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Alameda County Library

The Nov 12 Press Release from AC HCSA announced a pause to the reopening of additional activities and mentioned that Alameda County may move back to a more restrictive tier. As of today, we are determining what this means for our Library reopening plan. Read more

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Library Administration: Library Policies

Policy Text

Table of Contents

Chapter 1:

Organizational Governance


Board of Supervisors Library Ordinance


Library Mission, Vision, and Values


Chapter 2:

Community Advocacy


Library Commissions, Boards, and Committees


Library Support Groups


Gifts and Donations - updated policy coming soon


Chapter 3:

Access to Library Materials




Fines & Fees


Use of Internet and Library Devices  - updated policy coming soon


Chapter 4:

Customer Service


Public Behavior


Child Safety


Chapter 5:

Community Library Services


Monitoring Exams


Meetings and Meeting Spaces  - updated policy coming soon


Displays, Exhibits, and Printed Materials


Petitions and Solicitations


Chapter 6:

Library Collections


Collection Management  - updated policy coming soon


Chapter 7:

Public Information




Media Documentation


Social Media


Alameda County Board of Supervisors Library Objectives

The following resolution was adopted on July 28, 1964:


The public library’s function in America has been established by tradition, law and the logic of a free, democratic society, and


This function is to assemble, preserve and make easily available the printed and other materials that will assist all the people to:

            Educate themselves continuously
            Keep pace with progress in all fields of knowledge
            Become better citizens
            Be more capable in their daily occupations   
            Develop their creative and spiritual capacities
            Appreciate and enjoy works of art and literature
            Make such use of leisure time as will promote their personal and civil well-being
            Contribute to the growth of knowledge;

Now, Therefore, be it resolved that

The Board of Supervisors of Alameda County hereby declares it to be the continued policy of the county to promote the establishment and development of a system of free public libraries and to accept the obligation of their support by the county and other appropriate public bodies in such manner as may be provided by law.


copy of 1964 resolution

Library Commissions, Boards, and Committees


The Alameda County Library works with advisory Commissions, Boards, and Committees established by County and City ordinance.

  • Commissions, Boards, and Committees are non-exclusive.
  • Membership, term, representation, and advisory scope are set by the City or County and not by Alameda County Library.
  • For information about applying to join these advisory bodies, contact the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors for County Boards, or the appropriate City Clerk for local boards.

Alameda County Library Advisory Commission (ACLAC)

Ordinance Text
Municipal Code
Official Website:

Albany Library Board (ALAB)

Ordinance Text
Official Website:

Fremont Library Advisory Commission (FLAC)

Municipal Code
Official Website:

Updated 2020

Library Support Groups


It is the policy of the Alameda County Library to work closely with local library support groups organized by residents from the community.

Ways of Supporting the Library:

Residents interested in supporting the library may do so through a variety of channels, including donating through the Alameda County Library Foundation, serving on an Advisory Commission, through direct volunteer work, or by joining or forming a recognized non-profit Library Support Group.

The Alameda County Library Foundation supports the Alameda County Library as a whole. The Foundation may sponsor events on library premises and collect funds for the Foundation. The Foundation Director, and other staff assigned by the County Librarian, are authorized to handle donations to the Foundation.

For information on Advisory Commissions, Boards, and Committees please see Chapter 2.01

Purpose of Library Support Groups:

Library Support Groups and their members provide valuable services to Alameda County Library and their communities through one or more of the following activities:

  • Encouraging community support for the Library and its activities
  • Promoting knowledge of, and interest in the functions and resources of the Library
  • Assisting in raising supplemental funds for special projects beyond the scope of the Library operating budget
  • Sponsoring specific initiatives or programs requested by Library management

Requirements for Groups:

Alameda County Library recognizes groups formed by local residents to support individual community libraries or specific library services. These groups must be 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profits with a set of bylaws and a Board of Directors. All proceeds from fundraising activities must be used to benefit the Library.

How Groups are recognized by Alameda County Library:

In order for a new Library Support Group to be officially recognized by ACL, the Group must request and receive recognition in writing from the County Librarian.

Annually, Library Support Groups will submit to the County Librarian the following information:

  • Names and titles of all board members
  • Total number of dues-paying members
  • Treasurer’s report showing revenue and expenditures for the year

If a Library Support Group is unable to provide the above information as well as maintain its 501(c)(3) status, elect a Board of Directors, and hold regular meetings, the County Librarian may elect to end ACL’s affiliation with the Group.

Relationship between Library Support Groups and the Alameda County Library:

While Library Support Groups are separate entities and not subject to operational oversight by Alameda County Library, certain best practices, Alameda County standards, and laws affect the relationship between staff and the Group in the following ways:

  • Library staff may join Library Support Groups and provide financial support, but may not participate in Library Support Group activities on County time or use County resources to further the work of the Library Support Group.
  • Library employees may not handle or store monies for a Library Support Group while on County time.
  • Library employees may not assist Library Support Groups with inventory management, restocking sales, or operating individual sales while on County time.
  • The County Librarian will designate a library staff member, usually a Library Manager, to serve as liaison to the Group. The liaison will represent the Library at meetings, provide reports or other information on Library activities, make requests for support, coordinate activities, and accept gifts made to the Library.
  • Library Support Groups’ use of library facilities and activities therein is subject to approval by the Group’s liaison.
  • Library Support Groups are expressly permitted to sell items within the libraries as referenced in the Petitions and Solicitations Policy (Chapter 5.05).

