that may occur as a result of the use of the facilities.

Austin History Center Guidelines

Austin History Center Guidelines link

Please anticipate and reserve time to set up and break down for your meeting.

Please notify us if you intend to bring in additional furniture or equipment. The Austin History Center has no audio-visual equipment or writing boards. Please note that the Austin History Center meeting room, formally called the David Earl Holt Photo Gallery, is also a gallery space for Austin History Center visitors. When an exhibit is up in the room, visitors may come in to view the exhibit during your meeting. You may not inhibit access to the room.

The Austin History Center is an historical building with historical furnishings which require special care:

  • Protective mats or tablecloths must be used on tables when refreshments are being served.
  • All trash generated by your group must be removed from the premises at the end of your meeting.
  • Do not post notices in the building without advance approval of the Administrator.
  • Items may not be taped to the walls, drapes or woodwork.
  • All furniture - chairs, tables, etc. - must be kept at least three (3) feet from the fireplace.
  • Children must be supervised by an adult at all times.

The Austin History Center has minimal kitchen facilities available, including a microwave oven which is suitable for reheating food, but is not suitable for the preparation of food.

Central Library Shared Learning Room Policy

Central Library Shared Learning Room Policy link

The Austin Public Library’s Shared Learning Rooms at the Central Library are available for public use. Shared Learning Rooms support the Library’s mission “to provide a wide range of information and services to enrich the lives of all members of our community.”

Shared Learning Rooms are designed to meet general, informational, educational, cultural and civic needs, including activities such as study groups, conferences and workshops.

This policy establishes requirements for the use, care, and reservation of Shared Learning Rooms by members of the public.

This policy does not apply to:

  • Meeting Rooms at branch locations, the Austin History Center or Recycled Reads Rental of Special Event spaces; please refer to the Special Event Policy for a full explanation of procedures, including fee schedules.

Shared Learning Room Policy

Shared Learning Room Policy link

This policy applies to the use of a Library Shared Learning Room by members of the public. It does not apply to use of a Library Shared Learning Room by the Library.

The Library Use Rules apply to Shared Learning Rooms. This policy supersedes another Library rule in the event of a conflict. This policy is cumulative of other Library use rules. This policy may be referred to as the Shared Learning Room Policy.

Terms of Use

Terms of Use link

  1. Use of a Library Shared Learning Room by a group, organization or individual customer signifies the acceptance of the terms of the Shared Learning Room Policy, Library Use Rules and City policies and procedures.
  2. The Library reserves the right to deny use of Shared learning Rooms to individuals or groups who abuse Library rules or City policies.
  3. There is no charge for use of a Shared Learning Room.
  4. A reservation may be made in advance to use a Shared Learning Room; however, a reservation is not required. Any individual or group may use a Shared Learning Room and the equipment included in it, if the room is available and not reserved.
  5. Use of and scheduling of the use of a Shared Learning Room is subject to the needs of the Library and may not interfere with the Library’s operations or the use of the Library by customers.
  6. Use of a Shared Learning Room does not constitute Library or City of Austin endorsement of a viewpoint expressed by an individual, group or organization in a Shared Learning Room or activity.
  7. Individuals may not advertise or announce an event to be held in a Shared Learning Room if the advertisement or announcement states or implies the endorsement of the Library or the City of Austin.
  8. An announcement or notice to publicize an activity may not be posted or distributed on Library premises without advance approval from the Library.

Who May Use a Shared Learning Room?

Who May Use a Shared Learning Room? link

1. A Library Shared Learning Room may be reserved by any individual, group or organization.

2. An individual may use a Shared Learning Room that is not in use until the next reservation time.

3. An individual or group using a Shared Learning Room may not solicit money or anything of value, charge admission, sell, or advertise for sale, goods or services.

4. A Shared Learning Room may not be used for a social gathering, such as a wedding shower, baby shower, birthday party, dance or similar activity.

5. A Shared Learning Room may not be used for a political rally or campaign for or against a specific ballot issue or candidate. However, a Shared Learning Room may be used for a forum or study group on a political issue.

