Evanston Public Library
Services Policy
Amended 6/7/2022

5.0 Library Services

It is the policy of the Evanston Public Library to optimize availability of library services and programs throughout the community. Library staff and the Board of Trustees shall determine the most equitable means to accomplish this goal.  Services may be provided at a variety of community sites. In collaboration with the community, library trustees, librarians, and other library staff, EPL will decide how library services should be provided to their patrons.

5.1 Hours of Service, Loan Periods,and Fees Determined by Library Board

The Library Board establishes, in consultation with the Library Executive Director, hours of service to be provided at each library service point, loan periods for materials, and fees for library services. These are reviewed periodically by the Library’s staff and the Library Board.

5.2  Library Express Service at Robert Crown

The purpose of this service is to allow access to the Robert Crown Library during specified service hours when staffing is not available. Using this service is a privilege for EPL cardholders, and the success of this service depends on the users’ responsibility. Please read and sign this User Agreement for conditions of participation, clear expectations, and applicable rules. Feel free to ask any questions before signing. This agreement must be renewed on an annual basis. Your access may expire if not renewed in a timely manner. 

Conditions of Participation. I understand in order to participate in this service: 

  • I must be a resident of Evanston
  • My library card must be in good standing, and
  • I must be 16 years of age or older

Agreements. I understand that:

  • I and any minors I bring with me will be on camera while using this service. 
  • I must only grant entry to myself and any minor I am responsible for while using this service. Any other adult must have a signed User Agreement on file and must gain entry using his/her/their own pin code. 
  • This service is self-directed and in-person library staff assistance will not be available to me.
  • Emergencies may occur and there is a phone to call 911 located at the Main Desk of the Robert Crown Center.
  • I must adhere to all library rules of use (copy provided at time of signature and posted at site).
  • No animals are permitted in the library except service animals as defined by Illinois state law.
  • If announcements are made during the course of express hours, all individuals agree to comply with any directions
  • All library policies are in effect during express hours including the library’s Rules of Use and the Computer, Internet and Wireless Access Policy listed on the
  • I will not have access to the meeting rooms within the Library and will not enter areas marked as “for library staff only”. 
  • If I fail to comply with any terms of this agreement, my privileges may be revoked. If your privileges are revoked, you may submit a written request for reconsideration with any applicable supporting documentation within 20 days of the date of the revocation letter to the Library’s Executive Director. You hold the burden of proof. The Library’s Executive Director will review the request, any supporting documentation, and the facts and circumstances relating to the revocation and decide to uphold, modify, or overturn the decision within 30 days following receipt of your timely written request.

Waiver of Liability. 

I understand that in addition to the potential for exposure to COVID-19 and other viral and bacterial infections or disease, there is the potential for harm, illness, or injury in accessing an unstaffed building. I voluntarily accept and solely assume all risk of damages, illness, or injury incurred or suffered by me or any minors for which I am responsible while using this service. I hereby waive, release, and agree to hold harmless and discharge the City of Evanston, and its elected and appointed officials, officers, directors, commissioners, agents, employees, volunteers, representatives, successors, and assigns, to the fullest extent allowed by law from any and all claims, suits, actions, expenses, damages, and losses without limitation for personal or bodily injury, wrongful death, and property damage occurring, arising from, related to or resulting from using this service. Please present a valid photo ID or Evanston Public Library card before signing. 

Once registered, customers may obtain self-service access that includes use of computers, printing, materials selection, check-out and holds pick-up. This service is not available on certain holidays or on days when the Robert Crown Community Center is closed.

5.3 Confidentiality of Records

It is the policy of the Board of Trustees of the Evanston Public Library to ensure the privacy of the users of its services and considers any patron-identifiable library records to be confidential in nature. Patron-identifiable library records are collected only when they are necessary for the fulfillment of the Library’s mission or for the purpose of protecting public property and are not to be used directly or indirectly to identify the types of materials used by individual library patrons. Patron-identifiable library records include any information that links a patron to use of particular library materials, resources, or services, or that identify a patron’s choices, tastes, or research interests. Such records include, but are not limited to, all types of registration and circulation records, inter-library loan requests and records, patron requests to reserve, or obtain certain materials, staff notes pertaining to patron requests for assistance, and all correspondence with patrons having to do with use of library resources including email and social media. Even records that do not include a patron’s name, but refer to some other identifiable characteristic, such as the patron’s library card number, address,  date of birth, race/ethnicity, language spoken at home, or phone number are considered patron-identifiable library records. In addition to physically extant records, patron-identifiable library records include computers, computer components, and other electronic storage media containing such records.

Patron-identifiable information does not include statistical records relating to use of the Library or its materials and services that cannot be used to identify particular patrons or information concerning behavioral issues in the Library’s records concerning particular patrons.

No identifiable library records shall be made available to members of the public, the press, or any agency of state, federal, or local government, except pursuant to such process, order, or subpoena as may be authorized by a court under the authority of and pursuant to federal, state or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigatory power. Any costs incurred by the Library in any search through patron records, even under court order, shall be chargeable to the agency demanding such search. Only the Library Executive Director and designee are authorized to accept and respond to such court orders. If the order requires immediate compliance, the designated librarian-in-charge, may respond to such an order, but should first attempt to notify the Library Executive Director or designee. Whenever possible the Library’s staff should seek to have the court order reviewed by the City Attorney or his/her designee before complying.

