About the Library


320 Harbor Drive

Sitka, AK 99835

(907) 747-8708




I. Mission and Goals:

1.1 Mission

The mission of Sitka Public Library is to provide a collection of informational, cultural, recreational, educational, and local historical resources to meet the evolving library needs of its patrons and to promote reading as an essential element of an informed citizenry in a democracy.


1.2 Goals 

Sitka Public Library endeavors to enrich and enhance the quality of life of each member of our community by assisting in the acquisition of knowledge, promoting the love of reading and encouraging lifelong learning.  We strive to provide services and resources that inform, enrich and empower each person we serve through free, equal and reliable access to informational, educational, cultural, and recreational resources.  We endeavor to acquire and utilize appropriate communications technologies that extend, expand and enhance service in an inviting, healthy environment in which individuals are encouraged to safely access, explore and discover the world. 


1.3 History

Sitka Public Library (formerly Kettleson Memorial Library) is a public library serving the City and Borough of Sitka since March 20, 1923. It is now tax supported, but owes a great debt of gratitude to the Sitka Library Association, whose volunteers provided library service in Sitka for nearly fifty years. Our building was built in 1967 with a gift from Theodore Kettleson, a longtime Sitka resident. Additional funds came from the Library Services and Construction Act, and gifts from other generous Sitka citizens. An addition, which more than doubled the library's size, was completed in 1983, and, more recently, an extensive library expansion/remodel broke ground in the fall of 2014, expanding the library by 60 percent. The library was temporarily moved to the old Stratton Library building on the old Sheldon Jackson College campus while work was completed on our building. The expansion was completed in February, 2016, and the library reopened at 320 Harbor Drive on February 4, 2016, under the name Sitka Public Library. We are proud of our beautiful setting and excellent library service supported by Sitka's citizens.



II. Library Administration:

The Library Director shall be the executive and administrative officer of the library on behalf of the Sitka Public Library Board Commission and under its review and direction. The Director shall recommend to the Board the appointment of and specify the duties of the other employees and shall be held responsible for the proper direction and supervision of the staff, for the care and maintenance of library property, for an adequate and proper selection of library materials in keeping with the stated policy of the Board, for the efficiency of Library services and for its financial operation within the limitations of the budgeted appropriations.



III. Library Services:


3.1 Staff


Sitka Public Library staff select, acquire and organize library materials and assist in providing free and equal access to informational, educational, cultural, and recreational resources to meet the informational needs of its patrons. Library staff will provide assistance for individuals seeking information.


3.2 Cooperation


As cooperation promotes effective and efficient Library service, Sitka Public Library staff actively promotes cooperation with other libraries to improve services in Sitka, Alaska and throughout the nation.


3.3 Interlibrary Loan


The Library will participate in interlibrary loan services to supplement and enhance its collection and those of other libraries. Material not part of the Library’s collection may be obtained through interlibrary loan. Books are received via mail service from other libraries, and serial citations are generally received via fax. Most reference and many audio-visual materials cannot be obtained through interlibrary loan.


3.4.  Volunteers and Friends


3.4.1 Volunteers


We encourage individuals and groups to volunteer their time and efforts in the service of the Library. The Volunteer Program is designed to expand and enhance public service to the community. Volunteers generally provide support services to paid staff and/or work on special projects. Volunteers learn more about the Library and its place in the community and observe first-hand the way the Library serves the community’s needs.


3.4.2 Friends of the Library


The Friends of the Library is an association of people who plan and execute programs and events to benefit the Library. In particular, the friends group is involved in fund-raising for the Library.



3.5 Confidentiality


Library circulation records are confidential (Alaska State law 09.25.140). Names, addresses, and other personal information about people who have made inquiries or used library information sources shall be kept confidential except upon court order.


3.6 Hours


Library services will be provided during the hours which meet the needs of the community within the limits of budget constraints and staff availability.


3.7 Bulletin Boards


The bulletin boards at Sitka Public Library may be used to publicize meetings and other activities sponsored by community groups. Limited space generally allows only short-term posting. Posting of materials for financial benefit are prohibited.


3.8 Solicitation


Solicitation of the public or the staff is not permitted on Public Library property. Solicitation refers to the sale or distribution of merchandise, sales materials, tickets, insurance, coupons, magazine subscriptions, political campaign material, or anything not connected with the work of the Library.


3.9 Emergency Closing


Emergencies or catastrophies, including, but not limited to, extreme weather, utility failure, bomb threat, fire, explosion, or terrorism may require closing the Library. The primary consideration in any emergency or catastrophe is the safety of all persons in the building and on the property. The Library cooperates fully with public safety departments and emergency safety providers. The Library Director or, in his/her absence, the Acting Director, will determine when to close the Library during an emergency or catastrophe.


3.10 Programs


The Library offers a variety of programs for children and adults to increase the use of the Library, to promote good public relations and understanding of the Library’s services and objectives.



