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Stevens Memorial Library is led by Emily Donnelly, our Library Director. Learn more about us and get involved! Big things are happening at SML... Educational. Culture. Recreation. Art. Information. History. Activities & Events.
Emily is a Philadelphia native who has worked as a librarian for over a decade. She has multiple college degrees, including a Master's Degree in Library Science.
She was the children's librarian at the Boston Public Library for seven years. Her passion for literature and libraries has been consistent since high school, she loves Ashburnham and we've been fortunate to have her since October 2014.
Born, raised, and educated in Gardner, Janet has been a resident of Ashburnham for over 35 years. She and her husband raised their family here and continue to be incredibly active in the community.
Janet has coached girls softball, worked in the Ashburnham Westminster Regional School District, and was involved in Girl Scouts for many years.
Keith has lived in Ashburnham since 1980 and raised three children here. He has been on the library staff since 2009.
Keith's a graduate of UMass/Amherst and Boston University and has previously worked as a teacher, corporate communications specialist, and video producer. His interests include singing and playing the guitar, gardening, camping, and of course, books!
Corinne Smith grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Over the years, she has worked in a variety of libraries (school, public, and academic) in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Massachusetts. She holds degrees from Clarion University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Northern Illinois University.
Corinne is also a writer, speaker, and outdoor educator. She has been a fan of American author Henry David Thoreau for more than three decades and has written two books about him. She also likes travel, football, classic rock music, and jasmine green tea. She lives in Gardner with her two cats, Maizie Dae Nosentail and Jackie Blue.
Chardell Davis and her family have been active patrons of the Stevens Memorial Library for several years. She enjoys being involved with story hour, reading along with the book club, and participating in the summer reading program with her children.
Chardell is currently attending graduate school for library and information science at Simmons College. She has ten years of experience working in libraries and was a volunteer at the Stevens Memorial Library before joining the staff. Her interests include watching her children play ice hockey, hiking with family and friends, and reading to her children every night before bed.
The Trustees of the Stevens Memorial Library are citizens of Ashburnham and are elected by town voters. Each serves a term of three (3) years.
In addition to email, you may also contact each Trustee by leaving a message for them here at the library. A Trustee will return your call in a timely manner.
❯ Ed Vitone, Chair Email
❯ Paula St. Laurent Kuehl, Treasurer
❯ Candace Wright
❯ Ellen Harrington
❯ Anne Olivari
❯ Jessica Caouette
All Library Board of Trustee meetings are open to the public. The Trustees meet on the third Tuesday of each month at 4:00.
For agendas, minutes, and more information, please visit the library or click here.
Stevens Memorial Library Mission Statement
The Stevens Memorial Library supports its community through the provision of materials, programs, space, and technology to aid in the educational, cultural, and recreational development of its entire community.
The library is committed to providing a welcoming space for Ashburnham citizens and residents of neighboring communities without regard to gender, race, age, religion, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation.
JOIN YOUR ACTIVE LIBRARY!
Here are just some of the ways you can help your library thrive:
Our membership roster includes families, individuals, and businesses in the Ashburnham area. Their annual membership dues, provide important financial support to the library; support that translates into entertaining and educational activities for children and adults, new materials for all library patrons to enjoy, and physical improvements to our building and grounds.
Read more or join by clicking here.
THE LIBRARY'S HISTORY
Ashburnham’s first library was established in 1793 through the sale of shares at two dollars apiece. This library managed to be self-supporting through the contributions of its members (and aided by share sales, financial and material donations, and book sales) until 1833, when it was disbanded. Its contents were distributed among its members.
In 1850, “the [private] Ladies’ Library Association was organized and a collection of books of approved character was continued by renewals until 1884” (Stearns 534).
Learn more about us here.
Ashburnham's Stevens Memorial Library's Board of Trustees has established policies to aid in the fair treatment of all who use our resources and provide guidelines for procedures and behavior.
If you have any questions about these policies after reviewing them below, please phone or visit the library. These include:
View all Library Policies by clicking here.
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Ashburnham's Stevens Memorial Library's Board of Trustees has established policies to aid in the fair treatment of all who use our resources and provide guidelines for procedures and behavior.
If you have any questions about these policies after reviewing them below, please phone or visit the library.
In addition to the text inside the tabs below, we also offer clickable PDF viewing and downloads for most policies.
