About the Library

The Norfolk Public Library serves the community through providing access to information, technology, and lifelong learning opportunities. We also provide a variety of services including providing community meeting spaces, offering classes and programs, and hosting a community MakerSpace. Please see our Catalog & Collections, Classes & Events, and Library Services pages to learn more. 

Policies & Plans - Governance & Getting Involved - History 

Policies & Plans

Approved by the Citizens Library Advisory Board on January 11, 2017 & Approved by the Norfolk City Council on January 17, 2017

Getting a Library Card and Checking out Materials
Library Card Policy

Library Card Registration: A Library Card provides full access to the Library's collections and services.  It allows the card holder to check out Library materials, use the public computers, and access online services.  Patrons borrowing items from the Library are using and taking home the assets of the citizens of Norfolk.  Proper photo identification, proof of current residential address, and a completed and signed registration form are required before any item can be borrowed. 

 By signing the registration form, the patron is agreeing to:

Return all items borrowed on or before the due date or to pay the overdue fines assigned.

Pay the assigned value for any items checked out on the patron's Library card that become damaged or lost.

Be responsible for any items checked out on the patron's Library card and notify the Library immediately if the card has been lost.

Inform the Library of any changes in address or other contact information.

Obey all Library policies and regulations.

Requirements for Proper Identification: A State-Issued Identification Card or Driver's License is the preferred form of identification.  Other forms of photo ID can be accepted when presented in combination with a proof of current residential address listed below.

Requirements for Proof of Current Residential Address: There is no local residency requirement for obtaining a Norfolk Public Library card.  Anyone who works or lives in northeast Nebraska may get a Library card at no charge. 

Library staff can accept the following as proof of current residential address:

address printed on a state-issued ID or Driver's License,

printed personalized checks,

a piece of mail cancelled by the Post Office within the last 30 days,

a bill that bears the registrant’s name and address received in the last 30 days,

car registration, or

an insurance card.

If the applicant receives mail at a Post Office Box, they must provide proof of their current residential address in addition to their PO Box number.

 Library Cards for Children: There is no age threshold for obtaining a Library card.  Children age 15 and younger must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian when getting a Library card. This parent or guardian must be able to show proper identification and proof of current residential address for themselves and sign the child's registration form in order to obtain a Library card for the child.  The person signing the child's registration form is legally liable for any and all charges and fees on the child's Library card.

 Minors ages 16 - 18 will be issued a Library card without a parent's signature provided they are able to present proper identification and proof of current residential address. Otherwise, a parent or guardian must accompany them and be able to show proper identification and proof of current residential address for themselves and sign the child's registration form in order to obtain a Library card for the minor.

 Library Cards for College Students: College students with a temporary local college address will be issued Library cards by providing the required identification and proof of residential address listed above.  If they do not have proof of their temporary local college residence, they may provide proof of their permanent home address instead.  On the registration form, they should list the temporary local college address as their primary address and list the permanent home address as an alternate address.

 Library Cards for those with a Temporary Local Address: The Library will issue cards to patrons staying at a temporary local address provided they are able to meet the requirements for patron registration including showing proper identification and proof of the current residential address.  A letter from the director of the institution where they are staying or, for those here for short-term work assignments, a piece of mail addressed to the applicant with the short-term address will meet the requirements for proof of current residential address.

 With the agreement of the staff at the Norfolk Rescue Mission, the Library will not issue Library cards to temporary residents of the Mission.  Long-term residents of the Norfolk Rescue Mission's year-long program will be able to obtain a Library card by providing a photo ID and a letter on the Rescue Mission's letterhead stating they are a participant of that long-term program. 

 The Library Director will make the final decision if there are questions about whether a Library card may be issued under this policy.

 Library Cards for Organizations: The Library can issue a group card to an organization when a qualified representative of that organization makes a formal request to the Library Director and agrees to take financial responsibility for all material checked out on the card.  Library cards for organizations are subject to the same responsibilities and limitations as all other Library cards.

 Internet Only Card Registration: An Internet Only Card allows patrons to use the Library's public computers but not borrow any items.  For this type of Library card, a photo ID and completed registration form are required, but no proof of address is needed.

