Library Policies

Statement on Privacy and Confidentiality of Library Records

The Steger-South Chicago Heights Library staff is dedicated to ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of your library records. In order for us to access and provide your information to you, a library card barcode is required. A child’s library card information may be accessed by the either the child whose name the card is in, or the custodial parent/legal guardian. Because information is accessible with a library card barcode, please report a lost/stolen card immediately. Click here to read the State of Illinois Library Records Confidentiality Act…

Circulation Policy: Borrowing

Borrowing Privileges – Registration Requirements
The Steger-South Chicago Heights (SSCH) Public Library District is a tax-supported public library. This means that people residing within the jurisdictional boundaries of the SSCH Public Library pay taxes to support the library. Those people who live within the jurisdictional boundaries of the SSCH Public Library need pay no additional fee to be eligible to receive their first library card. Library cards are renewed every three (3) years without additional fees, provided the library card holder continues to reside within the jurisdictional boundaries of the SSCH Public Library and is a patron in good standing. There is a fee of $3.00 to replace damaged, destroyed, lost, or stolen library cards.
As a resident cardholder, the borrower identified on the valid borrower’s card may physically take his or her library card to another library to borrow materials. Those materials are the responsibility of the individual who borrows them, and are subject to all of the fines, rules, and regulations of the lending library.

Non-Resident Cards
Individuals residing beyond the jurisdictional boundaries of the SSCH Public Library and not within the boundaries of another public library, and owning no property within the jurisdictional boundaries of the SSCH Public Library, may purchase a nonresident fee card calculated based on the Tax Bill Method, applying the Library’s tax rate to the EAV on the individual’s tax bill. This fee entitles a non-resident cardholder to all the services that the Library provides to its residents, including reciprocal borrowing. The card must be renewed every year and is good for the entire family within that household.
Individuals residing beyond the jurisdictional boundaries of the SSCH Public Library, but owning (as an individual, a partner, the principle stockholder, or other joint owner) taxable property within the jurisdictional boundaries of the SSCH Public Library, upon presentation of a tax bill upon that taxable property, may obtain one (1) non-resident library card without the payment of the non-resident fee upon presentation of the most recent tax bill upon the taxable property. Each non-resident card issued pursuant to this Section is limited to the exclusive use of the individual whose name appears on its face. The individual must also surrender any other library card issued from an Illinois public library.

Staff Cards
Staff members that reside outside of the library’s boundaries may get a Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library card. The card must be renewed every three years or cancelled when the person is no longer employed by the library.

Registration Requirements
Adults wishing to register for a borrower’s card, renew an expired borrower’s card, or replace a lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed borrower’s card at the SSCH Public Library must bring with them a government issued photo I.D with their current Steger or South Chicago Heights address. If the patron does not have a current photo I.D. then they will need to provide a government issued photo I.D. and two proofs of residency (utility bill, mortgage, checking account, government issued mail, voter’s registration card). In order to renew a library card the patron’s account must be in good standing.

Children under the age of 18 must have a parent’s signature on any initial
application for a library card. Any authorizing parent must be fine free as well as any other dependent children in the household. Children may receive their library card at either five years of age or if they are entering kindergarten. The application must be completed with both the child and adult present in the library. Children under the age of 16 may use the proof of residency provided by their parent. Children 16 and over may choose to provide their own proof of residency, or use that of their parent.

Borrowing Privileges – Eligibility to Borrow

Individuals presenting valid borrower’s cards issued by the SSCH Public Library are eligible to borrow materials from the SSCH Public Library when the following conditions are met:

  1. No materials which are more than one circulation period are overdue on their card.
  2. No outstanding fines in aggregate excess of $5.00 have accrued to their card.
  3. The patron has the library card with them at the time of checkout. A photo id is not an acceptable replacement for the library card.

The library staff may not waive these regulations without the specific permission of the library director, however, the patron may request and receive a 24-hour hold on the item(s) he or she wishes to check out to allow the patron to correct the situation which has resulted in loss of eligibility to borrow.
The library cards of all dependent children and authorizing parent may be
restricted if one or more children or the authorizing parent have a minimum of $30.00 in overdue fines and/or have library materials that is in excess of six weeks overdue. The library staff will inform the library director when this regulation is violated, so that the best resolution may be reached.
Individuals presenting a valid card from another public library in Illinois may
borrow materials from the SSCH Public Library. The card must have the name of the individual presenting it, and expiration date in the future. The card must be either a resident borrower’s card or a system borrower’s card to be valid for reciprocal borrowing.

Adopted: September 2002
Revised: September 2008
Revised: June 2009
Revised: May 2011
Revised: January 2012
Reviewed: February 2016

Click to download a pdf of this policy

Circulation Policy: Fees & Fines

The Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library has established, in addition to the schedule for lost or damaged items, the following schedule of fines for overdue materials as well as fees for other services provided by the SSCH Public Library.

Overdue Materials

Books and Magazines: N/A

DVDs, Blu-Rays, and Video Games: $1.00 per day, not to exceed the cost of the item

Cardholders who owe $10.00 or more in fines or charges for lost or damaged items will have their cards blocked from use. Unpaid bills for lost or damaged items may be sent to a collection agency.


Copies: 10 cents per page for Black and White, 25 cents per page for Color. 

Fax/transmission: $1.00 per page. Faxes are sent only within the continental United States. A library cover page must accompany all faxes.  

Fax/receipt: 10 cents per page. The SSCH Public Library assumes no responsibility of notification of the receipt of a fax for an individual.

Computer printouts: 10 cents per page for black and white copies, and 25 cents for color copies. This fee applies to all material printed by library printers.

Computer/Internet usage: $2.00 per hour for non-resident library card holders and for patrons without a library card. Computer time will not be prorated. 

