Policies

Access Policy

Douglas County Libraries (the "Library") offers its resources equitably for our customers' interest, information, education, and enjoyment. Our Library values open access and centers policy on constitutional, legal, and professional principles that have informed a century of library service. The Board of Trustees has hired the Executive Library Director to oversee all operations of the Library, including hiring knowledgeable staff to report through levels of management to the Executive Library Director and developing operating policies for such staff.

Our Library's Commitment

The Library welcomes everyone.
We will offer our community exceptional care supporting their freedom and self-determination. We will inform customer choice impartially, without interference or improper influence.
Our commitment to welcoming requires that our decisions and practices are free from discrimination and individual content preferences based on the perceived literary or social value or lack thereof of any particular type of media, material or programming. We will not discriminate on the basis of:
  • Identity: Age, race, gender, sexual orientation or expression, color, religion, national origin, military status, disability, or genetic history.
  • Beliefs or Associations: Politics, social stances, faith positions, and more.
  • Background or Personal Histories: Poverty, wealth, marital status, education, and more.
Our commitment to welcoming and nondiscrimination applies to all facets of our work.
  • Talent: Staff and contractor selection, including authors, performers, speakers, and more.
  • Facilities: Access to spaces, services, and amenities.
  • Content: Selection of print works, digital sources, displays, events, and activities.
  • The Library has historically utilized and commits to continuing the philosophy of a market-based approach to curating the Library's collections and activities, based on the demographic interests and demands of the Douglas County population as a whole, relying on the expertise of and professional standards set for Library staff. The Board of Trustees oversees the Executive Library Director in the role of implementing policy aimed at creating a welcoming and non-discriminatory environment based on any of the characteristics in this policy. This philosophy is to provide equal and free access to the Library, its materials and programs, as is required by the Colorado Library Law. In this role, the Board of Trustees shall not select, reject or oversee the location of individual titles, materials or programming. See the Curating Library Collections and Content Policy for more information.

Customer Code of Conduct

Our Library will maintain a Code of Conduct describing behavior boundaries for working with staff, using facilities, or participating in Library events.

Censorship

The Library affirms every customer's right to make choices and interact with the Library in a way that aligns with their values and beliefs. Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that individuals, groups, or government officials find objectionable or dangerous. Censors use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate, or offensive and objectionable, on everyone else. Censorship includes limiting access to, labeling, or removing materials in a manner that is not within generally accepted professional library standards. As a tax-supported agent of the State of Colorado, the Library will not suppress or limit customer access beyond legal requirements.

Customer Privacy

The Library is committed to customer privacy. The Library will comply with Colorado Revised Statutes 24-90-119 mandating the protection of customer privacy in the use of Library resources. In keeping with CRS 24-90-119, the Library maintains customer confidentiality with specific distinctions.
  • The Library will use customer information for business operations and improvement.
  • The Library will release customer identifying information only with the customer's written consent, or if such information is compelled by duly authorized legal subpoena, upon court order, or where otherwise required by law.
  • The Library will release to parents account information for their minor children upon the presentation of the minor's library card or account number.
  • The Library will release customer information pursuant to subpoena, upon court order, or where otherwise required by law.
  • A customer who engages with the Board of Trustees at a public meeting is advised that their name and other identifying information provided may be associated with any public comment made by the customer, both during the meeting and in the official minutes of such meeting. A customer who has a topic placed on the Agenda is advised that their name and any identifying information or written materials prepared and presented for such purpose shall be associated with the Agenda in the official records of a public meeting of the Board of Trustees, and the minutes of any such meeting are public records. Customer usage information not related to any public comment or presentation made by the customer at a public meeting shall not be part of the public records of such meeting.
  • The Library will release to parents account information for their minor children upon the presentation of the minor's library card or account number.
  • The Library shall comply with the Colorado Open Records Act, Colorado Open Meetings Act, and any other law regarding Library operations to the greatest extent possible, while adhering to this Customer Privacy commitment.
The Library uses surveillance equipment for specific monitoring purposes:
  • The safety and security of staff and customers.
  • Facility operations.
  • Information on property damage from vandalism, theft, or other illegal activities.
Surveillance information is for internal use only. The Library will not release surveillance information to any third party. The Executive Library Director or their designee will manage exceptions.
  • In the case that the Library is compelled to release the information by law, or
  • If Library management believes that timely release of the information is necessary for the health or safety of a customer at grave risk.