 Presentation of Library Card or Photo ID: Library patrons must present their Library card in order to borrow Library materials.  If the card is not present, a photo ID must be shown in order to borrow Library materials.  Patrons are allowed to give their card to another person to borrow materials on their behalf or pick up materials being held for them, although patrons must keep in mind that they are responsible for all items checked out on their card even if they did not personally check them out.   Since Library staff cannot know what permissions each Library user has, the Library staff assumes that the person in possession of the Library card has the cardholder's permission to use it.  If a patron loses a Library card, he/she must notify the Library immediately to prevent its unauthorized use.

Lost Card Replacement: Patrons who have lost their library card must purchase a replacement card.  Although a photo ID may be presented in order to check out materials, this is allowed only as a temporary convenience until a new card can be purchased.  In order to obtain a replacement Library card, a patron will be required to show positive proof of identification and pay a $1 replacement fee.   

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Circulation Policy

 Check Out Limits: Patrons may check out the following number of items at any one time:

Books - unlimited

Audio Books - 25

CDs - 10

DVDs – 3

Magazines - 3

Video Games – 1

WiFi HotSpots - 1

 Check Out Loan Periods

Books and Audio Books may be checked out for a period of two weeks, and may be renewed two times if there are no holds on the item.  Each renewal period is for two weeks

Magazines, video games, DVDs and CDs may be checked out for a period of one week and cannot be renewed.

WiFi Hotspots may be checked out for a period of three weeks and cannot be renewed.

A patron may not check in an item and then immediately check it out again.  Items must be returned to the shelf so they are available to other patrons. 

Overdue Notices and Fines: Items are considered overdue one day after the due date, and fines begin to accrue at that time. Overdue items must be returned and fines must be paid before patrons can check out any new materials or use the public computers.

Overdue Fines are as follows:

DVDs, CDs, & Video Games: $0.25/day up to a maximum of $5

Books, Magazines, & Audio Books: $0.10/day up to a maximum of $5

Hotspots: $1/day up to a maximum of $25

Overdue Notification and Ordinance Violation Process

Patrons will be notified by the Library if they have overdue items. 

 First Notice Sent: For DVD's, Video Games, CD's, Magazines, and Hotspots the first overdue notice is sent after the item is 2 days overdue.  For books and audio books, the first overdue notice is sent after the item is 7 days overdue. The first notice is sent by US Postal mail, email, or text message depending on what the individual patron has requested. 

Second Notice Sent: For DVD's, Video Games, CD's, Magazines, and Hotspots the second overdue notice is sent after the item is 16 days overdue.  For books and audio books, the second overdue notice is sent after the item is 21 days overdue. The second notice is sent by US Postal mail, email, or text message depending on what the individual patron has requested. 

Final Notice Sent: For DVD's, Video Games, CD's, Magazines, and Hotspots the final overdue notice is sent after the item is 30 days overdue.  For books and audio books, the final overdue notice is sent after the item is 35 days overdue.  The final notice is sent by US Postal mail or email depending on what the individual patron has requested. 

Ordinance Violation Process: If, following the final overdue notice, the items have still not been returned or paid for, an additional letter is mailed by US Postal mail.  The letter advises the patron that arrangement for the return or payment of the items must be made within seven days or the matter will be turned over to the Norfolk City Attorney.  If, within that time frame, a suitable arrangement for the return or payment of the items is not made, then the matter is turned over to the Norfolk City Attorney to be prosecuted as an Ordinance Violation pursuant to Norfolk City Code Sec. 12.5-9.

 Lost & Damaged Material Charges : For items that are damaged or missing pieces, Library staff will assess the damage and assign a charge based on the cost of repairs and the item’s ability to be further used in the Library’s collection. For items that are damaged beyond repair, missing essential pieces, or lost, patrons are charged for the full retail price of the item at the time it was purchased, and as is listed in the item's record.  Due to the cost to prepare materials for circulation, patrons cannot purchase replacement items to be substituted for the lost or damaged item. If a lost item is paid for and later found, the item cannot be returned for a refund and becomes the property of the patron.

 When an item's exact cost is unable to be determined, the following amounts will be used:

hardback books $25.00

paperback books $7.50

compact discs $20.00

DVDs $25.00

video games $35.00

reference books $40.00

audio books $40.00

maps $10.00

Hotspot $50

Hotspot charging cord and/or plug-in $25

Holds and Pickup Notices: Patrons may place a hold on any item they want to borrow that is currently checked out.   When an item on hold is ready for the patron, a Pickup Notice will be sent.  The Pickup Notice will be sent by US Postal mail, email, or text message depending on what the individual patron has requested. Patrons are given seven days from the date the Pickup Notice is sent to check out an item they have on hold. Any item not checked out within seven days will be given to the next patron on the holds list or put back into circulation if there are no other holds on the item.

