The mission of the Mahwah Public Library is to be an essential resource, connecting everyone in the community with ideas, information, technology and each other to further life-long learning opportunities and the cultural and business interests of its residents. In order to fulfill this mission, the Board of Trustees establishes policies to ensure that the Library’s facilities are clean, comfortable and welcoming for patrons and staff.
Code of Conduct
The Mahwah Public Library is funded as an entity of the Township of Mahwah to provide educational, cultural and recreational materials and services to all people of Mahwah and the Bergen County Cooperative Library System (“BCCLS”). In order to allow all patrons to make maximum use of the Library during regularly scheduled hours and to provide a safe, suitable environment for the specific purposes of reading, studying, attending programs and using Library materials and resources, the following Code of Conduct is adopted. The Code applies to conduct on the Library premises, including not only the building, but also the land area surrounding it, such as the front, rear and side grounds, the sidewalks and the parking lots.
- No person shall destroy, injure, deface or steal any Library property.
- All Library material or equipment being removed from the premises must be properly checked out. No person shall purposely conceal Library materials on their persons or among their belongings. Library staff may inspect briefcases, handbags, and other packages to assure compliance with Library policies. (N.J.S.A. 2c:20-14) All Library material shall be returned in accordance with the terms of the loan.
- While on the premises of the Library no person shall conduct himself or herself in a violent or disorderly manner which shall include:
- Inhibiting the orderly use of the Library by patrons or staff;
- Use of abusive, coarse or offensive language;
- Engaging in unruly or disruptive conversation or conduct;
- Engaging in harassing, disruptive or violent conduct or threaten others;
- Being under the influence of alcohol and/or illegal drugs;
- Possessing and/or sell alcohol and/or illegal drugs;
- Engaging in sexual activity, contact or assault or any act of lewdness of exposure prohibited by N.J.S.A. 2c:14 through 2c:14-8 and any other physical contact or sexual activity which is inappropriate in a public place;
- Possessing a weapon unless authorized by law.
- Loud talking or other loud sources of noise are not allowed. Use of any electronic devices in a manner that disturbs others is not allowed. While inside the Library, all cell phones must be set to silent or vibrate mode. The use of cell phones is permitted, provided such use does not disturb others.
- Library furniture, equipment, and materials may be used only for their intended functions. No person shall climb on or place their feet or shoes on furniture, sit on arms of chairs, or lie down on furniture. Furniture shall not be moved without the express permission of Library staff.
- Libraries are public places and the Library cannot serve in loco parentis (in the place of parents). Caregivers and attendants are responsible to remain available for the personal and/or special needs of those entrusted to their care. No person shall leave children under the age of 7 unattended on Library premises. The Library cannot be responsible for any consequences of caregivers forfeiting their responsibilities.
- No person shall smoke, carry or possess any lighted tobacco, or use any tobacco products including “electronic cigarettes” or similar while in the Library building or on Library grounds.
- Snack food and nonalcoholic beverages in covered containers are permitted only in some areas of the Library. Food and drink are not allowed in computer areas or on computer tables and stands. It is expected that patrons will dispose of all litter and debris in trash containers and leave table tops and chairs clean. Meals may not be eaten in the Library. The delivery of food to the Library is not allowed and will not be accepted.
- No person shall bring pets or animals into the Library building except those used in Library programming, working animals (as defined by ADA law) or animals used by law enforcement agencies.
- No person shall enter the Library building without wearing proper attire, including shirt and shoes. If a person’s bodily hygiene is so offensive as to constitute a nuisance to others, they may be asked to leave the building.
- Patrons are allowed in those portions of the Library facilities that are open for public use. Patrons shall not enter areas of the building designated “staff only” except when accompanied or directed by a staff member.
- The use of athletic equipment is not permitted in the Library or on Library grounds.
- All motor vehicles, bicycles, scooter, or any other kind of transportation shall be parked outside the building in designated areas. Roller-skates, rollerblades and skateboards may not be used in the building or on the premises. The only modes of transportation allowed inside the building are individual devices needed by the physically handicapped, baby carriages or strollers.
