Acceptable Patron Behavior Policy

The Cortland Free Library strives to ensure the comfort and security of patrons and library staff, and to protect and preserve the physical collection, library equipment, library building and grounds.  For that reason, the Board of Trustees has adopted a policy with respect to patron conduct.

While in the library or on library property outside, it is expected that all patrons will act in a manner that is respectful of other patrons and library staff, and exhibit acceptable and legal behavior. Behaviors and demeanor that disrupts staff’s ability to provide library services or the orderly use of the library, or provokes or annoys other patrons or staff are not permitted.  

Persons engaging in unacceptable behavior, as determined by the Library Director or other staff, will receive a verbal request to stop. If the behavior continues, the individual(s) will be asked to leave the library. If there is no cooperation, it may be necessary to call the police for their assistance or in the event of a child or youth (ages 17 and under), the parent.

The Library Director may decide to bar a patron who is a repeat violator from the use of the library for a specified period of time or permanently. The President and chair of the Personnel Committee of the Library Board of Trustees will be notified of any such actions.

A patron whose privileges have been denied may request, in writing, to have the decision reviewed by the Board of Trustees.

Approved by the CFL Board of Trustees on November 16, 2016
This policy replaces the Zero Tolerance Policy.

Program / Meeting Room Use Policy

Programs and meetings can be scheduled at the Cortland Free Library under the following guidelines:

1.     This is a Free Library. Our goal is to preserve our mission. While we welcome local businesses we do not wish the library to become a place of business. Our goal is the education and entertainment of library visitors. All sales are to be approved in writing by the Library Director prior to the event. We request that 10% of all sales be donated to the library to help support our mission.

2.     Programs and meeting will only be scheduled during regular library hours. Please allow for clean up time. No one may stay in the library after closing to clean up. Staff often cannot stay late to help clean up after a program.

3.     Scheduling is to be approved by the library director at least two weeks in advance.

4.     Food and drink are discouraged but can really make a difference in attendance. All food or drink is to be approved by the library director in writing and in compliance with the Cortland County Health Department Guidelines http://cchd.cortland-co.org/index.php/program-operators/food-facility

5.     Organizations are expected to move tables and chairs to their specification and to return the furniture to its original places and clean up as needed a vacuum cleaner is available.

6.     All papers and equipment are to be cleared when meeting is finished.

The Cortland Free Library Board of Trustees reserves the right to review and approve any and all request for program room use.

Board Approved 4/27/2016

Materials Selection Policy 

The policy of the Cortland Free Library is to select and judge each book or other type of material based on how well it enhances the library’s collection according to the criteria listed below.

  • Reviews from professional journals, popular magazines and newspapers
  • Expressed or anticipated patron demand
  • Timeliness or permanence of the material
  • Quality, accuracy or authenticity of materials
  • Inclusion of materials in a special bibliography or index
  • Scope and depth of our present collection or the availability of materials at other libraries in the area
  • Reputation or authority of the author or publisher
  • Format and price of material as well as space available to house it
  • Appropriateness to the interests and skills of the intended user


Each item is judged on the basis of its overall content or style, not on selected portions of the work. The Board of Trustees is responsible for approving and revising a Materials Selection Policy, and may make recommendations on selection priorities. The Library Director oversees the selection of library materials according to the Materials Selection Policy. The Library Directors will consult various sources as listed above to determine the value of the material to the collection. No single criterion is used to justify a purchase; materials selectors consider all criteria in reaching a decision.

adopted September 17, 2008

Maintaining the Collection

Removing outdated materials from the library shelves is essential to keeping the collection accurate, useful and attractive. The library staff maintains our shelves by systematically removing worn or mutilated items, duplicate copies of materials that are seldom used, and materials containing outdated information. Removed materials are replaced as warranted. Decisions are made by the Library Director in consultation with other library staff. Materials eliminated from the collection are put in the library’s fundraising book sales.

Spending, Investment, and Gift Policies

The Cortland Free Library Endowment Fund is the result of many gifts of varying size and levels of restriction.  When the trustees put the fund under professional management it was decided to treat the funds as one for investment purposes in order to gain the benefits of a more diversified investment portfolio.  Each individual endowment is expressed as a percentage of the whole fund.  The percentages will change as new additions are made to the endowment.  For spending purposes the income is currently allocated as follows:          

55%- Restricted to books and library materials
10%- Restricted to furniture & fixtures
35%-Unrestricted – For other operating expenses of the library
These percentages will be recalculated annually and documented in the board minutes.

