Article B - Ethics and Conduct

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.1. Ethics & Conduct Overview  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.1. Ethics & Conduct Overview

Ethics is that branch of philosophy dealing with values of human life, concerned with conduct or character in terms of right and wrong, and based on standards or principles which guide a person in making morally right choices in daily activities. Every citizen has the right as an individual to take part in public debate or to engage in social and political activity. The only restrictions on these activities are those imposed by law or regulation. However, since personal views and activities may be perceived to be representative of the institution, proper precaution must be taken to distinguish between private actions and those authorized in the name of the institution.

The proper operation of a public organization requires that officials and employees be independent and impartial, that policy and decisions be made through proper channels of the organizational structure, that positions not be used for personal gain, and that the public has confidence in the integrity of the organization.

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.2. Core Values & Code of Ethics  
Prepared by: Date:
Submitted to: Date:
Approved by: Date:
Revised by: Date:

B.2. Core Values & Code of Ethics

NOT YET REVISED

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.3. Conflicts of Interest  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.3. Conflicts of Interest

Employees must avoid any situation which involves (or may involve) a conflict between their personal interests and the interest of the Athens Regional Library System. An actual or potential conflict of interest occurs when an employee is in a position to influence a decision that may result in personal gain for the employee, a relative, or an associate as a result of the library's business dealings. A personal gain may result in cases where an employee, relative, or associate has significant ownership in a firm with which ARLS does business, or receives any kickback, bribe, gift, or special consideration as a result of any transaction or business dealings involving ARLS.

Employees must make prompt and full disclosure in writing to the Executive Director (or designee) of any association, relationship, business arrangement, or circumstance which may involve a conflict of interest.

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.4. Gifts, Gratuities, & Favors  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.4. Gifts, Gratuities, & Favors

Employees should not solicit, accept, or agree to accept any gifts, money, loans, gratuities, discounts, favors, hospitality, or services from vendors known to be seeking business with the library.
Since ARLS employees receive compensation from the library for the services or performances they provide, monetary gifts or stipends from library business associates should be viewed as a goodwill gesture to the library and should be turned over to the library, not kept by the employee performing the service on behalf of the library. Gifts other than money (e.g., food or other material gift) should also be given to the library and not the individual.

Gratuities or gifts normally acceptable include the following:

  • Occasional gift or award valued at $30.00 or less
  • Food items placed in a common area for staff to share
  • Inexpensive promotional or marketing items
  • Vendor samples to be used in the workplace
  • Floral arrangements to be placed in a common area
  • Courtesy admission to an educational or informational event
  • Meals, beverages, and refreshments at a business function or training event
  • Business meal at a meeting with a current ARLS vendor
  • Prize from a drawing at a work-related event
  • Gifts exchanged between coworkers as friends, or among a group of employees, as long as no employee feels required to participate or contribute.

This list is not intended to cover every potential situation; potential conflicts of interest should be reviewed with the supervisor.

Title:  ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.5. Outside Employment & Memberships  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.5. Outside Employment & Memberships

Any outside occupation, pursuit, or endeavor that interferes with the regular and punctual discharge of library duties is prohibited and will result in termination of employment. If outside activities do not interfere with regular work attendance or quality of work, outside employment is permitted. It should not, however, be in direct conflict with library service or involve the use of confidential information learned directly or indirectly through employment with the library.

Staff members are encouraged to be involved in civic, educational, and professional organizations. Regularly scheduled and paid work time may not be used to attend meetings which are not job related. Time spent on approved or assigned participation in outside organizations may be counted as work time. Any employee who is hired to work as a consultant or is being paid an honorarium to present a program must work on the employee's own time. Employees must have advance approval to participate in a meeting during the time they would be scheduled to work. Use of vacation or holiday time must also be pre-approved.

Title:  ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.6. Workplace Relationships  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.6. Workplace Relationships

Title:  ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.6.a. Family Relationships  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.6.a. Family Relationships

To facilitate fair treatment of all employees, relatives of a current employee of the library may be employed by the library system subject to the following regulations:

  • Relatives of staff will not be given special consideration for job vacancies or during the course of employment if hired.  No applicant may be interviewed or hired by a relative.
  • No employee will be allowed to supervise a relative or a member of her/his family.
  • Relatives may not work in the same department or report to the same supervisor.
Title:  ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.6 b. Romantic Relationships  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.6.b. Romantic Relationships   

For purposes of this policy, "romantic relationship" is defined as a relationship that involves dating, intimacy, sexual contact, or marriage.

A romantic relationship between a supervisor and a subordinate employee is considered a conflict of interest and is prohibited, as it may lead to claims of favoritism or bias in work assignments, evaluation, or discipline, or may result in claims of sexual harassment.

