Policies

In order to protect the library’s environment and materials and to provide equal access to all, the following library policies and procedures need to be observed.

We value our customers and strive to treat them with courtesy and respect in our comfortable and welcoming spaces. Our branches reflect our communities and the people who use them. Please be considerate of the rights of others as you use this public facility.

The Board of Library Trustees for Baltimore County has established the following Rules of Conduct so that library users and staff have a clean, pleasant and safe environment. We appreciate your cooperation in meeting this goal.

The following are prohibited at all branches of Baltimore County Public Library:

  1. Engaging in any activity prohibited by law
  2. Disruptive or unsafe behavior, including any conduct that interferes with the use or operations of the library by customers or staff
  3. Theft
  4. Use of loud, abusive, threatening or insulting language, either in person or via electronic devices
  5. Harassment of any kind
  6. Leaving a child, under the age of 8, unattended or unsupervised
  7. Viewing obscene or pornographic images
  8. Public intoxication
  9. Activities that may result in damage to library property
  10. Sleeping
  11. Smoking (including e-cigarettes and vapes)
  12. Offensive body odor
  13. Unauthorized use of a library card
  14. Using restrooms for bathing, laundering or extended personal hygiene care
  15. Beverages without lids and foods other than snacks (no snacks allowed at the public computer stations)
  16. Leaving personal items unattended
  17. Entering the library barefoot or without a shirt, or removing footwear or shirt while in a branch
  18. Unauthorized solicitation
  19. Loitering, which means to remain in a library without conducting any lawful business on the property
  20. Animals, other than service animals

Baltimore County Public Library reserves the right to deny use of its facilities and premises to individuals who do not abide by the Rules of Conduct. Our staff may ask individuals who are exhibiting inappropriate behavior to modify their behavior. Noncompliance may result in the individual being banned from the library premises or in arrest and prosecution.

The Annotated Code of Maryland gives the Board of Library Trustees the authority to establish rules for reasonable library use and conduct. The Rules of Conduct policy was updated and approved by the Board of Library Trustees on December 13, 2016.

Customers are welcome to use laptops and tablets at the library. The library assumes no responsibility for damage, theft or loss of a customer’s equipment from use of library materials. In addition, the library assumes no responsibility for damage, theft or loss of a customer's equipment, software, data or other personal property brought into or used within Baltimore County Public Library facilities.

Please note that the library does provide free wireless access to the internet and to public printers for our customers while in our branches. Learn more about our public computers and WiFi.

Baltimore County Public Library is committed to its role in serving the information and lifelong learning needs of all of its citizens. Providing access to the internet enables the library to greatly expand its information services. In addition, the library organizes, catalogs and indexes a variety of information that it provides through connections to the internet, websites and commercial databases. Not all sources on the internet provide information that is accurate, complete, current, legal or philosophically acceptable to all people.

Baltimore County Public Library upholds the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected material. However, the unauthorized or illegal use of the library's computing systems and facilities may result in revocation of internet use privileges, general library privileges or constitute grounds for civil or criminal prosecution.

The library is required by the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to prohibit internet access for children age 16 and younger to obscenity, child pornography and material that is harmful to minors. In order to implement the law, the library uses a Technology Protection Measure or a filtering service on all public access computers.

The filtering service disables access to certain websites. Upon request by a library customer age 17 and older, library staff may unblock a site. Library staff may request proof of age. The library reserves the right to enforce the Acceptable Use Policy if the requested material appears to violate the law. Technology protection measures are not 100 percent accurate and may allow access to inappropriate sites. Parents and guardians of children under age 18 are responsible for their children's use of the internet.

Baltimore County Public Library prohibits the following:

  • Sending, receiving or displaying obscene or pornographic text or graphics inappropriate for a public and open environment
  • Engaging in any activity that facilitates sending, receiving or displaying inappropriate materials to a minor
  • Activities that disrupt the library or its network
  • Loading or downloading software from the internet or using personal software programs on the library's computers

Public internet computers are not secure and should not be used to transfer financial and other personal data. The library is not responsible for the misuse of personal information entered on websites, nor can it guarantee that library computers will access any purchased internet content.