Interlibrary Loan: For items that the Library does not own, patrons may request an Interlibrary Loan in which the Library borrows the requested material from another Library.  Patrons are limited to three Interlibrary Loan Requests at a time.  There is no fee for this service, but overdue charges, lost fees, and damaged fees all apply to materials borrowed through Interlibrary Loan. Materials requested but not picked up are charged a $3 handling fee to help cover postage costs. Materials returned more than one week late are assessed a $3 overdue fee. Damaged and Lost Charges will be determined by the owning library.


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Confidentiality of Patron Records

Nebraska State Statute 84-712.05 (11) and the Norfolk Public Library protect the privacy of Library users.  Information related to a person's use of the Library's materials and services (including information sought, materials used, or Internet usage) is confidential and can be disclosed only under certain circumstances. When necessary for the recovery of lost or stolen Library materials, or when illegal activity involving the Library takes place, the Library Director may authorize disclosure of information to federal, state, or municipal authorities. In all other situations, a valid subpoena or court order is required to disclose or release Library records.  All Library staff members are to refer any request for such records to the Library Director. Upon receipt of such order or subpoena, the Library Director may consult with the City Attorney's Office to determine if such order or subpoena is in proper form and if there is a showing of good cause for issuance.

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Materials Selection Policy

The Norfolk Public Library Materials Selection Policy is based on the following principles:

Materials are selected which provide for the interest, information, enlightenment, entertainment, education, development, enrichment, and/or self-improvement of all Library patrons, within budgetary constraints and availability of materials.

It is the intent of the Library to stock materials presenting diverse viewpoints on all subjects and to attempt to satisfy a wide variety of patrons with differences in tastes, interests, reading levels and purposes.   Selection of materials does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content, viewpoint, implications, or presentation of the materials.  Library materials will not be labeled, marked or otherwise identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, and no cataloged item will be sequestered, except for the express purpose of protecting it from injury or theft.

The freedom to read, along with the freedom to hear and to view, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. This freedom, essential to our democracy, will be upheld in the selection and accessibility of all Library materials. In this regard, the Library upholds the principles of the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, and Freedom to View Statements.

The Library staff does not serve in loco parentis. It is the parent(s), and only the parent(s), who may restrict their children, and only their own children, from access to Library materials. Responsibility for children's use of Library materials rests with their parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s). Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may inadvertently come into the possession of children.

The Library is not a judicial body. Laws governing obscenity, subversive materials, and other questionable matters are subject to interpretation by the courts. Consequently, no challenged material will be removed from the Library for complaints of obscenity, pornography, subversiveness, or any other category covered by law until after receipt of an independent court order. Conversely, materials previously judged unlawful will not knowingly be selected.

In accordance with the above principles, the following policies apply in regard to materials selection for the general Library collection.

General Selection Guidelines: As budgetary and shelving space constraints limit the purchase of materials, the selections made follow the aforementioned principles while attempting to maintain diversity, quality and responsiveness to patron interest patterns. As such, selections are made on the basis of any one, several, or all of the following considerations:

Diversity is pursued by attempting to meet the needs of all ages, backgrounds, and educational levels, by providing as many subject fields as possible, and by providing alternative perspectives as well as popular materials. The collection represents various opinions and viewpoints on all issues of general concern and should broadly reflect the various ethnic and social groups in the City.

Quality is pursued by applying professional discretion and standards established by the Library profession and through the use of appropriate selection aids, including book reviews, best seller lists, award lists, etc.

The Library staff responds to community interests by careful consideration of the following: patron requests for purchases, use patterns for existing materials, purchase trends of similar materials from retailers, and any other source of information indicating community interests.

Reflection of the community is pursued by specially considering materials that possess significance due to the locality of the author, illustrator, publisher, subject or setting.

Undue duplication of materials is avoided, either in the Library itself, or with other institutions in the community. Esoteric or very technical works, and materials available elsewhere to special interest groups, are generally excluded from the collection. Materials may also be excluded if the existing collection already covers the field.  The Library's Interlibrary Loan service is available to supplement our local collection as needed.

Materials with formats that do not conform or lend themselves to Library use are usually excluded.

Gifts, unsolicited donations, and citizen suggestions for purchases are all evaluated under the same policies, principles, and selection criteria as regularly purchased materials. Gifts and donated materials not added to the collection are disposed of at the discretion of the Library and in the manner chosen by the Library Director.

