What to know about Jefferson County Library’s ‘Open-Access’ policy
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ind.
(AP) The Jefferson County Public Library is launching an initiative to open its library to the public, which it says will help preserve the library’s heritage and diversity.
The library will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays.
The library says it is partnering with a local nonprofit, Open Access Foundation, to open the doors to all library patrons.
Open Access Foundation says it has created a database for library patrons that is available on the library website.
“We are excited to bring this to our community through the Open Access Library, which will be a place where anyone can access all of our collections in one place,” the library said in a news release.
The Jefferson County public library opened in 2015.
It is one of four regional libraries in Indiana that have an open-access policy, which allows libraries to charge patrons for access to the material they have requested.
The policy also includes restrictions on what is allowed in certain areas, including a requirement that books be stored in a locked, locked cabinet and that all children under the age of 12 must have a parent present at all times.
The Indiana Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs says that libraries have the right to charge fees for certain books and services, but not for the materials they are storing.
Indiana Public Library Director Jim Jones said the library has had to consider whether it could charge fees in some cases to meet the requirements of the OpenAccess policy, but the library says that is not its intent.
“The library is looking at it as a service to our customers, and we are certainly open to the opportunity to partner with anyone who wants to come through our doors,” Jones said.
“It will be our first public library, so we have to do a good job of accommodating everyone.”
The Open Access Fund says that while there is no data on how many books the library could be charging for each person, it estimates that the policy could cost it $40,000 a year.
The fund, which has raised more than $1 million to help Indiana libraries operate, has been collecting data from library patrons since 2014.
OpenAccess Foundation says its database is open to anyone who visits the library, including libraries that are closed or have limited hours.
Jones said that information will be used by the library to educate its patrons about the policy.