Frost Free Library Policy Handbook

Table of Contents

A. Frost Free Library Mission Statement

B. Origin of Policies

C. Policies for Use of the Frost Free Library

1.    Access to Library Material

2.    Checking out Material

3.    Overdue Material

4.    Child safety

5.    Library Computer Use

6.    Wireless Internet

7.    Exhibits and Displays

8.    Gifts

9.    Building Usage and Meeting Room

10.  Metal Detector Lending policy and Agreement

11.  Orion StarBlast Telescope Lending Policy and Agrrement

12.  Behavioral Policy

D. Library Material

1.    Selection of Materials

2.    Complaints about Materials

3.    Request Form for Reconsideration of Materials

4.    Weeding Material

E. Appendix - Frost Free Library, American Library Association Statements, and RSAs

1.    Frost Free Library Statement on Intellectual Freedom

2.    Library Bill of Rights

3.    Freedom to Read Statement

4.    Access to Electronic Information, Services and Networks

5.    RSA 202- A:6, A:11

A. Frost Free Library Mission Statement
The mission of the Frost Free Library of Marlborough, New Hampshire, is to serve as a cultural resource to the community by providing information through various media that will assist in seeking knowledge, enjoyment, and social connection.

B. Origin of Policies
The Frost Free Library endorses and adheres to the principles set forth by the American Library Association.

C. Policies for Use of the Frost Free Library

C 1. Access to Library Materials
By borrowing materials from the Library, the borrower is deemed by the Library to have agreed to return the materials to the Library by the stated deadline and in the same condition as they were when borrowed.The Library will serve all residents of the Town of Marlborough.  Service will not be denied or abridged for reasons of religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, social, economic, political status, or age. On proper registration, all residents will be entitled to a Library card at no charge in their individual names, and use of this card shall be non-transferable. At the request of a parent or guardian, a child, over the age of 5, may receive a Library card. A parent or guardian must sign for a child’s card until the child reaches the age of 18.

Persons, including spouses and children, residing outside the Town of Marlborough limits, but owning property in the Town of Marlborough, shall be considered residents.

All employees of the Town of Marlborough, the Marlborough School, and Library volunteers shall be entitled individual Library cards at no charge.
Institutions and organizations which own or rent facilities in the Town are entitled to one Library card in the name of that institution or organization, providing such institution or organization takes responsibility for the use of the card.

It is the responsibility of the parents to limit their children’s access to Library materials if they so choose.

Individual Library cards are available to non-residents who pay a fee that is set by the Board of Trustees and approximates the cost per  resident for Library services as reflected in the Town budget. Non-resident card fee will be reviewed on an annual basis. Non-resident institutions and organizations do not qualify to receive non-resident cards.

The use of the Library and/or its services may be denied for good cause. Such causes include, but are not limited to, failure to return books or to pay penalties, destruction of Library property, disturbance of other patrons, or any other objectionable conduct on Library premises.

C 2. Checking out Materials
Anyone with a valid Library card may check out materials from the Frost Free Library or from the Inter-library loan service available. Library cards expire every three years and can be renewed with confirmation of residence.

Books are loaned for a 14 day period with two available renewals. Magazines, and movies are loaned for 7 day periods with two available renewals.

C 3. Overdue Materials
Because the Library collection is supported by the Town, and because these materials should be available to all residents, it is most important that borrowed items be returned on time. The acceptance of an issued Library card is implied consent to this rule.

It is the policy of the Frost Free Library to give one reminder about overdue items. If not returned, a bill for the replacement cost of the item will be send.Any patron may use any part of the Library collection in the Library building during normal business hours. It is not the goal of the Trustees to withhold the use of Library books and items, but to restrict the privilege of borrowing items to those patrons who have honored their responsibility by returning borrowed items within the allowed time period.

  1. There will be no per diem charge for overdue material at this time. However, a conscience kitty is available for patrons to contribute what they feel they should when they have held material beyond the regular 14 day loan period.
  2. The Library will make a reminder phone call (or a reasonable attempt to do so) to be followed by sending a form letter, containing a copy of the law, and a bill for unreturned materials. Borrowing privileges will be restricted when items are overdue with no renewable extensions available. A person attempting to check out books for another householder who has restricted privileges shall not be allowed to check out books. The whole household will be restricted at the Librarian’s discretion due to perceived abuse of the system. A last resort will be to contact the local police in an attempt to recover the material.

