Table of contents system Structure and Responsibilities 2 Vision and Mission Statements

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System Structure and Responsibilities

2 Vision and Mission Statements

3 Roles for the System

4 Role of Reading Public Library

5 Comparison of District and System

6 Duties and Responsibilities of System Board

and Administrator

Services to Member Libraries

7 Overview of Services

8 Technology Support

9 Youth Services

10 Collection Development & Acquisitions

10 Bibliographic Services

11 Public Relations & Marketing

12 Continuing Education


13 State/County Aid Distribution

14 Statewide Card Payments (program discontinued 10/09)

15 Health Care Benefits Subsidy


16 Table of Organization

17 Envisioning Excellence Guidelines

30 Glossary of Library Terms

37 Current Funding Distribution


A Federated Library System


The public libraries of Berks County are committed to the provision of consistent, high-quality service to county residents of all ages. Library staff and trustees respond to changing needs through state-of-the-art technologies, up-to-date collections, centralized support services, and an exacting standard of user satisfaction.


The mission of this federated system, Berks County Public

Libraries, is countywide development, coordination, and promotion of public library services. The System is an advocate for the library and information needs of all the people of Berks County. Operating as a department of county government and in cooperation with the Reading District Library Center, the System provides leadership and technical assistance for improvement of library services through strengthening of the System’s libraries and library resources.

Simply stated, BCPL exists to help provide first-rate library service. We do this through financial aid and support services to member libraries, and through direct services for those persons not living in a community with a library. By establishing cooperative relationships among the participating libraries, we help facilitate a resource-sharing process which makes each library stronger than it would be by itself.


1. Formal structure within which library development is encouraged:

develop new library services

provide continuing education

consult with library trustees and staff

facilitate planning

maximize state aid eligibility through standards achievement

2. Communication link:

monthly meetings

librarian and trustee email lists

news of national, state, and local library trends and happenings
3. Enable cooperation to save money:

shared purchasing and bibliographic services

shared electronic network

negotiated purchasing discounts

public relations and marketing activities

summer reading coordination and promotion

professional collection
4. Facilitate resource sharing:

reciprocal borrowing

daily delivery

bibliographic access [Horizon, Access PA)

5. Provide leadership:

serve as change agent

enable technology enhancements to service

perform research on library issues

advocate for libraries

apply for grants

6. Provide direct service to the public:

Children’s Bookmobile, Bookasaurus

electronic resources


Baby Steps to the Library packets


The Reading Public Library (RPL) occupies a unique place within Berks County and the Library System due to its multiple roles. The three roles filled by RPL are:

  1. System member library with an assigned service area of the City of Reading;

  2. District Library Center for Berks County as designated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania;

  3. resource library for the federated system.

As a System member library, RPL must meet the same standards and guidelines which apply to all the other federated members. Due to the size of its assigned service area population (81,207), the highest level of standards applies.

As District Library Center (DLC) for Berks County, RPL must provide a variety of support services for public libraries in the District. These services are defined in state regulation and listed on the following page. RPL is compensated by the state for its DLC role; a special category of state aid (District Center Aid) provides this compensation. Here in Berks, some DLC services are provided jointly with the System (e.g. interlibrary loan); some, by local agreement are provided solely by the System (e.g. delivery service, consulting, continuing education).
As the resource library for the System, RPL provides the full spectrum of reference services as back-up to local library staff and collections. It offers these services 65 hours per week to all county residents as required by state regulation.


District Library Center Federated Library System

Designation as a DLC is made Development of a System is

by the state. a local initiative.

Purpose is to provide library Purpose is to strengthen

resources to residents and library services countywide.

local libraries of the District.

Participation by local libraries Participation by member

is mandatory in order to libraries is voluntary;

receive state aid. membership agreements

are developed locally.
Governance is by the board of Governance is prescribed in

of the designated library. the PA Code; System board

members are appointed by

County Commissioners.

Funding is provided by the Funding is dependent on

State to compensate DLC for local appropriations.

services required.
Required services to libraries Required service to members

include: interlibrary loan, includes: interlibrary loan,

delivery; consultant services, union catalog, coordination

continuing education, public of state and federal grants.*


* Some Systems provide additional services depending on available local funding. BCPL provides a wide variety of additional services to its members. These services are outlined elsewhere in this manual.

System Board and System Administrator

The System Board of Directors, appointed by the County Commissioners, acts as the citizen control or governing body of the System in accordance with Sections 411 and 413 of The Library Code. The System Administrator, a county department head reporting to the County Administrator, is responsible for management of System programs and services.