IV. Collection Development Policy


4.1 Purpose of the Collection


The Sitka Public Library serves the various needs of the people of Sitka and the surrounding area. The Library endeavors to offer a useful, diverse collection of current and standard materials in a variety of formats.


4.2 Collection Responsibility


Operating within the framework of policies determined by the Library Board Commission, the Library Director is ultimately responsible for development and maintenance of the Library collection.


4.3 Guidelines for Selection


Selection for materials is based on the professional judgment of the Library staff and standard selection sources such as book reviews, bibliographies, selection lists, catalogs, media articles and interviews of authors. Major selection tools include Booklist, Library Journal, New York Times Book Review, McNaughton Selection List, the Wilson Catalogs (particularly Public Library, Fiction, Senior High School and the Children’s Library catalogs), Hornbook, School Library Journal, and Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books. Purchase requests from patrons are considered. Interlibrary loan requests from patrons are also considered as potential purchase suggestions. All materials will be considered in terms of the audience for whom they are intended. Purchases of materials in all formats must meet selection criteria established for the Library.


4.4.  Selection Criteria


Selection criteria considered in the evaluation and re-evaluation of materials include:


  • Cultural, recreational, informational and/or educational value

  • Local interest, needs and potential use

  • Suitability of content and style for the intended audience

  • Accuracy, authority and effectiveness of presentation

  • Permanence, current relevance, or social significance of the content

  • Reputation and/or significance of author, producer, or publisher

  • Usefulness in relation to other materials in the collection and in other library collections in Sitka

  • The works’ contribution to the diverse representation of a broad range of opinions and perspectives, including various viewpoints on controversial issues

  • Suitability of the physical format for library use

  • Fiscal funding and building space limitiations


4.5 Special Collections and Criteria

4.5.1 Reference Materials


Reference materials answer a variety of questions, are intended for use in the Library, and must be available at all times the Library is open. Consequently, reference materials cannot be checked out of the Library without special permission of the Library Director.


4.5.2 Alaska Collection


The Alaska Collection includes materials of special interest to Alaska. It includes materials of interest to the Sitka area, broad coverage for Southeast Alaska and selected coverage for Alaska, based on popular appeal and anticipated demand.


4.5.3 Local History Collection


The Local History Collection includes material relevant to the history and people of Sitka. It also includes publications by local authors, publishers, government organizations or other groups. It is complimentary to the collections of the Sitka Historical Society and The Sheldon Jackson Museum on the Sitka Fine Arts campus. Local History materials are only available for use in the library.


4.5.4 Children’s and Young Adult’s Collections


The Library maintains a collection of books, audio books, videos, CDs, DVDs, and magazines which meet children’s and young adults’ informational, cultural and recreational needs. The Library assists local teachers and youth in meeting students’ academic needs, but it focuses on general not curricular needs.


4.5.5 Large Print Materials


A collection of large print materials is maintained for visually impaired individuals. The collection is enhanced with interlibrary loan services and the Alaska State Library’s lending program.


4.5.6 Materials and Equipment for the Disabled


The Library provides an Arkenstone Easy Reading Appliance in addition to large print and audiovisual materials for visually impaired individuals. The Southeast Alaska Independent Living Program provides assistive technology and adaptive equipment to the Library for lending to disabled individuals. The Library’s Web site also includes a link to the Alaska State Library Talking Book Center, which provides audio books, magazines, Braille service, and playback equipment for people who cannot read standard print.


4.5.7 Audio Materials


Collections of recorded books in audiocassette and CD for adults and children are maintained. The collection includes non-fiction and popular genre fiction and classic titles. Due to demand, most materials duplicate titles in other formats in the collection. The music collection contains classical, jazz, blues, country, folk, popular and other genres in audiocassette and CD formats.


4.5.8. Videos and DVDs


Videos and DVDs are collected if the subject matter meets the informational and recreational needs of library patrons. The library will focus on materials such as documentaries, classics and quality feature films and those generally not available in local video stores.


4.5.9 Foreign Language Materials


The Foreign Language Collection includes dictionaries, grammars and learning materials in Alaska Native and other major languages including Tlingit, Yupik, Russian, Spanish, French, German, Filipino. Foreign language fiction titles are not included in the Library collection due to space constraints.


4.5.10  Electronic Materials


The Internet and Statewide Databases provide access to a wealth of information resources, including: a collection of e-Books, audio books, and music through Listen Alaska+Plus; back issues from The Daily Sitka Sentinel (2008-Current) and other newspapers from around the state of Alaska and the United States via NewsBank; access to more than 50 databases provided through SLED (The State Library Electronic Doorway); Alaska’s Digital Archives, including a wealth of information resources, historical photographs, albums, oral histories, moving images, maps, documents, physical objects, and other materials from libraries, museums, and archives throughout the state; an online language system (Mango Languages); The International Children’s Digital Library; and many educational tools, such as Live Homework Help, all accessible via the Library’s Web site. The Library does not collect computer software, electronic books, video or computer games.


