Section 7: Adult Services and Information Services

Section 7.1:  Information Services

The information staff at MAPLD endeavors to provide accurate information and materials in response to requests from Library users in an efficient, courteous, and timely manner.  In order to ensure that quality service is provided, only staff trained in providing reference service will be assigned to work at the reference desk on a regular basis.  Questions are generally answered in the order received, with priority given to questions asked by Library patrons who are present in the Library.

Services available through the reference desk include information services (answers to specific questions, call number and ownership of a specific book, recommendations on subject materials); instruction on the use of the Library and Library materials (online services, catalog, reference tools); bibliographic verification of items requested (title, author, publisher, ISBN, price); reader’s advisory (suggestions on books to read, DVDs to view, recordings to hear); referral to community services; and assistance in locating materials.

Before responding to a reference request, staff must understand the question completely.  When answering specific information questions, staff should always cite the source of the answer.  Personal beliefs, opinions, and experience are generally not acceptable sources of answers to reference questions but, if given, will be appropriately identified as such.  Staff will accompany the patron to the location of the desired need.  If a patron’s question cannot be completely met through the Library’s resources, staff will refer the patron to a more appropriate resource to obtain the desired information whenever possible.  Staff will attempt to provide accurate contact information for other agencies when referring a patron, but cannot make the actual phone call on behalf of the patron.

Telephone reference service and service provided through technologies, such as online chat sessions, are usually limited to supplying readily available information that does not require extensive research and that can be accurately imparted over the telephone or in brief written passages.  The patron best performs extensive research that requires selection of appropriate material, interpretation of data and sources, or analysis of information, although Library staff is available to offer guidance.  Detailed information, especially which is subject to analysis or interpretation, will not be relayed over the telephone.  Samples of available materials can be gathered and held for patron pickup.  Staff cannot photocopy material to be mailed except under circumstances authorized by the Library Director (such as for disabled patrons who cannot come to the Library, for other libraries, etc.).

Telephone reference questions, which can be answered quickly (within two or three minutes) without affecting service to patrons in the Library, should be handled while the patron waits on the phone.  Questions that require more time to answer, or that are received while other patrons are waiting in the Library, will be handled as callbacks.  All callbacks should be cleared by the end of the day or the patron will be notified of the delay.  Privacy and concern for accuracy of information will be considered when leaving messages on answering machines or with another household member.

Additional care and caution will be exercised when providing legal, medical, or consumer information.  To avoid misunderstandings, it is preferred that patrons visit the Library to review this type of information rather than receiving the information over the telephone, or that patrons be directed to reliable online resources to view and interpret the information for themselves. Reference staff will provide definitions, quote material verbatim, and direct patrons to information sources, but will not offer advice or opinions, condense or abstract information, or suggest a course of action or diagnosis.  Staff will provide the source and copyright date for legal and medical information.

All requests for reference information are confidential.  Reference staff may consult with one another when necessary to best serve the patron or consult with staff at other libraries, agencies, and organizations.  Questions are tallied for statistical purposes and may be compiled to assist in staff training.  In all cases, patron confidentiality and privacy will be maintained.

Approved on: February 10, 2014
Revised on: 8/8/16
Reviewed on: 4/13/2021


Section 7.2:  Homework Assistance

Questions regarding assistance with school homework assignments requested by students, regardless of age or grade level, will be answered in the same manner as any other reference question.  Priority will be given to Library patrons present in the Library.

Telephone and online assistance will be limited to short, factual questions that can be answered without interpretation of materials.

Materials may be pulled from the shelves and held for patron pickup.

If the reference desk staff is advised by school employees that the search process and use of research materials are part of the assignment, staff will limit assistance to helping students locate appropriate materials without supplying answers.

Approved on:  February 10, 2014
Reviewed on: 8/8/16 & 4/13/2021


Section 7.3:  Faxing

Fax service is provided by the MAPLD when the information requested is brief, readily available in printed form and easily faxed to a working facsimile number.  Staff will not conduct extensive research; compile information, or gather data from a variety of sources to be faxed.  Fax service that is limited to information provided as part of the reference services of the Library may be offered without charge.