6. A Shared Learning Room may not be used to provide a direct healthcare service, including an examination, hands-on demonstration or treatment. However, a Shared Learning Room may be used for a forum or the sharing of information about healthcare services.

Reserving a Shared Learning Room

Reserving a Shared Learning Room link

1. To provide an opportunity for other individuals or groups to use the Shared Learning Rooms, a group may reserve a Shared Learning Room for a maximum of a two-hour block of time during the hours the Library is open to the public.

2. A Library Card or identification card is not required to reserve a Shared Learning Room.

3. A valid email address and an individual’s full legal name are required to make a reservation.

4. Reservations may be made up to two weeks in advance.

5. Reservations and cancellations must be made online.

6. Individuals, groups or organizations may reserve only one Shared Learning Room for use at the same time.

7. An individual, group or organization may make no more than two reservations within a two-week period.

8. Reservations may not be assigned or transferred to another individual, group or organization.

9. The reservation is forfeited if the individual, group or organization does not appear within 15 minutes of the scheduled time.

Checking Out Video Conferencing Remotes

Checking Out Video Conferencing Remotes link

1. An individual may check out a remote device to access the video conferencing unit in the Shared Learning Room during the reserved time.

2. An individual must show a current and valid photo ID and contact information to check out a video conferencing remote. The individual checking out the remote is fully responsible for the remote.

3. The individual must report any malfunction, loss or damage of the remote immediately to Library staff.

4. A police report will be filed for remotes not reported or returned to Library staff.

Care and Use of a Shared Learning Room

Care and Use of a Shared Learning Room link

1. Doors to the Shared Learning Room must remain unlocked and unobstructed at all times during the hours the Library is open to the public. Aisles and passageways into and within the Shared Learning Room must not be blocked or obstructed.

2. Occupancy in a Shared Learning Room is limited to the capacity of the individual Shared Learning Room.

3. Individuals may not cause a disturbance to Library customers or Library staff.

4. Individuals must completely vacate the Shared Learning Room when the Library’s closing time is announced, at the request of Library staff or Library Security, or for another customer who has reserved the room.

5. Individuals who find items in the Shared Learning Room that do not belong to them should contact Library staff or Library Security to retrieve the item from the room.

6. The Library does not assist with or arrange structures, furniture, supplies or equipment in the Shared Learning Rooms.

(a) Individuals must not bring structures or furniture from other areas of the Library into a Shared Learning Room.

(b) Individuals may bring personal items into a Shared Learning Room and must remove all personal items upon leaving the Shared Learning Room. Personal items must not obstruct aisles and passageways in or outside of the Shared Learning Room. Personal items must not block customers from accessing any Library services or resources.

(c) Individuals may not store any personal items, including equipment, materials or supplies, in a Shared Learning Room.

(d) The Library is not responsible for any lost, stolen or misplaced personal item, whether the item was attended or unattended by the owner. An individual who brings a personal item in the Library assumes the risk of loss, damage or theft of the personal item.

7. Individuals may not affix, tape or fix with an adhesive items to any part of a Shared Learning Room, including a wall, door, window treatment or woodwork. Individuals may not alter, damage, deface or mark on Library property. Trash must be properly disposed of in designated waste or recycle bins.

8. The Library does not provide audio, video or other equipment other than that which is already installed in the Shared Learning Room. Written instructions for use of the equipment within the Shared Learning Room are posted in the room.

9. Internet Use in a Shared Learning Room.

(a) Consistent with Library Use Rules, individuals may not violate any state or federal laws, including, but not limited to, Public Performance Rights (publicly showing a film or video), child pornography or the display of harmful materials to minors. Learning Room may not access sexually explicit sites using any Library resource or electronic device.

(b) Individuals create, store and use personal files at their own risk. The Library is not responsible for the loss of a user’s personal electronic documents, storage devices or files.