The duties of the System Board include: determining the mission and roles of the System and adopting policies to govern its services and programs; determining the library development efforts of the System in relation to the needs of Berks County residents; seeking adequate funds to carry on the System’s programs; distributing state and county funds to the member libraries; and reporting regularly to governing bodies and the general public.

The duties of the System Administrator include: acting as technical advisor to the Board and to the System member libraries; supervising the work of System staff members; carrying out the policies of the System as adopted by the Board; planning for the development of library services throughout the county; preparing an annual budget for submission to the County Commissioners; and reporting regularly to the System Board, to government officials, and to the general public.


Many members of System Headquarters staff are specialists in some aspect of public library service. They are here to help both staff and trustees find information and solve problems. Following is a list of key staff members and the areas in which they can help you:
Julie Rinehart, System Administrator

Long-range planning


Recruiting, hiring, and evaluating the library director

Library law, regulations, and standards

Trustee orientation

Policy development

Grant writing

Program development and evaluation

Continuing education opportunities

General questions about library practice

Susan Magee-Bibi, Youth Services Coordinator

Children’s program design resources

Developing and evaluating children’s collections

Organizations serving youth

Summer reading activities and planning

Jane Hoch, Collection Development Coordinator

Managing the materials budget

Collection assessment

Developing collections for adults and teens

Vendors and discounts

Cooperative purchasing program

Jane Sullivan, Library Technology Coordinator

Purchasing computers and related equipment

Evaluating online services

Developing technology plans

Technology training

Carol Burkhart, Community Relations Coordinator

Advertising in various media

Graphic design

Marketing concepts

Creation of publicity materials

Technology Support
The technology support staff, Jane Sullivan and Jeff Smilko, are responsible for maintaining our connections to the countywide network and to the iPrism internet filter. They also train library staff in the use of these systems.
The countywide network consists of two parts: 1) The integrated library system [ILS] is the shared catalog of member library holdings, electronic resources, circulation, and the database of registered borrowers; the ILS is currently a product called Horizon. 2) The wide area network links all the libraries to each other and to the internet.
Member library participation in the countywide network is made possible through a contract between BCPL and the Reading Public Library (RPL). Jane and Jeff provide training for library staff on the use of the ILS and carry out a regular program of preventive maintenance for all equipment connected to the network.
Public libraries receiving state and federal funding are required by law to have a policy of internet safety for minors that includes the operation of a “technology protection measure” (filter) on any computers with internet access. The filtering device on our network is called iPrism. Tech support for member libraries includes training for library staff on the configuration and operation of iPrism.

The costs of maintaining the ILS and the internet filter for member libraries are paid by the County, saving members nearly $300,000 annually.

Youth Services
There are a number of ways in which BCPL provides support for service to youth in member libraries. In addition to the consulting services noted previously, Youth Services Coordinator Susan Magee-Bibi has developed a variety of resources for use by member library staff. These resources include: an extensive collection of professional materials on services to children and teens; story time kits; puppet kits; flannel board sets; special holiday program kits; and a comprehensive index to program ideas, stories and crafts.
Summer reading clubs and programs are a key element in library service to children. Research tells us that children who do not read over the summer months return to school with diminished reading and comprehension skills. For this reason, the Youth Services Coordinator devotes much time and professional expertise during the year to developing a manual, workshop, and incentive program to aid library staff in presenting summer activities keyed to a statewide theme. In Berks County, children who participate in summer reading clubs and programs read an average of 44 books during the summer!
Our summer reading efforts receive significant financial support from the Friends of Berks County Public Libraries; the Friends budget at least $8,000 annually for summer reading materials and incentive prizes including the grand prize, a laptop computer.

System Headquarters staff also includes three Preschool Program Specialists: Barbara Hughes, Denise Curran, and Joy Newswanger. They are the Story Riders who travel from library to library presenting preschool programming to supplement member library offerings. They are experienced in the techniques of presenting baby “lap sit” and toddler programs. Nearly all System libraries take advantage of this service, which is funded by Coordination Aid, a segment of our state aid appropriation.

Collection Development/Acquisitions
By combining our buying power through cooperative purchasing, we have negotiated better discounts on materials and enhanced vendor services such as free or low-cost delivery. Collection Development Coordinator Jane Hoch trains library staff in the use of Title Source III, a database of available materials; she also tracks each library’s purchases from order placement to delivery.
Libraries make their own selections of materials according to local collection development plans and policies. Vendors ship materials to System HQ to be cataloged and processed; shelf-ready items are then delivered to each library via our daily delivery service.

Bibliographic Services
Camille Romig is BCPL’s Bibliographic Services Manager.