Adopted: September 2002
Revised: April 2008
Revised: May 2011
Revised: July 2014
Revised: February 2016
Revised: June 2020
Revised: January 2021

Click to download a pdf of this policy

Circulation Policy: Interlibrary Loan

When patrons want material that is not available within the SSCH Public Library, we ask other agencies to provide it. This is the process of interlibrary loan. Materials borrowed through interlibrary loan have a circulation period that is determined by the SSCH Public Library. We are happy to borrow materials from other libraries for you, but we ask that you respect the date by which those materials must be returned to their home
libraries. When the SSCH Public Library is lax in returning materials borrowed through interlibrary loan, the library can lose the privilege of borrowing materials in that way for any of its patrons. It is crucial, therefore, that materials borrowed through interlibrary loan be returned in a timely manner. Habitual failure to do so may result in individual loss of the privilege in order to preserve the privilege for other library patrons. When picking up an interlibrary loan the patron must have the card the loan was placed on. They cannot use another card for pick up.

Patron notification of interlibrary loan
When materials arrive patrons are notified by telephone, email or text. Please provide the Library with the information, and update the information with the Library when there are any changes.

Lost or Damaged Material
All charges for lost or damaged materials are set by the lending library. The patron is responsible for these charges plus the $5.00 processing set by the library system.

Materials Loaned
Books, magazines, compact discs, kits, audiobooks, DVDs, BluRays

Materials Restricted for ILL
Newspapers, current (3 months) books, audiobooks, compact disks, popular movies and children’s movies, video games, specialty items (Ukulele kit, record player, digital camera etc.)

Adopted: September 2002
Revised: May 2011
Revised: February 2016

Click to download a pdf of this policy

Circulation Policy: Length of Loans

The SSCH Public Library circulates materials in a variety of formats including (but not limited to) books, videos, DVDs, magazines, Blu-Rays. The following terms of loan are applicable as indicated:

Books, Audio-Books, and CDs: 3 Weeks

Magazines and CDs:  3 Weeks

Adult DVDs (New) – Popular: 3 days (no charge)

Adult DVDs (Older than 3 months): 7 days (no charge)

Juvenile DVDs (New): 3 days 

Juvenile DVDs (Older than 3 months): 7 days 

DVD—Non-Fiction: 2 weeks

Video Games (New): 3 days 

Video Games (Older than 3 months): 7 days 

Other Specialty Items: As assigned

The Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library also offers a longer loan period of 21 days for patrons that take extended vacations. Resources ineligible for this service include brand new books and new popular adult or juvenile DVDs, new video games, and any other items as decided by the Director.

Supporting the educational advancement of the children of the Steger-South Chicago Heights communities is at the heart of the mission of the library, and in order to insure that all the children have access to materials when needed, the staff may limit the number of materials a household may check out depending on school assignments and seasonal materials.

Most items may be renewed in person, over the Internet, or over the phone provided that there are no holds on the item and that the patron’s card is in good standing.

Adopted: September 2002
Revised: July 2008
Revised: May 2011
Revised: July 2014
Revised: February 2016
Reviewed: February 2020
Revised: January 2021

Click to download a pdf of this policy

Circulation Policy: Lost and/or Damaged Materials

Materials borrowed via any mechanism are the responsibility of the library patron. Replacement cost (original purchase price) is the responsibility of any patron who borrows and loses any library material. In the case of children under the age of 18, it is the signing adults’ responsibility to pay for lost or damaged items in accordance with the following schedule of terms:

  1. Replacement cost of any item which is lost or damaged beyond repair.
  2. Materials borrowed through interlibrary loan, which are lost or damaged, are charged to the patron according to the bill provided by the lending agency.
  3. If lost materials are found, patrons are reimbursed for the replacement cost, excluding overdue fines.
  4. Patrons will be charged a fee for any damaged or lost packaging.
  5. Patrons will be charged for postage if overdue notices are sent by the library.
  6. The RAILS Library System charges a $5.00 processing fee for all lost, billed or replacement items which cannot be waived by the library.
  7. The library will accept billed, replaced or lost items up to 30 days with a receipt minus the $5.00 RAILS processing fee.

    Adopted: September 2002
    Reviewed: May 2011
    Revised: April 2013
    Reviewed: February 2016

Click to download a pdf of this policy

Circulation Policy: Reserves

Patrons may reserve materials, which are not immediately available for patron use, but are in the collection of the SSCH Public Library. When the reserved materials are available to the patron who has placed the reserve, the library will notify the patron. The specific title of the material will not be stated to anyone other than the library patron who placed the reserve. If the patron is not available a message will be left. The material will be held for the patron for a period of one week. If additional patrons are waiting for the material, the next patron on the list will be notified of the availability of the item, and the same procedure will be followed. If no additional patrons are waiting for the material, the material will be placed back into general circulation. Relay of the message to the appropriate person in the household, and prompt retrieval of the material, are the responsibilities of the patron.

Adopted: September 2002
Reviewed and Updated February 2009
Revised: May 2011
Reviewed: February 2016

Click to download a pdf of this policy

Collection Development Policy


The goal of the material selection policy of the Steger-South Chicago Heights Library is to provide materials that meet the informational, recreational, educational and intellectual needs of the community. The Library will provide access to resources that balance viewpoints across a broad spectrum of opinion and subject matter in formats suitable to a
variety of learning and recreational interests and skills. The Library considers the value of each item in its entirety and within the context of the collection. Using selection practices that are flexible and responsive to the changing needs of the community, the Library builds and maintains its collection for the general public while recognizing the need to
serve the diverse populations of our community.
The Library is bound by the democratic principals expressed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and fully endorses the position of the American Library Association as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to View Statement, and the Freedom to Read Statement. As the latter statement concludes,
“We believe…that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be
dangerous; but that suppression of ideas is fatal to democratic society.
Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.”

