Policies Index

Policies Index

3D Printing Policy


The ability to create and innovate with emerging technology is core to the library’s mission to inspire new interest in design by bringing ideas to life. This policy sets forth how and under which circumstances the public may use the library’s 3D printer.


The library’s 3D printer is available to the public to make three-dimensional objects in plastic using a design from a computer file.

  1. Only designated library staff and volunteers will have hands-on access to the 3D printer.
  2. The library’s 3D printer may be used only for lawful purposes. The public will not be permitted to use the library’s 3D printer to create material that is:
    1. Prohibited by local, state or federal law.
    2. Unsafe, harmful, dangerous or poses an immediate threat to the well-being of others.
    3. Obscene or otherwise inappropriate for the library environment.
    4. Hazardous to the machine or that violates the terms of use of the manufacturer.
    5. In violation of another’s intellectual property rights. For example, the printer shall not be used to reproduce material that is subject to copyright, patent or trademark protection.
  3. The library reserves the right to refuse any 3D print request.
  4. Items printed from library 3D printer that are not picked up within 7 days will become property of the library. Items must be picked up by the individual who printed them.
  1. Users are responsible for any equipment that is damaged due to their negligence and will be subject to charges for the cost to repair or replace it.

Art Exhibit Policy


The Oak Bluffs Public Library is pleased to offer individuals, groups or organizations the opportunity to display their art exhibits. This policy is intended to encourage equitable access to local artists.

Goals of the exhibits in the library include:

  • Supporting community cultural and artistic activities
  • Encouraging individuals to contribute to the appreciation of the arts
  • Broadening horizons by presenting a wide range of art, collections or displays
  • Nourishing intellectual, aesthetic and creative growth
  • Reaching non-traditional library patrons


All exhibits, whether generated by the public or the library staff will be considered in terms of the criteria listed below:

  • Artist’s original work
  • Collaboration with a cross-disciplined program or performance
  • Subject, style and technique of interest to the public
  • Artistic expression
  • Historical or regional relevance
  • Appropriateness to special events, anniversaries, holidays, etc.
  • Relation to other events or exhibits in the library and/or community
  • Representation of an influential movement, genre, trend, or national culture
  • Suitability for public display
  • Ease of installation in the downstairs meeting room (primary gallery space) or in other locations in the library


Responsibility for the selection of exhibits resides with the Art Advisory Committee consisting of the Programming Coordinator, Library Board Chair or Board representative, and a local artist or art teacher. All potential exhibitors must complete a display application to be submitted to the Art Advisory Committee. This form is available at the Circulation Desk or online on the library’s website.

The Art Advisory Committee will request that all pieces proposed for exhibit be submitted for review. Exhibits are scheduled intermittently through the year by the Programming Coordinator after review and recommendation by the Art Advisory Committee and approval by the Library Director.

Taking the recommendations of the Art Advisory Committee into account, the Library Director reserves the final authority to approve art exhibits. Granting of permission to display materials does not imply Library endorsement of content or points of view.


Neither the Town of Oak Bluffs nor the Oak Bluffs Public Library will be responsible for any damage or loss that may occur during setup and removal or during the time the exhibit is displayed. Since all members of the community are welcome, there is an inherent risk in choosing to display works at a public library.

The Library does not accept responsibility for ensuring that all points of view are represented by the art exhibits.

Each artist is responsible for hanging his/her own work and taking down the same when the exhibit has ended. The artist may not use any hanging techniques other than those arranged by the Library. Costs incurred by the Oak Bluffs Public Library for dismantling and/or storage of exhibits will be borne by the artist/exhibitor.


Oak Bluffs Public Library does not allow solicitation or selling of any items in the library. Art may be purchased directly from the artist, but only after the library exhibit has ended. The artist’s name and contact information will be displayed to allow the public to communicate with the artist directly, but no price tags may be affixed to the works exhibited or pricing lists distributed in the library.


Oak Bluffs Public Library is home to a collection of local art that engages our community with works that are challenging, intriguing, and enduring. Building such a collection is an ongoing process, during which the Art Advisory Committee and Library Director may make decisions to increase, reduce, or change the collection.

The Library Board of Trustees may amend this policy whenever it deems appropriate and in response to changing conditions.

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees June 8, 2017.

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Behavior Policy


The Oak Bluffs Public Library welcomes all members of the public. This policy is designed to promote appropriate use of the Library. The Oak Bluffs Public Library’s Behavior Policy is intended to foster a civil community experience, to protect the rights and safety of everyone in the library, and to preserve and protect the library’s materials, facilities, and property.


Those using the library and its resources have the right to expect a safe, comfortable environment that supports appropriate library services. Everyone using this facility will receive impartial, helpful, and friendly customer service. Use of the Library requires respect for others who are also enjoying the Library facilities and services. Expected patron behavior:

  • Treat other patrons and staff with courtesy. Treat public property with care.
  • Take responsibility for personal possessions.

The designated children’s area is reserved for use by children, their parents or caregivers, and adults interested in children’s literature while they are retrieving material from the collection. The designated teen space is reserved for teens and those who accompany them, and adults interested in Teen literature while they are retrieving material from the collection.

For youth under 17 years old, refer to the library’s Child Safety Policy.

Certain activities are inconsistent with the mission of the Library and will not be tolerated.

The library will make patrons aware of acceptable behavior through digital, print and verbal communications.


Unacceptable behavior is any behavior that either consciously or unconsciously violates or restricts the rights of others to use the library; prevents library employees from doing their jobs, or jeopardizes the safety of library users, staff and/or property.


