Library Policies

Banner photo of various library visitors

The mission of the Fort Smith Public Library is to provide equal opportunity access to information including high interest/high demand books, multimedia materials, programs, exhibits, and on-line resources to meet the educational and recreational needs of our diverse community for lifelong learning, cultural enrichment and intellectual stimulation.


Fort Smith’s first library was incorporated October 10, 1891, by the Fortnightly Club. In 1906, Ordinance #709 was passed which created a public library for the City of Fort Smith and a board of regents for its administration.

The Arkansas Code of 1987 Title 13 Chapter 2 Sections 502 and 503 state:

13-2-502. Board of trustees.


(a)(1) When any city council or governing body of a city of the first class has decided to establish and maintain a public library under this subchapter, the mayor of the city with the approval of the city council shall appoint a board of not fewer than five (5) trustees nor more than seven (7) trustees for the library.

      (2) The trustees shall be chosen from the citizens at large with reference to their fitness for the office.

      (3) Before entering upon the duties of their office, the trustees shall make oath or affirmation before some judicial officer that they will discharge the duties enjoined upon them. 

(b) The trustees shall receive no compensation for their services.

(c)(1) Two (2) trustees shall hold office for two (2) years, two (2) for four (4) years, and one (1) or more members for five (5) years from the January 1 following their appointment in each case.  At the first meeting they shall cast lots for their respective terms, reporting the result to the council or governing body.  All subsequent terms shall be for five (5) years.

      (2) However, all trustees appointed after January 1, 1998, shall serve terms of five (5) years and until their successors are appointed and qualified.  Any trustee may succeed himself or herself in office.

(d)(1) The removal of any trustee permanently from the city or his or her absence from four (4) consecutive meetings of the board without due explanation of absence shall render his or her office as trustee vacant. 

      (2) Vacancies on the board shall be filled by the mayor with the approval of the city council or governing body.

(e) Immediately after their appointment, the trustees shall meet and organize by the election of one (1) of their number as president and by the election of such other officers as they may deem necessary.

(f) The trustees shall make and adopt such bylaws, rules, and regulations for their own guidance as they see fit.

(g) The trustees shall meet once a calendar quarter, or more often if necessary, for the transaction of business.

(h) With the final approval of the city council or governing body of the municipality, the trustees shall have the authority:

      (1) To negotiate and carry out all agreements between the city public library and the governing boards of the several city libraries and any counties participating in a joint city-county library or a regional library system; or

      (2) To coordinate any and all library

(Arkansas Public Library Laws 2016-2017 edition)


13-2-503. Powers of trustees — Librarian and staff.

(a)(1) All moneys received for library purposes, whether by taxation or otherwise, shall belong to and be designated as the library fund.

      (2) The moneys shall be kept separate and apart from other funds of the city and drawn upon by the proper officers of the library upon the properly authenticated invoices of the library board of trustees.

(b)(1) The board shall have exclusive control of the expenditures of all moneys collected to the credit of the library fund and of the construction of any library building. 

      (2) The board shall have the supervision, care, and custody of the grounds, rooms, or buildings constructed, leased, or set apart for library purposes.

(c)(1)(A) The board shall have the power to purchase or lease grounds or to purchase, lease, erect, and occupy appropriate buildings for the use of the library.

      (B) When a building erected or purchased by the board is not adapted to its purpose or needs, the board may remodel or reconstruct the building.

      (2) The board may also sell or otherwise dispose of any real or personal property that it deems no longer necessary or useful for library purposes.

(d)(1) The board shall have the power to appoint a librarian qualified by education, training, experience, and personality, who shall serve at the will of the board.

      (2) The board shall have the power to appoint necessary assistants and other members of the staff, basing their appointment on the recommendation of the librarian.

(e) The board shall have the power to make necessary rules and regulations for administering the library and shall make provisions for representation at library conventions.

(Arkansas Public Library Laws 2016-2017 edition

The mission of the Fort Smith Public Library is to provide equal opportunity access to information including high interest/high demand books, multimedia materials, programs, exhibits, and on-line resources to meet the educational and recreational needs of our diverse community for lifelong learning, cultural enrichment and intellectual stimulation.

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.

Libraries in America are cornerstones of the communities they serve. Free access to the books, ideas, resources, and information in America’s libraries is imperative for education, employment, enjoyment, and self-government.

Libraries are a legacy to each generation, offering the heritage of the past and the promise of the future. To ensure that libraries flourish and have the freedom to promote and protect the public good in the 21st century, we believe certain principles must be guaranteed.

To that end, we affirm this contract with the people we serve:

  • We defend the constitutional rights of all individuals, including children and teenagers, to use the library’s resources and services;
  • We value our nation’s diversity and strive to reflect that diversity by providing a full spectrum of resources and services to the communities we serve;
  • We affirm the responsibility and the right of all parents and guardians to guide their own children’s use of the library and its resources and services;
  • We connect people and ideas by helping each person select from and effectively use the library’s resources;
  • We protect each individual’s privacy and confidentiality in the use of library resources and services;
  • We protect the rights of individuals to express their opinions about library resources and services;
  • We celebrate and preserve our democratic society by making available the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions and ideas, so that all individuals have the opportunity to become lifelong learners - informed, literate, educated, and culturally enriched.

Change is constant, but these principles transcend change and endure in a dynamic technological, social, and political environment.

By embracing these principles, libraries in the United States can contribute to a future that values and protects freedom of speech in a world that celebrates both our similarities and our differences, respects individuals and their beliefs, and holds all persons truly equal and free.

