On August 3, 2017, the Paige Memorial Library Board of Trustees voted to adopt a set of policy guidelines in order to help define the values of the organization and to help managers and staff translate those values into service priorities. Among the policies adopted were the American Library Association (ALA) definition of Intellectual Freedom, the ALA Bill of Rights, the ALA Code of Ethics, and the ALA Interpretation of Privacy.
At their January 6, 2022 board meeting, the Paige Memorial Library Trustees voted to also adopt the following policies related to the ALA “The Freedom To Read Statement” which states that the freedom to read is essential to our democracy.
FREEDOM TO READ, SEE AND HEAR:
Overview: The Paige Memorial Library subscribes to the principles of intellectual freedom as stated in Freedom to Read, Freedom to View, and the Library Bill of Rights and their interpretations as issued by the American Library Association. Included in these statements is the commitment to honor the rights of an individual to use the Library regardless of age, race, religion, national origin, or social or political views. Accordingly, library staff provides equal service to all library users. Children and adults are equally free to use the entire Library and to borrow all materials in the circulating collections. Limitations to be placed upon the reading and viewing materials of young people are left to the discretion of the parents. Well-intentioned persons or groups occasionally question the inclusion of items in library collections. Although we understand and appreciate their fears and doubts about the effects of materials on impressionable persons, the Board takes the position that the risk of not providing access to information and ideas is greater than the risk of providing it. Sometimes suggestions are made regarding the restriction or removal of certain library materials, and the Board, therefore, wishes to establish the following principles:
Controversial Materials: In an effort to provide Library patrons with diverse sources of information and the widest possible range of ideas and viewpoints, the Library will acquire some controversial materials. Some of these materials may be offensive to individuals or groups because of perceived profanity, social, economic, and political ideas, religious viewpoints, the background of the author, the kinds of information provided, illustrations, or other reasons. Acquisition or use of any item does not imply approval or endorsement of the contents. Indeed, it cannot, since such a variety of ideas is collected. The Board believes it is essential to provide such materials if the American ideal of freedom is to be retained.
Age: Judges, legislators, educators, and others are giving increased recognition to the fact that young people need access to all the information and ideas that are essential to their growth. Therefore, anyone, of any age, who is eligible for a Library card may use any materials in the Library, and is not to have that privilege limited by any staff member. If parents wish to deny their children access to certain materials they must take the responsibility themselves.
Labeling: It is sometimes suggested that a descriptive label be affixed to library materials indicating a political or social point of view or indicating that such an item is questionable or controversial. Such labeling suggests that Americans are incapable of making up their own minds about controversial subjects, and this practice is contrary to the American idea of the free marketplace of ideas. The Paige Memorial Library does not subscribe to this practice, which is not to be confused with the routine genre labeling (i.e. mystery, romance western, etc.) of library materials which makes no attempt to prejudice the attitude of potential readers about the work in question.
Special Collections: The use of rare, scholarly, and/or fragile items of great value may be controlled to the extent required to preserve them from harm, but no further action shall be taken to restrict the public’s access to the Library’s collections.
Reconsideration: The Library is willing to re-examine its position on any item in the Library’s collections. A patron must first complete the Request for the Reconsideration of Library Materials form, which will then be presented to all members of the Board of Library Trustees. The Board will consider the request and vote on the issue at the following meeting. No item is to be removed or restricted because of a complaint except in accordance with this procedure.
Paige Memorial Library Request for Reconsideration of Material Form
The trustees of the Paige Memorial Library have established a materials selection policy and a procedure for gathering input about particular items. Completion of this form is the first step in that procedure. If you wish to request reconsideration of a resource, please return the completed form to the library director.
Paige Memorial Library
87 Petersham Road
Hardwick, MA 01037
City ____________________________ State/Zip _______________________
Phone __________________________ Email __________________________
Do you represent self? ____ Or an organization? ____
Name of Organization _____________________________________________
- Resource on which you are commenting:
___ Book (e-book) ___ Movie ___ Magazine ___ Audio Recording
___ Digital Resource ___ Game ___ Newspaper ___ Other
- What brought this resource to your attention?
