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The South Hadley Public Library has many library policies that govern how we provide services to our community.  All policies are approved by a nine-member, publicly-elected Board of Trustees.  A full Policy Manual is available, for your review, at the Circulation Desk.  The following selected policies cover the most commonly used public services and staff guidelines.


Library Cards
Any resident of Massachusetts may be issued a South Hadley Public Library card. Residents of towns within the C/WMARS network are encouraged to get a library card from their home library. Out-of-state residents who work in South Hadley, or are from the immediate area, are welcome to get a library card and use the facility. Library cards are registered for a three year period and must be updated with verified information after expiration. Students and faculty from Mount Holyoke College and other area institutions may apply for a card entitling them to borrowing privileges during their school year. Proof of address is required in all instances. There is no charge for library cards, however lost cards may be charged a fee to cover the cost of replacement.

Children are encouraged to get their first library card after they’ve reached five years old. Parents and guardians are responsible for returning materials borrowed on a minor’s card and are financially responsible for any fines or fees accumulated on the library card of a minor in their care. It is the responsibility of parents/guardians, not the library staff, to monitor proper use of the library and its resources by children.

Loan Periods
• All movies, magazine, and periodical item types checked out to patrons circulate for 7 days with 1 renewal for 7 days. It is recommended that library staff do not override the renewal limit. Exceptions may be made for teachers, homebound patrons, or other extenuating circumstances – in this case see the Library Director or Circulation Supervisor.
• Most other material checked out circulates for 21 days with 1 renewal for 21 days. It is recommended that library staff do not override the renewal limit except as noted above.
• Material that is circulated mainly within the South Hadley library, such as museum passes and equipment loans, will have varying loan periods based on the restrictions of each item.

Loan Limits
Limits are placed on the quantity of materials borrowed as follows:
• Music compact discs: limit 20 items per library card.
• Movies: limit 10 items.
• CDROM and other software: limit 20 items.
• Audio-books (Books on Tape, CD, etc.): limit 20 items.
• Per library card: limit 50 total items checked out at any given time.
• The maximum number of system-wide holds and ILL requests a patron may have on their record at one time is 20.

Inter-Library Loan (ILL)
• "Inter-Library Loan” is defined as a "library to library” loan. This section applies to material checked out to an established library, usually an institution that is not a member of the C/WMARS library network.
• Materials will circulate for 35 days with no renewal. South Hadley staff may extend the loan if requested.
• No daily fines will accumulate, but replacement invoices will be generated for lost material. Borrowing libraries are responsible for lending and retrieving the materials to their local patrons. The borrowing library is responsible for payment of lost materials.

• Books and other circulating print and audio material accrue a $.10 daily overdue fine with a $3.00 maximum fine per item.
• Movies (DVD and VHS tape item types) accrue a $1.00 daily fine with a maximum fine of $5.00 per item.

Patrons are blocked by the system when:
• Their registration expires.
• Patron owes $10.00 or more in fines, replacement costs, and/or fees.
• Patron has billed material.
• Patron has 50 or more items checked out.
Blocked library cards may not be used at this library or any other member library of the C/WMARS network.

Lost Book Payment Policy
Material that has been checked out to the patron on the C/W MARS system, is 28 days or more overdue, and has been billed by the system is considered "lost”. A replacement invoice/bill is generated by C/WMARS. Patrons may return the lost item or pay their bill at any circulating C/WMARS library. Local residents may speak to the South Hadley Circulation Supervisor or Library Director about replacing the material with a comparable item. All payments for lost South Hadley materials will be paid by cash or check/money order made out to the "South Hadley Public Library” and placed in a secure location with other fine payments. Staff should clear the patron’s record by choosing the "Mark Lost Item” option from the circulation system, then processing the fine payment. Payments for non-South Hadley materials will be made to the owning library using the following procedure:
1. Patron comes into the South Hadley Public Library to resolve a lost book charge from another library.
2. South Hadley staff accepts payment for lost material in the form of a check or money order. Patron makes the check or money order out to the owning library of the material. For a list of library names, consult the Massachusetts Public Library Directory or C/WMARS directory.
3. South Hadley staff note patron barcode number on the check in the memo area. Staff verifies patron address on the check and in the library card record. Note: It is important the address on the check and in the system is accurate.
4. South Hadley staff clears the lost book from the patron’s record by making a payment on the replacement cost of the item. A printout of this transaction is made. Note: if a printout is not possible, then library staff includes a note with the check listing the lost item information.
5. The printout is placed with the check and mailed to the owning library.