She and her staff are responsible for cataloging materials ordered by member libraries, entering holdings information into the Horizon database, and processing materials for use by the public. Processing is a catch-all term for the various elements of making an item shelf-ready; it includes covering books, affixing labels, packaging CDs and DVDs, etc. The Bibliographic Services staff currently processes about 60,000 items annually.

The delivery service is also part of the Bibliographic Services Unit. Every library receives a delivery and pick-up five days a week, Monday through Friday. This delivery service facilitates resource sharing among System libraries, making it easier and faster for patrons to get the items they need and want.

Public Relations, Marketing, and Graphic Design

Community Relations Coordinator Carol Burkhart is responsible for promoting library services and events, developing community awareness and publicity plans, designing library publications, and coordinating marketing of countywide events. In addition, she will train library staff in the use of software suitable for local promotional efforts.

The following graphic design and marketing services are available to member libraries:

newsletter setup

annual report setup

bookmark and other handout design and setup

poster design

editorial review

logo/original graphics development

advertising layout

web page design

In addition, member libraries have access to the services of the County Print Shop (supply your own paper) and to a variety of useful publications and equipment. A complete list may be found on the staff and trustee intranet.

Continuing Education
Throughout the year, BCPL provides a variety of programs and workshops designed to keep library staff skills current, to address emerging issues in library practice, and to aid trustees in the successful performance of their duties. These continuing education events are offered free of charge to members of the Berks County library community.
Annual events include the Make & Take Workshop, which is keyed to the summer reading theme, and the System/District Trustee Workshop, presented jointly with Reading Public Library. Trustee topics that have been addressed include fundraising, long-range planning, employment law, and marketing. BCPL also provides annual Basic Skills Training

for non-certified staff; this three-day program is designed for library staff without formal library science education and covers key elements of public service. A complete description of this program is included in the System’s Envisioning Excellence Guidelines; a copy of the Guidelines appears in the Appendix to this manual. Trustees are welcome to participate in Basic Skills Training and in any other workshop offered by the System.


Funds distributed include 100% of the State Aid received by the System in the categories of Quality Libraries Aid, Incentives for Excellence Aid, and Equal Distribution Grants. [These are the state’s designations for the components of the Aid to Public Libraries appropriation.] Also distributed is the amount in the County Aid line of the System’s budget; the Commissioners make the ultimate decision about the amount of money that goes into this line item.

The State and County monies are combined into one fund which is distributed in quarterly payments to the libraries based on the following formula which was revised on 10/15/08:

  1. Municipal Incentive Funds are distributed to libraries on a per capita basis according to the population of their service area municipalities that contribute at least $1.00 per capita in monetary support to the library. This $1.00 of municipal support is matched by $1.00 of System funds. This category of funding is designed as an incentive for higher levels of municipal support. Currently, there are 38 municipalities that contribute less than $1 per capita.

  2. Base Allocation One half of the remaining available funding is divided into 23 equal shares, one share for each member library and the RPL branches.

  3. Variable Allocation The remaining funds are distributed as follows: 35% based on share of local financial effort; 57% based on share of circulation; 8% based on share of computer use.

Libraries are penalized for failure to meet the eight Envisioning Excellence Guidelines; $1,500 is deducted from the payment total for each Guideline not met. If the same Guideline element is not achieved for a second consecutive year, the penalty is doubled.


The Statewide Library Card is an important component of the Commonwealth’s Access Pennsylvania program. It is the reciprocal borrowing program through which participating libraries agree to honor cards from other libraries; the understanding is that service will also be provided to the library’s own users when they travel to another community. Participating libraries are identified by the blue and white ACCESS PA sticker affixed to borrower cards they issue.

Until passage of the 2009-2010 state budget, libraries received a small payment from the state for each loan made to a borrower who resides outside the library’s local service area. Within the System, member libraries received payment for loans to borrowers from other member library service areas and a slightly larger payment for loans to out-of-county borrowers. Qualifying loans were those made directly to the borrower at the circulation desk; “holds” and interlibrary loan items did not qualify.
The Library Code requires that libraries honor the Statewide Library Card as a condition of state aid eligibility; however, no state funds are available to provide compensation for this service.
(this page revised 3/10)



  1. Only full-time, certified library staff in public service positions are eligible. Full-time is defined as 35 hours per week or more; certified is defined as holding PA certification as a Professional or Provisional Librarian or as a Library Assistant. Staff without PA certification who have completed the System’s Basic Skills training are System Certified and qualify for this subsidy.

  2. Up to 50% of the cost of individual health care coverage will be reimbursed to the library on a quarterly basis; family coverage will not be subsidized. Proof of payment by the library is required. The actual amount of the subsidy will depend on available funds and the number of requests received. Libraries may request subsidies for a maximum of two (2) staff members.

