Library Policies

How do I get a Library Card?

Library cards are available to all residents of the state of Pennsylvania at no cost. Photo identification is required to register. If a child is registering for a card, a parent or guardian must provide photo identification. Your Library Card is valid at any Library within Westmoreland County.

What Can I do with My Library Card?

The possibilities are endless! You can check out books, movies, and video games. You can use our patron computers or bring your own device and access our free WiFi and wireless printing services.

How Does Circulation Work?

Once you have an active Library Card, you can check out materials from any Library in Westmoreland County. Here are our borrowing policies:

Books Books circulate for 21 days at a time. Books may be renewed up to four times if there is not another patron with the book on hold.
DVDs DVDs circulate for 21 days at a time. DVDs can be renewed up to four times if there is not another patron with that DVD on hold.
Audiobooks Audiobooks circulate for two weeks at a time. Audiobooks may be renewed up to four times if there is not a patron with the audiobook on hold. We currently only offer audiobooks on CD at this time.
e-Resources e-materials are available through our Libby app. E-books and e-audiobooks can be checked out for two weeks at a time. The item will automatically be returned at the end of that time period and no fines will accrue on these items.

All items can be renewed either in person, online HERE, or by calling the Library at 724-744-4414. Fines are not currently being charged for past due items. Patrons will be charged for damaged or lost items.

Library Rules

  • Children must be attended to at all times.
  • No running or skateboarding will be permitted in the library.
  • No baseball cleats, soccer spikes, or rollerblades will be permitted in the library.
  • No climbing or standing on furniture will be permitted in the library.
  • Patrons display loud, abusive, disruptive, and/or unacceptable behaviors will be asked to leave.
  • Library staff reserves the right to ask anyone who is disturbing other patrons to leave.

Unattended Child Policy

The Penn Area Library welcomes the use of its facilities and services by all children. However, the library is a public building, and as such, is not a safe place to leave a child unattended. The library cannot assume responsibility for the safety of unattended children.

Therefore, children under the age of 10 years old cannot be left unattended in the library. This also applies when children are attending programs in the library. Children 10 years of age or older may use the library unattended, subject to other policies and procedures of the Penn Area Library concerning conduct and behavior. However, the parent or caregiver is responsible for the behavior of his/her child while in the library.

Further, it is the responsibility of the parent or caregiver to know the hours of the library and to pick up their child before the library closes. Library staff will try to contact a parent or caregiver of an unattended child. If they cannot contact the parent or caregiver, they will call the Penn Township Police. At least one staff member will wait inside the library for the parent, caregiver, or police to arrive. Under no circumstances will a staff member transport or take the child away from the library building.

Definition of an Unattended Child – A child, under the age of 10 years of age who is not under the authority of a parent or responsible adult nor able to care for him/herself for extended periods of time on a regular basis, or a child of any age who is not picked up at closing time.

Multi-Purpose Room Policy

The multi-purpose room in the library is for the use of the library and for recreational, municipal, or community bodies, societies, commissions, or corporations.

Availability of the Multi-Purpose Room

  • The multi-purpose Room is available during normal library hours.
  • Reservations for the multi-purpose room must be made at least 48 hours in advance with the library director or the director’s designee.
  • Use of the facility during non-operating hours must be approved by the Library Board of Trustees.
  • Library activities take precedence over outside use of the facility.
  • Use of the multi-purpose room must be in accordance with the Penn Area Library Program / Display Policy.

Conditions for Use of the Multi-Purpose Room

  • The multi-purpose room is available free of charge unless cleaning is required.
  • A $25.00 cleaning deposit will be required for activities that include the serving of refreshments or the making of crafts.
  • The room must be left clean, and the garbage must be bagged and placed outside the multi-purpose room in the library foyer.
  • The cleaning deposit will be returned if no custodial services are required.

Program / Display Policy

The library director, or the director’s designee, shall schedule all programs and displays. Presenters or exhibitors shall qualify based on the following priorities:

  • Library-related users including local, regional, state, national, or international public library trustees, administrations, or organizations.
  • Penn Township civic, recreational, and educational groups and organizations.
  • Other groups and organizations presenting activities of interest to the residents of Penn Township.

The following rules are to be observed in the use of the library:

  • No smoking is permitted on library premises.
  • Light refreshments, excluding alcoholic beverages, may be served. Presenters must supply their own equipment and utensils and leave the library in a clean and orderly condition.
  • Any group using the library will be responsible for setting up the room according to its own needs and must restore the furniture and the room to the order in which it was found.
  • Groups requiring audiovisual equipment will make their own arrangements; the library does not provide these.
  • Youth organizations must have at least one adult (21 years or older) per every 10 youth present at all times.
  • If a meeting is canceled, the director should be notified as far in advance as possible.
  • The group / organization is responsible for the repair of any damage or vandalism that occurs.
  • The library is not responsible for lost or stolen articles.
  • No group or organization using the library may discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, or handicapped status in the provision of services.
  • All meetings and presentations will be open to the public should anyone wish to attend.
  • Exceptions to these rules are possible only by written application to the Penn Area Library Board of Trustees.