4.6 Collection Maintenance


Selection criteria are used for the removal of items from the collection. Items are removed because they contain outdated or inaccurate information, unless valuable historically; they are superceded by more recent editions; items are damaged or irreparably worn; or materials are seldom used. Discarded items may be offered to other libraries, schools or nonprofit groups, sold to raise money for new materials or otherwise disposed of.


4.7 Intellectual Freedom


Intellectual freedom is the basis of our democratic system. It encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas. We fully support the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. Intellectual freedom provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.


The Library does not promote particular beliefs or views, nor does the selection of any item imply endorsement of its views. One of the essential purposes of the public library is to be a resource where individuals can examine many points of view and come to their own conclusions. The Library attempts to exercise impartiality in the materials selection process and provide materials representing different sides of controversial issues.


We believe that censorship is a purely individual matter and that while anyone is free to reject for himself materials of which he does not approve, he cannot exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom of others to read and to view whatever materials they choose. The Library endorses the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement and the Intellectual Freedom Statement, which are guiding principles for the collection development policy [appended to these policies].


4.8 Access to Materials


Access to materials will not be restricted beyond what is required to protect materials from theft or damage. Selection of library materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that items may be seen by children. Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, nor will items be sequestered, except for the purpose of protecting them from theft or damage. The Library encourages parents to be involved with their children’s reading and library use and will work with parents to find materials they deem appropriate for their children. Responsibility for reading and information access of children rests with their parents and legal guardians. Parents who wish to limit or restrict the reading of their own child should personally oversee that child’s choice of library resources.


4.9 Reconsideration of Materials


Reconsideration of materials, initiated by either staff or the public, is an integral part of the collection development process. We recognize that groups and individuals exist in the Sitka area with widely separate and diverse interests, backgrounds, cultural heritages, social values, and needs. We are aware that an item may offend some individuals or groups. Selection of materials will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval of their contents. Questioned materials will not be removed or restricted from the collection during the reconsideration process unless an official determination has been made to do so. Should a patron have a complaint about library materials, the following procedure should be followed:


  • A patron requesting removal of an item from the Library collection shall meet with the Library Director, who will explain selection policy and provide a copy of the collection development policy

  • If unsatisfied with the discussion, the patron may submit a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials and/or Displays” form explaining his or her concerns and actions desired to the Library Director

  • The Library Director shall read, view or listen to the material in its entirety; check general acceptance of the materials by reading reviews and consulting recommended lists; apply all appropriate selection criteria to the work; judge the material for its strengths, value as a whole, not just in part, and make a decision

  • The patron will be notified immediately and given a full explanation of the decision. Information regarding the process to appeal the Library Director’s decision will also be made available

  • The Library Director shall present a written recommendation to the Library Board Commission during its next meeting

  • If the patron is not satisfied with the Library Director’s decision, he or she may submit a written appeal to the Library Board Commission, which will consider the request and make a recommendation about the complaint during its next meeting

  • The Commission shall notify the complainant of its decision in writing

  • If the patron is not satisfied with the Commission’s decision, he or she may submit a written appeal to the City Manager


4.10 Material Format


The Library offers materials in a variety of formats including book, periodical, audiocassette, video, CD, DVD, pamphlet and microform, etc. It also utilizes online communications technologies that extend, expand and enhance service, such as the Internet.


4.11 Duplicate Titles


Due to space and funding limitations, multiple copies of titles are generally not purchased. Duplicate copies will be purchased if high demand for a particular title is expected.


4.12 Gifts


Gifts of library materials are accepted with the understanding that they will be considered for addition to the collection if they meet selection criteria. Gifts not retained for the collection may be given to other libraries, schools, or nonprofit organizations, sold, or otherwise disposed of. No condition or restriction placed on gifts can be honored unless agreed upon by the Librarian and donor. The Library does not appraise gifts for tax purposes. Monetary donations, used to purchase new materials, are accepted.


4.13 Memorials and Endowments


The Library encourages donors of financial gifts, real property, and/or stocks to consider the Endowment Fund, which is maintained and managed by the Library Endowment Board. The Endowment Fund was established to acquire and invest contributions that provide, in perpetuity, income used to enhance the Library’s collections. It may include distinct funds established in honor or memory of an individual.


4.14 Copy Machine and Copyright Law


Sitka Public Library complies with Title 17 of the United States Code, titled “Copyrights,” and other federal legislation related to the duplication, retention and use of copyrighted materials. Patrons using Library materials are responsible for the legal use of those materials.



V. Library Users Policy


5.1 Welcome


Sitka Public Library welcomes people of all ages, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and socio-economic levels to use its collection, resources and services.