Materials and information may be requested by incoming fax, and requests so received will be treated in the same manner as telephone reference questions.

Staff will adhere to copyright restrictions when faxing materials and a copyright violation warning will be affixed to the front page of copyrighted materials being faxed.  Staff may refuse to fax materials that would violate copyright law.

Requests for outgoing or incoming fax services that are not related to Library business will be charged on a flat fee per page basis.

Incoming faxes of Library material originating from another Library will not be charged to the patron, unless the patron was notified of an expected charge in advance of any request for materials faxed.

Approved on: February 10, 2014
Reviewed on: 8/8/16 & 4/13/2021


Section 7.4:  Photocopying

The MAPLD provides a photocopier for public use, primarily to facilitate patron use of non-circulating materials such as reference books, magazines, newspapers, and local history materials.  Fees for the copier are established by the Library Board.  Fees are reviewed annually.

Photocopiers are self-service and, except for assisting disabled patrons, staff is not available to make copies.  When assisting with the copier, staff will not knowingly violate copyright law.  Patrons using the photocopier must adhere to the U.S. Copyright Law when copying materials.

The Library attempts to maintain its equipment in good working order, but the Library is not a retail print or copy shop.  Those patrons seeking high quality printing or copies are directed to local printing businesses.  The Library will reimburse only for the first copier malfunction or poor quality copy.   Staff, at their discretion, and as time allows, may make copies on the staff copier for patrons if the public copier is out of order.  Such decisions will be made based on the immediacy of need, the type of material, and anticipated length of time that the public copier will be out of service.

Approved on: February 10, 2014
Reviewed on: 8/8/16, & 4/13/2021


Section 7.5:  Database Searching

In accordance with the MAPLD’s policy on collection development, information may be acquired in a variety of available electronic formats.  Whenever possible, and if doing so is economically viable, the Library will acquire electronic information that allows the least restrictive use of electronic resources.  Whenever possible, remote access to electronic resources will be made available to Library cardholders.

Access to basic electronic resources will generally be available free of charge to all Library patrons.  When it is not possible to provide electronic resources without charge, charges will be established by the Board of Library Trustees on a cost-recovery basis.  Charges will also be established for printing search results.

Search results may be saved to a flash drive or electronically forwarded to a patron if these functions are supported by the electronic resource.  The Library does not and cannot guarantee compatibility between programs and peripheral devices.

Electronic resources are generally only one of the available sources of information, and reference staff will help patrons locate other Library resources that will meet their information needs.  Staff is also available by appointment to discuss search strategies, provide instruction on how to use the electronic resources, and offer suggestions for other resources that may be useful.

Approved on: February 10, 2014
Reviewed on: 8/8/16 & 4/13/2021


Section 7.6:  Internet Use Policy

Responsibilities of the Library

To assist and guide Library patrons in the use of the internet, the Library offers on its web site, a collection of web resources that have been selected, evaluated and recommended by Library staff for the quality of their content and their appropriateness for use by children, young adults and teens.

To ensure patrons’ privacy and the confidentiality of Library records, the Library shall not disclose personally identifiable information about Library users except to law enforcement authorities as required by law.

Library staff shall not monitor an individual’s internet use except as may be required to ensure compliance with Library policy and/or procedures.

Access by Minors

Parents, or legal guardians, are responsible for their child’s internet use.

The Library affirms and acknowledges the rights and responsibilities of parents and guardians to monitor and determine their children’s access to Library materials and resources, including those available through the internet.