Alcohol (Social Use) Policy

General

Serving or consuming alcoholic beverages by any person or entity outside of Douglas County Libraries is prohibited on District property and within or around District buildings without the execution of and compliance with the District's event and hospitality services contract. Serving or consuming alcoholic beverages for a Douglas County Libraries activity or event is allowed when approved by the Executive Library Director, or Director of Community Engagement, and in compliance of all legal requirements.

Conditions to Prior Written Permission to Serve Alcohol

Written permission to serve and consume wine, beer, liquor, spirits, mixed drinks, or cocktails (hereinafter "alcohol") may be granted to individuals or entities only under the following conditions:
  • A written agreement shall be signed by the appropriate individual or legally authorized entity representative in the form provided by the Library. The form will require the individual or entity to provide specified general liability and other relevant insurance coverages and to indemnify the Library and its officers and employees from any and all liability for use of the Library's property, including but not limited to alcohol-related liability. Please request a written agreement from the Library for review of all applicable terms.
  • The Library's Director of Community Engagement, as applicable, must be satisfied that the alcohol service and consumption requested meets all federal, state and local laws and regulations.
  • No Library tax revenue may be used to purchase alcohol served at Library events.
  • During the event at which alcohol is proposed to be served and consumed, any and all service and consumption of alcohol must take place within the event space contracted.
  • The event at which alcohol is proposed to be served and consumed must be a closed event such that only those individuals or groups receiving written or electronic invitations are eligible to attend. The event shall not be open to the general public or large classes of the general public but must be a special event of special relevance only to a discrete group of defined attendees (e.g., the event must not be one wherein attendance is induced by advertisements, leaflets, or other materials aimed at unspecified individuals).

Violations of Library Policy

Should the Library or its staff become aware that any individual or entity is violating the Library's Alcohol (Social Use) Policy during any event held on Library property, the Library will immediately terminate the event and all event attendees will be asked to leave the Library's property forthwith. Additional consequences may be imposed on the event's organizer(s) via the written agreement specified above.

Children and Parents Policy

The foundation of Douglas County Libraries' (the "Library's") relationship with children is that parents and guardians are the arbiters of their children's use of the Library. As arbiters, parents and guardians manage what is appropriate for their children and family. In legal parlance, the Library does not act In Loco Parentis.
  • The Library supports parents and guardians as they manage their children's use of the Library by offering controls, account information, relevant descriptions of events and services, and consultation services to align Library opportunities with a family's values and needs. Parents of children 14 years of age or younger approve or validate their children's use of a library card and account. The Library will maintain options that parents can use to manage library content for children 14 years of age or younger. The Library will inform parents and guardians about these options annually as well as when they register their children for a Library card.
  • The Library demonstrates our commitment to children by curating content and environments specifically designed for them,
  • Our commitment to children exists inside a foundational mission to present a world of ideas and serve our entire community. The Library will not limit every customer's choices merely because a child might access content. However, content will be placed within the recommended area of the Library using commonly accepted professional resource recommendations.
  • The Library expects that parents and guardians are responsible for their children's choices, behavior and well-being in the Library. If Library staff believe that a child is unattended or vulnerable, they will make a good-faith attempt to contact the child's parent or guardian before referring the matter to law enforcement.