5.2 Registration


Borrowing privileges are free to all permanent residents of the City and Borough of Sitka. Identification and official proof of local residency are required to qualify for a permanent Library card. Short-term residents may apply for limited borrowing privileges as visitors.


5.3 Entitlement


Sitka Public Library is available to persons of all ages. While each person has

the right to use the library facilities, services and resources, no one has the right to interfere with the ability of others to use and enjoy them.


5.4 Circulation Policy – Borrowing


5.4.1 Books, Recorded Books, Music Cassettes and Compact Disks


Loan Period: 30 days with one 21-day renewal, if there are no holds

• Limit: Adults and Students: 50 total items; Visitor accounts: 5 total items

• Fine: $.05 per day (after a six-day grace period), per item.

  Maximum Fine: $3.00 per item


5.4.2 Videocassette Tapes, DVDs and Non-Current Magazines


• Loan Period: 7 days with one 7-day renewal, if there are no holds

• Limit: 50 total items, 10 of which may be DVDs/videocassette tapes

• Fine: $1.00 per day, per item for videos. Maximum Fine: $5.00 per item

• Magazines have a 6-day grace period and then fines accrue at $.05/day


5.4.3 16mm Projector, Slide Projector and Screen


• Loan Period: 1 day with one 1-day renewal, if there are no holds

• Fine: $5.00 per day, per item. Maximum Fine: $50.00


5.4.4 Municipal Documents


May only be checked out with staff authorization

• Loan Period: 1 day with one 1-day renewal, if there are no holds

• Fine: $1.00 per day, per item

• Replacement fees will be charged for lost or damaged items


5.5 Borrower Responsibilities:


A registered borrower agrees to:

• Observe library policies while in the building

• Be responsible for all materials checked out on his or her card

• Return all materials by the due date or pay overdue fines

• Pay damage or replacement costs for damaged and/or lost materials


5.6 Overdue Policy


• When an item is fourteen (14) days overdue, a notice will be sent to the patron indicating the overdue materials and replacement costs of the items

• At four ( 4) months overdue, items will automatically receive a lost status, and a bill for replacement costs will be sent to the patron


5.7 Loss of Loan Privileges:


• Any patron will lose borrower privileges if an item is lost/damaged for a year and has not been paid for

• Adults owing $40.00 will lose borrower privileges until paid below the $40.00 limit

• Minors owing $25.00 will lose borrower privileges until paid below the $25.00 limit

• Visitors owing $10.00 will lose borrower privileges until paid below the $10.00 limit

• Patrons may make payments and regain borrower privileges if the total fine amount due falls below the maximum limit and (s)he has no lost or damaged items outstanding more than one year

• Patrons who lose or damage more than one item received through interlibrary loanwill lose further interlibrary loan borrowing privileges


5.8 Code of Conduct


5.8.1 Rules


To ensure that everyone enjoys using the Library, the following rules of

conduct have been established. No one shall:

• Engage in any unlawful activity

• Possess or display weapons, including concealed handguns

• Steal Library property; make unauthorized or inappropriate use of Library


• Verbally abuse or harass Library users or staff, or attempt to engage them in

unwanted discussion

• Trespass into any unauthorized area

• Eat or drink, unless authorized by Library personnel

• Smoke In the Library

• Use a bicycle, skateboard, scooter, or skate in the Library or directly in front of the main entrance doors

• Maintain bodily hygiene that is so distracting to others that it interferes with the patrons' use of Library resources or staff work

• Sleep in the library or camp on library grounds

• Engage in conduct that disrupts or interferes with the normal operation of the library, or disturbs library patrons or staff, including, but not limited to, conduct that involves the use of foul or abusive or threatening language or gestures, conduct that creates unreasonable noise, conduct that consists of loud or boisterous physical behavior or talking, or conduct that may cause damage to library equipment, furniture, or materials



5.8.2 Enforcement


Library staff is responsible for enforcing patron conduct in the Library. Anyone

interfering with another's use and enjoyment of the Library will be asked to stop his or her behavior. If the behavior persists, staff will ask the individual to leave the premises. Failure to comply will result in police intervention. Repeated or serious violations may result in suspension of Library privileges or permanent exclusion from the premises.


5.8.3 Children


Children are welcome in the Library, and we are concerned about their welfare

and safety. Parents, guardians and care givers are responsible for monitoring

the activities and behavior of their children while they are in the Library. If an

unattended child is being disruptive, is left unattended for a long period of time or appears to be at risk, staff shall try to locate a parent, guardian or care giver. If necessary, law enforcement or child protective authorities will be notified to take custody of the child.


5.9 Public Relations Policy


We wish to ensure that the public receives consistent and accurate information about Library policy, procedures, programs and services. Contacts to the media initiated by the Library will be handled by the person in charge of the specific program, service or policy being addressed. Contacts initiated by the media should be directed to the Library Director. Speaking engagements will be scheduled with the Library Director.