For the safety and comfort of library visitors, volunteers, and staff and the protection of library property, the following actions are examples of conduct not allowed on library property:

  • Loud talking, laughing, or using audio equipment or cell phones that disturbs or could disturb other patrons
  • Any behavior that endangers the safety or health of others
  • Behavior that is willfully annoying, harassing, or threatening to another person, including use of abusive or intimidating language or gestures to patrons or staff members
  • Inappropriate use of library materials, furnishings or the facilities
  • Sleeping
  • Vandalism or deliberate destruction of library materials or the personal property of other patrons and staff
  • Theft of library materials or the personal property of other patrons and staff
  • Taking library materials into the entrance vestibules or restrooms if the materials have not been checked out
  • Soliciting of any kind and/or asking for signatures on petitions
  • Monopolizing library resources or staff time
  • Use of the library telephone for personal business, unless in an emergency or a request for transportation
  • Use of wheeled recreational devices (e.g., skateboards) inside the library or on library property
  • Use of alcohol, cigarettes, e-cigarettes or vaporizers, or illegal substances in the library
  • Having hygiene-related offensive body odor or perfume that disrupts others’ use of the library
  • Failing to provide adequate supervision of a person or group to whom the patron has a duty of care
  • Carrying firearms and dangerous weapons of any type (except by law enforcement officers)
  • Violation of any local, state, or federal law

Library staff reserve the right to ask a patron to leave the library for any of the reasons listed above or for other kinds of behavior they deem inappropriate.


The Library Board of Trustees, is empowered to make these rules under Massachusetts General Statutes Chapter 272, Section 41, in order to protect all library users’ right of access to library facilities, to insure the safety of users and staff, and to protect library resources and facilities from damage.

The Library Director and other staff members to whom the Director delegates the authority shall have the responsibility for enforcing the Behavior Policy and determining when behavior in the library is inappropriate.

Enforcement of this policy may take the form of any of the following, depending on the severity of the misconduct, which will be determined by the staff on duty at the time. The library may implement any option listed, including an immediate ban from the library premises at any time.

Minor Disruption:  In the case of a minor disruption, the library staff may provide up to two warnings.  If the behavior continues, library staff may ask the patron to leave the library for a stated period of suspension.

If a patron cannot understand and follow the Behavior Policy and/or becomes sick, anxious, or disruptive and/or requires transportation, library staff will help by locating their companion, if any. If a companion is not available on-site to assist the patron, library staff will contact by phone a parent /guardian/caregiver/family member to assist the patron.

Extreme Misconduct:  In the case of any misconduct that, in the judgment of a staff member, is extreme, library staff may give the offender only one warning, order them to leave the library immediately for a stated period of suspension, and/or call the police.


Patrons who engage in repeated disruptive behaviors that interfere with others’ use of the library or the general operation of the library or engage in behaviors that violate the law may be permanently banned from the Oak Bluffs Public Library premises by the Director. A written notice of permanent ban may be given to the patron.  A written appeal of the Library Director’s decision may be made to the Library Board within 30 days.

Exceptions to the above may be authorized by the Library Director and/or other designee.

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 02/21/2007

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 1/11/2018
Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 04/11/2019
Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 01/09/2020

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Cardholder Policy


In order to provide equitable services to the community, the Oak Bluffs Public Library has established a cardholder policy, which outlines the expectations associated with becoming a cardholder and borrowing library materials.

The Library invites everyone to become a cardholder so that they may access the thousands of physical materials in our library and our growing digital services.


To obtain and/or renew a library account, cardholders are required to present a valid photo ID (e.g., driver’s license, passport, state ID, military ID) and proof of address (e.g., current driver’s license, bill, piece of mail). This includes but is not limited to a photo ID and/or CLAMS library card.

Children (16 and under) or patrons requiring a guardian will not be required to present a photo ID. In such cases, a guardian with an ID and proof of address will need to be present to obtain an account.

An Oak Bluffs Public Library account allows access to material borrowing, digital resources and some library services. Some fees and account restrictions, determined by the library and the consortium, may apply.

Accounts cannot be renewed if the cardholder has a billed item on their account or a freeze/block in place by any library in the consortium.


Proper identification must be presented to borrow materials and access some library services.

The cardholder is responsible for all items charged to their account. This includes overdue fines if the item is not returned by the due date, and/or replacement fees if the item is damaged, lost or stolen.

The cardholder is responsible for notifying the Library of any changes in contact information in their account, or if their library card is damaged, lost or stolen.


Cardholders are responsible for all items borrowed with their cards and liable for the cost of overdue fees as well as repairing or replacing items that are lost or damaged. If the lost/damaged items are overdue, the cardholder must pay for the overdue fines in addition to the price of the of the lost/damaged item(s).

Payment may be made in person at the Oak Bluffs Public Library by cash or check. Patrons may mail checks; until the check is received, fines will not be removed from the account.

If an item has not already been replaced, payments for billed items will be refunded if returned within 30 days of payment and if the item is in good condition. Refunds under the amount of $20 will only be issued in cash and in person. All other refunds may be issued either via check, issued by the Town of Oak Bluffs, or cash, issued by the Library.

Overdue fees or fees for library services are non-refundable. Payment for items billed by other libraries in the consortium will not be refunded by the Oak Bluffs Public Library.


