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Library Policies

List of Policies

The library board has established these policies to govern the library. These policies serve as a blue print for effective library operation, underscore the library's service philosophy and ensure that customers receive consistent service.  The policies are reviewed regularly to help guarantee that they remain timely.


  1. Patrons will be required to register for a library card.
  2. Children twelve years and under must have a parent or guardian permission.
  3. Criteria for applications:
  • Reside within the city of Winthrop.
  • Resident of Buchanan County, not living within any incorporated city limits.
  • Students attending any East Buchanan Public School, or employees.
  • Within a contracting city.


  1. Any incorporated city in the county having a library is an exchange library.
  2. If they are in good standing with their home library, patrons from an exchange town may use their hometown library card at the Winthrop Library.


  1. Anyone wishing to check out materials must present their name or library number, providing they do not have overdue materials or unpaid fines.
  2. Recommended number of items checked out at a time: adult’s 4-5 books, easy 3-10, and young adults, 3-5.
  3. The library staff reserves the right to limit books by the same author or same subject to two per patron or family, in the case of new patrons.
  4. For limited time periods, the library staff may shorten the circulation on some heavily used books in a particular subject area.
  5. All items are loaned for a period of three weeks. They may be renewed one time for another three weeks.
  6. Reference books such as encyclopedias, dictionaries and atlases may not be checked out or taken from the Library.


  1. Reserves or holds may be placed for items owned, but not in. Staff will notify the patron when the item is in.
  2. If after three working days, the staff  is unable to notify a patron of a reserve item, the staff will contact the next person on the waiting list. If no one else is waiting for the item, the staff will return it to the shelf.


  1. It is the responsibility of the library patron to return all books, DVDs, etc. to the library on, or before the due date. As a courtesy to patrons, the staff will attempt to contact the patron regarding overdue items.  If items are not returned within one week after contact, further action may result in a fine or replacement fee associated with the overdue items.  The county attorney may also be contacted. The length of time before a county attorney is contacted is three months for adult books and six months for children’s.
  2. Anyone not returning overdue items may not check out additional library materials until the overdue item is returned or replaced.
  3. The patron is expected to pay a replacement cost of any materials that are lost or damaged.


  1. Items not found in the Winthrop Library may be requested through the Northeastern Iowa Regional Library System and SILO Program.
  2. Interlibrary loans will not be taken from patrons who reside in exchange towns with an existing public library.
  3. Once an Interlibrary loan item is received, the staff will notify the patron by phone. If the item is not picked up within five days of notice, the items will be returned.
  4. The library is to pay for the return postage on any items that come in the postal service, with the patron paying a nominal $1 fee to help cover return postage.
  5. Answers to ready reference questions by telephone or in person are provided during the library’s hours of operation.
  6. Patrons involved in lengthy research projects will receive guidance on resource and researching methods. However, the library staff does not preform research services. Patron questions may be forwarded to the Northeastern Iowa Regional Library.


  1. The Winthrop Library participates in the Open Access program.
  2. Patrons with a Winthrop Library card may check out library materials from participating libraries and return those items to the Winthrop Library, to be returned to that library where items were checked out, at no cost to the patron.


  1. The Winthrop Library participates in the Access Plus Program.
  2. When another library within the state request material, it will be sent either by mail or by regional library delivery service.
  3. There will be no charge for this service, although donations for postage are accepted. 


  1. Books and authors: When patrons want to know if the library has a specific book or particular author, the librarian will search the computer catalog for that answer.
  2. Periodicals: Magazines containing more up-to-date information than books are available. Patrons who need the most current facts are encouraged to use Internet resources.
  3. Homework: Library staff does not supply answers to homework questions but will help locate an answer.
  4. Professional opinions: Medical and legal literature is kept in the library for patron use. However, the library staff does not interpret or give opinions on such questions.
  5. Contests, quizzes, and crossword puzzles: These questions are not answered, but the patron will be directed to sources from which the answer might be found.


  1. All books and other property left in the library for five working days will become the property of the library. All attempts will be made to find the owner of the lost property.
  2. Books from other libraries will be returned to the appropriate library.