5.10 Internet Safety and Use Policy


5.10.1 Purpose

Sitka Public Library provides access to a broad range of informational resources, including those available through the Internet. The Library makes this service available in support of its mission to provide free and equal access to all types of information in a variety of formats for library users of all backgrounds and ages. Consistent with its mission, the Library is guided by a commitment to safeguard the principles of intellectual freedom, equity of access, First Amendment rights, individual responsibility, and confidentiality of information about users and their use of library resources.


5.10.2 Choosing and Evaluating Sources

The Internet is a vast repository of information providing unprecedented access to a wealth of information which can be personally, professionally and culturally enriching. The Internet is a vast, unregulated information network. It enables access to ideas, information, images and commentary beyond the Library’s collection, mission, selection criteria and collection development policies. Because of this access, the Library cannot protect users from information and images which they might find disturbing or offensive. Some sources provide information that is inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated. As with print information, users are encouraged to use critical judgment when evaluating the validity and appropriateness of information found electronically. The Library cannot control the information available over the Internet and assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from connections to the Internet. The Library makes no guarantees, either expressed or implied, with respect to the quality or content of information available on the Internet. Providing access does not mean or imply that the Library sanctions or endorses the point of view or content of any information which may be found on the Internet.


5.10.3 Privacy

When using a Library computer, complete privacy cannot be guaranteed. Users are cautioned that public access computers are located in public areas which must be shared by Library users of all backgrounds, sensibilities and ages. Individuals are asked to consider this and to respect the sensibilities of others when accessing potentially offensive information and images. Users are cautioned that because security in an electronic environment such as the Internet cannot be guaranteed, all transactions, files and communications are vulnerable to unauthorized access and use, and, therefore, should be considered public.


5.10.4 Access by Minors

Sitka Public Library currently uses no technology protection measures to block or filter the Internet or other forms of electronic communications. Library staff does not censor or deny access to inappropriate information. We uphold the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected materials and affirm the right and responsibility of parents and legal guardians to determine and monitor their children in the use of library materials and resources. We encourage parents and guardians to guide their children in the use of the Internet and inform them of materials they should not use.


The Library cautions minors to keep in mind the following safety guidelines when using electronic mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications. We also recommend that patrons refrain from the unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal information regarding minors by urging them to observe the following procedures:

  • Never give out identifying information such as home address, school name, or telephone number

  • Let parents or guardians decide whether personal information such as age, marital status, or financial information should be revealed

  • Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone via the computer without parents’ or guardians’ approval

  • Never respond to messages that are suggestive, obscene, threatening, or make one uncomfortable

  • Have parents or guardians report an incident to the National Center for Missing or Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 if one becomes aware of the transmission of child pornography

  • Remember that people online may not be who they say they are

  • Remember that everything one reads on the Internet may not be true


5.10.5 Children’s Internet Protection Act

It is the library’s policy to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act [Pub. L. No. 106-554 and 47 USC 254(h)] as it is currently applied to public libraries.


This Internet Safety Policy was adapted by the Sitka Public Library Board Commission at a public meeting, following normal public notice, on June 26, 2002. It was revised and adopted on January 29, 2003.


5.10.6 Library Policy and Guidelines

To make the Internet available to as many people as possible and to ensure that it is used in a manner consistent with Library policies, the Library has adopted rules regarding acceptable use of electronic resources. All Internet users are asked to respect the privacy and rights of others. Compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, including laws governing the transmission and dissemination of information while accessing the Internet, is required. Internet users must make reservations, check-in and pay for copies with personnel at the front desk. Violation or attempted violation of any laws, regulations or policies may result in loss of library privileges and possible civil or criminal penalties. Internet users may not:

  • Use the network to make unauthorized entry into other computational, informational or communications services or resources

  • Distribute unsolicited advertising

  • Engage in any activity that is harassing or defamatory

  • Use the Internet for any illegal/unauthorized activity, including the violation of copyright law

  • Make any attempt to damage or tamper with computer equipment or software

  • Remove privacy screens from monitors

  • Use an Internet access computer for more than one hour a day without staff permission


5.10.7 Supervision and Monitoring

The Library endeavors to provide Internet access in an inviting, healthy learning environment in which individuals are encouraged to safely access, explore and discover the world. The Library staff neither supervises nor monitors Internet access for the public.


5.10.8 Guidelines on Access to Information

Sitka Public Library is guided by the following American Library Association statements on access to information:

  • The Library Bill of Rights

  • Freedom to Read

  • Intellectual Freedom Statement


5.11 Policies Regarding Law Enforcement Requests for Patron Information


5.11.1 Background


Sitka Public Library has certain legal obligations that come from the "USA Patriot

Act" as well as professional concerns for privacy and information in a free society. The Library Board Commission has established guidelines for responding to requests from law enforcement authorities for Library records involving patron data, while keeping in mind the American Library Association Code of Ethics which recognizes that we protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality.