The Spending Rule
The intention of the Board of Trustees is to prudently manage the endowed funds to provide payments of about 4% of a 4 year moving average of the endowment fund balance to support the operation of the library.  This rate of expenditure is intended to protect the endowment’s principal while still providing much-needed funds for the library’s operation.

Amendment (passed June 11, 2008)
Ten percent of the endowment fund is to be devoted to building projects. Allocation is as follows:

55% – Restricted to books and library materials
10% – Restricted to furniture & fixtures
25% – Unrestricted – For other operating expenses of the library
10% – Unrestricted – For building repairs

Unexpended Funds
If funds eligible to be drawn from the endowment within a calendar year are unexpended at year’s end, the unexpended portions will be sequestered in accounts titled Unexpended for Books and Library Materials, Unexpended for Furniture and Fixtures, or Unexpended Unrestricted Funds as appropriate.  The unexpended funds can accumulate from year to year and will continue to be managed by the investment manager as the manager, in consultation with the Board of trustees, deems best.  However, the unexpended funds will not count as part of the endowment principal in determining the amount to be withdrawn in future years.  Because some expenditures vary greatly from year to year, e.g. furniture and fixtures and building repairs, the intent is to save unexpended, accumulated portions in years when expenses are low to pay for these items in years when expenses are high.

accepted as an amendment to the Endowment Policy on 6/24/2015

Investment Policy
It is the policy of the Library to invest funds in a manner that will maximize the security of the principal while providing balanced growth of the principal and income to satisfy cash flow demands using methods which persons of prudence, discretion, and intelligence might exercise in the management of their own affairs in order to provide the best return.  All investments will conform to applicable laws and regulations governing the investment of public funds.

Passed on May 14, 2008

Gift Policy
The Library recognizes the great importance of gifts and donations to its development and growth.  Without individual donation, the current library building would not exist.  The library welcomes gifts of money, library materials, furnishings, or real property.  These gifts are an important part of the library’s resources.  Monetary contributions in the amount of $500 or more are added to the Library’s Endowment Fund, which is administered by the Cortland Free Library Board of trustees for the purchase of materials or programs not included in the operating budget.   Restricted gifts can be accepted only with the approval of the library board of trustees.  All unrestricted gifts may be used, sold, or disposed of in the best interest of the library.  Donations are accepted only if the library director and the board of trustees determine that acceptance is in the best interest of the library.

Gifts of cash, securities, real property and bequests that support the mission of the library will be handled by the library director who with the library board of trustees will work out terms of acceptance that are compatible with library policies, the donor’s intent and any applicable laws. Legacies and endowments left in trust of the board of Trustees shall be invested in the Cortland Free Library Endowment in accordance with the library’s investment policy. Unrestricted monetary gifts of less than $500.00 will be deposited in the Trustees Fund to be used at the discretion of the Library Board of Trustees.

Accepted on February 10, 2010 by the Board of Trustees

Unattended Children Policy

Child or Children: persons under the age of 12
Youth: person/persons between the ages of 12 and under 18 years of age
 Adult: person 18 years or older
Caregiver: individual over 18 who is responsible for child (ren)/youth (parent, legal guardian, grandparent, nanny, etc.)
 Staff Member: employee of Cortland Free Library

The Cortland Free Library is dedicated to providing a welcoming and warm environment that encourages children to visit the Library, attend programs, and use our resources and collections. Library staff are available to help and support children. However, the Library cannot provide child care, supervise unattended children, or assume responsibility for the safety of the children. Parents/guardians/caregivers are responsible for the safety and behavior of their youth and children. The following has been put into place for the safety of all:

·         Children under the age of 12 years may not be left unattended in the Library at any time.

·         A parent or other adult responsible for a child must supervise that child while in the Library.

·         The responsibility for the safety and behavior of children/youth in the Library rests with the caregiver and not with the Library staff.

·         Children and youth are expected to behave appropriately and abide by the Library’s Rules of Conduct. Parents/guardians will be notified of misbehavior of their child or youth. Library staff cannot act in loco parentis for any reason. Violation of this Unattended Children’s Policy may result in suspension of library privileges for the family.

