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Access to Library Resources and Services

Office of the Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services:
Public Services Policy Memo 1:
Access to Library Resources and Services


Rutgers University, founded in 1766, is the eighth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. As Rutgers has evolved into a major research university, the library system has also grown into one of the top academic research libraries in the country. Expanding from one library to more than twenty separate libraries, collections, and reading rooms, located on campuses in New Brunswick/Piscataway, Camden, and Newark, the libraries at Rutgers serve over three million users each year. The Rutgers Digital Library includes the Rutgers Community Repository (RUcore) and other networked resources.

The Rutgers University Libraries ascribe to the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View Statement developed by the American Library Association as well as the Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries developed by the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. These documents are appended to this policy memo.


Mission

The Rutgers University Libraries support and enrich the instructional, research, and public service missions of the University through the stewardship of scholarly information and the delivery of information services.


Access to Library Facilities

The Rutgers University Libraries include 13 different physical facilities containing 22 libraries, centers, and collections. There are also separate facilities for libraries for alcohol studies, criminal justice, management and labor relations, and two law schools that coordinate with but that are not administratively part of the Rutgers University Libraries.

Library, Center, or Collection (Building) Campus City
Annex (Annex building)BuschPiscataway
Archibald S. Alexander Library (Alexander Library)College AvenueNew Brunswick
Art Library (Voorhees Hall)College AvenueNew Brunswick
Blanche & Irving Laurie Performing Arts Library (Douglass Library)DouglassNew Brunswick
East Asian Library (Alexander Library)College AvenueNew Brunswick
George F. Smith Library of the Health Sciences (Smith Library)Rutgers Health Sciences Campus at Newark Newark
Institute of Jazz Studies (Dana Library)NewarkNewark
John Cotton Dana Library (Dana Library)NewarkNewark
Kilmer Library (Kilmer Library)LivingstonPiscataway
Library of Science & Medicine (LSM)BuschPiscataway
Mabel Smith Douglass Library (Douglass Library)DouglassNew Brunswick
Margery Somers Foster Center (Douglass Library)DouglassNew Brunswick
Mathematical Sciences Library (Hill Center)BuschPiscataway
Media Center (Douglass Library)DouglassNew Brunswick
Paul Robeson Library (Robeson Library)CamdenCamden
Physics Library (Serin Laboratories)BuschPiscataway
Robert Wood Johnson Library of the Health Sciences (Medical Education Building)College AvenueNew Brunswick
SERC Reserve Reading Room (SERC)BuschPiscataway
Scholarly Communications Center (Alexander Library)College AvenueNew Brunswick
Sharon A. Fordham Multimedia LabDouglassNew Brunswick
Special Collections & University Archives (Alexander Library) College AvenueNew Brunswick
Stephen & Lucy Chang Science Library (Foran Hall)CookNew Brunswick

All individuals have on site access to the Rutgers University Libraries. Where self-use of library facilities and/or services are difficult or impossible, the Libraries will make special provisions as needed to permit users with disabilities to examine sources, retrieve materials, and access services. For information about access for library users with disabilities, see the Library Services for Persons with Disabilities web page or brochure.

Before individuals enter and as they leave library facilities, they may be asked to show the contents of their backpacks, book bags, or briefcases. Individuals may be required to show a Rutgers identification card for admittance, and if they do not have Rutgers identification, will be required to produce other acceptable identification and sign in. Some library locations limit access to Rutgers students, faculty and staff during late night and weekend hours; see the Library Hours web page for details. A video record is made of everyone who enters a library facility.


Access to Library Collections

The Rutgers University Libraries collections are available to all individuals for use on site. Some materials may be stored and need to be paged. Some rare, fragile, or gift materials may have restricted use.

Electronic resources are available through networked or standalone computers and include indexes, electronic journals, and full-text or full-image materials acquired or developed as part of the Rutgers Digital Library. Members of the public who are 18 years of age or older are welcome to use these resources on site in any Rutgers library. Electronic resources may be limited to members of the public by equipment, staffing, or funding limitations. Guests, alumni, and other members of the public who are 18 years of age or older may be required to present a government issued photo identification card, including address and birth date, and register in order to use public computers.