Appropriate Library Behavior Policy
The Stevens Memorial Library is committed to providing a welcoming space for Ashburnham citizens and residents of neighboring communities without regard to gender, race, age, religion, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation. To this end, the Library is responsible for establishing rules of conduct to protect the rights and safety of Library patrons, volunteers, and staff, and for preserving and protecting the Library’s materials, equipment, facilities, and grounds.
For the comfort and safety of patrons, volunteers, and staff, and the protection of Library property, we ask that the following guidelines be respected while on Library property:
At the discretion of the Director, the penalty for non-compliance will be commensurate with the offense, up to and including banishment from the library. Bans may be appealed to the Library Board of Trustees. The Trustees’ decision in each case will be final.
The Stevens Memorial Library collects money in the form of gifts and donations; payment for lost items; copying, printing, and faxing services (“fee services”); and the sale of items to benefit the library through The Friends of Ashburnham’s Stevens Memorial Library.
The Library Board of Trustees affirms that:
Approved by Library Board of Trustees, February 2016
The Stevens Memorial Library issues library cards in order to maintain an accurate record of library materials that are checked out, and to gather library usage data so it can evaluate and improve collections and services.
Card Holder Eligibility
The Stevens Memorial Library offers free library cards to anyone aged five (5) or older who lives, works, or owns property in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Applicants under the age of eighteen (18) must have a parent or guardian guarantee their application with a signature.
In order to check out items or place holds, positive proof of address is required for all adult applicants; positive proof of address for the signing parent or guardian is sufficient for juveniles and young adults. Examples of acceptable forms of proof of address include a state-issued ID, a lease, or mail received at one’s current address.
Cards will expire after a period of two years, at which point borrowers will be asked to confirm their contact information. Card renewals are free to eligible borrowers. Card applications and renewals will only be accepted in person.1 It is the responsibility of the borrower to inform the Library if his/her card is lost or stolen. Replacement cards will be issued at a cost of $1.00 per card.
Out of state borrowers may register for a library card at the Stevens Memorial Library for an annual fee of $30.
Borrowers who will be in Massachusetts on a non-permanent basis will be eligible for temporary cards. Temporary cards will expire after four (4) months and cannot be renewed.
The Trustees reserve the right to deny library privileges to residents of decertified communities.
Loan Periods and Limits
All items, with the exception of DVD sets, are available for two (2) renewals as long as they have not been requested by another patron. Once an item has no remaining renewals, it must be checked in and reshelved so that it might be available for others. If the item is not checked out after 24 hours, the last patron to check it out may check it out again.
Patrons will be blocked by the system when they have 50 or more items checked out on their card. No more than ten (10) DVDs may be taken out on one card at any given time. Quantities of books or other items may be additionally limited by Library staff to prevent a single patron or family from depleting the Library’s collection on a particular subject or author.
The maximum number of holds a patron may have on their record at one time is 20.
With an understanding that patrons will make every effort to return materials in a timely manner, occasionally items will be returned late. Patrons with materials two (2) weeks overdue will receive a phone call reminder. If items are not returned, a bill will be sent once items are four (4) weeks overdue. Patrons will be prohibited from borrowing materials until those items have been paid for or returned. Items returned in good condition do not need to be paid for or replaced. The Library reserves the right to suspend the borrowing privileges of an entire family if this overdue policy is circumvented or abused through the use of multiple cards.
The Stevens Memorial Library collaborates with other libraries throughout the Commonwealth, as well as many libraries across the nation, to share items in our collections. If we do not have an item, we will make every effort to request it from another library. The Library reserves the right to limit the number of interlibrary loan items requested or borrowed by a patron at any given time. This service is only available to patrons who do not currently have any lost or overdue items on their cards.
Loan periods are determined by the lending library, and while renewals may be requested, they may not be granted. Interlibrary loan renewal requests must be made three days in advance of the item’s due date.
While we make every effort to obtain materials free of charge, some institutions charge for the loaning of their materials. The Stevens Memorial Library will not pursue an item with an associated fee without the prior consent of the patron who made the request. Patrons are responsible for any charges levied by a supplying library, including those for materials lost or damaged while charged out to them. No refunds will be made for lost and paid interlibrary loan materials that are subsequently found.
For greater detail on Interlibrary Loan, please see the Library’s Interlibrary Loan Policy.
