1. Access to Information

1.1 Children’s Services
1.2 Information Services
1.3 Internet and Computer Use
1.4 Interlibrary Loan


Back to Operational Policies Table of Contents

1.1 Children’s Services Policy

Most recent revision: June 2014
Reviewed by Policy Committee: Feb 2014
Reviewed by Board: June 2014

Policy Statement

The Salt Spring Island Public Library provides library service for children to assist in developing the full potential of each child. The Library Board endorses the Children’s Rights in the Public Library as developed by the Ontario Library Association (Appendix A)

  1. BUILDING: The Library provides a pleasant and inviting atmosphere for children by:
  • assigning an area specifically designated for children
  • planning for an area specifically designed for children’s programming separate from daily
    • library service areas
  • having furniture, shelves and equipment that are designed for and accessible to all
  • children
  • ensuring that signage is clear and legible for children.

2.  STAFFING: The Library provides trained volunteer staff with rapport with children, by:

  • assigning a children’s librarian as a specialist
  • ensuring that all volunteers in children’s services are actively involved in the library
  • activities

3.  RESOURCES: The Library provides a wide range of materials in all formats to fulfill the informational, cultural, learning and leisure needs of children by:

  • ensuring a materials selection policy that reflects the characteristics inherent to
  • children’s collection (see Collection Development Policy)
  • evaluating the children’s collection on an ongoing basis
  • ensuring that adequate funds be made available to support the development of a
  • children’s collection that is up-to-date, in good condition and generally attractive
  • ensuring that the children’s collection is organized for easy access and with children’s
  • capabilities in mind
  • providing materials representing Canadiana, multicultural and bilingual literature,
  • traditional literature, literature designed to serve special groups and popular and ephemeral materials, keeping in mind the needs of the children of the community.

4.  INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM: The Library provides children with open access to information and facilities throughout the Library by:

  • providing library service for children with the respect and consideration assured to all
  • patrons
  • ensuring that library procedures support the Children’s Services Policy
  • ensuring the public has access to policy statements. (See Appendix H)

5.  PROGRAMS: The Library provides programs for children to stimulate the child’s imagination and desire to learn and to promote the use of the collection by:

  • ensuring that adequate funds are made available to support all children’s programs
  • providing a variety of programs furthering the informational, cultural, learning and
  • leisure interests of all ages
  • cooperating with community agencies and schools in providing children’s programs.

6.  PROMOTION: The Library actively promotes a variety of formats of library services to children by:

  • publicizing library activities and services for children on a regular basis utilizing local media
  • posting information on the Kids Corner section of the web site,
  • providing attractive and changing displays and promotional materials to appeal to a variety of interests.

7.  COMMUNITY OUTREACH: The Library communicates and cooperates with other community groups and organizations devoted to serving children by:

  • actively encouraging the continued cooperation of schools and other community groups
  • in the use of the Library
  • providing expertise and support for community groups and organizations serving
  • participating in community collaborative efforts such as Books For Babies.

8.  RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF PARENTS/GUARDIANS: The Library expects parents or guardians of children under the age of 12 to:

  • monitor the use of services and collections by their children
  • be responsible for borrowed materials and fines incurred by their children
  • not leave unattended children requiring supervision, in or about Library premises
  • be responsible for their children’s internet use


1.2 Information Services Policy

Most recent revision: June 2014
Reviewed by Policy Committee: Feb 2014
Reviewed by Board: June 2014

Policy Statement

Information services are those services which link people with resources to fulfill informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs.


This policy is intended to provide library staff with a clear description of, and guidance in providing information service. The policy is in no way meant to limit initiative on the part of staff in serving the public. Staff is encouraged to use good judgment to satisfy patrons’ needs.


It is the policy of the Library to answer all reference and information questions efficiently, accurately and as completely as possible, and to assist patrons in the use of the library and bibliographic tools.

If it is not possible to find an answer using the SSI Library resources, patrons will be referred to other libraries, agencies and community resources.


All patrons seeking help at the Library will be greeted in a friendly manner and regardless of sex, age, ability and ethnic background, and be treated equally with respect and courtesy.