Library Board Responsibilities:
It is the responsibility of the Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library Board to formulate, establish, review and update the Collection Development Policy. The Board delegates to the Director responsibility for materials selected.
Library Staff Responsibilities:
In accordance with Illinois Library Law, the overall responsibility for collection development, including selection, ordering, maintaining and weeding of all library materials shall be delegated to the Library Director who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees.
No employee may be disciplined or dismissed for the selection of library materials when the selection is made in good faith and in accordance with this written Collection Development Policy.
Although the staff exercises professional judgment in the selection of all materials, responsibility for the selection of materials for individual children and adolescents rests with their parents or legal guardians.
Finally, this policy is a tool for communicating to the public the criteria that is used by the Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library for the selection and maintenance of the library’s materials. The selection process for materials is as follows:

The general criteria considered in selecting materials include:
 Popularity of author/subject
 Issues of current interest
 Authority of author/publisher
 Relevant to need and desires of the community
 Availability/Accessibility through the Library System
 Space considerations
 Budget Considerations
 Literary merit
 Representation of diverse points of view
 To build on existing strengths of the library’s collection
 Suitability of format or physical form through user requests
 Patron use or demand
 Local historical significance to the community
 The Library will not maintain a college textbook collection
 The Library will not purchase legal, medical or technical materials not addressed to lay persons.

In selection, consideration will be given to the work as a whole. No work shall be excluded because of specific passages or pieces taken out of context. Library users and all staff are encouraged to suggest titles for purchase. All suggestions will be considered and a decision made based on the above criteria, balancing the obligation to meet demand with the obligation to exclude materials which do not meet selection criteria or are
available from other sources at lower cost.

Non-Print Materials
The Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library believes that non-print formats have a legitimate place in the public library. Non-print materials are subject to the same selection criteria as print materials.
Consistent with careful expenditure of public funds, the library purchases new non-print formats when warranted by community demand.

Interlibrary Loan
Economical use of materials selection funds requires that the interlibrary loan network be relied on to supply materials rarely used, or in special subject areas not covered in depth by the Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library collection. The Library encourages requests for materials not in the collection. No charge is made for reserving materials, which are in circulation. Careful consideration is given to the purchase of requested material not held by the Library and the acquisition of several copies of titles for which requests accumulate. Emphasis is placed on adding to total area library resources rather than on duplicating materials available in school, academic or special libraries. If the Library does not purchase a requested title, the item may be available through the interlibrary loan network.

The library is committed to maintaining a collection of vital and current materials and to effective use of space. To achieve these objectives, the Library withdraws materials that are dated, worn or are no longer in demand. The withdrawal of resources from the collection is an important process as selection. Some of the criteria for withdrawal are:
 To maintain the currency of the collection
 To eliminate resources no longer in demand
 To eliminate outdated formats
 To replace superseded editions of titles
 To address the lack of community interest
 To provide availability of newer or more valid materials

The Steger-South Chicago Heights Library gratefully accepts gifts of books and other materials with the understanding that the materials become the property of the Library and are used as the Library deems appropriate. No conditional donations of materials are accepted.
Donated materials may be added to the Library collection; all such aterials are subject to the selection guidelines stated above.
The library cannot price gift materials for income tax purposes. A letter acknowledging the gift is sent to donors at their request.
Patrons who donate cash for the purchase of materials, whether as a memorial or for another purpose, are welcome to designate any of the four general funds: book, programming, building and technology. The staff in accordance with the policies and guidelines of the Library makes selection of specific titles.

Steger-South Chicago Heights Library believes in freedom of information for all and does not practice censorship. Serious works, which portray various aspects of life, are not excluded because of their frankness. The Library encourages the examination of diverse opinions; thus all points of view are included in the resource collection.
Materials selection will not be determined by pressure from outside groups and organizations; rather, the Library will apply established professional standards in the selection and retention of its resources.
Once an item has been accepted under the Collection Development Policy of the Library it will not be removed from the resource collection unless (a) it is withdrawn under routine policy guidelines approved by the Board of Trustees, or (b) the Board of Trustees deems it is in violation of the Collection Development Policy.
Neither the staff, the Director nor the Board of Trustees will take responsibility for the selection by children for their reading material; that responsibility rests solely with the parent or legal guardian. The library will not limit freedom of expression or free access to ideas because materials may come into possession of children.
It is recognized that a patron of the Library District may find a particular work personally objectionable in some way. When this occurs, residents are encouraged to bring their concerns to the attention of the Library Director, either verbally or in writing. It is the responsibility of the patron to establish that a particular item may be in violation of the Collection Development Policy. Only registered library card holders of the Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library may make Requests for Reconsideration.
The Library Director may discuss the concern with appropriate Library staff and may communicate to the resident the rationale for selections. If the resident is unsatisfied with the response of the Library, he or she may again contact the Library Director, who provides the “Request for Reconsideration of Material” to be completed and returned to the library. The Library Director will convene a Materials Evaluation Committee consisting of the staff person responsible for selection in this area, one other member of the staff and the Library Director.
The Committee will meet to examine the material, as well as critical reviews of the material. The Library Director will prepare a report summarizing the Committee’s evaluation. A copy of this report will be sent to the person who submitted the “Request for Reconsideration of Material.”
If the person is not satisfied with the Materials Evaluation Committee’s report, s/he may request a hearing with the Library Board. The Library Board will consider the request at the next regularly scheduled board meeting, provided there is sufficient time before the meeting to prepare for a public hearing on the matter. Once the date is established, the resident is apprised of the meeting date and invited to attend.
The decision of the Library Board on reconsideration of material is final.

Policy Review
This policy will be reviewed regularly to ensure that changes in goals and objectives, needs of the public, professional trends, and budgetary conditions are reflected in its wording.
Adopted : 1/18/01
Revised: June 2009
Revised: May 2011
Revised: December 2013
Reviewed: September 2015

Click to download a pdf of this policy

Computer Internet User Agreement

Use of the Internet and online services is a privilege extended to patrons, and not an automatic right or obligation of the Library.
Behavior in a manner which is disruptive, including but not limited to, the display of offensive visual material or activities that promote hatred or violence will not be tolerated. After the first instance the patron will be instructed to leave the site. Further violations may result in a suspension or revocation of computer privileges

  1. Patrons may use their own USB drives to use on the Library’s computers.
  2. The Library is not responsible for data or program loss, and will not reimburse patrons their money.
  3. Patrons may not alter or attach equipment (except a USB drive) to the Library’s hardware.
  4. Library staff will assist patrons at the computers provided there is adequate staffing in other areas of the Library. However, this should not be considered a training session. Staff will not help with the following: taxes or governmental programs.
  5. No more than two patrons per computer as this can cause a disturbance for other patrons in the area.
  6. If patrons are using the computers to access multimedia they will be required to wear headphones.
  7. Patrons are liable for any damages resulting from misuse or mistreatment of equipment or software. Any problems with either should be reported to the staff immediately.
  8. Patrons may use the public computers only for legal purposes. Examples of unacceptable purposes may include but are not limited to:
     Harassment of other patrons or library staff
     Libel or slander
     Destruction of equipment, software, or data belonging to the library or other patrons
     Unauthorized copying of copy-righted material
     Engaging in activities deemed unlawful under federal, state or local law
     Violation of system security
     Disruptive behavior
     Use of the Internet in any way which violates licensing and payment agreements between the
    Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library and database providers.