The purpose of the Patron Behavior Policy is to establish guidelines for behavior in order to provide all patrons with a comfortable and safe environment in which to use the library. The rules below will be firmly and courteously enforced by the library staff and, if necessary, the South Hadley Police Department.

The library premises include the library building, the land surrounding it, the sidewalks and the parking areas.

The following activities are not allowed in the library:
• Smoking (MGL Chapter 270, Section 21-22) and chewing tobacco
• Use of roller skates, skateboards, sports equipment, or similar devices
• Creating a disturbance by making noise, talking loudly, or engaging in other disruptive conduct (MGL, Chapter 272, Section 41)
• Interfering with another person’s right to use the library or with the library staff’s performance of their duties
• Threatening behavior, including, but not limited to, violence, threats of violence, and possession of weapons
• Loitering and/or blocking access to entryways, aisles, stairs, etc.
• Bringing animals into the library, except those needed to assist a disabled person
• Playing audio equipment so that others can hear it
• Misusing the rest rooms (i.e., using them as a laundry or washing facility)
• Unauthorized soliciting or canvassing of any kind in the library or on the premises
• Entering areas posted "Staff Only” without permission
• Use of the library telephone for personal business, other than for a child to call a parent/caregiver
• Running
• Sleeping

Food and beverages are not allowed in the library, except at designated times or in designated areas.

Those who damage or deface library materials or property may be prosecuted (MGL, Chapter 100). Parents are liable for damage done by a child under the age of eighteen (MGL, Chapter 231, Section 85).

Theft of library materials, use of false identification to obtain a library card, or use of another person’s library card without his/her permission are against the law and can be prosecuted (MGL, Chapter 266, Section 99).

Parents/guardians are responsible for their children’s (under eighteen) behavior and welfare in the library. They will be notified if their children are left in a vulnerable situation or require supervision due to disruptive behavior. Children under the age of ten should not be in the library without an adult caregiver. The library staff may contact the South Hadley Police Department if a young child is left unattended at the library. The library is not responsible for the welfare of children who are left unattended in the library.

For the safety of children in the library, adults unaccompanied by children are asked to remain in the adult areas of the library unless they are actively using the materials or services in the children’s area for purposes not served by the adult area of the building.

Persons without shoes and shirts will not be allowed in the library.

A patron may be required to leave athletic equipment, large parcels, or other belongings deemed inappropriate with library staff until ready to leave the building.

Patrons may be required to leave the library if their personal hygiene interferes with the ability of other patrons to use and/or enjoy the facility.

Patrons confronted with violation(s) of any of the above rules should immediately inform a member of the library staff.

Any patron not abiding by these rules shall be asked to leave the library premises. Library staff will contact the South Hadley Police Department, if necessary.

The Library Director will deny any patron who repeatedly violates the library rules, or who is disruptive, or who engages in criminal behavior on the library premises the privileges of access to the library for a period of at least thirty days. Any patron whose privileges have been denied may have the decision reviewed by the Library Board of Trustees.

The posting of these rules does not prohibit the enforcement of any applicable federal law, Massachusetts statutes, or town ordinances, as necessary.


The South Hadley Public Library wants our facility to be a warm and inviting place for children to develop a love of reading, books, and libraries. The library offers many programs and services for children. However, children left unattended may become disruptive. Young, unattended children are not safe at the library. The staff cannot know if the children are leaving the building with parents or with strangers.

This policy has been established in order to foster an environment where the safety of children and their ability to use the library will not be compromised. Children are expected to adhere to the same rules as stated for all library patrons, with the following additions:

• All children under the age of ten should be accompanied by a parent or other adult who is responsible for the child. Unattended children are a safety concern for all library users.

