Policies & Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan
Thomas County Public Library System (TCPLS) strategic planning will promote informed decision-making for future library programs and services.

2020 - 2030: Ten-Year Strategic Plan
Library Policies
Patron Rules and Regulations
Behavior Prohibited by Rules

  • Engaging in disorderly conduct, fighting or challenging to fight, or using offensive words to provoke violence.
  • Using obscene or abusive acts and/or language
  • Loud or disruptive behavior
  • Rudeness to employees, other patrons or security personnel
  • Indecent exposure
  • Misuse of restrooms
  • Physically, psychologically or sexually harassing staff or patrons, including but not limited to, staring at, inappropriately touching, following individuals around the library premises or interfering with the free movement of any person.
Actions Prohibited by Rules

  • Parking under carport; stopping to let out individuals and picking them up should be brief to allow others the same courtesy
  • Distributing or posting printed materials/literature that have not been approved by the Library
  • Selling or soliciting for money or items or services
  • Changing of clothes or bathing in the restrooms
  • Removing Library materials from the premises without authorization through established lending procedures
  • Abusing books, materials or equipment
  • Eating or drinking: bringing food or beverages into the Library
  • Smoking or other uses of tobacco inside the Library or within 25 feet of the Library entrance
  • Possessing or consuming alcohol or illegal drugs or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Not wearing shoes or shirts
  • Bringing bedrolls, frame backpacks or suitcases
  • Littering
  • Loitering in the lobby, stacks, restrooms or parking lot
  • Using the Library phone for extended periods (more than 3 minutes)
  • Wandering from one area to another
  • Putting feet or legs on the furniture
  • Moving Library furnishing without permission
  • Sleeping
  • Playing cards or games of any kind unless approved by Library staff members
  • Bringing animals or pets into the Library (except guide dogs or others approved by the Library)
  • For traffic safety reasons, children should not wait in front of the Library or in the parking lot for their rides: parents are requested to park their cars and come into the Library to pick up their children. Children should notify the Library staff if they are briefly (5 minutes) waiting for a ride.
  • Any illegal acts or conduct in violation of Federal, State or local law, ordinance or regulation
  • Wearing headphones with the volume turned up loud enough for others to hear.
  • Cell phones should be set to silent or vibration mode; users are to answer their cell phones in the lobby or in front of the building.

Revised: 08/15/05;  09/05/06;  03/01/07;  11/01/07;  4/3/09; 06/14/10;  08/12/10;  06/16/14;  9/15/14;  10/19/22

Patrons' Right of Privacy
The foremost relationship the Library must foster is that between the Library and the patrons. The patron is our reason for being and the Library must continually be responsive to his/her needs. A feeling of trust and privacy must be maintained. In response to this belief, the following resolution was adopted by the Library Board and its strict adherence is expected:

Whereas the Board of Trustees of the Thomas County Public Library System appreciates the difficulty experienced by many law enforcement agencies in the pursuit of justice; and whereas, the Board recognizes and approves the goal of bringing criminals to justice but not at the sacrifice of basic personal liberties enjoyed by all the population; and whereas the Library Director believes that the releasing of any information concerning a patron would amount to an invasion of privacy which would result in a direct betrayal of trust between the Library and its reading public and that a subpoena from an appropriate court should be required from any individual or organization wishing to examine said records and whereas, the said Board endorses this position.

Now Therefore Be It Resolved As Follows:

  1. That once a book is place in the Library, the reading examination of said book becomes a private matter with each individual and is not subject to review by this Board or any other body;
  2. That this Board’s duty to protect the basic rights of readers takes priority over all requests of the above nature;
  3. That the intent of this resolution is to clarify the Board’s position, and to reassure Library users that no information of this nature will be revealed hereafter.

The right of privacy also includes staff records (vacation, sick leave, salary, evaluation, etc.) and information contained in City Directories.

In cases of extreme emergency, the Library Director can submit a request for the information stipulated above to be released for a special purpose. That request shall be made in writing to the Board Chairman who can reply immediately or request a meeting of the Executive Committee and/or the Library Board to make that exception.

Please note from above that a subpoena from an appropriate court can solicit information cited. (§24-12-30 GA Code)

a. Circulation and similar records of a library which identify the user of library materials shall not be public records but shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except:

  1. To members of the library staff in the ordinary course of business;
  2. Upon written consent of the user of the library materials or the user’s parents or guardian if the user is a minor or ward; or
  3. Upon appropriate court order or subpoena.
b. Any disclosure authorized by subsection (a) of this Code section or any unauthorized disclosure of materials made confidential by subsection (a) of this Code section shall not in any way destroy the confidential nature of that material, except for the purpose for which an authorized disclosure is made. A person disclosing material as authorized by subsection (a) of this Code section shall not be liable therefor.

History. Code 1981, § 24-12-30 , enacted by Ga. L. 2011, p. 99, § 2/HB 24.

Revised: 08/15/05;  09/05/06;  03/01/07;  11/01/07;  4/3/09; 06/14/10;  08/12/10;  06/16/14;  9/15/14;  10/19/22
Patron Safety and Accidents

It is the responsibility of every staff member to provide patrons with a safe environment in the Library and on Library property. Employees should be alert to any safety hazards and report them to a superior or personally correct the situation immediately.