    Non-Resident and Non-Library card holders: $ 2.00 per session/1 hour
    Patrons under 18 are free

    I have read and agree to abide by the Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library’s Computer/ Internet Policy. Should I commit any violation of its terms, I understand that my access privileges may be
    suspended and appropriate legal action may be taken.

    Adopted: January 2014
    Revised: February 2016

Click to download a pdf of this policy

Code of Conduct Policy

The Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library is a tax-supported public institution and is dedicated to fulfilling its mission as a provider of quality and responsive library service to its community. In order to uphold this mission, the Board of Trustees of the Steger-South Chicago Heights Library has adopted a Code of Conduct that reinforces that the rights of the patrons and the library staff and the safety of the facility are paramount at all times. Violation of any of the following rules will result in a warning and/or expulsion from the property. Whenever necessary, police will be contacted. The director and supervisory staff have authority to carry out all powers of this policy. The staff of the Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library will enforce the code in a respectful and fair manner. Violations of the code include — but are not limited to — the following:

  • Any action or event that violates federal, state or local law
  • Vandalism of the library’s facility, materials or computers
  • Patrons may eat or drink only in the designated areas
  • Absence of shirt or shoes
  • Gambling
  • Loud talking, shouting, screaming or other loud noises
  • Running, pushing, shoving or throwing items in the library
  • Smoking
  • Bringing in animals other than a service animal
  • Using communication or electronic devices at a level that is disturbing to others
  • Solicitation of funds, distribution of literature or promotional materials other than for the benefit of the library
  • Access to staff areas unless accompanied by an employee
  • Lewd or sexual conduct to other patrons or library staff
  • Sleeping
  • Overcrowding of the study tables
  • Loitering
  • Refusal to leave library facility or property
  • Theft
  • Hitting or touching other patrons or library staff
  • No drug or alcohol use
  • Excessive displays of affection
  • Conduct that disrupts the operation of the library
  • Leaving young children unattended at the library
  • Verbal abuse of other patrons or library staff
  • No parking bicycles or other vehicles in a manner that blocks or hinders entry to the library
  • Disturbing others with offensive body odor

Any patron who violates the Code of Conduct shall cease such activity upon request by library personnel. If the behavior continues or the patron responds in an abusive fashion, they will be asked to leave library property immediately. If necessary, the police will be called and an Incident Report completed. In instances regarding minors, the incident may be reported to the parent or the guardian.

If the Code of Conduct violations have required staff intervention on more than one occasion, a 7-day suspension may be issued. Violent behavior will result in a minimum of 30-day suspension. In such cases, if the library has an address on file, a letter explaining the suspension will be mailed to the patron’s home, and an Incident Report will completed. If the patron is a minor, the letter will be mailed to the attention of the parent/guardian. Copies of the letter and the Incident Report will be kept on file with the library director.

Any 30-day suspensions will be reported to the Board of Trustees, and patrons wishing to appeal a suspension may do so upon written request to the Library director. The director will then notify the Board and a hearing will be held within 10 days of the written notification by the patron or parent /guardian. The patron may attend the special meeting, and the Board will notify the patron of the final outcome of the suspension in a letter sent by certified mail.

Illinois law authorizes the Board, “To exclude from use of the Library any person who willfully violates an ordinance or regulation prescribed by the Board.” 75 ILCS 16/30-55.55 — Updated Sept. 2011

Confidentiality of Patron Records

Section 75 ILCS 5/1-7. [Confidentiality].
Sec. 1-7. Each library subject to this Act is subject to the provisions of The Library
Records Confidentiality Act [75 ILCS 70/1 et seq.].
Section 75 ILCS 70/1. [Confidentiality of records; statistical reports permitted].
1.(a) The registration and circulation records of a library are confidential information. Except pursuant to a court order, no person shall publish or make any information contained in such records available to the public.
(b) This section does not prevent a library from publishing or making available to the public reasonable statistical reports regarding library registration and book circulation where those reports are presented so that no individual is identified therein.
(c) For the purpose of this Section,
(i) “library” means any public library or library of an educational, historical or
eleemosynary institution, organization or society;
(ii) “registration records” includes any information a library requires a person to provide in order for that person to become eligible to borrow books and other materials and
(iii) “circulation records” includes all information identifying the individual borrowing particular books or materials.

Section 75 ILCS 70/2. [Short title].
Sec. 2. This Act may be cited as the Library Records Confidentiality Act.
Section 5 ILCS 140/7. Freedom of Information Act. Exemptions.
(1) The following shall be exempt from inspection and copying:
(l) Library circulation and order records identifying library users with specific materials.
Costs incurred by the library due to compliance with court orders will be charged to the agency seeking the information.

Patron records may only be disclosed to:

  1. The patron upon verification of identity with the library card.
  2. If the parent or guardian who signed for the card is in possession of the
    minor’s card then they may be given information
  3. If the parent or guardian who signed for the minor’s card does not have the
    library card then the only information available will be limited to items that
    are overdue, lost, or damaged or fines owed.
  4. Law enforcement officers, when staff members have knowledge of a name
    and description of a person who has committed, or threatens to commit a
    crime affecting Library staff, patrons, trustee or Library property. The
    requesting officer is required to complete the attached disclosure form.
  5. Law enforcement officers, when an officer believes there is an imminent
    danger or physical harm a patron. Information such as materials borrowed,
    resources reviewed, or services used at the Library may only be disclosed
    upon a court order. All such requests must be made to Library Director or
    senior staff member in charge.