Lost and damaged materials

Lost items must be paid for in full. If an item cannot be replaced, a charge will be made for comparable material. In the case of financial hardship, arrangements can be made to make payments in small amounts over a period of time not exceeding two months from the first payment in most circumstances.

Damaged material will be examined by the Librarian and a reasonable cost for repair will be charged. If the item is damaged beyond repair, in the opinion of the Librarian, the full cost of replacement will be charged.

Our schedule for notices is:

  • two weeks overdue: a phone call
  • six weeks overdue: a letter, signed by the Director, advising that borrowing privileges will be restricted.

C 4. Child Safety
The Frost Free Library strives to provide a safe, welcoming, and appropriate environment for visitors of all ages, and is always willing to assist all visitors in the use of the Library’s materials and services. However, the Library is a public building with staff trained to provide public library services. The Library is unable – and should not be expected – to provide the necessary degree of supervision that is desirable for children.

For the safety and comfort of our young patrons, an accountable person should accompany children while they are using the Library. While in the Library, parents and caregivers are responsible for monitoring and regulating the behavior of their children.

The Frost Free Library does not assume any responsibility for children left unattended on Library premises.

In special situations, if the Library staff becomes aware of an unattended child, the staff will attempt to contact the parent or guardian of the unattended child.

Examples of such special situations are:·

  •  it is possible that the Library will be closing earlier than usual (for example, due to inclement weather, a power outage, etc)·
  •  the child’s behavior disturbs other users of the Library·
  • there is a cause to believe that the child’s health or safety is in danger·
  •  an unattended child has not been met by a responsible caregiver at closing time

If the parent or guardian is unavailable, the staff will attempt to contact the Director, and, if necessary, a Trustee, to inform them of the problem.

In the event that a parent or guardian cannot be reached and the Director or a Trustee has been notified, the child will be placed in the care of the Marlborough Police Department. Staff will contact the police department and arrange for the unattended child to be picked up at the Library by the police and taken by the police to their headquarters.

C 5. Library Computer Use
The Frost Free Library offers access to computers and to the Internet as part of its commitment to the role of the public library in providing free and open access to informational, educational, and cultural resources for all Library users.The Frost Free Library upholds the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected materials and adheres to the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights and its statement regarding Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks. This statement follows this policy.The Library also affirms the right and responsibility of parents to determine and monitor their children’s use of Library materials and resources. As with other Library materials, restriction of a child’s access to the computer and the Internet is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian. Parents are strongly encouraged to discuss the use of the Internet with their children and to monitor their children’s use. However, all users of the Library should be aware that the Frost Free Library will not release information on the use of specific Internet resources by members of the public regardless of age except as required by law.

Users of the Library’s Internet connection agree to obey all applicable federal, state, and local laws including, but not limited to, copyright, licensing, and content restrictions. The Library reserves the right to terminate the user’s computer privileges for abuse of these conditions or for unauthorized use of the Library’s Internet connection.

In order to ensure the fair use of the computer technology now available at this Library, computer users are asked to observe the following guidelines:

General Use

  1. Please be considerate of other users, and leave the computer and software as you found them.
  2. Please do not eat or drink near the computer station.
  3. Any computer or printer problems must be immediately reported to the Librarian.
  4. Users are allowed a half hour of use, and up to an additional one and a half hours if no one else has requested use. Patrons are limited to two hours of use per day.
  5. Users working on the computer in a group will count as one. No more than two people may be at the computer workstation at any one time.
  6. Computer use is first come, first served.


  1. Users must respect the integrity of the Library's computers and utilize only those programs and services already on the computer.
  2. The Frost Free Library cannot be responsible for any damage or loss of data that may occur while using the computer.
  3. Computer users may not load executable programs or data files onto the hard drive of any Library computer. The hard drive, most specifically the “My Documents” folder, will be deleted of all non-library files daily.
  4. In order to protect the computer from viruses, users cannot run any executable programs from an external storage source. However, users may save information to an external storage source.
    Any application used by a user must be properly exited upon completion.
  5. Computer users must not alter settings on the computers or delete or modify any files.


  1. Any damage to a computer or its peripheral devices is the responsibility of the user.
  2. There is a charge of 10 cents per page for copies. Please check the length of any document before printing it out. Color copies are 30 cents per page.