• At the discretion of a responsible adult, a child age ten or older may be left unattended for the period of time needed to select materials, complete a homework assignment, or attend a program. The child must know how to reach the responsible adult in case this need should arise. Children should not be left for excessively long (more than two hours) periods of time; the library does not provide daycare services.

• Children and their adult caregivers should be aware of the closing times of the library and the schedule of specific programs. Children waiting for rides should remain near the entrance doors to avoid the hazards of the parking lot. The library may call the Police to escort children who have been left in the building after closing hours.

• The parent/guardian is responsible for insuring appropriate behavior of their children in the library. Disruptive behavior, including shouting, running, pushing, or other rowdy, rambunctious activities, will not be tolerated. We will ask disruptive children to leave the building in an orderly manner. In the case of unaccompanied children under 10 years old, a parent/guardian will be called to pick them up. If children do not leave the building after being asked, the South Hadley Police may be called to remove them.

• Parents with children in strollers are strongly encouraged to use the handicap entrance near Technical Services for easy access to the building.

• The multi-purpose room is usually available for children to congregate. Sitting on the stairs, gathering in the doorways, improper use of the restrooms, and related behavior is not allowed.

• Children should not bring food or beverages into the building. The exception is when food is served as part of a Children's Room program or celebration. Small snacks may be finished in the multi-purpose room with trash disposal in the proper receptacles.

• Bicycles, scooters, and other equipment should be left outside the building. Bikes and scooters should be locked to bicycle rack with appropriate safety chains.

• Computers in the Children's Room and throughout the library building are not intended for use by children age 5 or under. It is the responsibility of a parent or caregiver to ensure appropriate use of the computers and other electronic library resources by young children. Pounding on keyboards and other potentially damaging activities are not permitted. Parents will be financially responsible for damage caused by their children.

• Library staff are not trained to treat injuries or administer first aid. In the case of an injured unattended child, the Library staff will attempt to contact the parent or caregiver. In the case of a medical emergency, 911 will be called to respond and the parents will be notified – in that order.

• Certain library services and materials (e.g. movies, museum passes, historical materials, etc.) may be restricted to adult patrons only. Children needing these materials for school assignments may be granted permission to use these services under the supervision of a responsible adult.

• Children have almost unlimited access to the library’s resources. Parents and guardians, not library staff, are responsible for the use of appropriate books, movies, and computer resources. We encourage adults to actively participate in their children’s use of the library.

Child Abuse or Neglect
• Suspected abuse or neglect of a child will be reported to the South Hadley Police Department. According to Massachusetts law and the Department of Social Services regulations, these terms are defined as follows:
Abuse is the non-accidental commission of any act by a caretaker which causes or creates a substantial risk of harm or threat of harm to a child's well being or the commission of a sex offense against a child as defined by the criminal laws of the Commonwealth.

Neglect is the failure of a caretaker, either deliberately or through negligence, to take actions necessary to provide a child with minimally adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, supervision, or other essential care.


The Internet allows users to connect to networks of resources outside the Library. It is one of many information sources available for Library patrons. The Library encourages patrons to take advantage of this free service.
The South Hadley Public Library does not monitor and has no control over the information accessed through the Internet, nor does the Library have complete knowledge of what is on the Internet. Information on the Internet may be reliable and current or it may be inaccurate, out of date, or unavailable at times. Patrons access the Internet at their own discretion. The South Hadley Public Library cannot be held responsible for the content of the Internet. The Library does not control your access to materials or protect you from information you may find personally offensive or inappropriate.

As with other Library materials, a child’s use of the Internet is the responsibility of the parent/legal guardian. Parents/legal guardians are responsible for ensuring their own minor children’s safety and security when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communication. Parents/legal guardians should discuss their expectations for the use of the Internet with their minor children. The decision as to whether a minor child may use the Internet is up to the parent/legal guardian not a governmental authority.
Staff will assist patrons with Internet use as time and experience permits. We will be glad to get you on the "Information Superhighway” but as there are literally thousands of web sites, we cannot be experts on every one of them.