Court Orders
Patrons should be aware that Section 21.5 of the US Patriot Act gives federal law
enforcement officers the ability to obtain a search warrant to gain access to certain library records on the basis that the officer(s) believe that the records sought may be related to an ongoing investigation related to terrorism or intelligence activities.
The Patriot Act also prohibits libraries or librarians served with such a warrant issued under FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) rules from disclosing the existence of the warrant or the fact that records were produced as a result form the warrant, under penalty of law. A patron cannot be informed that his/her records were given to a federal agent or that patron is the subject of a federal investigation.

  1. The Library Director will handle all requests for disclosure or search of library
    records pursuant to any legal process or order. In absence of the director the
    President of the Board of Trustees will be called.
  2. The Library Director or the Board President will request information from the
    law enforcement officials serving the process or order and will record their
    name, badge number, and agencies.
  3. The Library Director or Board President will review the process or order and
    immediately contact the library’s attorney. Then they will explain the policy
    to the law enforcement officials.
  4. If the court order is in the form of a subpoena, the Library Attorney will
    examine the subpoena to insure that a) the document is in proper legal form;
    and b) there has been a proper showing of good cause for its issuance, in a
    court or administrative body of competent jurisdiction. Until the legality of
    such process, order or subpoena has been affirmatively shown to the
    satisfaction of the Library Attorney, the Library will resist its issuance or
    enforcement until any such defects have been cured.
  5. If the court order is in the form of a search warrant, the Library Director or
    Board President will ask law enforcement officials to wait until the Library
    Attorney is present before beginning the search. However, law enforcement
    officials are under no obligation to wait and may begin the search
  6. The Library Director or Board President will assist officials in locating
    necessary information but will refrain from suggesting additional resources
    and will limit access to records according to those requested in the court order.
  7. The Library Director or Board President will record all information provided
    to law enforcement officials and will only discuss the court order with the
    Library Attorney.

    Revised: January 2012
    Reviewed: March 2016

Click to download a pdf of this policy

Copyright Restrictions

The copyright laws of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) govern the reproduction, distribution, adaptation, public performance, and public display of protected material. Under certain conditions, public libraries are authorized to lend, lease, or rent copies of computer programs and videotapes to patrons for nonprofit purposes. Any person who makes an unauthorized copy or adaptation of a computer program or videotape or redistributes the loaned copy or publicly performs or displays the computer program or videotape, except as permitted by
Title 17 of the United States Code, may be liable for copyright infringement.
This institution reserves the right to refuse to fulfill a loan request if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the request would likely lead to violation of the copyright law.
Adopted: December 2002
Reviewed: March 2016

Click to download a pdf of this policy.

Display Space Policy

Display Space
The Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library maintains bulletin boards and a display case for purpose of promoting the services and programs of the library. Although patrons are invited to make suggestions for themes or parallel agency activities, the responsibility for design and placement of all displays rests with the staff of the library.

Occasionally, exhibits from sources within the community may be allowed in the library. All exhibits considered for space within the library must support the mission of the library and not cause disruption of the regular flow of library work and service. Such exhibits will remain in place for not longer than four weeks, with set up and removal being the responsibility of the exhibitor. The library assumes no liability for damage or loss relating to any exhibit set up for public viewing in the library and will take no extraordinary measures to insure its safety.

For the exhibits and the display case space is limited to:

  1. Non-profit organizations
  2. Non-commercial groups
  3. Civic groups
  4. Individuals with materials that are of interest to the Steger-South Chicago Heights

Space should be used to:

  1. Increase public awareness of the library’s mission and goals.
  2. Highlight activities or issues that are of interest to the Steger-South Chicago Heights community.
  3. To promote a theme or program related to library service.

ts must meet all existing state and federal laws on obscenity, libel, defamation of character, incites violence, invasion of privacy or the support or opposition of religious belief.

  1. Displays/exhibits may not support or oppose a candidate for election or an issue appearing on a ballot.
  2. Space may not be used for a sales gallery.
  3. The library reserves the right to cancel any reservation due to an unforeseen
  4. This policy is not all inclusive; approval of individual situations not described will be determined by the director.
  5. There will be solicitations for donations.

Adopted: December 2002
Revised : June 2009
Reviewed: November 2015

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E-book Reader Policy
  1. Ebook readers may be borrowed by resident library card holders ages 15 and up in good standing (i.e. users with fines of $5.00 and over are blocked)
     Photo identification in addition to a library card will be required
  2. The loan period is 14 days.
  3. Ebook readers may be reserved via the SWAN catalog or through the Front Desk. If the ebook reader is not reserved then it may be checked out on a first come first serve basis.
  4. Each ebook reader comes equipped with a charger, carrying case, kit package, list of ebooks and an explanation sheet.
  5. Late fines for the ebook reader are $2.00 per day, not counting the days the
    Library is closed. All the accessories must be returned with the ebook reader or it will not be checked in at the Front Desk.
  6. The user assumes full responsibility for the cost of replacement in the event the
    ebook reader or its accessories are lost, stolen or damaged. Replacement costs will be based on the Library’s reasonable assessment of the current cost for
    replacement and will not exceed $350.00.
  7. Patrons may not download content onto the ebook reader, and if they do it is
    considered a donation to the Library.
  8. There are no renewals for the ebook readers.
  9. Ebook readers cannot be returned in the drop box. They must be returned inside
    the Library and handed to a circulation clerk.
  10. Ebook readers are not available for interlibrary loan.