To address the issue of access by minors (defined in this policy as persons under the age of 18) to inappropriate material on the internet, including material that is harmful to minors, the Library:

  • Develops and maintains special web sites for children and teens
  • Encourages staff to guide minors away from materials that may be inappropriate.
  • Provides a link from the Library’s website to NetSmartzworkshop by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

To address the issue of the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, and other forms of direct electronic communications, as well as the unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors, the Library provides signs and bookmarks urging minors to keep in mind the following safety guidelines:

  • Never give out identifying information such as home address, school name, or telephone number
  • Let parents or guardians decide whether personal information such as age, marital status, or financial information should be revealed
  • Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone via the computer without parents’ or guardians’ approval
  • Never respond to messages that are suggestive, obscene, threatening, or make one uncomfortable.
  • Have parents or guardians report an incident to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 if one becomes aware of the transmission of child pornography
  • Remember that people online may not be who they say they are
  • Remember that everything one reads may not be true

To address the issue of unauthorized access, including so-called “hacking” and other unlawful activities by minors online, minors and all other Library users are hereby advised that use of the Library’s computers for hacking or other unlawful activity is strictly prohibited.

Patrons accessing the internet via their own equipment (e.g., patron laptop computers) or via Library equipment or resources are subject to applicable State and Federal laws, including copyright laws.  Patrons may be liable for violating copyright laws.

Patrons who misuse computers, internet access, Library materials or Library resources may be denied access to Library equipment or resources.

Responsibilities of Users

Use of any computer at the MAPLD constitutes acceptance of this policy and related procedures.

The Library reserves the right to terminate the session, evict the patron, or suspend or terminate the Library privileges of anyone who engages in unacceptable use or whose computer use disrupts Library service, or violates Library policies or procedures.

Among the uses that are considered unacceptable and which constitute a violation of this policy are:

  1. Uses that include but are not limited to actions that violate the law or encourage others to violate the law. Transmitting of offensive or harassing messages; offering for sale or use any substance the possession or use of which is prohibited by law; viewing, transmitting or downloading pornographic material or materials that encourage others to violate the law; downloading or transmitting confidential, trade secret information, or copyrighted materials.  Even if materials on the networks are not marked with the copyright symbol, users should assume that all materials are protected unless there is explicit permission on the materials to use them.
  2. Uses that cause harm to others or damage to their property. Engaging in defamation (harming another’s reputation by lies); uploading a worm, virus, “Trojan horse,” “time bomb” or other harmful form of programming or vandalism; participating in “hacking” activities or any form of unauthorized access to other computers, networks, or information systems.
  3. Uses that jeopardize the security of access of the computer network or other networks on the internet. Disclosing or sharing the user’s password with others; impersonating another user; using one’s own software programs on the Library’s computers; altering the Library’s computer settings; damaging or modifying computer equipment or software.
  4. Uses that compromise the safety and security of minors when using e-mail, and other forms of direct electronic communications. Minors under the age 18: Giving others private information about one’s self or others, including credit card numbers and social security numbers; arranging a face-to-face meeting with someone one has “met” on the computer network or internet without a parent’s permission.
  5. Uses that intrude upon the rights of others. Invading the privacy of others.  Harassing others users or Library staff.


Wireless Access

  • The Library’s wireless network is an open network, and therefore because it is not secure, the Library cannot guarantee the safety of your computer or any wireless communication
  • The Library assumes no responsibility for the configurations or security on any wireless device that results from connecting to the Library’s network.
  • The Library makes no guarantee that users will be able to connect to the Library’s network; and takes no responsibility for any changes the user makes to their settings.


While the Library endeavors to provide access to information of the highest quality, the Library specifically disclaims any warranty as to the information’s accuracy, timeliness, authoritativeness, usefulness or fitness for a particular purpose.

The Library shall have no liability for direct, indirect or consequential damages related to the use of information accessed through the Library’s internet service.

The availability of information via the Library’s internet service does not constitute endorsement of the content of that information by the Library.

Since software and information downloaded from any sources, including the internet, may contain computer viruses, users are advised to utilize virus checking software on their computers.

The Library is not responsible for damage to users’, flash drives, or computers or for any loss of data, damage or liability that may occur from use of the Library’s computers.

Approved on: February 10, 2014
Reviewed on: 4/13/2021


Section 7.7:  Proctoring Exams

As part of its mission to support lifelong learning, MAPLD’s Adult Services Department provides proctoring services for students enrolled in distance education courses and for testing required for career advancement.