Fines & Fees
The Stevens Memorial Library does not charge fines for the late return of materials. However, other libraries on the C/W MARS network do charge fines, and the Library reserves the right to collect those fines if assessed. While an item may be retrieved at or returned to the Stevens Memorial Library, it may still be subject to fines if due dates are not respected.
If items are lost or damaged, the borrower is responsible for the replacement price, or the replacement of the item. A damaged item is an item that is not returned in the condition in which it was borrowed. Library staff, with the support of the Library Director, will decide if an item cannot be accepted for return because of its condition.
Replacement charges are based on the item’s retail price. Prices are set at the time of an item’s purchase, and can be viewed in the library catalog. Replacement items must be identical to the lost or damaged item, and must be in new condition. Acceptance of a replacement item is at the discretion of the Library. The Library is unable to provide refunds for replacement charges under any circumstances.
In accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, the Stevens Memorial Library is committed to the confidentiality of its patrons. Confidentiality extends to information sought or received, and materials consulted or borrowed. Confidentiality includes database search records, reference interviews, circulation records, interlibrary loan transactions, registration records, and all other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities, or services.
Circulation, registration information, and information retrieval records may not be disclosed except to:
The Library occasionally conducts promotional campaigns to inform the community of our services. The Library at those times use patron email or postal address for the library's internal mailing lists.
The Library does not sell, lease, or otherwise distribute or disclose patron name, email address, postal address, telephone number, or other personal information to outside parties.
1Application guidelines for residents who are unable to come to the Library in person are outlined in the Library’s Homebound Delivery Policy.
Approved by Library Board of Trustees, February 2015
Revised February 2016, April 2016, January 2017, October 2017
The Stevens Memorial Library exists to serve the community as a source of print and non-print information and will provide educational, cultural, historical, and recreational materials to meet the present and future needs of its users within the constraints of its budget. Resource development is guided by the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read statement (attached).
The goal of the Stevens Memorial Library is to develop a collection that is used intensely. Material selection should provide a collection that satisfies the needs for recreational and reference reading for users of all ages. Under the direction of the Library Director, books, periodicals, and audiovisual materials (including DVDs and audiobooks) using the following criteria:
■ We refrain from purchasing or collecting textbooks, toy or pop-up books, abridged or condensed books or audiobooks, professional titles, and foreign language books.
■ We limit or cease purchase of outmoded non-print formats (e.g., VHS format videos, cassette tapes, LP records) in favor of newer technologies once that new technology is firmly established.
■ The staff and Trustees of the Stevens Memorial Library are not responsible for the reading, viewing, or listening choices of children and young adults using the resources offered by the Library. Responsibility for these choices rests with the child’s parent or legal guardian.
■ The library does not label controversial material, or restrict its use in any way. Ratings will not be added to or removed from the manufacturer’s packaging.
The Whittemore Preservation Room houses local history materials, with a strong emphasis on the history of Ashburnham.
Library collections should be fresh, exciting, and attractive. With the exceptions of the Preservation Room collection, the Library does not serve an archival function. Maintenance of the collection is an ongoing process. Removal of materials from the collection is called “weeding.”
Materials which are no longer appropriate for the collection because of outdated or incorrect content, poor condition, irrelevancy to the needs and interests of the community, or lack of use will be identified by appropriate staff members and discarded from the collection according to the accepted professional practices as described in the publication, The CREW Manual: Expanded Guidelines for Collection Evaluation and Weeding for Small and Medium-Sized Public Libraries.
It is rare that material in the archives is weeded or deaccessioned. Items will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Library Director and may include:
■ Items previously added to the archives that are not central to the library's mission and collection policy
■ Duplicate items
■ Items that may more appropriately reside at another library or at another organization
Materials discarded because of loss, vandalism, poor condition, or outdated content will be considered for replacement.
Disposition of deaccessioned materials will be at the Library's discretion.
Requests for Reconsideration of Library Materials
In an effort to provide Library patrons with diverse sources of information and the widest possible range of ideas and viewpoints, the Library will acquire some controversial materials. Some of these materials may be offensive to individuals or groups because of perceived profanity, social, economic and political ideas, religious viewpoints, the background of the author, the kinds of information provided, illustrations, or other reasons. Acquisition or use of any item does not imply approval or endorsement of the contents. Indeed, it cannot, since such a variety of ideas is collected. The Board believes it is essential to provide such materials if the American ideal of freedom is to be retained.