Internet access will be available on a first come/first serve basis with up to one hour allotted to each patron. The Library reserves the right to limit Internet access at certain peak usage periods (e.g. after-school, vacations, summer months), or grant additional time, in order to provide fair and equal access to all. The Library reserves the right to institute an Internet sign up sheet or time management software.

Rules of Conduct
The Library views access to the Internet as a privilege that has accompanying rules. The following are rules of conduct for using the Internet in the South Hadley Public Library:
• Internet computers will not be used for any illegal activity
• Users will not violate Massachusetts General Law 272, Section 31, The Harmful to Minors Statue, which prohibits dissemination of material which is harmful to minors or which is obscene; or dissemination or possession of child pornography
• Disclosing, using, or disseminating personal identity information about minors is prohibited
• Users will respect copyright laws and licensing agreements
• Installation, downloading, or modification of software is prohibited
• Downloading to the Library computer’s hard drives is prohibited
• Alteration or destruction of Library computers, data or attached equipment in any way is prohibited
• Users will not attempt to access restricted files or networks
• Users will not attempt to disrupt Library computers or networks in any way
• Users will respect the privacy of others
• Users will not engage in libelous or slanderous activities or send threatening, harassing or defamatory materials or messages
• Inappropriate or disruptive behavior in the Library or on its grounds will not be tolerated

The South Hadley Public Library does not offer email accounts to patrons but existing e-mail accounts such as those through Hot Mail or Yahoo! can be accessed through the Library’s Internet computers. The Library does not accept responsibility for the privacy of cached (temporarily stored) messages left after a patron is finished using the Internet.

Each page costs .10¢. Prompt payment is requested. The Library reserves the right to alter the price structure at any time.

Violations of Internet policy/Rules of conduct
Library staff is authorized to take prompt and appropriate action to enforce the Rules of Conduct and /or to prohibit the use of the Internet by patrons who fail to comply with the Internet Acceptable Use policy as stated or implied herein. Misuse of the computer or Internet access as described above will result in the loss of your computer privileges for up to thirty days. Subsequent violations may result in a permanent ban from Internet access. Appeals for reinstatement must be made in writing to the Library Director, who shall have 45 days to respond.

The South Hadley Public Library including the Trustees and the Staff, and the Town of South Hadley are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from using the South Hadley Public Library’s computer terminals. The above assume no responsibility and are not liable for any direct or indirect damages arising from the use of information found on the Internet, or any communications sent through the libraries computers. Patrons use the Library’s computers and the Internet at their own risk.


The South Hadley Public Library exists to provide total library service for the entire community through the development and effective use of a collection of books and other materials specifically selected to satisfy the informational, recreational, educational, and cultural needs of library users.

The provision of popular materials and services is considered the top priority of the library. Patrons constantly seek materials in a variety of formats including books, magazines, newspapers, audiovisual, electronic, and other media formats. With the availability of libraries in the public schools and Mount Holyoke College, the public library’s obligation to support formal learning and curricula is reduced. In addition to materials and regular library services, programs such as children’s storytime sessions and special events, the summer reading program, adult discussion groups and other programs sponsored by the library strive to meet the needs and interests of the library’s users.

It is the library’s goal to furnish a comfortable and safe facility with adequate space to house both materials and services. The library also strives to provide an adequate number of trained staff to assist patrons in using the library to their full potential and to contribute to the development of library collections and services. The library accomplishes these goals through:
• Purchasing appropriate materials with available funds
• Participating in the Central/Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing System (C/WMARS) network centrally serving multi-type libraries in western and central Massachusetts
• Supplementing the collection by borrowing materials for patrons through inter-library loan coordinated by the Massachusetts Library System (MLS)
• Using the Regional Reference Service provided by MLS to answer questions that are beyond the library’s capacities
• Participating in resource sharing efforts with area libraries
• Offering programs and special events on a variety of topics to encourage reading, recreational, and learning pursuits
• Applying for grants to augment collections and services for which there is high demand or demonstrated need