By contract, off-campus access to the Rutgers University Libraries licensed electronic resources is available only to current Rutgers faculty, students, staff, and faculty emeriti, wherever they are located.


Access to Library Services

The Libraries' reference and information services are available to all individuals on site, by telephone, by correspondence, and electronically. Public photocopiers are located in each of the libraries and are available for use by all individuals on site. The Imaging Services office, located in the Alexander Library, New Brunswick, provides additional services for a fee.

The Libraries' electronic services are available to current faculty, students, staff, and faculty emeriti of the university wherever they are located. These services include the Rutgers Delivery Service (recalls and delivery of Rutgers materials), EZ-Borrow, Interlibrary Loan and Article Delivery Services, the "My Library Account" feature (an online view of one's library record and the ability to renew books online), reference assistance, electronic reserves, and similar offerings.

Anyone may use Ask a Librarian, the electronic reference service, wherever they are located. Anyone with Rutgers borrowing privileges may use "My Library Account" within the Library Catalog to view their library record and renew their books online, wherever they are located. University affiliates may also qualify to use the Rutgers Delivery Service (recalls and delivery of Rutgers materials), Interlibrary Loan and Article Delivery Services, and library instructional services. Other individuals are referred to their public library or other library at which they have privileges.


Borrowing Privileges

Borrowers designated as primary are currently part of the university community by virtue of enrollment or employment, formal agreements with other institutions, and certain affiliated persons considered on a case-by-case basis. Primary borrowers are eligible for book loan periods of a semester (faculty, faculty emeriti, graduate students, and staff) or 6 weeks (undergraduates), 240 item borrowing limit, use of reserve collections, "My Library Account" features in the Library Catalog including renewal of library materials online, the Rutgers Delivery Service for recalls and delivery of Rutgers materials, media bookings (faculty and graduate students), Interlibrary Loan and Article Delivery Services, and EZ-Borrow. Primary borrowers who are current Rutgers students, faculty, staff, and faculty emeriti are eligible for off-campus access to licensed databases, e-journals, and electronic reserves through the Libraries' proxy server.

Certain categories of individuals by virtue of their association with the University may be extended guest borrower status at the Libraries. Guest borrowers are eligible for, 28 day loan period, 25 item borrowing limit, use of reserve collections, and "My Library Account" features in the Library Catalog including renewal of library materials online. Guest borrowing privileges are granted for a minimum of twenty-eight days to a maximum of a one-year period. Guest privileges may be renewed annually if the guest borrower re-qualifies and the borrower's record is clear.

See Access Services Policy Memo #1: Patron Identification and Registration, Access Services Policy Memo #2: Borrowing Privileges, and the Eligible Borrowers file maintained by the Head, University Libraries Access and Interlibrary Services for additional details.


User Conduct and Security

The Libraries strive on behalf of all users to provide a quiet, welcoming, and respectful atmosphere that is conducive to private study and research and that is comfortable, clean, and safe for both library users and personnel. The Libraries are committed to protecting the rights of individual users and sustaining the integrity of the collections. The Libraries abide by the Code of Student Conduct, Acceptable Use Policy for Computing and Information Technology Resources, other university policies, and applicable state and federal laws.

Note on non-compliance: Users who do not adhere to the following behavior guidelines may be asked to leave and may be subjected to loss of library privileges, appropriate administrative action within the university, and prosecution under state law. Flagrant or repeat violators may be banned from all University locations. Instances of non-compliance will be documented and kept on file.

Animals - Users with disabilities may bring assistance animals into the Libraries. No other animals are allowed.

Appropriate Use of the Libraries - Library users should be engaged in activities associated with the use of an academic library while in Rutgers library facilities. These uses include reading, studying, attending programs or using library services or resources. Users not engaged in these activities will be required to leave the building. Any activity that interferes with user or staff safety or use of the Libraries is not permitted.