Documentation Required

Subsidy payments will be distributed quarterly to libraries that provide documentation of payments made for employee benefits. Failure to comply with documentation requirements and deadlines will result in forfeit of subsidy.

Additional information about this program may be obtained from the System Administrator.


Table of Organization

Envisioning Excellence Guidelines

Guidelines for System Library Evaluation

Boards of member libraries conduct the business of library governance in accordance with the following procedures:

a) board meetings, with the library director in attendance, are held regularly and not less than six times a year;

b) an annual notice of the board meeting schedule is published in the appropriate local newspaper no later than January 5;

c) copies of all board meeting minutes are sent to System Headquarters;

d) all forms and reports required by Commonwealth Libraries or by the System are submitted by established deadlines;

e) the calendar year is the library's fiscal year;

f) any changes in library hours, other than seasonal (summer) changes are reported to System HQ by December and become effective the following January 1;

g) audits or financial reviews are submitted directly to Commonwealth Libraries by October 1 annually;

h) the board operates according to written bylaws which are reviewed annually.
Achievement of this Guideline requires compliance with all eight elements listed. Copies of meeting minutes must be sent to System HQ by December 31 of each year to confirm compliance with this Guideline as well as all other board actions called for in this document.


The board and library director jointly plan and develop service, reference, collection development, and internet policies and review them annually; policies include the specific issues listed in Appendices A, B, and C of this document. Circulation policies conform to standardizations adopted by majority vote of the System membership and by signed agreements of participation in the Horizon network. Internet policies are in keeping with the System-wide policy which appears as Appendix H of these Guidelines.

Board members plan and develop a personnel policy for employees not covered by contractual agreements or the personnel policies of municipal government; this policy is reviewed annually and includes the specific items listed in Appendix D of this document.
Libraries with 501(c)(3) status as determined by the IRS must develop and adopt the following additional policies:

a) documents retention policy

b) whistleblower policy

c) salary policy (libraries with annual revenue of $250,000 or more only)

Samples and additional information about these required policies are available from System HQ.
All policies shall be in writing, available to the public, and reviewed regularly by library staff.
Achievement of this Guideline requires policy development and review in each of the areas indicated. Reviews should be noted in meeting minutes and copies of revisions and/or new policies, if any, sent to System HQ when approved.

Library boards are represented by at least one trustee at a minimum of six (6) System Board meetings annually. These trustee representatives compose the System Advisory Committee.
Board members, at least one from each library, attend either the annual Trustee Institute sponsored by Commonwealth Libraries or the annual System/District Trustee Workshop.
A minimum of two (2) trustees from each library attends an annual System-sponsored workshop on human resources-related topics.

The library has a long-range plan which includes a mission statement, goals, and measurable objectives tailored to meet the needs of the community; the plan is reviewed and updated annually as part of a continuing process of evaluation.

Achievement of this Guideline requires creation of a planning document which incorporates the elements listed. Materials and assistance in developing long-range plans is available from System HQ. Annual reviews should be noted in meeting minutes and copies of changes, revisions, and a written evaluation of progress toward library goals sent to System HQ by December 31 of the planning year.

The library has an ongoing public relations program which includes all of the following:

a) news articles, columns, or ads;

b) presentations to organizations such as service clubs, municipal governments, and other community groups;

c) posters, flyers, brochures, and bookmarks advertising library services;

d) an annual report, attractively packaged, dated, and made available to the public by March 30 of the year following (i.e. 2008 annual report published by March 2009);

e) program(s) and/or displays associated with each theme or event in the System's marketing calendar.

Public relations reports should be submitted quarterly on the forms provided along with copies of promotional materials. Assistance with design and production of promotional materials is available from System HQ.

The library director attends a minimum of fifteen (15) hours of continuing education annually; the library board provides paid time off and reimbursement of expenses for this training.
All library directors are trained and certified by System personnel in the use of the Horizon ILS and other network services. This requirement shall also app[y to any other staff who may be responsible for library operations in the absence of the library director. Training and certification requirements are outlined in Appendix E.
Staff who are responsible for library operations in the absence of the library director must complete the Basic Skills Training Program provided by the System; elements of this training are outlined in Appendix F.

Librarians maintain a log of continuing education programs attended and submit a copy to System HQ; a form is provided for this purpose. The requirement does not include time spent in travel to or from programs; in-service training in such areas as computer use and ILL procedures is also not included in the 15-hour requirement.

