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Board of Trustees Policy Manual

The purpose of this manual is to provide to the members of the Fairfax County Library (FCPL) Board of Trustees, the Library Administration and staff, all of the basic statutes, regulations and policies pertinent to the overall direction of FCPL


ACCEPTABLE INTERNET USE POLICY: Local public library policy that governs users of the
library’s Internet access.

ACCESS: The availability of library and information services to any personal user. Access is
complicated by such things as architectural barriers, illiteracy, and inadequate physical plants.

ACQUISITIONS: The process of selecting and procuring books, periodicals, and other
materials by purchase, exchange, and gift; of processing invoices for payment; and of
keeping the necessary records of these acquired items.

ACTION ITEMS:  The Library Board of Trustees considers policy decisions and other voting actions outside of the approval of minutes in two phases. An item is first placed on an agenda as a “consideration item” and it is read into record but not discussed. An item then reoccurs on the agenda at the next meeting as an “action item” and it is discussed, amended if appropriate, and then voted on.

AD HOC: The Library Board of Trustees Chair creates “ad hoc” committees for the purpose of a short term goal or objective.

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act, a comprehensive and complex act of Congress
passed in 1990. The act is intended to eliminate discrimination against the disabled. Title III
deals with access to public accommodations including libraries. ADA also deals with
employment practices.

ALA: American Library Association, the national professional organization.

A-V: Audiovisual. Communication resources that rely on a device for transmission,
reproduction, or enlargement to be fully utilized (e.g., films, records, cassettes, compact
discs). Print and print substitutes are excluded.

BANNING OF MATERIALS: The removal of challenged materials. 

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Fairfax County has an elected Board of Supervisors consisting of nine members elected by district, plus a chairman elected at-large.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES: The governing board of the public library.

BRANCH LIBRARY: An auxiliary unit of the Administrative Entity that has at least all of
the following: 1) separate quarters; 2) an organized collection; 3) paid staff; 4) regularly
scheduled hours for being open to the public; and 5) open to the public at least 20 hours per
week and telephone with a listed number. Outlets that do not meet these requirements are considered a Station Library.

CALL NUMBER: Letters and numbers indicating the location of a book or other material,
usually composed of the classification number and the author’s last initial.

CAPITAL FACILITIES: Fairfax County Capital Facilities Department exists within the greater Department of Public Works and Environmental Design. Capital Facilities supports the design and construction of libraries, courts, police and fire stations, other governmental facilities, and infrastructure improvements projects for roads and sanitary sewer extensions.

CATALOG: A guide to the materials found in the library, usually accessed by a personal

CATALOGING: The process of preparing a catalog or entries for a catalog. This includes the
classification and assignment of subject headings for books and materials and determining all
points of access to the record.

CENSORSHIP: A change in the access status of material, based on the content of the work and
made by a governing authority or its representatives. Such changes include exclusion, restriction, removal, or age/grade level changes.

CHALLENGE OF MATERIALS: An attempt to have removed or restricted materials based upon the objections of a person or group. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the library, thereby restricting the access of others.

CIRCULATION: The activity of a library in lending books and other materials to borrowers
and keeping a record of such loans.

COLLECTION: A group of library materials having a common characteristic, such as
Juvenile Collection, Reference Collection, Pamphlet Collection, etc. The term may also refer
to the aggregate of the library’s entire holdings.

COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT: The process for selecting library materials to meet a
library’s needs, goals, objectives, and priorities, as well as developing criteria for removing
items no longer needed for the collection.

COMMUNITY LIBRARY (FAIRFAX COUNTY): A public library branch of the Fairfax County Public Library system, smaller in physical size than a regional branch and holding a lesser quantity of materials, and open fewer hours to the public than a regional location.

CONFIDENTIAL RECORD: Records prohibited from public disclosure because access to
information may cause harm or embarrassment to the state, its citizens, or other individuals
or organizations. Includes information exempt from disclosure under the provisions of the
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), proprietary information, protected business data, and
other information as outlined in agency or locality policies, directives, or regulations.

CONSIDERATION ITEMS: The Library Board of Trustees considers policy decisions and other voting actions outside of the approval of minutes in two phases. An item is first placed on an agenda as a “consideration item” and is read into record but not discussed. An item then reoccurs on the agenda at the next meeting as an “action item” and is discussed, amended if appropriate, and then voted on.

CONSORTIUM: A formal or informal association of libraries or other organizations having
the same or interrelated objectives.

DATABASE: A large compilation of information that can be immediately accessed and
operated on by a computer data-processing system. Any organized collection of data, gathered and stored in a computer.

DISCARD: The act of removing a book or other cataloged item from the Library’s catalog.

DISPLAYS:  A collection of books, objects, posters, etc. exhibited in a prominent location, such as in a library display case or on merchandising furnishings.

DONATIONS: Typically, books or other items that are provided to the Library free of cost.

FAIR USE: Provision of the copyright law stipulating the allowable and legal use of short
passages of copyrighted material without permission, for instance, as quotations in a
magazine or book.

FEES/FINES: The Fairfax County Public Library assesses late fees to the record of any borrower who fails to return or renew library materials on or before their due date.

FOIA: Freedom of Information Act for Virginia—State law requiring public records be
open for inspection by interested parties (see §2.2-3700 of the Code of Virginia). Exempt
records are those that have been exempted from public disclosure under the provisions of
the Freedom of Information Act.

FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY: Library branches of the Fairfax County Public Library are aided by their Friends group. These individual groups provide money to the Library, as well as support, assist and promote library activities.

GIFTS: Items, physical or monetary, donated to the library.

GOVERNING BODY: The board or council that governs a local government unit.

GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT: Any publication originating in, or issued with the imprint of,
or at the expense and by the authority of, any office of a legally organized governmental

GUEST CARD: Non-library-card holders can purchase guest cards to use the internet.

HANDOUTS: Pamphlets, flyers, calendars, newsletters, tabloids, and similar free materials offered to the public for community awareness and convenience.

HOLDS: Items requested to be sent to a specific library branch for a customer.

INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM: The right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.

INTERLIBRARY LOAN (ILL): A service whereby an institution borrows from another institution on behalf of a cardholder. The borrowing institution is ultimately responsible for making the lending institution whole should the lent material be lost or damaged.

LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION SERVICES (LIS):  A state platform that allows visitors to search for bills and resolutions by subject, time period and bill number.

LIBRARY CARD: People who qualify can obtain a library card that grants access to materials and online content.

LIBRARY FOUNDATION: The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that exists to raise supplementary funds for the Fairfax County Public Library and is committed to its mission statement of seeking financial gifts from individuals, organizations, foundations, businesses and corporations who have a vested interest in the quality of life of Fairfax County while encouraging continued and increased public tax-based support for the library.

LVA: Library of Virginia.

MATERIALS:  Items that include, but are not limited to print (e.g. book, magazines, newpapers), non-print (e.g. DVD, AudioBook on CD, realia), and digital (e.g. databases, digital literary material, streaming video).

MEETING ROOMS: Rooms available in library branches for use by the public, non-profit groups, support groups, and staff. Use must be open to the public and typically at no cost to participants.

MICROFICHE: Refers to sheet film.

MICROFILM: Refers to roll film.

MISSION: Overall or basic purpose, the primary reason for existence. A mission statement is
generally expressed in abstract terms and communicates the library’s purpose to internal and
external constituencies. The statement should explain what the library does, differentiate it
from other organizations, and provide guidance for related subsequent planning activities
such as the development of goals, objectives, and strategies.

MLS: Master’s Degree in Library Science. The graduate professional degree in library
science. Also called MSLS, MSLIS, MALS.

NONRESIDENT: A person who resides outside the taxing area of a public library.

OBJECTIVE: A specific expected outcome as a result of certain actions. Usually stated in
terms of what is to be done for or by whom, in what length of time, and to what standard of

OUTREACH: Programs and activities that extend beyond the library building. Examples
include service to nursing homes, jails, and other correctional facilities; bookmobile service
and books-by-mail service to geographically remote areas; and service to the homebound.

PERIODICAL: Magazine, newspaper, or other material normally issued at regular intervals.
Each issue is numbered consecutively and/or dated.

POLICY: A course of action adopted and supported by the Library Board of Trustees. The Library Board maintains a Policy Manual.

PRIVACY-PROTECTED RECORDS: Records containing personal information that are
protected from improper disclosure by the Privacy Protection Act.

PROCESSING: The carrying out of the various routines before material is ready for
circulation, including cataloging and physical preparation.

PUBLIC LIBRARY: A library supported mainly by local taxes and open to all users.

PUBLIC RECORDS ACT, VIRGINIA: State law governing the procedures used to manage,
preserve, and destroy public records of the Commonwealth, its agencies, and localities (see
§42.1-76 of the Code of Virginia).

RECIPROCAL BORROWING: An arrangement by which a person registered at one library
may borrow books and other library materials in person from another library.

REFERENCE SERVICE: A library’s activity in seeking to locate and supply specific
information requested by library users and in assisting patrons to use the resources of the

REGIONAL LIBRARY (FAIRFAX COUNTY): A public library branch of the Fairfax County Public Library system, larger in physical size than a community branch, holding a larger quantity of materials, and open more hours to the public than a community location.

REGIONAL LIBRARY (LVA): A public library serving more than one political subdivision.

REGISTERED BORROWER: Individual who has an active library card.

REGULATIONS: A law, rule, or other order prescribed by authority, especially to regulate conduct.

SELECTION: The process of choosing the books and other materials to be bought by a library.

STATE AID: An item of state expenditure for operating, strengthening and improving public libraries.

STATE LIBRARY AGENCY: The Library of Virginia is the library agency, the archival agency, and the reference library of the commonwealth. This agency is also charged by law to give direction and assistance to all public and institutional libraries.

STATUTES: A formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a nation, state, city or country. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: A body set up by law that is authorized to enact legislation on behalf of the relevant country or state.

TALKING BOOKS: The Access Services Library provides specially recorded books, magazines, and players to residents of Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, and the City of Falls Church through the free Talking Book Program of the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

TECHNICAL SERVICES/OPERATIONS: Those services connected with purchasing, cataloging, binding, and
preparing for library use materials added to a collection, and maintaining the collection with
necessary repairs and renovation of all library materials.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Transmission and reception of data by electromagnetic means.

VLA: Virginia Library Association.

VOLUME:  A book forming part of a work or series.

WEEDING: The process of examining books, pamphlets, and various other materials and
removing from the current collection those items that are out-of-date, obsolete, shabby, or
unneeded duplicates.

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