Acknowledging the library’s priorities described above, it is the goal of the library to provide a collection that meets the demand for current and popular materials while providing a balance of older, still relevant, items. Through collection development, that includes both acquiring and discarding materials, the library strives to maintain a collection of materials that is current, authoritative, well used, in good physical condition, and available in a variety of media formats. The library does not collect textbooks, scholarly books and periodicals, or other resources that are deemed more appropriate for the school, academic, or special library. Because the library participates in resource sharing regionally, statewide, and nationally through entities such as WMRLS and C/WMARS, it does not attempt to purchase all items requested by patrons. Infrequently requested and specialized items that are beyond the scope of the collection are instead borrowed through inter-library loan, or patrons are referred to other libraries that own the material.

The adult collection includes books, magazines, movies, music, electronic resources, and other appropriate materials. The collection serves older teens, adults, and senior citizens. Books include fiction and nonfiction in hardcover, paperback, and large print formats. The library maintains a collection of popular magazines and newspapers and retains limited back issues for most titles. The audiovisual collection includes movies, music, and other popular media formats.

The youth collection includes books, magazines, movies, music, electronic resources, and other appropriate materials. The collection serves children from infants through the early teen years. Books include picture books, beginning readers, juvenile fiction and nonfiction, chapter books, and graphic novels in hardcover and paperback formats. The youth department also maintains a collection of age-appropriate magazine titles.

Children are encouraged to responsibly use the adult collection when appropriate and vice versa.

The Library Board of Trustees retains the final authority concerning the library’s selection policy. The Board delegates the charge of administering the policy to the Library Director. The Director, in turn, may delegate the duty for selection, weeding, and maintenance to specific staff members based on their areas of responsibility, expertise, and interest. However, the decisions these staff members make concerning the collection will be subject to review by the Library Director who must answer to the Trustees for collection development.

The library subscribes to the principles of freedom of expression as stated in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution, specifically in regard to the right to publish and read diverse opinions. As a public institution the library is committed to the principles of intellectual freedom and is cognizant of its obligation to provide as wide a spectrum of materials as possible. Furthermore, the library endorses the Freedom to Read, Freedom to View, and the Library Bill of Rights and their interpretations issued by the American Library Association. Included in these statements is the commitment to honor the rights of the individual to use the library regardless of age, race, religion, national origin, or social and political views.

Librarians are responsible to direct patrons toward appropriate materials, but will not restrict the use of the collection based upon the age of the user. The library takes the position that the risk of not providing access to information and ideas is greater than the risk of providing it. Therefore, the library staff will not act as in loco parentis. Responsibility for the materials children borrow, or library computers used, rests entirely at the discretion of parents and guardians.

The library reserves the right to control the use of rare and/or fragile items in the collection, such as local history materials, to the extent required to preserve them from harm.

The Library Director, and delegated staff, are responsible for the selection of library materials. Staff members make recommendations based on their experience and knowledge of library services, their familiarity with the community’s needs, and their knowledge of the existing collection.

Materials are judged on the basis of the work as a whole, not on a part taken out of context. By using the following criteria for acquisitions, gifts, and withdrawals the library strives to strengthen its collection through a fair and balanced selection process.
• Popular interest and demand
• Critical reviews; professional journals; publishers’ catalogs
• Reputation, popularity, or significance of author
• Accurate coverage of contemporary or historical topics, issues, and personalities
• Currency of information
• Relation to existing collection; the balance of opinions, including minority views
• Artistic expression, originality, imagination, and presentation
• Ability to reach the intended audience in a comprehensible manner
• Cost, including maintenance, in relation to demand
• Permanent value as a standard work
• Quality of manufacture, durability, and condition
• Technical merit and ease of use
• Availability through other resources, including inter-library loan and the Internet

All donated materials are reviewed as part of the selection process, using the same above criteria as other acquisitions. Gift materials become the unrestricted property of the library and may be added to the collection, sold in a book sale, or discarded where appropriate. The library provides gift receipts but does not appraise or give value to materials for tax purposes.