If a romantic relationship between a supervisor and a subordinate employee should develop, it shall be the responsibility of the supervisor to promptly disclose the existence of the relationship to the Human Resources Office.

Upon learning of the existence of a romantic relationship, ARLS administration will evaluate whether any conflict of interest exists and take any appropriate steps to resolve any conflict. At a minimum, measures will include ensuring the parties involved no longer work together on matters where one could influence the other. In some cases a change in work assignment might be appropriate, in which case one employee or the other must accept the proposed reassignment or elect to resign.

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.7. Workplace Communication  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.7. Workplace Communication

Effective communication is crucial to the success of each employee as well as to the Library. Employees are responsible for checking their assigned mailboxes, emails, and voicemails (if applicable) on a regular basis. Employees will also receive information verbally from supervisors and other staff. Individual departments may have additional mandatory procedures for communicating changes or other information. Employees should become familiar with the communications expectations for their assigned duties. Employees should keep supervisors informed about any questions, concerns, suggestions, or other workplace issues. Supervisors should be able to answer staff's questions or refer them to another source for information.

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.7 a. Use of Library Communication Systems  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.7.a. Use of Library Communication Systems

A variety of communication channels are maintained by Athens Regional Library System to promote the efficient operation of Library business. All information transmitted by, received by, or stored in these communications systems is the sole property of ARLS; an employee has no expectation of privacy related thereto.

 

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.7.b. Use of Library Telephones  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B. 7. b. Use of Library Telephones

Library telephones are provided for purposes of conducting ARLS business. Personal calls made by staff should be avoided unless there is an immediate concern and should not be taken at public desks. Personal long-distance calls are not permitted on ARLS phones.

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.8. Public Relationships  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B. 8. Public Relationships

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.8.a. Patron Relationships  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.8.a. Patron Relationships

Because the demeanor, attitude, and conduct of each library employee is as important to the patron as the service received, the library expects each employee to interact with every patron and staff member with poise, tact, courtesy, and self-discipline and to conduct each encounter with prompt, friendly, and efficient service. For this reason, all employees are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Each patron should be given courteous and prompt service.
  • Staff members should show proper restraint and tact at all times. Difficult situations, or people, should be brought to the attention of the Branch Manager/Team Coordinator.
  • The staff should be alert and approachable. Patrons should not be made to feel that the staff is completely absorbed in work or conversation and thus too busy to help them.
  • Telephone calls should be answered pleasantly and with the library's name.
  • Employees working in public areas may not eat food or candy or chew gum while they are on duty. Branch/Team Coordinators may specify other areas as off limits to eating or drinking.
  • Employees are expected to exhibit loyalty to the library system and a spirit of courteous cooperation between individuals and teams when working.
  • Except for emergencies, employees are expected to conduct personal business on their own time.
  • Employees are expected to exercise due care in the use of library property and to use such property only for authorized purposes.
  • Employees are expected to suggest ideas to reduce operating costs to their supervisors.
  • Employees are required to report to their jobs in appropriate mental and physical condition, ready to work. If an employee may be impaired because of taking medication according to a doctor's prescription, he or she is expected to discuss it with her/his supervisor before commencing work that day.

All staff members are expected to be pleasant and courteous to all persons because the opinion people have of the library depends a great deal on the contact they have with the staff. The library cannot function properly as a public service agency unless staff members do their share in helping the public. Consequently, a friendly, helpful attitude on the part of all staff is extremely important if the library is to perform its function of providing information and services to the public.

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.8.b. Contact with Media  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.8.b. Contact with Media

External media communications (in print, electronic, or any other format) that mention the library in any manner must have authorization from the Executive Director, an Assistant Director, the Public Relations Officer, or other designee prior to submission for publication or the employee must indicate that the publication does not necessarily represent the views of the library. All media inquiries regarding the library and its operations must be referred to the Executive Director, an Assistant Director, the Public Relations Officer, or other designated individuals. No employees are authorized to make statements on behalf of the library unless specifically designated by the Executive Director.

Use of the library's name in the endorsement of any product, service, program, or other type of promotion is not permitted without prior authorization by the Executive Director or designee.

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.8.c. Representing the Library at Outside Events  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.8.c. Representing the Library at Outside Events

In order to unify the library system's face and voice in the communities, to inform the public and other stakeholders about library programs and services, and to give audiences the tools and information they need to become effective library advocates, the ARLS Public Information Office coordinates publicity outreach and off-site events, such as booths at local festivals or tables at information fairs. Requests to represent the library at such types of local events should be submitted to the Public Information Officer or the Assistant Director for Regional Services and Outreach in advance of event registration.

