Obtaining a Library Card
Library cards are free to all Allegheny County residents and individuals with Access PA cards. To receive or renew a card, all patrons must show photo ID and current address.
Children under the age of 18 must have a parent’s signature on the application card.
A $25 non-resident fee is charged to families living outside of Allegheny County and whose home library does not participate in Access PA.
Adults can have unlimited items checked out. Children may have 10 items checked out, including 2 DVDs.
Books may be renewed two times. Renewals may be made in person, over the phone, or by computer. No renewals on materials with waiting lists.
Items may be returned to any public library in Allegheny County.
- Fiction/nonfiction books, audio books – 3 weeks
- DVDs, videos, and games – 1 week
- DVDs with multiple discs – 3 weeks
Fines and Fees
Starting in September 2019, all Carnegie Free Library of Swissvale patrons will have their overdue fines automatically waived. From September onward, all items checked out from Carnegie Free Library of Swissvale or returned to Carnegie Free Library of Swissvale will not generate fines, including items that have been overdue for a long time.
Lost materials: Library patron pays cost of materials or replaces the item in the same format in good or excellent condition. Contact library staff (412-731-2300) before arranging to replace an item.
Patron Behavior Policy
The purpose of this policy is to protect the rights of individuals who are in the library to use materials or services, to assist library staff members in conducting library business efficiently, and to preserve library materials and facilities.
Library patrons are expected to use the library (including its facilities, grounds, resources and materials) in a responsible, appropriate, and courteous manner. Illegal acts or conduct in violation of federal, state or local laws, ordinances or regulations are prohibited. Behavior that disturbs or infringes on the rights of other library patrons and staff and which damages library materials and property is not permitted. This policy applies to patrons of all ages.
By entering the Carnegie Free Library of Swissvale, you are making a commitment to:
- act courteously toward other people here
- act respectfully in regard to property
- and follow all policies of this facility
In this way you can enjoy the library and allow others to as well.
Please follow the following guidelines while using the library:
- Keep all valuables and personal property with you at all times. The library is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
- Supervise children at all times. The library is a public space. Parents and caregivers are responsible for the safety and behavior of their children while in the library.
- Follow library computer policies. Use headphones at all times when listening to audio materials.
- Keep cell phone calls brief and quiet. Longer calls should be made in the lobby or outside.
- Engage in activities associated with the use of a public library. Speak at a moderate voice level. Patrons not reading, studying, using library computers or materials, or attending events may be required to leave the building.
- Wear clothing that is appropriate for being in a public place. You will be asked to leave the library if you enter barefoot, without a shirt, or with low-hanging pants. Hoods must be removed.
In order to provide a safe and comfortable environment for all our library users and staff, the following are NOT PERMITTED in the library:
- Destruction or theft of library materials or property
- Use of alcohol or illegal drugs
- Disorderly, disruptive or boisterous conduct
- Threatening, harassing, uncooperative, or intimidating language or behavior
- Food or uncovered beverages
- Smoking and use of tobacco products in the building and on the grounds
- Bathing or shaving in public restrooms
- Solicitation of any type
- Actions that deliberately annoy others or prevent the legitimate use of the library and its resources
To provide an orderly and pleasant public environment, any staff of this library is authorized to determine whether a library patron is not abiding by these or other Swissvale Library policies. The library reserves the right to respond to any and all conduct not expressly described here but deemed by library staff to unreasonably interfere with the use of the library by other patrons or interfere with the performance of their duties by library employees.
Any patron who violates these policies or regulations may be temporarily or permanently denied the privilege of access to the Swissvale Library.
Collection Development Policy
This policy describes the nature of Carnegie Free Library of Swissvale’s collection of materials and provides guidance to staff in developing and maintaining the collection. The continuous review of the Library collection, one of the Library’s major assets, is necessary as a mean of maintaining an active collection that meets the interests and needs of its users.
Collection Development: includes the planning, selection, acquiring, cataloging, and weeding of the Library’s collection of all formats.
Library Materials: includes the physical and electronic items that the library provides for patron use.
The Collection: Library materials as a whole
Weeding: the regular, on-going, and systematic evaluation process whereby Library materials are withdrawn from the collection based on specific criteria such as outdated, worn, damaged, and/or duplicated material.
Statement of Concern: the method patrons use to express concern over an item in the collection.
Carnegie Free Library of Swissvale (Swissvale Library) curates and provides open access to library materials to meet patron needs.
- Swissvale Library is limited by both financial and spatial constraints
- All materials are available for use by all customers unless superseded by a state regulation
- The collection is reviewed on an ongoing basis to meet current needs
- The collection is current and popular, not archival, and provides general coverage of subjects that reflect the characteristics of the community
- Selection of materials by the Library does not mean endorsement of the contents or views expressed in those materials.