- Loitering in the Library building, on Library steps, entryway or Library property thereby creating a nuisance to those who are trying to enter or exit the building or to use Library resources is prohibited. Patrons shall be engaged in activities associated with the use of a public Library while in the building or on Library premises. Patrons not engaged in reading, studying, using Library materials or resources, attending meetings or Library programs shall be required to leave the premises.
- While on the premises of the Library, no person shall obtain or attempt to obtain signatures to petition, conduct surveys or investigations, distribute printed material, solicit or do selling or fundraising of any kind without the authorization of the Library Director.
Individuals violating any of these rules may be asked to leave by the staff member in charge. Individuals refusing to leave may be arrested for trespass. They may also, in appropriate circumstances, have their Library privileges revoked or suspended by the Library Director and/or be subject to legal proceedings. A written appeal of such revocation or suspension can be submitted to the Library Board of Trustees. The appeal will be reviewed and decided by the Library Board of Trustees and their decision will be final.
This Code of Conduct revised by the Board of Trustees on September 20, 2017
The following amendments to the Code of Conduct were approved by the Library Board of Trustees at their regular meeting on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, and are designed to safeguard public heath during the COVID-19 crisis:
- Face coverings that completely cover the mouth and nose are required while in the Library. Masks, bandanas or scarves are acceptable. Hands, shirts, or other clothing are not acceptable face coverings.
- Maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet from other patrons and staff at all times.
- No one under age 14 may enter the Library without a parent, guardian or other responsible adult who will supervise their behavior while in the Library.
- No more than 50 patrons are allowed in the Library at one time. Only three members of a household may enter at one time.
- No more than two people may occupy a quiet study room at the same time.
- No individual may remain inside the Library building for more than one hour.
- Public computer sessions are limited to 30 minutes.
- Outside furniture may not be brought into the Library.
Policies for Public Use of the Library
It is the policy of the Mahwah Public Library to prohibit all animals from entering Library facilities, with the exception of service animals, service animal trainees and animals featured in programs sponsored by the
Mahwah Public Library.
Exceptions for Service Animals
“Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s
disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.”(1)
Effective March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under ADA titles II and III. Housebroken miniature horses are also covered under ADA guidelines.
“’Guide dog’ means a dog used to assist deaf persons or which is fitted with a special harness so as to be suitable as an aid to the mobility of a blind person, and is used by a blind person who has satisfactorily completed a specific course of training in the use of such a dog, and has been trained by an organization generally recognized by agencies involved in the rehabilitation of the blind or deaf as reputable and competent to provide dogs with training of this type.” (2)
Staff may ask if an animal is a pet or a service animal required because of a disability; they can also ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform. Owners of service animals or service animals in training will indicate that they are working animals and not pets. Terms used may include assistance, service, guide, hearing or helping animal.
Staff may not ask about the owner’s disability. A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his or her service animal or service animal in training from the library unless the presence, behavior or actions of the service animal constitutes an unreasonable risk of injury or harm to property or other persons. In these cases, library staff should give the person with the disability the option to obtain library services without having the services animal or service animal in training on the premises. Fear of allergies, annoyance on the part of other patrons or employees or fear of animals are generally not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people with service animals or service animals in training.
Individuals with disabilities may bring their service animals into all areas of the library where members of the public are normally allowed to go. All service animals must be under the full custody and control of
their handler at all times. All service animals must be on a leash or harness at all times unless the handler is unable to leash or harness the animal because of a disability or use of a leash or harness would
interfere with the animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks. If the service animal cannot be leashed or harnessed, it must be otherwise under the handler’s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means). Owners of the service animals are solely responsible for the supervision and care of the service animal. Therefore, owners must keep the service animal directly with them at all times.
Pursuant to State law, owners of service animals are responsible for any damages caused by their animals.(3)
(1) “ADA 2010 Revised Requirements, Service Animals” http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
(2) N.J.S.A 10:5-5(s).
(3) N.J.S.A. 10:5-29(c)
Policy adopted: 17 July 2013
Last reviewed: 17 July 2013
Computer Use in General
The Library provides computers, Internet access and age-appropriate software to its constituents in the children’s room, teen area and adult area. Patrons agree to abide by the general Code of Conduct and this Computer & Internet Use Policy while using the Library’s computers. The Library also offers wireless Internet access to patrons who prefer using their personal Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
The Library uses a reservation system to ensure that computer use is fairly allocated among all patrons. Patrons may use the computers for 60 minutes per day; additional time may be available if no other patrons are waiting. Mahwah residents are requested to have a Mahwah Library card in good standing to use a computer. Non-residents may obtain a one-day guest pass from Library staff.