At least 3% of the library's materials are weeded annually; adjustments to the 3% level may be allowed by consultation with the System Administrator.
At least 30% of total materials expenditure is for children's materials.
Achievement of this Guideline is determined by performance recorded on monthly statistical reports to the System and fiscal reports to Commonwealth Libraries. Weeding is in accordance with the criteria outlined in CREW:

A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries (revised and edited by Jeanette Larson); this tool is available for download at

The library offers an annual Summer Reading Club activity for preschoolers and school-age children; club theme, rules, and incentives comply with standards agreed upon by majority vote of the System membership and outlined in Appendix D of this document.
The library provides a minimum of twenty-four (24) programs for children annually; Story Rider programs are additional to this requirement.

Appendix A: Library Service Policies

Policies should address the following topics; other issues may be included as local boards determine:
Meeting room and equipment use
Charges for services, fines, equipment, etc.
Borrowing privileges*



Responsibilities of borrowers

Circulation policies*

Length of loans

Number of items loaned


Reserves (holds)

Lost or damaged materials

Interlibrary Loan
Bulletin board restrictions; displays, exhibits
Confidentiality of records**
Materials access
Emergencies and security

* Must conform to Horizon policies as stated in most current manual

**Must conform to Section 428 of The Library Code
Appendix B: Reference Policy

Reference policies should contain the following elements:
Statement concerning the level of reference service provided (Core, Basic, or Basic Plus) *
Availability of reference services

In-library service

Telephone reference

Electronic access

Reference services to children

* Detailed descriptions of these reference collection levels are available from the Collection Development Coordinator
Appendix C: Collection Development Policies

A collection development policy should include:
Description of the community and clientele served
Parameters of the collection, i.e. subject areas, formats
Purpose of collection
Priorities and limitations

Multiple copies


Cooperative collection development




Method of selection

Statement of intellectual freedom

Freedom to Read statement

Library Bill of Rights

Freedom to View statement

Procedures for reconsideration of materials
Withdrawal of materials (weeding)

Appendix D: Personnel Policies

A personnel policy should address the following:
Filling vacancies (recruitment, selection, appointment)
Personnel procedures

Job descriptions


Performance evaluation

Conduct on duty

Grievance procedures

Personnel records

Resignation and dismissals

Salaries, position classification



Worker's compensation

Hours, schedules

Staff development

In-service training


Professional affiliations

Vacation and leave


Sick leave


Personal leave

Professional and educational leave

Jury duty

Maternity and paternity leave

Appendix E: Training and Certification for Network Services

Training in the use of technology and network services shall include, but not be limited to, the following areas:
Horizon policies and procedures
Hardware and software troubleshooting
Internet literacy (software, searching, email)
Certification training will be scheduled at a time mutually convenient to library personnel and System staff. Newly hired library directors without prior Horizon experience must complete training within 60 days pf employment in a System library.
Certificates will be issued to all trained personnel.

Appendix F: Basic Skills Training Program

Following is a brief outline of area included in Basic Skills Training:
Public Service

Philosophy of service and service goals

Role of library staff

Community needs

Vision and mission statements

Intellectual freedom

Privacy and confidentiality

Customer service and satisfaction

Barriers to use

Special needs populations

Serving a diverse community

ADA requirements

Lifelong learning

Youth services

Reader's advisory
Reference Service

Information needs

Reference policies

Reference collections

Reference interviews


Interlibrary loan
Staffing Issues

Core competencies

Emergency procedures


Dealing with problem patrons

Team building and staff relationships

Appendix G: Summer Reading Clubs

For purposes of Summer Reading Club activity in System libraries, the following definitions apply:
Summer Reading Club Children read books (or have books read to them) over the summer months for prizes. The awarding of prizes is non-competitive; each child decides for her/himself how many books to read. Novelty prizes are given out for every five (5) books a child reads or has read to him/her. Children record reading activity on tickets. Because a primary goal of summer reading is the promotion of family literacy, children of any age may have books read to them in meeting club requirements.
Books For purposes of the Reading Club, "books" are defined as follows:

Up to 50 pages counts as 1 book read

51-100 pages, counts as 2 books read

101-150 pages, counts as 3 books read

151-200 pages, counts as 4 books read

(continue this pattern for books over 201 pages long)

Reporting Because the approach to summer reading is non-competitive, book reports in any form may not be used as criteria for admission to programs or as requirements for special prizes.

Summer Reading Club activities in member libraries conform to county-wide standards in the following areas:
Starting and ending dates


Awarding of prizes

Awarding of certificates

Written rule sheets

Statistical reporting

Appendix H: Internet Policy

Following is the Policy on Internet Access for Berks County Public Libraries:

Purpose The public libraries of Berks County are committed to the promotion of lifelong learning. As part of that commitment, the libraries will provide public access to the diverse and unique resources available via the Internet and the world wide web.