Adopted February 3, 1999, by the
Council of the American Library Association

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

  1. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.

Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

  1. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

  1. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

  1. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.

  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.

The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.

Organizational Chart

Public Services

Service will not be denied or abridged because of religious, racial, social, economic or political status.

The library will cooperate with area agencies and organizations in order to meet the needs of the community.

The library will initiate programs, exhibits, book lists, etc. to stimulate the use of library materials for the enlightenment of people of all ages.  Attendance at library programs designed for and marketed to specific age groups or interest groups is limited to the age group or interest group specified. 

As no single library can meet all demands in a community, the library encourages active participation in cooperative efforts with other libraries. The library will borrow for customers materials which are not owned by the library and which cannot be purchased or materials for which the demand does not justify purchase. The library will lend to other libraries materials which are requested, however, Fort Smith Public Library customers have priority in the use of materials.

The public library will cooperate with, but cannot perform the functions of, school or other institutional libraries which are designed to meet special or curricular needs.

The library encourages children to visit the library and welcomes them to use library resources and services and attend library programs.  It is important to note that the library is a public facility.  Parents, guardians, or designated caregivers are solely responsible for their child’s safety, well-being, behavior, and their use of the library and its resources.  The library is not equipped, nor is it its role, to provide long- or short-term childcare.

Children under the age of 11, or children of any age who are unable or unwilling to care for themselves, may not be left unsupervised in any area of the library.  Caregivers accompanying children under 11 must be at least 16 years of age and able to monitor the behavior the child and be responsible for and responsive to their needs.  Unattended children must have the knowledge and ability to contact a parent or guardian at all times.  

Children who, in the judgment and sole discretion of the library staff, behave in a disruptive manner may be asked to leave the library.

Children who have not been picked up at closing time will be given the opportunity to call a parent or guardian.  Children under 16 who have not been picked up within 30 minutes after closing will be left in the care of the Fort Smith Police Department.

In accordance with A.C.A. § 12-18-402, library staff are mandated to report suspected child maltreatment to the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline.

The library will protect, as far as possible, the privacy of any person who uses the library according to State Act number 903 of 1989.

Specific dollar amounts of the fines and fees referenced in these policies are listed on the fee schedule in the appendix.

The Fort Smith Public Library’s Guidelines for Library Use are designed to ensure that all library customers are safe and comfortable and that library facilities and resources are kept clean and well maintained.

Library users who cannot follow these guidelines will be asked to leave the library.  Repeated and/or significant offenses will result in loss of library privileges including a temporary or permanent ban from all library locations.  Individuals who refuse to leave the library when requested are subject to arrest under the criminal trespass section (5-39-203) of the Arkansas Code.


Respect the Rights of Other Customers and Library Staff

Use inside voices.  Obscene or profane language, name calling, rude gestures, unreasonable noise, or violent, riotous, or disorderly conduct is not permitted.

The library is generally expected to be a peaceful place.  Running, hitting, slapping, shoving, fighting, and horseplay are not permitted.

The library should be used for library mission-related purposes.  Loitering is not permitted.  When waiting for a ride, wait quietly inside the foyer or on the sidewalk or benches outside.  At branch libraries, the area between the two sets of front doors should be kept clear.

Cell phones should be set to silent or vibrate.  Cell phones may be used inside the library as long as the user speaks in a low voice.  Speaker phone features should not be used.  Library staff may ask customers to leave the building or use designated cell phone areas during conversations.  The use of cell phones is not permitted during library events and programs.

Computer users must follow the library’s Computer and Internet Usage policy and Wi-Fi use policy.  Viewing inappropriate sites is not permitted and will result in the temporary or permanent loss of computer privileges.

Headphones or earbuds must be used for audio on library computers and personal devices, and the volume must be low enough so as not to be heard by others.  If needed, earbuds are for sale at all library locations.

Library users may not possess, consume, or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while in the library.

Children under the age of 11, or children of any age who are unable or unwilling to care for themselves, may not be left unsupervised in any area of the library.  Caregivers accompanying children under 11 must be at least 16 years of age and able to monitor the behavior of the child and be responsible for and responsive to their needs. Additional information on library policies related to children may be found here

For the safety and comfort of children and teens visiting the library, unaccompanied adults are welcome to browse the library collections, but only adults accompanied by children or teens may study or lounge in the children’s and teen areas of the library.

Sleeping, bathing in the restrooms, and walking barefoot are not acceptable library behaviors.

Personal belongings should be limited to what a person can reasonably carry.  They must not block aisles, walkways, or stairs or interfere with access to library services and materials.  Personal items may not be left unattended inside or on library property.  The library is not responsible for personal belongings left unattended.  Storage of personal belongings is not available.  Personal belongings intentionally left unattended may be discarded.

Library users are expected to dress according to norms for indoor public spaces and should be clothed so as not to be disruptive in a public setting.  Shirts and shoes are required.  Clothing should not be deemed offensive or contain profane messages.

Offensive body odor due to neglected hygiene or other strong scents is discouraged.

Inappropriate public displays of affection are not permitted.

Soliciting, campaigning, fundraising, and panhandling are not allowed inside the library or on library grounds (except on election day at locations being used as polling places, as prescribed by Arkansas law). Distributing pamphlets, surveys, flyers, advertisements, or other materials is not permitted without library permission.

Weapons are not permitted in library buildings (Arkansas Code 5-73-122).

Customers should respect library staff and refrain from interfering with the library staff’s ability to perform their duties.  Engaging in extended conversations, monopolizing a staff member’s attention, or engaging in behavior that forces the attention of staff for an extended period of time is not permitted.  Inappropriate personal comments, sexual advances, verbal harassment, sexual harassment, or physical harassment will not be tolerated.