Reviewed: February 2016

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Ethics Ordinance


WHEREAS, the Illinois General Assembly has enacted the State Officials and
Employees Ethics Act (Public Act 93-615, effective November 19, 2003, as amended by Public Act 93- 617, effective December 9, 2003), which is a comprehensive revision of State statutes regulating ethical conduct, political activities and the solicitation and acceptance of gifts by State officials and employees; and

WHEREAS, the Act requires all units of local government and school districts, within six months after the effective date of Public Act 93-615, to adopt ordinances or resolutions regulating the political activities of, and the solicitation and acceptance of gifts by, the officers and employees of such units “in a manner no less restrictive” than the provisions of the Act; and

WHEREAS, it is the clear intention of the Act to require units of local government and school districts to implement regulations that are at least as restrictive as those contained in the Act, and to impose penalties for violations of those regulations that are equivalent to those imposed by the Act, notwithstanding that such penalties may exceed the general authority granted to units of local government to penalize ordinance violations; and

WHEREAS, it is the clear intention of the Act to provide units of local government with all authority necessary to implement its requirements on the local level regardless of any general limitations on the power to define and punish ordinance violations that might otherwise be applicable; and

WHEREAS, because the Act provides for the imposition of significant penalties for
violations of said local regulations, it is necessary to adopt the required regulations by Ordinance rather than by Resolution;


SECTION 1: The Code of Ordinances of the Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library is hereby amended by the addition of the following provisions:


Section 1-1. For purposes of this ordinance, the following terms shall be given these definitions:

“Campaign for elective office” means any activity in furtherance of an effort to
influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any individual to any federal, State, or local public office or office in a political organization, or the selection, nomination, or election of Presidential or Vice-Presidential electors, but does not include activities (i) relating to the support or opposition of any executive, legislative, or administrative action, (ii) relating to collective bargaining, or (iii) that are otherwise in furtherance of the person’s official duties.

“Candidate” means a person who has filed nominating papers or petitions for nomination or election to an elected office, or who has been appointed to fill a vacancy in nomination, and who remains eligible for placement on the ballot at a regular election, as defined in section 1-3 of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/1-3).

“Collective bargaining” has the same meaning as that term is defined in Section 3
of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (5 ILCS 315/3).

“Compensated time” means, with respect to an employee, any time worked by or
credited to the employee that counts toward any minimum work time requirement
imposed as a condition of his or her employment, but for purposes of this Ordinance, does not include any designated holidays, vacation periods, personal time, compensatory time off or any period when the employee is on a leave of absence. With respect to officers or employees whose hours are not fixed, “compensated time” includes any period of time when the officer is on premises under the control of the employer and any other time when the officer or employee is executing his or her official duties, regardless of location.

“Compensatory time off” means authorized time off earned by or awarded to an
employee to compensate in whole or in part for time worked in excess of the minimum work time required of that employee as a condition of his or her employment.

“Contribution” has the same meaning as that term is defined in section 9-1.4 of
the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/9-1.4).

“Employee” means a person employed by the Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library, whether on a fulltime or part-time basis or pursuant to a contract, whose duties are subject to the direction and control of an employer with regard to the material details of how the work is to be performed, but does not include an independent contractor.

“Employer” means the Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library.

“Gift” means any gratuity, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance,
or other tangible or intangible item having monetary value including, but not limited to, cash, food and drink, and honoraria for speaking engagements related to or attributable to government employment or the official position of an officer or employee.

“Leave of absence” means any period during which an employee does not receive
(i) compensation for employment, (ii) service credit towards pension benefits, and (iii) health insurance benefits paid for by the employer.

“Officer” means a person who holds, by election or appointment, an office created
by statute or ordinance, regardless of whether the officer is compensated for service in his or her official capacity.

“Political activity” means any activity in support of or in connection with any
campaign for elective office or any political organization, but does not include activities (i) relating to the support or opposition of any executive, legislative, or administrative action, (ii) relating to collective bargaining, or (iii) that are otherwise in furtherance of the person’s official duties.

“Political organization” means a party, committee, association, fund, or other
organization (whether or not incorporated) that is required to file a statement of
organization with the State Board of Elections or a county clerk under Section 9-3 of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/9-3), but only with regard to those activities that require filing with the State Board of Elections or a county clerk.

“Prohibited political activity” means:
(1) Preparing for, organizing, or participating in any political meeting, political rally, political demonstration, or other political event.
(2) Soliciting contributions, including but not limited to the purchase of, selling, distributing, or receiving payment for tickets for any political fundraiser, political meeting, or other political event.
(3) Soliciting, planning the solicitation of, or preparing any document or report regarding anything of value intended as a campaign contribution.
(4) Planning, conducting, or participating in a public opinion poll in connection with a campaign for elective office or on behalf of a political organization for political purposes or for or against any referendum question.
(5) Surveying or gathering information from potential or actual voters in an election to determine probable vote outcome in connection with a campaign for elective office or on behalf of a political organization for political purposes or for or against any referendum question.
(6) Assisting at the polls on election day on behalf of any political organization or candidate for elective office or for or against any referendum question.
(7) Soliciting votes on behalf of a candidate for elective office or a political organization or for or against any referendum question or helping in an effort to get voters to the polls.
(8) Initiating for circulation, preparing, circulating, reviewing, or filing any petition on behalf of a candidate for elective office or for or against any referendum question.
(9) Making contributions on behalf of any candidate for elective office in that capacity or in connection with a campaign for elective office.
(10) Preparing or reviewing responses to candidate questionnaires.
(11) Distributing, preparing for distribution, or mailing campaign literature, campaign signs, or other campaign material on behalf of any candidate
for elective office or for or against any referendum question.
(12) Campaigning for any elective office or for or against any referendum question.
(13) Managing or working on a campaign for elective office or for or against any referendum question.
(14) Serving as a delegate, alternate, or proxy to a political party convention.
15) Participating in any recount or challenge to the outcome of any election.

“Prohibited source” means any person or entity who:
(1) is seeking official action (i) by an officer or (ii) by an employee, or by the officer or another employee directing that employee;
(2) does business or seeks to do business (i) with the officer or (ii) with an employee, or with the officer or another employee directing that employee;
(3) conducts activities regulated (i) by the officer or (ii) by an employee, or by the officer or another employee directing that employee; or
(4) has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or non-performance of the official duties of the officer or employee.


Section 5-1. Prohibited political activities.