Updated 2020

Gifts and Donations

Updated policy coming soon. In the meantime, please contact your local library for information on donations and gifts.



Alameda County Library participates in universal borrowing under the California Library Services Act and will provide in-person loan service to residents of all California public library jurisdictions. Alameda County Library cards are available for free to anyone living, working, or going to school in the state of California.

Library Cards:

  • Register in person and bring identification with name and current address.
  • Examples of acceptable identification include: California driver's license, California ID, or a school-issued ID, a physical or digital utility bill, or recent postmarked mail.
  • There is no minimum age for a library card. Parents/guardians may decide when to get a card for their children. For children under 13, a parent or legal guardian must complete or sign the application and may access the account. The child must be present to receive the library card.
  • Members may borrow from the full range of circulating materials, regardless of the member’s age or reading level.
  • Alameda County Library is committed to providing equitable access to all. Individuals who cannot meet the above requirements for any reason should contact their local library to hear about additional ways to access library services.


  • Register online at
  • Once registered, members may immediately use remotely-available electronic resources and place holds on items.



It is the policy of the Alameda County Library in accordance with California Government Code Section 6267 to keep all library circulation and registration records confidential. See Chapter 7.01 (Privacy) for more detail. Please help us protect member privacy by reporting lost or stolen library cards or materials immediately.



  • Members may borrow up to 100 items. Within that 100-item limit, members are limited to a maximum of 20 DVDs or Blu-rays, 20 CDs or Audiobooks, 15 Link+ items, and 2 digital devices, such as a computer.
  • All Alameda County Library items check out for 3 weeks except for some digital devices which are for use in the library only.
  • Items may be renewed up to 2 times unless there is a hold on the item or the member has borrowed an item that is 21 or more days late.
  • Items from Lucky Day or similar collections may not be renewed or placed on hold.
  • Items borrowed through Link + are subject to the borrowing policies of the lending library, which may include different check out times or limitations.
  • Members are responsible for all materials checked out on their account.



To encourage the responsible use and timely return of County-owned property, Alameda County Library bills members for damaged and unreturned items. We do not charge overdue fines.

  • Members will be billed the cover price of any item not returned in good condition by 21 days after the due date. If an item does not have a cover price, the member will be billed the price listed on the item’s library catalog record.
  • All bills remain on the member’s account until paid. No interest is ever charged.
  • Bills are not reported to collection agencies and will not affect a credit score.
  • Borrowing privileges are suspended if the member’s account has an unpaid bill for a damaged or unreturned item, or if the member owes $10 or more for any charges.

Example: All items check out for 21 days. The chart below indicates the amount the member would owe based on the amount of time an item is kept. 

How long the item is kept

Amount billed

Returned 15 days after checkout or renewal –
this is early!


Returned 21 days after checkout or renewal –
on the due date


42 days after checkout or renewal the member is billed for the cost of the item and may not borrow again until the item is returned or the bill is paid

The cover price of the item
Once paid, this charge is non-refundable

Returned 45 days after checkout or renewal –
24 days late

$0, the bill is removed if the item is returned in good condition

Returned 365 days after checkout or renewal –
it was under the bed for a year!

$0, the bill is removed if the item is returned in good condition

Never returned, or seriously damaged

The cover price of the item
This charge is non-refundable

Exception to this Rule


Tech It Out Laptops

$2.00 per hour; Maximum $250 at 5 days – this charge will not be removed when the laptop is returned


Updated July 2019

Fines & Fees

To encourage the responsible use and timely return of County-owned property, Alameda County Library bills members for damaged and unreturned items. We do not charge overdue fines.

  • Members will be billed the cover price of any item not returned in good condition by 21 days after the due date. If an item does not have a cover price, the member will be billed the price listed on the item’s library catalog record.
  • All bills remain on the member’s account until paid. No interest is ever charged.
  • Bills are not reported to collection agencies and will not affect a credit score.
  • Borrowing privileges are suspended if the member’s account has an unpaid bill for a damaged or unreturned item.

Example: All items check out for 21 days. A member borrows a book with a cover price of $17. The chart below indicates the amount the member would owe based on the amount of time the book is kept. 

How long the item is kept

Amount owed

Returned 15 days after checkout or renewal –
this is early!


Returned 21 days after checkout or renewal –
on the due date


42 days after checkout or renewal the member is billed for the cost of the item and may not borrow again until the item is returned or the bill is paid

$17 – the cover price of the book
This charge is non-refundable

Returned 45 days after checkout or renewal –
24 days late

$0, the bill is removed if the book is returned in good condition

Returned 365 days after checkout or renewal –
it was under the bed for a year!