(c) Individuals are financially responsible for any damage caused to Library computer devices and peripherals whether physically, by the use of damaged or virus-infected software, or by any other means. Individuals must promptly pay the City for the cost of repair or replacement of equipment resulting from the damage.

(d) Individuals may report technical damages and conditions to the Shared Learning Room Coordinator by email or in person.

10. Food and Beverages in a Shared Learning Room.

(a) Consistent with Library Use Rules, individuals may not consume any food or beverage in a Shared Learning Room.

(b) Food and beverages that have been purchased in the Library must be consumed in designated areas.

(c) If, due to a disability, an individual must consume a special food, the Library will provide a reasonable accommodation for the individual to consume that food in a designated area.

(d) The restrictions above regarding consuming food and beverages in a Shared Learning Room do not apply to:

i. Water consumed from a clear, capped bottle;

ii. Food brought by an adult supervising a child younger than seven (7) years of age, and consumed by the child in a designated area;

iii. Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding an infant.

11. The individual making the reservation, as well as the group as a whole, is responsible for damages that result from the use of the Shared Learning Room.

Accommodations

Accommodations link

The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Reasonable accommodations will be provided on request.

Privacy Statement

Privacy Statement link

The Austin Public Library is committed to the protection of all Library customers’ rights to privacy in the use of Library resources and discloses customer information to the customer only. Records of customer transactions are kept only as long as is required to collect administrative statistics and then are erased. Library records will only be disclosed under court order, subpoena, or warrant as outlined in the state statute, Texas Government Code, Section 552.124 and the surveillance provisions included in The USA PATRIOT ACT (Public Law 107-56).

City of Austin Privacy Statement

Public Computers

Public Computers link

Public Computer Policies

Acceptable Use of Internet & Public Computers

Acceptable Use of Internet & Public Computers link

Purpose

To fulfill its mission of providing easy access to books and information for all ages, the Austin Public Library provides public access to the internet and to its public use computers. This policy and associated procedures and guidelines sets forth the acceptable use of Library technology resources and systems.

General Policy

  1. The Library provides access to internet resources equally to all library patrons and upholds and affirms the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected material in accordance with the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights .
  2. Library computers and network systems may not be used for any purpose that violates federal, state, or local laws and Library policies.

    Under Federal and Texas law, it is a crime to distribute or exhibit material that is "harmful" to minors, or to be reckless about "whether a minor is present who will be offended or alarmed by the display" of harmful material. Customers are prohibited from using the Library's internet and computer network systems for illegal activity, to access illegal or obscene materials or to display material that violates the provisions of Sections 43.24 and 43.25 of the Texas Penal Code: Sale, Distribution or Display of Harmful Material to Minors. The Library's policies and computer network systems comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) .
  3. Prohibited use includes, but is not limited to:
    • "hacking" or otherwise attempting unauthorized use of the Library, City or other networks;
    • attempting to interfere with or disrupt other users;
    • attempting to evade security measures;
    • invading the privacy of other users;
    • attracting the attention of others to sexually explicit images depicted on the screen or in copies made on Library printers;
    • violation of copyright laws;
    • registering multiple logon IDs, sharing a logon ID, or using another user's logon ID;
    • violating software license agreements;
    • sending harassing, threatening or libelous messages or material; or
    • accessing peer to peer (P2P), torrent, or other file sharing sites are not allowed.
  4. Not all information found on the internet is accurate, complete, up-to-date or otherwise acceptable to all individuals. The Library is not responsible for the content of the internet, changes in content of the sources to which the Library home pages link or for the content of sources accessed through secondary links.
  5. Customers using the Library's technology resources and systems, including its Wi-Fi, or Library public use computers must agree to comply with:
  6. Library Administration reserves the right to set limits or internet use session(s) a customer may have per day with Library-owned computer and network systems.
  7. Library Administration reserves the right to establish policies governing internet use and consequences for misuse consistent with applicable rules and laws.
  8. Failure to comply with Library rules and policies may result in the loss of computer access privileges, library privileges, and report to law enforcement authorities.