Library users should follow instructions given by library staff quickly and respectfully.


Respect Library Facilities

Furniture should be used for its intended purposes.  Climbing on furniture, sitting on tables, leaning chairs back, or putting feet on tables is not permitted.

Covered drinks are permitted in public areas of the library except near library computers.  Food and drinks are permitted in library meeting rooms.  Food is not permitted in study rooms.  Only food purchased from Dewey’s Café is permitted in Dewey’s Café.

Smoking or tobacco use, including smokeless tobacco, electronic cigarettes, or their equivalent, is not permitted in the library. 

Vandalism, graffiti, defacing, intentionally damaging library property, and theft of library property are unlawful and will be prosecuted.

Pets are not allowed in the library except those used for library programming or as service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The use of skateboards, roller blades, roller skates, and scooters are not permitted in the library or on library premises. 

Bicycles, shopping carts, or other large wheeled conveyances may not be brought inside library buildings.  Wheelchairs, strollers, and mobility devices are permitted only if they are being used as transportation for or as a mobility device by an adult or child.  Bicycles should be left in designated bicycle racks.

Trash should be deposited in trash receptacles inside or outside the building.  Spills or other messes should be reported to library staff as soon as possible for effective clean-up.

Library parking lots are intended for the use of library customers.  Overnight parking is not permitted without written permission of the library director.  Vehicles that present a hazard or safety risk, appear to be abandoned or inoperable, interfere with the normal operation of the library, or that violate this or any other library policy may be towed at the owner’s expense.

Respect Library Materials

Keep library materials clean and in good condition.  Supervise small children around library materials.  Do not highlight or otherwise mark in or on library materials, and keep them away from liquids, food, pets, and pests.  Replacement fees will be charged for damaged items.

Return materials by their due date.  Library materials may be renewed twice, as long as they are not on hold for another customer.  Renewals may be requested online, by phone, or in person.

Card Application

Fort Smith Public Library cards are free to individuals age 5 and older who live inside the city limits of Fort Smith.  Applicants for a library card must provide the following:



Telephone number and/or an email address

Date of birth

Printed proof of current street address.  Any one of the following can be used:

                        Driver’s license

                        Utility bill (electric, gas, water, tv, cable)

                        Printed check

                        Printed identification (medical card, company ID)

                        Tax receipt

Handwritten receipts cannot be accepted. If the applicant receives mail at a post office box, printed proof of the individual’s home address must be provided.

A parent or guardian must sign the application of children ages 15 and younger.

At the time of registration, one item may be checked out. A postcard will be mailed to the applicant for verification of address. When the applicant returns the postcard to the library, the library card will be issued.   If someone living at the same address already has a card, a library card can be issued immediately.

Reciprocal Card Agreements

Currently enrolled students and verified faculty and staff at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith may use their UA Fort Smith identification card to check out materials at any FSPL location.  Fort Smith Public Library cards may also be used at the Boreham Library on the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith campus.

Non-resident Cards

Fort Smith Public Library cards are available to individuals who live outside the city limits of Fort Smith for an annual fee. All members of the same household may share a single non-resident card.  Additional non-resident cards for household members are available for an annual fee.  The application process for non-residents is the same as for residents, except that a post office box is acceptable as the address.

Fort Smith Property Owners

An individual who lives outside the city limits of Fort Smith but owns property within Fort Smith city limits may obtain a free library card.  The application process is the same as for Fort Smith residents.  In addition, applicants must provide one of the following that includes their name and the address of the property:

Tax collector receipt                 Tax statement              Mortgage Papers                     

Library Card Renewals

Resident library cards are valid for two years.  Non-resident library cards are valid for one year.  To renew their card, the cardholder must show proof of their current address and update any other information that has changed.  If the card has been expired long enough that the cardholder’s information has been deleted from the database, a new application must be completed.

Change of Address

If a customer’s address changes, they must show printed proof of their current address and update any other information that has changed.  Cardholders who move outside the city limits of Fort Smith must purchase a non-resident card.

Lost or Misplaced Cards

A replacement card must be purchased if a card is lost or misplaced.

Teacher Cards

Teacher library cards are available free to teachers at any public or private daycare, elementary, or secondary school within the city limits of Fort Smith.  Teacher cards are to be used exclusively for materials for classroom and curriculum use.  Educators are not required to live within the city limits of Fort Smith.  Applications for teacher cards are accepted only at the Main Library.  In addition to the standard library card application, applicants for teacher cards must also provide printed proof of their current home address and proof of employment at a Fort Smith school.  Teacher cards are kept onsite at the Main Library, but the teacher may use the card number to access digital resources for classroom use. 

Items check out for four weeks with no renewals.  Teacher cards expire annually on June 1 and may be renewed by providing proof of address and employment. 

Transitional Cards

Transitional library cards are available free to individuals in a transitional or temporary living situation inside the city limits of Fort Smith who are not able to provide the printed proof of address required for a regular library card.  Applicants must provide a photo ID or a letter on letterhead from a local shelter confirming their residence.  Once the application has been filled out and photo ID or shelter verification is presented, the card is issued immediately.  Transitional cards are issued for a one-month period and may be renewed.  A maximum of three items may be checked out on a transitional card.

Period of Circulation

All FSPL items may be checked out for two-weeks except for non-print materials and books labeled 7-Day, which may be checked out for a week. 

The current issue of magazines and some reference and archival materials may not be checked out.   A maximum of 25 items may be checked out per library card. 