If an accident does occur, immediate attention is given to any patrons involved, outside medical and police aid is requested, if needed. Afterwards, a full report is written and submitted to the Director. This report should include all details necessary to adequately describe the circumstances of the accident.

Library staff is mandated to report any situation that a child has been abused immediately to the authorities: whether physical, sexual, neglect or sexual exploitation

Revised: 08/15/05;  09/05/06;  03/01/07;  11/01/07;  4/3/09; 06/14/10;  08/12/10;  06/16/14;  9/15/14;  10/19/22

Child, Dependent and Unattended Persons Safety
The Thomas County Public Library System is committed to providing its users an atmosphere and environment free from unnecessary distractions and conducive to the most efficient use of library facilities. Part of this commitment is a concern for the safety and welfare of everyone who visits the library.

Library facilities are public buildings, and as such, have special security concerns. Children or dependent persons left unattended may be at risk.

The Library staff has many responsibilities, and they are neither trained nor expected to provide care and supervision for children or dependent persons of any age.

  • Children under 10 years of age must remain under the supervision of the parent or caregiver, who must remain in the immediate area and within eyesight of children.
  • Parents, legal guardians, and caregivers are responsible for the care and behavior of children and dependent persons at all times while in Library buildings.
  • Dependent persons may include persons incapacitated due to physical and/or mental disabilities or other conditions who are dependent on others for their safety and well-being.
A child who is attending a library program need not be accompanied into that program by a parent, unless otherwise indicated. The parent or guardian must, however, remain in the vicinity until the program is complete.

  • Parents and caregivers must, however, be present in the building during the programming in case an emergency should arise.
If necessary at any time, staff will contact the appropriate law enforcement or social services authorities to assume responsibility for the welfare of a child or dependent person in need of attention.

Persons Left Unattended

When Library staff recognizes that a child or dependent person has been left unattended in the library or on its premises, they will attempt to identify and locate the responsible parent, legal guardian, and caregiver or law enforcement.

  • Staff will search the library building and/or grounds in an effort to locate the responsible party.
  • If they cannot be located, a staff member will monitor the person until the parent, legal guardian, or caregiver returns to the library.
  • When the responsible party is located, the Child and Dependent Safety Policy will be explained and a copy given to them.
  • Staff will fill out an incident report and record the parent’s, legal guardians, or caregiver’s name, address, and telephone number and the name of the unattended person.
  • Staff will refer any additional incidents to law enforcement.
Unattended Persons after Closing

For purposes of this Unattended Persons section, the Thomasville Police Department recommends defining the term “minor” to mean any child 15 years or younger)

Parents, legal guardians, and caregivers are responsible for being aware of the times the Library opens and closes. Library staff must exercise appropriate procedures to ensure the safety of unattended persons, either minors 15 years of age and younger or dependent persons of any age, especially when the library is closing.

  • Thirty minutes prior to closing time, staff will make an effort to ascertain that any minors or dependent persons of any age have arrangements for transportation from the library?
  • If no ride has arrived by closing time, after 15 minutes staff will call the local Police Department. In instances of minors of a significantly young age (9 years and younger), staff will contact local law enforcement immediately at closing time if parent or guardian has not been located.
  • For security reasons, two staff members must remain with a minor at all times until law enforcement arrives. Staff are not authorized to detain minors or dependent persons and should not try to prevent them from leaving on their own.
  • Law enforcement will monitor persons left unattended until transportation arrives.
  • Staff will fill out an incident report form: record the parent's, legal guardian’s, or caregiver's name, address, and telephone number and the name of the unattended person.
  • Staff will refer any additional incidents to law enforcement.
Library staff members are not authorized to provide transportation to unattended minors or dependent persons, or leave them alone in the building or on the library premises.

Revised: 08/15/05;  09/05/06;  03/01/07;  11/01/07;  4/3/09; 06/14/10;  08/12/10;  06/16/14;  9/15/14;  10/19/22
Circulation of Library Materials
The objective of an effective circulation policy is to define clearly the Library’s procedures and regulations for the checkout and return of materials. All rules and regulations which follow apply to each Library facility in the County System unless otherwise stipulated by the Director.

Library Cards

  • All county and Georgia residents, students, county property owners, employees of county businesses or services relating to Thomas County are eligible for free library service. Proof of eligibility is required: a picture I.D. (i.e. driver’s license) and proof of current address. Non-Georgia residents may pay a yearly fee for services.
  • Patrons will be responsible for contacting the Library immediately concerning lost or stolen cards. Otherwise the patron will be held responsible for any transactions made on the card until notification is given to the Library.
  • Adult cards are issued to anyone age 18 or older. Juvenile cards are issued from birth to age 17 with written consent of a parent or guardian.
  • Restrictions are place on all circulations as to the number of materials per circulation; total number of materials in circulation; videos, audiocassettes, CDs and circulating magazines and renewal privileges, based on PINES policy.
  • All cards are updated every two years to confirm patrons’ address and phone number for information on a periodic basis.
  • All restrictions on circulation are approved by the Director.
Circulation Guidelines

  • All materials have restricted loan periods.
  • The number of reserved items is limited.
  • Limits are placed on renewal of materials.
  • Fines are assessed daily on overdue materials to reach a set amount.
  • Borrowing privilege may be suspended when fine amounts exceed Library limits.
  • Fines may be reduced or forgiven by Library staff members as directed by the Director.
  • Lost or damaged materials costs are determined based on current value of the material.
  • Materials damaged by natural disaster (fire, flood, etc.) can be forgiven.
  • Audio-visual equipment loans are on a limited time and patrons are held responsible for any damage.
Legal Implications of Lost and Damaged Materials