- Have you examined the entire resource? If not, what sections did you review?
- What concerns you about the resource?
- Are there resources you suggest to provide additional information and/or other viewpoints on this topic?
- What action are you requesting the committee to consider?
The following policies were updated and approved by the Paige Library Board of Trustees on 3 August 2017
Listed below are the policies of the Paige Memorial Library that all Staff, Trustees, Volunteers, Associates, and Patrons are expected to abide by. Library policies help define the values of the organization, and they help managers and staff translate those values into service priorities. Policies ensure equitable treatment for all, by establishing a standard of service that can be understood by users of the service and providers while providing a framework for the delivery of those services.
All Library Policy is created and approved exclusively by The Paige Memorial Library Board of Trustees. Anyone who wishes to discuss library policies in further detail is welcome to attend a Trustees meeting, which is publically posted and held at the library on the first Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm.
Collection development and materials policies are guided by the principles of intellectual freedom. These stem from the First Amendment of the Constitution, which affirms a citizen’s right to hold beliefs and to express them. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press also apply to its counterpart, the right to unrestricted access to the expressions and beliefs of others.
The Role of the Public Library
Public libraries play a unique role in the preservation of democracy by providing an open, non-judgmental institution where individuals can pursue their interests and gain an understanding of diverse opinions. Libraries must continue to play an essential role in safeguarding the intellectual liberty of the public and they must recognize, understand and support freedom of access.
ALA Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
- Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
- Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. II. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting the abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
- A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
- Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
ALA Code of Ethics
As members of the American Library Association, we recognize the importance of codifying and making known to the profession and to the general public the ethical principles that guide the work of librarians, other professionals providing information services, library trustees, and library staff members.
Ethical dilemmas occur when values are in conflict. The American Library Association Code of Ethics states the values to which we are committed and embodies the ethical responsibilities of the profession in this changing information environment.
We significantly influence or control the selection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information. In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry, we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information. We have a special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations.
- The principles of this Code are expressed in broad statements to guide ethical decision-making. These statements provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.
- We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.
- We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.
- We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
- We respect intellectual property rights and advocate a balance between the interests of information users and rights holders.
- We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.
- We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.
- We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.
- We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.
Adopted at the 1939 Midwinter Meeting by the ALA Council; amended June 30, 1981; June 28, 1995; and January 22, 2008.
ALA Interpretation of Privacy
Rights of Library Users
The Library Bill of Rights affirms the ethical imperative to provide unrestricted access to information and to guard against impediments to open inquiry. Article IV states: “Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.” When users recognize or fear that their privacy or confidentiality is compromised, true freedom of inquiry no longer exists.
In all areas of librarianship, the best practice leaves the user in control of as many choices as possible. These include decisions about the selection of, access to, and use of information. Lack of privacy and confidentiality has a chilling effect on users’ choices. All users have a right to be free from any unreasonable intrusion into or surveillance of their lawful library use.
Users have the right to be informed about what policies and procedures govern the amount and retention of personally identifiable information, why that information is necessary for the library, and what the user can do to maintain his or her privacy.
Library users expect and in many places have a legal right to have their information protected and kept private and confidential by anyone with direct or indirect access to that information. In addition, Article V of the Library Bill of Rights states: “A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.” This article precludes the use of profiling as a basis for any breach of privacy rights.
Users have the right to use a library without any abridgment of privacy that may result from equating the subject of their inquiry with behavior.
Appropriate Library Conduct
The Paige Memorial Library is committed to protecting the rights and safety of the Library’s patrons, volunteers, and staff, and to preserving and protecting the Library’s materials, equipment, facilities, and grounds.
To that end, Library staff will intervene fairly and reasonably to stop prohibited activities and behaviors. Failure to comply with Library policies could result in removal from the Library, arrest, and/or termination of Library privileges.
Examples of prohibited behavior:
- Engaging in any activity in violation of Federal, State, local or other applicable law, or library policy.
- Neglecting to provide proper supervision of children seven (7) years and younger.
- Verbally or physically threatening or harassing other patrons, volunteers, or staff.
