library policies

Mission Statement, and Intention to Serve

The Owen County Public Library, as a growing entity, will strive to make available materials and services to meet the informational, educational, technical, social, and leisure needs of the citizens of Owen County in a pleasant, friendly atmosphere.  


Click on the policy you wish to review.



The Board of Trustees is responsible for determining the rules of behavior necessary to protect the rights of individuals to use the library material and services, to protect the rights of library employees to conduct library business without interference, and to preserve library materials and facilities.

The Board of Trustees believes that library patrons have the right to use library materials and services without being disturbed or impeded by other library users; that library patrons and employees have the right to an environment that is secure and comfortable; and that library patrons and employees have the right to materials and facilities that are accessible and in good condition.

General Rules of Behavior

  1. No eating, drinking, smoking (or use of tobacco in any form) or use of controlled substances in the library.
  2. No soliciting or distributing of leaflets within the library.
  3. Patrons are not permitted to bring in pets or other animals (except support dogs as approved by the State of Indiana).
  4. Appropriate attire, including shirts and shoes, must always be worn in the library.
  5. We ask that patrons visit the library with proper hygiene to prevent causing a nuisance or affecting the health, safety, or comfort of other patrons.
  6. Roller skates and roller blades are not allowed in the library.
  7. Staff cannot be responsible for a patron’s personal belongings left unattended.
  8. Bicycles should be placed in the bike rack and locked. Bikes may not be left inside the library or on the handicap ramp or on the ground outside the library.
  9. Any sports equipment brought into the library must be left at the circulation desk (e.g. skateboards, basketballs, tennis rackets, etc.).
  10. The library reserves the right to inspect all bags, purses, briefcases, packs, etc., for concealed library material.
  11. The telephone at the reference desk is a business phone. It may be used by patrons only in cases of emergency if the patron has no other phone available to them.
  12. It is requested that personal cell phone conversations be limited to the foyer of the library between the two sets of doors, so that the conversations remain private and other patrons and employees are not disturbed. Always remember that confidential information may be overheard by others in the library.
  13. Disruptive behavior, including shouting, running, punching, or other rowdy, rambunctious activities, will not be tolerated.
  14. Physical or verbal harassment of others, including Library Staff is prohibited.
  15. The material and equipment in the library are here for patron and staff use. Any purposeful damage done to the materials, equipment, furniture, building, or property of the library is against the law and will be reported to the police.
  16. The Rules set in the Acceptable Use policy for the computers in the library must be observed.
  17. Children under 10 years of age must be supervised by someone aged 16 years or older.
  18. Returning materials containing live insects or having live insects on one’s person will result in temporary loss of check-out privileges. This is especially necessary if, as a health issue, the library is forced to shut down to deal with the problem, as this infringes on the rights of other patrons to use the library. The library will do what we can to serve the patrons’ library needs in other ways until the problem is resolved.
  19. Materials containing any evidence of insects or pests may also result in temporary loss of privileges. We ask that patrons cooperate with the library to remedy a situation that may affect the health or well-being of other patrons and/or our staff, and their own health as well.  
  20. Three (3) documented events involving broken rules will result in being banned from the library for a period of no more than one year at the discretion of the librarian. (added 6/18/24)

Children and their Behavior in the Library

The Board of Library Trustees hopes that the children who use the library will find the facility to be a warm and inviting place to develop a love of books, reading and the library.

Many programs are offered to make the library enticing to children, but, when children are left unattended for several hours when no library programs are offered, they often become disruptive.

Young children are not safe when left unattended in the library. The staff cannot know if children are leaving the building with their parents or with strangers. In order to create an environment of safety, and maintain an atmosphere where reading and study can be encouraged, the following policy has been created:


  1. Parents or guardians are responsible for the behavior of their children in the library, and may not leave children under the age of 10 unattended.
  2. If a problem arises with children of any age and we are unable to locate the parent(s) or if the library is closing and the parent(s) cannot be located, the police will be called at the discretion of the staff.
  3. Children age 10 to 14 may be left unattended (at the discretion of their parent(s) for a period of time (not to exceed 2 hours) to complete homework assignments and special projects or unless at the library for specific after school programs or events. Children left unattended should know how to reach a parent or guardian, and parents should be aware of the closing time of the library.
  4. When children are left unattended repeatedly and/or for long periods of time, the staff will notify parent(s) of the library’s policies.
  5. When children are attending library programs, parent(s) must be aware of the times of the programs, so their children do not have to wait for unreasonable amounts of time to be picked up. Parent(s) should have them wait inside the building to avoid the hazards of the street.
  6. It is the policy of the Library that staff members will not transport children from the library to any other location.

Encouraging Acceptable Library Behavior

The Library Staff should encourage patrons toward acceptable library behavior.