If a library card holder feels that an item in the Library’s collection should be moved or removed, s/he may fill out a “Request for Reconsideration” form (downloadable here). ). Challenged material will not be removed automatically from the collection, but will be reviewed in the light of the objections raised. The Library, upon receipt of a completed form, reviews the item for inclusion in the collection in light of the library’s overall objectives, its Collection Development Policy, the Library Bill of Rights, and ALA guidelines on intellectual freedom. The Library Director will respond in writing to the patron. Appeals may be directed to the Library Board of Trustees. Trustees will consider the matter at their next regularly scheduled meeting. Trustee decisions will be final.
Appendix 1: 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.
Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of "age" reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
Appendix 2: 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.
▼ To request for the Reconsideration of Library Materials, please obtain a PDF Form here.
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.
Approved by Library Board of Trustees, March 2015
The Stevens Memorial Library acknowledges that public relations involve every person who has connections with the Library. All Trustees, staff members, and volunteers should recognize that they represent the Library in their contact with the public. Good service supports good public relations.
Further, the Library acknowledges that communications with patrons, community members, governmental organizations, news media, and staff is essential for the welfare of the Library.
The objectives of the Library’s community relations efforts are:
Traditional Media and Promotional Materials
Staff members will be delegated the responsibility of preparing press releases and promotional materials as designated by the Library Director.
The Library will send press releases to both traditional and online media outlets, including but not limited to newspapers, websites, and television stations. Press releases may focus on regular or special programming, library services, Board news, general library information, etc.
Press releases and promotional items will look professional, be accurate, and provide a positive reflection of the Library. All items will be approved by the Director prior to publication.
Contacts initiated by the media will be forwarded to the Director, or in the case of programming, to the staff member in charge of the program.
In the event of an emergency, official statements to the public and the media will be made by the Director, or the Chair of the Library Board of Trustees.
In case of media interest in a controversial, negative, or crisis issue, the Director, Board Chair, or a qualified designee will present a planned, positive, caring, and informed response. The Library will use these opportunities to promote its image as a public institution that is transparent, is aware of the issues, considers its patrons first, and is progressive and innovative in providing services and resources.
Except for the Chair of the Board, individual Trustees will not speak to the public or media on behalf of the Board unless authorized by the Board to do so.
Library employees may engage in further public relations through speaking to local groups, participating in local organizations, visiting classrooms, and conducting tours and informational sessions at the Library.
Library-sponsored social media is used to: convey information about library programs and services, raise awareness about Library and community issues, obtain patron feedback, exchange ideas or insights about library trends, reach out to potential new patrons and supporters, and respond to breaking news or publicity.
Only employees designated and authorized by the Library Director can post, delete, edit, or otherwise modify content on Library-sponsored social media. Any such employee with authorization to add or modify social media content is required to follow these general guidelines:
All public relations and promotion activities will be approved by the Library Director or designee(s).
Approved by Library Board of Trustees, October 2017
The Stevens Memorial Library is committed to user confidentiality. The confidentiality of library records is a core part of library ethics and the Stevens Memorial Library follows the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association.
Confidentiality extends to information sought or received, and materials consulted or borrowed. It includes database search records, reference interviews, circulation records, interlibrary loan transactions, registration records, and all other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities, or services.
The Library occasionally conducts promotional campaigns to inform the community of our services. The Library at those times use patron email or postal address for the library's internal mailing lists, only with prior consent of the patron.
Approved by Library Board of Trustees, September 2016
The Stevens Memorial Library devotes space, where available, for the purpose of featuring library materials and programs, providing information about community groups, and exhibiting works of individual artists, craftspeople, and collectors. This space is made available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Since the library is a repository of all types of knowledge and information, almost any material can potentially be the subject of a library exhibit. Treatment of the exhibit materials rather than the nature of the materials will be a determining factor in their suitability for display. The materials and information in the exhibits may represent controversial points of view, however exhibitors are encouraged to remember that the library is a space that is open to all, and should consider the diversity of its audience (especially the presence of children) before applying to display materials.
