- Library / Learning Center
- About the Library
About the Library
The Balch Springs Library – Learning Center is located at 12450 Elam Rd. in southeastern Dallas County. The library opened its doors in April of 2006 and since that time has had over 80,000 visitors to the facility per year. The facility was funded with Economic Development Type B funds and is an asset to the City of Balch Springs by offering a wide variety of programs and materials to meet the needs of the community. The library offers free library cards to anyone 17 years old or older that lives in the cities of Balch Springs or Mesquite with a valid photo ID. Anyone 17 years old or older that lives outside of Balch Springs and Mesquite is eligible to receive a one year, non-resident card for a $15 fee and a valid photo ID.
The library holds over 30,000 items that include books, DVD’s, video games, Wifi hotspots, STEAM kits, audiobooks, and much more. Additionally, over 30,000 downloadable items are available through Libby such as books, audiobooks, and movies. These materials are free for Balch Springs Library – Learning Center card holders. The library also has a computer lab with computers available for research, job hunting or homework help. The library provides free computer services to anyone with a valid photo ID. Our workforce development program helps patrons with all their workforce needs including job hunting, website searching, resume creation, resume formatting, and email help.
Our friendly and professional staff is eager to serve you. Welcome to the Balch Springs Library and Learning Center!
How to get involved!
The library accepts volunteers who need to complete community services hours from public schools or universities. The library will also accept adult volunteers who are willing to help in our programs. If you would be interested in volunteering, please call 972-913-3000.
Friends of the Library
The Friends of the Balch Springs Library-Learning Center formed after the opening of the new library facility in 2006 and has made great strides in earning funds for the library by planning book sales and cultural fundraisers such as dinner theaters and open houses. If you are interested in joining the Friends of the Balch Springs Library-Learning Center, please contact Delores Lelsz at 972-222-2030.
The Library Foundation
Donations to the library are a vital part of library activity. Many cities struggle to raise the funds needed to support the library so donating money mean the library can obtain material that they would otherwise not be able to afford. Please consider supporting the Balch Spring Library-Learning Center by donating. Any amount is appreciated. Your contribution will go far in making a difference in materials and services the library can provide to the public.
The following policies govern how we use our library:
The Balch Springs Library – Learning Center is committed to providing access to disabled individuals in our community and those visiting our library from other communities.
The following provides a description of ADA compliance in the library facility:
- Handicapped parking is provided on the East side of the facility
- Shelving units are spaced within ADA compliance
- Check out stations have lower counter for wheelchair access
- Library catalog is wheelchair accessible
- Easy access to library displays and exhibits.
- Tables and computers are wheelchair accessible
- Restroom facilities are wheelchair accessible
The library encourages and welcomes handicapped individuals to participate in programs and activities of all kinds. Patrons with questions regarding program accessibility and requests for reasonable accommodations should contact the library at least seven days before a scheduled event.
Complaints can be made in writing and addressed to the City Manager of Balch Springs.
Bulletin Board Policy
The Balch Springs Library – Learning Center's bulletin boards and display tables provide information to the community about library news and City of Balch Springs upcoming events and announcements. Flyers are free for patrons to take but may be limited in number. Flyers from outside organizations are not allowed at this time due to space limitations. All flyers and marketing materials must be approved by the Library Director.
The following is allowed for the bulletin board and display tables:
- Information that supports the mission of the library by providing educational, cultural, and recreational information to the community of Balch Springs
- Library events
- Workforce development information and job fairs
- The City of Balch Springs flyers, notices, voting information, elections, and upcoming events
- City of Balch Springs legal notices
- Chamber of Commerce events and notices
The following is not allowed for the bulletin board of display tables:
- Political signs or information
- Business advertisement
Flyers and other marketing materials on bulletin boards does not imply endorsement by the Balch Springs Library - Learning Center. Flyers are provided as a service to the community of Balch Springs.
Child Safety Policy
The Balch Springs Library – Learning Center strives to create a safe learning environment for all children who visit the facility. Child safety is of upmost importance to the City of Balch Springs and library staff members. Parents, guardians or adults at least 18 years or older are asked to monitor their children and take responsible for their behavior.