  1. The Frost Free Library is committed to the privacy of its computer users. However, users should be aware that use of the Internet, at this time, cannot be considered secure, and that some applications may save temporary copies of data to the hard drive. Other users may be able to retrieve their work, and should take appropriate care.
  2. In general, the Library will treat information stored on the computer as confidential. Exceptions to this rule will only be honored when required by local, state or federal law, or when approved by the Librarian.
  3. As this computer is in a public area, be aware that the screen will be visible to other Library users.
  4. The computer’s cache and temporary files, as well as the location bar in the Internet browsers loaded on the computer, will be cleaned out on a daily basis.


  1. All computer users of the Frost Free Library, regardless of age, have equal access to the information provided by the Library.
  2. The Frost Free Library's policy on the use of computers and access to the Internet is the same as for the borrowing of books: parents and guardians of children are responsible for the appropriate use by children of the Library facilities.


Abuse of the equipment or service will result in the user being denied further access to the service. Malicious damage may result in prosecution. If you are unsure whether your use of the computer facilities might conflict with these rules, please ask the Librarian.

C. 6 Wireless Internet

The Frost Free Library offers wireless "WiFi" access to the Library's Internet service. When you use the Library's Internet service you are accepting the Library's Acceptable Use Policy. Please take the time to read the policy before accessing the network; you may ask the Librarian at the desk for a copy.


  •  No waiting for an available computer
  • No enforced time limits-- connect as long as you like
  • Library card is not required
  • Work in a quieter area of the building
  • Fast access
  • Download files
  • Save your files permanently on your own device


  • No printing services are available
  • A WiFi network is less secure than a wired network (see "How Safe is WiFi?" below)
  • Signal strength varies within the library

Where you can pick up the wireless signal

  • You may pick up a signal throughout the Library, although the signal will be weaker (and therefore the connection not as fast) upstairs in the Mabelle Page Meeting Room and towards the far back of the original section of the Library.

How Safe is WiFi?

  • Whether through a traditional connection or a wireless connection, the Internet is a public communications network, which means that there can be untrustworthy parties between you and anybody you communicate with.
  • Using WiFi poses the same risks to your personal information that a wired network poses, but with the added vulnerability of having the network more open and less secure. This is the nature of WiFi – the network may be easily accessed by many people. Cautious WiFi users may choose not to transmit their credit card information and passwords while using any WiFi "hotspot", including the Library's.
  • The Library cannot assure the safety of your data when you use either our wired or wireless Internet access.

What You Will Need

  • Wireless network interface card (NIC)
  • A laptop or PDA configured to use the Library's Internet connection
  • Your laptop or PDA must conform to the "802.11b/g" standard, commonly known as WiFi. New laptops often come standard with a wireless interface and may be automatically configured to pick up the wireless signal.
  • Compatible headphones if you plan to use audio files

Wireless Technical Information

  • Wireless hardware and software varies as to the operating systems you may use on your laptop or PDA, so the same instructions may not work for everyone. In many cases, you don't need to do anything to hook up, except to click on your browser.
  • Most wireless software has an indicator that tells you a signal is being received. Make sure the link quality and signal strength are both at least "good." If not, move about the room to a location that has a stronger signal.

Please note that the library staff cannot assist you with your laptop, PDA, card, or configuration.

The Library cannot accept the liability of handling your equipment.

The Library shall not be responsible for any loss of data or damage to personal equipment.

C 7. Exhibits and Displays

All materials to be displayed must be approved by the Library Staff. The Library Staff may choose to submit the material to the Board of Trustees for approval. The bulletin boards and brochure displays in the foyer are maintained by the Library Staff.

Any materials promoting the sale of a product will not be displayed in the Library, unless it supports the sale of a product to support a non-profit group.

C 8. Gifts

The library may receive materials or funds as gift donations.The library accepts these gifts on the condition that their use is at the complete discretion of the Board of Trustees and/or the Director. Stipulations as to the type, condition, or timing of materials accepted may be made. All donations become the property of the Frost Free Library, which includes the organization of the Friends of the Frost Free Library.