In keeping with constitutional safeguards and the Library Bill of Rights, the library makes no effort to censor or amend the content of an exhibit, except as it relates to the display of pornography (due to the accessibility of all spaces to children) or illegal items. Those who object to or disagree with the content of any exhibit are entitled to submit their own exhibit which will be judged according to the library's exhibit regulations.
SOURCES: The library itself is a primary source of exhibits featuring materials, programs, local and current history, etc. Any individual, organization, or commercial establishment may use exhibit space subject to library regulations.
DISCLAIMER: A notice is to be posted with each exhibit stating: The material within this exhibit is the presentation of the individual or organization named in the display. The library does not advocate or endorse the viewpoints of exhibits or exhibitors.
PUBLIC BULLETIN BOARDS: As a public service, the library has three bulletin boards (Ashburnham announcements, regional announcements, commercial announcements). Posters and announcements must be submitted to the library staff for display. Subject to limitation of space, announcements will be posted according to the following regulations:
ADDITIONAL DISPLAY SPACES: The library occasionally has other display space available, such as the circulation desk area or other counter spaces. This material will be displayed solely at the discretion of the library director. Announcements by other Town departments, including the Ashburnham-Westminster Regional School District will be prioritized, and then announcements from other Ashburnham nonprofits will be considered. The material of other organizations will be displayed as space allows.
Approved by Library Board of Trustees, April 2016
The Stevens Memorial Library Board of Trustees, Library Director, and staff accept gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations to secure the library's future growth and accomplish its mission. The Library encourages contributions of book and non-book materials, as well as bequests, trusts, or donations of monetary or other assets for Library purposes. It is understood that special gifts and bequests should not take the place of public support, but should enable the Library to provide and enhance services in ways not financially possible within the current annual operating budget.
The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines and regular procedures for receipt management and disposition of funds or other properties received by the Library as gifts. This policy is intended to provide guidance to representatives of the library involved in the acceptance of gifts and to prospective donors who may wish to make gifts to the Stevens Memorial Library. This policy is a guide and allows for flexibility on a case-by-case basis upon approval by the Board of Trustees. The Board may accept or reject any offered gift at its discretion. The Board of Trustees shall make all final decisions on gift restrictions and their acceptance or refusal. All gifts received will be directed to purposes consistent with the library's mission and the strategic directions of the organization.
Gifts that are no longer consistent with the Library's mission or direction, at any point in the future, may be disposed of in any manner deemed appropriate by the Board. Acceptance of collection materials is at the sole discretion of the Library Director.
In general, the Stevens Memorial Library welcomes gifts of books, materials, equipment, works of art, documents, photographs, property of any kind, and money. The Library reserves the right to refuse any gift that the Board of Library Trustees, in its sole discretion, deems to be not in the best interests of the Library to accept.
If a gift is accepted by the Library, the gift shall be final and no restrictions on the Library's ownership, possession, use or disposition of the gift shall be effective other than restrictions approved by the express vote of the Board of Library Trustees and documented in writing. A record of all accepted gifts will be kept on file by the Director, and reviewed by the Trustees annually.
Collection Materials: Gifts of library materials will be evaluated using guidelines set forth in the Collection Development Policy and are accepted with the understanding that items which are not added to the collection will be disposed of at the discretion of the Library. These items may be given to the Friends of the Library for sale, given to other libraries, or discarded. Donors should check with Library staff for specific restrictions.
Gift collections will be accepted only by the Director with the understanding that the collection might not be kept intact.
Recognition Gifts: The Library welcomes monetary gifts for purchase of materials for the collections given in recognition of individuals or organizations. The library staff will choose items which accommodate the donor's subject preferences whenever possible. The names of the donor(s) and those recognized by the gift will be listed on a bookplate affixed to the material, if so desired.
Monetary Gifts: The Library welcomes gifts of cash, checks, or publicly-traded stock. Checks should be made out to Stevens Memorial Library. Gifts of stock will be sold immediately at current value.
Real Estate: The Library will accept gifts of real property that support the mission of the Library. Such offers will be handled by the Director and the Board of Trustees to determine the suitability of the gift, terms of acceptance compatible with the Library's mission and policies, the donor's intent, and applicable laws.
Tangible Personal Property: In general, gifts of art objects, furniture, equipment, and other tangible objects shall be of use to the library or of interest to the community, of a professional quality, and in good condition. As with all gifts, tangible personal property will only be accepted with the donor's full agreement that the Library has the right to handle or dispose of the gift in the best interests of the institution.