The library allows the use of USB storage devices in its public computers to save or retrieve information. (USB storage devices should not require device drivers or special software to be installed for use with Windows 7.) Connecting other types of devices to the computer using the USB ports is not recommended. The library is not responsible for technical support required by the use of the devices or any damage, loss or destruction of personal devices or data connected by customers.

The library reserves the right to schedule time on all full internet access computers. Customers are required to present a Baltimore County Public Library card or another acceptable form of identification in order to sign up for a computer. The computers may be used for a time-limited session. Additional time is allowed when no one else is waiting.

Your library account number is a unique number provided for your personal use and privacy. Unauthorized use of a library account number to log on to a computer is prohibited and may result in revocation of library privileges. You may be asked to provide identification.

Failure to comply with the internet Acceptable Use statement may result in loss of access to the internet.

Your access to and use of the Baltimore County Public Library website is subject to all applicable laws and regulations and these General User Terms and Conditions — which may be changed or updated by us from time to time without notice to you. In consideration of your use of the Baltimore County Public Library website, you accept, without limitation or qualification, the General User Terms and Conditions.

As consideration for your use of the Baltimore County Public Library website, you agree to provide true and accurate information about yourself and to make certain the information that you provide is current, complete and promptly updated as necessary. If you provide false, inaccurate or incomplete information, or if Baltimore County Public Library has reasonable grounds to suspect that such information is untrue, inaccurate or incomplete, then Baltimore County Public Library has the right to suspend or terminate your use of the Baltimore County Public Library website.

Privacy Policy

Baltimore County Public Library is committed to protecting your privacy in your electronic communications with us. During your visit to our site, we will collect information from you. This policy describes the information collected and how it is used. The type of information we collect depends upon the application used and the products or services requested. Our site includes links to other sites not controlled by Baltimore County Public Library. This policy does not apply to those sites. Baltimore County Public Library reserves the right to change this policy at any time without prior notice. 

Anonymous Visitor Information

We collect anonymous visitor information, such as internet protocol address, browser type, operating system, the date and time of visit and the addresses to which a visitor links during a visit to our website. We do not associate this information with any individual person or entity and only use the information to improve our website and navigation thereon.

Usage of Cookies

The Baltimore County Public Library website uses session cookies—CFTOKEN and CFID—whenever you visit the site. We use these cookies, which are small text files, and others to improve the performance of online applications and, in some applications, to pass necessary information from one screen to the next. 

None of these cookies contain personally identifiable information. Should we use cookies that retain your personal information, we will identify the applications and webpages that do so.

If you seek to avoid the use of cookies, you should not use any application or webpage that uses cookies.

Disclosure of Information

This privacy policy and use of this site is governed by the laws of the State of Maryland. We do not sell or rent your information to any outside company or organization. We do not provide your personally identifiable data to unaffiliated third parties for their independent use, except if required to do so by law.

Information provided to any state or local government entity is subject to the Public Information Act, Title 4, of the General Provisions Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Information about the Maryland Public Information Act is available from the  Office of the Attorney General .

Security Procedures

We are committed to using any information you provide to us in a responsible manner. All information you provide is only accessible by a limited number of Baltimore County Public Library agents and employees who need access to the information to perform their assigned duties. Where appropriate, we will also use encryption technology. As you use our applications or webpages, we will inform you if the information is encrypted.

Use of Website Material

Subject to the Baltimore County Public Library Privacy Policy, your substantive communications and materials transmitted to us, such as data, questions, comments or suggestions, are considered non-confidential and non-proprietary. Your transmission to Baltimore County Public Library grants Baltimore County a perpetual non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify and publish such communications and materials in whole or in part for any purpose.

User Conduct

You are prohibited from transmitting any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, scandalous, inflammatory, harassing, pornographic or profane material or any material that could constitute or encourage conduct that would be considered a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any law. You further agree not to upload, post, email or otherwise transmit any confidential information, trade secrets, "junk mail," "spam," "chain letters," "pyramid schemes," any other form of solicitation, or software viruses.