5.11.2 Application of the Law


The "USA Patriot Act" supercedes state laws that control access to patron records. Should an individual or individuals representing themselves as law enforcement agents approach the Library staff requesting access to records involving patron data or information about library users with or without any form of written authorization, staff shall inform them that they are not authorized to provide the information and immediately notify the Library Director or Acting Library Director and the City Attorney.


The existence of an information request, the nature of the request and the names of the library patrons are to be treated in the strictest confidence and are not to be discussed or revealed, as required by the USA Patriot Act.


5.11.3 Patron Data Retention


Library Records, which may be the focus of law enforcement requests, include

electronic, print, and other forms of patron information. Archives of information that reveal identities of individuals should be kept only when clearly necessary for the regular operation of library business.


5.12 Display Policy


Sitka Public Library displays are prepared or approved by staff, who use

experienced judgment regarding display materials and topics of community interest. The Library welcomes exhibits and displays of interest, information and enlightenment to the community by individuals, organizations or community groups. Application for exhibits or displays will be made through the Displays Librarian on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Library shall have the final decision on the arrangement of all exhibits or displays.


In developing library exhibits, staff will present a broad spectrum of ideas and viewpoints. Just as libraries do not endorse the beliefs or affiliations of those whose work is represented in their collections, libraries do not endorse the beliefs or viewpoints of topics which may be the subject of library exhibits. Patrons concerned about display topics or materials are encouraged to discuss those concerns with a library staff member and/or the Library Director. Patrons who wish to have the library reconsider display topics or materials may use the library's Request for Reconsideration form. The Library Director will decide what action is appropriate and notify the patron. If the complainant is not satisfied with the Library Director's decision, (s)he may submit a written appeal to the Library Board Commission, which will review the matter during its next meeting. The Library Board Commission will consider the appeal and inform the complainant(s) of its decision. If the patron is not satisfied with the Commission's decision, he or she may make an appeal to the City Manager.


The Library assumes no responsibility for the preservation, protection or possible damage or theft of any item exhibited or displayed. All items placed in the library are done so at the owner's risk.



VI. Study and Meeting Rooms


6.1 Purpose

In keeping with its mission, Sitka Public Library (SPL) meeting rooms and study rooms are available to the public for educational, cultural, civic, creative, production, and research purposes, subject to the rules outlined below. Meetings and programs held in SPL library meeting rooms must be free of charge.


Sitka Public Library supports and endorses the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, which states:


"Libraries which maintain meeting spaces, exhibit space or other facilities open to the public should make them available on equal terms to all persons, regardless of their beliefs or affiliations."


6.2 General

That said, the fact that an organization is permitted to meet at the library does not constitute an endorsement of the organization’s beliefs by the library, its staff, or the Sitka Public Library Commission.


All activities held in SPL meeting rooms must comply with all Sitka Public Library policies, and all applicable local, state, and federal laws.


Room requirement needs of the Sitka Public Library take precedence over outside user groups.


Food and beverages without lids are not allowed in the library or any of its meeting or study rooms without the specific consent of the Library Director.


Users of SPL meeting rooms shall be required to indemnify and hold harmless the Library from any and all claims or actions attributable to the use of the Library facilities. 


6.3 Reservations/Sign-Up

Organizations, groups, or individuals may reserve rooms up to 45 days in advance for non-recurring meetings/events, and up to 7 days in advance for recurring meetings/events.


Individuals may sign up for the Small Meeting Room or Study Room 1 on a same day walk-in basis if the room is open at that time and no scheduled reservation is pending. The Teen Lab may be used as a Study Room on a reserved or walk-in basis only between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday-Friday.


Rooms may be reserved for up to 3 hours, with longer usage subject to the discretion of the Library Director.


Reservations are forfeited if the group is more than 15 minutes late without prior notification.


Rooms are available only during the library’s regular operating hours, unless with the specific consent of the Library Director.


6.4 Meeting room use rules

  • Library or City and Borough of Sitka programs and sponsored events have priority in the use of meeting room space. The library reserves the right to reschedule confirmed meeting room reservations to accommodate library-sponsored programs and events.

  • Promotions or sales of services, products, merchandise, materials or items or solicitations for donations unless authorized pursuant to a library-sponsored program or event, or on behalf of the Friends of the Library, are not permitted. No admission fees may be charged or solicited.

  • Musical recitals and individual practice sessions are not permitted without the express consent of library staff. Rooms may not be used for birthday and anniversary parties, weddings, funerals, or other personal celebrations.

  • Meeting rooms are available during hours when the library is open. Meetings must adjourn at least 30 minutes before closing time.

  • Light refreshments may be served, with specific consent from the Library Director, but groups may not prepare food on library property. Groups are responsible for all cleanup.