Because of the Library's limited display and storage areas, potential donors of art & decorative objects are requested to discuss any possible gifts with the Director and Board of Trustees. No gifts requiring extensive, regular care or conservation will be accepted.
The Library welcomes gift offers of goods and services to supplement the library's budget.
Valuation: The Library will provide a timely, written acknowledgment of the receipt of gifts to the donor and, if desired, to a recognized individual or organization. Income tax regulations leave the determination of the gift's monetary value to the donor. Donors wishing to have an appraisal of their gifts done for income tax purposes should do so prior to donation.
Future Disposition of Gifts: Libraries sustain losses through theft, mutilation and ordinary wear. Resources with obsolete and/or misleading information may be discarded over time. The Library therefore cannot guarantee that any gift will be part of the collection or furnishings permanently. Excess articles may be offered to other Town Departments or the Friends of the Library or discarded.
Deed of Gift: A Deed of Gift is a formal, legal agreement that transfers ownership of, and legal rights to the materials which you as a Donor are conveying to the Stevens Memorial Library, to be administered in accordance with our established policies. The Deed of Gift constitutes the transfer of titles and serves to define the terms of the transfer. The materials irrevocably become legal property of the Stevens Memorial Library upon signing of the Deed of Gift.
▼ To obtain a Deed of Gift Form and learn more, please click here.
Approved by Library Board of Trustees, Feb 2015
While the Stevens Memorial Library makes every effort to observe normal operating hours regardless of weather, the Library may close at times for the safety of its staff and the public. In general, the Library will remain open unless Ashburnham’s Town Hall closes. In the event that an inclement weather decision must be made after Town Hall has closed for the day, Library personnel will make such a decision based on the Library’s ability to meet minimal staffing levels and the physical condition of the facility, including the stairs, ramp, and parking lot.
If the Library is forced to remain closed for the day or to close early, any items due that day will be granted additional time.
If the Library must close early, all reasonable attempts will be made to contact the parents or guardians of children who are at the Library at that time. For their safety, any children who are not picked up before the Library closes will be taken to the Ashburnham Police Department by a police officer.
The Library will alert the public of its altered hours as soon as the decision has been made. In addition to posting signs on the building, the Library will update its outgoing voicemail message and its social media accounts. When possible, closings will be announced on other media as well.
Approved by Library Board of Trustees, December 2014
Revised January 2017
Loans to Massachusetts Libraries
The Stevens Memorial Library will loan print, audio, and video materials to other libraries in Massachusetts whenever possible with the following restrictions:
Loans to Libraries Outside of Massachusetts
In an effort to make materials as widely available as possible, the Stevens Memorial Library loans its materials to libraries outside of Massachusetts as well. Guidelines are the same as above, with the following modifications:
Address: Stevens Memorial Library
20 Memorial Drive
Ashburnham, MA 01430
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a borrowing/loaning agreement between libraries. It is based on a tradition of sharing resources between various types and sizes of libraries and the belief that no library, regardless of its size or budget, is completely self-sufficient. ILL requests are generally thought of as those outside of the library’s general network (C/W MARS) or geographical area (Massachusetts), and is used only after those more local resources have been exhausted. ILL service is guided by principles and practices established by the American Library Association, the Massachusetts Library System, and borrowing and lending libraries regardless of location.
Public libraries in Massachusetts that do not meet the minimum standards for funding and service necessary for certification by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners are ‘decertified’ by the Board. As such, they are not eligible to receive state aid to public libraries funding, apply for LSTA grants, or contract with a region to provide supplemental services.
Massachusetts state law (605 CMR 4.01) states that certified public libraries are not required to lend materials to residents of municipalities with decertified libraries. Because the Stevens Memorial Library supports the importance of libraries maintaining at least the minimum standards of public library service required for certification by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, it will not lend materials to residents of municipalities with decertified libraries. The only exception to this policy shall be that residents of a community whose public library has been de-certified, who submit written proof that they are Ashburnham taxpayers, shall retain full borrowing privileges at the Stevens Memorial Library.
Public libraries that receive waivers from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners are considered certified. Residents of communities where the library has received a waiver will be allowed to borrow materials from the Stevens Memorial Library.