  1. The staff will give warning of inappropriate behavior.
  2. The staff will explain the rules of behavior.
  3. In case of a minor disruption, and after explanation and warning, a patron may be asked to leave for the rest of the day.
  4. Three (3) documented events will result in the offender being banned from the library for a period of 1-3 months at the discretion of the librarian.
  5. If the offending patron refuses to follow the requests of the staff, or the staff feels there is potential danger to patrons or staff, the police will be called.
  6. If a patron repeatedly ignores the warnings issued by the staff and/or the police, the library administration has the right to remove the patron for specified periods of time. A specific date and time will be attached to the restriction, and it will be posted for the information of the entire staff.
  7. Emergency situations: In case of a medical emergency, the police and the EMT squad will be notified.

Disruptive Children

This policy is not intended to restrict library service to children. Instead, the policy has been adopted to insure the safety and well-being of all children who use the library.

  1. Disruptive Attended Children
    1. Staff will ask children who are being disruptive to behave.
    2. If the disruptive behavior continues, staff shall inform the parents that their children are disturbing others.
    3. The family will be asked to leave if parents refuse or are unable to control their children.
  2. Disruptive Unattended Children
    1. Staff will ask children who are being disruptive to behave.
    2. If the disruptive behavior continues, the children will be told to sit quietly in a designated area while their parents are contacted.
    3. Staff will contact parents who will be asked to pick up their child immediately.
    4. Parents will be told of their child’s disruptive behavior.
    5. Three (3) documented events will result in the child being banned from the library for a period of 1-3 months at the discretion of the librarian

Staff judgment and discretion will be used at all times in the interpretation of the above policy.

(Adopted 10-21-02) (Amended 03-24-03)



To ensure the health and safety of the Owen County Public Library patrons and staff, the following policy will be posted and enforced.

The residents of Owen County have provided library facilities which include outdoor benches, picnic tables, parking spaces, waste disposal; containers, signage, landscaping and sidewalks for the use and enjoyment of library patrons. Some activities are not permitted in these areas.

1. Loitering

2. Vandalism

3. Harassment of patrons or staff

4. Littering

5. Excessive noise

6. Rowdiness

7. Disruptive behavior

8. Violence

9. Reckless or unsafe driving

10. Use of controlled substances

11. Soliciting and distribution

12. Any activity deemed inappropriate

The library parking lot is provided for the use of library patrons only. There is to be no loitering in or around vehicles during or after library hours. Only automotive vehicles are allowed on the parking lot. Vehicles left unattended will be towed at the owners’ expense.

Any other items including skateboards, scooters and bicycles are not permitted on the lot or in any of the public areas of the property except the area of the bike rack.These items will be confiscated by library staff if not in appropriate areas.

The materials and equipment outside the library are here for public use. Any purposeful damage done to the building or property outside the library is against the law and will be reported to the police and prosecuted.

This policy is in effect twenty-four hours a day.

Passed by the Library Board 05-15-06


Library Bulletin Board:

1. The library makes its bulletin board in the entrance area available for the use of those needing to post information. Certain rules apply:

a. The information posted must be for all community members

b. There should be no fee charged for participation in the advertised event

c. The organization doing the posting should be a non-profit or government organization.

d. The library’s materials will take precedence.

e. The library will remove any postings which do not meet the above criteria

f. The philosophies of the groups posting materials are not necessarily those of the library, its staff or board members.

2. The Library Board of Trustees is the final arbiter of any question as to the use of the library. However, when a question arises concerning the propriety of allowing thebulletin board to be used by a particular group, or for a particular purpose, the board delegates to the Director the authority to interpret this policy.



Owen County Public Library Internet Acceptable Use Policy

Internet access through the Owen County Public Library (OCPL) connection is a privilege and not a right.

Patrons utilizing the OCPL connection agree to abide by the following:


1. OCPL has the right to set and enforce all rules and regulations involving use of its Internet account.


2. The Internet is a valuable information resource, but it is an unregulated medium, and some websites may be inaccurate, unreliable, personally offensive, or even illegal. The Internet at the OCPL is filtered in accordance with the Child Internet Protection Act. However it is not technically possible to prevent access to resources that may be objectionable to some individuals. Do not expect our filter to meet your personal standards.


3. Users must not use inappropriate Internet conduct. Some examples of inappropriate conduct include the following: Use of the Internet connection to engage in harassing, threatening, obscene, slanderous, malicious or unlawful activities or message-sending and posting.This prohibition of inappropriate conduct applies to both private and public messages. Suspension of privileges will be the result of inappropriate Internet conduct.


4. Users must not engage in activities that could disrupt or congest other networks and systems.


5. Users must abide by all copyright laws and licensing agreements regarding software, files or other resources obtained on the OCPL Internet account.


6. Any user whose conduct with the OCPL Internet connection violates federal, state, or local laws will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Evidence of illegal activity will be reported to the proper legal authorities. OCPL will cooperate with the proper authorities in the investigation of illegal activities.