  • Tables and chairs are available at each location. Audio/visual equipment may be available with the specific consent of the Library Director. No other equipment is provided. The group is responsible for setting up, rearranging, and taking down tables and chairs. Meeting rooms must be left clean, in good repair and in the same condition as found. Any group that damages/soils library property will be liable for costs incurred in connection with cleanup and/or repair of such damage and may lose the privilege of using meeting rooms in the future.

  • Use of this room by an individual or group is NOT permitted for the following: personal family/friend communications; personal business communications, i.e. banking, credit card, airline reservations, etc.; commercial or other for profit business to business communications. No personal cell phone, Skype, or other types of personal calls are allowed in the meeting rooms; No cell phone, Skype, or other types of calls are allowed without prior permission from library staff. (See Appendix A for possible exceptions)

  • The library is not responsible for theft of/damage to property brought into the library.

  •  In publicizing a meeting to be held in a library meeting room, the sponsoring group must be clearly identified. Groups must not imply library sponsorship of their program or organization in their publicity.

  • With prior approval, groups may post signs in library-approved locations.

  •  A responsible party age 18 or older must sign the Library Meeting Room Reservation form, and at least one adult age 18 or older must be present when youth groups use the meeting rooms. (For Teen Lab, see Teen Lab policy)

  • Each group is responsible for ensuring that attendance at its meeting does not exceed the maximum occupancy for the meeting room as set by the Fire Marshall. All groups, clubs, entities or individuals using a library meeting room must comply with these rules and with all Sitka Public Library policies, and all applicable local, state, and federal laws. Failure to comply with the rules may lead to immediate termination of the meeting, exclusion of individuals from library premises pursuant to the rules, and/or loss of future meeting room use privileges.

6.5 Procedures

  • Rooms may be reserved in person at the library, by phone (907-747-8708), or by email (library@cityofsitka.org).

  • All groups must complete and submit a Public Meeting Room Reservation Request Form, and read and sign a copy of the SPL Meeting Room Rules form. Paper application forms are available at the library.

  • The Library Director will review and approve or deny all applications based on the Public Use of Library meeting room rules.

  • Any applicant denied use of a library meeting room may appeal the denial in writing to the Municipal Administrator. The Administrator will review the application and respond in writing to the applicant.


6.6 Specific Room Descriptions


Small Meeting Room:  The Meeting Room is available for use by small groups, from 4 to 28 persons. This room can be reserved for up to 3 hours, with longer usage subject to the discretion of the Library Director. Individuals may sign up for same day walk-in use if there are no reservations pending.


Study Room 1: Study Room 1 is available for use by 1 to 6 persons. This room can be reserved for up to 3 hours, with longer usage subject to the discretion of the Library Director. This room is also available for exam proctoring. Individuals may sign up for same day walk-in use if there are no reservations pending.


Teen Lab: The Teen Lab is available for use by 1 to 7 persons. During the following hours, Teen Lab usage, including the length of time the room can be used, is subject to additional policies which are available upon request. Requests for variation from these policies should be made to the Youth Services Librarian.

Monday-Friday: 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


Mondays through Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., when available, the Teen Lab may be used as a Study Room. Teen lab equipment, however, is for use by teens ONLY.


6.7 FAQs

How often can I book a Library Meeting Room?
You may book a Library meeting space as many times as availability allows at Sitka Public Library.


How far in advance can I reserve a Meeting Room or Study Room?
Reservations can be made up to 45 days in advance for non-recurring meetings/events, and up to 7 days in advance for recurring meetings/events.


How long can I reserve a Meeting Room or Study Room for?
Rooms can be reserved for up to 3 hours, with longer use subject to the discretion of the Library Director.


Can I sell products or charge people to come to an event held at the library?


Do I have to pay to use a meeting room?
There is no charge for the use of the Study Room. Meeting room use for events open to the public is free at this time, but all library policies are subject to change without notice.


Can I bring food to my meeting?
Not without the specific consent of the Library Director. If you have questions, contact the Library at 907.747.8708.


Can I begin my meeting before the library opens or end it after the library is closed?
Not without the specific consent of the Library Director. Without specific approval by the Library Director, all events/meetings/programs must adjourn 30 minutes before the library closes. If you have questions, contact the Library at 907.747.8708.


Can I reserve a meeting room on a Municipal Holiday or a day the library is closed?
Not without the specific consent of the Library Director. If you have questions, contact the Library at 907.747.8708. Reservation requests for meeting rooms for days the library is closed must be made at least 45 days in advance of the event and approved by the Library Director.


May I hang things on meeting room walls?
Not without express consent of the Library Director. If absolutely necessary, only painters tape and sticky back 3M flip chart sheets are allowed to be attached to the walls.


I want to advertise my event. What is the correct way to advertise the meeting location?

The street address is: Sitka Public Library, 320 Harbor Drive, Sitka, AK.
Please include the phone number, email address, or other ways to communicate with the contact person for the event.