Massachusetts General law (605 CMR 4.01) states “all residents of the Commonwealth shall have access to reading and reference rooms under the same conditions as residents of the community.” Residents of communities with decertified libraries are therefore welcome to use Stevens Memorial Library resources within the library building.
The Library Board of Trustees, Library Director, and the municipal executives of the affected community will be notified in writing by the Stevens Memorial Library Board of Library Trustees when reciprocal borrowing privileges have been terminated.
The Stevens Memorial Library Board of Trustees agrees to provide reinstatement of borrowing privileges to all affected borrowers once a library is re-certified.
Approved by Library Board of Trustees, June 2016
In order to provide a broader spectrum of technological services to its patrons, the Stevens Memorial Library permits in-house use of a laptop computer designated for this purpose. This computer circulates under the following guidelines:
Approved by Library Board of Trustees, August 2015
The Stevens Memorial Library has two (2) rooms available for public use. The Malcolm Stewart Community Room measures 34.5' x 23’ and has movable seating for 60, 1 large table, 13 various size folding tables, and a kitchen. The Activity Room measures 18' x 18' and has movable seating for 25, two large tables, and a sink.
When meeting rooms are not being used for Library programs, the Trustees of the Stevens Memorial Library encourage the use of the meetings rooms by organizations engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual, recreational, or charitable activities during normal Library hours. As a public institution dedicated to the free exchange of information and ideas, the Stevens Memorial Library offers meeting space at no charge. All meetings and programs held in Library rooms must be free and open to the public, and no outside groups may use Library meeting space to solicit donations or to sell or promote items or services. Nonprofit groups that include fundraising as part of their regular business meeting may do so provided the fundraising is not the primary purpose of the meeting and is not mentioned in publicity for the meeting.
The Library does not advocate or endorse the viewpoints of meetings or meeting room users, but makes every effort to make space available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting use. The meeting rooms will be scheduled according to the following priorities: Library-related meetings or programs; municipal meetings; outside organizations. The Library staff will attempt to contact room users if the Library closes, forcing cancellation of a program.
Failure to follow any of these guidelines may result in a loss of room booking privileges.
1. All requests to use a meeting room must be made no more than three (3) months in advance by an adult who shall be personally responsible for the conduct of the meeting, adherence to regulations, the payment of any fees or charges, any damage to the Library property, and restitution for losses. Requests for use of Library audiovisual equipment shall be made at the time of booking.
2. All groups must fill out a written application. An amended form is available for multiple bookings, but groups may not have more than three (3) events scheduled at a time. Failure to notify the Library of cancellations may result in forfeiture of future bookings.
3. Groups using the meeting room will be held responsible for any costs incurred by the Library or the Town as a result of that use. A group may be required to post a bond to cover anticipated costs (e.g., security or insurance) in advance of the program. The Library assumes no liability for a group’s activities, and groups agree to hold the Library harmless for any loss of, or damage to, personal property.
4. The condition of the room must be neat when vacated. All furniture must be returned to its original location. If custodial staff is required to return the room to its original state, the Library reserves the right to charge the applicant for this time. Any damage to Library property must be reported to a staff member upon conclusion of the event, and groups using a meeting room are financially responsible for any damage incurred to Library property by their group.
5. All fire codes and applicable laws must be followed while on Library property, including the prohibition of smoking and lit candles, and limits on numbers of people allowed in said room at any given time.
6. Library behavior policies apply to groups using meeting rooms. Groups that disrupt or inhibit the enjoyment of Library resources by others may lose their privileges.
6. Library behavior policies apply to groups using meeting rooms. Groups that disrupt or inhibit the enjoyment of Library resources by others may lose their privileges.
7. All meetings must end no later than 15 minutes before closing, unless a waiver has been given by the Library Director and special arrangements have been made.
8. Light refreshments may be served with prior approval by the Library Director. Alcoholic beverages may not be dispensed or consumed on Library property.
9. Facilities Use Requests that have been denied according to this policy may be brought to the Library Board of Trustees for appeal.
The Stevens Memorial Library provides free materials, services and programs to meet the informational, educational and recreational needs of the people of Ashburnham and surrounding communities. To this end, materials are provided at many levels of sophistication in a variety of formats, and in a safe and pleasant atmosphere.
The staff makes conscientious efforts to answer inquiries as to the resources of the Stevens Memorial Library and referrals are made when needed.
