Library Policies


Access to Materials | Materials Selection | Conduct | Media Policy | Computer | Internet


Open Book

Access to Materials Policy

  • All staff members will respect every patron's right to choose his/her own library materials.

  • As part of the Reference interview, in recommending material to any patron, reference staff will consider the patron's reading capabilities, reading comprehension, and the specific question or interest at hand.

  • When material is not available at a branch library, reference staff will explain and encourage the use of Interlibrary Loan by both adults and children when it is appropriate.

  • It is not the responsibility of the circulation desk staff to question patrons about the materials being checked out of the library.

  • This policy applies to all formats of materials in the Library's collection and to patrons of all ages.



Materials Selection Policy


Adopted June 16, 1998 by the Board of Supervisors

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Conduct in the Library

Media Policy

You may be photographed or video-recorded during the program, event or class. By being present, you consent to the use of you 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.



Public Use Computers


All branches of the Alameda County Library offer computers available for public use. All of the computers are PCs. Most public use computers offer Internet access as well as such applications as MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Use of these computers require a valid Alameda County Library card and is limited to one hour a day per person. A limited number of computers do not have Internet access but do run the full compliment of MS Office 2000 applications and can be used for two hours per day. These "Word Processing" stations also require a valid Alameda County Library card to use.

The majority of public use computers can print documents via the library's public use pay printers. Printed pages can be picked up at the branches centrally located pay printer and require the use of a printing debit card. Printing debit cards can be purchased from the vending machine located by the library's photocopy machines. Each printed page will deduct 15 cents from your printing debit card.

If you have any further questions please contact the reference desk of your local library for more details.




Internet Icon

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

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 or unethical 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 images.
  • 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.


Social Media Policy


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.


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.


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


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.

Fremont Main Library Phone