Citizen Review Request Policy

Douglas County Libraries' (the "Library") recognizes the importance of a process that customers can use to voice opinions, ask for changes, and request redress of grievances to Library decisions. The Citizen Review Request Policy covers all facets of Library services. The Citizen Review Request process affords higher levels of management review of staff decisions to determine if those decisions were made competently and aligned with Library policy and the law.
The Library's Access Policy and other policies on facility usage set forth the Library's strong commitment to public access to Library materials and services, and, along with the other adopted policies of the Library, will be the foundation upon which any request for review shall be based. Citizens should understand that all Library services may not appeal to each person equally, and the Library as a whole, its staff and Board of Trustees, is not a judicial body. Laws governing obscenity, subversive materials, and other questionable matters are subject to interpretation by the courts. The Citizen Review Request Policy is intended to provide a forum for important feedback about the services the Library provides—including content creation, inventories, facilities, Library-sponsored events, displays, and limitations placed on customer access—however, a Review Request will not be reviewed based on the perceived value or lack of value of any particular material or service, or political, social, religious, or activist position of the requesting party, and rather, in keeping with the law, shall be reviewed within the overall policy direction from the Board of Trustees to the Executive Library Director and staff.
Non-library sponsored events shall not be reviewed under the Citizen Review Request policy.
The Library was formed and is supported by Douglas County citizen taxpayers. While anyone may seek a citizen review, public policy requests advocating for substantive changes to Library services are the prerogative of Douglas County citizens alone.

The Process

  1. Citizens advocating for any change should begin with conversations with staff with expertise in the area under consideration.
  2. If a citizen doesn't achieve a satisfactory result in that dialog, they may formally initiate a written request using the Citizen Review Request form for review with the Executive Library Director. The Library will generally provide a response within 21 business days from receipt of a written request to respond, but may require additional time for a voluminous request. If more time is necessary, an estimated time for response will be communicated to the citizen requesting review. The Executive Library Director will conduct any fact-finding, policy review, legal review, or other inquiries as appropriate in the preparation of the response. The Executive Library Director will provide a written response to the requesting party, if such party has provided their identifying information, and will make an informational report of the request (without identifying information) to the Board of Trustees, as an important check-and-balance on performance.
  3. Requests on the same topic of concern by the same individual or group will be not be entertained after the first two requests. If a group of citizens initiates the same or similar request, the Executive Library Director may direct a response to all citizens included in the same or similar request.
  4. Following receipt of the Executive Library Director's response, a Citizen Review Request may be escalated to the Board of Trustees, in writing addressed to the President of the Board, if a citizen seeks a change in general policy or if a citizen believes that their request was not handled in a fashion that aligns with the Library's policies, including but not limited to its Brand promise and service commitment. The President of the Board will advise the Board of Trustees of receipt of any such request. If a majority of the Board of Trustees requests the President to add the topic for cause to review any Library policy or staff administration of the same, or to discuss any matter identified in the request within the scope of the Board of Trustees' legislative role, the topic(s) will be added to a future Board Agenda. However, as a non-judicial body, the Board of Trustees will not review any such request for change to policy based upon either an individual Trustee's personal beliefs or a citizen's recommendations from a political, religious, social or activist view. If the individual requesting review wishes to personally address the topic to the Board of Trustees during the listed Agenda item, such individual, and not just the topic of the request, shall be added to the Agenda.
  5. The Board of Trustees may determine to have a verbal or written report presented from staff involved in the review process, require a written summary of the review process, and consider application of its policies to the request. If the Board determines in its legislative function to further evaluate policy or procedures, including any proposed amendments to the same, such discussion shall be tabled until the next opportunity for the Board to review proposed amendments for a determination. The Board makes any decisions on such citizen request by following their voting processes outlined in Board Bylaws.
  6. Request about Library Policy or performance may also be made in person at a public meeting, and the process outlined for review shall be initiated through appropriate staff.

Colorado Open Records Policy

Douglas County Libraries (the "Library") responds and complies with the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) quickly and efficiently as required by Colorado law – C.R.S 24-72-201.

How to Make a Request

Customers are required to make requests using only the Library's official CORA request form. CORA requests cannot be made anonymously.

CORA Request Costs and Deposit

Colorado Law Section 24-72-205 (6) (b) allows tax-supported institutions to assign reasonable charges for requests. The Library assesses a nominal charge of $33.58 per hour for research and records retrieval. The Library also charges $0.25 for each page copied for a request. The Library also charges for any postage or shipping costs associated with a request. Before acting on a request estimated to take more than one hour, the Library requires a deposit equal to the total estimated hours of the request in addition to any copy and shipping charges.