Copyrights

The information and content of the Baltimore County Public Library website is copyright protected unless otherwise noted. All rights are reserved. Permission is granted to use the contents of the Baltimore County Public Library website and to copy electronically or to print contents from the website for the sole purpose of sharing information on the Baltimore County Public Library website on the condition that the sharing of information is without cost to the recipients and that the information is shared exactly as presented on the Baltimore County Public Library website, without modification. Distribution or replication in any other form or for any other purpose, including but not limited to any for-profit commercial purpose or use, and any modification whatsoever, are strictly prohibited without prior written consent of Baltimore County Public Library. You may download or print a copy of any portion of the Baltimore County Public Library website solely for your personal, non-commercial use, provided you do not remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from such contents.

NOTICE: Use of Content
Permission to use the content, information or documents from the Baltimore County Public Library website is granted, provided that: a copyright notice appears in all copies and that both the copyright notice and this permission notice appear, use of such documents from the Baltimore County Public Library website is for informational and non-commercial or personal use only and will not be copied or posted on any network computer or broadcast in any media and no modifications of any documents are made. Use for any other purpose is expressly prohibited by law, and may result in severe civil and criminal penalties. Violators will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible. Documents specified above do not include the design or layout of the Baltimore County Public Library website or any other Baltimore County Public Library owned, operated, licensed or controlled site. Elements of government websites are protected by trade dress, trademark, unfair competition, and other laws and may not be copied or imitated in whole or in part. No logo, graphic, sound or image from any Baltimore County Public Library website may be copied or e-transmitted unless expressly permitted by Baltimore County Public Library.

Use of Images

Your use of the images of people or places displayed on the Baltimore County Public Library website is prohibited unless specifically permitted by these General User Terms and Conditions. Any unauthorized use of the images may violate copyright, trademark and privacy laws or regulations.

Trademarks

The trademarks, logos and service marks of Baltimore County Public Library and those displayed on the Baltimore County Public Library website are protected trademarks of Baltimore County, Maryland. You may not use the trademarks, logos or service marks of Baltimore County, Maryland, without the written permission of Baltimore County, Maryland. Any use of the trademarks, logos or service marks without the prior written permission of Baltimore County, Maryland is strictly prohibited and may be subject to civil sanction and/or criminal prosecution.

Links

This website is an information and service channel paid for by the citizens of Baltimore County, Maryland. It is not a public forum. Links to other sites from this site are provided solely at the discretion of Baltimore County Public Library.

Links are provided to the following categories of external sites and must meet the criteria established herein:

  1. Other government entities, including local, state and federal government sites, or sites operated by agencies or departments of any of those entities;
  2. Sites operated by nonprofit or not-for-profit agencies or departments with which Baltimore County Public Library has an established statutory, participatory or supportive relationship;
  3. Sites operated by nonprofit, not-for-profit or for-profit agencies or entities who provide community-based services, including health care, child care, elder care or other social services; or
  4. Commercial sites with which Baltimore County Public Library has a direct working relationship that further a specific mission of Baltimore County.

The location of any link established within this website is at the discretion of Baltimore County Public Library. Baltimore County Public Library does not require that reciprocal links be established by the requesting entity. Links may be requested by email to   webmaster@baltimorecountymd.gov.

Any link to the Baltimore County Public Library website must not imply that Baltimore County Public Library is endorsing the linking site or its products and must not misrepresent its relationship with Baltimore County Public Library. The linking site must not present false information about Baltimore County Public Library services, or use the Baltimore County Public Library logo, seal or flag on its website.  The linking website must not contain content that could be construed as distasteful, offensive or controversial and should only contain content appropriate for all age groups.

This site may contain links to other sites on the internet that are operated by parties other than Baltimore County Public Library and Baltimore County Public Library is not responsible for the content of any such external site, or for the availability of the site or its content. If you have questions or concerns regarding the content of any of these external sites, you should contact the site administrator directly.

Modifications of the Website

Baltimore County, Maryland, reserves the right at any time and from time to time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the Baltimore County Public Library website or any part thereof with or without notice for any reason or no reason whatsoever. You agree that Baltimore County Public Library shall not be liable to you or any third party for any modification, suspension or discontinuance of the Baltimore County Public Library website.

Warranty and Disclaimer

General

This is a Baltimore County Public Library computer system, provided as a public service. Government personnel and the general public may use this system to review and retrieve publicly available government information. Anyone using this system expressly consents to administrative monitoring at all times. You are further advised that system administrators may provide to appropriate law enforcement officials evidence of possible criminal activity identified during such monitoring. If you do not wish to consent to monitoring, exit this system now.