C 9. Building Usage and Meeting Room Policy

The Mabelle Page Room may be used, free of charge, by Marlborough community groups and organizations whose aims are educational, civic, or cultural. The meeting must be open to the public and no charges or collections may be made, and it should be noted that the Mabelle Page Room, at this time, is not handicapped accessible.


  • Reservations must be made with the Library Director and are subject to Board approval.
  • Scheduling must be completed at least one week in advance. Programs sponsored by the Library will take priority over all other requests.
  • Permission to use the Mabelle Page Room does not constitute endorsement by the Library of a group’s philosophy or objectives.
  • A fee to cover utilities and janitorial services may be requested for non-Library-hours usage.
  • The Library reserves the right to alter these rules as deemed necessary by the Board of Trustees.


  • By order of the Fire Department, the Mabelle Page Room has a maximum capacity of 40 people. Any meeting exceeding that number cannot gather in the Mabelle Page Room.
  • Any damages to the Library property will be charged to the group using the room. Users will be responsible for leaving the room in neat order.
  • No smoking or alcoholic beverages are allowed. Light refreshments may be served.
  • The Library assumes no responsibility for private property brought onto the premises.
  • If the organization requesting use of the Mabelle Page Room is a non-town sponsored group, a certificate of insurance is required naming the Town as an additional insured. The signature of the organization’s representative waives all statement of responsibility to the Town of Marlborough or the Frost Free Library.
  • Anyone using the Mabelle Page Room must sign a copy of this policy.

I have read, and agree to comply with, this policy governing the use of the Frost Free Library’s Mabelle Page Room.

Requested Meeting Date and Time: ________________________________



Representative’s signature



Representative’s name


Representative’s phone number 




C 10. Metal Detector Lending Policy & Agreement

Purpose: To establish a policy to allow patrons to borrow special equipment.

Thanks to a generous gift in the memory of Rufus Frost, III, from the Yankee Treasure Hunters Society and Streeter’s Treasures of Marlborough, NH, 2 MineLab Vanquish 340 metal detectors are available for use by Library patrons and may be checked out for a period of seven (7) days, with 1 renewal if no one is waiting and must be returned inside the library during library hours to a staff member.

The metal detector may be checked out by any Frost Free Library cardholder aged 18 or older with an account in good standing.  The patron must also complete and sign the Metal Detector Lending Agreement form below.

In addition, the metal detector may be checked out to a patron under the age of 18 provided that: s/he has a Frost Free Library account in good standing; is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian; and said parent/guardian must complete and sign the Metal Detector Lending Agreement form.

By checking out the MineLab Vanquish 340 metal detector the patron assumes responsibility for any damage, loss or theft that occurs during the checkout period and is liable for the full replacement cost of the metal detector - $250.

Fines for not returning the Metal Detector on time will be assessed at $5.00 for each day it is overdue.

The Frost Free Library assumes no liability for harm or injuries which may occur due to improper use of the metal detector.

Metal Detector Lending Agreement - Please Print

Patron Name: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_____________________________________________________­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_________________________________

Parent/Guardian Name (if appropriate): ________________________________________________________

Contact Phone Number: __________________________________________________________________________

Signature below indicates I have read and agree to the terms of this borrowing agreement:

Approved and Adopted by the Trustees July 7, 2022

C 11. Orion StarBlast Telescope Lending Policy and Agreement


  1. The telescope may be checked out by a patron of the Frost Free Public Library who is 18 years of age or older, been a member for at least six months and in good standing. Patron must present current proof of address (e.g., driver’s license, utility bill, etc.) before checking out the telescope.
  2. The patron will sign a Telescope Borrowing Agreement each time they check out the telescope.
  3. The telescope will circulate for up to 7 days and must be handed directly to a staff member when returned.
  4. The telescope can be renewed for an additional 7 days if no other patron waiting to borrow it.
  5. The telescope must be checked out and returned at Frost Free Library only.
  6. The overdue fine for the telescope is $5.00 per day.
  7. If the telescope is not returned within 2 weeks of its due date, the patron will be charged $350 to cover replacement costs.
  8. If the telescope is damaged, a fee will be determined by the library based on the cost of repairing the telescope and will be charged to the patron.
  9. The patron is not permitted to lend the telescope to anyone while the telescope is in his/her possession. The telescope is your responsibility during the time it is signed out in your name. This is true for any library material.
  10. Children must be supervised while using the telescope.
  11. Treat the telescope with care and keep accessories in the attached tote when traveling to and from any destination.
  12. Return all parts of the device and the books included when you bring the telescope back to the library. Patrons will be charged for missing items.
  14. Have fun with the telescope and feel free to call the library with any questions!