- Stealing, damaging, altering, or inappropriate use of library property.
- Trespassing in nonpublic areas of the library without permission of an authorized library employee.
- Creating verbal or physical disruptions such as yelling, running or fighting.
- Entering the Library barefooted, without a shirt, or otherwise dressed so as to be disruptive to the library environment.
- Bringing pets or animals, other than service animals necessary for disabilities, into the library.
- Representing yourself as another person for purposes of fraud or other illegal activity.
Materials Selection and Usage Policy
Responsibility for the Collection:
Final authority for the approval of the policies in this document is vested in the library’s Board of Trustees. They have delegated the responsibility for implementing this policy to the Library Director. The Library Director may delegate specific staff members the responsibility for the selection of materials in special areas, but recommendations of these staff members are always subject to review by the Director.
It is the function of librarians to select and withdraw library materials, and to advise on their use. The collection is developed within limitation of space and budget. Recognizing that sensitivity to the needs and interests of the community is essential to the development of library collections, the Paige Memorial Library welcomes advice and suggestions from patrons, trustees and authorities in various fields. Librarians, however, are responsible for judging the needs of their collection and their community, and the Library Director will make the final choices.
Paige Memorial Library Borrowing Policy
Residents of Massachusetts communities with public libraries certified by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners are eligible for a free Borrower’s card from the Paige Memorial Library. All borrowers must be registered and have a valid library card in good standing in order to borrow library materials. The Board of Library Trustees reserves the right to deny borrowing privileges to residents of decertified libraries.
Massachusetts State Law (G.L. c78: 7) prohibits disclosure by a public library of a patron’s identity or a patron’s borrowing history to anyone. The law does not differentiate among categories of library patrons and applies equally to records of minor patrons and those of adults.
Getting a Card
To obtain a library card an individual must apply in person and produce official identification bearing the borrower’s name and current address. Acceptable identification includes a driver’s license, passport, current checkbook, bank book, voter registration card, military ID, FID card, postmarked mail they have received, or other similar means of documenting a bonafide mailing address may be acceptable.
If a street address and a mailing address are different, both should be included on the application. Letters may be issued whenever the library has a concern regarding overdue items, or damage of materials.
Applications by persons 13 years of age and younger require a parent or guardian’s signature. Children or Young Adults without identification may use their parents’ identification.
In order to circulate items, a patron must have an active card in good standing.
Books and audio books: May be checked out for 2 weeks with the option of one renewal for an additional 2 weeks.
DVD’s and Periodicals: May be checked out for one week with the option for one renewal for an additional one week. There is a three DVD limit per person.
Reference materials do not leave the library.
Museum Pass Policy:
Museum passes may only be checked out with a Paige Memorial Library card in good standing. If a person wants to check out a museum pass, but does not have a library card, a new card will be issued to them in accordance with our policy, which states “to obtain a library card, an individual must apply in person and produce official identification bearing the borrower’s name and current address.”
Museum passes will be allowed to circulate for up to three days, then must be returned directly to the library. Patrons may have one pass out at a time and there will be no renewals permitted. This excludes passes that come in the form of a discount coupon, which does not need to be returned. Passes will be returned inside the library during normal open hours. However, if absolutely necessary, the pass can be put into our outside drop box IF it is placed into a secure envelope in order to protect it from loss and outside elements.
If the museum pass is not returned when it’s due, a late fee of $1.00 per day fine will incur on the Patron’s account, with a maximum amount set to what it would cost to replace the membership pass (this fee will be determined by the Director).
It is highly recommended that a patron call the library before coming in to check out a museum pass to make sure that it is available. Passes cannot be placed on reserve and will be issued on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The telescope requires that the borrowing patron be at least 18 years of age and sign our “Telescope Borrowing Agreement”. The telescope can circulate for a maximum of two weeks with no renewals. There is a $5.00/day overdue fine for the telescope and if the telescope is lost or damaged, the borrowing patron will be expected to pay the replacement cost of $350.00. The borrowing patron is responsible for all additional items that come with the telescope and must replace them if lost or damaged. If need be, a wait list for the telescope will be created. Museum passes, kits and the telescope will all be lent in-house and will not be used to satisfy hold requests within the region. If any special collections are added, they will be treated similar to kits.