Prior contact between MAPLD and the Adult Services Coordinator (or designee) is required so that credibility and testing requirements can be verified.  The Library will provide monitoring, but cannot provide one-on-one proctoring or continuous, uninterrupted monitoring of exams.  Librarians and Library assistants will conduct the proctoring.  Several staff members may be involved in proctoring, and the Library cannot guarantee that the same staff member will be available during the entire test period.  Students are responsible for determining whether the Library’s level of supervision matches the requirements of his or her institution.

Exam proctoring should be scheduled a minimum of one week in advance and is subject to the availability of staff and appropriate space.  Proctoring is offered Monday through Saturday during the library’s regular hours and dependent upon staff availability.  Due to reduced staff and heavy use, the Library cannot schedule proctoring on Sundays. The Library will make every attempt to meet the needs of the student, but proctoring may be cancelled if the Library is closed due to inclement weather or other emergencies, including computer malfunctions or severe staffing shortages.

Students are responsible for arranging for delivery of an exam or proctor password to the Adult Services Coordinator or designee before the exam is scheduled.  Exams that have been left for more than 45 days will be returned to the issuing institution. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the exam has arrived in time.  MAPLD is not responsible for exams sent to us without prior arrangements.  Staff cannot proctor exams that students bring in themselves.

A study room will be made available for a three-hour block of time but may not be available beyond those three hours as other patrons may wish to use the room.  Students should arrive on time as the room will be held for 15 minutes only.  Exams must be completed at least 15 minutes before the Library closes.

Photo identification, such as a driver’s license or school ID card, must be presented at the time that the exam is taken and must match the name on the exam materials.  The student should bring only those supplies, needed for the exam as MAPLD will not be responsible for personal belongings.

An online exam may be taken using a MAPLD laptop, or if the testing institution allows a student to use their own laptop, they may do so with the understanding that MAPLD’s wi-fi is not secure.  A student needing a MAPLD laptop for taking an exam needs to request one in advance and should bring their valid Illinois public library card in order to check out a laptop.

Exams offered in an electronic format must be compatible with the hardware and software available on the library’s computers.  Tests requiring access to a non-standard Internet port or requiring the installation of software on MAPLD’s computers cannot be proctored.  MAPLD is not responsible for tests that are interrupted by emergencies, power failures or other technological failures.

A $20 fee for proctoring is payable at the time the exam is scheduled.  The school or the student is responsible for providing a properly addressed envelope with sufficient postage for returning the exam to the school.  The Library is unable to provide overnight delivery service.  Testing materials will be handled in the same manner as all other Library mail.  Staff is not able to make special trips to the post office or arrange for pickup by delivery or mailing services.  The Library cannot assume responsibility for completed exams that are not received by the educational institution.

Approved on: February 10, 2014
Revised on:  8/8/2016
Reviewed on: 4/13/2021


Section 7.8:  Record Retention Policy

It is the policy of the MAPLD that its records be retained only so long as they are (1) necessary to the current conduct of the Library; (2) required to be retained by statute or government regulation; or (3) relevant to pending or foreseeable investigations or litigation.

  1. The responsibility for administering record retention management, in accordance with the laws of the State of Illinois, is designated to the Library Director.
  2. Destruction of specific records shall be carried out only in accordance with the rules and guidelines set down by the State of Illinois.
  3. This policy includes all records maintained on electronic data processing storage media as well as printed records.
  4. All records shall be retained for at least the minimum period as stated in applicable State or Federal laws or regulations. Once the period for office retention of records has passed, a determination will be made regarding whether the records fall under the Records Retention schedule supplied by the State of Illinois, and with the approval of the Records Retention Division.
  5. The destruction of records shall be suspended immediately upon receipt of legal process or other notice of pending or foreseeable investigations or litigation, whether government or private.

Approved on: February 10, 2014
Revised on: 8/8/2016
Reviewed on: 4/13/2021