In accordance with consortium policy, a cardholder’s borrowing privileges are automatically suspended when their fees exceed the limit ($25 as of 4/1/2018), they are billed for an item, or when their account expires. Borrowing privileges will be reinstated only when fees are brought under the limit, all billed library items are returned or purchased, and the account is renewed.

Repeated abuse of borrowing privileges, library materials, staff, and/or facility will result in loss and/or restriction of access to cardholder services, including but not limited to borrowing items and using digital services. Blocks or account restrictions will be issued at the discretion of the Library Director.

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees April 12, 2018

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Child Safety Policy

The Oak Bluffs Public Library welcomes children and families to use its facilities and services. The Library recognizes its obligation to consider the safety and welfare of children while they are in the library. Many children are capable of using the library on their own, and should not be discouraged from doing so. However, parents should remember that the library is a public building available for anyone to use. The library cannot guarantee the safety of unsupervised children.

I.  Responsibilities

The Oak Bluffs Public Library assumes no responsibility for children of any age left unattended at the library. The responsibility for the care, safety, and behavior of children using the library rests with the parent/guardian/caregiver and not with library staff members.

Parents/guardians assume all liability for damage done by their children to the library facility, equipment, and materials. Parents/guardians should also realize that even in their absence they are legally responsible for their children’s behavior.

Children under the age of eight (8) must be accompanied and directly supervised at all times by a responsible caregiver.

  • Accompanied is defined as “within sight”.
  • A responsible caregiver is defined as an individual over the age of 14 who is entrusted with the care of the minor child.
  • A child under the age of eight (8) should never be unaccompanied by a responsible caregiver.
    • An unaccompanied child is defined as a child who is in the library alone, or
    • A child whose parent or caregiver is in the library but is not adequately supervising that child. This may occur when the adult and child are in separate areas of the building, or when an adult is using the library materials or electronic devices and is not supervising the child.

Children over the age of eight (8) do not need to be accompanied by an adult while they use the library. Children over the age of eight and their legal parent or guardian must be aware of the following: 

  • Children not in high school need to sign in and out at a librarian’s desk.
  • Children may use the library unattended for no more than four hours within any calendar day.
  • During the summer months, defined as the months of June, July, and August, children may use the library unattended for no more than two hours within any calendar day.
  • Parents/guardians/caregivers should familiarize themselves with the library hours, and
    should not leave children at the library before opening or after closing.

Librarians in the Children’s Room are eager to help parents who want to introduce their children (ages 8+) to rules and procedures associated with using the library without an adult present.

II.  Emergency and After Hours

In case of medical emergency, when a parent or guardian is not with the child, staff will contact emergency services and then the parent or guardian, in that order.

If a child under the age of eight (8) is left alone at the library during operating hours, library staff will attempt to call a parent/guardian/caregiver. If staff cannot reach a parent/guardian/caregiver, and a period of thirty minutes has elapsed, the person in charge will call the police to assume responsibility for the child.

If a child under the age of twelve (12) is alone within the library building at closing, library staff will attempt to call a parent/guardian/caregiver. Two staff members will remain with the child inside the library until a parent/guardian/caregiver or police arrive. When a parent/guardian/caregiver arrives, staff will explain the Child Safety Policy and provide a written copy. Under no circumstances will library staff transport or take a child away from the library building.

III.  Computer / Internet Use

A valid library card provides computer privileges which allow access to the Internet. Parents/guardians/caregivers should know that the Oak Bluffs Public Library does not employ Internet filtering software on its public Internet access computers. 

Parents must be aware of the following:

  • It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian/caregiver to ensure that their child does not access sites that may be inappropriate or potentially harmful to the child.
  • Children are permitted to use the computers for no more than two one-hour sessions per calendar day.
  • Children under eight (8) need an adult present to use computers.

Adults are not permitted to use the computers in the Children’s Room. Adults supervising children in the library who need computer access may speak with library staff members about available laptop use.

IV.  Behavior Guidelines for Minors

The parent/guardian/caregiver is responsible for ensuring the appropriate behavior of their children in the library, whether they are present with their child or not. Disruptive behavior is behavior that is inappropriate in a library setting. Disruptive behavior (beyond the bounds of typical developmental ability) that is unacceptable in the library includes, but is not limited to:

  • Running, chasing, horseplay
  • Inappropriate language
  • Screaming, shouting, or other noise
  • Eating or drinking in non-designated areas
  • Abnormal, erratic behavior that hinders normal library use
  • Continued or frequent loud talking in computer area
  • Pushing, hitting, fighting, biting
  • Bullying or bothering other people
  • Prolonged crying or temper tantrums
  • Repeated, frequent requests to use the library phone during a single visit

Children ages 8-11 must stay within the Children’s Room unless browsing for material in another area.
Library staff will approach disruptive children in the following manner:

  1. Give a verbal warning to the child indicating that such behavior is unacceptable.
    1. In the case of a minor accompanied by an adult, library staff will approach the
      parent or caregiver with the same warning.
  2. If the behavior continues, give the child and/or parent or caregiver a second warning.
  3. If the disruptive behavior persists, library staff will request the parent or guardian to
    escort the child from the library premises. Unattended disruptive children may be asked to leave the library after two warnings. In such instances, parents will be contacted or, if the parent is unavailable, police assistance will be utilized.

V.  Group Visits

Please talk to a Children’s Librarian so that together we can make your group’s visit special, meaningful, and fun. Adults accompanying a daycare, class, supervised visit, home school, or other visiting group stand in loco parentis while using the library. Please see Responsibilities (Section I) for specifics.

