Visitor access to and use of, medications and other personal medical equipment in the Library

1. Introduction

This document describes Library policy for the procedures surrounding Library users and visitors who may require access to personal medications and/or medical equipment while on Library premises. It provides guidance to relevant Library Authorised Persons.

2. Policy Aims

The Library must take all reasonably practical measures to provide that visitors have access to their necessary medical needs to ensure their safety and comfort in accordance with our various obligations, including under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011.

3. Definitions

Authorised Person

The Director-General, or a person authorised by the Director-General for the purposes of instigating actions under the National Library Regulations 1994.

Personal medications and other medical equipment

All equipment, items or medications required for medical reasons.

Prescribed Articles

Includes overcoats, any implement that can be used to damage Library material other than a pen or pencil, and all bags, cases, parcels or containers that cannot be wholly enclosed in a cube each edge of which is 300 millimetres long.

Security Log

The daily event register routinely maintained by the security officers stationed at the Cloak Room and Security Control Centre.

4. Policy statement

The National Library of Australia’s policy on allowing medication and other personal medical equipment into the Reading Rooms, Treasures and Exhibition Galleries is that these items are to be allowed to enter into these areas in all but exceptional circumstances.

5. Key roles and responsibilities

Authorised Persons

All Library staff, contractors including security officers, who are authorised by the Director-General of the Library to give directions in accordance with the National Library Regulations

Security Manager

A Library officer who oversights the Security Unit and is responsible for the day to day management of security and emergency responses within the Library

Assistant Director-General, Corporate Services

The Assistant Director-General, Corporate Services is responsible for the Policy’s efficacy in relation to its implementation, evaluation, review and improvement.

6. Key outcome

The key objective of this policy is to ensure that Library visitors requiring access to their personal medications and medical equipment during their visit are permitted to do so.

7. Implementation process

In order to ensure the protection of the Library collection, the National Library Regulations 1994 Section 4 (the “Regulations”) do not allow Prescribed Articles to be taken into the Reading Rooms and Treasures or Exhibition Galleries.

There is nothing in the Regulations to prevent visitors from carrying personal medications and/or personal medical equipment which are not Prescribed Articles into supervised areas such as the Reading Rooms, Treasures or Exhibition Galleries.  For example, a small bag containing a Ventolin inhaler would not be a Prescribed Article.  The prohibition under the Regulations applies only to Prescribed Articles.

Where a visitor seeks to enter with personal medication or medical equipment which is a Prescribed Article

In most circumstances, a medication or piece of medical equipment will not be a Prescribed Article, unless it is in a large container or incorporates an implement that can be used to damage Library material.

Where medication or a piece of personal medical equipment is a Prescribed Article, Authorised Persons are to permit visitors to take these items into supervised areas such as the Reading Rooms, the Treasures Gallery and exhibition areas, if the visitor has a reasonable justification for entering with that item based on the visitor's need to access the medication or medical equipment whilst in the building.

For example, if the visitor is likely to require the medication during their visit, it would be unreasonable and possibly unsafe to require that visitor to return to the Cloak Room to access their medication.  Another example would be where the visitor might require access to medical equipment or medications in an emergency (such as an Epi-pen).

Where the personal medication or medical equipment is in a large bag or container

If the equipment or medication is contained in a bag or container which does not comply with the Regulations for use in the supervised areas, an Authorised Person, including the Cloak Room security officer, may ask the visitor to place these items in a smaller bag.  However, if it is not reasonably possible, practical or readily convenient for the visitor to remove the medications or equipment from the larger bag for whatever reason, and the visitor indicates that he or she requires access to the medications or medical equipment while in the Library, the officer should allow the visitor to enter with the larger bag which contains the required medical items.

In this event, a notation should be made by the Cloak Room security officer in the daily Security Log register that a visitor has been allowed to enter past the Cloak Room with a larger than usually permissible bag. This will assist with the consistent application and review of this Policy and allow the Security Manager to respond appropriately to any complaints or questions received from staff or other Library users about a perceived inconsistent application of the usual bag size limit.

There have been instances in the past, of visitors attempting to circumvent Library Regulations by claiming to require larger bags to be brought in for medical reasons.  It is not unreasonable to request to sight the contents of the bag to verify the claim, or to offer a smaller bag as an alternative.  In sighting the items or making alternative suggestions Authorised Persons must be mindful of the dignity of the individual including any implications of having to publically display the medication or equipment and the practicality of the visitor having to return to the Cloak Room to access his or her medication.

If any guidance or clarification is required, the Security Control Centre supervisor should be contacted. The Security Manager in turn, should be contacted for further assistance and guidance as necessary. Such contact should be made in a discreet fashion.

All Authorised Persons are to receive annual training in relation to visitors taking medications and medical equipment into restricted areas such as the Reading Rooms and the Treasures and Exhibition Galleries.  Training will be delivered by the Security Manager or an appropriate Security Unit team member.

8. Revision

This policy will be next reviewed in December 2014.

9. References and related documents

The following documents and/or legislation were considered when developing this Policy:

  • National Library Regulations 1994
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992
  • Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011