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.8.d. Social Media  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.8.d. Social Media

Social media can be defined as content created by people using highly accessible Internet-based publishing tools for sharing and discussing information. These emerging platforms for online collaboration offer new ways to engage with patrons, colleagues, and the world at large, and have the potential to help staff build stronger professional relationships and take part in national and global conversations related to the library's work.

The Athens Regional Library System encourages the use of social media tools; however, due to the nature of social media, which encourages free-flowing conversations and allows for instantaneous publication reaching a potentially wide audience, the following tenets are required in order to assure effective and appropriate information, security, responsible speech, and privacy protection.

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.8.d. Social Media – Library Social Media Subsection  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:
Library Social Media

All library social media entities, sites, or memberships, whether regional, branch, or departmental, must be pre-approved by the Executive Director or the Director's designee. ARLS disavows and is not responsible for any sites, posts, opinions, or content not coordinated through and approved by the Executive Director or designee.

  • The focus of all library social media sites must be consistent with the mission of the Athens Regional Library System.
  • The ARLS Public Information Officer coordinates the library's social media presence.
  • Participating staff administering or editing library social media sites must have the requisite expertise to post information.
  • Confidential information may not be shared via social media; all posts must adhere to library policies, especially those concerning the privacy of others. Documents, decisions, and conversations which are internal to the library may not be released without appropriate approval. Comments on legal matters or litigation related to the library are not allowed without pre-approval from the Executive Director.
  • Staff posts and comments must be respectful and considerate and contain no remarks that are offensive or off-topic. Responses to posts must be appropriate, polite, and may not denigrate others. Airing grievances against management, patrons, fellow employees, departments, or local or state agencies is not appropriate.
  • Transparency must be maintained when posting or commenting by identifying the poster and his/her role within the library. Employees are personally responsible for content they post. All of the content associated should be consistent with the library's values and professional standards.
  • If user/patron content is positive or negative and in context to the conversation, then the content should be allowed to remain, regardless of whether it is favorable or unfavorable to the library. If the content is offensive, denigrating, completely out of context, or otherwise against Patron Responsibilities and Conduct policy, then the content should be rejected and removed.
Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.8.d. Social Media – Personal Social Media Subsection  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:
Personal Social Media

Employees may use personal social media on their own time and using their own equipment. The following types of personal social media postings are not allowed:

    • Sensitive or proprietary information about ARLS.
    • Confidential information about patrons or fellow employees.
    • Posts which violate ARLS policies covering harassing, demeaning, or creating a hostile work environment for other ARLS employees.

Posts on personal social media are the legal liability of the poster, not the library.

Title:  ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.8.e. Outside Board & Organization Memberships  
Prepared by: Date:
Submitted to: Date:
Approved by: Date:
Revised by: Date:

B.8.e. Outside Board & Organization Memberships

NEW POLICY: NOT YET APPROVED

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.9. Confidential Information  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.9. Confidential Information

Athens Regional Library System endeavors to comply with all laws governing protection of information as well as lawful disclosure of information.

Library patrons are legally entitled to privacy with respect to information requested on their applications for borrowers' cards, to the information they seek, and to the materials they use or borrow. These matters must not be discussed with other library patrons and should not become the subject of casual conversation among staff members. Library employees must adhere to the Athens Regional Library System's Confidentiality Policy (insert link to Regional Policy here).

Personal information about staff members, such as home addresses, telephone numbers, children's names, etc., should never be given out. Refer inquirers to Administration staff.

Title: ARLS Personnel Policy: ARTICLE B.9.a. Public/Open Records Requests  
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Donna Brumby Date: July 19, 2017
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee Date: July 19, 2017
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees Date: October 19, 2017
Revised by: Date:

B.9.a. Public/Open Records Requests

Georgia law provides for public records to be available for inspection by any person, subject to certain exceptions and regulations. Employees routinely create public records, such as incident reports, emails, and voicemails, that may be subject to inspection (O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 to 50-18-77) according to established library procedures. The library will conform to current Georgia laws covering public/open records.

Pursuant to Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 24-12-30), library circulation and registration records for individuals are not public records and should be maintained as confidential information. Any information and all portions of patron accounts and records are confidential and may not be divulged in whole or in part. Any inquiries about a patron's library account should be denied and/or be referred to the Executive Director or the supervisor in charge at the time. Confidential patron information may only be disclosed as follows:

  • To library staff members or the library's legally contracted billing agency in the ordinary course of business;
  • To attorneys representing ARLS;
  • Upon written consent of the account holder or the parents or legal guardians of minors;
  • Upon appropriate court order or subpoena as determined by the Executive Director.
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