Request Turnaround Expectation

The Library has three working days to respond to a request once received. The Library will communicate to the customer any extenuating circumstances that prevent a response within three working days. The extension of time can be up to an additional seven working days.
The Library will alter its policies and practices in keeping with any changes to Colorado law, and any such changes will supersede any conflicting provisions in this policy or procedures.

Contributions and Gifts Policy

Douglas County Libraries (the "Library") encourages contributions to the Library and/or to the Douglas County Libraries Foundation (the "Foundation") that are consistent with the Library vision and Foundation mission. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and operates exclusively for the benefit of the Library.
The Library or the Foundation may accept gifts, and the conditions thereto, or take similar action to reject such gifts based upon the conditions of such gifts or grants. All gifts, when accepted, become the property of the Library or the Foundation, and may not be reclaimed by the donor.
The Executive Library Director or designee will manage all development and fundraising activities with the Foundation.

Curating Library Collections and Content Policy

Douglas County Libraries (the "Library") aligns with Colorado library statutes and the First Amendment in purchasing and developing digital and physical content inventories. Free and open access to materials is foundational to our Library's history as well as over one hundred years of library service across our County. The Library's Access Policy is foundational to Library collection management.
Customer demand is our priority and guide in selecting and retaining items for the inventory. Library staff are charged with using usage patterns, sales data, publisher marketing investments, and customer requests to ground decisions to select, locate and retain items. Letting the marketplace ground curation is the best way to mitigate staff or customer pre-conceived philosophies or biases.
  • Curation refers to the decision to add, retain, remove, shelve, locate or display materials in Library inventories. The Library offers content in a variety of formats to meet customer demand.
  • Douglas County Libraries' Archives & Local History collects and preserves historic photos and the documentary history of Douglas County, Colorado.
  • In addition to demand, the Library will employ additional and customary professional criteria in making specific decisions about titles:
    • Documented community needs and interests
    • Contemporary significance
    • Attention from bona-fide critics and reviewers with expertise in relevant fields
    • Author reputation and expertise in the field
    • Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
    • Relationship to the existing inventory
    • Availability of content from sources other than purchase
    • Durability of the format and whether the item can meet the rigors of public use
    • Price and availability from our approved vendors.
Managing and developing Library content are operational duties. Library staff perform these duties under the direction of the Executive Library Director. The Library's Citizen Review Request Policy describes how customers can advocate for change in regard to Library collections through discussions and requests of Library staff.

Internet Access Policy

Douglas County Libraries (the "Library") applies its Access Policy commitments to internet use (Wi-Fi and technology devices), but with distinctions relevant to both legal boundaries and the digital world.
  • The internet has been declared to be an extraordinary, unique and unparalleled educational resources and source of knowledge and information. Colorado has adopted specific standards related to public libraries such that children using the Library's internet may be provided internet access without accessing what the General Assembly believes to be harmful material, while securing the rights of the general adult population to be able to responsibly access internet services without certain filters.
  • Both federal and Colorado law require internet filtering and circumstances under which the library may remove filters. The Library will fully comply with these legal mandates (Colorado Revised Statute 24-90-601; Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), Pub.L.No. 106-554). The Library has adopted a policy of internet safety for minors (defined as any person who has not attained the age of seventeen years) to prohibit access to internet-based material that is obscene, child pornography or harmful to minors, as defined by law.
  • The Library does not permit illegal activities conducted through any library technology system. The Library will pursue appropriate legal action, including prosecution of suspects. Illegal activities, as defined by law, include and are not limited to accessing or trafficking in obscene content, child pornography, violations of copyright, and a variety of activities generally described as "criminal." In general, the Library expects customers will be both law-abiding and civil. As appropriate, the Library will monitor customer use of internet resources to validate system security and policy compliance.

