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The Berkshire Athenaeum exists to initiate, nurture and feed a passion for knowledge and learning.  To help satisfy this mission, the library recognizes the need to provide access to a variety of audio‑visual and office equipment.  It is the intent of this document to outline library policy and procedures relating to all non-computer equipment offered by that Athenaeum. For policy related to the library’s computers, see COMPUTER SERVICES POLICIES AND PROCEDURES.

Unless otherwise noted, each of the items identified in this policy statement are available for use in the library at no cost.  Staff should ascertain whether the borrower is familiar with the equipment, and if not, provide either written or verbal instructions.

While library equipment is available at any time during the library's normal operating hours, to allow sufficient time for staff lock‑up procedures, users should be prepared to surrender equipment well prior to the library's closing.

The library reserves the right to terminate service to anyone not using library equipment in a responsible manner. Borrowers are responsible for damage done to library equipment while checked out under their name, or as a result of their misuse or abuse.  Food or drink is prohibited in the proximity of any of the library equipment.

1.         AUDIO PLAYBACK:

1.a.      An audio cassette player with headphones is available for use in the Children’s Library for the playback of library-owned juvenile cassettes.

1.b.      Portable cassette and CD players are available for loan through the Adult Circulation Department.  This equipment may be checked out for two hours at a time for use inside the library building.

2.         CALCULATOR:  A portable, solar-powered calculator is available at the Reference Department for public use on a first come, first served basis at any time the library is open.

3.         MAGNIFIER:

3.1.      The Local History Department has an electronic low vision reader in the microform machine area.  This device magnifies and projects printed material onto a monitor to aid those with difficulty reading small print. 

3.2.      A variety of hand-held magnifiers are available in the Local History and Reference Departments. 

4.         MICROFORM READERS: The Local History Department has a number of workstations available to access microformats utilizing digital technology. [See section 6 of the “Computer Services Policy & Procedures.”]

4.a.      Microformat workstations are available on a first come, first served basis.  No reservations are taken for this equipment.  Researchers are asked to be considerate of others and limit their use of any one machine to one hour when others are waiting.

4.b.      Unless special arrangements have been made in advance with the librarian in charge, only two persons may use one piece of micrographic equipment at any given time.  Those persons not using the equipment are requested to respect the privacy of others by waiting away from the equipment area.

4.c.      While fiche and film may be retrieved from the storage cabinets by the user, to assure that items are not misfiled they should be returned to the librarian or to the box marked for the return of fiche or film.

5.         PAPER CUTTER: When providing the public access to the paper cutter(s), the library’s liability exposure is tied to any negligence the library may have in making this service available.  Because providing access to a paper cutter is the kind of service people traditionally look to a public library for, to protect the library as much as possible from liability the library will:

5.a.      Prohibit anyone under age thirteen (13) from using the cutter without library staff or other adult assistance.

5.b.      Post the following warning sign printed in large type prominently on each cutter that may be made available to the public:

“WARNING!  The paper cutter is sharp and can cut you if it is not used properly.  Persons using this tool do so at their own risk.  Persons under the age of thirteen (13) are prohibited from using this tool without direct supervision from library staff or other responsible adult.”

5.c.      Paper cutters, available in the Children’s Library, Circulation Department and Local History Department, should be kept in an area where such restrictions may be enforced.

6.         PAPER CUTTER ELLISON DIE-CUT MACHINE: The Children’s Library has an Ellison die-cut machine that allows multiple copies of selected shapes to be cut at a rapid pace.

6.a.      Teachers, day-care providers, or other youth service providers may use this time saving device by appointment in the Children's Library.

6.b.      Persons using the Ellison equipment must provide their own paper. 

6.c.      Those organizations possessing their own Ellison equipment may borrow dies from the Athenaeum's collection for up to one week. 

6.d.      Except for the dies noted in section 18.c. above, the Ellison equipment may not be taken from the Athenaeum.

7.         PHOTOCOPIERS:

7.a.      Coin-operated photocopiers are available in the Children’s Library, Local History, Reference and Circulation Departments. 

7.b.      Vended copies are available in letter (8½” x 11”), legal (8½” x 14”) and ledger  (11” x 17”) sizes for $.10 per sheet. Copies are limited to the paper supplied by the library. Requests for copies on special paper, transparencies, label stock, etc., cannot be accommodated on the library copiers. 