  1. The selection of books and material for the library is the Library Director’s responsibility. The Director will take notice of opinions and judgment of others.
  2. Selections of books and materials shall be made on the basis of their degree of interest and information. No books or materials shall be excluded because of the race, nationality, political or social view of the author.
  3. Gift books and materials will be evaluated and accepted using the same criteria as used in the Collection Development policy of the library.
  4. Books and other materials will be accepted on the condition that the librarian has the authority to make whatever disposition they deem appropriate.
  5. The library will not accept materials which are not outright gifts.
  6. Religious materials purchased or accepted as gifts may be of a general nature.
  7. Special requests or recommendations by patrons are always considered. Acceptance of such a request does not mean that the library is obligated to purchase the item.
  8. While the library is sympathetic to the needs of the students, it is not the primary responsibility of the library to provide curriculum-centered materials for them.
  9. The addition of a book to the library’s collection in no way represents an endorsement of any theory, idea, or policy contained therein.
  10. The Director uses the selection tools such as “Library Journal” and “Booklist” to help select library materials.


  1. Parents who give children permission to check out audios/videos assume liability for lateness, loss, or damage. Parents are responsible for assisting children in the selection of titles.
  2. The loan period for movies is three weeks.
  3. The librarian may limit the number of audio-visual materials checked out per family.
  4. Overdue materials will carry a late fee of ten cents per day.
  5. Materials may be renewed once either by phone or in person.
  6. Patrons are responsible for returning movies in good condition. In case of loss, theft or damage, the patron will be charged the replacement cost of the movie. If the movie fails to operate correctly, patrons should inform the library staff upon return; patrons will not be held responsible for normal wear and tear of material.
  7. Copyright laws limit “home use only.” It is clearly illegal to duplicate any copyrighted library material.
  8. The checkout times and overdue fines of all library items are subject to change by the Library Board and Library Director.


        1. Request for reconsideration:
    • Any patron with a valid Winthrop Public Library card may formally challenge materials purchased by the library on the basis of appropriateness.
    • The library will keep on hand and make available Reconsideration Request forms. All formal objections to materials must be made on this form.
    • At the next scheduled Library Board meeting, the Library Board will consider the material in question for re-evaluation.
  9. Reconsideration Committee:
  • The Reconsideration Committee will be made up of the Library Director and Library Board members.
  • Procedure for the meeting following receipt of a reconsideration request is as follows:
  • Distribute copies of the written request form.
  • Give complainant or group spokesman an opportunity to talk about and expand on the request form.
  • Distribute reputable, professionally prepared reviews of the materials when available.
  • Distribute copies of the challenged materials when available.
    • At a subsequent meeting, interested persons, including the complainant may have the opportunity to share their views. The committee may request that individuals with special knowledge be present to give information.
    • The complainant will be kept informed by the Library Board concerning the committee reconsideration process and will be given appropriate notice of the meeting.
    • At the next Library Board meeting, the Library committee will make its decision in open session. The committee’s final decision will be:
  • To take no removal action.
  • To remove all or part of the challenged material from the collection.
  • To limit the use of the challenged material.
  • The sole criterion for the final decision is the appropriateness of the material for its intended use. The vote on the decision will be by secret ballot. The written decision and its justification will be forwarded to the complainant and to all interested parties.



    It is the intent of the Library Board and library staff to provide a pleasant and safe environment for as many people as possible. In order to achieve this, the following rules apply:

    1. Smoking or consumption of alcohol is not permitted anywhere in the library building or on the grounds.
    2. No food or drink shall be brought into the library, with the exception of the staff work area.
    3. We ask that patrons consider that others have the right to a quiet environment to read or study, therefore anyone behaving in a disorderly, loud, or boisterous manner may be asked to leave.
    4. Using electronic devices at a volume that is disruptive to others is not permitted.
    5. The use of abusive or profane language will not be tolerated.
    6. Running is not allowed in the building.
    7. Skateboards are not to be left at the entrance of the building.  Bikes should be placed in bike rack.


    1. It is expected that the library patron will conduct himself/herself with respect and courtesy to the library staff and other patrons. Observance of library policy and rules is expected at all times.
    2. Unruly or disruptive patrons may be asked to leave the premises for a specified period of time. If the patron refuses to leave, the police will be called.
    3. If the patron is a minor, a parent or guardian will be notified of the disciplinary action and informed to come and pick up the minor. If the parent or guardian cannot be located, the police may be called.
    4. The use of the library as a babysitting service is discouraged. Preschool children are expected to be accompanied and supervised by a responsible person. Older unattended children who are disruptive will be dealt with according to the library’s stated policy.