Patrons may download files to flash drives only. The Library is not responsible for damage to patrons’ storage devices, or for any theft or loss of data, damage or liability that may occur due to a computer virus or malicious software contracted from patron use of the Library’s computers, equipment, wireless network or Internet access.
Library resources may not be used to conduct or advertise a private business, to perform any illegal activity, to harass or defame others, to gain prohibited access to copyrighted materials, to modify/gain access to computer systems, files, passwords, or data belonging to others, or deliberately propagate computer viruses.
Use of the Library computers is free; however the Library charges for printing.
The Library’s computer workstations are set up for optimal usage by a single individual. In some cases, such as a parent/guardian with children, it may be important for two or more people to work together at a computer workstation. However, if the activities of a group interfere with the effective use of the Library by others, group members will be asked to correct the behavior, or leave the computer area.
The Library endorses the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read. It is, however, understood that the Library’s Public Computers are located in public space. Staff reserves the right to request that a patron exit a website if the staff member judges the material to be inappropriate for public viewing.
Display or transmission of sexually explicit graphics or materials that are violent, obscene, pornographic or harmful to minors is strictly prohibited in the Library.
In accordance with New Jersey State law and the Library’s Confidentiality Policy, the Library recognizes the need to protect library users’ right to confidentiality regarding the questions asked, materials borrowed and information obtained through the Library. This extends to the use of electronic resources.
When a computer session is ended, all information about that session is automatically deleted. The Library does not, as part of its regular practice, retrieve or store any information, including websites visited, passwords, credit card numbers, or any other information a user has entered. At the end of the business day, all personally identifiable computer use and reservation records other than what is required for statistical reporting are erased.
The Library offers unfiltered Internet access on adult PCs and filtered internet access on teen PCs. Designated Children’s PCs have restricted internet access, as outlined below.
The Internet, as an information resource, enables the Library to provide information beyond the confines of its own collection. It allows access to ideas, information and commentary from around the globe. As such, while it offers a wealth of excellent information, it also enables access to material that may be controversial, unreliable, misleading, personally offensive, or illegal under U.S. law.
The Mahwah Public Library assumes responsibility only for the information provided on its home page, www.mahwahlibrary.org, which is designed and maintained by Library staff. The Library does not accept responsibility for the content, accuracy or suitability of information gained from other Internet sites. Users are responsible for determining that the information they access is acceptable, reliable and suitable to their needs.
The Library provides high-speed, wireless, or “Wi-Fi,” access for patrons who bring in their own laptop or wireless-enabled device for use in the Library. This service is free and there are no time limits for using the wireless network.
The public wireless network is “open” and unsecured. No special usernames, passwords or other credentials are required to access this network. Individuals wishing to use the network should be familiar with configuring their device to connect to a wireless network. Staff may provide limited assistance, but cannot configure or change settings on a patron’s device.
Wireless users are urged to take appropriate measures, including installing anti-virus software and a personal firewall, to protect their device and confidential information while using the wireless network. Use of the wireless connection is entirely at the risk of the user and the Library disclaims any and all liability for any damage to any patron’s hardware or software configurations.
Use by Minors
The Library affirms the right and responsibility of parents and legal guardians to determine and monitor their own children’s use of Library materials and resources. The Library has neither the right nor the responsibility to act in place of a parent or guardian (in loco parentis) and assumes no responsibility for the use of the Internet by minors.
Parents are responsible for establishing and enforcing family computer guidelines for their minor children. Children younger than middle school-age must use the Children’s Room.
Policy adopted: 13 July 2013
Policy reviewed: 13 July 2013
The Library values transparency in government and abides by the Open Public Records Act, PL 2001, Chapter 404 N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq., and makes its records, except for certain exceptions outlined in the law, accessible for inspection, copying or examination.