VII. Teen Lab


The Sitka Public Library Teen Lab is a social, creative, production, research and performance technology lab where teens ages 14-18 can explore their interests, become inventors, problem- solvers, makers, musicians, artists, while developing 21st century skills including innovation, collaboration, critical thinking and problem-solving. The Teen Lab is free and open to teens ages 14-18 with a valid library card during the following hours:


Monday-Friday: 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


Mondays through Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., when available, the Teen Lab may be used by adults and other non-teens as a Study Room. Teen lab equipment, however, is for use by teens ONLY.


Music-making and recording, reading, drawing, crafting, film-making, or just hanging out – the SPL Teen Lab has something for everyone! We foster an atmosphere of collaboration and peer instruction. Teens are encouraged to share ideas, teach and learn from each other, and teach volunteers and library staff.


7.1 The Teen Lab is...

  • A teen-directed space that promotes creativity, peer instruction, and community building. It is important that our teen patrons take ownership of the space, feel safe and supported, and know that their opinions matter. Teen librarians, library staff, and volunteers collaborate with teens on nearly every aspect of the program

  • A safe place for after-school activities and access to creation technology that promotes science, technology, engineering, art, and math learning

  • A place for teens to meet library partners and find other opportunities in our community

  • A mini fablab/makerspace

7.2 Reserving the Teen Lab     

  • Reservations can be made up to 45 days in advance for non-recurring sessions, and up to 7 days in advance for recurring sessions.  

  • On the spot reservations are possible if the Teen Lab is not in use, with the understanding that reservations have priority. You can reserve the Teen Lab in person at the Circulation Desk, or by calling the library at 747-8708.   

  • The Teen Lab may be booked for up to three hours per day by the same person/group.  Longer time reservations may be accommodated with permission of Library staff.

  • Reservations must be claimed within fifteen minutes. After that, the reservation becomes invalid and the Teen Lab will be made available to other patrons to use.

  • Library-sponsored workshops, events, and programs have priority.

7.3 Guidelines and Procedures for Using the Teen Lab

  • Always check in and sign up with the Circulation Desk before entering the Teen Lab. 

  • Beverages in spill-proof containers are permitted; no food please.  

  • Laptops and sound equipment may be used if sounds are not audible outside the room. Headphones are required during library open hours.

  • Please protect your personal belongings; the library is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen items.

  • Teens are expected to respect the overall Library environment, and may not engage in activities that disrupt other Library users or staff. All other Library policies apply to the Teen Room. The library reserves the right to limit the use of the library by teens who, in the judgment of the library staff, are engaging in inappropriate behavior.

  • The Teen Lab should be used only for its intended purposes. No rough housing, no running, no hitting, no spitting, no inappropriate public displays of affection, and no swearing or abusive language will be permitted; no profanity will be allowed to be written on library chalkboards, whiteboards, displays, or anywhere on library property. Anyone using bad language (swearing) or writing profanity anywhere on library property will be asked to stop or leave the library.

  • All SPL policies apply to the Teen Lab.

  • Teen Lab users shall be responsible for rearranging and moving furniture for their use. The Teen Lab must be left clean, in good repair, and in the same condition as found. Failure to do so may result in a revocation of privileges. Any group/person that damages/soils library property will be liable for costs incurred for cleanup and/or repair. All materials in the Teen Lab must remain in the Teen Lab.

  • Each group is responsible for ensuring that the number of people in the Teen Lab does not exceed 7 persons -- the maximum occupancy for the Teen Lab as set by the Fire Marshall.

  • Staff are not able to instruct Teen Lab users in how to use equipment; users should either already know how to use the equipment or be able to teach him/herself.

 7.4 Activities/Stations

The Teen Lab has two types of sessions:
Workshops – Mentors lead project-based, providing software and equipment tutorials when necessary. Workshops are informal, fun, and drop-in friendly.
Open Lab – Teens get a chance to try new things by working with software and equipment. Open Lab is your studio time.

Types of activities available:
AV Production -  Record music, make videos, edit photos, and more
Arts and Crafts - Digital art, sewing, drawing, and more
Mini FabLab/Makerspace - Make stuff! We have circuit sets, animation tablets, green screen, photo equipment, sewing machines, electronics, and more
Games - Board games, Xbox



Appendix I. Library Bill of Rights


The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.


I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.


II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.


III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.


IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.


V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.


VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.


Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.



Appendix II. The Freedom to Read


The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.


Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.


These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.


Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.


Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.


We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.


The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.


We therefore affirm these propositions:


1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.


Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.


2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.


Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.


3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.


No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.


4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.


To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.


5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.


The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.


6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.


It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.


7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.


The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.


We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.




This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.



Appendix III. Intellectual Freedom Statement


Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas.




Sitka Public Library

320 Harbor Drive Sitka AK 99835
(907)747-8708, Fax (907)747-8755