    Enforcement of these rules may take the form of any of the following actions, depending upon the severity of the misconduct as determined by the staff on duty or Director. 

    1. Patrons who engage in misconduct will be given two warnings and asked to behave in an appropriate manner. Patrons who do not modify their behavior after two warnings will be asked to leave the Library.
    2. Patrons who engage in misconduct that in the judgment of a staff member is extreme will be ordered to leave the building immediately.
    3. If necessary, the designated Person in Charge may call the police. 


    1. All material to be copied is subject to current copyright laws. It is the responsibility of the patron to abide by the law.
    2. The cost of copying is 15-cents per side, and will be paid in cash at the time the copy is made.
    3. The library staff will operate the copier at all times.
    4. Copies will be free of charge up to three pages for students that need information for homework projects, on items that may not be checked out.
    5. Persons supplying their own paper will be charged half price.


    1. The library staff will operate the fax machine at all times.
    2. Charges to send a business fax are $2 for the first page, $1 for each additional page. An international fax will be $4 per page.
    3. There will be a $1 charge for an incoming fax.
    4. There is no limit to the number of faxes that can be sent.


    1. Posting notices in the library: A limited amount of space is available for educational, cultural or other non-commercial, non-sectarian civic groups to post notices of meetings and other activities. No commercial notices for profit making organizations or individuals may be displayed. Posting displays, exhibits and posters will be at the discretion of the librarian.
    2. All notices posted in the library become the property of the library and may be removed and discarded at any time.
    3. A posting on the door or other displays doesn’t imply that the library endorses the event or the activity being conducted.


    1. All of the library’s records are the property of the Winthrop Public Library. The library will keep records required for loaning materials, etc. The sole purpose of such records is to provide better services and to protect public property.
    2. The library will protect, as far as possible, the privacy of any patron who uses the library. Under no circumstances will the staff of the library provide information to a third party about what a patron is reading or calling for from the library’s collection.


    1. The Library Director is a non-voting member of the Winthrop Public Library.
    2. The Library Board follows those rules set down in the City and State Codes Ordinance #115.
    3. Recommendations to fill vacancies on the Library board are submitted to the City Council, and the Council has the authority to approve or disapprove.
    4. The term of Trustees is three years.
    5. Under special circumstances, the Library Board President can approve invoices for payment, if the invoice is under $200 and the bill is to be paid before a regular board meeting and city council meeting.


    1. Books and other items will be accepted on the condition that the Director has the authority to make whatever disposition he or she deems advisable.
    2. Gifts of money, real property, and /or stock will be accepted if conditions attached are acceptable to the Board of Trustees.
    3. Personal property, art objects, portraits, antiques, and other museum quality objects will be accepted by the approval of the Board of Trustees.
    4. The library will not accept for deposit materials which are not outright gifts.
    5. When the library receives a cash gift for the purchase of books or other materials, the selection will be made by the Library Director. In case of a memorial tribute, the general nature of the book, or its subject areas, will be based upon the interests of the deceased, the wishes of the donor, and the needs of the library upon request. A donation sticker will be put on the inside cover of the book in memory of the deceased.
    6. A gift item waiver can be required of the gift giver.


    The collection of the Winthrop Public Library shall be weeded on a regular basis in order to maintain the attractiveness and currency of the collection. Factors to be considered in the weeding process shall include the following:

    1. Time sensitivity of materials, based on the latest copyright and varying according to the type of material being considered.
    2. Usage-based on the latest recorded circulation data
    3. Literary merit
    4. Accuracy of material
    5. Needs and interests of the community
    6. Physical condition

    The library staff shall retain the right to dispose of weeded materials in any way which may be deemed proper and feasible.