Most library materials may be renewed twice, as long as they are not already on hold for another customer.  Renewals may be made online, in person, or by telephone.  7-day books renew for an additional 7 days.

Overdue Materials and Fines

The library will send a text or email reminder for items kept past the due date.  Fines are charged on all overdue materials.  The customer will be mailed a bill for all items kept 66 days overdue.  The replacement cost plus a processing fee will be charged.  Library cards with fines of $2 or more will be blocked. 

Materials Lost or Damaged

If a lost material is returned in good condition, the cost of the material will be refunded.  The processing fee will not be refunded.  


Customers may place up to 25 hold requests at a time.  Holds may be made online, in person, or by telephone.  Items will be held for pickup for five days after the customer is notified that they are ready.

Interlibrary Loan

Customers must have a valid FSPL library card to use the interlibrary loan service.  Transitional and teacher cards are not eligible for interlibrary loan.  Interlibrary loan is not available to UAFS customers using the FSPL through the reciprocal agreement.  Customers may have up to five active interlibrary loan requests at a time.

Interlibrary loan requests should be filled out as completely as possible.  Items published within the last six months may not be borrowed. 

Customers will be notified when their interlibrary loan items are available.  If a customer fails to pick up their interlibrary loan, the customer will be charged an unclaimed fee and may not be permitted to use interlibrary loan in the future.

Due dates for interlibrary loan items are determined by the lending library.  Renewals are also at the discretion of the lending library.  Renewal requests must be submitted at least three days prior to the due date.  The lending library may place restrictions on the use of their materials, such as in-library use only.

There is a fee for all overdue interlibrary loan materials. A processing fee plus the lending library’s replacement fee will be charged for all lost interlibrary loan materials.

Notary public service is available at all library locations, depending on staff availability.  Notary fees are per stamp.  Documents must be signed in the presence of the notary, and current photo identification of the signer must be presented.  Customers must provide any witnesses that are required.  Library staff and other library customers are not able to serve as witnesses.  Library notaries are unable to perform online notarizations or notarize oaths.  Library notaries have the discretion to decline notary requests.

The Fort Smith Public Library provides test proctoring upon request.  Exams are taken during library hours, depending on staff availability.  Library staff will determine whether they have the available resources to proctor an exam and may decline if there is not enough staff on hand.  Exams must be completed 30 minutes before the library closes. 

Proctoring requests should be submitted at least 7 business days in advance. The FSPL reserves the right to cancel or change the date of a proctored test due to inclement weather, computer malfunction, building evacuation, or other unexpected circumstances.

There is an hourly proctoring fee for staff time, plus any fax, copying, or postage fees.  For proctoring time of less than an hour, a one-hour minimum fee applies.  It is the responsibility of the test taker to verify that library staff proctoring the exam meets the criteria set by the school/institution and to arrange for delivery of the exam.  Exams may be written on paper or taken online. The test proctor will mail the completed exam back to the examining school/institution, if required. The library cannot provide mailing receipts or arrange for UPS or FedEx pickup.

The FSPL will not provide personal information of proctors, such as driver’s license number, home phone number, or address.

Test takers are responsible for providing all required materials necessary to take the test including paper, pencils, calculators, and audio equipment, unless otherwise required by the school/institution.  Tests offered in a computer format must be compatible with the hardware and software available on library workstations.  Tests taken over the Internet will be connected via a public wireless connection.

The Fort Smith Public Library offers opportunities for community members to exhibit their artwork, photography, non-profit displays, and personal collections at all library locations.  Exhibits and displays are to be of an artistic, cultural, educational, informational, intellectual, or charitable nature. 

Library-sponsored or co-sponsored exhibits take precedence over other exhibits.  The library reserves the right to reschedule or cancel the use of the display areas by outside exhibitors if the Library Director or Library Board of Trustees determines that the display space is needed for library purposes. 

Exhibits and displays should be appropriate in scale, material, form, and content for the Library environment.  They should be appropriate for viewing by all ages.  Sexually explicit imagery or graphic depictions of violence are not permitted. 


Artwork and photography displays must be framed or gallery-wrapped canvas and able to be installed on the existing hardware or easels.  No nails, thumbtacks, adhesives, or similar materials may be used directly on the walls without the permission of the Library Director.

Exhibitors agree to be responsible for and to pay for any and all damages to library property including exhibit/display spaces, walls, floors, grounds, furniture, and fixtures resulting from the installation or removal of an exhibit/display.


The library may list exhibits and displays on its online calendar of events.  Additional publicity is the responsibility of the exhibitor except when the exhibit/display is co-sponsored by the library.  Press releases or other promotion of the exhibit/display do not imply endorsement of the viewpoints put forth in the exhibit/display. 

The library assumes no responsibility for the preservation, protection, damage, or theft of any item displayed or exhibited.  All items placed in the library for exhibit/display are so placed at the owner’s risk.  The library does not insure exhibits/displays.

The Fort Smith Public Library is not responsible for the security of personal items brought into any library facility or for personal items accidentally returned to the library.  Unclaimed items are managed in accordance with the following guidelines:

Perishable items such as food and beverage containers, baby items such as pacifiers and bottles, and personal care items will be discarded immediately.  Other found or unclaimed items will be retained for 30 days.  Reasonable attempts will be made to contact the owners to reclaim their lost items.  If the owner of a lost items satisfactorily identifies the items within 30 days, it will be returned.  After 30 days unclaimed items become library property.