- The library will provide materials of interest to patrons of all backgrounds, ages and educational needs
- Swissvale Library will develop inclusive collections that reflect and represent identities and experiences that include, but are not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, culture, language, socioeconomic status, level of education, religion, age and size
- In compliance with the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, its Freedom to Read Policy, and its Freedom to View policy, Member Libraries do not limit any points of view on topics of public interest and importance
- The library promotes continued cooperation and sharing of materials with other libraries in Allegheny County
Swissvale Library selects material for its collection in accordance with accepted professional guidelines. Ultimate responsibility for selection materials lies with the Library Director within the framework of this policy. Specific selection responsibilities are delegated to appropriate staff members.
The community has a role in shaping the Library collection by participating in its development through requests, purchase suggestions, and statements of concern.
Swissvale Library will consider these and other factors in selecting materials. Not every factor will apply to every purpose:
- Accuracy and impartiality
- Appropriateness for age of intended audience
- Availability of the subject in the Allegheny County Library Association catalog and/or through Interlibrary Loan
- Cost and value
- Currency of information
- Merit of the author, publisher or producer
- Permanent value as a standard work
- Popular interest or demand
- Quality of organization, readability and style
- Technological compatibility for material format
- Uniqueness or special features
- Content created by and representative of marginalized or underrepresented groups
- Residence area of the author
- Historical value to residents of Swissvale, Rankin or other nearby communities
Items donated to the Library or given as a memorial or in honor of an individual must meet the same standards as other items selected for inclusion in the collection. If a donated item is not added to the Library’s collection, it will be placed in the Library’s Annual Book Sale. No other conditions may be imposed relating to any gift, donation, or memorial either before or after its acceptance by the Library.
Local historical material will be retained in the collection that is relevant to the two municipalities served, and that Swissvale Library has the means (time, space, staff) to catalog, store and preserve in a manner that will uphold the integrity of the original state of the item, object or record.
An active and continuous weeding program is essential in maintaining a viable and useful collection. The following criteria are used in deselection of materials:
- Physical condition of material
- Current usage of material
- Accuracy or currency of information within material
The Library does not automatically replace all materials due to loss or damage.
Carnegie Free Library of Swissvale recognizes the right of individuals to express concerns over materials in the collection. The Library Director and staff further believe that reading is an individual, private matter. While an individual is free to select or reject materials for themselves, an individual cannot restrict the freedom of others to read or inquire. Responsibility for children’s choice of reading materials rest with their parents or legal guardians. The Library does not stand “in loco parentis”.
Community members may express concern for a particular library material by submitting a written Statement of Concern to the Library Director.
E-resources are selected on a county-wide basis and are not under direct control of this policy. If a community member would like to express concern with an e-resource they should fill out this help form and a member of the county-wide selection committee will reach out to them directly.
Internet Use Policy
Access to Internet Resources
In response to advances in technology and the changing information needs of the Swissvale community, Swissvale Library strives to develop collections, resources, and services that meet the cultural, informational, educational, and recreational needs of its diverse community. It is within this context that Swissvale Library offers access to the Internet.
The Internet is a global communications network and information resource. Because the Internet is currently a largely unregulated medium, Swissvale Library does not monitor and has no control over the information available through this resource. Swissvale Library cannot assume responsibility for the accuracy, quality, or timeliness of Internet information. Some information on the Internet may be considered controversial in nature. The determination of viability and usefulness of Internet information falls upon the patron.
Nevertheless, it is a felony in the State of Pennsylvania “to display or cause to display any explicit sexual material… on any… viewing screen in such manner that the display is visible… in any establishment where minors, as a part of the general public, may be exposed to view all or any part of such materials.” (Title 18 Penna. Crime Code – Sect. 5903)
Therefore, viewing of such materials in the Library will not be permitted. Violation of this provision may result in the immediate termination of Internet privileges. Patrons seen accessing obscene material will be asked to stop. If they do not comply, they may lose their Internet privileges and the appropriate legal authority may be notified.
Swissvale Library has selected sites to link to on its website in accordance with its materials selection policies. Beyond this, Swissvale Library is not responsible for any content found on the Internet outside Swissvale Library’s website, for content changes of the links on Swissvale Library’s website, or the content of sources accessed by the user through secondary links.
Swissvale Library’s computers should not be used for any fraudulent or unlawful purposes, including any activities prohibited under any applicable federal, Pennsylvanian, or local laws, including activities in violation of 18 Pa Cons. Stat. Sec. 5903 (above), which prohibits certain acts of public indecency.
