Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County

Mission Statement & Policies

Mission Statement | Policies

Mission Statement

In support of its mission as a public service institution, the Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County is concerned with education, information, entertainment, and cultural enrichment of the community it serves.  The Library acquires and makes available for public use the largest, highest quality and widest range of materials and programs which its resources will permit.  


Patron Code of Conduct  |  Circulation  |  Material Selection | Adult Internet Use | Minor Internet Use

Patron Code of Conduct

The following behaviors are considered unacceptable in the library or on library property:

• Possession of alcohol, illegal drugs, or  weapons of any kind
• Unauthorized removal or attempted removal of materials
• Eating, drinking, smoking, use of other tobacco products, or public intoxication
• Remaining in the library after closing, or being in an unauthorized area
• Stealing or damaging equipment
• Vandalizing equipment or facilities
• Disruptive noise, including profane language
• Any behavior disruptive to legitimate use of the library, including running, roughhousing, fighting or throwing objects
• Any behavior that presents an eminent danger to the life or safety of others, including intentional non-emergency activation of alarmed exits, fire alarms, etc.
• Sleeping
• Verbal or physical abuse of staff or patrons
• Violation of copyright laws
• Solicitation, gambling or panhandling, including distributing printed materials or conducting surveys
• Overcrowding of tables or meeting rooms
• Disruptive use of pagers or cell phones
• Coming into the library without shoes or shirt
• Failure to supervise children
• Skateboarding, roller skating, or inline skate use
• Excessive displays of affection, or sexually inappropriate conduct
• Bringing animals into the building, except those trained to aid the disabled

Children under the age of seven (7) must be accompanied by an adult or guardian at all times.

In the event that a patron violates any of these rules, a staff member will tell the individual that his/her behavior violates the Patron Code of Conduct, and that it must stop.

If the individual continues the behavior, a staff member will inform the patron that he/she will be asked to leave the library if the behavior does not stop immediately.

Finally, if the patron continues the behavior, he/she will be asked to leave the library.  If the patron refuses, the police will be called to remove the patron from the premises.   Under no circumstances will a library employee touch the patron in any way.  The staff member who deals with the patron, and any staff members who witness the interaction, will complete an incident report.

A patron may be banned from the library for a specific amount of time.  This decision will be made by the director.  If this happens, a certified letter will be sent to the patron informing him/her of the ban, explaining what behaviors have prompted the library to take this action, and outlining what will be expected of the patron in order to return to the library.  A copy of the letter will be kept on file at the library.

If an unattended child is left at the library at closing time, one of the staff members will make sure that an adult has been contacted to pick him/her up.  A staff member will remain with the child until he/she is picked up.  If the child has not been picked up after fifteen (15) minutes, the library employee will call the police.

A patron child is never to be placed in a staff member’s automobile and taken anywhere.

Circulation Policy

Getting a Library Card:

Residents cards: Those who reside in, or own property in, Pleasant and York townships are eligible for a library card at no additional cost because a portion of their property taxes are used to support the library.

To receive a card, patrons must show a current photo I..D. and proof of residence (driver's license, utility bill, rent receipt, etc.). Patrons under the age of 16 must have a parent or guardian's or responsible adult's signature. Children are eligible for their first card at age 5. The responsible adult must show a current photo I.D. and proof of residence. The adult is responsible for materials checked out on the card until the child is 16.

Library cards are mailed to the patron. Patrons may check out up to 4 items until he or she receives the card in the mail. If another member of the family already has a card in good standing, the new card is given to the patron rather than being mailed.

Library staff will make a copy of the patron’s photo identification to put with the application. Cards expire every 2 years. Patrons must show proof of identification and residence to renew.

Non-Resident cards: Those living outside of these two townships may purchase a library card for an annual cost of $75.00 per family or $45.00 for an individual. The family card may be paid in 3 monthly installments. A summer card for the family is available from Memorial Day through Labor Day for $30.00. Patrons do not need a library card to use the library, only to check out materials.