Code of Georgia:

  1. Unauthorized Removal: 20-5-54.1 Any person who, within authority and with the intention of depriving the Public Library of the ownership of such property, willfully conceals a book or other Public Library property, while still on the premises of such Public Library, or willfully or without authority removes any books or other property from any Public Library shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; provided, however, that if the replacement cost of the Public library property is less than $25.00, the punishment shall be a fine of not more than $250.00. Proof of willful concealment of any book or other Public Library property while still on the premises of such Public Library shall be prima facie evidence of intent to violate this Code section.
  2. Abuse of Library Materials: 20-5-52.1 Any person who shall steal or unlawfully take or willfully or maliciously write upon, cut, tear, deface, disfigure, soil, obliterate, break, or destroy or who shall sell or buy or receive, knowing it to have been stolen, any book, pamphlet, document, newspaper, periodical, map, chart, picture, portrait, engraving, statue, coin, medal, equipment, specimen, recording, video product, microform, computer software, film or other work of literature or object of art or the equipment necessary to its display or use belonging to or in the care of the Public Library shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
  3. Overdue Books: 20-5-52 Any person who borrows from any Public Library any book, pamphlet, document, newspaper, periodic, map, chart, picture, portrait, engraving, statue, coin, medal, equipment, specimen, recording, video product, microform, computer software, film or other work of literature or object of art or the equipment necessary to its display or use shall be given written notice, mailed to his last known address or delivered in person, to return such article or equipment within 15 days after the date of such notification. Such notice shall contain copy of this Code section. If such a person shall thereafter willfully and knowingly fail to return such article or equipment within 15 days, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.00 or imprisonment for not more than 30 days and shall be required to return such article or equipment or provide reimbursement for the replacement cost of such article or equipment.
Unique Management Services

The library may use a collection agency to encourage patrons to return overdue materials. This is for accounts that are 60 days overdue (after the PINES 90 days) with a $25.00 minimum fine.

Revised: 08/15/05;  09/05/06;  03/01/07;  11/01/07;  4/3/09; 06/14/10;  08/12/10;  06/16/14;  9/15/14;  10/19/22
Collection Development
The Board of Trustees of the Thomas County Public Library System holds ultimate responsibility for the selection of materials for the Library collections. [Refer to Georgia Code Ann.20-5-43(4) and 20-5-45(5)]. The Board of Trustees delegates this responsibility to the Library Director and designated staff members chosen by the Director. Regional staff members select, purchase, and catalog the collection throughout the six library locations of the Region. Staff members at all six locations are encouraged to participate in the selection of materials for their respective libraries within their assigned spending allocations.

Funds allocated for purchasing books and other reading materials for the Library Collection of the Thomas County Public Library System include state grant funding, local funds contributed by the Regional budget, and occasional Federal grant funds (LSTA Summer Reading program funding, for example.)

The mission of the Thomas County Public Library System is to provide full and convenient access to the Library’s available resources for all citizens in their quest for knowledge and information. The Library’s resources comprise both traditional print-based materials and advanced technology providing access to the Internet for our citizens. In addition, the Library provides resources from other libraries in Georgia and elsewhere using Interlibrary Loan capabilities. As a public library, the Thomas County Public Library System in south Georgia strives to meet the educational, cultural, economic and recreational information needs for all citizens of our area.

Any material considered for inclusion in Thomas County Public Library System collections shall be evaluated in terms of its intrinsic value and intended audience. No single criterion should be applied to the selection of materials. Some titles may be selected based solely on their artistic merit, while others may meet the educational, cultural, recreational and economic information needs of patrons as defined in the TCPLS mission statement.
Several sources are used to select collection materials. These sources include book reviews in established library resources (Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist, Horn Book, etc.), bestseller lists, awards lists, publisher catalogs, staff subject specialists, other professional recommendations and patron suggestions when possible.

The TCPLS Collection Development policy provides guidelines for staff to select material that:
• Meets the current and future information needs of library patrons in all age groups
• Reflects the patron’s desire for popular and high-demand materials, delivered in a timely manner
• Ensures the accuracy and currency of Nonfiction material
• Represents regional interests by including materials in genealogy, school reading lists, local history and local authors
• Has contemporary significance or permanent value
• Includes material that represents diverse points of view
• Is relevant to the contributions and experiences of a diverse population

Budget and space limitations, as well as local needs, preclude TCPLS from duplicating the specialized and comprehensive collections that may exist in area colleges and technical schools.

As the TCPLS service community changes, the Collection Development Policy may require reevaluation and revision to reflect new and differing areas of interest and concern.

All TCPLS collections, whether Adult, Young Adult or Juvenile, should meet certain selection criteria standards such as
• Cost and availability of the material
• Popular interest
• Readability
• Treatment of subject to age of intended audience
• Format and ease of use
• Relationship to existing materials in the collection

Adult Fiction:
This collection includes a variety of contemporary and “bestselling” fiction, as well as award winners and works of local, regional and Georgia authors. Titles considered “classic” literature, as well as books in different genres, will also be selected. Every effort will be made to reflect the reading interests and tastes of a diverse population. It is the stated aim of the Thomas County Public Library System to seek and purchase works by local authors and additional works related to the Library’s service area (the six towns and communities of Thomas County) for inclusion in the collection.