 Specific Selection Criteria: Materials selections are made on the basis of any one, several, or all of the following specific criteria:

A positive review in at least one standard Library review journal, including, but not limited to, Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, School Library Journal, or Horn Book.

Awarding of a significant literary honor or other significant honor appropriate for the form of the work (Grammy, Pulitzer, Academy Award, etc.).

A high standard of quality in content, expression and physical attributes.

Contents that are timely, accurate, and representative of various viewpoints.

Significant reputation of the author, editor, publisher, producer or illustrator.

Contemporary significance, potential usefulness, appeal or cultural value of the title.

Reasonable cost with regard to budget restrictions.

Appearance on a Best Seller list as a reputed indicator of potential demand.

Formats collected include books, periodicals, newspapers, maps, audio and video recordings, graphic novels, video games and online databases. These formats may be collected in physical print form or in electronic form.  New and/or emerging formats will be considered when appropriate. The collection does not include items that will not withstand circulation.

Responsibility for Selection: Various Library staff members, using the guidelines and principles above, select materials for the Library.  Adequately trained professional staff exercise the selection authority delegated to them, but the final responsibility for selection resides with the Library Director.

Intended Audiences: In general, material selected for the Juvenile area has a target age range of birth to 12 years old and material selected for the Young Adult area is intended for ages 13 and up.  However, many factors affect what material is appropriate for an individual child, including reading level, maturity and personal beliefs.  The Library staff cannot act in place of the parent in selecting what material is appropriate for a particular child.  Responsibility for children's use of Library materials, regardless of format, rests with their parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s). 

Removing Items from the Collection: Library materials are continuously assessed for their condition, accuracy, currency, and use within the context of the total Library Collection.  Items may be withdrawn from the collection for any of these reasons.  This continuous evaluation of materials is necessary to maintain a collection that is useful and relevant to the Library's patrons, as well as maintaining a collection size that fits within the current area available for housing materials.


Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials

If any patron believes that the Library has not followed the above stated Materials Selection Policy in the selection of Library materials, he/she may speak with the Library Director.  If the patron is not satisfied by the result of this first step, a Materials Complaint Form, available on the Library's website or from the Library Secretary, may be filled out and submitted to the Library Board. The Library Board will consider each request in terms of the criteria outlined in this Materials Selection Policy, and will provide a timely, considered response to the patron.

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Gift Materials Policy

The Library accepts unrestricted gifts of books and other materials with the understanding that they will be added to the Library collection only as needed. Gifts and unsolicited donations are all evaluated under the same policies, principles, and selection criteria as regularly purchased materials. Gifts and donated materials not added to the collection are disposed of at the discretion of the Library and in the manner chosen by the Library Director.

The Library does not normally accept gifts of money, art, or other property, and donors are encouraged to have these gifts handled by the Norfolk Library Foundation, a non-profit corporation established for the primary purpose of accepting such gifts and using them for the benefit of the Library.

For anyone wishing to present the Library with books or other items as memorials or tributes to loved ones, the Library staff can assist in selecting appropriate items.  Items purchased as memorials are offered for checkout to the donor before being put into regular circulation.  The donor may also request a bookplate to be placed inside the item indicating the donor and occasion of the gift.

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 Using the Library Facility and Technology


  Non-Discrimination Statement

The Norfolk Public Library does not discriminate on the basis of sex, gender, race, color, national origin, religion, or physical disability. The Library building is and shall be fully accessible to the physically disabled. Persons with a physical disability shall be provided with all necessary assistance in using Library equipment and materials.

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Bulletin Board Use

The public bulletin boards are provided for the use of the community to share information about civic, educational, cultural, or recreational activities and resources. All items posted on the bulletin board must be approved by library staff before posting.  The library staff will determine what may be posted according to the priorities listed above and other considerations including available space, size of the item, date of the event if applicable, and how long the item is to be posted. The final decision on the display of any item shall belong to the Library Director.

 The following kinds of material may not be posted:

Political advertising. However, announcements of nonpartisan or bipartisan informational events such as candidates’ forums, debates, etc., are encouraged.

Commercial or business advertising, including sales flyers.

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Copier & Fax Machine Use

The fax machine and copy machine are provided for public use.  The Library contracts with businesses to provide these machines for the public, and the prices for their services are set by those businesses.  As with other Library resources, Library staff will assist patrons needing help, but cannot perform the fax or copy service for them. 