The library has a children's area where books, interactive toys and computer are located. Children with parents and/or guardians are allowed in this are to use for its intended proposes. Adults in the children's area without children, or who are not looking for children's materials will be asked to use another part of the library.
We encourage parents and children to use the facility and participate in our many children's programs. Since the library is open to the public, children's safety cannot be guaranteed. Children may also encounter hazards in the library such as small toys, electrical cords, computers, furniture, electronic doors, etc., therefore parents and/or guardians must monitor their children at all times when using the library or visiting the facility.
Children 12 and over may come to the library without supervision to study and work on projects in the library. Children who come to the library to work independently must be picked up by a parent or guardian before the library closes. The police will be called for any child under 16 who has not been picked up within 10 minutes of closing. Library staff are not allowed to transport children at any time.
If a child is lost or cannot find their parent, library staff will make every effort to locate the child's parent or guardian. Staff will stay with the child for a period of time, but for the safety of the child, staff will take the child to the circulation desk in the library until the parent comes back or is located. Staff will remain with the child at the circulation desk at all times until the parent/guardian comes back. If the child is left for more than 10 minutes, library staff will call the Balch Springs Police Department for assistance.
No undergarments may be showing (underwear or bras) at any time
No clothing with objectionable material either in the graphic or print format may be worn in the library
Shoes and shirts with pants or shorts must be worn at all time
No revealing or see through tops
No bare midriffs
No sleeping in the library
General Library Policy
All patrons with a library card may check out up to 20 items per visit. DVDs may only be checked out to adults 17 years or older. All family members must be cleared in order to check our new materials.
The loan period is as follows:
- Books: 2 weeks
- Kits: 2 weeks
- Audiobook CDs/Playaways: 2 weeks
- Wonder books: 2 weeks
- DVDs: 2 weeks
- Playaway View: 2 weeks
- Video Games: 1 week
- Steam Kits: 2 weeks
- Wifi Hotspots: 2 weeks
Patrons may have a total of 20 items per card. Children under 17 have restrictions for items they may check out.
The following rules apply per check out:
- 2 Video Games
- 2 Books on one subject
- 5 DVDs (only two series per check out)
- 3 Audiobook CDs
- 2 Playaways
- 1 Playaway View
- 2 Wonder Books
- 1 Steam Kit
- 1 Wifi Hotspot
Lost items must be paid if the materials are lost or damaged. No swap or trade will be allowed. For a lost book patron will pay the replacement cost of the item plus a $5.00 processing fee. If the maximum fine has been applied and is more than the cost of the book plus processing fee, the maximum fine will be paid.
Library material that has been damaged must be paid in full. For a damaged book, patron will pay the replacement cost of the item plus a $5.00 processing fee. If there is minor damage, costs will be as follows:
- Damaged book: cost of book + $5.00 processing fee
- Barcode removed - $1.00
- Torn dust jacket - $5.00
- Broken DVD case - $1.00
The following disruptive behavior policy had been approved by the Library Board February 17, 2022.
Any patron displaying persistent disruptive behavior may be banned from the library at the discretion of the library staff. The circulation desk staff has the Patron Behavior Policy available upon request.
Cell phone usage is not allowed in the library building as a courtesy to patrons and staff members.
The goal of the Patron Behavior Policy us to provide guidelines for behavior for the protection of library patrons and library staff.
Internet Acceptable Use Policy
The Balch Springs Library – Learning Center (BSLLC) provides free public access to the internet, a medium that offers a variety of educational, recreational, and cultural information for library users. Because the internet is a vast, unregulated medium, the library cannot control and is not responsible for the content or accuracy of information accessed over the internet, including information contained in electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of electronic communication.
Patrons must agree to take full responsibility for his or her own actions regarding the use of library equipment and facilities involving internet access. Signatures turned in on the Internet Acceptable Use Policy or library application are legally binding and indicate that the parties who signed have read the terms and conditions stated in this policy carefully and understand the significance. Anyone who engages in illegal activity on the computers will be banned from the library indefinitely and may face criminal charges.