Adult Non-Fiction:
This collection includes a core of basic knowledge in Dewey subject areas. Because of the dynamic nature of Non-Fiction, emphasis is placed on currency and accuracy. Some titles are selected for their capacity to provide self-help information or facilitate continuing education, while others entertain and nourish intellectual or spiritual growth. Material should present different viewpoints and varying perspectives on issues.

Young Adult Fiction:
This collection supports the educational and recreational needs of 13 to 18 year-olds. Selected material appeals to the special interests of Young Adults, and should be age-appropriate. Special emphasis will be given to titles on school reading lists and in popular series and formats, for example, graphic novels.

Young Adult Non-Fiction:
This collection includes a core of basic knowledge in Dewey subject areas, with an emphasis on material relevant to teen culture. The collection should be current, timely and accurate. YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) booklists and award lists should be used as professional review sources for material selected for Young Adult collections, in addition to the standard evaluation aids.

Juvenile Fiction:
This collection supports the educational and recreational needs of infants to 12 year-olds. Publications featuring children’s literature (School Library Journal, VOYA, Kirkus Reviews, etc.), should be used as professional review sources for material selected for Juvenile collections. Special emphasis should be placed on award winners, as well as popular titles, series, and books on recommended reading lists. Titles on the Newbery Medal list are priority additions to this collection, and the Library strives to have a complete collection of these award-winning titles.

Juvenile Non-Fiction:
This collection includes a core of basic knowledge in Dewey subject areas. Emphasis is placed on currency and accuracy when evaluating material. The reputation of the publisher, ease of use, suitability for the intended audience and relationship of the material to other items in the collection, should also be considered when making selections.

Although textbooks and items that correlate with specific curricula are not purchased generally, specific titles that support the general educational needs of elementary school-aged students will be considered for selection.

Easy/Picture Books:
This collection includes books for beginning readers, may be concept-oriented, and usually focuses on illustrated works with limited text. Board books, more suitable for infants and pre-school children, will also be selected. The quality of the illustrations, reputation of the author and illustrator, suitability of the material for the intended audience and durability of the item, should be considered when making selections. Works by award winners, and on recommended reading lists, will be given special emphasis. Titles on the Caldecott Medal list are priority additions to this collection.

This collection includes “Ready Reference” (almanacs, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.) material, as well as titles that are subject-oriented (general legal, health, literature, etc.). Reference sources typically contain comprehensive and complex information, and may be expensive to purchase. For these reasons, they cannot be checked-out, so as to remain available to all patrons. Reference books are found in the adult and (to a smaller extent) juvenile collections. Selection factors include ease-of-use, authority, indexing, cost, and duplication of online resources. The availability of GALILEO (Georgia Library Learning Online), a World-Wide-Web-based virtual library, has reduced the need for large numbers of Reference titles. Examples of Reference include encyclopedia sets, literary reference resources and similar material.

This collection includes works of local, regional and state history. It may also contain bound copies of newspaper clippings, family histories, cemetery records and obituaries. Factors such as cost, relevancy of the material to area patrons, duplication of online sources (Ancestry.com, U.S. Census records, etc.) and authority of the author, should be considered when making selections. All Genealogy titles are for reference, and permanently housed in the owning facility. Patrons may make copies of material they need.

Large Print:
This collection supports the needs of the visually impaired and senior citizen patrons. As is the case with the regular print Adult Fiction collection, special emphasis will be given to popular and bestselling works in different genres. The Non-Fiction Large Print collection is less comprehensive than its regular print counterpart, and should focus on high-interest subjects such as health, biographies and other popular titles.

This collection is uncataloged and supports the recreational reading needs of adult, young adult and juvenile patrons. Titles may duplicate cataloged works of general fiction, romance, classics, series and perennially popular authors. Because of their high-turnover, paperback gifts are an especially appropriate collection source.

Foreign Language:
This collection currently consists of some Juvenile Fiction and Non-Fiction titles written in Spanish. Additional foreign language titles may be added to the juvenile, young adult and adult collections, to reflect demographic changes in the Regional Library’s user community.

Audio Books:
This collection currently includes titles suitable for adults, but may be expanded to include ones appropriate for young adults and juveniles. Only titles available in CD (compact disc) format will be selected. Selection standards used to evaluate and purchase “print” Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction titles (bestsellers, classics, popular titles of general interest, etc.) also apply to the development of audio book collections.

This collection includes periodicals selected to support the educational, recreational and informational needs of the TCPLS patrons. They should reflect the reading tastes of a diverse population, and include popular magazines of general interest (sports, entertainment, business, family/home life, etc.) that are appropriate for adults, young adults and children. Professional magazines, supporting the needs of library staff, may also be selected. Back issues of some magazines may be kept for patrons to check-out.

The Newspaper collection should include local, regional and national selections.

The Periodical and Newspaper collections should be evaluated annually, and additions/deletions made to reflect patron need and preference.

Electronic Resources:
The Thomas County Public Library System’s six locations provide Internet access within the Library to all patrons. Resources available online include many resources, among them GALILEO (Georgia Library Learning Online) which offers access to over 100 databases. Thousands of scholarly journals and periodicals are indexed, with a multitude
of articles available in full-text. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, government publications and business directories, are also available to patrons and staff. These online databases are essential, often providing information beyond the scope of the library’s print collection.