OPRA defines a “government record” under N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1 as:
“any paper, written or printed book, document, drawing, map, plan, photograph, microfilm, data processed or image processed document, information stored or maintained electronically or by sound-recording or in a similar device, or any copy thereof, that has been made, maintained or kept on file in the course of his or its official business by any officer, commission, agency or authority of the State or of any political subdivision thereof, including subordinate boards thereof, or that has been received in the course of his or its official business by any such officer, commission, agency or authority of the State or of any political subdivision thereof, including subordinate boards thereof. The term shall not include inter-agency or intra-agency advisory, consultative, or deliberative material.”
Electronic communication, including email, is treated in the same way as all other communication and subject to the same rules.
Library records, the primary purpose of which is to provide for control of the circulation or other public use of library materials, defined in N.J.S.S 18A:73-43.1 are confidential under the law and require a subpoena issued by a court to be released (N.J.S.A 18A:73-43.2).
Certain records, as outlined in N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1 et seq. may be excluded from OPRA requests, including, but not limited to: intra-agency advisory, consultative or deliberative material; privileged communications; some security measures and techniques; some personally identifying information; some employment records; and, records pertaining to an investigation in progress by any public agency.
All Requests under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) must be made in writing on the form provided by the Library, which includes additional information, procedures and requirements. All requests under OPRA shall be hand-delivered, mailed, transmitted electronically, or otherwise conveyed to the Library Director, who is Custodian of the Records for the Library.
1. The Library Director will act as Custodian of Records for the Library.
2. The Library Director will acknowledge receipt of OPRA requests within one business day and will review the request to determine if the requested records are excluded under law. The Library Director may consult with the Library’s legal counsel if necessary.
2a. Records that are not excluded will be made available to view or will be reproduced and the person placing the request will be notified within seven business days. A fee of $0.05 for copying letter or $0.07 for legal size papers, or the actual cost of reproducing other formats, whichever is greater, will be assessed as well as other costs as permitted by the OPRA.
2b. Requests for records that are excluded from being released will be denied and the person placing the request will be notified within seven business days. The notification will include the reason for denial. A person who is denied access to a Library record can file suit in Superior Court or file a complaint with the Government Records Council under N.J.S.A. 47:1A-6.
3. The Library will keep a complete record of all requests, including the original OPRA request form, a list of records retrieved, time needed to compile the information.
Policy Adopted: 15 May 2013
Last Revised: 15 May 2013
To establish guidelines for the collection and use of photographs and videos by the staff of the Mahwah Public Library (hereinafter “Library”), and, to establish under which conditions photos or videos may be taken by the public, creative film industry or news media (“third person”).
The duty of fulfilling the Library’s mission is its first priority and the filming and photography described below is allowed only to the extent that it does not interfere with the provision of library services and is consistent with the Library’s Mission Statement and stipulated rules regulations and policies. Filming on Library property should not be construed to imply Library endorsement of the film or its message.
All photographic, video, or audio recordings made within the Library facilities must be authorized by the Library Director or his/her designee. Use of Library facilities for photographs, video, or audio recording is governed by the Board of Trustees of the Mahwah Public Library, whose resolutions formulate the policy for staff and patrons to follow.
Use of Library locations requires special permission in most circumstances. For example, special permission is needed for access to certain areas where video shoot activities might interrupt the normal flow of patron activity, business, or traffic; or where a video shoot might interfere with staff workflow and concentration.
Note that any third person granted permission to film or photograph on Library premises will have sole responsibility for gaining all necessary releases and permissions from persons who are filmed or photographed. The Library undertakes no responsibility for obtaining these releases. Since the mission of the Library is to provide and promote an atmosphere conducive to education, lifelong learning, and research, it reserves the right to limit photographic, video, or audio recording activities to assure that this atmosphere is maintained. In general, access will be limited to public and public service areas of the Library. Access to staff areas and other areas closed to the public may be evaluated and approved on a case-by-case basis.
1. All third persons involved in filming and photography are expected to follow the Library’s policies.
2. Library staff may terminate any photo session that appears to compromise the Library’s policies, public safety or security.
3. Failure to obtain releases and permissions from persons being filmed or photographed will be deemed unacceptable behavior for purposes of enforcing the Library’s mission and policies and will result in immediate termination of the project.