- Access to computers is for BSLLC cardholders only. An exception is made for one time visitors wanting to use a computer. A valid card, with updated information, must be presented to staff to use the computers for email, internet, or any other resource. One time visitors must present a driver’s license or valid ID to use computers. If the patron plans on using the computers more than one time, they must apply for a library card or Computer Only card.
- Patrons who wish to access the Internet utilizing BSLLC computers will be expected to sign and strictly adhere to the guidelines outlined in the policy. Patrons will be held financially responsible for acts which access, modify, damage, or delete hardware, software and other data and programs other than their own.
- Access to the internet is provided to citizens as an educational resource and a privilege. Failure to observe the expectations as set forth in the acceptable use policy may result in a loss of access to the internet as well as any appropriate disciplinary and/or legal actions.
- The library, in conjunction with the City of Balch Springs, has taken available precautions in forewarning and educating all interested parties and limiting access to controversial material accessible on the internet.
- Transmission of any material in violation of any federal, state or local law is prohibited. Internet privileges may be revoked by the library and serious disciplinary action may be pursued for violations.
- Balch Springs Public Library requires computer users to respect the rights and sensibilities of all library users. Some Internet sites are inappropriate for viewing in a public setting. Users should refrain from the use of Internet sounds and visuals that may disrupt the ability of other library patrons to use the library and its resources. Library staff reserves the right to end Internet sessions when sexually explicit or pornographic materials are displayed.
- Vandalism, such as damaging either equipment or facilities, will result in the cancellation of all privileges. This includes, but is not limited to, the uploading or creation of viruses.
- Limited help is available for computer users.
Library computers are available for use with either a regular library card or with a COMPUTER USE ONLY card. Library cards must be renewed every 3 years. Computer Use Only and Non-Resident cards must be renewed annually.
Library computers are checked out for a period of 1 hour at a time. If no others are waiting, patrons will be permitted to continue usage until another patron needs the computer. Patrons can get back in line for another computer once their hour has expired. If no computers are currently available, check with library staff to assure your proper place in line is scheduled based on next availability.
Use of the internet for any activity that violates local, provincial, federal or International law, order or regulation, is a violation of this agreement. Prohibited activities include, but are not limited to:
- Posting, storing, transmitting or disseminating unlawful material, including without limitation, child or other pornography, any content, data or other material which is libelous, obscene, hateful, unlawful, threatening, reaction or ethnically offensive, defamatory or which in any way constitute or encourages conduct that would constitute a criminal offense.
- Disseminating material which violates copyright or intellectual property rights. The customer assumes all risk regarding whether material is in the public domain;
- Pyramid or other illegal soliciting schemes; or
- Fraudulent activities; including but not limited to: impersonating any person or entity, or forging anyone’s digital or manual signature.
- Creation, transmittal, or use of illegal copies of copyrighted software.
- Waste of computing resources, for example, by intentionally placing a program in an endless loop, by sending chain letters or junk mail, or by printing excessive amounts of paper.
Printing to a library laser printer is available at a cost of .15 cents per page. Pages must be paid prior to printing.
Sending e-mail using another’s identity, an assumed name, or anonymously is forbidden.
Games may be played on computers in the library as long as quiet is maintained and the rights of other library patrons are respected.
Out of consideration for other patrons, sound will not be allowed on library computers unless the patron brings his/her own headphones. The library will not be responsible for any personal equipment utilized on library computers.
Cell phones use is prohibited in the library and computer lab out of courtesy to other patrons. Please go outside the library to engage in telephone communications.
For the consideration of patron privacy, it is against library policy for library staff to enter personal patron information on employment applications, emails, or on any other internet form.
- For storing and uploading data, USB Flash drives may be utilized on library computers. The library will not be responsible for any personal equipment utilized on library computers.
- Patrons are allowed to download data temporarily to hard drives on library computers. However, this data is cleared hourly automatically as time expires on computers. For this reason, we encourage patrons to save their data before their time expires.