·         Fifteen minutes before closing, Cortland Free Library staff will check with any youth to make sure their caregivers are aware the building is closing. Library staff may offer the library phone to give youth a chance to call their caregivers. If a child or youth is left unattended at closing time –whether it is our regular closing time or for an unforeseen reason—Library staff will follow the following procedure:

1.      If no ride has arrived at closing time, an attempt will be made to contact the caregiver of the child/youth.
2.      If contact cannot be made with the caregiver, staff will call the Cortland Police Department at 753-2811 and report that the child or youth was left unattended at the Library. Two Library staff members will wait for the police with the child/youth.
3.      Staff will record the caregiver’s name, address, telephone number, and the child/youth’s name while waiting for the police.
4.      The child will be turned over to the police officer who will reunite the child with their caregivers. The officer will be given a copy of the Unattended Children’s Policy to give to the child/youth’s caregiver.
5.      Under no circumstances may library staff offer a ride to an unattended child/youth.

Adopted 6/15/2016 by the Executive Committee of the Library Board of Trustees

Computer Use and Internet Access

·      All users must have a library card to use the Library’s computer.
·      Computer users are limited to 2, ½ hour (30 minutes) sessions, per day.
·      Non-library card holders are required to show id and will be given access at the discretion of the library staff.
·      If you use another individual’s card to gain access to the computers, your computer privileges will be suspended or permanently revoked.
·      Computers in Adult Services are reserved for people over the age of 18.
·      Computers in Youth Services are reserved for young people under the age of 18.
·      Any person 17 years and under must have a parent or legal guardian complete the Library’s  Parental Permission Agreement for Internet use which will be recorded on the patron’s electronic record and the hard copy kept on file in Youth Services.
·      Any person 3 and over can obtain a library card.
·      Limit 2 persons at any one terminal at a time.
·      Printing:  $.25 per page, for an 8 ½ x 11 black and white page

The time management software will provide a warning five (5) minutes before it shuts the computer down when your time is over. 

For in-depth research or school assignments, you may be able to request additional sessions, depending upon availability. Please discuss your computer needs with the staff person behind the desk prior to logging on.

  • You will not be allowed to use the computers if you have more than $5.00 in charges on your computer account or if you have more than 2 overdue items.
  • You are not allowed to view illegal, pornographic or objectionable material or engage in illegal activity.
  • You are not allowed to download software or use file transfer protocol.
  • You are not allowed to configure e-mail or other software settings.

Violation of the policies and regulations that govern the use of the Library’s resources may result in suspension or loss of computer privileges. Any illegal activity involving the Library’s resources will be subject to prosecution by the appropriate authorities. Rude, abusive behavior or language or non-compliance with the above rules may result in the permanent loss of computer privileges.

The library staff, at their discretion, reserves the right to ask users to leave.

By signing on to the computer, you have agreed to the above conditions.

Approved by the Board of Trustees on April 8, 2009

Wireless Access Policy

Statement of Policy: The Cortland Free Library (CFL) provides free broadband wireless Internet access twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This service is available throughout the entire building as well as on library grounds (e.g., parking lot, front steps, etc.). 

Access:  Each wireless session lasts 30 minutes.  CFL staff can, at their discretion, extend the session to a maximum of three hours per day.   

Individuals with a library card can select the CFL wireless network "Cort-Lib-Wireless" and enter their library card number to gain wireless access.  Two wireless sessions per day are allowed. 

Individuals without a library card can present a photo ID to CFL staff for a temporary pass.  Access is given in 30-minute increments.  After 3 wireless requests, the user will be expected to get a CFL library card. 

Security and Limitations
The CFL wireless network is not secure.  Simultaneously-connected devices are vulnerable to other users' viruses, malware, and hacks.  Information sent over this network can be captured by anyone else with a wireless device and the appropriate software.  Therefore, activity requiring transmission of credit card numbers, passwords, and other personal information should be avoided.  Users are responsible for maintaining up-to-date antiviurs software and firewalls on their devices. 

Library staff cannot assist in making changes to user's network settings or perform any troubleshooting on the user's own computer. 

Printing:  Library printers are not available to wireless users.  You can save your work to a USB flash drive or email it to yourself, and then print from one of the library's public access computers. 

Responsibilities:  Wireless users agree to abide by the library's Computer Use and Internet Access Policy found at http://cortlandfreelibrary.org/about/policies/
Violation of federal, New York State or local laws, including but not limited to the transmission of pornography or harmful material, fraud, hacking, spamming, and illegal downloading of copyrighted material is prohibited.  Usage is subject to monitoring by CFL staff to assure these rules are followed. 

Approved by the Board of Trustees on October 18, 2017