Users should be aware that the Internet is not a secure medium and that third parties may be able to obtain information regarding users’ activities on the Internet. Swissvale Library, however, will not release information on the use of specific Internet resources by members of the public, except as required by law or necessary for the proper operation of Swissvale Library.
Swissvale Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from the use of its computing resources.
Internet resources through Swissvale Library are provided equally to all users regardless of age. Swissvale Library upholds and affirms the right of each individual to access constitutionally-protected material.
A minor’s access to the Internet, as well as access to all other materials, is the sole responsibility of the parent or legal guardian, and not Swissvale Library or its staff. Swissvale Library strongly encourages parents or legal guardians to supervise their children’s Internet use and to provide them with guidelines about acceptable use. It is the responsibility of parents or legal guardians to instruct their children not to give private information about themselves or others when using websites, writing emails, or chatting online.
Swissvale Library does not have the right nor responsibility to determine the appropriateness of a particular resource for any minor. However, in no event is any person under the age of 18 permitted to view any obscene and other sexually related materials or performances as defined and described in 18 Pa. C. S. 5903 (above) and any amendments thereto.
The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is a federal law that requires all computers in a public library to be filtered if that library accepts any federal funds for Internet access or computers used for Internet access. [Supreme Court decision: United States v. American Library Ass’n. Inc., No. 02-361 (June 23, 2003)] Swissvale Library complies with the requirements of CIPA.
Swissvale Library uses filtering software that blocks or filters Internet access to some Internet sites that may not be consistent with the policy of Swissvale Library. The filtering software is provided by the eiNetwork and is consistent with its filtering software policy. Please be aware that filters are unreliable, at times blocking sites of legitimate informational or educational value, or allowing access to sites that are illegal, obscene, or sexually explicit within the meaning of 18 Pa. Cons. Sec 5903 (above).
Any patron wishing to file a complaint about the filtering software on Swissvale Library computers may do so within thirty (30) days to:
- Swissvale Library Director (412.731.2300).
- The Director of the Electronic Information Network (eiNetwork).
- The Federal Communications Commission.
Computer Use Guidelines
In an effort to ensure that the use of the Internet is consistent with the mission of Swissvale Library, the following shall apply:
- Use of the computers is free to the public.
- Parents must accompany children under the age of 6 when using the computers.
- Patrons may bring personally-owned disks or flash drives. Swissvale Library is not responsible for damage to disks, for any loss of data, or damage or liability that may occur from a patron’s use of Swissvale Library’s computers.
- Swissvale Library does not allow the use of personal software on Swissvale Library computers.
- Internet use will be managed in a manner consistent with the Library’s policy on acceptable use. The Internet workstation must be used in a responsible manner, respecting the rights of other users. Users may not make any attempt to damage computer equipment or software. Computer and Internet settings may not be changed. Users may not use the network to make unauthorized entry into other computational, informational, or communication services or resources. Users may not invade the privacy of others or engage in any activity that is harassing or defamatory.
- Swissvale Library is committed to providing an environment free from sexual harassment. Adults may be advised that while accessing and viewing sexual materials is within the law for an adult, the risk of exposure to minors and the consequences of being “harmful to minors” are significant. Since both adult and child patrons use the same computer area, the patron viewing such materials may be asked to close a website. Users may not display on screens or printers materials that may be unlawful or prohibited under any applicable federal, Pennsylvania, or local laws. Swissvale Library staff will be the sole arbiter of what constitutes unacceptable content. Swissvale Library staff reserves the right to end an Internet session at any time if it is creating a disturbance.
- Material on the Internet may be copyrighted. It is the user’s responsibility to be aware of the display of any notices concerning the copyright of information on the website and to respect the copyright laws of the United States.
Swissvale Library reserves the right to:
- Establish procedures to limit use-time on the Internet workstations in order to provide access to more patrons.
- Require parental permission for minors to access Internet resources.
- Establish procedures that make the Internet stations available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Compliance with Library Policy Guidelines
- Violation of the policies and regulations that govern the use of Swissvale Library’s Internet resources may result in suspension or loss of the privilege to use these resources.
- Any illegal activity involving Swissvale Library’s Internet resources or equipment will be subject to prosecution by the appropriate authorities.
- Swissvale Library reserves the right to take appropriate action to ensure compliance with this policy.
- This policy may be revised from time to time.
Wireless Access Policy
Wireless Internet access is provided free of charge by the library for patrons who have the required hardware and software needed. Wireless users must comply with the library’s internet use policy. While the library staff can, if requested, provide basic assistance in getting connected to the wireless network, laptop owners are responsible for setting up their equipment to access the network. The library will not assume responsibility for the safety of equipment or for laptop configurations, security, or data files resulting from connection to the library’s wireless service. Virus and security protection are the responsibility of patrons. The library does not guarantee that any particular website or electronic transaction will work.