The Golden Rule

While some things go without saying, sometimes it never hurts to have a reminder. Before I get into what the heck I’m talking about, here’s something from our Patron Code of Conduct:

“All patrons and visitors must abide by the following behaviors while visiting this shared community space. Treat staff and fellow patrons with courtesy and respect. Treat the Library facility and grounds… materials and furnishings with care and respect.” It goes on to say that patrons who fail to adhere to these rules will be asked to leave, repeat offenders may be banned.

Everyone has the right to be here. It’s right there in our Mission and Vision Statements! Here, take a look! Our Mission: “To foster literacy and intellectual growth in our diverse community by providing free and equal access to programs, services, and collections.” And here’s our Vision: “We proudly serve as a community partner, creating a welcoming space for people of all ages, abilities, and interests. We seek to promote the joy of reading; offer engaging, high-quality materials and services to support learning; and be responsible stewards of our community resources.”

Going a step further, we also adhere to the ALA Code of Ethics and Freedom to Read Statements that seek to protect each user’s “right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired, or transmitted.” 

There are other very important policies around here, but these provide a very important foundation upon which we base other decisions. 

So why am I writing about this? Hypothetically, let’s say you don’t have your library card on you and still want to check out some items. Not a problem, it happens more often than not. But we’re going to ask you some basic demographic questions to verify your identity. After all, anyone can come up to the Circulation Desk and say “I’m (your name here), I have some books on hold, can I get them please?” I know it’s a stretch, but someone could be lying! Further, someone in our system could have a similar name to yours. We just need to make sure which John Smith you are. And believe it or not, not all staff members know every one of our 3,229 registered users, especially the new ones! 

Without some basic follow-up questions, you simply wouldn’t be able to use the library without your physical card in hand. Don’t like personal questions? Bring your library card! Please DO NOT yell at a staff member and make me fill out an incident report form and have an uncomfortable conversation with you. I mean, I don’t mind getting content for these columns so much, and this seemed like helpful information and basically wrote itself but… please don’t yell at our staff. If you want to complain, please direct it at me. I’ve been putting “complain to” before my personal contact information on each of these columns for years. If something we do makes you feel unwelcome, I’m the person that can help. After all, this is YOUR library, we just work here!

Thank you for reading and for your kindness and understanding.

Connect with/complain to Travis Olivera at the Hamilton Public Library by phone at (315) 824-3060 or by email at, or in person at the library.

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