7.c.      While library staff may make complimentary copies available to correct copier errors, the Athenaeum is unable to provide cash refunds for unacceptable copies.

7.d.      Persons anticipating extensive copy runs may find it more convenient to purchase copy debit cards in the Local History Department.

7.e.      Because the copy machines in the Reference and Local History Departments are also print release stations for the computers in those departments, persons using those machines should limit their copying to short runs (5 copies or fewer) at a time.

7.f.       According to “Children’s Library Guidelines,”(1) adults unattended by children should be directed to adult services.  Children’s Library staff should use their discretion when referring persons seeking photocopier services to Adult Services, with exceptions being those adults visiting the Children’s Library by way of the Bartlett Avenue entrance for the exclusive purpose of making only a few quick copies.

7.g.      No one should ever monopolize a copier for more than twenty minutes at any given time.

8.       PIANO: Persons booking the Auditorium may have access to the grand piano located on the floor of the Auditorium.  The piano is to be used for the meeting or function for which the room was booked.  While the piano is generally tuned annually, any additional tuning required by persons booking the auditorium is the responsibility of the booking party.  Requests to have the piano tuned must be authorized by the library director and only qualified piano tuners will be accepted.

9.         PROJECTORS:

9.a.      Computer: The Athenaeum does not have laptop or computer projection equipment available for public use.

9.b.      Overhead: Persons booking either the Auditorium or the Athenaeum Room may have access to a portable overhead projector. It is to be used for the meeting for which the room was booked, and with the possible exception of other municipal departments, does not get loaned outside of the library building.

9.c.      35 mm Slide: Persons booking either the Auditorium or the Athenaeum Room may have access to a 35mm slide projector. It is to be used for the meeting for which the room was booked, and with the possible exception of other municipal departments, does not get loaned outside of the library building.

9.d.      Video: See section 15.a. below.

10.       TALKING BOOK PLAYER: A talking book player is on permanent loan to the Athenaeum and is available for short term loan to persons with visual or physical impairment until they can be signed up for direct service to talking books.

11.       TELEFAX: The library’s fax machine is restricted to official library business and is not available for either sending or receiving documents at the request of the public.

12.       TELEPHONE DEVICE FOR THE DEAF: The Athenaeum does not have a telephone device for the deaf (TDD or TTY).

13.       TELEPHONES: Library desk phones are for official library business and are not available for public use. Staff may make exceptions in extenuating circumstances (i.e. a child’s request to call a parent for a ride home).

14.       TYPEWRITER: The library does not have a typewriter for public use.


15.a.    Persons booking the library's meeting rooms may have access to video playback equipment in both DVD and VCR formats. The auditorium has a video player and projector.  There is also a player and 25" monitor stored on a portable cart that travels between the Athenaeum Room and the Technical Services Department.   This equipment is to be used at the meeting for which the room was booked, and is not intended for the recreational viewing of library or individually owned films.

15.b.    There is also a video player and 25" monitor located in the story telling corner of the Children's Department.  Patrons of any age may request recordings from the Children's in house collection be set up for viewing during normal library hours.

15.c.    Because of copyright restrictions, only recordings with public performance rights may be shown in the library.  The library's collection of circulating recordings generally do not have these rights and their viewing in the library is therefore prohibited.

15.d.    A user's viewing time is limited to one feature film, or one hour, whichever is greater.

15.e.    Video equipment does not get loaned outside the library building.

15.f.    The Local History Department has a limited collection of DVD recordings of local history-related topics.  Because Local History Department materials do not circulate, by special arrangement patrons may view these recordings on equipment located in the Local History Department. Playback equipment in the Local History Department is not intended for the recreational viewing of other library or individually owned recordings.

15.g.     Closed Caption Decoder: The Athenaeum does not have a closed caption decoder.

(1) The “Children’s Library Guidelines” section of the “Behavior Policy & Procedures” provides the following guidance regarding use of the Children’s Library by adults: “The Children's Library serves children of all ages through grade five, parents, teachers, some adults with developmental disabilities…, and students who need children's materials.  Other patrons should use the General Library collection and facilities.”

Updated October 2010

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Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield's Public Library, Pittsfield, Massachusetts