All questions will be considered important and legitimate, unless it becomes clearly apparent that they are otherwise.


The SSI Public Library provides a variety of information services to patrons that are described below:

  • Quick Reference

These questions can usually be answered immediately using resources kept at the Supervisor’s Desk, in the Reference collection or using a specific internet site.

  • General Reference

General reference usually requires a lengthier search and the use of a number of sources to arrive at a complete answer. Supervisors will guide and assist the patron in pursuing the answer while simultaneously providing, as required, informal instruction in how to search and use library resources to the best advantage.

  • Readers’ Advisory

Readers’ advisory is the activity of recommending books to readers and helping readers identify their reading preferences. All staff may assist patrons in this regard but patrons should be referred to the Supervisor if other staff cannot meet the reader’s need.

  • Consultation/Interpretation

Supervisors will attempt, to the best of their abilities, to provide consultative assistance in defining more difficult questions and will show alternative methods of approach. The level of assistance will be based upon the patron’s needs and capacities, and staff time constraints.

The interpretation of information which requires expertise beyond the scope of staff competence is not attempted; e.g. in the fields of law, medicine, and evaluation or authentication of rare items. A patron will be referred to the information in the library elsewhere but it will not be interpreted by Supervisors or other staff.

  • Location of Material

Any staff may check for a patron to see whether a specific desired item is in the library’s collection. If it is, but is not immediately available, a hold will be placed by staff if requested. If the Library does not own the item, Supervisors will give assistance to the patron in using our Interlibrary Loan system, placing the request or supplying and helping complete the paper or website form required for this service.

  • Library Orientation and Patron Assistance

An important component of the duties of the Supervisors is that of familiarizing the patron with all library services and giving instruction in the use of the public access catalogue, reference materials, electronic subscription databases (e.g. Ebsco), Internet, and other library materials. The level of assistance provided will depend on the resources and staff available.

Students and researchers are given all information services available to other groups; however, neither time, resources, nor the best interests of the students allow Supervisors to amass an exhaustive collection of materials for research papers. Students and researchers will be given instruction in the use of the available searching tools and assisted in their searches.

Supervisors and the Chief Librarian will provide formal library orientation and instruction to individuals or groups as scheduled.

  • Referral

It is the policy of the SSI Public Library to maintain active liaison with other service agencies in the community. This policy is reflected in mutual referral of patrons and sharing of information whenever appropriate. If it has been established by the staff that a request for information cannot be answered or has been answered only in part with the resources of the SSI Public Library, the patron will be referred, when appropriate, to another source and assisted, where circumstances warrant, in contacting that source.

Every attempt is made to satisfy requests with materials available in the library before referring patrons or inquiries to outside sources.

  • Special Information Collections

The Library maintains and gives service from the following special collections: reference, local history and community documents. Where appropriate, the patron should be informed of the services and hours of the Archives office. Reference material may under exceptional circumstances be lent out. These loans will be made at the discretion of the Chief Librarian, Librarian or the Supervisor on duty in the absence of a Librarian.

  • Telephone Service

Patrons initiating enquiries by telephone will receive full staff attention. If the Supervisor is unable to deal with the telephone request immediately, arrangements will be made to return the call within an agreed upon time period. Staff will endeavour to respond to voice mail messages as quickly as possible on the day they are received. In every case where information is given to a patron who is not physically in the library, the source of the information must be cited as well as the answer provided.

Patrons needing extensive research service (extended reference) will be requested to visit the library to participate in the research process.

  • Correspondence

In addition to answering requests presented in person and by telephone, the library will also respond to requests received by mail and email in a timely manner. As described under the previous section, the source of the information must be cited.

  • Interlibrary Loan Service

The SSI Public Library is part of an information network within the community, within British Columbia and in cooperation with other library systems across Canada.

This service is automatically offered by the Supervisors whenever the information requested cannot be filled by the resources of the Library and is within the scope of the regional and national interlibrary loan code.

In return, the SSI Public Library shares its resources in accordance with the code, while always giving priority in the use of resources for its own patrons.