PROCEDURES Security and Privacy

  • The Library will not release information on the use of specific Internet resources by members of the public except as required by law or as necessary for the proper operation of the Library.
  • The Library is not responsible for the privacy practices or security of any web sites accessed by customers. The Library and the City of Austin accept no liability for any loss of privacy or data customers may experience, or any damage or harm arising from such loss. Customers are responsible for having the proper hardware, software, and network settings on their personal devices to connect to the Library's Wi-Fi.
  • The Library is not responsible for any theft, damage or misuse of personal computer, mobile, or peripheral devices in the Library.
  • Customers are prohibited from making any attempt to gain unauthorized access to restricted files or networks, or to damage or modify library-owned computer equipment or software.
  • Customers create, store and use personal files at their own risk.

Filtering and Unfiltered Computers

Pornography, sexually explicit sites and phishing sites are filtered on most Library public use computers and all laptop and electronic devices available for check out. The Library makes available unfiltered internet computers with recessed monitors which customers age 18 and older may use for bona fide research or any other lawful purpose. Unfiltered computers are available at all branch locations, except the St. John Branch.

Requests to Block or Unblock Sites

Customers who encounter sites that they believe should be blocked or who are unable to access sites that they believe should not be blocked may request a review of the site in question by submitting a Request for Reconsideration form. Forms are available at all Library locations. Library staff will evaluate the site and decide whether to accept the customer's request. Customers providing contact information will be notified about the decision as soon as possible.

Incidents and Complaints

  1. A customer may not attract the attention of others to sexually explicit images depicted on the screen or in copies made on Library printers. In these situations, Library staff and Security will inform and fully warn customers to comply with Library policies and procedures.
    Example of a warning:

I noticed you were calling attention to what's on your screen. This is not allowed and it violates our Library rules and the policies you agreed to when you signed onto the computer. If you continue to violate our policies, your internet and Library privileges will be removed.

  1. Any person (staff or customer) who has observed a customer viewing child pornography on any Library public use computer, either filtered or unfiltered, or on any other electronic device used on library property, will immediately call Library Security on duty. If Library Security is not on duty, call 911 to report the incident to the Austin Police Department.

The following information will be requested for the incident report:

  • Full name of Library staff member.
  • Full address of Library location.
  • Customer identification as recorded on the Library's computer network system.

Web Filtering Request for Reconsideration Form

Web Filtering Request for Reconsideration Form link

Please complete this form to request that a web site be blocked or unblocked on the public computers and wireless network. Library staff will review the request usually within two weeks. Customers providing contact information will be notied of the decision.

Youth Material Levels Explanation

Youth Material Levels Explanation link

Picture - E

Fiction Books:
Intended audience: Toddler- Grade 2
Books in this collection are picture books that are generally 32 pages in length and the story is intended to be read in a single sitting. Many have a reading level above that of the intended audience and are meant to be read to the child by a more competent reader.

Non-Fiction Books:
Intended audience: Toddler - Grade 2
Books in this collection are picture-book format fact-based books and folktales. E level non-fiction is intershelved, by call #, with the J non-fiction.

Audiobooks:
Intended audience: Toddler - Grade 2
Audiobooks in this collection match the classification of the print version of the work. These may be audio recordings only or read-along books accompanied by an audio recording of the text.

DVDs:
Intended audience: Toddler to Grade 1
Non-fiction DVD titles will cover topics such as potty training, baby sign language, and introduction to concepts- colors, numbers, letters, and shapes. Fiction titles will include DVDs based on characters such as Dora the Explorer, Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, etc., who appear in books and television programs intended for the target audience.

Early Reader - E1

Books:
Intended audience: Beginning readers
Books in this collection are written expressly for children learning to read, and may be so designated by the publisher. They are written with a controlled vocabulary and syntax, and employ visual cues in the illustrations to assist children learning to read. Both fiction and non-fiction books are classified as E1 and these collections are shelved adjacent to one another.

Audiobooks:
Intended audience: Beginning readers
Audiobooks in this collection match the classification of the print version of the work. These may be audio recordings only or read-along books accompanied by an audio recording of the text.

