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Patron Assistance Policy

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Revised and Adopted by the Rochester Public Library Board on October 21, 2015

The library is committed to providing exceptional Library services that are inclusive and provide access for all. However, in order to do so, the library takes into consideration its limitations of staffing, resources and liability when establishing the following guidelines, to facilitate equal access to library services.

In-Depth Assistance

During busy times, when people are waiting for service, priority is given to the person in the library, then phone or instant message questions. The rule of thumb is 10 minutes. Multiple requests by a single person will be limited to the 10 minute limit if there are people waiting. (Then the person with multiple questions will need to get back in the line.) During busy times, library staff will do their best to help a person with a lengthy question to get started. Full resolution may also require staff to follow up at a later time for questions that will require more than the 10 minutes. These guidelines allow library staff to provide equitable services to all those seeking assistance.

In situations where there are people who are repeatedly requiring more than 30 minutes of assistance a day, library staff will make the effort to instruct these patrons to become more self-sufficient. The library also will provide in-depth classes and one-on-one instruction to people on how to use library resources and frequently used technology.

Personal Care

Staff is not to provide personal care such as: assisting with mobility, procuring beverages or food, or bathroom needs. If such requests are regularly made, the library suggests the patron bring a personal care attendant with them. Common sense can be used in providing assistance for minimal personal needs, for example, putting materials in book bags or picking up dropped materials or personal possessions.

Use of Telephone

A public pay phone is provided in the library’s vestibule and can be used to make collect calls. All patrons in need of a phone are encouraged to use the public pay phone.

If there is an extra phone at a service desk, staff will place one call for a patron to address an urgent need. Call should be limited to less than one minute. If an individual is granted use of a phone and consistently goes beyond one minute and/or uses it for non-urgent needs, they will lose this privilege.

Printable copy of the Patron Assistance Policy (PDF)

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