Programs / displays which are partisan, religious, commercial (i.e., in which participants are encouraged, either covertly or overtly, to buy a commodity or service from the program leader or his/her organization), or which further one individual’s goal will not be accommodated. The following type of programs, in priority order are acceptable:

  • Programs / displays sponsored by the library, township, or school district.
  • Cultural and artistic and related educational, non-profit programs/displays.
  • Hobby and craft courses, displays, and contests. These activities may not involve the use of materials that in normal use could be damaging or difficult to clean up, require excessive use of library utilities, or constitute a danger to the public or building.
  • Balanced presentations of controversial issues sponsored by an impartial agency.

Selection Policy

The Penn Area Library Board of Trustees endorses the tenets set forth by the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom to Read Statement, and Libraries – An American Value.

While the legal responsibility for the purchase of all materials is vested in the Penn Area Library Board of Trustees, the responsibility for the recommendation and selection of library materials and services has been delegated to the library director. The library director has been charged with the responsibility of identifying, ordering, and organizing materials and services which meet the needs and interests of the community. The Board intends to provide, limited only by its budget, materials and services of an informational, educational, and recreational nature to serve all segments of the population. All borrowers’ requests will be considered.

In the selection of non-fiction, all subject areas will be covered, with quality stressed. The best available materials are to be selected on the basis of reviews, criticisms, reputation of writers, personal examination by professional staff, and reliable recommendations.

Weeding of the collection is an ongoing process directly related to collection development. Materials that are worn, damaged, outdated, duplicated, or no longer used will be removed from the collection. Other factors to be taken into consideration are frequency of use, community interest, and availability of other material on the subject.

Gifts will only be accepted with the understanding that the library may dispose of them at its discretion.

Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Policy

The Penn Area Library chooses materials using a variety of methods recommended by the library profession. The Library consults professional reviews, its own collection development policy, and gauges the interest of the community, when determining if an item will be purchased and circulated.

If an item in the Library’s collection is determined to not meet the standards set forth in its own collection development policy or if a patron or organization wishes to have the Library re-examine the suitability of an item, a Reconsideration Form should be completed. The steps for submitting a Reconsideration Form are as follows:

  • Forms can be requested from the circulation desk staff or downloaded here.
  • Fill out the form in its entirety and provide as many details as possible.
  • Submit it to the circulation desk staff upon completion.
  • The Library Director will review the form and make a determination whether the item should remain in its current location and circulate. In some instances, the Library Board of Trustees may need to provide insight and a determination.
  • The Library requests 90 days to consider the request and provide a resolution.

Non-Book Gift Policy

It is the responsibility and the privilege of the Penn Area Library Board of Trustees to accept or refuse all non-book gifts. The board reserves the right to refuse any gift and to use unrestricted gifts at its own discretion. This may mean the sale of the gift, if this is judged to be in the best interest of the library. With the exception of small, unrestricted cash gifts which are given to the treasurer (after notification of the librarian), all information regarding gifts, offers of gifts, and bequests are immediately brought to the board. The board is notified in the following order:

  • The president
  • If the president is unavailable, the vice president
  • Any other officer of the board
  • Any board member

This applies even if a board member is the first to be approached regarding a bequest or gift.

If there is no urgency, the matter of the gift or proposed gift is placed on the agenda for the next regular board meeting. A special meeting may be called, if necessary, to consider a gift.

The president (or in his/her absence, the vice-president) and the treasurer (especially if the gift is monetary) are designated by the board to officially accept or refuse gifts and bequests, and to be contacted by and deal with outside agencies.

The acceptance or refusal of a restricted cash gift is determined by the board. Unrestricted cash gifts and bequests are accepted unless they are deemed to have a negative effect on the library’s primary funding sources, ability to raise money, or the library’s good name. Illegally generated gifts are not accepted. Substantial ($1,000.00 or more) cash gifts are allocated by the following procedure:

The finance committee meets with the librarian, treasurer, and other interested persons to hear suggestions and to propose the allocation of funds. The committee’s recommendation is submitted to the board as a whole, at either a regularly scheduled or special meeting. The finance committee has the responsibility to implement the official allocation. This duty can be delegated to the treasurer.

All policies are governed by the previously enacted by-laws and are subject to any changes made to the by-laws.

Confidentiality of Library Records

In accordance with Pennsylvania Act 90 of 1984, which amends P.L. 324 No. 188 of 1961, known as “The Library Code”, the Penn Area Library recognizes its circulation records and other records which disclose personal information or identify individuals with specific materials or services to be confidential in nature.

The Penn Area Library Board of Trustees hereby formally adopts a policy requiring the library to observe constitutional rules in the disclosure of personal information about individuals by specifically making confidential any personally identifiable patron or library user record including, but not limited to circulation records, patron registration records, inter-library loan requests, and reference questions except:

  • To the patron or to the parent or guardian if the patron is a minor;
  • To any person with the informed written consent of the patron given at the time disclosure is sought;
  • To any authorized person if the disclosure is necessary for the retrieval of overdue library materials or the recouping of compensation for damaged or lost library materials or services, or
  • Pursuant to a court order or subpoena authorizing such disclosure.

The agent for service of process in these matters is the library director.

Upon receipt of a court order or subpoena the library will seek opinion of legal counsel as to validity of such court order or subpoena before complying.

All library trustees, employees, volunteers, and friends shall comply with this policy; with all federal, state, and local laws or regulations relating to the privacy of library records; and with relevant court decisions of the highest state and federal courts.