The extent of personal service to each individual is dependent on the number of patrons to be served. The following priorities are applied:

1st priority – requests presented in person
2nd priority – requests presented by telephone/voice mail
3rd priority – requests sent in by mail/e-mail
4th priority – requests received via the interlibrary loan network

If the Supervisor on duty is not able to provide enough information to answer a patron’s question, the question may be referred to another staff member or deferred as appropriate until another staff member or the Chief Librarian is on duty.


The Supervisor’s desk will be staffed continually from the time the library opens until it closes by a staff member who has been trained as a Supervisor and has extensive experience working in the SSI Library. When the Chief Librarian is available, she should be consulted on difficult reference issues.


Patron’s confidentiality is respected at all times, in compliance with government legislation. Patrons are not asked to identify themselves in any way before reference service is provided.


The Library is a public building and a service supported by local and provincial taxpayers. Abuse of patrons, staff or Library property is not tolerated. Disruptive or abusive patrons will be asked to desist from such behaviour or leave the premises, as per the rules of conduct policy.


Patrons who have comments or suggestions regarding services and collections covered by this policy will be promptly assisted at the time of the incident and informed as to how to communicate these to the Chief Librarian.


1.3 Internet and Computer Use

Most recent revision: June 2014
Reviewed by Policy Committee: Feb 2014
Reviewed by Board: June 2014

Policy Statement

In response to advances in technology and the changing needs of the community, the Salt Spring Island Public Library endeavors to develop collections, resources and services that meet the cultural, informational, recreational and educational needs of Salt Spring Island’s diverse community.

The Salt Spring Island Public Library does not monitor and has no control over the information accessed through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content. The Internet may contain inaccurate material or material of a controversial nature. The Library cannot censor access to material nor protect users from inaccurate or offensive information. Parents or guardians of minors must assume responsibility for their children’s use of the Internet. There is no fee to access the Internet.

  • Access to Minors

The Salt Spring Island Public Library expects parents and/or guardians to assume responsibility for their children’s use of online services and encourages parents to explore the Internet and the World Wide Web with their children at the Library. Computers for children and young adults are available in the Children’s and Teen’s Libraries respectively.

  • Electronic Mail

In addition to the internet the computer stations may be used for electronic mail, word processing and other applications.

  • Free Lessons

Free lessons in using the internet are provided as staff time is available.

  • Misuse

Anyone misusing or damaging the computer, reprogramming the library’s computers, tampering with the equipment or software or using the Internet for illegal or unethical purposes will have their Internet access privileges suspended, may be prosecuted and will be financially liable for any damage to the equipment. The Internet access computers are located in public areas which must be shared by library users of all ages, backgrounds and sensibilities. Individuals are asked to be respectful when accessing potentially offensive information and images. The Library reserves the right to ask individuals to discontinue the display of information and images which cause a disruption.

All users must comply with the Criminal Code of Canada, the Canadian Copyright Act, and the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.


1.4 Interlibrary Loan

Most recent revision: June 2014
Reviewed by Policy Committee: Feb 2014
Reviewed by Board: June 2014

Policy Statement

In order to provide access to information that the Library does not hold, interlibrary loan services will be provided in accordance with the BC Interlibrary Loan Code. This is part of an information network within the community, within British Columbia and in cooperation with other library systems across Canada.

Library users may request books from other libraries through Outlook Online which is a database of the holdings of BC Public and Academic libraries. Each lending library controls the materials which it will lend and if the lending library charges a fee for loaning the item, that cost will be passed on to the user. Most public libraries do not charge a loan fee, although many academic libraries do.

Because of shipping costs, most libraries will only lend books which are eligible for the Library Book Rate.

A fee will be charged if the item is not picked up within the time stated or if the item is overdue.

The Library is also part of the IslandLink Federation and as such is able to borrow book club sets for members through a special interlibrary loan arrangement.

Visually Impaired

Blind persons are able to receive library materials through interlibrary loan including audiovisual materials which are shipped free of charge following Canada Post’s Literature for the Blind service.

In addition, BC Library services provide Daisy book collections for users with print disabilities. These can be accessed through Interlibrary Loan.

(See Appendix F)