The Thomas County Public Library System and all of its affiliated county Libraries welcome donations of books and materials. All donations are reviewed according to the library’s collection development policy. These gifts must meet standard criteria. The Library reserves the following rights for donated material: any books or materials received may be added to the collection, exchanged, given to other libraries within the Library System, discarded or sold at Library book sales. The Library receiving the donations is not responsible for listing the books donated nor can the Library establish a value for the donated items. Staff members can confirm by signature that a list of books has been donated if that list is provided by the person or persons donating the items.
We welcome the following:
• Fiction (Hardcover)- current or former bestsellers
• Nonfiction (Hardcover)
• Paperbacks- fiction and non-fiction in good condition
• Classics- paperback or hardcover in good condition
• Children’s Books- hardcover or paperback in good condition
• DVD’s- purchased (not copied)
• Audio Books (CD only)- abridged or unabridged
We are unable to accept the following:
• Magazines
• Textbooks
• Reader’s Digest Condensed Books
• Dated computer books
• Water damaged, mildewed or books in poor condition
• Videotapes
• Pamphlets
• Old encyclopedia sets
• Music- LP or CD

Please check with the Acquisitions Librarian before bringing donations to the Library. Due to space restrictions, we must follow the guidelines listed above. Please do not leave books outside of the library, as they will be subject to the weather. Library staff members are not able to pick up donations.

The Library does not place a value on donated items for tax purposes or any other reason. Donors may request a letter describing the items donated and their total number (though not a listing of the items), with the letter to be used at the discretion of the person donating the materials.

Weeding Guidelines by Dewey Class

Age = Years since copyright date

Unused = Years since last use (circulation)

M = Misleading and/or factually inaccurate
U = Ugly (badly worn, dirty)
S = Superseded (by a new edition or by a much better book on the subject)
T – Trivial (of no discernible literary or scientific merit)
Y = Your collection has no use for this item (irrelevant to patron needs and interests)

X = not applicable
Generally, remove items if older than the specified Age, if Unused for the specified period, or if MUSTY.
Class Age Unused MUSTY Notes
000 General Knowledge
020 Library Science 10 3 MUSTY  
030 Encyclopedias 5 x MUSTY Stagger replacement sets
Other 000's 5 x MUSTY  
105 Psychology 10 3 MUSTY  
Other 100's 10 3 MUSTY Value determined mainly by use
100 Religion - Try to have something up to date on each religion represented by a church, synagogue, or other assembly in the community
Most 10 3 MUSTY  
Areas of rapid change 10 3 MUSTY  
300 Social Sciences – See that controversial issues are represented from all views and that information is current, accurate, and fair.
310 Almanacs, Yearbooks 2 x MUSTY Seldom of much use after two years. Add one, discard one each year, keeping only the last three years in the collection.
320 Political Science 5 3 MUSTY Emphasis on age
320 Political Science - Historical 5 3  MUSTY Emphasis on use
340 Law 10 3 MUSTY  
350 Government 10 x MUSTY  
370 Education 10 3 MUSTY Keep historical materials only if used. Discard outdated theories.
390 Etiquette 5 3 MUSTY Keep only basic, up to date titles
390 Folklore, Customs 10 3 MUSTY  
400 Linguistics and Languages 10 3 MUSTY Discard old unappealing textbooks and school grammars. Stock dictionaries only for languages spoken or studied in your community.
500 Pure Sciences
510 Mathematics 10 3 MUSTY  
570 Biology, Natural History 10 3 MUSTY  
580 Botany 10 3 MUSTY  
Other 500's 5 3 MUSTY But keep classic works of significant historical or literary value, such as Darwin’s Origin of Species
600 Applied Sciences
610 Medicine 5 3 MUSTY Except anatomy and physiology which change very little. These are X/3/MUSTY
630 Agriculture 5 3 MUSTY Keep up to date. Be sure to collect information on newest techniques, if you serve farmers or ranchers.
640 Home Economics 5 3 MUSTY Be strict with old sewing and grooming books; however, keep cookbooks unless not used
690 Manufactures 10 3 MUSTY Keep books on old clocks, guns, toys, other collectibles
Other 600's 5 3 MUSTY Technology changes rapidly. One exception – keep repair manuals for cars and appliances as long as such items are generally kept in your community
700 Arts and Recreation
745 Crafts x 3 MUSTY Retain basic technique books if well illustrated
770 Photography 5 3 MUSTY Technology changes rapidly
Other 700's x x MUSTY Keep all basic materials until worn and unattractive
800 Literature
All x x MUSTY Keep basic materials, especially criticism of classic writers. Discard minor writers no longer read in local schools unless there is an established demand among non-students
900 History and Geography
910 Travel and Geography 5 3 MUSTY For guidebooks and descriptive or scientific geography
910 Travel and Geography 10 3 MUSTY For personal travel narratives, unless of high literary or historical value
Other 900's 15 3 MUSTY Main factors are demand, accuracy of facts
All x 3 MUSTY Emphasis on use. Unless the person is of permanent interest or importance, such as a U.S. president, discard a biography when demand lessens. This rule applies especially to biographies of faddish celebrities
All x 2 MUSTY Discard works no longer popular, especially second or third copies of old bestsellers. But retain works of durable demand and/or high literary merit, or if written by a local author
YA, Juvenile and Easy Fiction x 3 MUSTY Discard children’s and young adult fiction if the format and reading level are no longer appropriate to the current interest level of the book. Discard topical fiction on dated subjects. Favor originals over abridged or simplified classics
Juvenile and Easy Nonfiction – Use adult criteria, but look especially for inaccuracy or triviality of treatment.
Periodicals including newspapers
Not on Galileo 3 x x Keep only those in constant use and indexed.
Available full text on Galileo 1 x x Magazines that are available on Galileo should be kept for one year maximum. Discard earlier if appropriate
Audiovisual Materials – WORST – Discard if: Worn out; Out of date; Rarely used; System headquarters can supply; or Trivial and faddish.
Local History – Retain: all books on local history and geography; all local newspapers on microfilm; all travel accounts about the area; all memoirs of local figures; all city directories; all genealogies of local families; most books by local authors.