PLAC cards: Public Library Access Cards are available to any Indiana resident with a current, valid library card from any Indiana public library. This provides access to all Indiana public libraries, although individual libraries are free to limit what materials may be checked out with a PLAC card. The Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County allows PLAC holders to borrow only books. The price of the PLAC card is set annually by the Indiana State Library, and the card is valid for one year from the date of purchase.

Reciprocal cards: The library has reciprocal borrowing agreements with the Fremont Public Library and LaGrange County Public Library. CPLSC cardholders in good standing are eligible to get library cards at the Fremont Public Library, the main library in LaGrange, or one of the branches in Topeka and Shipshewana. Patrons in good standing have a fee/fine balance under $3.00, no long overdue materials, and a current CPLSC library card. Fremont Public Library does not provide reciprocal privileges to CPLSC patrons with a Student or Teacher card.

Patrons of FPL and LCPL are eligible for CPLSC cards if the patron is in good standing at his or her home library. Reciprocal cards expire after one year, at which time the library staff will check that the patron is still in good standing at their home library to renew the patron’s CPLSC card. If the patrons’ home library card is a non-resident card, the reciprocal card expiration date will be the same as the home library card.

Student cards: Students of MSD of Steuben County who are not residents of the library district are eligible for a free library card. These cards are limited to children and young adult materials, except in some circumstances when an older student may need materials from the adult department.

Teacher cards: Teachers in the MSD of Steuben County schools who are not residents of the library district are eligible for a free library card to assist them in their teaching.

Tri-State University Student Cards: Students of Tri-State University who live on campus are eligible for a CPLSC library card with the payment of a $30.00 deposit. The deposit will be refunded when the student leaves TSU if there are no outstanding fees or fines on his or her card.

Loan Periods:

3 weeks: books, music CDs, audiobooks on tape or CD, juvenile magazines

2 weeks: new books

1 week: magazines from adult section

3 days: videocassettes, DVDs

2 months: art prints


All items are $.25 per day.

Fine maximum is $10.00.


All items may be renewed once, except for items that are on hold for another patron. Items may be renewed in person, over the phone, and on the library’s website catalog.


Items that are checked out or on order may be put on hold for a patron. When the item is returned to the library, the patron is notified by phone that the item is available. The patron has 3 days to it up. If it is not picked up, it goes to the next person in the hold queue or onto the shelf if there are no more holds. Holds can be placed through the online catalog or at the circulation desk.

Checkout Limits:

Patrons may have up to 100 items checked out at a time.

No more than 3 items by one author or on one topic may be checked out at a time.

Videocassettes are limited to 5 at a time, DVDs to 3 at a time. Family totals are limited to 10 videocassettes and 6 DVDs.

Audiobooks on tape, audiobooks on CD, and music CDs are limited to 3 of each at a time.

New books are limited to 6 at a time.

Magazines are limited to 6 total, 3 of an individual title.


Library card replacement: $2.00

Lost items or items damaged beyond repair:

Retail cost for the item plus any overdue fines accrued and a $2.00 processing fee.

If a lost item that has been paid for is found, the patron will receive a refund for the cost of the item less a $5.00 fee. Overdue fines and processing fees are not refunded.

A patron may replace a lost book with the exact same title and format in unused condition, but will be charged a $2.00 reprocessing fee.  If the lost book is found, no refund will be given.

Damaged items: If an item is returned with damage, but is still able to be circulated, the patron will be assessed a damage fee of $2.00-5.00, depending on the level of damage.

Overdue Notices:

The library mails overdue notices to patrons who have overdue materials. Three notices are sent. If the items are not returned, an invoice for the cost of the item, plus any fines and fees, is sent to the patron. At the discretion of the library, unpaid invoices may be sent to a collections agency.

Delinquent Patrons:

Individual patron cards are blocked at fees/fines of $10.00. If family fines (defined as people living at the same address) reach a total of $15.00, all cards in the family are blocked. When a card is blocked, no activity can take place until the fines are paid in full, including checkouts, renewals and computer use. Fees and fines must be paid in full to unblock the card.