$0, the bill is removed if the book is returned in good condition

Never returned, or seriously damaged

$17 – the cover price of the book
This charge is non-refundable

Exception to this Rule


Tech It Out Laptops

$2.00 per hour; Maximum $250 at 5 days – this charge will not be removed when the laptop is returned


Updated July 2019

Use of the Internet

Alameda County Library provides public access to the Internet in support of its role as a key provider of services and materials to support the informational, educational, and recreational needs of people in our communities.

The Internet offers access to a wealth of information from around the world which can be personally, professionally or culturally enriching. Library staff attempt to identify on Alameda County Library's home page good starting points for searches and links to Internet resources which are consistent with the Library's mission and organizational values. But, because the Internet is a vast and unregulated network, it also enables access to information, images and commentary beyond the confines of the Library's collection, mission, selection criteria and collection development policies. Because of this access, and because sites change often and unpredictably, the Library cannot protect users from information and images which they might find offensive or disturbing.

Information found on the Internet may not be accurate, current or complete. Library customers are advised to exercise critical judgment in evaluating the validity of any information they find on the Internet. Alameda County Library does not monitor nor does it have any control over the information accessed through its Internet terminals. The Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from its connections to the Internet.

Providing Internet access at public terminals involves adapting what is ordinarily a private instrument, the personal computer, to a public setting. When using a Library computer, privacy cannot be guaranteed. Users are cautioned that the Library computers on which the public can access the Internet are in public areas which must be shared by library users of all ages, backgrounds and sensibilities. Individuals are asked to consider this and to respect the sensibilities of others when accessing potentially offensive information and images. Alameda County Library offers privacy enhancing computer screens for use on public Internet computers. Use of Library terminals for viewing or disseminating illegal images is not permitted.

Users are cautioned that the Internet is not a secure medium and the privacy of electronic communication cannot be guaranteed. All transactions, files and communication are vulnerable to unauthorized access and use and, therefore, should be considered public.

Children and the Internet

Alameda County Library supports parents and guardians in their efforts to guide their children's intellectual and social development. Parents are encouraged to review the guidelines located at Connect Safely and discuss appropriate use with their children. As is the case with other resources in the Library, it is the sole right and responsibility of the parent or guardian to provide any monitoring or restriction of their own child's access to the Internet.

Rules Governing Use

Procedures regarding time limits and reservations vary by branch. Users should contact their local library for details regarding use at their branch library. All users of the Internet in the Library are expected to use this resource in a responsible and courteous manner, consistent with the purposes for which it is provided, and to abide by the Library's Public Conduct Policy and any Internet-specific rules, regulations and procedures established for its use. To provide an atmosphere that permits proper use of Library resources, Internet users are not allowed to gather in groups of more than two people per terminal. Library users are asked to respect the privacy of Internet users and to refrain from watching over someone's shoulder or otherwise intentionally observing a stranger's use.

Users may not:

  • Use the Library's Internet Terminals for illegal purposes.
  • Make any attempt to alter or damage computer hardware or software.
  • Use the computer to make unauthorized entry into other networks or systems.
  • Use the Library's Internet terminals to view or disseminate illegal content.
  • Make unauthorized copies of copyrighted or licensed software or data.

Violations may result in loss of Internet privileges. Any illegal activity involving the Library's Internet connections will be subject to prosecution by the appropriate authorities.

Endorsed by the Alameda County Library Advisory Commission, September 10, 1997 and September 16, 1998. Approved by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on December 7, 1999 produced by Alameda County Library Community Relations 12/99.

Public Behavior


Alameda County Library’s mission is to offer opportunities for lifelong learning and enjoyment that support individual and community growth. The Library strives to offer welcoming spaces for the community to attend programs, study, browse collections, utilize technology, and use a wide range of library services. 

Library members have the right to quality service in an atmosphere that is respectful, safe, and free of disturbances. Behavior that disrupts or obstructs others’ use of the Library, threatens the safety of members or staff, or inhibits the ability for staff to perform their duties is strictly prohibited. The following Behavioral Guidelines are designed to ensure equitable community access to library services. Members who do not follow these guidelines may have their privileges suspended or revoked, as described below in the Enforcement Guidelines area of the policy.

Behavioral Guidelines:

The following is a non-exhaustive list of activities that may disrupt other members’ use of the Library, threaten safety, or obstruct staff performing their duties:

  • Engaging in any illegal activity on Library premises, including external areas of Library facilities.
  • Overly loud or disturbing behavior, including, but not limited to, harassment of members or staff
  • Offensive language or gestures, including staring.
  • Disruptive use of cell phones or other personal devices.
  • Monopolization of services, furnishings, equipment, or space, including blocking aisles, seats, computers, or access paths with one’s body, personal belongings, or electronic cords.
  • Monopolization of staff time and effort to the exclusion of other members.
  • Defacing, destroying, monopolizing, misusing, or stealing materials, equipment, or property.
  • Disorderly public intoxication.
  • Smoking, including use of electronic cigarettes.
  • Running and horseplay.
  • Bringing wheeled vehicles, such as shopping carts, bicycles, skateboards, or scooters into the building. Wheelchairs and strollers for the conveyance of people are permitted. Libraries offer a limited number of bike locks for members to borrow.
  • Sleeping can disrupt use of the Library. Staff may wake members who appear to be sleeping to determine if medical assistance is needed or when sleeping disrupts service.
  • Bringing pets or animals (other than service animals) into the building.
  • Panhandling or solicitation.
  • Offensive, pervasive odor that reasonably interferes with others’ use of the Library.
  • Failure to follow the reasonable direction of a staff member.