  1. Any situation not covered by this policy will be reviewed and acted upon by the Board of Trustees in its sole discretion.


Telescope Borrowing Agreement for the following date: ________________________________

I agree to follow this policy when borrowing the Orion StarBlast Telescope from the Frost Free Library. I accept all responsibility for any damage to the telescope or caused using the telescope when it is checked out in my name. I understand that I should not look at the sun with the telescope.


Signed ______________________________________


Date Borrowed: ____________ Staff Initials: ____________

Due Date: ____________

Driver’s License/Photo ID: ____________________________

Date Returned: ___________________ Staff Initials: _________

Return the following items by _________________________________:

0 Telescope

0 Laminated user’s manual

0 Head lamp/red light

0 National Audubon Society pocket guide

0 SkyTheater DVD


C 12. Behavioral Policy

Statement: We welcome visitors of all ages to the library and desire to provide a safe and appropriate environment for everyone. The library staff is available to assist as needed.

For the safety and comfort of all persons using the library, all are expected to act in a responsible manner inside the building, or on the library grounds. Use of the library and its services may be denied by the librarian for due cause.

Disruptive Behavior: Disruptive and/or disorderly behavior is any behavior that disturbs other library visitors or interrupts the orderly course of library business or meetings. Such behavior will be addressed by the library staff. Persons may be asked to leave if the behavior persists. If not resolved, library privileges may be revoked.  Reinstatement will be at the discretion of the trustees.1  Library users younger than 18 years of age, accompanied by a parent or guardian, will meet with the Library Director before reinstatement of privileges can occur.

Damaging any of the library’s collection of materials or equipment,
defacing library property, or threatening library staff or other visitors will be handled by the police.

1. This authority is derived from New Hampshire RSA 202-A:6.  Library Trustees have the "entire custody and management of the public library." Under RSA 202-A:11,1, the Trustees "adopt by-laws, rules and regulations for its own transaction of business and for the government of the library."

D. Library Materials

D 1. Selection of Library Materials

The Board of the Frost Free Library, recognizing the diverse nature of this community and the varied backgrounds and needs of all the citizens, regardless of race, creed, gender, or political persuasion, declares as a matter of our Selection Policy that:

Book, library material, exhibit and program selection shall be vested in the director and anything so selected shall be held to be selected by the Board.Books, library materials, exhibits, and programs shall be selected based on the interests and needs of all the people in the community.

Selections are made by:

  1. reading reviews,
  2. reviewing patron recommendations and requests,
  3. study of professional bibliographies and lists, and/or
  4. personal examination by staff.

No library materials, exhibit or program shall be excluded because of the race, creed, gender, political or social view of the work's presenter.

Collected formats:

The Frost Free Library strives to collect materials in the formats most requested by patrons and of best use to the Library collection. To this end, the Library chooses to collect:

  • audio books on compact disc, rather than cassette, when the choice is available;
  • videos, both feature films and non-fiction titles, on DVD, rather than VHS;
  • books, especially classic titles, in hardcover or quality trade paperbacks;
  • children’s materials in hardcover whenever possible.

D 2. Complaints about Materials

Complaints of any nature must be submitted in writing, on a Request for Reconsideration of Library Material form, from a Marlborough citizen, to the Director, who will present it to the Board of Trustees, unless an agreement is reached verbally in one short, private discussion.

In any formal objections to books, library materials, exhibits or programs, a complaint form must be filled out by the complainant describing the objection exactly. Forms are available from the Director. Following the receipt of such a formal complaint, the Board of Trustees will arrange a hearing to include the Board, the complainant, and the Director.

Materials under consideration will remain in circulation.

D 3. Request Form for Reconsideration of Materials

Reconsideration Form Policy

D 4. Weeding Material

Weeding will be conducted periodically by the Director and/or Library Staff.The criteria used in selection will also apply to the removal or replacement of materials. Each withdrawal or replacement will be judged individually with reference to standard library selection tools and catalogs, available replacements, and to the existing collection.