Patron-identifiable information may be disclosed without a court order only in the following circumstances:

* A patron may have access to any patron-identifiable records the Library holds about them, if the patron presents their library card or valid photo identification. Telephone callers who provide their library card number will be treated the same as in-person visitors.

* If the patron is a minor, the minor’s parent or legal guardian may have access to the circulation records of that child if the parent or guardian is in possession of the child’s library card and is able to provide appropriate identification for themselves.

* When contacting a patron, patron-identifiable information (such as the title or subject of a requested item available to be picked up) may not be left on an answering machine, voice mail, or email to the patron, unless the patron specifically requests this form of identification at the time of the request. The Library cannot be responsible for maintaining confidentiality in the notification process if these methods are selected by the patron.

* The Federal Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act requires the Library to report possible violations of child pornography laws to the Cyber Tip Line at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ( Reports received by the Cyber Tip Line are forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Such disclosures should be made only by the Library Director or designee, and whenever possible they will consult with the City Attorney before making such a disclosure. The Library is protected from liability for good faith disclosure to the Cyber Tip Line.

5.4 Library Cooperation

Since cooperation between libraries depends upon the good will of the cooperating libraries that loan materials for use, and because the Library is responsible for the return or replacement of these materials, the Library must be particularly careful to oversee the use of materials obtained from cooperating libraries and agencies.

Materials from other libraries must be requested by the person who will be responsible for those materials and must be checked out on that person’s card.

Patrons who are not currently allowed to check out library materials because of bills, fees, or overdue items are not allowed to request materials from cooperating libraries or agencies. The services involved include, but are not limited to, interlibrary loan and article  requests.

If a patron has repeatedly lost or kept overdue materials that have been supplied by a cooperating library or agency, the privilege of using these services may be suspended.

The Evanston Public Library may charge back to its patrons any charges for services provided by cooperating libraries and other agencies.

 5.4.1 Reciprocal Borrowing

The Evanston Public Library shall make all material that it loans to Evanston cardholders available to valid cardholders from RAILS member libraries except the following materials:  Interlibrary Loan, Wi-Fi Hotspots, Job Search Tech Kits, Chromebooks & Laptops, Most Wanted, streaming material and any other material as deemed by the Library Executive Director or designee.

5.4.2 Chicago Public Library Reciprocal Borrowing

In order to maintain a balance in the Reciprocal Borrowing arrangement with the City of Chicago, the Evanston Public Library restricts loans to Chicago residents to no more than fifty items charged to a library card at any given time.  

5.4.3 Interlibrary Loan

The Evanston Public Library is an active member of the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS), and follows System interlibrary loan procedures and protocols wherever applicable. The Evanston Public Library also initiates and responds to loan requests within the greater library community.

The Evanston Public Library relies on RAILS as its primary means of satisfying interlibrary loan requests, and the Library attempts, in turn, to fill all requests received from RAILS member libraries.

The Evanston Public Library attempts to satisfy requests from non-RAILS Illinois libraries with any item not currently on loan, except those published within six months and those in frequent demand. The Evanston Public Library will accept requests from libraries throughout the United States, when it appears that the requesting library may have exhausted local and regional resources. Reference books are generally not loaned. Material in fragile condition is not loaned.

5.5 Internet Access Policy

5.5.1 Internet Policy

Internet access is available on public computers for all users of the Evanston Public Library and through wifi access at Evanston Public Library Locations. The Library cannot insure the privacy of individuals who use the Internet to conduct business or for personal correspondence. The Internet allows users to connect to networks of resources outside the Library. The Evanston Public Library has no control over these resources nor does the Library have complete knowledge of what is on the Internet. The Library does not select or edit Internet content, or take responsibility for its reliability, currency, or accuracy. Library patrons use the Internet at their own discretion. The Internet contains some material that is inappropriate for viewing or reading by children, such as sexually explicit, violent, and racist material and images. For this reason, adults  are encouraged to monitor and supervise their children’s use of the Internet. The Library staff does not limit or restrict adults or children in the Internet sites they choose to view. 

The Evanston Public Library is bound by an agreement with its Internet provider that prohibits any unlawful use of the Internet. The Internet and/or wi-fi connection shall not be used for illegal purposes nor used in such a way as to violate Evanston Public Library policies. Patrons who make unlawful use of the Internet may be barred from using the Library’s Internet resources. 

5.6 Reference Services Policy

The Library’s staff responds to the information needs of all Evanston Public Library users, providing clear and accurate answers to all patron inquiries, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, or ethnicity of the questioner, or purpose of the question. Reference services are available at all times the library is open, and users have a right to expect consistently high quality service from all members of the staff, at any time. Reference queries are accorded equal weight whether submitted in person, by telephone, email, mail, or IM; and are handled as expeditiously as possible.

Library staff members may have to make judgments about the feasibility of answering certain time consuming questions, or those requiring expertise or materials outside the realm of a public library. In such cases, when the Library’s collection or services do not meet the patron’s needs, staff will give a thoughtful referral to other resources or institutions. To facilitate such transactions, the Library’s staff maintains collegial relations with other library facilities in the Chicago area, and is familiar with their collections.

The Library’s staff uses all available means to answer patron queries, and takes full advantage of emerging technologies. Conventional print sources, online databases, websites, and social media may all be used to answer questions. The professional staff reserves the right to determine which sources are most appropriate for each query.

The Evanston Public Library subscribes to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. Consistent with other Library service policies, the department maintains strict confidentiality and privacy regarding all patron inquiries and research interests.

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.

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