Enforcement Guidelines:

Members who violate the Public Behavior Policy may be instructed to leave the Library for the duration of the day when staff deems their actions to be disruptive of others’ use of the Library, threatening towards the safety of the public and staff, or if they obstruct staff from performing their duties. Depending on the severity of the situation staff may provide a warning in lieu of expulsion, and instruct a member to leave the Library if the inappropriate behavior continues. Staff will document all violations of the Public Behavior Policy and enforcement actions.

When directing a member to leave the Library, staff will provide a copy of the Public Behavior Policy, will identify those elements of the policy the member has violated, and will inform the member that continued violations may result in longer suspension of privileges.

Upon return, an expelled member is expected to follow the Library’s Public Behavior Policy. Illegal activity or continued, repeat violations will result in suspension of privileges for extended durations. Duration of suspension will be dependent upon the following factors:

  • Extent of perceived danger to members and staff.
  • Extent of disruptions. Repeat violations will lead to longer suspension times.
  • Nature of impermissible activity, including the seriousness of any potentially criminal behavior.

Members will be informed in writing of suspensions that last longer than a day. Suspension letters will refer to the relevant factors when identifying the suspension length. Members may appeal a suspension within seven days of receiving a suspension by sending a written appeal to the County Librarian. Suspension letters will provide details of the procedure for appeal, including contact information.

Prior to receiving a response to an appeal, or until the suspension has expired, a suspended member may neither use nor enter the property of any of the Alameda County Libraries unless otherwise specified in writing. Suspended members entering Library property prior to the identified date of return are considered trespassers and Police will be contacted. Trespassers may be subject to arrest, per California Penal Code 602.1 (b):

CA Penal Code 602.1 (b) Any person who intentionally interferes with any lawful business carried on by the employees of a public agency open to the public, by obstructing or intimidating those attempting to carry on business, or those persons there to transact business with the public agency, and who refuses to leave the premises of the public agency after being requested to leave by the office manager or a supervisor of the public agency, or by a peace officer acting at the request of the office manager or a supervisor of the public agency, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for up to 90 days, or by a fine of up to four hundred dollars ($400), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

Updated June 2019

Child Safety 


The Child Safety Policy supports the goal of the Alameda County Library to provide a safe and positive experience for every child and caregiver who visits a Library. As the Library neither supervises children nor acts in loco parentis, these Child Safety Policy guidelines help staff navigate occasions in which children in the library lack supervision. They provide guidance for the following conditions: unattended children, safety emergencies, and children left at the library after or at closing.


Reason for Policy:

Children who are unattended may become frightened or disruptive, creating a danger to themselves or others. Parents, guardians, and designated caregivers are responsible for the safety and well-being of their children.


Definition of Terms:

Designated Caregivers: For the purpose of the below guidelines, a Designated Caregiver is defined as someone 16 or older who has been assigned the responsibility to supervise a child aged eight or younger. Neither Library staff nor its volunteers act as children’s designated caregivers.



Unattended Children:

During open hours, it is the responsibility of a parent, legal guardian, or designated caregiver aged sixteen or over to supervise a child who is aged eight or younger. Young children, especially those who are unable to communicate their first and last names, their phone number, and the name of the person with whom they came to the library, must always be visible to the caregiver who brought them.


Library staff cannot care for, watch, or assume responsibility for a child left unattended at the Library. Children are expected to observe the behavioral guidelines as set forth in the Library’s Behavior Policy while in the library. Children who are left unattended may disrupt the Library experience for others. Members, including minors, may be asked to leave the Library for the day when they disrupt library service for others, contribute to unsafe conditions, or inhibit the ability for Library staff to perform their duties.


For safety reasons, when a disruptive child aged eight or younger is unsupervised, Library staff will attempt to contact a parent, legal guardian or designated caregiver and will make an effort to stay with the child while doing so, rather than simply asking the young child to leave the library. If no parent, legal guardian or designated caregiver is reached within a reasonable amount of time, staff may call local police or child protective services.



In emergency cases when a parent, legal guardian or other designated caregiver cannot be reached, library staff may contact local police or emergency services. Examples of this are:

  • A child who is ill
  • A child who is a danger to themselves or others
  • A child who is being threatened


Unattended Minors at closing:

Minors who are left at a library at closing are not the responsibility of library staff. Staff will attempt to call a child’s parent, legal guardian, or caregiver if possible, and will wait with another staff member for fifteen minutes after closing the Library to reach the child’s caregiver. If a parent, legal guardian or caregiver has neither retrieved the child nor been reached by staff, library staff will contact local police to request that they assume responsibility and retrieve the child.