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Meeting Room Policy

The Library welcomes public use of its meeting rooms in line with the Library's mission to give community members of all ages the means to fulfill their recreational interests, interact with others in the community, get information on a broad array of topics, access resources to help them learn to read and use information effectively, and continue to learn throughout their lives.

 Description of Rooms

Meeting Room A – The largest of the meeting rooms, this room can seat up to 100 people auditorium style or 36 people classroom style.  The room is equipped with a laser projector, screen, Blu-Ray player, microphone, sound system, and Wi-Fi.  This room has a kitchenette that includes a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and warming oven.  No utensils, paper goods, or dishes are provided. 

Meeting Room B – The smallest of the meeting rooms, this room can seat up to 25 people auditorium style or 12 people around a conference table. This room has a TV for sharing presentations and Wi-Fi.

Meeting Room C – This meeting room can seat up to 75 people auditorium style or 30 people classroom style.  The room is equipped with a laser projector, screen, Blu-Ray player, microphone, sound system, and Wi-Fi. 

Meeting Rooms A, B, and C can be combined to form one large space, with a total seating capacity of 200 people auditorium style or 72 people classroom style. 

Study Rooms 1, 2, and 3 – These small study rooms seat 6-8 people around a conference table and are equipped with a TV for sharing presentations and Wi-Fi.

Study Room 4 -  This small study room seats 4 people around a table and is equipped with Wi-Fi.

 Who May Use the Meeting and Study Rooms: Library-sponsored events and meetings of the City of Norfolk have priority for use of the Meeting and Study Rooms.  Following these, any of the groups below may make reservations for the public meeting rooms.

Governmental agencies;

Non-profit organizations, civic groups, and service clubs;

Educational, recreational, or hobby groups (i.e. home-schooling organizations, book clubs, etc.);

Groups or individuals for the purpose of study space or participation in a long-distance educational program; and,

For-profit businesses when the room is needed for educational or training purposes.

 What the Meeting Rooms May Be Used For:  Groups listed as approved above may use the meeting rooms for private meetings as well as meetings or events that are open to the public.  Regardless of the group making the reservation, the following activities are prohibited:

Sales to the public, other than sales that are part of a Library-sponsored program;

Programs promoted as educational in nature, but that seek to sell a particular product or recruit attendees to sell products for a direct sales company;

Admission fees, unless pre-approved by the Library Director;

Political campaigning, although multi-party debates, forums, or similar events are allowed;

Private parties of a strictly social nature. (i.e. baby showers, birthday parties, etc.)

 Library staff will make reservations using these guidelines.  Where there is a question involving proper use of the meeting rooms, the decision will be made by the Library Director.

 Terms and Conditions for Using the Meeting and Study Rooms

A reservation must be made in order to use Meeting Rooms A, B, or C.  The reservation must include the person’s name, phone number, purpose of the meeting, and the name of the group if applicable.

Study Rooms 1-4 may be reserved in advance, with the same information listed above required.  If no reservations are made, the rooms are open on a first-come, first-served basis to patrons using the library.

Groups or individuals may have 3 total active reservations at a time and may make reservations up to 6 months in advance. 

Any publicity for an activity in one of the meeting rooms must not in any way imply sponsorship of the activity by either the Library or City of Norfolk.

Persons using the meeting rooms are responsible for all set up of tables and chairs.  Study rooms do not require or allow different room configurations.

Permission must be obtained from Library staff before anything may be adhered to a wall, furnishing, or piece of equipment, or before bringing in any additional furnishings or equipment.

Food and non-alcoholic drinks are permitted. If the kitchenette in Meeting Room A is needed for food preparation, then the reservation must be made for that room.  Please see the room descriptions for more information on what is included in the kitchenette.

The meeting and study rooms must be left clean and neat following use, including cleaning up after any food or beverages.  If not, a custodial fee for the cost of the clean-up, and not less than $25, will be charged.  Repeated offenses will result in being denied future use of the facility.

Persons using the meeting or study rooms are responsible for any damage to the facility and its furniture, equipment, and other contents. 

The Library and The City of Norfolk assume no responsibility for property or personal belongings of any kind brought into the Library building by any person or group making use of the Library’s facilities or attending any function at the Library.

Storage of any equipment or furniture not belonging to the Library is not permitted, except for Official County voting equipment left overnight.