Claims Returned:

If a patron has an overdue item and state that they have returned it to the library, the item will be renewed to allow the library staff and the patron a chance to look for the item. If the item is found in the library, any fines accrued will be removed from the patron’s account. If the book is not found, the item status will be changed to "Claims Returned." The item will remain on the patron’s card until it is returned or sent to Lost or Missing. Any future instances of Claims Returned will be charged to the patron as a lost item.


Materials may be returned to the book drops in the circulation desks or in the outside book drop located at the northwest corner of the building. Items should not be laid on the circulation desk.

Material Selection

The Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County provides, on equal terms, free library service to all individuals and groups within its taxing districts.  The general criteria for the selection of library books and other materials purchased by this library district are: (1) the author's reputation and significance as a writer; (2) importance of the subject matter to the library's collection; (3) scarcity of materials on the subject; (4) appearance of title in special bibliographies or indexes; (6) authoritativeness; (7) reputation and standing of the publisher; (8) price; (9) availability of materials elsewhere in the area.  It is not the obligation of the Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County to provide research materials, but it may do so incidentally.

The acceptance of gifts and donations of books and other materials shall be based on the same criteria as those for selection and purchased of books and other materials.  Books will not be accepted with restrictions as to housing or use.

Book and material selection shall be under the authority of the library director.  Staff members will participate in the selection process, and public demand will be considered to the extent that the budget permits and the demands meet the criteria listed above.

The Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County endorses as a part of the material selection policy the "Library Bill of Rights," adopted June 18, 1948, and the "Freedom to Read Statement," adopted by the American Library Association Council on June 25, 1953.

Adult Internet Use

This document constitutes a library-wide policy for the management of computer networks and the resources made available by the library, as well as any computers owned and administered by the Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County.  This policy states the ethical principles of the library as well as the privileges and responsibilities of computer users.

Patrons of the Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County who use the library’s computers must adhere to the following guidelines or lose the privilege of accessing the Internet with library computers.  The library’s Internet resources are available to all residents/property owners of Indiana.  

In keeping with our general policies, CPLSC will protect patrons’ rights to privacy and confidentiality.  Communications that reside on the computer network will be kept confidential.  However, electronic communication is not secure and networks are sometimes susceptible to outside intervention.  As a part of normal system maintenance, network administrators do monitor system activity, but the library does not reveal information about an individual’s use of computer resources unless compelled to do so by a court order. Users of email should be aware that email in its present form cannot be secured and is extremely vulnerable to unauthorized access and modification.

Responsibilities of Users:
No one owns the Internet and it cannot be legally controlled in its content or information.  Consequently the Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County is not responsible for the information that is accessed/obtained while using library computers.  Therefore, library users access and use the Internet at their own risk.  It is strongly recommended that computer users do not share passwords and that passwords are changed often.  Ultimate responsibility for the invasion of the user’s privacy or loss of data rests with the user.  The library assumes no liability for loss or damage to the user’s data or for any damage or injury arising from the invasion of a user’s privacy.

Legal Responsibilities:
Computing resources may only be used for legal purposes.  Examples of illegal use include, but are not limited to:
 a. Harassment, libeling or slandering of others,
 b. Destruction of or damage to equipment, software or data belonging to the library or other users,
 c. Violation of copyright or communication laws,
 d. Intentional propagation of computer viruses,
 e. Violation of software license agreements.

Ethical Responsibilities:
Computing resources shall be used in accordance with the library’s ethical standards.  Examples of unacceptable use include, but are not limited to:
 a. Violation of computer system security,
 b. Unauthorized use of computer accounts, access codes, or network identification numbers assigned to others,
 c. Use of computer communications facilities in ways that tie-up, interfere with, or impede computer use of others,
 d. Violation of network usage policies and regulations,
 e. Violation of another user’s privacy.

Cooperative Use:
We ask all of our library users to remain sensitive to the fact that they are working in a public environment shared by people of all ages, with a variety of interests and needs.  In order to ensure an efficient, productive computing environment, the library insists on the practice of cooperative computing.  This includes:
 a. Regular deletion of unneeded files,
 b. Refraining from overuse of connect time, information storage space, printing facilities or processing capacities,
 c. Refraining from overuse of interactive network utilities,
 d. Refraining from sounds or visuals that might be disruptive to others (THIS INCLUDES PORNOGRAPHY OF ANY KIND).