Updated June 2019

Monitoring Exams


In keeping with the Alameda County Library’s mission to support the educational activities and goals of its members, the Library will assist in the monitoring of exams within the guidelines listed below.


  • All exams must be open book and open note.
  • Members may use Library computers for online exams or to receive exams by email. Library staff will extend the computer time limit if arrangements are made in advance to do so. Exam takers may also use their own computers within the Library to receive exams, providing the institution issuing the exam allows it.

The Library will:

  • Receive a copy of the exam or exam access password via mail, fax or email on the student’s behalf and verify the student’s I.D.  The student is responsible for verifying the exam has arrived.
  • Attempt to provide a reasonably quiet place to take the exam.
  • Upon request by the student or instructor, verify the start and end times of the exam.
  • Return the exam by postal mail, fax, or by scanning and emailing files. The institution or student must provide an addressed envelope and appropriate postage for postal mail. The Library is not responsible for exams returned due to insufficient postage or inaccurate address. Students are encouraged to call ahead to the Library where they plan to take the exam to verify details.

The Library will not:

  • Monitor closed book exams.
  • Guarantee specific noise or activity levels during any exam.
  • Check student activity during an exam.
  • Provide supplies, postage, envelopes, or absorb unreasonable printing costs
  • Keep records of exams taken or untaken exam materials beyond 90 days.

Updated 2016

Meetings and Meeting Spaces


The Library’s meeting rooms are available to governmental agencies and nonprofit community groups for educational, cultural, intellectual and civic activities. Access is granted to nonprofit groups on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Permission to utilize rooms does not imply Library endorsement of the goals, policies or activities of any individual or group. The Library does not endorse the viewpoints of meeting room users and may not appear to do so in publicity. Promotional materials intended for distribution on Library premises is subject to branch managerial review to verify the library is not depicted as giving endorsement to meeting room users.

The applicant and his/her organization will be fully responsible for ensuring that use of the room is in accordance with Library policies including, but not limited to: the orderly conduct of attendees, the loss or damage to Library equipment or property, the posted occupancy and emergency exit clearance.

Private uses of the meeting rooms are prohibited.

Application Procedures:

  • Each applicant must complete a meeting room application form to be reviewed by Library staff. The application must include a brief description of the nature of the meeting, the name of the applicant, in addition to the name of the person who will be responsible for set up, program monitoring and clean up.
  • Applications may be turned in in person or via scanned with signature submitted via email.
  • Applicants for meeting room use must be over the age of 18. Adequate adult supervision is required if the group includes minors.
  • Reservations by community nonprofit groups may be made up to 42 days in advance. 
  • Reservation time should include time allotted for set up and clean up. Meetings scheduled during Library open hours must end fifteen minutes prior to Library closure.
  • In the event of repeat cancelations or no shows in excess of three or more, future reservations may be denied.

Rules of Use:

  • All meetings must be free and open to the general public. No one may be denied entry to a public meeting or program.
  • Except where designated in this policy, admission fees, donations, raffles, collections, fees or sales of any kind are not permitted.
  • The Friends of the Library and affiliated Library organizations may collect monies during Library events, including book sales and author lectures for the benefit of the Library, with prior approval of the Branch Manager.
  • At Library sponsored programs only, preapproved works by a featured presenter may be offered for sale. In all cases, his/her representative, not Library staff, must collect payment.
  • Public performance rights are required and must be provided prior to the presentation of films or other copyrighted performances.
  • No storage of private property is permitted without prior approval from the Branch Manager.
  • The Library is not responsible for outside equipment and will not be able to provide technical support for outside equipment.
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking and/or other illegal activities are not permitted anywhere on Library premises.

Individual branches differ according to space, availability and programming. The Branch Manager or designee will have final approval, oversight and control over the meeting room and all activities in relationship to scheduling and utilization of the room and retains the right to modify and revoke privileges associated with this service.

Updated 2015

Displays, Exhibits, and Printed Materials


In its role as public information center for the community, and in support of its mission to support community growth, the Library makes available exhibit and display areas, including bulletin boards and space to share printed and/or digital materials with the public. Such spaces are available to organizations and individuals (including library staff) engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual, charitable, and other non-commercial activities. Display spaces must be reserved, and materials must be approved by the Library prior to posting or distribution.

Display areas are made available to promote the mission, values, and vision of the Library:

Mission. To offer opportunities and resources for lifelong learning and enjoyment that support individual and community growth. We remain responsive by providing welcoming spaces, outreach, materials, expertise, technology, partnerships and innovation.

Values. Respect, Integrity, Courage.

Vision. Infinite possibilities for all to connect, share, succeed, thrive.

Alameda County Library does not advocate or endorse the content of displays or exhibits, or the viewpoints of exhibitors it hosts.

If you believe that a display, exhibit, or printed material is not suitable for the Library, you may complete a Request for Reconsideration form based on the guidelines below. Library staff will consider your request and you will receive a written response.


Acceptance of materials is subject to approval of the Library Manager. As space is limited, preference will be given to Alameda County Library, other local public agencies, and then to organizations and individuals engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual, or charitable activity.