  • Child to adult ratio should be adequate in order to ensure that each child can meet expected behavior guidelines (see Section IV).
  • Visits more than an hour long, or more than three times per week, can make children restless and bored. In order to provide adequate library services, please inform Children’s Room staff if you plan a group visit that will last more than an hour or occur three or more times per week.

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 10/16/2013

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 7/20/2016
Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 01/09/2020

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Collection Development Policy


The purpose of the Oak Bluffs Public Library Collection Development Policy is to guide the library staff in the maintenance of the collection as reflected in the library’s mission and goals.  It is a description of what the library collects.  A written policy helps to answer questions posed by the public regarding the presence or absence of certain materials in the collection and helps to explain the criteria used for materials selection.


Inherent in the collection development philosophy is an appreciation for each patron of the Oak Bluffs Public Library. The Library provides materials to support each individual’s journey, and does not place a value on one patron’s needs or preferences over another’s. The library upholds the right of the individual to access information, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox or unacceptable to others.

A democracy presupposes an informed citizenry and the public library has an integral role in achieving that goal.  The Library provides an impartial environment in which individuals and their interests are brought together with the universe of ideas and information spanning the spectrum of knowledge and opinions.  The Oak Bluffs Public Library has adopted the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Code of Ethics, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements.  These principles guide the Oak Bluffs Public Library’s Collection Development and Acceptable Use policies.

Collection development and management decisions are based solely on the merit of the work as it relates to the library’s mission and its ability to meet the expressed or anticipated needs and interests of the community.  Decisions are not made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval of the material.  The inclusion of an item in the library collection in no way represents an endorsement of its contents.  Library materials are not marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, nor are materials sequestered, other than to protect them from loss or damage.

The library recognizes that many materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some.  Only individuals can determine what is most appropriate for their needs and can define what material or information is consistent with their personal or family values.  Individuals can apply those values to the use of library materials only for themselves.  Parents and legal guardians have the responsibility for their children’s use of library materials. For more information on parental rights and responsibilities, please see the Child Safety Policy.


To support this mission, the library materials are selected, organized and made accessible in order to anticipate and meet the diverse needs of the Oak Bluffs community. In this effort, we provide materials old and new, classic and ephemeral, orthodox and unorthodox in many formats including print, visual, recordings and electronic media.

For materials not available within our walls, we will utilize the CLAMS system and interlibrary loan (ILL) to borrow needed materials or answer inquiries as far as we are able.

Final authority for the determination of the policies in this document is vested in the Library Director and under their direction, to the professional staff who are qualified for this activity by reason of education, training and experience.

Though the library attempts to give the best service possible to its regular users, it also has an obligation to satisfy the needs of those in the community who have not traditionally been library users.  The library must consider not only the present needs of the community, but must anticipate the future needs in order to give timely service.  Materials are selected and services and programs planned that satisfy users’ needs as individuals and as members of groups with concern given for all ages, backgrounds, interests, abilities and levels of education.


 “Selection” is a term in which the library refers to the decision that must be made when adding to, retaining, or removing material from the library collection.

To build an inclusive collection, materials are evaluated according to one or more of the following criteria.  An item need not meet all of these criteria in order to be acceptable.

  • Current and anticipated needs and interests of the public
  • Suitability of physical form for library use
  • Accessibility of content
  • Availability of content through other means including interlibrary loan, and all formats (electronic, or physical), either in an electronic database or compendium of works already accessible to the library’s patrons
  • Evaluations in review media – this may include authoritative review journals and popular reviews from a variety of sources
  • Accuracy and timeliness of content
  • Author’s, artist’s, or publisher’s qualifications and/or reputation
  • Contribution of a work to the diversity of breadth of the collection and its relation to other materials already available on the subject
  • Representation of unique or controversial points of view
  • Receipt of, or nomination for, major awards or prizes, or inclusion of the title in standard bibliographies or indexes
  • Quality of productions
  • Condition of material
  • Requests by the public
  • Present and potential relevance to community needs
  • Insight into human and social conditions
  • No attempt is made to purchase all works by a particular author, or keep or purchase all works in a particular series.
  • Out-of-print material is not commonly purchased for the library collection
  • Affordability, including associated staff time and processing costs, or preservation and storage costs.

Selection criteria with notes on format:

  • Electronic databases are in great part provided free of charge to Massachusetts residents via public libraries and schools. The library does not have control over which databases the state chooses to provide, although they do go through regular reporting and review processes. Other databases and electronic subscriptions are selected according to the content that is needed to provide information for the public and the library staff. Databases may be purchased to replace printed materials in the reference collection if electronic access to the information improves the quality of materials and is electronically accessible to all library users. Databases may not necessarily be available for remote access from home, depending on the vendor agreements.
  • eMaterials are selected to provide a virtual collection of resources that is accessible twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The eBook collection is mainly comprised popular, new release and high interest titles. Due to licensing restrictions from publishers, every effort is made to fill patron demand, but the library is not required to provide access to any one title, or re-purchase a title once it has expired.
  • Electronic equipment & non-traditional materials (aka “Library of Things”) are selected and offered based on community demand and interest. The library also has to consider regular maintenance, storage of, and the logistics surrounding check-out and return of these items. Some equipment may also require signing a user agreement and/or waiver and may only be available for patrons over the age of 18.
  • Visual media – popular feature films, foreign films, documentaries, instructional videos and other visual media are added to the library’s collection in a manner consistent with patron demand and budget constraints. As technology changes, the library will acquire visual media in the prevailing formats, including streaming services and shared electronic resources.
  • Newspapers & Periodicals– are available in print and electronic form. Many of these titles are shared or bought on a cooperative basis with other libraries, giving us little agency over adding or omitting particular titles, in any or all formats. Through the state’s online databases, Oak Bluffs Public Library patrons have computer access to thousands of full-text periodicals, dozens of newspapers, and indexed archives. Broader access is available through acquiring a Boston Public Library e-card, open to all Massachusetts residents.