- Accessing, downloading, printing or storing information with sexually explicit content is forbidden.
- Downloading or transmitting fraudulent, threatening, obscene, intimidating, defamatory, harassing, discriminatory, or otherwise unlawful messages or images is forbidden.
- Installing or downloading computer software, programs or executable files contrary to policy is forbidden. Patrons should check with library staff prior to downloading or accessing a file or document if the source of the file or other circumstances raises doubts about its safety.
Computer work stations are designed for use by one person at a time. Children 12 and over are allowed to use computers without supervision. They are expected to respect the workspace of other patrons around them in the library. Children under the age of 12 will be allowed to use computers, but must be monitored by an adult at all times.
The following are recommended guidelines for parents and guardians to ensure that children have positive online experiences, whether at home or in the library:
- Use the Internet as a family. Join your children in Internet exploration.
- Explore the wide range of available information and tell your children about sites you consider inappropriate for them.
- Encourage children to use sites recommended on the Library's homepage and counsel them to avoid sites you consider unsuitable.
- Provide guidelines for your children on the amount of time they spend online, just as for television viewing.
- Instruct children NEVER to give out personal information (name, address, password, telephone number, credit card number) online.
- Teach children to be good online consumers. As with print information, consider the source, date, and accuracy of online information.
The public library, unlike schools, does not serve in loco parentis (in place of a parent). Librarians cannot act in the place of parents in providing constant care and supervision of children as they explore the Internet. The responsibility for what minors read or view on the Internet rests with parents or guardian. As it does with other library resources, the Library will provide training on electronic resources. It will also make information available to help parents and guardians in their efforts to exercise their rights and responsibilities regarding their own children's use of electronic resources.
Parents with Children
The supervision of children is the sole responsibility of the parent or guardian. The library has instituted the following policy in regards to unsupervised children whose parents are using the computers:
- If the child is being disruptive or unsupervised, a warning will be given to the parent that they must attend to their child.
- If the child continues to be disruptive or unsupervised, the parent must stop using the computer immediately and attend to their child.
- If the parent, on a frequent basis, continually leaves their child unsupervised, they may be asked not to come back to the library.
Policy Subject to Revision
The Balch Springs Public Library affirms its commitment to helping patrons use the Internet effectively. The Library will continue to monitor changes and trends in Internet technology that could improve our ability to provide electronic access to library users, and will revise this policy as necessary with the approval of the library board of trustee’s.
This Internet Acceptable Use Policy was approved by the Balch Springs Public Library Board of Trustee’s June 15, 2006. This policy was review and revised by the Balch Springs Library Board on May 20, 2010.
Library Card Policy
Patrons 17 years or older who live in Balch Springs of Mesquite may apply for a library card for free at the Balch Springs Library by presenting a valid photo ID.
Photo identification accepted to receive a card:
- Driver's license
- Student ID
- State issued ID
- Consulate ID
If the current photo ID does not have a current mailing address, then a supporting document is required to receive a library card.
Supporting documentation includes current mail, lease agreement, voter's registration card, utility bill, or insurance card. Supporting document may be provided electronically.
Children 4-16 years of age may receive a card under their parents or guardian's account.
Non-residents may receive a card by paying a yearly $15.00 non-residents fee. The fee includes one parent and children 4-16 years of age wanting a card. Non-residents fees must be paid yearly.
Computer Only Cards
Anyone may receive a computer only card by presenting an ID. Computer only cards are valid for one year and may be renewed for free by calling the library or checking with staff when visiting the library. Computer only cards allow patrons to use computers to print, view information and apply for jobs online.
Owners of businesses located in the City of Balch Springs may receive a library card for free. The card is valid for three years. Owners must present proof of business location including the name of business, business owner, and address.
Replacement cost for a lost card is $1.00 and can be paid at the circulation desk of the library.
Teachers/School Staff and City Staff
Teachers and school staff who work at Balch Springs schools may receive a library card for free by presenting their current school ID. City of Balch Springs staff may receive a library card for free by presenting their current city ID.