Library Facilities and Spaces Policy

Douglas County Libraries (the "Library") facilities are a community resource and are offered in keeping with our citizens' constitutional rights for free speech and to assemble. The Library's Access Policy is the basis for use of Library facilities—resources made available in an equitable and impartial manner. Limitations on the use of Library facilities must reflect the Customer Code of Conduct or be due to practical business needs and availability.

Displays

Staff creation and management of displays will align with both the Library's Access Policy and Curating Library Collections and Content Policy.
The Library will make exhibit, displays, and bulletin board space available to citizens engaged in cultural, intellectual, recreational, civic, educational, or charitable activities.
The Library will apply guidelines equitably to the manner, method and timing of bulletin boards, exhibits and displays. These guidelines may also prohibit items that are in violation of any laws—content that is obscene or deemed to be derogatory or offensive to civil standards.
Use of the Library's facilities for displays, exhibits or notices does not constitute agreement or endorsement of the views presented by the Library, its Board of Trustees, or staff.

Event and Meeting Spaces

The Library will make event and meeting spaces available to citizens engaged in business, cultural, intellectual, recreational, civic, educational, or charitable activities.
The Library may charge for services tied to value-added services for event and meeting spaces.
A group's use of Library event and meeting spaces does not imply any endorsement of that group's opinions or views by the Library, its Board, or staff.

Petitions and Free Speech Activities

The Library recognizes and values free speech and is cognizant of our role as a respected, impartial provider of information and services. The Library is a welcoming community space. The Library endeavors to ensure that customers can enter and exit facilities safely, unimpeded, and without being unduly hindered. Members of the public may use designated exterior areas for free speech activity, subject to time, manner and place limitations. These time, manner and place limitations apply to everyone at all Library locations.

Programs Policy

Douglas County Libraries (the "Library") will purchase, craft, produce, and deliver programs—educational, arts, and event/entertainment offerings—that respond to community demand. The Library's Access Policy is foundational to this work.

Oversight and Curation

Managing programs is a function of Library operational duties. Library staff perform these duties under the direction of the Executive Library Director.
The Library will curate opportunities that align with organizational and community priorities, with effort to present a world of ideas:
  • Library Vision
  • Brand
  • Business Strategy
  • Budget
  • Community Partnerships
The Library's Citizen Review Request Policy is an opportunity for customers to advocate for substantive policy and operational changes around all Library service, including programs. The Board of Trustees exercises oversight through budget stewardship, direction of the Library's business plan and review of Library policies, and performance evaluation of the Executive Library Director in following the laws of the State, the Constitution, and implementing the policies adopted by the Board of Trustees. Any program Review Request will not be reviewed based on the perceived value or lack of value of any particular program or service, and rather, in keeping with the law, shall be reviewed within the overall policy direction from the Board of Trustees to the Executive Library Director and staff.

Communication

To maximize the value of offerings and assist customers in choosing programs that are a fit for them and their family, the Library will market and communicate program availability and relevant details. The Library will provide recommended age ranges for children's offerings.

Talent and Endorsements

The Library will routinely engage and employ authors, speakers, musicians, and similar talents in support of programs. Library engagement of talent does not imply endorsement of any of their constitutionally protected views, speech, or associations. Any outside group requesting use of Library facilities for an event not produced by the Library shall conform to the policies and procedures regarding facility use. Non-library-sponsored events are not screened by the Library for nor is access prevented based on the 'perceived value of lack of value' of such event, and are not under the sponsorship, direction or control of the Library except in their adherence to facility use requirements.

Staff Policies

Volunteer Policy

Volunteer time on behalf of Douglas County Libraries (the "Library") is one of the most important ingredients to the success of a free public library system. While generally categorized as "in-kind" services contributed to the Library, the Board of Trustees gratefully accepts volunteer efforts on behalf of the Library. Volunteers are recognized for their support.
The Executive Library Director shall document volunteer activities at least annually for the Board.
Volunteers are responsible for following the guidelines outlined in the DCL Volunteer Handbook.
Adopted by the Library Board on December 6, 2023.