Unclaimed books, videos, CDs or DVDs in good condition will be given to the Friends of the Library for sale in their book sales.  Books and other materials not in good condition may be discarded.  Unclaimed currency will be donated to the general library fund.   Unclaimed identification documents such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and credit cards will be returned to their issuing agency or destroyed.  Documents left in the photocopiers or scanners will be shredded.  Flash drives will be destroyed.  Other unclaimed items will be donated to charity or disposed of in a manner to be determined by library staff.

Petition circulation is not permitted inside library buildings, including entryways and lobbies.

Areas outside the library buildings may be used by the public to gather signatures in accordance

with these requirements:

  • Petitioners and their furniture or equipment must not hinder or block building entrances, sidewalks, or impede access to parking.  They may not create potentially unsafe conditions for library staff, customers, or the general public.
  • Petitioners may not use any part of the building or outdoor structures to post signs or exhibit posters, notes, or other printed information. 
  • Petitioners may not approach library customers or staff in an aggressive or intimidating manner or engage in actions that constitute harassment of library customers or staff.
  • The library will not provide supplies, furniture, equipment, or other amenities to petitioners.  The library will not store items for petitioners.
  • “Drive-thru” petition signing is not permitted. 

The presence of petitioners does not constitute the library’s endorsement of any policies, beliefs, or political affiliations associated with the petition, individuals, or groups circulating petitions for signatures.  The library does not control the content of any petition being circulated on library grounds.

Petition circulators who fail to comply with these or any other library policies will be asked to leave the premises.

The Fort Smith Public Library offers study rooms for individual and small group use.  These quiet rooms are intended for collaborative work, short meetings, study, and research.  Study rooms may not be used for social gatherings.  In order to provide as much access to the study rooms as possible, the use of study rooms as a place to conduct regular business or as a place to hold office hours is prohibited.

Study rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and cannot be reserved in advance. 

Study rooms are not soundproof. Headphones must be used with electronic devices.  Groups must keep their voices low.

Covered drinks are permitted in study rooms.  Food is not permitted.  Other materials or activities not permitted in study rooms include but are not limited to:  playing musical instruments, singing, audio without headphones, paint, glue, glitter, and confetti.  Nothing may be attached to study room walls, windows, or doors.

Activities within the study rooms must conform to the library’s Guidelines for Library Use.  Study room users must leave the rooms clean and with the furniture in its original arrangement.

Study rooms are intended for active use.  Study rooms left unattended may be reassigned. The library is not responsible for personal items in the study rooms.   

Large study rooms are intended for use by groups of three or more.  Individuals or groups of two may request the use of a larger room with the understanding that they may be asked to move to a smaller room on the same floor if needed by a larger group.

Study rooms on the second floor of the Main Library are intended for adults.  Study rooms in the large print area at the Main Library are intended for adults and solo teens.  Study rooms in the young adult area at the Main Library are intended for teens and children.

Failure to comply with these policies may result in the denial of future requests to use a study room.

The Fort Smith Public Library offers meeting rooms for meetings or programs of an educational, cultural, or civic nature.  Only library sponsored or co-sponsored meetings or programs may involve the sale of items, fundraising activities or solicitation of donations.  Events of a strictly social nature such as receptions, parties, weddings, and showers are not permitted.

Library sponsored programs will be given priority in the reservation of meeting room space.  The Library reserves the right to move a group to another room that also meets their needs.  

For-profit entities may use the meeting rooms for not-for-profit activities.  Programs involving the sale, advertisement, or promotion of commercial products or services are prohibited.  Recruitment of new customers or new employees is also prohibited.

No person’s right to attend a meeting or program will be denied or abridged because of origin, age, race, sex, background, views, sexual orientation, or disability.  No person’s right to attend a meeting or program of a non-profit organization will be denied or abridged because of membership or lack of membership in that organization or group.  Admission fees may not be charged.  Fees for items such as a meal or program materials are permissible as long as attendance is not dependent upon the payment of such fees.

Meetings or programs which, in the sole judgment of the library staff, would interfere with the functions of the library or of customers using the library will not be permitted. Groups using the library meeting rooms must observe the building’s scheduled opening and closing times. 

Scheduling of a meeting or program by a group or organization in the library does not in any way constitute an endorsement by the library of the group or organization, its activities, or of the ideas and opinions expressed during the course of the meetings or programs held at the library.  The use of the name, address, or telephone number of the Fort Smith Public Library as the address or headquarters for any group or organization using the library for meeting purposes is prohibited.  Publicity generated by a group or organization for a meeting or event in a library meeting room may list the library name, address, and room designation only. 

Rooms should be left in the condition in which they were found.  Charges may apply for non-standard room setup, technology, and cleaning. 

Food and drink are permitted in the meeting rooms.  Groups are encouraged to use Dewey’s Café, but outside catering is permitted.  Alcohol may not be served.

Fort Smith Public Library Security Camera Policy

Security cameras are used where needed to provide peace of mind to library users and staff by discouraging violations of the library’s Guidelines for Library Use, to assist library staff in preventing the occurrence of violations, to aid in the identification of persons breaking the law or violating the library’s Guidelines for Library Use, and when necessary, to provide law enforcement assistance in prosecuting criminal activity. 

The library’s security cameras are used for the protection and safety of customers, staff, assets, property, while adhering to applicable federal, state, and local law concerning the confidentiality of library records, the disclosure of public records, and the protection of individual privacy. 

Signs will be posted at library entrances informing the public and staff that security cameras are in use.

Security cameras are located in both indoor and outdoor areas.  Examples include public common areas of the library such as parking lots, entrances, public seating areas, service desks, hallways, stairways, areas prone to theft or misconduct, and areas where money is stored or handled.  Cameras will not be installed in areas of the library where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as in restrooms or private offices.