Appendix 1: Electronic Access to Materials and Online Information
A primary goal of the Thomas County Public Library System is to offer advanced technological tools for the library patrons of our Region. Each facility offers high-speed connection to the Internet and public access computers to utilize this resource. Library staff members are trained to assist patrons in using the Internet, utilizing software productivity resources (word processing, spreadsheets and other), and general uses of the computer facilities.

The Library System emphasizes the availability of GALILEO, a collection of online databases containing reference material and full-text articles of all varieties. This resource is invaluable in aiding students from primary, secondary, high school and college levels to locate appropriate reference and research material for their studies and other projects.
Online access also includes downloadable books (ebooks) and additional content databases furnished by the state and by the local library system.

PINES is the statewide online library collection database that enables circulation of library materials from libraries throughout Georgia. Patrons can access PINES from home to search for items and to place them on hold to be delivered to their local library.

Approved by TCPLS Board on 03/20/23
Meeting Rooms Guidelines
This policy applies the Henry Flipper Meeting Room and all other Thomas County Public Library System meeting and conference room spaces.


The primary purpose of the Thomas County Public Library meeting and conference rooms is to provide a space for library/library-related activities and community, non-profit events and activities. The needs of the Library and the Friends of the Library group will take precedence. The library reserves the right to cancel or reschedule any meeting or move a meeting into a different room in the event of a meeting room conflict.

All state and local fire codes must be observed in addition to all city or county ordinances.

Acceptable Use

  • The meeting and conference rooms are available for use by educational, cultural, civic, social, political, religious (administrative purposes only), professional, and other non-profit organizations, or to persons volunteering as tutors as part of a non-profit program.
  • Businesses may use the meeting and conference rooms for training or other purposes as long as no commercial activity transpires.
  • The meeting rooms may not be used for private parties or private celebrations, such as wedding receptions, birthday parties, baby showers, etc.
  • The meeting and conference rooms are not available to non-library related or sponsored groups, or individuals for the promotion or sale of services or products, fundraising, soliciting, or conducting classes for profit.
  • No admission or attendance charge or required donation may be assessed by any non-library group using the meeting and conference rooms.
  • All meetings held in the meeting and conference rooms must be open to the general public.
  • Groups using the meeting and conference rooms shall clean, return tables/chairs to their original positions and vacate rooms fifteen (15) minutes prior to closing time of the library.

The meeting and conference rooms are available during regular library business hours only, unless prior approval is received from the Library Director or designated representative.

Meetings must end, furniture returned to original positions and trash put in trash cans at least fifteen minutes before the library’s closing time. The person that reserved the room MUST check out with library staff before exiting the building.

The meeting and conference rooms will not be available when the library is closed due to bad weather, holidays, or other emergency conditions.


The meeting and conference rooms must be reserved at least 24 hours in advance. Walk-in requests may be considered by the Director or designated representative when rooms are not in use. The requester must be an adult and will be held responsible for the orderly conduct of the group, and in the event of any damage to library property and/or equipment that individual will be liable.

The library also reserves the right to reject any application if it is determined that the organization has abused its past privileges in using the meeting and conference rooms. Reservations are not considered confirmed until the completed and signed application form is received by the library. Reservations for the meeting and conference rooms may be accepted for on-going daily (short-term), weekly, or monthly meetings provided the requestor/group has not previously violated the meeting room policy. Ongoing reservations may be suspended if the Director determines that adequate and fair accessibility for all persons/groups to reserve the rooms has become too limited.

The Library Director or designated representative must approve all reservations as well as signs announcing the meetings. All reservations must include setup and breakdown time.

Cancellations must be received at least 24 hours prior to meeting. Persons/groups failing to attend scheduled meetings without notifying the library of room reservation cancelation may be subject to future reservation restrictions.

Food, Refreshments, and Smoking

Simple refreshments and snacks may be served, but are restricted to the meeting rooms and are not permitted in other parts of the library except during library-sponsored events.

Cooking, smoking and alcoholic beverages are prohibited. A group serving refreshments is responsible for providing all serving containers/utensils and for cleaning up following the meeting.

The requester will accept responsibility for assuring that no alcoholic beverages or controlled substances are brought into the Library.

Furniture, Equipment, Etc.

Requesters are responsible for arranging the chairs, tables, and other equipment to meet their own needs and leaving the room in the order in which it is found, vacuuming if necessary, and putting trash in appropriate receptacles. Library materials or equipment stored in the area should not be moved.

Library staff is not available to operate equipment unless the event is library sponsored.