DVD:
DVDs intended for beginning readers are classified as “E” DVDs.

Primary - J

Fiction Books:
Intended audience: Grades 3-8
Books in this collection include short, illustrated chapter books and longer texts of interest to and appropriate for children in 3rd through 8th grade. The plots and characters in J level books are more complex and developed than E and E1 books and engage children's interests at a level appropriate for the maturity, interests, and reading skills of these readers. Fiction books classified as J will not contain explicit sexuality or language. They may, however, address topics such as family issues, sexual orientation, and puberty.

Non-Fiction Books:
Intended audience: Grades 3-9
Books in this collection are fact-based books on a wide variety of topics and folk tales written at a interest and reading level appropriate for these readers. Non-fiction books classified as J may address topics such as family issues, sexuality, social controversies, war, etc.

Graphic Novels:
Intended audience: Grade 3-8.
Graphic Novels in this collection are stories told in comic book format and have been written to appeal to youth 3rd grade through 8th grade and match the reading ability and maturity levels of these readers. Graphic novels classified as J do not contain sexual situations or adult language. They may, however, address topics such as personal relationships, puberty, family issues, violence, etc.. In some cases, a graphic novel series may begin with books with J level content and move into books with Y level content. In those cases, the Austin Public Library Youth Services staff will work to move the entire series to a Y level classification.

Audiobooks:
Intended audience: Grade 3-8.
Audiobooks in this collection match the classification of the print version of the work. These may be audio recordings only or read-along books accompanied by an audio recording of the text.

DVDs:
Intended audience: Preschool - Grade 7
J DVDs include both fiction and non-fiction titles. Feature Films with an MPAA rating of G or PG intended for a children's audience will be classified as J. Feature films with an MPAA rating of PG-13 are evaluated based on content and may be located in the J, Y, or adult collections. When a book classified as J is made into a movie rated PG-13, the DVD will be classified based on its own content. Feature films based on a series of books will be shelved according to the highest MPAA level.

Teen - Y

Fiction Books:
Intended audience: Grades 8-12
Novels and short story collections in this collection have been written for youth 8th grade through 12th grade. Plots, themes, and character development have been formulated to address the emotional and intellectual interests of teens. Books classified as Y may contain implied sexual situations or adult language and may address topics such as sexual orientation, teen pregnancy, social controversies, etc.. Some titles traditionally shelved in the adult collection, classic literature, college-bound reading recommendations, etc. will also be found in the Y fiction collection.

Non-Fiction Books:
Intended audience: Grades 9-12
Books in this collection are fact-based books on a wide variety of topics written to educate, inform, and empower high school students. Non-fiction books classified as Y will address topics sexuality, puberty, drug abuse, social controversies, etc. Some titles traditionally shelved in the adult collection such as college prep, study guides, job hunting, social controversies, etc. will also be found in the Y non-fiction collection.

Graphic Novels:
Intended audience: Grade 8-12.
Graphic Novels in this collection are stories told in comic book format and have been written to appeal to youth 8th grade through 12th grade. Graphic novels classified as Y may contain implied sexual situations or language and may address topics such as sexual orientation, personal relationships, violence, and evil. In some cases a graphic novel series may begin with books with Y level content and move into books with adult level content. In those cases the Austin Public Library will reclassify the entire series and move it to the adult collection.

Audiobooks:
Intended audience: Grade 8-12.
Audiobooks in this collection match the classification of the print version of the work.

DVDs:
Intended Audience: Grade 8-12
Y level books made into feature films with a MPAA rating no higher than PG-13 may be classified as Y DVDs. Feature films based on a series of books will be shelved according to the highest MPAA level.

High Interest Teen - HI-Y

Intended audience: Grade 9-12.
This designation is intended to identify current, high-interest, non-fiction for teens and will include current recreational interests such as sports, crafts, personal relationships, technology, and music. Some titles traditionally shelved in the adult collection, cars, biking, drawing, sewing etc. will also be found in the HI-Y collection.