Patron Services Policy

Hennepin County Library Board Policy


The purpose of this policy is to articulate the overarching principles and objectives which guide the development, delivery, and evaluation of patron services.


We endorse the American Library Association's Equity of Access principle which states, in part:

Libraries are the 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. Hennepin County Library operates on the principle of equity of access, which means providing all people the information they need without exception.

We recognize the critical role public libraries play in a democratic society.

Hennepin County Library's services embrace the human desire to imagine, explore, and grow. We value the vast dimension of human experience and uphold the principles of intellectual freedom.

Hennepin County Library delivers its services in myriad ways to maximize access and minimize barriers to service. We are good stewards of public resources and seek to make cost-effective and productive use of limited resources.

Service Objectives

The services provided by Hennepin County Library are designed to advance the library's mission and achieve its vision.

Our mission is to nourish minds, transform lives and build community together.

We envision a Hennepin County where library services ensure every person has the opportunity and resources to read, graduate, engage, work and learn.

Our services nourish minds. We:

  • Help patrons access library collections and services
  • Assist them in their efforts to satisfy their informational, educational, and recreational interests
  • Keep new and experienced readers engaged and excited about reading and learning
  • Support families as they help their children develop into readers and become ready for school

Our services transform lives. We:

  • Increase the level of digital literacy and access to technology in the community
  • Support language learners, multicultural populations, and those seeking citizenship
  • Engage residents of county correctional facilities so they may build reading, work, and other life skills

Our services build community. We:

  • Encourage and assist children and teens to develop their interests, succeed in school, and build foundations for lifelong success
  • Help patrons develop job skills and knowledge to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas
  • Ensure residents have the opportunity to remain active and vitally engaged in their communities

Service Delivery

Hennepin County Library services are delivered in libraries, online, and in the community. They may be delivered to individuals or groups.

Hennepin County Library provides patrons access to:

  • Places and spaces for learning, exploration, and conversation - formal and informal, physical, and virtual
  • A diverse collection of books, movies, music, and online content
  • Technology with opportunities to view, create, and transmit content
  • Knowledgeable staff who guide patrons in and through our services and enable them to be self-reliant

Service Development and Evaluation

In order to deliver relevant library services that are responsive to change, Hennepin County Library will:

  • Recognize and respond to changing communities and demographics
  • Solicit and act on patron feedback
  • Seek local, national, and international insights, perspectives, and experience as new services are designed and delivered
  • Establish formal and informal relationships to innovate and develop services
  • Provide services that are community-based - reflecting both the Hennepin County community as a whole as well as the individual communities that reside within it
  • Continually evaluate services to ensure they remain relevant to the community, are cost effective, and meet desired outcomes

Service Limitations

The library may establish service limitations to ensure the effective use of limited resources and to provide patrons with fair and equitable access to library services.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Library Director (or designees) may establish administrative level policies that articulate:

  • The scope and limitation of service that is available for specific service areas
  • How those services are evaluated
  • General service guidelines to ensure the fair and consistent provision of service to patrons

Associated Policies


This policy is reviewed by the Library Director (or designee) every four (4) years, making recommendations to the Library Board Policy Committee. The Committee reviews and revises as necessary, endorses and advances to the full Library Board for approval.

Policy History

Date Approved: 2021
Next Review Date: 2025
Date Adopted: 2016