Children and the Internet The Children's Internet Protection Act (Pub.L 106-554) requires that libraries receiving federal funds must "have a place a policy of Internet safety for minors that includes operation of a technology protection measure with respect to any computers with Internet access…."

I compliance with this provision of federal law, the public libraries has installed a filtering mechanism on all computers to protect young users from inappropriate material.

Parents are reminded that filtering is not foolproof. It diminishes the likelihood that searchers will inadvertently retrieve text or images that they may find offensive, but does not completely eliminate that possibility. Filters may also block access to sites that users would consider both inoffensive and useful. Parental supervision of young children searching the Internet is strongly advised.
Rights of Adults Adults (those 17 and older) may request unfiltered access to the Internet for any purpose that does not violate the law or the libraries' policies. The filter on an individual library-owned computer will be disabled in response to such a request. Library staff may not disable the filter on patron-owned laptops or other wireless access devices.
Right to Privacy All library users have the right to expect that their information-seeking activities in the library are private and confidential. No records are retained of Internet use by any identifiable minor or adult user.

Conditions and Terms of Use

1. Information available via the Internet may be protected by copyrights or trademarks; use of such information must not violate any copyright or trademark law.

2. Because the Internet allows access to ideas, information and commentary from sources around the world, the libraries cannot control its content. Therefore, individual users must accept responsibility for determining the validity and accuracy of information located on the Internet. The libraries are not responsible for any use made of information obtained from Internet resources.

3. The Internet and its available resources may contain material and ideas that are controversial and conflict with personal beliefs of users. Parent or guardians, not library staff, are responsible for the information selected and/or accessed by their children.

4. Viewing of certain materials in the public library may be considered improper in time, place or manner. Libraries reserve the right to terminate an Internet session that disrupts library services or involves user behavior that violates library policy.

5. Patrons may not use public library internet connections for any commercial or for-profit purpose.

6. A cost-recovery fee for print-outs may be charged.

Limitations Some libraries do not provide access to subscription services, email or chat lines; use of such web-based services as "hotmail" may be permitted at the discretion of the local library.

User Responsibilities

1. Users will sign an Internet use agreement; agreements for those under 15 years of age will require parent or guardian signature.

2. Users must observe time limits and other procedural guidelines set by individual libraries for use of the Internet terminals.

3. Users are responsible for damage to equipment beyond what occurs with normal use; hardware and software may not be abused, modified or destroyed.

Staff Assistance Library staff have received training in Internet searching and are capable of offering basic instruction in how to navigate. However, due to limited staff and time constraints, patrons are encouraged to take the initiative and explore on their own.
Internet policy revised 5/17/06


ACCESS the availability of the library and its services to residents of the area served; in a larger sense, the ability to reach sources of information through a library and its cooperative links to other sources
ACCESS PA DATABASE Pennsylvania's union catalog including the collections of more than 3,000 libraries of all types; more than 70 million records with close to 17 million unique titles are included in this online resource

ACCESS PENNSYLVANIA a three-part program for improving the availability of library materials and services for all Commonwealth residents. The three components are the ACCESS PA database, the Statewide Library Card, and the POWER Library. (See individual entries)

ACQUISITIONS the process of obtaining books and other materials for the library collection
ALA American Library Association professional organization founded in 1876 to promote library service and librarianship. American Libraries is the official publication of ALA.
APPLS Association of Pennsylvania Public Library Systems Established in 1992, this organization is made up of representatives of federated library systems. Its purpose is to coordinate the library development efforts of systems and to provide a communication and information-sharing network.
BCLA Berks County Library Association Established in 1967 as an association of special librarians, this organization is now made up of librarians from all types of libraries. Its purpose is to provide programs for professional development, communication, and resource sharing.
BCPL Berks County Public Libraries a federation of twenty autonomous libraries providing cooperative public library services and sharing in support services provided by the County; formerly known as Berks County Public Library System (See also SYSYEMS)
BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD a catalog entry carrying the full description and classification information for a given item in a library collection

BIBLIOGRAPHIC UTILITY an organization that maintains online bibliographic databases, enabling it to offer computer-based support to users (See also OCLC)
CALL NUMBER the notation used to identify a particular item on the shelves; it consists of the classification number and an author designation (which may be non-numeric). The Dewey Decimal classification system is used most often in public libraries.