No material of any kind can be posted directly on the walls of the meeting and conference rooms unless prior approval is received from the Library Director or his/her designated representative. Non-library materials and equipment used by the group must be removed at the end of the meeting.

Under no circumstances should the Henry Flipper Meeting Room users attempt to operate the divider panels that separate Flipper Rooms A and B. For liability purposes, only qualified library staff are authorized to operate the room divider.


The library makes no endorsement, expressed or implied, of any non-library event or activity held in the Thomas County Public Library meeting and conference rooms. The Library Board and the library staff do not assume any liability for groups or individuals attending any meeting or program in the library. Any person(s) or group using the meeting and conference rooms agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Thomas County Public Library, The Library Broad of Trustees, Thomas County and the City of Thomasville and their employees from any liability relating to use of the Library meeting and conference rooms.

The Applicant shall be financially responsible for any damage to furniture or rooms.

Revised: 08/15/05;  09/05/06;  03/01/07;  11/01/07;  4/3/09; 06/14/10;  08/12/10;  06/16/14;  9/15/14;  10/19/22
Public Display Guidelines
This policy of the Thomas County Public Library System (TCPLS) is meant to establish a limited public forum for the display, distribution, and exhibit of materials from or for not-for-profit organizations. Limited display space within the library requires that materials accepted for posting, display, distribution or exhibit be governed by regulations listed below. This policy governs the use of literature distribution racks, bulletin boards, and display cases in the TCPLS, including the libraries of Boston, Coolidge, Meigs, Ochlocknee and Pavo.

Library Bulletin Boards for Public Use

Materials from or for not-for-profit organizations and/or functions may be accepted for posting or display on a space available basis. In the case of space limitations, priority will be given to events held by, endorsed or co-partnered with the libraries of the TCPLS.

Only one posting per group, individual, or event is permitted on any one public bulletin board at any one time (the same posting may appear in more than one Library facility at the same time).

The Library assumes no responsibility for the preservation or protection of materials.

Materials may be disposed of by the Library staff as needed.

Each posting must clearly show the name of the group or individual responsible for the posting on the face of the posting. Additionally, the back of the posting must clearly state the responsible person’s name and contact information. The Library Director or branch managers will not authorize posting of any bulletin that lacks this contact information.

Items from commercial or profit-making organizations will not be accepted for display or distribution. This regulation includes but is not limited to the following: advertisements from individuals for child care, tutoring, music lessons, items for sale, boutiques, and garage sales.

Items which are political in nature and items using this distribution and display opportunity solely to pray and proselytize will not be accepted for posting or display.

The Library Director or designees retain the right to refuse any material for display even if it is within the guidelines. Basis for refusal may include size, content, appearance, or space limitations.

Individual branch managers will determine when material will be posted or displayed and when it will be removed.

If in doubt as to the acceptability of material for posting, the final decision for display or distribution will rest with the Library Director.

All items to be posted by the Library must be left with the local branch library manager in order to verify that the item(s) are in compliance with this policy. Items or fliers which are faxed, emailed or sent in similar electronic fashion or via postal service will not be accepted.

TCPLS and the counties and communities that it serves do not endorse nor sponsor the organizations or activities described in announcements and fliers, displayed in the Library. The display of this material is provided as a community service.

Revised: 08/15/05;  09/05/06;  03/01/07;  11/01/07;  4/3/09; 06/14/10;  08/12/10;  06/16/14;  9/15/14;  10/19/22
Internet Use
This policy impacts all computers in the Thomas County Public Library System that have Internet access and all patrons’ use of the Library’s wireless Internet on personal devices.

The Internet is a diverse tool that offers unique resources to the community. It is increasingly essential to learning. In accordance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), TCPLS provides filtered access to the Internet as one means of fulfilling its mission to make informational, recreational and cultural resources available to its patrons in a variety of formats and as a means of complying with applicable laws.

Responsibilities of the Library

It is the responsibility of TCPLS to ensure that policies governing Library use of the Internet are in compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Because the Internet is a fluid environment, the information available is constantly changing; therefore, it is impossible to predict with certainty what information patrons might locate. Making electronic information available to patrons through their use of Library computers and wireless Internet access does not imply Library endorsement of that content.

By using the Library’s Internet service, users release and discharge the Library system and its staff from any liability which might arise from the use of the service, including liability in relation to defamatory or offensive material or any breach of copyright which may occur as a result of use.

Responsibility of Patrons and Parents of Minors

TCPLS upholds and affirms the right of individuals to have access to constitutionally protected materials and also affirms the responsibility of parents to determine and monitor their children’s use of Library materials and resources, including those available from the Internet. It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to monitor and supervise their children’s use of the Internet in selecting materials that are consistent with personal and family values, and appropriate for the age and understanding of the children.

TCPLS assumes no responsibility for any damage, direct or indirect, that users or anyone else may suffer through access to the Internet at any of our libraries.

All Internet users at a TCPLS Library agree to hold the Library, including the Library Board of Trustees and the Library staff, harmless from any claims, losses, damages, obligations or liabilities relating to any reason, including:

  • Infringement of U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) governing the reproduction, distributions, adaptation, public performance and public display of copyrighted material;
  • The use and/or accuracy of information obtained through the Library’s electronic information system;
  • Damage to non-Library software or hardware resulting from viruses downloaded via the Library’s Internet services.