    The Winthrop Public Library has computers which are available for public use. The Board of Trustees has adopted the following guidelines for the use of the computers:

    1. There is no age limit for computer use; however, users who are unable to read must be accompanied by an adult or qualified user.
    2. Patrons may reserve time slots by stopping into the library or phoning. Patrons may sign up only for their own use.
    3. Patrons must have a Winthrop library card to use the computer.
    4. Reserved time is available for one half hour slots for all patrons. Reserve time is limited to one hour per day and two hours per week in advance.
    5. If you do not appear within five minutes of your scheduled time, you will lose your turn if another patron requests it.
    6. Anyone may use the computer during unreserved time blocks, but must relinquish it when the time block expires if someone else is waiting to use the computer. Homework assignments or businesses have priority over use for games, social websites, email, etc.
    7. There will be a limit of one person at the computer at a given time. Other patrons must wait quietly elsewhere in the library.
    8. The library staff reserves the right to terminate a person’s use of the computer if problems such as excessive noise, physical abuse, or hardware and software malfunction occur.
    9. The library staff will give a short orientation to first time users and lend assistance when it is needed. However, our role is one of guidance, rather than instruction.
    10. If the patron uses the printer, there will be a charge of 15-cents per sheet. For duplications, only one original can be made, with additional copies to be photocopied.
    11. The patron is liable for damage to our computers.
    12. The patron must provide his/her own discs. No one is to install anything on any computer without approval.
    13. Exceptions to these rules must be authorized by the Library Director.


    No software shall be purchased for use in the library or with library funds unless such software has been shown to be useful to library operations and is known to be effective and accurate for the use to which it is to be applied.


    Adopted August 27, 1997, and updated Feb. 2016

    Misuse of computer or Internet access or failure to abide by these policies will result in the loss of Internet access privileges.


    Iowa law places no prohibition on the use of appropriate material for educational purposes in any public library. It does, however, place limitations on those who knowingly disseminate or exhibit obscene material so that it can be observed by a minor. Library staff members may request that individuals cease to view or listen to works that threaten the safe and comfortable environment of the library or interfere with the conduct of library business.  Respect the sensibilities of others when accessing images and material.

    1. As with other library materials, individuals must accept responsibility for evaluating the content of resources they view, read, or listen to.  Monitoring and any restriction of a child’s access is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian.  For more information, please see our policy on Intellectual Freedom.
    2. Patrons handling financial transactions or other activities that require confidentiality do so at their own risk. The Internet is not a private environment and security of electronic communication cannot be guaranteed.
    3. Library staff cannot provide in-depth training concerning Internet computer jargon or personal computer use. We may, however, be able to offer searching suggestions and answer questions. Because of library scheduling, Internet-trained staff may not always be available.
    4. Have fun exploring the Internet, but please remember that many times you will find the specific information you need right here in our books, periodicals, etc. 


    1. Sending and receiving electronic mail is permitted.
    2. Use of the library’s Internet resources for illegal or unethical purposes is prohibited.
    3. Computers are located in a public area that must be shared by library users of all ages, backgrounds and sensibilities.  Patrons are asked to consider this when accessing potentially controversial information and images.  Library staff cannot consistently and effectively monitor the public’s use of the Internet. Yet, the library reserves the right to ask individuals to discontinue the display of information and images which cause a disruption.
    4. You will need to ask a librarian if you wish to save files. All files must be downloaded onto a disk and not the hard drive of the computer. There is a 15-cent per page charge for items printed on paper using black ink. If the page printed contains color, there is a 25-cent per page charge.
    5. You may not always be able to access sites on the Internet. There are a number of reasons for this, including, but not limited to: high number of users, database you are trying to access has limited usage, host computer change Internet address or closed own, and the library’s Internet connection may be periodically or temporarily inoperable due to technical difficulties.

    **Access to minors to inappropriate materials on the Internet is prohibited. The safety and security of minors using electronic mail chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communication is of utmost importance. Unauthorized access including “hacking” and other unlawful activities by minors online is prohibited, as well as unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors. Patrons that disregard the stated polices will be subject to temporary or even permanent loss of Internet privileges as determined by the Director and Library Board.


    The Winthrop Public Library is open on Monday from 1-8 pm, Tuesday-Friday 1-5pm, and Saturday 9am-Noon.

    Services offered by Winthrop Public Library are:

    Adult Coloring Club, Computers, Copy machine, DVDs, Fax machine, Early Out Lego/Game Days, Interlibrary Loans, Internet, Reference materials, Storytime, Summer Reading programs.