CATALOGING the process of describing an item in the collection and assigning a classification number

CERTIFICATION issued by the PA Department of Education to qualified persons meeting requirements set down in the Pennsylvania Code, Title 22. Public library personnel may be certified as professional librarian, provisional librarian, or library assistant.
COLLECTION a one-word term for the materials (books, DVDs, etc.) which a library has on hand for its users; special collection refers to an area of specialization such as rare books, local history, or materials on a particular subject
COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT (also COLLECTION MANAGEMENT) a planned process of selecting, acquiring, and weeding materials to meet the needs of the community served by the library. Cooperative collection development refers to a group of libraries working together to meet user needs without expensive duplication of resources.
COMMONWEALTH LIBRARIES The Office of Commonwealth Libraries is part of the PA Department of Education; it is made up of two bureaus, the Bureau of Library Development and the Bureau of State Library. Library Development provides advisory services and administers grants and subsidy programs. The State Library houses the state's actual library collections and provides information services for the public and for state government.
DEPOSIT COLLECTION a small collection of materials placed by a library in a community location such as a nursing home, school, or workplace. BCPL has deposit collections at Berks Heim, the County Prison, the Youth Center, and a number of facilities serving seniors.
DEPOSITORY LIBRARY a library designated to receive all or part of the publications of federal, state, or local governments. Reading Public Library is a federal documents depository and receives 20% of the available publications.

DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM a method of classifying library materials based on the use of decimals and developed by Melvil Dewey

DISTRICT ADVISORY COUNCIL an advisory group in a given library district, representative of local libraries and geographic areas, which advises the District Library Center on the provision of district resources and services
DISTRICT CONSULTANT Each District Library Center must provide consultant staff that is responsible for sharing professional library knowledge with local librarians and others by means of counseling and continuing education on all aspects of library service. Collection development, technology, administration, finance, training for library personnel and trustees, implementation of cooperative programs, and public relations are some of the areas in which the Consultant may provide assistance. Currently, the BCPL Administrator serves as consultant for the Reading District.
DISTRICT LIBRARY CENTER one of twenty-nine public libraries in the Commonwealth which receives state funding for the purpose of making resources and services available without charge to the libraries and residents of a given district. The Reading Public Library serves as the District Library Center (DLC) for Berks County.
ENVISIONING EXCELLENCE GUIDELINES performance criteria for BCPL member libraries determined by the Board of Directors. The Guidelines address the areas of library governance, administration, public relations, staff development, collections, and children's services. Achievement of the Guidelines ensures that a System member library retains its eligibility for a full share of county funds.
FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY a volunteer organization whose objective is to create public support for libraries. The Friends of Berks County Public Libraries fill this role for all the libraries in the county; individual libraries may also have their own local Friends.

GOVERNOR'S ADVISORY COUNCIL Pennsylvania library law refers to this body as the Advisory Council on Library Development. It consists of twelve citizens, appointed by the Governor, to advise the Governor and the Commissioner for Libraries with respect to general policies and operations of the State Library and the Commonwealth's library programs. This body also oversees the use of state funds for libraries and approves all library district designations.

HOLDINGS a term used to describe a library's total collection
HORIZON the integrated library system (ILS) product currently used by the countywide network. (See also ILS)
IDS Interlibrary Delivery Service the non-profit delivery service in PA designed to facilitate the transmittal of interlibrary loan and other library materials among its members. The actual deliveries are made by United Parcel Service (UPS) under a billing agreement with IDS.
ILL Interlibrary Loan a system of interlibrary cooperation which allows libraries to put their users in touch with material they need no matter where it is in the many kinds of libraries in the state and the nation
ILS Integrated Library System Also known as a library management system, an ILS is a system used by libraries to track items owned, orders placed, bills paid, and patrons who have registered and/or borrowed. Each patron and item has a unique identifier that allows the ILS to track its activity. ILS systems offer web-based portals where library users can log in to view their account, renew their books, and be authenticated to use online databases.
INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM the right of individuals to exercise their freedom of inquiry, exclusive of invasion of privacy, supported by the American Library Association, the Pennsylvania Library Association, and individual libraries through their commitment to the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements adopted by ALA