In order to maintain a collection that is current, in good condition, well used, relevant to community interests and reliable, materials are withdrawn on a systematic and continuing basis.

Materials are discarded when they are judged to be dated or obsolete, inaccurate, seldom used, in poor condition, or otherwise no longer appropriate for the collection. The availability of shelf space is also, unfortunately, a major consideration. Titles withdrawn due to loss, damage, or theft are not automatically replaced. The criteria used in selection also apply to the process of weeding. Materials withdrawn from the library will be disposed in a manner consistent with their quality and condition. Some materials may be sold for the benefit of the library. Materials judged to be too dated, inaccurate, or unattractive will be discarded.

Back issues of periodicals are kept for a specified period of time and then recycled. The period of storage time for each periodical is determined by the continued need for the title to be available in the library. Space limitations may preclude some periodicals from being kept for extended periods of time.

Community involvement is a key principle in the development of the library’s collection. Patron suggestions for new acquisitions are always welcome, as "popular demand” is an integral part of the selection criteria. Many materials not owned by the library can be obtained on loan from other institutions. Suggestions for the purchase of new materials should be in writing, or a computer printout, and include as much publishing information as possible. The suggestion should also include the patron’s name and contact information. The Selection Criteria listed above will be applied to the request.

Patrons may also voice their concern over the inclusion of specific materials within the collection. The Board of Library Trustees believes that censorship is a purely individual matter and declares that while anyone is free to reject material of which one does not approve, one cannot exercise this right to restrict the freedom of others. The Trustees and Library Director will remove no materials from the library except under a formal reconsideration request. Any library patron in good standing may request the reconsideration of materials owned by the library. The steps for a formal request are as follows:
1. The customer will fill out and sign a "Request for Reconsideration” (appended) or submit an equivalent written and signed statement
2. The document will be forwarded to the Library Director who will attach his/her comments and forward this information to the Library Trustees for discussion at their next regularly scheduled meeting
3. The Trustees and Library Director will discuss the issue in depth regarding use of the material within the library and make a formal recommendation
4. The patron who submitted the statement will receive a written response within 21 days of the Board’s decision.


The South Hadley Public Library respects the right of library users to privacy and confidentiality, in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 4 Section 26 and Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78 Section 7 which state that circulation and registration records identifying the names, addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers of library users, and the materials borrowed, are not public records. The intellectual pursuits of individuals using library materials or library computers are considered confidential information.

In accord with the law, the policy of the library is not to reveal the borrowing records, holds, or fine records to any person other than the owner of the library card. The library does recognize that it may be necessary for a parent or legal guardian to be provided with information about a minor’s library records (e.g. when a child’s library materials have incurred fines or are lost). In these cases, the parent or legal guardian who is financially responsible for the child’s library materials will be supplied with the pertinent information.

Patrons are encouraged to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN) through the C/WMARS online catalog so that they can access their borrowing record privately from home, work, or a library computer.

The library respects the rights of users to privacy and confidentiality in their use of library computers. The library will not release the names of persons using Internet computers or information accessed during individual computer sessions except as required by law.

No records can be made available to any inquiries, governmental or otherwise, unless a subpoena had been served by a court of competent jurisdiction and the library administration has consulted with Town Counsel to determine if it is proper to release the requested information.

Such records shall not be made available to any individual or agency except pursuant to such process, order, or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative power.

Upon receipt of such process, order, or subpoena, the Director will notify the Chair of the Library Trustees and consult with Town Counsel to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is in proper form and if there is a showing of good cause for issuance. If the process, order, or subpoena is not in proper form or if good cause has not been shown, such defects must be corrected.

The USA PATRIOT ACT supercedes state law and expands the federal government’s authority for access to library records and documents to investigate matters of national security. It also expands federal law enforcement’s authorization to track telephone and electronic communication. This law also prohibits library staff from informing patrons if federal agents have obtained records in their name.

Library staff should refer all formal requests for circulation, registration, or computer records to the Library Director.