Playaway VIEW Loan Policy
The Balch Springs Library – Learning Center circulates Playaway VIEW devices for the patrons that have had a library card at least six months with a record of no outstanding fines during that period. Each Playaway VIEW contains preloaded video content.
- Playaway VIEW’s circulate for 1 week, and are not renewable. Patrons may reserve VIEW’s which will serve as the waiting list for the devices.
- Patrons may only check out one Playaway VIEW at a time and only one Playaway VIEW per household.
- Playaway VIEW’s are checked-out and checked-in at the circulation desk. Playaway VIEW’s may not be left in the drop box.
- A Playaway VIEW agreement must be filled out and signed at the time of check-out. Playaway VIEW Agreements will be kept on file for the duration of the loan period and a copy of the signed agreement will be provided at the time the item is check-in, and may be used as a receipt.
- Patrons must be 18 years of age or older to check out a Playaway VIEW.
- Patrons must to agree to pay all replacement costs associated with damage, loss or theft of a Playaway VIEW device or any of its accessories, per the Playaway VIEW Patron Agreement.
- Library staff members will conduct a physical inspection of each Playaway VIEW when it is returned to insure that it is intact, has all of its accessories and is functioning properly.
Cost of Playaway VIEWS
- Loan period is 7 days
- Cost of lost or damaged Playaway VIEW is $100.00
- Charging plug replacement fee: $15.00
- Lost carrying bag is $5.00
- Lost barcode is $5.00
- Late fees after 7 days are $1.00 per day (max $20)
The Balch Springs Library – Learning Center shall sponsor a variety of community based programs that are free to the citizens of Balch Springs and surrounding communities. Programs may consist of activities, displays, posters, art work, presentations, guest speakers, or special events. Library programs support the mission of the library by providing a wide range of educational, informational and recreational activities to the community in an atmosphere that is welcoming and respectful. Library programs utilize staff, guest speakers, city officials, and volunteers with presentation that are objective and informational. Library program will focus on the needs of the community.
Programs will be coordinated by library staff and approved by the Library Director. Programs are free and open to all ages, but some programs may target specific audiences such as storytime for children and computer classes for adults. Marketing is used as a method to inform people about upcoming events, and may only target audience’s specific to the event.
All programs will be approved by the Library Director. Acceptance of a library program does not constitute an endorsement of the program by the library. The library does not accept programs that are purely commercial, political or religious in nature without the consent of the Library Director. For example a play based on a religious belief may be acceptable, but an official religious ceremony (church service) is not. Questions, concerns or complaints about library programs should be referred to the Library Director.
Programs may be canceled due to uncontrollable factors such as weather or absence of a presenter.
Reference Services Policy
The Balch Springs Library – Learning Center provides information to patrons in the way of knowledge, use, recommendations, interpretation, or instruction. Library staff will use the best resources available to provide reference information for patrons. We strive to provide the best information in an environment that is positive and respectful to all patrons.
A list of valid, reliable reference websites is listed in the Reference Notebook located at the circulation desk. All staff members will record their reference transactions on a daily basis in the reference transaction notebook. These statistics are used for reporting purposes to maintain accreditation from the Texas State Library and Archives Commissions for which we are a member.
A reference transaction is information provided by library staff to help patrons meet their informational needs. Directional information such as questions about a fax machine, restrooms or pointing to sections of the library is not considered reference transactions. Library staff may need to consult the Library Director if they are unsure about information to provide to patrons or if they are unsure if a question is considered a reference question.
Patrons ask reference questions both in person and by phone. Priority is given to those who are currently at the library. If the reference question requires research by library staff or if there are multiple questions, staff must write down patron’s name and contact information and explain that providing an answer may take up to 24 hours to answer. If the reference question requires intensive research, analysis or interpretation, the patron is encouraged to perform their own research.
Library staff will strive to provide accurate information in a professional and courteous manner to all patrons in the library, maintaining professionalism at all times.
Types of reference transactions
Before responding to a reference question, staff must understand the question thoroughly. When answering reference questions, staff will refrain from providing personal opinions, beliefs or experience. Staff will cite the resource for the patron when answering a question.