Additionally, purchase of those materials that meet one or more of the above criteria may be limited due to budget constraints, or other factors.

Patrons and members of the community may suggest materials to add to the collection.  A Form for Recommendation of Materials can be submitted to the library’s acquisition staff for consideration of the request.

Deselection & Collection Maintenance

The review and removal of materials from the collection is an ongoing process directly related to collection development.  Materials that are worn, damaged, outdated, duplicated, or no longer used may be removed from the collection.  Other factors taken into consideration are frequency of use, community interest, local authors or subject matter, accuracy of non-fiction content, space in the library, and availability of other material on the subject.  Materials removed from the collection are given to the Library Friends of Oak Bluffs Public Library for sale, distribution, or disposal. It is common for libraries to weed 5 to 10% of their collection annually.


Books and other materials that are lost or damaged will be assessed for their relevancy to the collection.  Every effort is made to replace or repair important titles.  If satisfactory reprint or paperback editions of titles to be replaced exist, these may be preferred to the more expensive hardback editions.


If a patron finds any portion of the library’s collection objectionable, they may file a formal request for reexamination of the materials by completing a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form.  The Library Director along with the Board of Trustees will review the request and make a determination.  All decisions made by the Board of Trustees are final.


 The Oak Bluffs Public Library is pleased to accept gifts.  Gifts are gratefully and willingly accepted as long as no restriction is placed upon their use.  Materials donated to the library are received with the understanding that they are subject to the same selection and disposal criteria as material acquired for purchase.

All gifts of books and materials must be in usable physical condition.  Because of limitations of space, money and staff, the library reserves the right to accept or discard at its discretion, any materials given to the library.  Because of wear, theft and mutilation, the library cannot guarantee the permanence of a gift in the collection.

Donated materials not added to the collection are not returned to the donors.  The library makes every effort to dispose of any gift materials it cannot use to the best advantage, such as through sales by the Library Friends of Oak Bluffs, distribution to other community organizations or recycling.


Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees


Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 5/20/2015

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 12/8/2022

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Acceptable Computer Use Policy

I. Rationale

The Oak Bluffs Public Library (OBPL) welcomes all members of the public and strives to improve Digital Literacy and life-long learning by connecting patrons with resources to inspire, inform and empower our diverse community. The Library provides public access to the Internet, public computers, online research databases, applications, and printing. Patrons are expected to respect the rights of other patrons, staff members, and library equipment.  The Library adheres to the American Library Association’s policy statement: Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks: an interpretation of the LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS which supports the right of individuals to choose library materials for themselves, including those in electronic formats.

II. Definition and Scope

  • A valid library card or guest pass provides computer privileges which allow access to the computers and Internet. The WIFI can be accessed without a library card on any device that connects to the Internet.
  • The Oak Bluffs Public Library’s Acceptable Use policy pertains to both Internet and Computer use, including Wi-Fi connectivity and use of personal devices.
  • The Internet offers access to many valuable local, national, and international sources of information.
  • By providing computers and Internet, library users are able to expand their access to information far beyond the library’s scope. In choosing sources to link to the Oak Bluffs Public Library website and social media, library staff follow accepted library selection criteria for electronic resources. Not all sources on the Internet, however, provide accurate, complete, or current information.
  • The library does not monitor and has no control over information accessed through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content. The Library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility arising from access to or use of information obtained through its electronic information systems, or any consequences thereof.
  • Oak Bluffs Public Library’s computers are located in public areas where minors may be present. Use of OBPL public computers in a manner harmful to minors or in any manner in violation of state or federal law is prohibited. Unlawful activities will be reported to library staff or the Police Department.
  • As with other library materials, individuals must accept responsibility for evaluating the content of resources they view, read, or listen to. Patrons are urged to respect the sensibilities of others when accessing images that may reasonably be offensive to someone else. Privacy while using the Internet in the library cannot be guaranteed. There exists a possibility of inadvertent viewing by others.
  • Patrons handling financial transactions or other activities that require confidentiality do so at their own risk. The Internet is not a private environment and security of electronic communication cannot be guaranteed. As a means to protect patron privacy, the library does have software installed on the public computers that, upon successful logout, removes all personal information, including browsing history.
  • Security for personal devices rests solely with the owner. Library staff members will provide guidance for accessing library materials and services on personal devices, but are not required to provide technical support on personal devices. If technical support is provided by a library staff member, they are not at fault for resulting malfunctions of hardware, software, or loss of information.
  • The patron may be held responsible for costs of excessive printing and/or damage to computer hardware, if the staff determines misuse of that hardware.
  • Materials obtained or copied from the Internet may be subject to copyright laws. U.S. copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) prohibits the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted materials, except as permitted by the principles of fair use. Users may not copy or distribute electronic materials (including electronic mail, text, images, programs, or data) without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. Any responsibility for any consequences of copyright infringement lies with the user. The Oak Bluffs Public Library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility resulting from such use.

III. Enforcement

Use of the Library’s computers or Internet connection in an illegal, disruptive, or destructive manner may result in the loss of Internet or Library privileges, depending on the severity of the misconduct, which will be determined by the staff on duty at the time.