Disclaimer of Liability

In preparation of the Baltimore County Public Library website, Baltimore County Public Library attempts to offer the most current, correct and clearly expressed information possible. Nevertheless, inadvertent errors in information may occur. Baltimore County Public Library disclaims any responsibility for errors and/or for the accuracy of the information that may be contained on Baltimore County Public Library webpages. Baltimore County Public Library also reserves the right to make changes to any and all of the site at any time without notice.

The information and data included on Baltimore County Public Library servers have been compiled by Baltimore County Public Library staff from a variety of sources, and are subject to change without notice. Baltimore County Public Library makes no warranties or representations whatsoever regarding the quality, content, completeness, accuracy or adequacy of such information and data. In any situation where the official printed publications of Baltimore County Public Library differ from the text contained in this system, the official printed documents take precedence and control.

If misleading, inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate information is brought to our attention, a reasonable effort will be made to correct or remove it. Submit concerns to Baltimore County Public Library.

Disclaimer of Reliability

Baltimore County Public Library makes no representations or warranties regarding the condition or functionality of this website, its suitability for use or that this web service will be uninterrupted or error-free.

Disclaimer of Damages

By using the Baltimore County Public Library webpages, you assume all risks associated with the use of this website, including any risk of your computer, software or data being damaged by any virus, software, or any other file which might be transmitted or activated via a Baltimore County Public Library webpage or your access to it. Baltimore County shall not be liable for any damages, including special, incidental or consequential damages, and including, without limitation, lost revenues or lost profits, resulting from the use or misuse of the information contained in Baltimore County webpages.

Disclaimer of Endorsement

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation or favoring by Baltimore County Public Library. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not state or reflect those of Baltimore County Public Library, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.

Termination

Baltimore County Public Library, in its sole discretion, may terminate your subscription from a subscription list without prior notice, and Baltimore County Public Library may terminate your use of the Baltimore County Public Library website should you violate or act inconsistently with these General User Terms and Conditions. Further, you agree that Baltimore County Public Library shall not be liable to you or any third party for such termination of your subscription or your access to the Baltimore County Public Library website.

General Information

This constitutes an Agreement between you and Baltimore County, Maryland, regarding the Baltimore County Public Library website, superceding any prior agreement between you and Baltimore County, Maryland. Baltimore County, Maryland, may at any time revise these General User Terms and Conditions by updating this posting. You are bound by any such revisions and should periodically visit this page to review these and current General User Terms and Conditions to which you are bound. Any failure of Baltimore County Public Library to exercise or enforce any rights, terms or provisions contained herein shall not constitute a waiver of such provisions. These General User Terms and Conditions and your use of the Baltimore County Public Library website is governed by the laws of the State of Maryland and Baltimore County. You agree to submit to the personal and exclusive jurisdiction of the State and Federal Courts located within Baltimore County Public Library for any disputes or matters arising out of the Baltimore County Public Library website or use of the Baltimore County Public Library website.

Accessibility Statement

Section 508 Standard of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794d), requires Federal agencies to develop, procure, maintain or use electronic and information technology to enable individuals with disabilities to have access and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by those who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. Although not required to do so by regulation or law, Baltimore County Public Library acknowledges its obligation to serve its citizens who use assistive technology or who may have other needs, which may be served through Section 508 design principles. 

Baltimore County Public Library seeks to bring the website into basic compliance with Section 508. Site users who encounter difficulty using this site are requested to contact webmaster@baltimorecountymd.gov describing the nature of the problem and where encountered.

Baltimore County Public Library selects materials for its collections to serve a large, diverse Baltimore County population. We strive to have a wide variety of resources to allow our customers to explore, learn, create and connect.

Responsibility for the selection policy lies with the Board of Library Trustees. The Director has the authority to interpret and guide the application of policy in making day-to-day selections and authorizes Collection Development Staff to apply this policy in building the system collection. 

Selection Criteria

The Collection Development Staff evaluates materials using a variety of criteria. Each criterion may not apply equally to every item but are considered based on individual titles, formats and age levels.