4. The Library Director reserve the right to determine the appropriateness of any proposed content. No negative presentations, perceptions created or portrayals of the Library, nor any negative Librarian stereotypes, will be agreed upon.
Photography for Library Purposes
The Library periodically sponsors or conducts classes or events during which there may be photographs or videos of participants. Since the Library is a public facility, photos and videos of adults and children attending these classes or events may be taken and used for Library purposes. Library staff that are working during a Library event and are responsible for taking photos/videos will be wearing appropriate Library identification and where required shall introduce themselves to potential subjects that may be featured in photography/video images for the Library.
Attendance at a Library sponsored class or event constitutes the consent of all attendees, and the consent of the parents or legal guardians of any minor children in attendance, to the future broadcast, publication, or other use of photographs, videos or other recordings at the sole discretion of the Library.
The Library may utilize photos and videos from public programs and events at Library facilities and Library spaces on its website, social media, and in Library publications. Photos, images, and videos submitted to the Library by users for online galleries or contests may also be used by the Library for promotional purposes. To ensure the privacy of all individuals, including children, images will not be identified using full names or personal identifying information without written approval from the photographed subject, parent or legal guardian.
Photography in Conjunction with Room Rentals
Community organizations holding scheduled events or meetings in the library study or meeting rooms may arrange for their own photography or videotaping/recording of their event. Such photography and videotaping is restricted to the space reserved by the group, the people in the group, and the group is responsible for any necessary releases and permissions.
Casual amateur photography and videotaping is permitted in Library facilities by patrons and visitors wanting a remembrance of their visit provided that the photography does not interfere in any way with Library operations or capture any identifiable likenesses of individuals without their permission. Any such photographers are responsible for arranging all necessary releases and permissions from persons who are filmed or photographed. Except as otherwise permitted in the section “Photography for Library Purposes,” under no circumstances may anyone take a photo or film a Library patron without the express consent of the individual, or their parent/guardian, if a minor. The use of additional equipment such as lighting is not permitted.
News Media Photography
The Library has an open-door policy for news media photographers and reporters who are doing stories or projects that directly involve the Library and its programs. Authorization for news media photography must be obtained in advance from the Library Director.
The Library does not grant permission for news media to use its facilities for stories or projects that do not relate to the Library itself; however, research photography of the Library’s materials and resources are permitted within certain limitations (see “Research Photography” section below). It disallows using Library facilities as interview venues for unrelated stories, and disallows access to library patrons for opinion polls or man on the street interviews within its facilities.
Documentary-Type Photography for Publication or Broadcast
The Library permits photography of its premises and activities when the use of the photographs involves the Library directly, i.e. books, articles, or videos about the Library itself, the Library’s role as a destination for lifelong learning in the township, or as part of a piece used to describe the region’s environs. Authorization for documentary photography must be obtained in advance from the Library Director.
The Library permits research photography of its materials and resources within certain limitations. Due to the rarity and delicate nature of archival materials held in the Library’s local history collection and other special collections, authorization to photograph these items must be obtained from the Library Director to photograph these items. Because of these issues, permission to reproduce materials from these divisions may in some cases be denied or involve a fee. Please discuss your needs with a staff member in these areas before planning your project to obtain advance authorization.
Researchers and journalists are responsible for obtaining their permissions from the copyright holder when photographing copyrighted material in the Library, including items in the local history collection.
Movie, Broadcast Television, Cable, and Music Industries
The Library will permit use of its facilities by the movie, television, cable or music industries for filming major entertainment projects where a library setting is called for, if the project does not interfere with the mission of the Mahwah Public Library, is in accordance with the rest of this policy and does not advertise or promote commercial products.
Because the Library wishes to avoid any appearance, no matter how slight, of impropriety or impression of political preference, the Library will not permit filming related to political campaigns or to partisan issues.
Those projects permitted in this category must be approved in advance through the Library Director and Board of Trustees, with details worked out in advance with the Library. Such filming may take place only during hours approved by the Library Director, and all technical staff, including talent, and equipment for the entertainment shoot must not interfere with Library staff and patron activity.