All materials to be posted or available for handout must be provided to library staff for posting or distribution. Materials will be posted as space allows for up to 30 days or until the information is no longer timely (such as after the date of an event announced in a posting), whichever comes first.

Reasons for refusing a display, exhibit, or material:

  • Display, exhibit, or material is unreasonably large, heavy, or precarious for the display space; In the case of bulletin boards, this is any material larger than 11”x17”;
  • Display, exhibit, or exhibitor has used the space more than once in the previous 12 months;
  • Display, exhibit, or material contains false, misleading, or deceptive content;
  • Display, exhibit, or material contains defamatory, slanderous, or libelous content;
  • Display, exhibit, or material contains “fighting words” or incites criminal violence;
  • Display, exhibit, or material contains work of an obscene nature;
  • Display, exhibit, or material consists of commercial activity, such as advertising; or
  • Display, exhibit, or material will foreseeably result in harm to, disruption of, or interference with the Library’s mission, values, or vision.

Updated 2019

Petitions and Solicitations


Petitions are not to be circulated or signed within the Library, due to potential disruptions to Library patrons and Library services. Similarly, no solicitation of cash or sale of items is permitted.

Sales or the circulation of petitions outside the Library is governed by local ordinance, which may vary by city and unincorporated area.  Interested parties should contact the appropriate City or County agency. The Library Manager, or their designee, may answer or refer questions on this issue.

Organizations or individuals with petitions, or organizations distributing fliers outside the Library may not interfere with the entry or exit of Library customers.

Tabling or setting up a temporary structure to engage at the Library is permitted at the discretion of the Library Manager.

Library Support Group organizations are expressly permitted to recruit members and sell items within the Library so long as these activities support the purpose of the Library Support Group as identified in Chapter 2.02.

Updated 2019

Materials Selection


The Alameda County Library serves suburban cities, unincorporated communities, and outlying areas whose residents represent many ethnically diverse populations, and many socio-economic and educational levels. The Library's primary responsibility is to provide materials in a variety of formats to meet the expressed and anticipated needs and interests of this diverse clientele.

The Library provides resources and materials that encourage an informed and enlightened society. It organizes materials and guides users of all ages in their search for reliable information, greater knowledge, and an enhanced quality of life. It is guided by a sense of responsibility from the past to the present and to the future in developing a collection that encompasses a broad range of human knowledge. The Library also has the responsibility to provide materials that meet language and other needs of changing ethnic populations in its service area. The Library does not try to determine what the public should read, hear, or view, nor does it select materials as if granting a seal of merit. Rather, it attempts to meet the needs of an inquisitive, enlightened clientele.

Materials are selected in many media to satisfy residents of all ages both as individuals and as members of groups. Materials are included for people with visual and hearing disabilities. The Library serves as a supplementary source in meeting the educational needs of students. Although the Library attempts to provide material on every subject and grade level, no attempt is made to match the collection to a particular curriculum. Consideration is given to the needs of people engaged in self-education programs by providing introductory and more advanced materials for those who wish to pursue independent study. Technical materials are generally selected for the general reader rather than the specialist.

The County Library recognizes its responsibility to make available a representative selection of materials on all points of view in a variety of formats. The Library provides resources which individuals may use to examine issues freely and formulate their own opinions. Materials will not be excluded because they may cause concern to some individuals. They will not be excluded solely because they contain political, religious, or moral views that may be controversial, nor because of language or frank sexual content if they meet other selection criteria.

The Library seeks to present sound, factual data and honest expressions of opinion on all sides of controversial issues. This obligation arises not only from the need for balance and variety in the collection, but also from the obligation to uphold the traditional American doctrine of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and supported by the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights. In a democracy, it is essential that people have free access to ideas, even those of which some people disapprove. Differing ideas and opinions can be effectively analyzed only through free access to information.

It is the policy of the Library to remain neutral on public issues. It does not endorse the opinions or points of view expressed in its collection of materials. Materials are selected using professional standards, regardless of the personal views of any of the library staff.

The responsibility for the selection of materials rests with experienced librarians who evaluate materials within the context of this policy and the limits of available resources. The County Librarian has the final authority in determining the content of the Library's collection.

To fulfill the Library's Mission, we acquire materials which:

  • Represent the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which may be controversial or unpopular.
  • Reflects topics of current interest and/or possible future significance
  • Document, interpret, and illuminate the past.
  • Meet the individual's need for practical information to develop skills and knowledge.
  • Provide an aesthetic experience and stimulate imagination and creativity.
  • Entertain and enhance the individual's enjoyment of life.
  • Meet the special needs of those whose library use may be limited due to disability, language, or reading level.
  • Represent or document the culture, history, or creative output of the local region.
  • Reflect the cultural diversity of the population.

Library Collection

Librarians responsible for selecting library materials will be guided by those of the following criteria which are applicable. Not all of the criteria will apply to every selection decision.