  1. Children’s computer and Internet use (under the age of 16)
  • As with all other library materials, children’s access to and use of the computers and Internet is the sole responsibility of the child’s parent or legal guardian. The Internet may provide access to information, content and services some of which parents may feel is inappropriate or objectionable for their own children. The Library and its staff cannot censor access to materials or prevent users from encountering materials on the Internet that they may find offensive. Parents should let their children know about information, content and services on the Internet that they do not want them to access or use. Parents are responsible for any necessary supervision of their own child’s Internet sessions at the library. For more information about children in the library, please consult the library’s policy regarding children.
  • Parents/guardians/caregivers should know that the Oak Bluffs Public Library does not employ Internet filtering software on its public Internet access computers.
  • Adults are not permitted to use the computers in the Children’s or YA area of the library, unless given the express permission from a staff member.


Donation Policy

The Oak Bluffs Public Library is pleased to accept gifts.  Gifts are gratefully and willingly accepted as long as no restriction is placed upon their use.  Materials donated to the library are received with the understanding that they are subject to the same selection, evaluation and disposal criteria as material acquired for purchase.

All gifts of books and materials must be in usable physical condition.  Because of limitations of space, money and staff, the library reserves the right to accept or discard at its discretion, any materials given to the library.  Because of wear, theft and mutilation, the library cannot guarantee the permanence of a gift in the collection.

Donated materials not added to the collection are not returned to the donors.  The Library makes every effort to dispose of any gift materials it cannot use to the best advantage, such as through sales by the Friends of the Library, distribution to other community organizations or recycling.

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 2015

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Emergency Closing Policy

The Library is a public service institution, and every effort is made to maintain regular hours for the public. The Library will be closed only when weather conditions deteriorate to the point where traveling is hazardous, when vital equipment in the building fails or when there is a general emergency in the town of Oak Bluffs.

The decision to close the Library will be based upon:

  1. General conditions of roads in Oak Bluffs.
  2. Condition of the Library’s parking lots and walkways.
  3. Availability of staff to open and operate the Library. Minimal staffing levels are defined as four staff members in the building at all times.
  4. Condition of the building’s equipment.
  5. Requests for closure by local or state agencies.

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 11/14/2006

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 12/14/2017

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Internet Policy

The Internet is a global electronic network without local, state, or federal control over its contents. It offers access to material that is personally, professionally, and culturally enriching, but it also contains inaccurate as well as controversial material.

The Oak Bluffs Public Library offers the public “unfiltered” Internet access. Our staff does not monitor usage. Parents and guardians have the right and responsibility to monitor their child’s use of library resources, including the Internet.

Members of the public shall not use the Internet in any way that violates federal or state laws and regulations. Nor shall they use the Internet in any manner that disrupts, harasses, or annoys others, or violates their rights.

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees

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Facilities Use Policy


This policy is to inform interested parties of the rules and regulations for room usage in ways that best serve the Library’s mission.



This room is located upstairs and has a 16-person capacity.


This room is located downstairs and has a 68-person capacity.



The Meeting Room and Conference Room must be used for civic, educational and cultural meetings that are open to the general public at no charge.

The rooms are available during normal Library hours, but must be vacated 15 minutes prior to closing. Because the Meeting Room has exterior doors and there is a lockable barrier between the Meeting Room and the rest of the Library, the Meeting Room is available after hours for government department meetings or for local community groups at the Director’s discretion.

Light refreshments may be served in the downstairs Meeting Room. Cleanup is the responsibility of the group using the space and must be completed during the time of the reservation. For any group planning to serve refreshments, a deposit of $100 may be required at the time of application.

Users are assumed to be familiar with the operation of Library equipment. Staff may be able to assist in the training and setup of the equipment with adequate notice.


Any space shall be used for 4 hours or less per day, including setup and cleanup time.

There is a 4-person minimum for reserving the Meeting Room. There is a 2-person minimum for reserving the Conference Room.

The rooms cannot be reserved for consecutive days, except by town departments or by the discretion of the Director.

Alcoholic beverages may not be served, consumed or brought into the Library by any outside group. Smoking is not permitted anywhere on Library premises.

The following uses are categorically prohibited:

  • Any event that excludes the general public
  • Fundraisers, except by organizations affiliated with the library
  • Private functions (e.g., Family events, private parties, and school reunions)
  • Commercial for-profit activity, except for authors who sell signed copies of their books in conjunction with an in-person public presentation or artists who display their work as part of a public exhibit
  • Any use that requires or encourages participants to pay a fee to attend
  • Any use which interferes with normal Library operation


In the case of overlapping reservations, the rooms will be assigned in the following order of precedence:

  1. Elections and regularly scheduled Selectmen meetings
  2. Library purposes
  3. Town Department or work group meetings
  4. Meetings of other government agencies on matters affecting Oak Bluffs
  5. Community groups for civic, educational, philanthropic or cultural programs
  6. Other uses

All else being equal, preference will be given to local groups regardless of when the reservation was made.


Any group wishing to use a space must authorize one person to request a reservation for a particular space and time on a form provided by the Library. This person must be at least 18-years of age and provide a valid ID upon request. By signing the completed form, the applicant guarantees their presence at the event and assumes responsibility for overseeing the activity.

Reservations may be made up to three months in advance.

Reservations must be made on the Room Reservation Form either online or on the paper form, available in the library. The Director or his/her designee will respond to the applicant within a week of receiving the completed application. A reservation is not complete until it has been confirmed in writing by the Director or his/her designee.