Should any time be deemed necessary and approved by the Library for access to the Library premises outside the Library’s hours of operation all costs associated to have Library personnel and separate security (such as an off-duty police officer) necessary to open, secure, and remain on the premises during such shoot, will be billed and paid at overtime rates in advance by the production company.
The Library does not permit commercial photography on or in its facilities. This includes, but is not limited to, using library buildings, grounds or interiors as a stage set for portraiture, model photography, and product photography. This includes photography or filming used to advertise goods or services unrelated to the Library for commercial sale or promotion.
Adopted by the Mahwah Public Library Board of Trustees 4/17/2019.
All records concerning library users and materials used or checked out by users are confidential and will not be made available to any other person or agency of the federal, state, county or local governments unless a court order, subpoena or search warrant requiring disclosure has been entered by a court of competent jurisdiction or persons acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the library.
As a public institution, the Library is legally required to comply with information requests pursuant to the USA Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruction Terrorism Act, P.L. 107-56, Oct 26, 2001). In providing information pursuant to this act or by other court order, the Library shall follow the following procedures.
Under the USA Patriot Act, the person whose records are subject to a search warrant may not be notified that a search warrant has been served. A supervisor or the Library’s attorney may be contacted without a violation of the act. Staff shall not inform anyone else of the existence of the search warrant.
The act absolves all institutions and employees from any liability for releasing personal information in compliance with a FISA search warrant. If a staff member fails to comply with an information request, or if information respecting a search warrant is disclosed other than to a supervisor or the Library’s attorney, the staff member may be held legally liable for such failure to comply, including being charged with contempt of court.
If any staff member has any questions concerning this policy, he/she should direct their questions to the Library Director. The Library Director, after consulting with the Library’s attorney, will respond to the inquiry.
1. Staff should be trained and required to report any threats or unauthorized demands concerning circulation and other records to the director (e.g., if the demands are not supported by a search warrant, subpoena issued by a court or a court order).
2. Every request for information relating to circulation or other records identifying the names of library users must be referred to the Director or Supervising Librarian, who shall explain the confidentiality policy. For example, if a staff member receives a request for a library record, the staff member should immediately refer the request to the library director or the director’s designee.
3. If the library receives a search warrant, the director should allow the search to proceed immediately.
4. The director, upon receipt of a subpoena issued by a court, or a court order, should contact an attorney who is familiar with library law to determine if the subpoena (or order) is in good form. For example, a subpoena will always have the word “subpoena” written at the top, and will always give the library a few days to comply with (or challenge) the request.
5. If a subpoena is not in proper form, the library with advice of its attorney should insist that all defects be cured before any records are released. A motion to quash the subpoena may be appropriate in some cases.
6. Any problems relating to the privacy of circulation and other records identifying the names of library users that are not provided for above shall be referred to the director.
7. In either the case of a subpoena or a search warrant, records shall be kept of all legal requests and all costs incurred by the Library (including additional staff time and replacement of equipment).
Policy adopted: 10/15/2008
Last Reviewed: 5/15/2013
1. N.J.S.A § 18A:73-43.1 (2005), “Library,” “library record” defined
a. “Library” means a library maintained by any State or local governmental agency, school, college, or industrial, commercial or other special group, association or agency, whether public or private.
b. “Library record” means any document or record, however maintained, the primary purpose of which is to provide for control of the circulation or other public use of library materials.
N.J.S.A. 18A:73-43.2 Confidentiality of library user’s records
Library records which contain the names or other personal identifying details regarding the users of libraries are confidential and shall not be disclosed except in the following circumstances:
a. The records are necessary for the proper operation of the library.
b. Disclosure is requested by the user; or
c. Disclosure is required pursuant to a subpoena issued by a court or a court order.
2. American Library Association’s Code of Ethics (1995) Section 3:
“We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.”
Selected areas of the library are equipped with video cameras for the protection and safety of customers, employees, assets, property, and to identify persons breaking the law or violating the library’s Code of Conduct. A sign is posted at the library entrance informing the public that security cameras are in use.
The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the placement and use of digital video cameras and still photographs, as well as the access and retrieval of recorded digital video images and still photographs at the Mahwah Public Library. Video monitoring and recording will be conducted in a manner consistent with all existing local and applicable laws and ordinances.