Use of the Community Meeting Rooms outside of regular operating hours requires permission from the Library Director.  A Library staff member or a City of Norfolk staff member of division head or higher level must be present during any off hours use of the meeting rooms.  Use of the study rooms outside of regular operating hours is not permitted.  Unless needed for Library or City of Norfolk purposes, no meeting room reservations may be made on Sundays due to the limited hours and staffing.

The Library Director or the Director’s authorized representative may deny use of the facility, including stopping an activity in progress, to anyone violating these rules or behaving in a way that violates the Library’s Patron Behavior Policy.

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Patron Behavior Policy

In an effort to provide all customers with a facility that is safe, pleasant, and conducive to Library use, the following guidelines must be observed:

A shirt and shoes must be worn at all times while in the Library.

Any activities illegal under federal, state, or local laws are also illegal in the Library, specifically including:

theft or mutilation of City property;

possession of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia;

consumption of alcohol on public property;

disturbing the peace; and

disorderly conduct.

The Library specifically prohibits:

Use of tobacco products in the Library,

Use of Library telephones for anything other than urgent calls or for children needing to call parents,

Carrying weapons of any kind,

The presence of animals that are not specifically registered service animals,

The misuse of restrooms, such as for laundering clothes and bathing,

Leaving children unattended,

Loud conversation,

Abusive language or behavior,

Engaging in disruptive conduct which interferes with other patrons using the Library, and

Sleeping in the Library.


First Offense: A person behaving inappropriately will, unless the offense is severe, be given one verbal warning.

Second Offense: If the person continues to disregard the Library's rules after a warning, he or she will be asked to leave the Library for the remainder of the day.

Third Offense: If, after returning to the Library, the person disregards the Library's rules again, he or she will be banned from the Library for a period of thirty days.

Fourth and Repeated Offenses:  Patrons that continue to disregard the Library's rules will be banned from the Library for six months.

Patrons banned from the Library must promptly leave the building or the police will be notified to remove the person and issue a No Trespassing Warrant.

 Severe violations of this policy will not require a warning and will result in the person being required to leave the Library immediately.  In any case where a violation involves possible criminal behavior (destruction of property, assault, etc.), the police will be notified immediately.

Repeat offenders may be brought before the City Attorney for possible prosecution. Permanent exclusion from the Library will happen only after a person has been allowed due process.

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Public Computer & Internet Use Policy

 Access to the internet has become a necessary information and communication portal.  Serving as a free, reliable place for connecting to the internet has become integral to the Library's mission of providing access to information. The internet is a largely unregulated medium.  The Library does not select the resources available on the internet in the way that it selects material for its Library collection and so cannot verify the validity of information found online.  Patrons are encouraged to be smart information consumers when evaluating information provided on a website. 

 The Library recommends that patrons safeguard their privacy by not entering personal information into sites that are untrustworthy, by reading closely any disclosures or agreements required by websites, and by never divulging credit card numbers, social security numbers, addresses, or phone numbers to unknown persons met online.

 Rules for Use

Patrons must use their Library card to access the public computers.  Library accounts must be free from overdue materials and any fees in order to use the computers.  Please see the Library Card policy for the types of Library cards available and the requirements for each.  For visitors to the Library who need only a one-time access to the computers, Library staff can provide one guest pass. 

 Patrons may have up to two 55-minute sessions per day on the public computers. 

 There is no fee to use the public computers.  Printing charges are ten cents per page for Black & White prints and fifty cents per page for Color prints.

 As with other resources in the Library, Library staff can assist patrons in using the computer when needed, but cannot fill out forms or type in personal information for patrons.

 Non-Acceptable Use

Using the Library's public computers to violate any Federal Laws, State Statutes, or City Ordinances is prohibited, including those regarding obscenity, child pornography, and delivery of harmful content to minors.

Due to the public setting of the computers and the presence of children in the Library, viewing of certain materials is prohibited.  Under Federal Law (18 U.S. Code 2252B) and Nebraska State Statute (NRS 28-808), it is illegal to distribute or exhibit material that is harmful to minors, or to be reckless about whether a minor is present who will be offended or alarmed by the display of harmful material.  Harmful material includes any communication consisting of nudity, sex, or excretion that (i) appeals to the prurient interest of minors, (ii) is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable material for minors, and (iii) lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors. (See for detailed information.)

Patrons may not damage or alter any of the computer equipment, software, or systems, and will be held responsible for any damage, including the cost of repair or replacement of any damaged computer hardware or software.