Access to security video recordings and still photographs is limited to library staff and law enforcement personnel assisted by library staff.  To protect the privacy and confidentiality of other library customers, customer access to security footage or images is not permitted.  Copies of video or still images from the security cameras may be made only by FSPL Computer Services or Administration staff with permission of the library director or assistant director.

Security cameras are not constantly monitored.  Library staff and the public should take appropriate precautions to safeguard their safety and personal property.  The Fort Smith Public Library is not responsible for loss of property or personal injury.

Security camera video will be stored for a length of time based on available storage.  Storage time will vary based on the camera system’s storage capacity.  As new images are recorded, the oldest images will be automatically deleted. 

Collection Development Selection

Collection Development

The library collection is intended to be a well-balanced and broad collection of current and retrospective materials in various formats and levels of comprehension which will support the educational, recreational, and cultural needs of citizens in Fort Smith regardless of their age, social and physical condition, or level of intellectual achievement.

The library subscribes to the general principles embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read, and the Freedom to View statements prepared by the American Library Association.  The library supports the individual’s right to have access to ideas and information representing divergent points of view and supports the right of each individual to privately read, listen to, and view the full range of published thought and idea.  Because the library recognizes its responsibility to the accepted principle of intellectual freedom, materials that represent a wide range of viewpoints are selected for the library collection.  The library fully supports the right of individuals to reject for themselves material of which they do not approve, but recognizes that individuals do not have the right to restrict the freedom of others to make the same determinations for themselves.

Selection is based on the merit of a work in relation to the needs and interests of the community. Cost, space, usefulness, demand, and current holdings are also considered.

The selection of any item does not imply the library’s endorsement of the author’s viewpoint or of any theory, idea, or policy contained in it.  The library is neutral and does not endorse particular beliefs or views.  The race, religion, nationality, sexual identity or orientation, or political views of an author; the use of frank or coarse language; the controversial content of an item, or the endorsement or disapproval of an individual or group in the community will not cause an item to be automatically included or excluded from the library collection. 

Library materials will be organized, marked, and maintained to help library users find the materials they want.  There will be no labeling, sequestering, or alteration of materials because of controversy surrounding the author or subject matter.

The library welcomes suggestions and comments about the collection from Fort Smith residents.  Suggestions are given serious consideration consistent with the selection criteria for library materials.  Items suggested by customers but not purchased may be ordered through interlibrary loan.


Collection Development Guidelines

The ultimate responsibility for the selection of library materials lies with the library director and the director’s designees, acting in accordance with state law and the policies established by the library Board of Trustees.

Collections are developed in response to the diverse informational, recreational, cultural, and educational needs of the community.

Reviews in professional journals, such as Library Journal, School Library Journal, Booklist, Horn Book, and Kirkus Reviews are given primary consideration. The New York Times bestseller list, Publisher’s Weekly, Book Page, “best of” lists, award winners, “community read” and book club selections, local media, and other popular periodicals and bibliographies are also utilized to select high-interest titles.

Selections will be made based on the merits of the work in relation to developing the collections and to serving the interests of the members of the community as a whole. Regardless of an item’s popularity, the library may choose not to select an item if it doesn’t conform to the library’s selection criteria or if the item’s format is not durable enough to withstand reasonable library use or it would require excessive staff time to maintain. Materials will not be selected that would violate the provisions of federal, state, or local laws regarding the distribution of illegal material.  

Materials and information resources are selected in appropriate formats to enhance accessibility. Library staff will evaluate new technologies and formats to determine their suitability, feasibility, and longevity for the library.

Although the majority of the library’s collection will be English language titles, the library may develop collections in other languages to help meet the needs of community members.

The library collection seeks to meet the reading needs of the library’s diverse community of users.  Materials are acquired that represent varying points of view. The materials will reflect current conditions, trends, and controversies so that members of the community may inform themselves and make individual judgments. Materials collected will support current interests or recurring interests of the local community rather than scholarly research.  The library does not attempt to acquire textbooks that support local curricula but may acquire textbooks for general use by the public. 


Development of Specific Materials

Non-Fiction - Non-fiction selected for the library collection emphasizes timely, accurate, and useful informational materials with the ability to contribute to a well-balanced collection in all subject areas. Materials for which there is heavy but temporary demand are selected with less emphasis on these requirements and are kept as part of the collection until demonstrated interest has diminished.

Fiction - Fiction is selected to represent the broad range of reading interests and tastes in the community served.  Classic literature, popular bestsellers, genre fiction, literature from all time periods, and works from all parts of the world are included in the fiction collection to entertain and enrich human understanding. 

Magazine, Newspapers and Microforms - A general collection of magazines providing informational and recreational reading is maintained. Newspapers are selected to provide local, state, regional and national coverage. To preserve and record local history, the Times Record is retained on microfilm and/or in digital files.

Audiovisual Materials - The library maintains a circulating collection of video and audio materials.  In selecting these items, emphasis is placed on recreational, educational, and informational materials.   Both MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) rated and non-rated materials are acquired. Unabridged content is the preferred format for audio titles.

Reference Materials - Encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, indexes, bibliographic tools, and other sources of quick, concise, and up-to-date information are purchased on a regular basis. Reference materials are available for in-library use only.  To a limited extent, items not falling within the reference format but in high demand by library users may be included in the reference collection to allow maximum use, to ensure their availability, and/or to protect materials prone to theft or damage.