All Internet access will be filtered to meet legal requirements. This is a measure taken to restrict Library Internet access to visual depictions that are obscene, contain child pornography or are harmful to minors.

No filtering technology is 100% effective and cannot substitute for the judgment and supervision of parents who make decisions for their child based on their family’s values and the child’s age and maturity. Parents are therefore ultimately responsible for monitoring the Internet activity of their children even though Internet filtering is used.

Filtering software may sometimes block legal material that some Library users may find useful, and it may not block all material that some may find offensive. The filter may be disabled at the request of an adult patron for “bona fide research or other lawful purpose” in accordance with current CIPA and Federal regulations. The Library’s IT Manager and the Reference Department Manager are both authorized to disable the filter when a request is approved.

When filtering is disabled (or ineffective), that patron may not view materials that are legally obscene, contain child pornography or are harmful to minors. It is the nature of the Internet that such materials can be accidentally accessed on occasion. The Library acknowledges that some such sites open additional windows and block the patron from exiting. A patron who accidentally opens an inappropriate web site and cannot get out of it should report this fact to the Reference Desk immediately.

Rules and Guidelines

Patrons should be aware of the following:

The use of TCPLS’s Internet service is a privilege and a conditional service, not a right, and inappropriate use of this conditional service can result in the cancellation of that privilege.
TCPLS uses a software program to register users on adult computers. Library cards must be updated and in good standing for computer use.
The Internet access computers as well as other Library computers are
normally available, subject to periodic maintenance or unscheduled outages, during regular Library hours.
Use of the Internet access computers is on a first-come, first-served basis. Each affiliated Library may impose time limits in order to ensure equitable access to all patrons.
Library computer terminals are neither private nor secure.
Library staff has the authority to end an Internet session at any time.
Accessing the Internet at the Library assumes compliance with the Library’s Internet policy.
The Library does not provide e-mail accounts to patrons.
The Library is concerned about the safety and security of minors. Therefore, no patron under age 11 may access the Internet without a parent or guardian present with the child at all times. When using e-mail, minors must take extreme caution in regard to information of a personal nature. Minors should not reveal their personal home address, location, home phone number or other identifying information.
Responsibility for loss of data and for resolution of problems relating to any invasion of the user’s privacy rests with the user. The Library assumes no liability for loss or damage to the user’s data or to injury arising from invasion of the user’s privacy.
Library staff is not authorized to provide technical assistance to customers’ personal computers and/or other electronic devices. The Thomas County Public Library System assumes no responsibility for any damages done directly or indirectly to personal data and equipment.

It is the policy of TCPLS to maintain an environment that promotes ethical and responsible conduct in all online activities by staff and patrons. This policy is a practical and logical extension of our community’s commitment to behavior that is legal, responsible, ethical and considerate of others.

  • Uploading or creating computer viruses is considered a criminal offense and will result in immediate loss of Internet privileges and/or criminal prosecution.
  • Users are financially responsible for any charges they incur from the use of the Internet, including the cost of printing and online purchases.
  • The user shall accept the computer as it is set up by the Library and make no changes to its configuration. Users may not attach other hardware to the Library computers or install their own software.
  • The user may not use the Internet for any illegal activity, including copyright violation, or place any material on the Internet related to any illegal activity. Access to material that is obscene, contains child pornography or is harmful to minors is prohibited.
  • Minors may not access inappropriate material on the Internet and World Wide Web.
  • Giving out personal information about another person, including home address and phone number, is strictly prohibited.
  • Users shall not seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify files, other data, or passwords belonging to other users or misrepresent other users on the Internet.
  • No user of the Internet shall disrupt the use of the Internet by others; hardware or software shall not be destroyed, modified or abused in any way.
  • Malicious use of the Internet to develop or use programs that harass other users or infiltrate a computer or computing system and/or damage the software components of a computer or computer device is prohibited.
TCPLS complies with applicable federal and state laws and regulations.

Penalties for Violation

Problems arising from application of this policy will be handled as follows:

In the case of creating or purposefully uploading a computer virus to the network or to any computing device, the patron shall lose all Library privileges immediately and permanently. If a staff member knowingly creates or purposefully uploads a computer virus to the network or other computing device, he/she will be dismissed immediately from employment at TCPLS. Violations may be referred to law enforcement at the discretion of the Director if the Director deems that a law may have been broken or if the library has suffered material harm as a result of the virus.

In all other instances, the following shall apply to Library patrons:

  • First Violation: Internet/Computer privileges will be revoked for two (2) weeks.
  • Second Violation: Internet/Computer privileges will be revoked for three (3) months.
  • Third Violation: Internet/Computer privileges will be revoked permanently.
Appeals Process

An Internet user whose Internet privileges have been revoked shall have the right to appeal and/or request Internet access privileges be reinstated. An appeal must be in writing and submitted to a Department Manager within five days of the prohibition. Within ten days of the receipt of the appeal, the Department Manager and the Director shall review the matter and notify the patron in writing of their decision.

If their decision is adverse to the patron, the patron may appeal in writing within five days to the Library Board of Trustees, which shall consider the matter and issue its decision in writing following the next regularly scheduled board meeting.

No further appeals to the Library will be considered.

Revised: 08/15/05;  09/05/06;  03/01/07;  11/01/07;  4/3/09; 06/14/10;  08/12/10;  06/16/14;  9/15/14;  10/19/22
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