News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

March 22, 2011

Vigo Library posting standards of conduct for users

TERRE HAUTE — The Vigo County Public Library will soon be posting its standards of behavior for all to see.

In an effort to be “proactive’ and prevent possible future problems, the Library Board of Directors on Monday night voted to post standards of conduct and a list of actions not permitted on library property.

In the past, only library staff had access to the rules of conduct.

“We want to be proactive,” said Nancy Dowell, library director, after the board meeting in the basement of the library Monday night. Posting the standards may also help protect the library in the event of future litigation, she added.

The standards include supervising the behavior of minors, attending to personal belongings, wearing shoes and a shirt and maintaining “acceptable personal hygiene.” Other standards include keeping food and drink out of “No Food and Drink” zones, using parking areas, sidewalks and lawns safely and using restrooms only for their intended purposes. “Bathing and laundering are prohibited” in the bathrooms, according to the standards.

Some of the other actions prohibited on library property include the use of abusive language, tampering with library equipment, sleeping in or on library property, smoking, sexual activity, creating disruptive noises or bringing animals and pets into the library, with the exception of service animals.

The complete standards of conduct document will be posted in the lobby of the library and also online, Dowell said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, figures were released showing a significant drop in total visits to the library in 2010 compared with 2009. Total visits to the main branch and the West Terre Haute branch numbered 540,071 in 2010, down from 621,035 in 2009.

The ability of genealogy researchers to use the library’s website to find information may account for the drop in the number of visits to the VCPL last year, Dowell said. For example, the library’s new Vigo County marriage record index from 1818 - 1951, which is available online, receives “an extreme number of hits,” Dowell said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Dowell announced that the Wabash Valley Genealogy Society has donated $396 to allow the library to purchase “The Index to War of 1812” and “Index to Volunteer Soldiers in the Indian Wars 1815 - 1858” for the special collections department.

“The Genealogy Society has been very good to us,” Dowell said. “Their members are very dedicated library users.”

Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or

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    March 12, 2010