(a) No officer or employee shall intentionally perform any prohibited political activity during any compensated time, as defined herein.
No officer or employee shall intentionally use any property or resources of the Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library District in connection with any prohibited political activity.
(b) At no time shall any officer or employee intentionally require any other officer or
employee to perform any prohibited political activity (i) as part of that officer or employee’s duties, (ii) as a condition of employment, or (iii) during any compensated time off (such as holidays, vacation or personal time off).
(c) No officer or employee shall be required at any time to participate in any prohibited political activity in consideration for that officer or employee being awarded additional compensation or any benefit, whether in the form of a salary adjustment, bonus, compensatory time off, continued employment or otherwise, nor shall any officer or employee be awarded additional compensation or any benefit in consideration for his or her participation in any prohibited political
(d) Nothing in this Section prohibits activities that are permissible for an officer or
employee to engage in as part of his or her official duties, or activities that are undertaken by an officer or employee on a voluntary basis which are not prohibited by this Ordinance.
(e) No person either (i) in a position that is subject to recognized merit principles of
public employment or (ii) in a position the salary for which is paid in whole or in part by federal funds and that is subject to the Federal Standards for a Merit System of Personnel Administration applicable to grant-in-aid programs, shall be denied or deprived of employment or tenure solely because he or she is a
member or an officer of a political committee, of a political party, or of a political organization or club.


Section 10-1. Gift ban. Except as permitted by this Article, no officer or employee, and no spouse of or immediate family member living with any officer or employee (collectively referred to herein as “recipients”), shall intentionally solicit or accept any gift from any prohibited source, as defined herein, or which is otherwise prohibited by law or ordinance. No prohibited source shall intentionally offer or make a gift that violates this Section.
Section 10-2. Exceptions. Section 10-1 is not applicable to the following:
(1) Opportunities, benefits, and services that are available on the same conditions as for the general public.
(2) Anything for which the officer or employee, or his or her spouse or immediate family member, pays the fair market value.
(3) Any (i) contribution that is lawfully made under the Election Code or (ii) activities associated with a fundraising event in support of a political organization or candidate.
(4) Educational materials and missions.
(5) Travel expenses for a meeting to discuss business.
(6) A gift from a relative, meaning those people related to the individual as father,
mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, great aunt, great uncle, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, father-in-law, mother-in-law, sonin-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, and including the father, mother, grandfather, or
grandmother of the individual’s spouse and the individual’s fiancé or fiancée.
(7) Anything provided by an individual on the basis of a personal friendship unless the recipient has reason to believe that, under the circumstances, the gift was provided because of the official position or employment of the recipient or his or her spouse or immediate family member and not because of the personal friendship. In determining whether a gift is provided on the basis of personal
friendship, the recipient shall consider the circumstances under which the gift was offered, such as: (i) the history of the relationship between the individual giving the gift and the recipient of the gift, including any previous exchange of gifts between those individuals; (ii) whether to the actual knowledge of the recipient the individual who gave the gift personally paid for the gift or sought a tax deduction or business reimbursement for the gift; and (iii) whether to the actual knowledge of the recipient the individual who gave the gift also at the same time gave the same or
similar gifts to other officers or employees, or their spouses or immediate family members.
(8) Food or refreshments not exceeding $75 per person in value on a single calendar day; provided that the food or refreshments are (i) consumed on the premises from which they were purchased or prepared or (ii) catered. For the purposes of this Section, “catered” means food or refreshments that are purchased ready to consume which are delivered by any means.
(9) Food, refreshments, lodging, transportation, and other benefits resulting from outside business or employment activities (or outside activities that are not connected to the official duties of an officer or employee), if the benefits have not been offered or enhanced because of the official position or employment of the officer or employee, and are customarily provided to others in similar circumstances.
(10) Intra-governmental and inter-governmental gifts. For the purpose of this Act, “intragovernmental gift” means any gift given to an officer or employee from another officer or employee, and “intergovernmental gift” means any gift given to an officer or employee by an officer or employee of another governmental entity.
(11) Bequests, inheritances, and other transfers at death.
(12) Any item or items from any one prohibited source during any calendar year having a cumulative total value of less than $100.

Each of the exceptions listed in this Section is mutually exclusive and independent of every other.

Section 10-3. Disposition of gifts. An officer or employee, his or her spouse or an
immediate family member living with the officer or employee, does not violate this Ordinance if the recipient promptly takes reasonable action to return a gift from a prohibited source to its source or gives the gift or an amount equal to its value to an appropriate charity that is exempt from income taxation under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as now or hereafter amended, renumbered, or succeeded.


Section 25-1. Penalties. (a) A person who intentionally violates any provision of Article 5 of this Ordinance may be punished by a term of incarceration in a penal institution other than a penitentiary for a period of not more than 364 days, and may be fined in an amount not to exceed $2,500.
(b) A person who intentionally violates any provision of Article 10 of this Ordinance is subject to a fine in an amount of not less than $1,001 and not more than $5,000.
(c) Any person who intentionally makes a false report alleging a violation of any
provision of this Ordinance to the local enforcement authorities, the State’s Attorney or any other law enforcement official may be punished by a term of incarceration in a penal institution other than a penitentiary for a period of not more than 364 days, and may be fined in an amount not to exceed $2,500.
(d) A violation of Article 5 of this Ordinance shall be prosecuted as a criminal offense by an attorney for the Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library District by filing in the circuit court information, or sworn complaint, charging such offense. The prosecution shall be under and conform to the rules of criminal procedure. Conviction shall require the establishment of the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.
A violation of Article 10 of this Ordinance may be prosecuted as a quasi-criminal offense by an attorney for the Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library District, or, if an Ethics Commission has been created, by the Commission through the designated administrative procedure.
(e) In addition to any other penalty that may be applicable, whether criminal or civil, an officer or employee who intentionally violates any provision of Article 5 or Article 10 of this Ordinance is subject to discipline or discharge.

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Freedom of Information Act

FOIA Sheet


FOIA Officer:
Jennifer Cutshall

Gifts to the Library

The Steger-South Chicago Heights Public Library is grateful for gifts, and its collection has been enriched by donations of materials as well as contributions. Through donors, the library has been able to acquire materials which could not have been purchased otherwise. The library staff can supply, upon request, a list of needed materials for consideration by the donor.