Appropriate Use of Facilities and Equipment - Facilities and equipment are to be used for the purposes for which they are provided. Such facilities as group study rooms and restrooms are provided for the convenience of all library users, and conduct unrelated to ordinary use is prohibited. Equipment, including public computers, is intended to support university instruction, clinical and research programs, and such uses are given priority.

Cell Phones, Pagers, and Other Electronic Devices - Except for medical personnel, the Rutgers University Libraries require library users to set cell phones, pagers, and other electronic devices on nonaudible signals. Medical personnel who cannot set their device to non-audible should use the lowest ringer or alert volume. The use of these devices disturbs those engaged in quiet reading and other scholarly pursuits.

Children's Use of the Libraries and Electronic Resources - Children or adolescents, under the age of 18, with no university affiliation, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. Parents or adult guardians who bring children to the library are responsible for their protection and safety and must never leave children unattended. Children are expected to abide by all library user conduct and security policies. When a young child is in the library unattended by a parent or adult guardian, university police will be called to ensure the safety of the child and to assist in locating a parent or guardian. Parents or adult guardians are responsible for children's use of the Libraries, including access to the Internet. Library personnel may request identification to verify the age and university affiliation of any unaccompanied young person.

Destruction or Mutilation of Library Materials - The Libraries are responsible for custodial care of the inventory of library resources for the benefit of the overall community. No person should willfully, maliciously, or wantonly mutilate, deface, tear, write upon, mar, or injure any library materials, electronic resources, furnishings, equipment, or facilities.

Food and Drink - Rutgers University Libraries' food and drink policy is intended not only to preserve our library collections and equipment and to maintain the overall longevity and comfort of library furnishings but also to provide an environment respectful of all students' study needs. Policies vary among library locations depending on local resources and practices.

New Brunswick library locations

The consumption of food and drinks are permitted, except in designated areas (see below). Library users must avoid consuming items that create messes, smells and/or noise. Users whose food disrupts others will be asked to put their food away or enjoy it outside the Libraries. All library users are expected to act responsibly and courteously by disposing of trash and recyclables, and cleaning up spills and crumbs. Please report major spills to library staff as soon as possible.

Areas with restricted food or drink policies:

  • Special Collections and University Archives: No food or drink
  • Computer classrooms, labs and workstations: No food; Covered drinks OK

Camden, Newark, RBHS library locations

Food is allowed only at library-approved events.

Drink is permitted only in spill-proof containers. Drinks, regardless of container, are not permitted in posted areas such as the Institute of Jazz Studies and computing areas.

Approved spill-proof containers include:

  • Spill-proof mugs with secure lids
  • Sports bottles with a drinking spout
  • Drink in capped bottles

Noise and Other Disruptive Behavior - Library users expect the Libraries to be a quiet place for study and research. All library users are required to be courteous of others and refrain from harassing or annoying others through noisy or boisterous activities, by staring at another person, by following another person about the building, by playing audio equipment so that others can hear it, by singing or talking loudly to others or in monologues, or by behaving in a manner which can be expected to disturb other users. Talking will, however, occur as librarians and library staff provide assistance to library users.

Personal Hygiene - Users whose bodily hygiene is offensive so as to constitute a nuisance to other persons shall be required to leave the building.

Photographs or Films - Anyone wishing to take photographs or make films in a Rutgers library must seek permission from the library director or the Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services.

Smoking - Smoking, and the use of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, are prohibited in all library locations.

Staff Areas - To assure the safety and productivity of librarians and library staff, unauthorized individuals are not permitted in staff areas unless invited to enter by staff as necessary for the conduct of library business.


Use of Library Facilities for Television Viewing

Television viewing facilities in the Libraries are intended to support university instruction and research programs. Use of these rooms for viewing library television stations for course-related programming or for group study will receive the highest priority. Other uses, such as viewing other Rutgers television channels, are possible when the rooms are not being used for these priority purposes. These facilities are provided for the convenience of all library users, and conduct unrelated to ordinary use is prohibited. Use of these facilities falls under the same policies for other library spaces, such as use by children and user conduct and security.