E. Appendix - Frost Free Library,  American Library Association Statements, and RSAs

E 1. Frost Free Library Statement on Intellectual Freedom

The Board believes that censorship is a purely individual matter and states that while one is personally free to reject materials of which one does not approve, one cannot exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom of others to read, view or participate.

As such the Board also emphasizes that the Library does not have the authority to make decisions concerning which books, materials, exhibits, or programs children read, view, or attend. Such authority is entirely the parent's or guardian's responsibility. The selection of materials will not be restricted by the possibility that young people may obtain materials that their parents/guardians consider inappropriate.

The Board adopts and declares that it will adhere to and support The Library Bill of Rights and The Freedom to Read Statement adopted by the American Library Association. Both are included in this policy manual. The Board interprets these statements to also apply to exhibits and programs in the library.

The Board defends the freedom to read and declares that whenever censorship is involved, no book, library material, exhibit, or program shall be removed from the library save by order of a court.

E 2. 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.

I. 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.

II. 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.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries which 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.

Source link:

E 3.The Freedom to Read Statement

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

1.      It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

2.      Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

3.      It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

4.      There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

5.      It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

6.      It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.

7.      It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.

The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.


This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.

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E 4.Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks
An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights


Freedom of expression is an inalienable human right and the foundation for self-government. Freedom of expression encompasses the freedom of speech and the corollary right to receive information.1 Libraries and librarians protect and promote these rights by selecting, producing, providing access to, identifying, retrieving, organizing, providing instruction in the use of, and preserving recorded expression regardless of the format or technology.

The American Library Association expresses these basic principles of librarianship in its Code of Ethics and in the Library Bill of Rights and its Interpretations. These serve to guide librarians and library governing bodies in addressing issues of intellectual freedom that arise when the library provides access to electronic information, services, and networks.

Libraries empower users by providing access to the broadest range of information. Electronic resources, including information available via the Internet, allow libraries to fulfill this responsibility better than ever before.

Issues arising from digital generation, distribution, and retrieval of information need to be approached and regularly reviewed from a context of constitutional principles and ALA policies so that fundamental and traditional tenets of librarianship are not swept away.

Electronic information flows across boundaries and barriers despite attempts by individuals, governments, and private entities to channel or control it. Even so, many people lack access or capability to use electronic information effectively.In making decisions about how to offer access to electronic information, each library should consider its mission, goals, objectives, cooperative agreements, and the needs of the entire community it serves.

The Rights of Users:

All library system and network policies, procedures, or regulations relating to electronic information and services should be scrutinized for potential violation of user rights.

User policies should be developed according to the policies and guidelines established by the American Library Association, including Guidelines for the Development and Implementation of Policies, Regulations and Procedures Affecting Access to Library Materials, Services and Facilities.

Users' access should not be restricted or denied for expressing or receiving constitutionally protected speech. If access is restricted or denied for behavioral or other reasons, users should be provided due process, including, but not limited to, formal notice and a means of appeal.

Information retrieved or utilized electronically is constitutionally protected unless determined otherwise by a court of law with appropriate jurisdiction. These rights extend to minors as well as adults (Free Access to Libraries for MinorsAccess to Resources and Services in the School Library Media ProgramAccess for Children and Young Adults to Nonprint Materials).2

Libraries should use technology to enhance, not deny, access to information. Users have the right to be free of unreasonable limitations or conditions set by libraries, librarians, system administrators, vendors, network service providers, or others. Contracts, agreements, and licenses entered into by libraries on behalf of their users should not violate this right. Libraries should provide library users the training and assistance necessary to find, evaluate, and use information effectively.

Users have both the right of confidentiality and the right of privacy. The library should uphold these rights by policy, procedure, and practice in accordance with Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.

Equity of Access:

The Internet provides expanding opportunities for everyone to participate in the information society, but too many individuals face serious barriers to access. Libraries play a critical role in bridging information access gaps for these individuals. Libraries also ensure that the public can find content of interest and learn the necessary skills to use information successfully.

Electronic information, services, and networks provided directly or indirectly by the library should be equally, readily and equitably accessible to all library users. American Library Association policies oppose the charging of user fees for the provision of information services by libraries that receive their major support from public funds (50.3 Free Access to Information53.1.14 Economic Barriers to Information Access60.1.1 Minority Concerns Policy Objectives61.1 Library Services for the Poor Policy Objectives). All libraries should develop policies concerning access to electronic information that are consistent with ALA's policy statements, including Economic Barriers to Information Access: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of RightsGuidelines for the Development and Implementation of Policies, Regulations and Procedures Affecting Access to Library Materials, Services and Facilities, and Resolution on Access to the Use of Libraries and Information by Individuals with Physical or Mental Impairment.