7. OCPL reserves the right to review any material stored in files to which OCPL has access, and will remove any material which, in its opinion, does not comply with this document. Any electronic communication exchanged via the OCPL connection should not be considered confidential. Such communication could be used as evidence in criminal investigations or prosecutions.


8. The OCPL will make no warranties that the functions or content of the system will meet any user’s requirements, nor that it will be error or trouble free, current, or uninterrupted in performance. OCPL shall not be liable for any damages sustained or incurred in connection with the use, operations or inability to use the system, including lost data, information or income. The user hereby releases and holds harmless the OCPL in all claims of any nature arising from their use, or inability to use, the OCPL Internet connection.



9. The OCPL internet connection is NOT to be used for solicitation, advertisement, or for any other commercial purposes.


10. Failing to abide by the above rules of conduct will result in suspension of privileges.*


I have read the statements above and I agree to abide by them . I also agree to abide by any changes made to this policy in the future. All changes will be posted in the library.


_____________________________________________ _______________________________

User Signature Date

Please Print Name _____________________________________________________________

*Suspension of privileges includes one (1) verbal warning then no computer use for up to one month.


OCPL Internet Acceptable Use Policy: Approved 1/96: Modified 2002: Modified 4/2006


Internet Use by Minors



Minors are expected to obey the rules on the front of this page. Privileges will be suspended if the rules are not obeyed.*


OCPL supports parents and guardians in their efforts to guide their own children’s access to print, non-print and on-line information. The library provides printed materials about the Internet and its resources: however, the most current information about the Internet resides on the network itself.


The OCPL filters its Internet in accordance with the Child Internet Protection Act. However it is not technically possible to prevent access to all resources which may be objectionable to some individuals.


The OCPL staff will do all that is possible to enforce the rules of the library for its internet users, but it is not possible to provide individual attention and at some times impossible to provide any supervision. It is not possible for the staff to prevent youth from participating in risky behaviors on the Internet if they are determined.


While OCPL can seek to prevent access to materials and images that are not generally acceptable in a public library, it is the responsibility of parents and guardians to determine the need to place restrictions on their own children with regard to OCPL Internet account use.




_____________________________________________ _____________________________________________

User Name Date



Please Print Name _______________________________________________________



______________________________________________ ______________________________________________

Parent/Guardian Name Date


Phone Number where Parent/Guardian may be reached: _________________________________________



* Suspension of privileges includes one (1) verbal warning, then no computer use for up to one month.
















Approved 1/96

Modified 2002

Modified 4/2006

Reviewed 2010



Owen County Public Library

Confidentiality of Library Records:

The Owen County Library Board recognizes that the Owen County Library is the embodiment of the First Amendment because it’s collection includes the voice of dissent as well as assent. The library is an impartial resource providing information on all points of view, available to all persons regardless of age, race, religion, national origin, social or political views, economic status, or any other characteristic. The role of the library as such a resource must not be compromised by an erosion of the privacy rights of library users.

It is the responsibility of the Board, Librarians, and Staff to protect the privacy of library users. Confidentiality extends to information sought or received, and materials consulted, borrowed or acquired. This includes database search records, reference interview, circulation records, inter-library loan records, and other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities, or services.

These records are excepted from section 3 of the Indiana Access to Public Records Law IC 5-14-3-4 (16) (A)


Passed June 28, 1999


Cupcakes & Canvas is a popular OCPL program. To ensure that registration is a fair process to all interested members of the public, and so many people can experience the program, the following rules will be applied starting February 2020:


  1. Registration will be open on the first business day of the new month that the program is scheduled.
  2. Adults, teens, and parents with children 10+ are allowed to register for Cupcakes & Canvas. (Children ages 7+ may be allowed to register if they will not disrupt the program.)
  3. Individuals who register are allowed to sign up themselves and up to 3 family members (i.e. their children).
  4. No group registration will otherwise be accepted. Friends, coworkers, etc. must sign up individually.
  5. Registration requires a name and phone number (or email) be given.
  6. If a person registers for the program and cannot attend, they must notify the library before the event. Failure to notify the library of the change will lead to a strike. If an adult or teen receives 3 strikes, they will not be able to register for library programs that require it for 6 months. *Note: Exceptions may be made (i.e. medical emergency).
  7. Members of the public may participate in Cupcakes & Canvas up to 3 times a year. Cupcakes & Canvas will be scheduled once a month starting in February and ending in December.


Additional rules regarding Acrylic Pour Class, starting March 2020:


  1. Rules #1-#6 of Cupcakes & Canvas policy apply to Acrylic Pour Class registration policy.
  2. Members of the public may participate in Acrylic Pour Class once a year. Acrylic Pour Class is scheduled in 2020 in the months of March, June, October, and December.
  3. A person cannot be registered in the same month for both Cupcakes & Canvas and Acrylic Pour Class. If they register for March’s Acrylic Pour Class, then they cannot register for March’s Cupcakes & Canvas.