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Cell phones, shhh!

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By Janet Robb

TELL CITY - Starting June 1, the Tell City-Perry County Public Library will start enforcing a new cell-phone policy.

The policy, originating from a letter published by The Perry County News in February, in which a resident reported being disturbed by people talking on their cell phones in the library, requires patrons to turn off or put cell phones on vibrate while in the library and to take necessary phone calls in the foyer or outside.

Before passing the measure, Assistant Director Paul Sanders said he wanted to make the new policy as clear as possible for the library staff, who will be the ones enforcing it.

During discussion, board member David Carney asked if there should be a designated area. Several members agreed that the entry way would be the best place. Board member Pasty Alvey pointed out the area is air conditioned and heated so patrons would be able to make phone calls without going outside.

Debbie Seibert, systems administrator, said ever since there was a blurb in the paper about the library initiating a cell-phone policy, many people have started to leave the tech lab to talk. Some people who use phones while in the labs are seeking technical support, she said.

Another concern of Sanders' was whether the library should allow drinks in secure containers. "How will the staff know what a secure container is?" he asked. "I see a lot of negatives of allowing drinks in the library."

No matter what is written, there will always be exceptions to the rule, Carney said.

Board President Mickey Fischer said rules are not made to be broken, so if a rule is made it should be enforced and if the library doesn't want to enforce it, it shouldn't be made a rule.

People are pretty good about not taking food into the building, but it needs to be  in black and white so the staff knows what to do, Sanders added.

"I agree with Paul on the black and white issue," said Brandi Sanders, bookmobile director. The staff can't tell a young person no drink but allow an adult to come in with one, she added.

In addition to approving the new cell-phone policy, the board also approved no food or drinks in the library and a "no shoes, no shirt, no service" clothing policy.

Library Director Larry Oathout advised members that the state library is looking to revise library standards. The standards, he said, have not been changed since 1997. Suggested changes include certification of staff, training and having library bylaws reviewed every three years. Libraries will also have to meet minimum standards for collections, deliveries, services and programs, he said, adding that libraries can reach "exceeding" and "enhanced" standards status.

New technology standards would also be put into place, Oathout continued, saying requirements would include libraries having a copy machine, voicemail, phone, Web site, e-mail and online catalogue. He told the board that the library currently meets several of these standards.

Some libraries are also wondering if there's going to be incentives for meeting more than the minimum, he told members. If everything passes, Oathout said it would be 2011 when the standards would be in place.

The Teen Advisory Group held a read a loud event April 21 in the library's meeting room with 18 people attending. The writing contest received 73 junior-high submissions and 49 high-school entries with Perry Central Community School turning in the most. Winners in the junior-high division were Sean Mitchell, first place; Lucas Suttle, second; Mackenzie Flamion, third and Anjan Kashyab, honorable mention. High-school winners were Jenelle Clausen, first; Megan Neyenhaus, second; Haley Denu, third and Andi Baur, honorable mention.

Oathout informed board members that TAG members developed an advertisement slide to be shown at Tell City Cinemas for free.

The bookmobile is almost Internet ready, he said. This will allow staff to complete some work chores during the day and give them the opportunity to answer reference questions for patrons and opens up options for the library's next circulation system, Oathout added.

The library will partner will William Tell Elementary School for a children's triathlon May 16. Students will run from the elementary school to the library where they'll ride their bikes to Tell City High School. There participants will swim to complete the event.