LIBRARY CODE Pennsylvania laws governing public libraries, cited as The Library Code, Act of June 14, 1961, P.L. 324, as amended through July 7, 2006. These laws set up a system of local libraries, library systems, district centers, and regional resource centers; they provide state money to support this system and to stimulate local funding of public libraries. The Library Code defines what a public library is and how it is governed, including the responsibilities of the library board. The regulations that implement The Library Code are contained in Title 22 of the Pennsylvania Code. These regulations, which have the force of law, contain various standards for public libraries.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS serves as the library of the United States Congress and, due to its vast resources, has assumed the role of a national library; also establishes the national cataloging standards
LOCAL EFFORT that portion of a library's financial support which is derived from the municipalities in its service area and other local sources. In order to qualify for state aid, that portion of a library or library system's operating expenditure which is derived from local effort must be equal to or greater than $5 per capita.
LONG-RANGE PLAN a written plan which focuses on needs, goals, and strategies in a multi-year increment, usually three to five years. It includes specific objectives, an action plan, and criteria for evaluating achievements and performance.
MARC RECORD MAchine Readable Cataloging record the international standard for the storage and exchange of bibliographic data in computerized form
MLS Master of Library Science degree (may also be MLIS, Master of Library and Information Science); the minimum requirement for professional certification
NATIONAL LIBRARY SERVICE FOR THE BLIND AND PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED a division of the Library of Congress that offers free Braille and recorded books and magazines to blind and handicapped readers through a network of cooperating libraries. The Free Library of Philadelphia serves as our regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH).
OCLC a not-for-profit library service and research organization located in Dublin, Ohio; among other services, it provides the bibliographic database for cataloging and interlibrary loan

OUTPUT MEASURES a set of measurements of library performance designed to assess the quantity and quality of actual library service use (output). The measures include, but are not limited to, turnover rates, materials per capita, reference fill rates, and program attendance.

OUTREACH activities and programs provided by a library to people who are unable to use the library directly due to physical, geographical, or legal restrictions.
PCBL Pennsylvania Citizens for Better Libraries the statewide organization of Friends and advocates for libraries
PaLA Pennsylvania Library Association organization whose purpose is to enhance the professionalism of librarians and improve the performance of libraries across the Commonwealth through educational programs, publications, networking, and advocacy. Advocacy efforts include lobbying activities. The PaLA acronym was adopted in 1995 to distinguish the state organization from PLA, the Public Library Association, a division of ALA.
POWER Library a component of the ACCESS PENNSYLVANIA program whereby public library card-holders and school libraries across the state may access without cost a variety of online databases including EbscoHost (full-text periodicals), the AP Photo Archive, Funk & Wagnall's New World Encyclopedia, and SIRS (an information resource for young readers)
PROCESSING a term for preparing books and other materials to be made available to library users. Some materials are ordered pre-processed or shelf-ready. Processing may include cataloging, bar-coding, labeling, and adding protective covers.
RECIPROCAL BORROWING an agreement through which the patrons of one library may directly borrow materials from another participating library
REGIONAL RESOURCE CENTER LIBRARIES four libraries designated to serve as back-up reference and interlibrary loan resources for the District Centers; they are The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Pattee Library at Penn State University, and the State Library in Harrisburg

RESOURCE SHARING a cooperative arrangement to make available the resources of a library for use by the patrons of another library, usually through interlibrary loan or reciprocal borrowing

SELECTION the process of deciding what to buy for the library collection; usually based on a policy adopted by the library board, the goals and objectives of the library, use of selection guides such as professional journals, funds available, and skill of library staff in assessing local needs
SERIALS publications that are issued in sequence such as magazines, journals, and newsletters; so-called because these publications carry serial numbers indicating volume and issue
SHELF READING physically checking the shelves to make certain that books are in the proper location
STATE AID state subsidy for public libraries that is an appropriation in the Commonwealth's budget The purpose of state aid, as defined in The Library Code, is "to encourage and enable the improvement of library service." Eligibility for state aid is based on compliance with standards set out in The Library Code and Title 22 of the Pennsylvania Code.
STATEWIDE LIBRARY CARD This component of ACCESS PA is the reciprocal borrowing program through which participating libraries agree to honor cards from other libraries; the understanding is that service will also be provided to the library's own users when they travel to another community. Participating libraries are identified by the blue and white ACCESS PA sticker affixed to the borrower cards they issue. Libraries receive a small payment from the state for each loan made to borrowers outside the local service area.

SYSTEMS In Pennsylvania, library systems are defined as organizations of two or more independent libraries which have voluntarily agreed to participate and have delegated some policy-making functions to a system board of directors. In Berks County, twenty independent libraries have joined together to form Berks County Public Libraries, a federated system governed by a seven-member board of directors appointed by the County Commissioners.

TRUSTEES Library boards, made up of individuals known as trustees, are legal entities defined in The Library Code. Board members hold a public trust to administer the affairs of the library in the best interest of the public. This trust means not only spending public funds judiciously, but also securing adequate funds for library services and programs. Trustees establish policies for the operation and governance of the library.
UNION LIST a listing of items from the holdings of a number of libraries which combine their lists in order to locate materials quickly
WEEDING the process of removing from library collections those materials that are outdated, in poor physical condition, or no longer used by the library's patrons; an integral part of collection management
Revised 2/09

Current Funding Distribution

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