Templates

Question

Local police walked through our Library earlier today with no explanation. Later on, we noticed 2 teens on premises, who we assume should have been in school. We thought the police may have been looking for them as truants, but that is not confirmed.

Answer

There is no one right answer to this question, but there is a formula for any library to come up with its own, unique answer.

Here is the formula:

[Situation] x [Ethics + Law] / [POLICY/Precedent] = YES or NO

Let me break this approach down.  And trust me, I will give a clear reply to the member's question at the end of all this.


Question

There seems to be a trend for libraries that have Friends groups to hold fundraisers, donations, and membership drives at the library. In some instances, the library collects money for the Friends and pays it to them at a later date.

Answer

Ideally, a public library does NOT handle the money of another entity, even for "Friends."  Ever.

That said, there is no law barring a library from helping out a partner or organization with cash handling for events; this "never" rule comes from risk management, not the law.  


Question

In light of recent accusations of alleged misconduct by community organization volunteers utilizing public library facilities, how should libraries protect themselves moving forward?

Answer

In 2012, I was an in-house attorney at a university when the "Penn State Scandal"[1] broke.  Along with the nation, I was horrified to learn about the serial sexual abuse of children by a powerful coach in an NCAA Division I football program--and just as critically, the system that allowed the abuse to go unchecked for so long.


Question

There are so many ways the relationship between a library and their Friends can get "complicated."

Can you provide a template for an agreement between a library and their Friends?

Answer

NOTE: As a primer to this answer, which mostly consists of the requested template, I suggest reviewing the materials in the ever-excellent "NYLA Handbook for Library Trustees,"[1] particularly the guidance and links on page 85.


Question

Can you provide a template facility use agreement for renting or allowing community groups to regularly use space in a public or association library?

Answer

Yes, I can!  But first, a few caveats:


Question

My Director has asked me to ask you the following question. In normal circumstances the library would host the meetings of local organizations that do not have a building of their own. The library hosts the meetings of organizations like "Concerned Citizens", "Race Unity Circle", the "Bahá'í society", etc.

Answer

Life is full of surprises.  When I was in third grade, I was surprised to learn that this strange country called “Canada” occupied the upper half of North America.  When I was in fifteen, I was surprised to learn that “brooch” rhymes with “roach.”[1]  And upon researching the answer to this question, I was surprised to learn that Zoom


Question

See Cole's thoughts below on the top 10 actions a NY library board can take to foster a library's mission and ensure its viability during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Answer

A note from the author:


Question

Our library is arranging more online programming in response to COVID-19 closures and reductions.  What should we be thinking about in making these arrangements?

Answer

Can a library sponsor an online class open to the public?  YES.

There are just a few details to attend to:

1.  The financial details


Question

The director of the college print shop has come to me for copyright assistance. Our faculty often ask for photocopies of materials for distribution to students in class. She asks the faculty member if they have the appropriate permissions for making copies but is not always convinced by their answers.

Answer

This question seems simple, but it actually involves some high-end concepts of business law and liability.[1]


Question

We are finding that librarians within larger institutions (like colleges and museums) are the go-to resource for copyright questions, which could also include institutional copyright concerns.  What should a librarian do if the "question" they are presented with is really an allegation of copyright infringement?

Answer

“Ask The Lawyer” has touched on this topic a bit before.  In our 9/19/17 RAQ post “Skating the Line Between Helpful Information and Legal Advice,” we discussed the risks posed when patrons and co-workers confuse the helpful attitude and boundless information provided by librarians with legal services.