General Criteria:

  • Present and potential relevance to the community.
  • Accuracy and timeliness.
  • Insight into human and social conditions.
  • Importance as a document of the times.
  • Representative of ideas that reflect a wide spectrum of opinion, including those which are unique, alternative, experimental, or controversial.
  • Originality in content or approach.
  • Authority, reputation, or qualifications of the author, artist, publisher, or producer.
  • Attention of critics, reviewers, and the public.
  • Enhancement of existing collections to reflect:
  • Importance of the title when compared with other works on the subject.
  • Importance of the subject matter or point of view to the collection.
  • Adequate retrospective and current subject coverage as stated in the collection level statements.
  • Adequate coverage when there is a scarcity of material published on the subject.
  • Relevance of format and content to the intended audience.
  • Effectiveness and suitability of format in communicating the content.
  • Inclusion of the title in standard or special bibliographies or indexes.
  • Impact on the materials expenditure plan.
  • Parameters of level assigned.

The Library has established long-term arrangements to supply certain materials on a continuing basis. These arrangements will be reviewed regularly to ensure that the materials received meet community needs, collection levels, and selection criteria.

Adopted by the Board of Supervisors on June 16, 1998.



Alameda County Library protects the right to privacy and confidentiality of all library members. Our commitment to privacy and confidentiality has deep roots in the ethics and practices of librarianship. In accordance with the American Library Association's Code of Ethics: "We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted." This policy explains information the Library collects and member privacy options.

Alameda County Library avoids creating unnecessary records, retaining records not needed for library business purposes and engaging in practices that might make personally identifiable information accessible without consent. The Library protects personally identifiable information by storing it on secure servers and changing passwords regularly.

The Library will keep all personally identifiable information it collects confidential except under the certain limited circumstances set forth in this Privacy Policy. We will not sell, license, or disclose it to any third party, except under such circumstances. Pertinent state and federal laws are linked at the end of this policy.

What information does Alameda County Library collect?

Information the Library collects includes, but is not limited to:

  • Information to register for a library card (e.g. name, address, telephone number, email address, birthdate);
  • Records of material currently checked out, charges owed, payments made;
  • Records of communication between staff and members;
  • Sign-up information for library classes or programs;
  • Records of public computer sessions;
  • Catalog or database search records;
  • Records related to library volunteer work; and
  • Other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities or services.

Library Accounts and Borrowing Records:

To obtain a library card, members are required to provide identifying information to associate with the account. This information includes member name, birthdate, and address and/or telephone number. Members can also provide optional information, including additional authorized users, a preferred language and/or preferred name. The Library keeps this information for the life of the library account.

Borrowing records, which are stored temporarily, include items currently checked out or on hold, overdue materials with fines and records of past fines paid.

The Library does not maintain a history of items borrowed and returned on time.

Lost Library Cards:

It is the cardholder’s responsibility to notify the Library immediately if a library card is lost or stolen or if there is a concern that an unauthorized person is using the card or card number.

Maintaining Account Information:

Members may access their own personally identifiable information held by the Library and are responsible for keeping that information accurate and up-to-date. Staff is available to assist members with updating this information, or it may be updated online by accessing the member account.

Members may activate optional features in their accounts to save searches, create personal lists, or maintain a history of items borrowed. This data is not accessible without the member’s library card number and may be permanently deleted by the member at any time.

Minors’ Accounts:

Members under the age of 13 who wish to obtain a library card must have a parent or legal guardian sign or co-sign with them at the time of the application. Both parent/legal guardian’s and child’s names will be listed on the account and both will be allowed to access information about the account. The access for the parent/legal guardian is revoked at age of 13 unless permission is granted specifically by the child.

Access at Member’s Request:

Members wanting the convenience of allowing another person to access their account may authorize an additional person to do so by including that person’s name on the application, thereby granting access to the full range of rights and responsibilities of library cardholders. This authorization may be revoked by submitting a request in writing.

Users authorized by the member, including parents/legal guardians, who wish to obtain access to any library registration or borrowing records, or who wish to pick up items on hold, must provide the account holder’s library card or card number, or ID matching an authorized name on the account.

Items on Hold:

The Library provides members the convenience of self-service holds. Held materials are shelved in a public area. For privacy reasons, members may request to have their items kept behind the counter for pick up.

Library Uses of Personally Identifiable Information:

Except for the limited circumstances set forth in this Privacy Policy, personally identifiable information provided by a library member will only be used to provide library services to the library member, update information at the member’s request, communicate with the member about library services, or otherwise by a person acting within the scope of his or her duties within the administration of the library. These uses and disclosures include third parties that maintain and store member information on behalf of the library, under agreement to keep such information confidential.

Public Computers:

The Library's public computers delete any locally stored Internet browsing data and all searches after each session. Session logs are also deleted regularly. When utilizing the Library’s public computers, members should take appropriate steps to safeguard personally identifiable information, including deleting information saved to storage media borrowed from the Library, logging-out of accounts, and ending the session or locking the device before stepping away.

Questions and Feedback:

The Library treats library resources information requests or inquiries, regardless of how they are received (in person, via telephone, fax, email or online) confidentially. Personal identifying information related to these questions is used only for the purpose stated by the collection tool (form, survey, etc.) and questions are purged on an ongoing basis.