Please do not save any files to the computer’s hard drive.  Diskettes are available at the circulation desk for $1.00.  Patron diskettes may be used after they are scanned by a staff member for viruses.

Libraries rely on the cooperation of their users in order to efficiently and effectively provide shared resources and ensure community access to a wide range of information. If individuals break these acceptable use rules in any way, his/her privilege to use networked resources may be suspended for a specified time, with a permanent suspension possible for repeated violations.  Illegal acts involving library computer resources may also be subject to prosecution.

Because the Internet is a global communication network, there is not control of its users or content.  The Internet may contain materials of a controversial nature.  The Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County cannot censor access to materials not protect users from offensive information.  Parents or guardians of minor children shall assume responsibility for their children’s use of the Internet through the library’s resources.

The library staff cannot control the availability of informational links which change rapidly and unpredictably.  Not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete or current information.

The Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County assumes no responsibility for any direct or indirect damages arising from the use of its Internet resources.

Time Restrictions:
Patrons are requested to use the Internet terminals for no more that one (1) hours at one time, no more than two (2) hours total per day.  In the reference department the computers are reserved for research purposes only.  

Uses not permitted:
1. Accessing, uploading, downloading, viewing or distributing pornographic, obscene, or sexually explicit materials,
2. Transmitting obscene, abusive, or sexually explicit language,
3. Distributing any advertising messages over the library’s local area network or Internet connection,

Staff Assistance:
Staff are available to provide limited assistance for basic start up procedures.  If users have never used computers or the Internet, books and handouts are available.  There are also links from the library’s home page to help new Internet users.

Printouts are $.10 per page for text only; $.50 for color pages.

Minor Internet Use

The mission of the Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County is to provide open and equal access to ideas and information to all members of its library community.  Therefore, it is especially important to differentiate Internet use by minors, as there are inherent danger therein.

1.     The Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County supports parents and guardians in their efforts to guide their children's access to print, non-print and online information.

2.     The use of the Internet through the library's connection is a privilege, and access is voluntary.

3.     The library believes that the benefits of access to information resources provided through the Internet far outweigh the potential disadvantages of such access.

4.     The Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County seeks to preserve a minor's status as a full member of the Internet community.

5.     The library cannot control the resources on the Internet.  The Internet is not a static entity.  It changes each minute as new information is added and old information deleted.  Some sites may contain information which is inaccurate, defamatory, illegal, obscene, or potentially offensive to some.  The library can attempt to prevent direct access to materials that are not generally acceptable to a public library, but it is technically impossible to prevent access to all resources which might be objectionable to some people.

6.     It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to determine whether to place restrictions on their own children with regard to the use of the Internet.

7.     Parents/guardians are responsible for their own children's behavior while using the library's Internet connection.  The Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County assumes no liability for inappropriate conduct or acts conducted on the Internet by minors.

8.     The Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County reserves the right to deny Internet access to any minor who is found to violate the General Internet Usage Policies adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County.

9.    Age Restriction:  Patrons of the Internet under the age of ten (10) must be accompanied by a parent or guardian during the Internet session.

10.    Definition of a Minor:  Any person under eighteen (18) years of age.

11.    Uses Not Permitted:
    a. To access, upload, download or distribute pornographic, obscene, or sexually explicit materials;
    b. To transmit obscene, abusive, or sexually explicit language;
    c. To violate any local, state or federal statutes;
    d. To distribute any advertising messages over the library's local area network (LAN) and/or Internet connection.
    e. To access any Chat Room sites.

12.     Time Restriction: Patrons are requested to use the Internet terminals for no more than one hour at one time.  If there are no other patrons waiting to use the service, patrons may continue to use the system for longer at the discretion of the librarian.

13.    Liability Statement:  All parents/guardians who wish that their children have access to the library's Internet connection must read and sign a "Limitation of Liability" form supplied by the library before their child/children can use the library's Internet connection.  This form will be kept on file in the children's department for future reference by library personnel.

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