Information Resources and Access:

Providing connections to global information, services, and networks is not the same as selecting and purchasing materials for a library collection. Determining the accuracy or authenticity of electronic information may present special problems. Some information accessed electronically may not meet a library's selection or collection development policy. It is, therefore, left to each user to determine what is appropriate. Parents and legal guardians who are concerned about their children's use of electronic resources should provide guidance to their own children.

Libraries, acting within their mission and objectives, must support access to information on all subjects that serve the needs or interests of each user, regardless of the user's age or the content of the material. In order to preserve the cultural record and to prevent the loss of information, libraries may need to expand their selection or collection development policies to ensure preservation, in appropriate formats, of information obtained electronically. Libraries have an obligation to provide access to government information available in electronic format.Libraries and librarians should not deny or limit access to electronic information because of its allegedly controversial content or because of the librarian's personal beliefs or fear of confrontation. Furthermore, libraries and librarians should not deny access to electronic information solely on the grounds that it is perceived to lack value.

Publicly funded libraries have a legal obligation to provide access to constitutionally protected information. Federal, state, county, municipal, local, or library governing bodies sometimes require the use of Internet filters or other technological measures that block access to constitutionally protected information, contrary to the Library Bill of Rights (ALA Policy Manual, 53.1.17, Resolution on the Use of Filtering Software in Libraries). If a library uses a technological measure that blocks access to information, it should be set at the least restrictive level in order to minimize the blocking of constitutionally protected speech. Adults retain the right to access all constitutionally protected information and to ask for the technological measure to be disabled in a timely manner. Minors also retain the right to access constitutionally protected information and, at the minimum, have the right to ask the library or librarian to provide access to erroneously blocked information in a timely manner. Libraries and librarians have an obligation to inform users of these rights and to provide the means to exercise these rights.3

Electronic resources provide unprecedented opportunities to expand the scope of information available to users. Libraries and librarians should provide access to information presenting all points of view. The provision of access does not imply sponsorship or endorsement. These principles pertain to electronic resources no less than they do to the more traditional sources of information in libraries (Diversity in Collection Development).

1Martin v. Struthers, 319 U.S. 141 (1943); Lamont v. Postmaster General, 381 U.S. 301 (1965); Susan Nevelow Mart, The Right to Receive Information (PDF), 95 Law Library Journal 2 (2003).

2Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969); Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District No. 26 v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853, (1982); American Amusement Machine Association v. Teri Kendrick, 244 F.3d 954 (7th Cir. 2001); cert.denied, 534 U.S. 994 (2001)

3"If some libraries do not have the capacity to unblock specific Web sites or to disable the filter or if it is shown that an adult user's election to view constitutionally protected Internet material is burdened in some other substantial way, that would be the subject for an as-applied challenge, not the facial challenge made in this case." United States, et al. v. American Library Association (PDF), 539 U.S. 194 (2003) (Justice Kennedy, concurring).


Adopted January 24, 1996, by the ALA Council; amended January 19, 2005.

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Section 202-A:6

 202-A:6 Library Trustees; Election; Alternates. – The library trustees shall have the entire custody and management of the public library and of all the property of the town relating thereto, including appropriations held pursuant to RSA 202-A:11, III, but excepting trust funds held by the town. Any town having a public library shall, at a duly warned town meeting, elect a board of library trustees consisting of any odd number of persons which the town may decide to elect. Such trustees shall serve staggered 3-year terms or until their successors are elected and qualified. There may be no more than 3 alternates as provided in RSA 202-A:10.

Source. 1917, 59:1. PL 10:52. RL 15:55. RSA 202:6. 1963, 46:1. 1987, 89:1. 2000, 9:2, eff. April 16, 2000.

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Section 202-A:11

 202-A:11 Powers and Duties. – Except in those cities where other provision has been made by general or special act of the legislature, the library trustees of every public library in the state shall:

I. Adopt bylaws, rules and regulations for its own transaction of business and for the government of the library;

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