Donation of Books and Audio Visual Materials
In accepting a gift of materials, the library reserves the privilege of deciding whether items donated should be added to the collection. Out of the many books and other materials which citizens so generously give, a considerable proportion can be used. Some cannot, because any library material, though of value in itself, may be: (1) a duplicate of an item of which the library already has a sufficient number; (2) outdated–interesting but not of sufficient present reference or circulating value to the library; and/or (3) in poor condition–which would not justify the expense of processing it, i.e. cataloging and preparing it for circulation. The material will be judged by the same standards of selection as those applied to the purchase of new materials. The SSCH Public Library accepts gift books with the understanding that books which are useful to the library collection will be retained and other books disposed of in whatever manner the librarian deems best. The Library necessarily reserves the right to interfile gifts with other collections on the same subject, so that all collections are organized and classified according to
library standards for the best public service.

Gift Book Program
The Library welcomes monetary contributions specifically for book purchases in memorial to or in honor of named individuals. In order that the Library can properly honor the generosity, a special form to record the information is used and should be completed.

Donation of Art Objects and Other Types of Materials
Donations of other kinds of items such as computers, paintings and various equipment are often not suitable for the Library use. Each item will be evaluated and, if it cannot be used, may be donated to the Friends of the Library for sale or to another agency where the item can be used. Although such gifts are usually welcomed and valued, final decision on their acceptance rests with the Board of Library Trustees.

Monetary Donations
The Library welcomes monetary contributions. It is our custom to expend monetary funds on materials, equipment, or a project which is acceptable to the donor. Although it is unlikely, there may be an occasion in which the restrictions set by the donor make it impossible for the library to accept the contribution. All donations are subject to the approval of the Library Director with the backing of the Library Board of Library Trustees.

Recognition of Gifts
For memorial books to the library, the library may place within the book the name of the donor, if desired. Accepted gifts will be honored in our gift remembrance book.
Use of Gifts. All gifts are accepted with the understanding that it may someday be necessary that they be sold or disposed of in the best interest of the library. The Library cannot commit itself to perpetually housing a donation.

Income Tax Statements
The library cannot appraise the value of a donation of materials or art. It will, however, issue the donor a letter acknowledging the donation. It is the donor’s decision whether he or she will determine the value of the donation or utilize an independent appraiser. While the gifts to the Library as a governmental unit qualify as tax deductible, the donor will have to consider the particular circumstances of his or her situation for the specific effect.

No donation can be accepted unless it is given to the library without restrictions unless the Board of Library Trustees has specifically adopted an agreement to do so. All gifts may be used, sold, or disposed of in the best interest of the library. All donations are accepted only if, in the opinion of the Library Director and the Board of Library Trustees, they are in the best interests of the library.

A Gift Agreement Form must be signed by the donor and approved by the Library Director for unrestricted gifts and the Board of Library Trustees for restricted gifts.

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Identity Protection Policy

Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to protect social security numbers from
unauthorized disclosure. Regarding the use of socials security numbers, Steger-South Chicago Heights intends to comply with the provisions of the Identity Protection Act (5 ILCS 179/1 et seq.)

Requirements: All employees who have access to social security numbers in the course of performing their duties must be trained to protect the confidentiality of social security numbers. Training will include instructions on the proper handling of information that contains social security numbers from the time of collection through the destruction of the information.

Only employees who are required to use or handle information or documents that contain social security numbers will have access to such information or documents. Social security numbers requested from an individual will be provided in a manner that makes the social security number easily redacted if required to be released as part of a public records request.

When collecting a social security number, or upon request by the individual a statement of the purpose or purposes for which the social security number is being collected and used must be provided.

Prohibited Uses:
No employee may do the following: Publicly post or publicly display in any manner an individual’s social security number.
“Publicly post” or “publicly display” means to intentionally communicate or otherwise intentionally make available to the general public.
Print an individual’s social security number on any card required for the individual to access products or services.
Encode or embed an individual’s social security number in or on any cards or documents, including but not limited to, using a bar code, chip, magnetic strip, RFID technology, or other technology.
Require an individual to transmit his or her social security number over the Internet,
unless the connection is secure or the social security number is encrypted.
Print an individual’s social security number on ay materials that are mailed to the
individual , through the U.S. Postal Service, or any private mail service, electronic mail, or any similar method of delivery, unless State or federal law requires the social security number to be on the document mailed, including , but not limited to, any material mailed in connection with the administration of the Unemployment Insurance Act, any material mailed in connection with any tax administered by the Department of Revenue, and documents sent as part of an application or enrollment process or to establish, amend, or terminate an account, contract, or policy or to confirm the accuracy of the social security number. A social security number that may permissibly be mailed under this Section may not be printed, in whole or in part, on a postcard or other mailer that does not require an envelope or be visible on an envelope without the envelope having been opened.

Collect, use or disclose a social security number from an individual, unless:

  1. Required to do so under State or federal law, rules or regulations or the
    collection, use, or disclosure of the social security number is otherwise
    necessary for the performance of that agency’s duties and responsibilities;
  2. The need and purpose for the social security number is documented before
    collection of the social security number; and
  3. The social security number collected is relevant to the documented need and

Require an individual to use his or her social security number to access an Internet
Use the social security number for any purpose other than the purpose for which it is collected.
The prohibitions listed immediately above do not apply to the following circumstances:
A. The disclosure of a social security number pursuant to a court order, warrant,
or subpoena.
B. The collection, use, or disclosure of social security numbers in order to ensure
the safety of other employees.
C. The collection, use, or disclosure of social security numbers for internal
verification or administration purposes.
D. The collection or use of social security numbers to investigate or prevent fraud, to conduct background checks, to collect a debt, to obtain a credit report from a consumer reporting agency under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, to undertake any permissible purpose that is enumerated under federal Gramm Leach Bliley Act, or to locate a missing person, lost relative, or a person who is due a benefit, such as a pension benefit or an unclaimed property benefit.

Adopted : May 2011
Reviewed: March 2016

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Internet Access
Laminating Policy
Reference Services
Safe Child Policy
Social Media Policy
Volunteer Policy

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