Arranging room and rearranging the furnishings to standard placement

Orderly conduct of the users

Leaving room clean

Paying for police coverage if needed

Holding library harmless for losses or damages occurred during usage

Prompt notification of cancellation


Granting space usage does not imply the Library’s endorsement of a group’s beliefs or activities.

Groups that fail to abide by this Policy may be restricted from using Library rooms in the future.

Oak Bluffs Library Board of Trustees

Oak Bluffs Library Board of Trustees 11/9/2017

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Programming Policy


Programming is an integral component of Library service that expands the Library’s role as a community resource, introduces patrons and non-users to Library resources, provides entertainment and opportunities for lifelong learning, expands the visibility of the Library, and brings the community together.

The Library is dedicated to connecting people with ideas and information through programs that facilitate learning, entertain, and provide opportunities to engage with others.

The Library’s philosophy of open access to information and ideas extends to Library programming. Program topics, speakers and resources are not excluded from programs because of possible controversy. Library sponsorship of a program does not constitute an endorsement of the content of the program or the views expressed by participants or speakers.


In order to develop a robust, inspiring, informative, and unique set of programs specific to the OBPL, we seek programs that offer new ideas to our patrons and community that may not be offered by other libraries, and are relevant to the community.

Programming space is limited, especially during the busy summer season. For that reason, use of the facility is at the discretion of the staff. The Library’s staff uses the following criteria in making decisions about program topics, speakers, and accompanying resources:

  • Program content & treatment of content for intended audience
  • Relevance to community interests, needs, and issues
  • Facilitation of creative, hands-on learning activities requiring cooperation and communication with others
  • Availability of program space
  • Presentation quality
  • Historical or educational significance
  • Connection to other community programs, exhibitions or events
  • Relation to Library collections, resources, exhibits, and programs
  • Presenter background/qualifications in content area
  • Budget


Programs may not be used for commercial, religious or partisan purposes, or the solicitation of business.

Programs may be held on-site or off-site. The Library draws upon other community resources in developing programs and actively partners with other community agencies, organizations, educational and cultural institutions, and individuals in order to develop and present public programs.

The Library seeks feedback from the community concerning programming. The Library’s programs are a collaborative effort between staff members and the community. Staff will attempt to gather useful feedback from attendees following each program. Patrons are also welcome to contact oakbluffslibrary@gmail.com to offer program feedback or suggestions.

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees March 2017

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Public Posting Policy


It is the policy of Oak Bluffs Public Library, as a part of its information mission and as a public service, to provide access to community information by providing spaces for the free distribution of handouts and the public posting of community flyers, notices, and posters.


In keeping with the Library’s mission, non-Library materials acceptable for posting or distribution are limited to those promoting cultural, educational, intellectual, non-commercial, or charitable activities. Campaign materials, materials containing proselytizing speech, and commercial materials such as business advertisements or promotions are not permitted.

Religious and political materials are permissible for special events; materials which have the primary effect to present a single point of view will not be displayed.

The Library has the right to limit the size of posters to 11 x 17 inches or smaller. Because space is limited, priority will be given to events and organizations located in the Town of Oak Bluffs.


All materials for display or distribution must be submitted for approval by the Director. No more than one notice per event can be submitted. Any material found on the bulletin boards or in the brochure rack that has not been approved shall be removed and discarded.

All material shall be dated and handled by library staff only. Dated material will be removed as soon as possible after the event. Undated material will be removed after two weeks or when the space is needed for other materials.


The library reserves the right to limit or prohibit at any time, the posting or distribution of materials which represent a threat to the health and safety of library users or the orderly use of the library.

The library cannot be held responsible for returning materials to the donors and it does not assume responsibility for any material damaged or stolen.

Approval of a display or distribution of handout materials does not indicate endorsement of any cause or activity.


Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees January 12, 2023

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Social Media Policy


This policy governs Oak Bluff’s Public Library’s participation in online venues and social media, defined here as any facility for online publication and commentary, including but not limited to blogs, wikis, and social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). The library makes use of these tools to reach out and be more easily accessible to current and potential library users. Social media allows the library and public a convenient way to interact and share information, ideas, and opinions on a range of topics related to the library’s mission, collections and services.


  1. Decisions regarding library utilization of social media shall be made by the Director.
  2. Information posted on social media should be free of bias, personal opinions which are degrading to others, and profane language.
  3. Posts shall include information about upcoming programs, services, library closings, new materials, relevant links and websites.
  4. The library reserves the right to remove any irrelevant, obscene or otherwise inappropriate posts left on its social media sites
  5. No photos of an individual should be posted without that individual’s consent. No photos of minors should be posted unless their parent has provided their consent.

These guidelines are subject to change as a need or issue arises.

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 03/09/2011

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 2015

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Tool Lending Policy


The Oak Bluffs Public Library (the “Library”) loans home improvement, building and gardening tools free of charge to qualified card holders with the goal of improving their lives and –through their projects – the community at large.


Only cardholders in good standing who are seasonal, full-time residents, or property owners on Martha’s Vineyard, and who are at least 18 years old, are eligible to borrow tools from the Library.

For purposes of this policy, “good standing” shall mean that the borrower has no blocks on their account in violation of any restriction in the Cardholder Policy.


All tools and equipment lent by the library are the property of the Library. Only the borrower is authorized to use the tools and the borrower shall not permit the use of said tools by any other person, without prior written approval from the Library staff. Instruction on the proper use of tools is available from the Library staff or volunteer, upon request by the borrower.