Use of the Library's computers is also governed by the Library's Patron Behavior policy, which prohibits:

Loud conversation,

Playing audio equipment loud enough to disturb other patrons,

Abusive language or behavior, and

Engaging in disruptive conduct which interferes with other patrons using the Library.

These non-acceptable uses apply to any internet or computer use within the Library or on Library property, whether using the public computers, the public wireless internet, or a personal device.  These non-acceptable uses also apply to any access to the internet obtained through a Library-provided device regardless of location.

 The Library reserves the right to end an Internet session at any time if it is violating any of the above rules or if the patron is violating any terms of the Patron Behavior Policy.  Consequences for violating any of these policies will follow the outline provided in the Patron Behavior Policy.

Internet Filtering: The Library utilizes a content filter in order to limit patrons' exposure to obscene and illegal material.  However, no internet filter is perfect at blocking all inappropriate sites, and sometimes sites that are appropriate are inadvertently blocked.  If a patron believes a site is incorrectly blocked or incorrectly allowed, they may submit a request to have it blocked or unblocked to the Library Director.

Computer Use by Children: A parent or guardian must accompany any child under the age of 10 when using a public computer. The Library staff does not serve in loco parentis (in place of a parent).  It is the parent or guardian's responsibility to monitor and select what minors read or view on the Internet.  The Library strongly recommends that parents discuss internet safety with their children, including:

Instructing children to always ask permission before using their full name, address, telephone number, or school name anywhere on the internet.

Instructing children to never arrange to meet in person someone they've met online, unless they have permission and an approved adult accompanies them.

Teaching children to be good information consumers and consider the source, date, and accuracy of online information.

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Tobacco Free Policy

In accordance with City Code Section 14-233, patrons are prohibited from using any tobacco products in the Library or within 20 feet of the entry to the Library, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, electronic cigarettes, vapor products, oral tobacco, and nasal tobacco.  It also includes any product intended to imitate tobacco products or deliver nicotine.  Tobacco does not include any device or substance approved for cessation of tobacco use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Violation of this subsection shall constitute an offense, and upon conviction, shall be subject to the general penalty section found at section 1-16 of the City Code.  Patrons using tobacco products on the Library's property must do so outside, at least 20 feet from the entrance of the building.

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Unattended Children Policy

For a variety of health and safety reasons, young children cannot use the library without a caregiver's supervision. In an effort to protect children and to provide all customers with a facility that is safe, pleasant, and conducive to library use, the following guidelines must be observed:

Children ages 7 and under must stay within a line of sight of their caregiver.

Children ages 8-9 may use the building without direct supervision, provided that a caregiver is in the library building and they are able to follow the general Patron Behavior Policy.

Children age 10 and older may use the library independently provided they are able to follow the general Patron Behavior Policy. 

A caregiver for children under age 10 must be at least 16 years old. The caregiver is responsible for the behavior and supervision of children in their care while at the library.

The library reserves the right to contact parents, guardians, or proper authorities if minors are left unattended, require supervision, or are unable to adhere to the Patron Behavior Policy.

Caregivers should be aware of Library opening and closing times and make suitable arrangements to meet and transport children. In the event that a minor 16 or younger is left after the library has closed, and no one can be contacted to provide transportation, the staff will call the Norfolk Police Department for assistance. Staff will not transport children home or to any other destination under any circumstances.


Governance & Getting Involved

 The Norfolk Public Library is a division of the City of Norfolk. The library has a Citizens Library Advisory Board that advises the Mayor and City Council in regard to the operation, maintenance, and development of the public library. Board Members are appointed by the Mayor and approved by City Council. The Board consists of five members who serve five-year terms. Meetings are held every other month on Monday evenings and are open to the public.

Check the library's Event Calendar for Library Board Meeting dates and times

See the current Citizens Library Advisory Board Members.

Indicate your interest in serving on the Library Board.  

The library has a Volunteer Program and for those looking to give back to the community through volunteer work.  If you are interested, please check out our Volunteer Information packet for all the details. 

The Norfolk Library Foundation is a 501(c)3 Nebraska Non-Profit organization that provides supplemental funding to the Norfolk Public Library. Some of the major programs supported by the Library Foundation are the Summer Reading Program for all ages, the “Start Making a Reader Today” program for new parents, and the Annual Literature Festival.  The Norfolk Library Foundation welcomes gifts to its endowment fund as well as memorial donations and other special designated gifts.  To find out more, please visit or contact Library Director, Jessica Chamberlain, at 402-844-2100. 