A maximum of 20 items may be checked out by an individual patron at a time. However, the Director has the right to make exceptions regarding special collections and in special instances.
Return of Library Materials
Materials may be returned inside the library at the circulation desk during open hours. The book drop box has been provided for patron convenience in returning books or magazines. Please note: Movies and audio books should be returned inside; these items may be damaged by other heavy books or by extreme outdoor temperatures.
If absolutely necessary, secure videos and audio book cases together with rubber bands and wrap them in a plastic bag before placing them in the outdoor drop box. The library reserves the right to bill patrons for these materials if damaged after being left in the book drop.
Lost or Damaged Materials
As borrowers are responsible for all items checked out in their name, borrowers need to arrange for the replacement of any lost or damaged item (or a comparable substitute if the material is out of print or otherwise unavailable, appropriateness to be determined by the Director). If paying for a lost or damaged item, please note that the library will only accept cash or a check made out to the Paige Memorial Library. Once an item is paid for, a refund will not be given.
Inter-Library Loan and Hold Policies
Patrons of the Paige Memorial Library have access to materials available to libraries all across the state. It is our pleasure to offer such services. Holds may be placed in person, online, or over the phone. Inter-library loan materials may not be renewed.
Patrons are reminded that while Paige Memorial Library materials do not come with fines, materials from other libraries do! If you borrow a book from another library, Paige Memorial Library staff cannot waive fines or consequences for other libraries. We reserve the right to deny ILL services to any patrons with any ILL fines or overdue ILL items on their account.
Due to the popularity of Inter-Library Loan items, we can only hold them on the shelf for two weeks. If a patron does not pick up the requested item, it will be sent back to the home library. Failure to pick them up will place the patron at the back of the line for hold requests.
Patrons will be notified by phone or e-mail when reserved materials are available. If you do not have an e-mail, please let us know, and we will be sure to call when an item arrives. Please update any contact information as it changes to receive notices as they arise to avoid fines.
Computer Use Policy
To fulfill its mission of providing free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning, and the joy of reading to our diverse community, the Paige Memorial Library provides access to computers and the Internet.
Computers are available only during open library hours. Telephone reservations will not be accepted. The library may generally impose limits, such as time limits, on the use of Library equipment. The Library reserves the right to terminate computer sessions at any time. Patrons are not allowed to eat or drink while using the computers to avoid possible spills and damage, and other messy activities should take place at an appropriate space.
Internet resources are to be used in a responsible manner consistent with educational, informational, and recreational purposes. Patrons of all ages are expected to use the computers in a responsible manner, respecting the rights of others.
Computer privileges may be suspended or canceled, at the discretion of the Director if a patron is found tampering with the computers, including any violations noted below:
- Degrading or disrupting equipment or system performance
- Vandalizing the data of others
- Gaining unlawful access, including “hacking” and other unlawful activities
- Invading the privacy of others
- Violating software license agreements and copyright laws
- Violating other federal, state, or local laws
- Deliberately displaying obscene images as outlined in M.G.L. c.272 s. 31.1
*Massachusetts General Laws c. 272, Section 31 1. “Obscene” matter is obscene if taken as a whole it appeals to the prurient interest of the average person applying the contemporary standards where the offense was committed; 2. depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way; and 3. lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
Computer users ten (10) years and younger must be accompanied by an adult. The child may not be left alone at the computers or at the library. Parents are encouraged to supervise their children’s Internet sessions.
The Paige Memorial Library Parking Policy:
Parking in the lot during library hours is reserved for library patrons only.
The Town of Hardwick Policy:
Winter Parking Ban Nov. 15 – April 15: No on-street parking from 10 am – 6 pm OR anytime if it’s snowing or during snow removal (includes municipal parking lots/parks)
There are three parking spaces closest to the entrance of the library. One of these spaces is specifically designated as Handicap Accessible parking and may only be used by vehicles that are designated as handicapped- vehicles that do not have this designation may be asked to move or could be towed at the owner’s expense. Other parking spaces are available parallel to Route 32A, which can accommodate several cars.