Prior to borrowing a tool, the borrower must inspect each borrowed tool and accept its condition, note all damage or defects, and provide the Library staff or volunteer with a written summary of his/her findings of defects or damage. The borrower agrees that if the borrowed tool becomes unsafe or in a state of disrepair, the borrower will immediately discontinue use of the tool and return it to the library.

The borrower agrees that the Library is not responsible for any manufacturing or design defects inherent in any borrowed tool. Before borrowing a tool or piece of equipment, the borrower shall sign a WAIVER AND INDEMNIFICATION form to be provided by the Library. By signing said form, the borrower acknowledges that he or she is capable of using the tool in a safe and proper manner, and that he/she will use the tools for their intended purpose in a safe and proper manner.

By signing the WAIVER AND INDEMNIFICATION form, the borrower waives all claims against the Library arising out of the use of the tools that they borrow from the Library, and further agrees to release, indemnify and hold harmless the Library and the Town of Oak Bluffs, its officers, agents, and employees from any and all liability, loss, claim, demand, action or cause of action for claims arising out of the use of tools he or she borrows from the Library.


The borrower agrees to return tools in the same condition as when they were checked out. A borrower who loses or damages a tool shall reimburse the Library or replace the tool with an equivalent tool of equal value, to be approved by the Library staff before purchase. A borrower who loses or damages a tool will have his/her borrowing privileges revoked until the tool is replaced or until satisfactory reimbursement is paid.


The Library retains the right to refuse the loan of any item for failure to comply with any of the library’s rules and regulations, for falsification of any information, or for any other applicable reason.


The Library Board of Trustees may amend this policy whenever it deems appropriate and in response to changing conditions.

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees October 2017


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Volunteer Policy


The Oak Bluffs Public Library Volunteer Program is designed to expand and enhance public service to the community. Volunteers generally provide support services to paid staff; work on special projects; or deliver library materials to the homebound. Volunteers are expected to act in accordance with library policies and to reflect positive customer service attitudes to all library patrons.


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. Selection of in-house volunteers is the responsibility of the Director in conjunction with the Volunteer Coordinator; selection of delivery volunteers is the responsibility of the Outreach Volunteer Coordinator.

Prospective volunteers are requested to fill out an application form and will be interviewed by one of the above individuals. 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.

In-House Volunteers

  • Roles and Responsibilities
    The library depends on its volunteers for a wide variety of tasks which otherwise need to be assigned to library staff. We therefore ask volunteers to be reliable in their commitment to the library and to notify the library in advance if they are unable to work their regularly schedule time slot. In turn, volunteers will be notified immediately on any given day when the library opens late or closes early for any reason. Volunteers will not be placed in positions that could jeopardize the library’s ability to operate if a volunteer failed to report to work.

Individuals are asked to wear a name badge that identifies them as a volunteer while they are working at the library. Volunteers (except specially trained reference volunteers) are expected to refer all requests for information to the library staff, other than purely directional questions (e.g. where is the bathroom; where is the children’s room, etc.).

Volunteers are asked to keep an accurate record of the hours they work each week, for the use of the Director.

  • Training and Supervision
    The Library Director and Volunteer Coordinator coordinate the in-house volunteer program. Volunteers will receive specific training in their assigned duties from the library staff member who directly supervises their work. All reasonable care will be taken to ensure the safety of volunteers.
  • Work Schedules
    Volunteers shall only work during hours when adequate supervision is available. Typically, a volunteer works a 2-3 hour time slot each week for a preferred minimum of three months. Individual work schedules and specific time commitments will be mutually arranged in advance by the volunteer and the Director or immediate supervisor.

Outreach Volunteers

  • Roles & Responsibilities
    The mission of the Outreach delivery program is to provide books and other library materials to patrons of the Oak Bluffs Public Library who are unable to come to the library, whether on a temporary or a permanent basis.

Persons needing delivery are referred to the Outreach Volunteer Coordinator. The Coordinator will assess each homebound situation with the goal of assuring safe access and a healthy environment for the delivery volunteer and arranging a suitable match between the homebound patron and the delivery person.

  • Training & Supervision
    The Outreach Volunteer Coordinator supervises the homebound delivery program. The Coordinator provides continual support and guidance to homebound volunteers in their interactions with at-home patrons and in their selection of materials. The Coordinator also works closely with library staff to facilitate borrowing and delivery of library materials to the homebound.
  • Work Schedules
    Individual schedules and specific delivery times will be mutually arranged by the delivery volunteer and the homebound patron.

Community Service

Persons who seek volunteer assignments at the Oak Bluffs Public Library to meet a requirement set by an outside agency for the performance of community service shall be subject to the above selection process and all other provisions of this policy.

Employment of Volunteers in the Library

Volunteers should follow the Town of Oak Bluffs employment process in order to obtain paid employment in the library.

Leaving Volunteer Service

A volunteer selected for work on a special project will discontinue service when that project is completed or terminated, unless other arrangements have been made.

Whenever possible, the library will make an effort to reassign the volunteer. However, if no other mutually suitable volunteer position exists at the time, the volunteer will be asked to discontinue service and his or her application will be kept on file for one year, subject to review should a suitable position become available during that time.

In the event that a volunteer is unable to adequately perform the duties assigned to him or her, and no other appropriate positions are available, the volunteer may be removed from service.

Board of Trustees, September 2005

Oak Bluffs Board of Trustees 4/13/2016

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