  • Subject matter relevance and importance to Baltimore County residents.
  • Relative importance in comparison with other materials on a subject.
  • Public demand for the author or producer, title or subject.
  • Value for the cost of the item (the library has a finite budget and cannot acquire all materials on every subject).
  • Prominence, authority, literacy or artistic merit of the author, creator or publisher: This may include professional reviews or other recognized merit of the author or titles, including receipt of, or nomination for, major awards or prizes.
  • Ownership and demand at other library systems of similar size or scope.
  • Clarity and accuracy of presentation appropriate to the skills of the intended users. The library may include materials that represent subjective opinions by their authors; in that context, “accuracy” cannot be objectively established and is a decision made by the user.
  • Suitability of format to the content and the intended audience.

Selection and Acquisitions

A variety of review sources are consulted when purchasing materials, including professional journals, consumer publications and online sources.

  • The library recognizes the missions and resources of other libraries in the metropolitan Baltimore area and does not needlessly duplicate functions or materials. Through cooperative agreements facilitated by the Maryland State Department of Education Division of Library Development and Services, the resources of these libraries may be available to Baltimore County residents.
  • The library supports the goals of formal education programs in Baltimore County and provides curriculum-related and recreational reading materials, which complement, but do not duplicate, school libraries.
  • Legal, medical, technical and academic resources are acquired only to the extent that they are useful to the layperson.
  • The library collects materials in a variety of formats, including, but not limited to, books, magazines, newspapers, comics, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, electronic resources and downloadable materials. New formats are evaluated for inclusion based on existing collections and suitability for library users.
  • The library also selects materials in languages other than English. These materials are not meant to be comprehensive, but are a revolving selection of materials for these population groups.

Additions

Customers wishing to have a title evaluated for addition to the library’s collection may suggest a title in person or from this website.

Collection Concerns

Customers wishing to express a concern about library materials may do so at any library location. Those wishing a formal review of an item must fill out a Collection Inquiry form. The item will be reviewed by a team of library staff, including the Collection Development Coordinator, and an Assistant Director. The library takes customer concerns about items in the collection seriously, and a response will be returned in writing. If the customer disagrees with the response, he or she may appeal the decision to the Board of Library Trustees for Baltimore County.

Deselection

Materials within the library collections are constantly and consistently monitored and evaluated. Items are withdrawn if they are out-of-date, seldom used, superseded by a newer edition or badly worn or damaged. Low use of print or electronic products may result in their discontinuance.

Gifts

The library accepts gifts of materials, but reserves the right to evaluate and dispose of them in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials.

Library Bill of Rights

Baltimore County Public Library adheres to the principals of intellectual freedom. The library supports the “Library Bill of Rights,” as well as the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View Statements adopted by the American Library Association.

Information about branch closings for holidays, inclement weather, construction or other issues is posted prominently on the library home page and listed on the alerts and notifications page. Library hours are not tied to the openings or closings of the County government or schools.

Holiday Closures

All branches will observe the following schedule on holidays and special occasions in 2018.

HolidayDate
EasterMonday, April 1
Memorial DayMonday, May 28
Independence DayWednesday, July 4
Labor DayMonday, September 3
Columbus DayMonday, October 8
ThanksgivingThursday, November 22
Christmas EveMonday, December 24
Christmas DayTuesday, December 25

Extended Loan Fees on Holidays

Extended loan (overdue) fees are not assessed:

  • On Baltimore County Public Library's official holidays.
  • When all branches unexpectedly close for an entire day due to weather concerns or other special circumstances.

If branches are open for a partial day, all applicable fees are charged.

Each year our branches offer thousands of free events for kids, teens, adults and families. Visit our online events calendar  where you can use filters to customize your search by date, branch, event type and age group.

  • All Baltimore County Public Library sponsored events are free.
  • Some events, such as Baby Story Times and Computer Know-How, require registration due to limited space. These programs are noted with "registration required." You can register for many of our programs online one week prior to the event via our online events calendar . You can also register for any event that requires it by visiting or calling the hosting branch one week prior.
  • Appropriate accommodations for individuals with disabilities will be provided upon request. Notice of eight business days prior to the event is requested.
  • Please arrive promptly for events. Many fill up quickly and you want to be sure to get a good seat and to be settled and ready when the event begins.
  • Many public events are held in our meeting rooms that are not sponsored by the library but are hosted by other organizations. Learn more about booking the library's meeting rooms for external organization events.