Photo Release Policy
The Paige Memorial Library periodically sponsors or conducts programs or projects during which there may be photographs or videos of participants, adults, and children attending library programs, taken from time to time by staff. These photographs or videos may be taken as a record of the event, for publicity purposes, or to be submitted to the local newspaper or library publications (including our website and our Facebook page) as part of a promotion to encourage the use of the library. Prior to taking a photograph and/or video, the staff member coordinating the event will ask if there is anyone who wishes not to be photographed, and anyone who objects will be excluded from the photo/video.
No information about an adult participant, parent or guardian, or child will be included in any publicity, other than the picture or video, without the expressed consent of the individual adult or of the parent or guardian who brings the child to or permits the child to participate in the library program.
Due to public health, sanitation, and safety concerns, animals are not permitted in the Library. An exception will be made for service animals when assisting persons with disabilities in accordance with MA General Law, or for the purpose of educational programs authorized by the Library Director. Anyone violating this policy will be asked to leave the premises immediately.
It is our pleasure to have a board for public notices. For the convenience and protection of all community organizations, all notices are to be placed by library staff only. Any notices placed without the knowledge or consent of a library staff member will be taken down. In order for a flier to be posted, please ask a library staff member first.
The Paige Memorial Library welcomes donations of books and other suitable materials to the library’s collection on an as-needed basis only.
There will be a specific, designated space set aside for used books. When this space is filled to capacity, the library may choose not to accept book donations unless books within the used book collection are weeded/discarded to make room for them. Space in the library is extremely limited and we cannot expand the storage area for used books without compromising space designated for other purposes.
Donated materials are received with the understanding that they are ultimately accepted subject to the approval of the Library Director. While donations may be added to the collection, most are used for our ongoing library book sale or are donated to other nonprofit organizations or recycled.
Because of limited space and because the library has access to other libraries’ collections through inter-library loans, the relevance of materials to our collection is especially considered.
The library will not agree to separate treatment for gift materials. All accepted materials become the property of the library and can be displayed, donated, or discarded at will.
Generally, the library will not accept items that would not be purchased or otherwise added to the collection. Memorabilia and works of art are examples of the kinds of items that the library would not buy from its regular budget. At the discretion of the Director, there may be occasional exceptions to this provision as in the case of items the library would purchase but cannot afford.
The library does not affix a dollar amount for donations accepted for inclusion in the collection. If requested, the patron may receive a statement from the library. It is the responsibility of the donor to list the titles of the items and affix a value if necessary.
The library may request donations be brought in at set times throughout the year according to storage capacity.
The Paige Memorial Library is designed to expand and enhance public service to the community. Volunteers generally provide support services to paid staff and/or work on special projects. Volunteers are expected to act in accordance with library policies and to reflect positive customer service attitudes to all library patrons.
A volunteer shall be considered as an individual, 14 years or older, who assists with work done at the Paige Memorial Library, without remuneration. Exceptions to the age requirement may be made by the Library Director.
Selection of Volunteers
Volunteers are selected based on their qualifications in relation to the needs of the library at any given time, and based on their ability to commit to a consistent schedule of volunteer hours. The selection of in-house volunteers is the responsibility of the Director.
Volunteers may be asked to work on projects that are supportive of staff efforts. Examples include shelving books, returning books, processing new materials, fronting books, storytelling, helping to prepare for programs, discarding materials, maintenance of periodicals, public relations activities, etc.
Prospective volunteers are required to fill out an application form and will be interviewed by the Director. If there are no suitable volunteer opportunities, application forms will be kept on file for a period of one year. Applicants will be called if a project is identified which matches their interests or qualifications.
After discussion with the volunteer, the Director will determine the hours of volunteer service per week. Volunteers are expected to arrive at the library on time to begin work as scheduled or call the library if they will be absent. All volunteer work must be completed within normal library hours. Exceptions may be made by the Library Director.