Large Print - Books in large print format are purchased for visually challenged readers. Recent bestsellers and titles of interest to a general audience are prioritized.

Children’s and Young Adult Materials - The children’s collection offers materials intended for infants through age 12.  The young adult collection offers materials generally intended for ages 12-17.  Materials are selected to encourage young peoples’ joy in being read to and reading, to meet informational, recreational, and cultural reading needs and interests, and to supplement school projects and assignments. 

The library uses the same criteria for the selection of children’s and young adult materials as for materials for adults.  Parents and guardians have the right and responsibility to guide and direct the reading choices of their own minor children.  The library does not stand in place of parents (in loco parentis).

Electronic and Downloadable Resources - The library selects electronic resources (including, but not limited to: database subscriptions, downloadable eBooks, audiobooks, music, videos, and mobile apps) to complement and supplement traditional print materials. Rapid changes in both the extent and format of electronic resources require their continuous evaluation. The library uses the same criteria for the selection of electronic resources as it uses for print media. Licensing requirements and networking capability will also be considered. When feasible, the library will partner with other libraries to provide online resources and digital content.  In those instances where the library shares a collection or resources with other libraries, Fort Smith Public Library’s circulation policies and collection development policies, including requests for reconsideration, may not be applicable.

Genealogy and Local History Resources - Genealogy and local history materials in whatever format available which contribute information about family history and the history of the Fort Smith area are acquired whenever possible.  Primary and secondary sources are collected. 

Local Authors - The library is supportive of the work of local authors. However, the library is not obligated to purchase or accept donations from local authors for addition to the library collection.  Selection of materials by local authors is subject to the same criteria as other materials to be added to the library collection.

Materials Not Otherwise Specified – Materials such as maps, photographs, government documents, pamphlets, and other items not otherwise described may also be acquired.  They will be selected based on the criteria described in this policy.


Collection Maintenance and Deselection

The library recognizes the need to continuously evaluate its collection in response to the changing nature and needs of the community. Deselection of library materials (also called weeding) is an integral component of the collection development guidelines of the Fort Smith Public Library. A vigorous and continuous deselection program is essential in maintaining a viable and useful collection. Materials considered for deselection include:  items damaged, worn, in poor physical condition, or mutilated; items with outdated or no longer accurate content; materials no longer of interest or in demand; and superseded editions of newer titles.

Retention Considerations - The retention of library materials is influenced by a variety of factors which include:  needs and interests of the library’s community of users; materials considered core or standard for public library collections; circulation statistics; special collections, materials with local history or regional settings; possible future usefulness of a particular item; suitability of format; budgetary considerations; inclusion as part of a set or series; validity of its contents; physical condition of the item; and the item’s availability online.

Disposal of Library Materials - Library material withdrawn from the collection may be disposed of in several ways, at the discretion of the library director:  discarded into the trash, recycled, sold, given to other libraries or non-profit organizations, or transferred to the Friends of the Library for sale.

Gifts - The library welcomes gifts of books and other library materials or money to buy such materials but reserves the right to use and dispose of gift materials in accordance with this policy. The library uses the same criteria for the addition of donated items to the collection as for items purchased by the library.  If added to the collection, donated items will be deselected at the library’s discretion in accordance with the deselection criteria.

Items added to the collection as part of a grant or as a memorial or honorarium are subject to the same selection and deselection criteria as other library items. 

A receipt acknowledging receipt of donated items is available upon request.  Although materials donated to the library are considered tax-deductible, the library is unable to set a fair market or appraisal value on materials.

The library reserves the right to refuse donations deemed not suitable to the purposes and needs of the library.

Acceptance of donations such as equipment, real estate, stock, artifacts, works of art, collections, etc. will be determined by the library director and/or the library Board of Trustees.

Gifts of books and other items will be accepted on the condition that the library director has the authority of make whatever disposition he or she deems advisable. In accordance with selection criteria out-of-date material, duplicates of items for which additional copies are not needed, and material in poor physical condition will not be added to the collection.

The library cannot make a commitment to keep any collection or group of items on a special shelf apart from other items in the library. The library by necessity reserves the right to inter-shelve gifts with other materials on the same subject.

Gifts of money, real property, and/or stock which have conditions attached will be accepted if the conditions are acceptable to the Library Board of Trustees.

The library will not accept for deposit materials which are not outright gifts, with the exception of exhibits of special collections.

The appraisal of a gift to the library for tax purposes is the responsibility of the donor.

The acceptance of a gift which has been appraised by a third, and disinterested party, does not in any way imply an endorsement of the appraisal by the library.





7-day books $0.50 per day
Audiobooks $0.25 per day
Books $0.25 per day
DVDs $0.25 per day
Kits $0.25 per day
Magazines $0.25 per day
Music $0.25 per day
Maximum overdue fee $10 per item
Lost material $10 per item processing fee plus replacement cost

Interlibrary Loan


Lost item

$5 per item processing fee plus lending library replacement cost

Overdue fine $1 per day
Unclaimed $2 per item

Photocopies and prints


Black and white $0.25 per page
Color $1 per page



Fax $2 per first page; $1 per subsequent page
Non-resident library card $35 per year, $5 per year for additional card
Notary $2 per stamp
Proctoring fees $20 per hour plus any fax, copy, or postage fees
Professional research $20 per hour (15-minute minimum)
Replacement library card $2 per card


Library customers use the Internet at their own discretion. The Fort Smith Public Library does not protect persons from information found individually offensive. The Library has no control over resources available from outside the Library nor does the Library have complete knowledge of what is on the Internet at any given time. We cannot be responsible for its content. When using the Internet, please remember that some material may be outdated, wrong, or biased. Please critically evaluate all information you find.