Approved by Public Services Council: March 30, 2000, rev. November 30, 2000, January 24, 2002, rev. April 24, 2003, rev. April 27, 2006
Approved by Cabinet: May 9, 2000, rev. January 26, 2000, rev. May 28, 2002, rev. June 17, 2003, rev. June 6, 2006


Appendix 1
Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  • Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  • Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  • Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  • Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  • A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  • Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 18, 1948.
Amended February 2, 1961, and January 23, 1980,
inclusion of "age" reaffirmed January 23, 1996,
by the ALA Council.


Appendix 2
The Freedom to Read Statement

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

    Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
  1. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.

    Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
  1. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

    No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
  1. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

    To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
  1. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

    The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

    It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.
  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.

    The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953; revised January 28, 1972, January 16, 1991, July 12, 2000, June 30, 2004, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee.

A Joint Statement by:

Subsequently Endorsed by:


Appendix 3
The Freedom to View Statement

The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:

  1. To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression.

  2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.

  3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.

  4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.

  5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public's freedom to view. This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.

Endorsed by the ALA Council January 10, 1990


Appendix 4
Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries

A strong intellectual freedom perspective is critical to the development of academic library collections and services that dispassionately meet the education and research needs of a college or university community. The purpose of this statement is to provide an interpretation of general intellectual freedom principles in an academic library setting and, in the process, raise consciousness of the intellectual freedom context within which academic librarians work. These principles should be reflected in all relevant library policy documents.

  1. The general principles set forth in the Library Bill of Rights form an indispensable framework for building collections, services, and policies that serve the entire academic community.

  2. The privacy of library users is and must be inviolable. Policies should be in place that maintain confidentiality of library borrowing records and of other information relating to personal use of library information and services.

  3. The development of library collections in support of an institution's instruction and research programs should transcend the personal values of the selector. In the interests of research and learning, it is essential that collections contain materials representing a variety of perspectives on subjects that may be considered controversial.

  4. Preservation and replacement efforts should ensure that balance in library materials is maintained and that controversial materials are not removed from the collections through theft, loss, mutilation, or normal wear and tear. There should be alertness to efforts by special interest groups to bias a collection though systematic theft or mutilation.

  5. Licensing agreements should be consistent with the Library Bill of Rights, and should maximize access.

  6. Open and unfiltered access to the Internet should be conveniently available to the academic community in a college or university library. Content filtering devices and content-based restrictions are a contradiction of the academic library mission to further research and learning through exposure to the broadest possible range of ideas and information. Such restrictions are a fundamental violation of intellectual freedom in academic libraries.

  7. Freedom of information and of creative expression should be reflected in library exhibits and in all relevant library policy documents.

  8. Library meeting rooms, research carrels, exhibit spaces, and other facilities should be available to the academic community regardless of research being pursued or subject being discussed. Any restrictions made necessary because of limited availability of space should be based on need, as reflected in library policy, rather than on content of research or discussion.

  9. Whenever possible, library services should be available without charge in order to encourage inquiry. Where charges are necessary, a free or low-cost alternative (e.g., downloading to disc rather than printing) should be available when possible.

  10. A service philosophy should be promoted that affords equal access to information for all in the academic community with no discrimination on the basis of race, values, gender, sexual orientation, cultural or ethnic background, physical or learning disability, economic status, religious beliefs, or views.

  11. A procedure ensuring due process should be in place to deal with requests by those within and outside the academic community for removal or addition of library resources, exhibits, or services.

  12. It is recommended that this statement of principle be endorsed by appropriate institutional governing bodies, including the faculty senate or similar instrument of faculty governance.

Adopted by ACRL Intellectual Freedom Committee June 28, 1999
Approved by ACRL Board of Directors June 29, 1999
Revised: July 21, 2000

Approved by the University Librarian's Cabinet, November 11, 2014