Answers to questions received that do not contain personally identifiable information may be shared publicly to facilitate access for others to the same answer.

Library surveys, focus groups, comment cards and other methods of soliciting feedback are voluntary. Any personally identifiable information collected from these tools will be used only for the purpose of improving library services and is not retained.


The Library website provides remote access to vital content and services for Library members. As members browse through the Library's website, certain information about the visit is automatically gathered and stored. No personally identifiable information about website visitors is collected or stored.

The Library automatically collects and stores only the following information:

  • The domain and IP address used to access the website;
  • The type of browser and operating system used to access the website;
  • The date and time of access to the website;
  • The pages visited;
  • The address of the website from which the initial visit to the Library’s website was launched, if any; and
  • The address from which a visitor exits.

This information is gathered for statistical purposes only and enables the Library to improve the website and services.

Links to Other Sites:

The Library's website contains links to other sites including providers of online database services and eBook/eMedia services. The Alameda County Library is not responsible for the privacy practices of other sites, which may be different from the privacy practices described in this policy. The Library encourages library users to become familiar with privacy policies of other sites visited and services used, including linked sites.

Working with Law Enforcement:

Library registration, circulation and other personally identifiable member use records will not be made available to any agency of the state, federal or local government unless a subpoena, warrant, court order or other investigatory document is issued by a court. In the event of such an order, only the County Librarian or a designated member of the library management team has the authority to release records.

Members may conduct only legal activity while using library resources and services. Nothing in this policy prevents the library from exercising its right to enforce its Behavior Policy (see Chapter 4.02), protect its facilities, network and equipment from harm or prevent the use of library facilities and equipment for illegal purposes.

For security purposes, the library can electronically log activity to monitor its public computers and external access to its network and reserves the right to review such logs when a violation of law or library policy is suspected. Staff is authorized to take immediate action to protect the security of library members, staff, facilities, computers and the network. This authority includes contacting law enforcement and providing information gathered from the library’s network that may identify the individual(s) suspected of a violation.


Applicable State and Federal Laws

USA PATRIOT Act – Sections 214-216 of this Act gives law enforcement agencies expanded authority to obtain library records, secretly monitor electronic communications and prohibits libraries and librarians from informing library users of monitoring or information requests.

California Government Code – Section 6267 of this code defines the exceptions to the California Public Records Act related to library registration and use.

COPPA (Child Online Privacy and Protection Rule) – Imposes restrictions on websites or online services directed to children under the age of 13.

Updated June 2019

Media Policy

You may be photographed or video-recorded during the program, event or class.

By being present, you consent to the use of your and your family’s images resulting from the photograph/video-recording, and any reproductions or adaptations of the images for promotion by the Alameda County Library and its partners and representatives. This includes but is not limited to all print, audio, digital, video, web, and social media with no limit on time or location. By consenting to the use of you and your family member's images, you agree to hold the County harmless for such use. If you have any further questions please contact the reference desk of your local library for more details.

Updated 2016

Social Media


Alameda County Library (ACL) uses social media as a tool to create a welcoming online space where library users can find useful information and resources and can communicate with library staff and other users. ACL is committed to a social media presence that reflects our core values of integrity, respect and providing opportunities and resources for lifelong learning.

This policy governs the publication of and commentary on official ACL social media sites including, blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest and YouTube. This policy is in addition to existing privacy policies regarding the use of the internet.

Social Media Definition:

For the purposes of this policy, social media refers to community created content sites such as blogs, photo-and video-sharing sites, and wikis, including but not exclusively, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, Instagram and others. This is content created by ACL and maintained by staff.

User-Generated Content:

Comments, posts and messages are welcome on the ACL social media sites. While the library recognizes and respects differences of opinion, all such interactions will be regularly monitored and reviewed for content and relevancy.

ACL’s social media sites are moderated online discussion sites and not public forums. ACL reserves the right to review, edit, move, or delete any comment, message or post placed on any of our social media sites, at our sole discretion and without notice. Any content which contains the following will be removed and the user may be barred from posting any subsequent content to ACL social media sites.

The following is not allowed:

Obscene or racist content
Personal attacks, insults, or threatening language
Potentially libelous statements
Plagiarized or pirated content
Private, personal information published without consent
Comments or hyperlinks unrelated to the content of the forum
Commercial promotions or spam
Organized political activity
Photos or other images that fall in any of the above categories

Terms of Use:

Users are solely responsible for their comments, messages, posts, and any information they provide on the ACL social media sites.

Any information or material placed online, including advice and opinions, are the views and responsibility of those users making the comments and do not necessarily represent the views of the library. ACL does not endorse, sanction, encourage, verify, or agree with the comments, opinions, or statements posted on any of its social media sites. You agree that ACL assumes or has no responsibility or liability with respect to any information or materials posted by others.

By submitting comments, messages, posts, or engaging in any form of communication on ACL social media sites, you agree to the above rules and grant ACL a royalty-free, non-exclusive, unrestricted license to use, reproduce, publish, distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, create derivative works from, and distribute such communications and/or ideas in any form or medium.

Updated 2017