The following are a few of the many types of reference questions staff may encounter at the circulation desk. This list is not inclusive as there are many different questions that are answered on a daily basis. Library staff is to provide answers to questions using valid sources.
- Providing information or instructions on the library catalog
- Providing call numbers
- Locating materials on shelves
- Explaining online services
- Providing general information (not directional)
- Bibliographic information such as title, author, ISBN, publisher, price
- Providing material suggestions
- Providing information for other community activities
- Renewing a book over the phone or in person
- Helping patrons with computers
Telephone reference questions may be answered while keeping the patron on hold providing the question does not take more than two to three minutes to answer.
Volunteers are valuable resources for the library, helping to enhance library services and sharing their valuable time, creativity and talent. The Balch Springs Library – Learning Center recognizes volunteers and their service to the library and the community. Volunteers are advocates for the Library within the community and help patrons become familiar with the Library and Library services. Library volunteers supplement the efforts of paid Library staff members and have the opportunity to feel personal satisfaction while providing a valuable service to the community.
All volunteers must be approved by the Library Director. After approval, volunteers will report to the Children’s Library Assistant Monday – Thursday or the Part-Time Assistant on Friday and Saturday. Volunteers will report to assigned library staff before beginning their volunteer hours.
All volunteers will complete a detailed information form before being accepted as a volunteer. Adults volunteering to work with children and children’s programs, or regular volunteers that work weekly must complete a background check before beginning volunteer hours.
All volunteers must be at least 16 years of age with the exception of students in honor organizations or students needing hours for a special project. Teens under 16 must be approved by the Library Director before beginning volunteer hours. Additionally, teens under the age of 16 must have approval from a parent or guardian in order to volunteer. All parent/guardian contact information and permission signature must be on the information form before service hours begin.
Volunteer hours will be recorded in the Volunteer notebook located at the circulation desk and reported to the State Library each year through the library’s annual reports.
Court ordered community service workers must be approved by the Library Director before beginning service hours. The Library only accepts non-violent offenders for community service. All documentation must be presented to Library Staff.
All volunteers must arrange to be picked up from the library before closing time.
The Library reserves the right to terminate a volunteer at any time.
Types of Volunteers:
- Teens needing a specific number of hours for organizations such as National Honor Society, Junior National Honor Society, church, and other school groups
- Teens wanting hours for their college resume
- Teens wanting to volunteer during the summer
- Adults wanting to volunteer their time or skills to help in the library
- Court ordered community service
- Community service workers from Balch Springs Court (adult or juvenile) and are at least 16 years of age.
- Court ordered community service workers from Dallas County Juvenile Court who live in Balch Springs and are at least 16 years of age.
- Must be non-violent community service workers only
All volunteers must adhere to the policies for all staff members including:
- Protecting patron privacy
- Courtesy to all patrons
- No cell phone use in the library
- No eating or drinking in the library
- Adhering to the Library’s Service Philosophy
- Must check with staff before leaving facility
- May not chat with friends while completing volunteer hours
All volunteers must be at least 16 years of age. Court ordered community service individuals and adult volunteers must be approved by the Library Director. Honor Society Students under the age of 16 must be approved by the Library Director.
Teen Volunteers Job Tasks
- Shelve materials
- Straighten shelves
- Check for orderliness
- Straighten children’s room – put together puzzles, stack floor mats, replace books pulled from shelf
- Read to children
- Help patrons in the computer lab if approved by Library Director.
- Other tasks if assigned
Teen volunteers must not leave library without telling circulation staff. When leaving for the day, teens under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Teens may not use cell phones in the library while completing community service.
Community Service Job Tasks
- Dust shelving by removing books, then dust
- Clean children’s area including chairs, stools, puzzles, activity station, and glass
- Clean knobs on doors and entrances.
- Clean books when applicable
Additionally, the following will apply for community service volunteers:
- May not leave library without telling circulation staff.
- May not use cell phones in the library while completing community service.
- Must be courteous to staff members and patrons at all times.
The Library reserves the right to terminate any volunteer at any time.