Security Camera Locations
Reasonable efforts are made to safeguard the privacy of customers and employees. The video security cameras are positioned to record only those areas specified by the Director/designee, and will complement other measures to maintain a safe and secure environment in compliance with library policies. Camera locations shall not be changed or added without permission of the Director.
Cameras may be installed in locations where staff and customers would not have an expectation of privacy. Examples include common areas of the Library such as entrances, near book and media collections, public seating, meeting rooms, delivery areas and parking lots. Cameras will not be installed in areas where staff and public have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as restrooms; nor are they positioned to identify a person’s reading, viewing or listening activities in the library.
Access to Digital Images
Library Staff, including the Director, Assistant Director/Supervising Librarian, and Security Officer(s), in the course of their normal duties, monitor and operate the live video security system.
Only the Director, Supervising Librarian and Security Supervisor are authorized to access the recorded archival data in pursuit of incidents of criminal activity, litigation, or violation of the Library Code of Conduct.
Authorized individuals, with notice to the Director, may ask other staff to review recorded data to ascertain security concerns related to a specific incident.
Such persons shall not violate any laws relevant to this policy in performing their duties and functions related to the video security system.
Library employees are to review and comply with this policy.
Use/Disclosure of Video Records
Video records may contain personally identifiable information about an individual who has used any library service or borrowed any library materials (“patron information”), and will be accorded the same level of confidentiality and protection provided to library users by New Jersey state law (including, but not limited to N.J.S.A.18A:73-43.2 “Confidentiality of library users’ records”), and Mahwah Public Library policies on confidentiality and privacy.
• Video records and still photographs may be used by authorized individuals to identify those responsible for library policy violations, criminal activity on library property, or actions considered disruptive to normal library operations as outlined in the Code of Conduct.
• Video records may be shared with authorized library employees when appropriate or, upon approval by the Director or Supervising Librarian, other library staff to identify those suspended from library property and to maintain a safe, secure and policy-compliant environment.
• Under certain circumstances, individuals authorized under this policy may use a still photograph or selected portions of recorded data to request law enforcement review for assessing the security risk of a specific individual or for investigating a crime on library property.
• Video records shall not be used or disclosed other than as specifically authorized by this policy.
All requests for security camera footage or still photographs by law enforcement will be referred to the Library Director. In his or her absence, direct requests to the Supervising Librarian.
In the event of a search warrant, which is executable immediately, library Administration will comply with the search warrant and consult with legal counsel. Upon receipt of a subpoena or other court order, library Administration shall consult with legal counsel to determine if the document is in proper form and that good cause for its issuance in a court of proper jurisdiction is demonstrated. If not, library Administration shall insist any defect be remedied before releasing records which contain patron information.
General Public Requesting Access to Security Camera Footage
Confidentiality/privacy issues prohibit the general public from viewing security recordings. If the library receives a request from the general public to inspect security camera recordings, the requesting individual(s) will be advised to file a police complaint.
Retention of Digital Images
Images from the library video security system are stored digitally on hardware in the library. Security camera footage is kept confidential and security recording equipment is housed in a locked area.
Video recordings of incidents potentially leading to legal action (e.g. including accidents, personal injury, assault, theft) whether it involves the Library or not will be saved for a period of two (2) years. Saved video recordings that are not needed after two years will be deleted.
Unauthorized Access and/or Disclosure
A breach of this Policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Any library employee who becomes aware of any unauthorized disclosure of a video record and/or a potential privacy breach has a responsibility to immediately inform the Director or Supervising Librarian.
Policy Adopted: 5/15/2013
Last Reviewed: 5/15/2013
With the safety of library patrons and staff in mind, the Mahwah Public Library will close when the Mahwah Township Public Schools close due to dangerous weather conditions. These conditions include snow, ice, freezing rain, severe wind, etc. Delayed school openings will not affect the library’s opening times.
During school vacations, on weekends and after normal school hours, the decision to open or close the Library will be at the discretion of the Library Director after consulting with the President of the Board of Trustees.
In the event the Library is closed due to severe weather, or for other unanticipated circumstances, an announcement will be recorded on the Library’s telephone system and website. Fines will not be charged for any day on which the library is closed.
Adopted: April 20, 2011
Last Reviewed: April 20,2011