In 1990 the Salt Lake County Library System released the Library Customer Bill of Rights. Many believe that this bill of rights should be posted in every public service area.

This Bill of Rights has ten parts, all of which are important. It was written with only the Salt Lake City libraries in mind but applies to all public and many other types of libraries.

  1. The first right is that library customers will always be treated courteously, in all circumstances and at all times. This is sometimes difficult when the patrons are rude and impatient but the library staff should use their fullest abilities to be polite at all times.

  2. Second, library customers will be able to check out books and other materials, register for new cards, and pay fines without undue red tape or other delays.

  3. In the original version of these rights it says that library customers will be able to get current best sellers and popular materials at all Salt Lake County libraries. "Salt Lake County" can easily be removed completely or replaced by the name of the library system using this Bill of Rights without losing the meaning.

  4. Library customer complaints and/or problems will be resolved within 48 hours whenever possible. All issues will be resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible.

  5. Library customers’ phone calls will not be transferred or left on “hold” unnecessarily. The goal here is not passing the problem on to others, the staff member should take care of the patron and only transfer them if they are not qualified to help them.

  6. Library customers should expect staff to make the Library System work for them. The staff should do everything in their power to make the customer feel they are being helped.

  7. Library customers will be able to suggest new materials and services, and find out what happens to their suggestions. A suggestion box is often used. Many libraries use suggestion slips with a place for contact information for the person submitting the suggestion. Some libraries publish a newsletter to keep their customers informed.

  8. Library customers who are children have the same rights and responsibilities as adult library customers. It is generally left to the parents to decide what the child may check out and how the child will use the materials. Libraries recognize that children are still young and learning and usually require permission of a guardian before the child is granted rights to use the library material. The guardian is then held responsible for any damage the child causes.

  9. Library customers are entitled to accurate information and answers to all their questions. There are no stupid questions. The staff is expected to take what ever reasonable means possible to answer all patron inquiries.

  10. The final right is that library customers are entitled to clean, safe, and reasonably quiet library buildings. Customers are usually asked to not bring food or drink into the library, and turn cell phones and other disruptive items off in order to help ensure the proper environment for all.

Introduction to Library Public Services, Sixth Ed., By G. Edward Evans, Anthony J. Amodeo, and Thomas L. Carter.
Class notes

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