As with other library materials, restriction of a child's access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent/legal guardian. The Internet may contain material that is inappropriate for viewing by children. The Library staff is not in a position to monitor and supervise children's use of the Internet.

Displaying, sending or receiving material inappropriate for viewing in a public place is prohibited by Arkansas State Code 5-68-205. Inappropriate material is defined as pictures or text which could reasonably be construed as obscene or pornographic, as defined by Arkansas State Code 5-68-302.

The Fort Smith Public Library does not provide e-mail accounts. Internet access at the Fort Smith Public Library is intended primarily as an information resource. Library staff will assist customers with Internet use as time permits, but cannot offer personal instruction on computer use.

  • Use of Internet chat, news or discussion groups on public access computers in the Library is strictly prohibited.
  • Computer users may not install or use any software not installed by the library.
  • Attempts to damage computer equipment or alter computer configuration are unacceptable uses of the Library's electronic resources.
  • If Internet searching results in disruption of library services or if customer behavior when using Internet resources becomes inappropriate for a library setting, the Library reserves the right to end the session.

The Library may deny computer, Internet, or library access to library users who misuse or abuse the Library's electronic resources, or who are found in violation of this policy.

In accordance with Arkansas State Code 13-2-103(a)(3), the Fort Smith Public Library must require all users to signify their agreement with this policy before accessing the Internet at any Library public access computer.

Library customers use the Internet at their own discretion. The Fort Smith Public Library does not protect persons from information found individually offensive. The Library has no control over resources available from outside the Library nor does the Library have complete knowledge of what is on the Internet at any given time. We cannot be responsible for its content. When using the Internet, please remember that some material may be outdated, wrong, or biased. Please critically evaluate all information you find.

As with other library materials, restriction of a child's access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent/legal guardian. The Internet may contain material that is inappropriate for viewing by children. The Library staff is not in a position to monitor and supervise children's use of the Internet.

Displaying, sending or receiving material inappropriate for viewing in a public place is prohibited by Arkansas State Code 5-68-205. Inappropriate material is defined as pictures or text which could reasonably be construed as obscene or pornographic, as defined by Arkansas State Code 5-68-302.

The Fort Smith Public Library does not provide e-mail accounts. Internet access at the Fort Smith Public Library is intended primarily as an information resource. Library staff will assist customers with Internet use as time permits, but cannot offer personal instruction on computer use.

  • Use of Internet chat, news or discussion groups on public access computers in the Library is strictly prohibited.
  • Computer users may not install or use any software not installed by the library.
  • Attempts to damage computer equipment or alter computer configuration are unacceptable uses of the Library's electronic resources.
  • If Internet searching results in disruption of library services or if customer behavior when using Internet resources becomes inappropriate for a library setting, the Library reserves the right to end the session.

The Library may deny computer, Internet, or library access to library users who misuse or abuse the Library's electronic resources, or who are found in violation of this policy.

In accordance with Arkansas State Code 13-2-103(a)(3), the Fort Smith Public Library must require all users to signify their agreement with this policy before accessing the Internet at any Library public access computer.

There are significant concerns about using photographs of library customers and staff for publicity and/or acknowledgments.  While it is true that when on public property (such as a library) it is legal to photograph people attending programs and events for the purpose of related promotion (like a newspaper reporting of factual or newsworthy accounts), still an individual’s photographic image is considered their personal property and may not be used for most promotional purposes without his or her expressed written consent to do so.

Some library customers may not wish to participate.  There are serious legitimate reasons why people don't want their photographs published and this must be respected. We have no idea what an individual’s concerns may be.  Perhaps, by displaying a photograph either in print, on a sign or thank you project, we inadvertently expose someone trying to escape a dangerous situation such as avoiding an abusive spouse or someone involved in a child custody battle.  While all seem highly unlikely, we must remain steadfast in protecting our customers and the library against any unwarranted liability.

If you photograph, record, and/or film anyone in or on the library premises, you must first obtain written permission to use any images for promotion using the following guidelines.

Guidelines for Staff

Employees of the Fort Smith Public Library may take or produce photographs, videos/audio recordings, and/or television productions of customers under the following guidelines:

  • In a group setting, activity or event, in lieu of individual written consent, notification should be clearly posted beforehand and a verbal announcement made, that photographs, recordings and/or filming would occur during the presentation and for what purpose.  Parents should be encouraged to notify us if they do not wish themselves or their child to be photographed.
  • Customer must sign a witnessed consent form.  A customer who is a minor or any customer who is unable to sign a consent form must have the form signed by a parent or legal guardian. 
  • Staff should explain the proposed use or reason for taking or producing photographs, films or recordings.

Guidelines for Relatives and Friends

A customer’s relatives, friends or others may wish to photograph or produce video/audio recordings or television productions of an individual who is performing or participating in a Library sponsored activity.  This may be done under the following guidelines:

  • The customer or a parent/legal guardian of a minor customer consents.
  • The filming or recording would not be disruptive to overall service to other customers.
  • The filming or recording is limited to the customer from whom consent was obtained: and
  • Fort Smith Public Library staff are free to refuse to participate in such filming or recording.

Guidelines for Media and Other Third Parties

In any instance when the media wished to interview, film, or record a customer of the Fort Smith Public Library, the conditions stated in the Guidelines for Relatives and Friends must be met and a representative of the library must accompany the media for all photographs, filming, or recordings.  Obtaining a completed consent form becomes the responsibility of the photographer/media representative who maintains all liability.