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In 1900, Norfolk had a population of around 3,833, and was the largest town in Madison County.  Shortly following the creation of the Nebraska Public Library Commission in 1901, the Woman’s Club of Norfolk showed an interest in creating a library.  Their library opened with 400 books on July 7, 1906, and was located on the second floor of the Bishop Block in downtown Norfolk.  The library soon moved to the High School building and by July 1907 the Woman’s Club had established a small library and received assurance the City would assess a 1.75 mill levy that would raise at least $1,025 per year. Norfolk approached Andrew Carnegie to provide funds to build a library building in 1901, 1902, 1906, and was finally successful in securing a $10,000 grant in 1908. The library opened in 1911.  For more information on the history of Norfolk’s Carnegie Library, please check out Oliver Pollock’s book, A State of Readers (University of Nebraska at Omaha, 2005).       

Half a century passed, and the collection and services grew along with the community.  In 1939, the library was one of the original members of the Nebraska Union Catalog, (NEUCAT).  By 1945, the children’s section had outgrown its space and took over the basement auditorium.  In the 1960’s and early 1970’s, the library had become very crowded.  By then the library was recognized as a major Nebraska resource library, serving as the interlibrary loan and reference center for libraries in 10 counties (later 12), visiting Madison County libraries and schools with a bookmobile, and linked to other resource libraries across the state by a teletype system.

 After years of study and planning, a bond issue for a new library building went to the ballot on November 25, 1975.  The bond issue passed by a three-to-one ratio.  The new 22,000 square foot building, at 308 Prospect Avenue, opened on July 11, 1977, having cost $780,000. As part of the planning for a new building, the Norfolk Library Foundation was organized in 1972.  After achieving its initial goal of getting the bond issue passed and obtaining a suitable sign for the new building, the Foundation reoriented itself in the 1980’s to seeking gifts and raising funds for equipment and materials to enhance the Library.

The bookmobile service was ended by Madison County officials in 1984. In response, the City eliminated the $15 non-resident fee to get a library card in 1985 when the City’s new sales tax went into effect.  Circulation, which had increased each year for the library since moving into the new building, jumped to new record highs in 1985 and 1986 before leveling off. In 1985, the library’s Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) microcomputer was installed, letting the library start cataloging by computer and providing direct interlibrary loan access to over 5,000 libraries across the country.  Small computers became a fixture in the Library, replacing the old interlibrary loan teletype and being used for the book orders files, a periodicals holdings file, word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, and registration files. In 1992 the Library added an integrated automated library circulation system that included the library’s catalog and the library’s circulation operations.  This marked the end of the 240 drawers of cards in the old card catalog. The cost of the automated system was shared by the City of Norfolk, the State of Nebraska, the Peter Kiewit Foundation, and the Norfolk Library Foundation.  In 1998 the Library offered free access to the Internet.  At the same time, online database availability was introduced making the Library a twenty-four hour a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year operation. In 2001, Norfolk Public Library joined Columbus Public Library and Northeast Community College in the ONE Library Consortium, group of multi-type libraries that share one library automation system.  This consortium has now grown to seven member libraries across the state and continues to serve Norfolk by sharing costs across institutions.

Nearly 40 years had passed since the “new” building had been constructed, and wishes to expand and renovate the library building had been building for nearly a decade. Computers and technology changed much about how the library space was being used and updates were needed.  A ballot issue for a half-cent sales tax increase for 36 months was placed on the November 2014 ballot. The issue was approved by voters and construction on the renovation and expansion of the library started April 20, 2017.  The project was completed in May 2018, and a Grand Opening was held on May 29, 2018. This celebration featured remarks by Lt. Governor Mike Foley and Library Foundation President Jim Curry.

In its history, the Library has had eleven library directors.  They are: Mrs. Robert Utter, 1906-1908;  Mrs. R.V. Mason, 1908-1910;  Miss Helen Lobdell, 1910-1918;  Miss Laura Durland, 1918-1941;  Mrs. George Butterfield, 1941-1946;  Miss Alma Wickman, 1946-1973;  Mrs. Rosella “Lucky” Waugh, 1973-1981;  Wayne E. Hanway, 1981-1991; Ted J. Smith, 1992-2009; Michael Caldararo, 2009-2012; and Jessica Chamberlain, 2012-present. 

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