The Stevens Memorial Library strives to create a warm, inviting, fun environment for children of all ages. The library offers many programs and services that encourage children to develop a love of books, reading and learning. The library attempts to provide a safe environment for children to foster creativity, select books and other materials, and to participate in library programs. The safety and well-being of children at the library is of serious concern. Young children are safest when supervised by a parent or caregiver while in the library. Parents should remember that the library is a public building available for the use of all.
For the protection and well-being of children who enjoy libraries, the following policy has been established: All children under the age of 10 must be accompanied and continually supervised by a parent or caregiver while in the library. The Stevens Memorial Library recommends that children under the age of 13 not be left alone in the library.
■ Children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by an adult on the elevator.
■ Parents or caregivers, not library staff, are responsible for the actions and safety of children visiting the library.
■ Parents or caregivers must stay with their child under age 10 while attending a library-sponsored program. Depending on the program, parents or caregivers may be permitted to leave the room, but they must stay in the building.
■ At the discretion of a responsible adult, a child age 10 or older may be left unattended for the period of time needed to select materials, complete a homework assignment, or attend a program.
- The child must know how to reach the responsible adult in case this need should arise.
- Children should not be left for excessively long (more than 2 hours) periods of time.
- Children will be expected to display appropriate behavior, conducive to maintaining a peaceful atmosphere in the library for all patrons.
■ The parent or caregiver is responsible for insuring the appropriate behavior of their children in the library. Disruptive behavior, such as shouting, running, pushing, or other loud or physical activities, will not be tolerated. Children who continue to be disruptive will be asked to leave the building. In the case of an unaccompanied child, library staff will attempt to contact a family member or caregiver to pick them up. If a family member or caregiver cannot be reached, the Ashburnham Police Department will be contacted at the discretion of library staff. The parent or caregiver is liable for all damage done by their children to the library facility or equipment.
■ The library cannot assume responsibility for children while a parent or caregiver is participating in a library program or other activity in the library.
■ Shoes and shirts must be worn while in the library. (Toddlers who are walking need to have shoes on.)
■ Food and beverages (other than water) may not be consumed in the Children's Room or other areas of the library.
■ It is the responsibility of a parent or caregiver to ensure appropriate use of computers and other electronic library resources by young children. Pounding on keyboards and other potentially damaging activities are not permitted. Please be aware that internet access on library computers is unfiltered. The library staff cannot monitor sites visited.
■ Children Left At Closing: Children and their adult caregivers should be aware of the closing times of the library. If a child has been left at the library without a ride or assistance home at closing time, every attempt will be made to contact a family member or caregiver by telephone. If a family member or caregiver cannot be reached within 30 minutes of closing, the Ashburnham Police will be called to escort the child home or to keep the child until parents can be reached, and an Incident Report will be filed. Families who routinely leave their children past closing time will no longer be permitted to leave children at the library without transportation.
Teenagers are considered adult users for the purposes of this policy. However, they are the legal responsibility of their parent/legal guardian and should have an emergency contact available.
Approved by Library Board of Trustees, April 2015
The Stevens Memorial Library loans out its Robert Leahy Memorial Telescope for a period of one week with no renewals. Any patron borrowing the telescope must abide by the following guidelines:
Approved by Library Board of Trustees, August 2016
Volunteer Policy PDF
Volunteers provide important support to Stevens Memorial Library staff and perform a wide variety of tasks that are critical to the mission of the Library. Volunteers supplement, but do not replace the work done by employees. They may perform a wide variety of duties, a range limited largely by the talents and interests of the volunteers themselves and by where the library can make productive use of their assistance.
Click here to download a Volunteer Application.
A Stevens Memorial Library volunteer performs a service of his or her own free will, contributing time, energy, and talents directly or on behalf of the Library. Volunteers receive no financial compensation, and must be accepted and enrolled by the Library prior to performance of assigned tasks. There are three basic categories of volunteer:
APPLICATION / APPOINTMENT:
Prior to engaging in any volunteer activity, each volunteer will be required to submit a Library volunteer application form and speak with a supervisory staff member. Upon approval of the Library Director or supervisory staff, the volunteer may be scheduled for training and work assignments. Each individual who participates in this volunteer program agrees and acknowledges that s/he is not an employee of the Stevens Memorial Library or the Town of Ashburnham. Each individual who participates in this volunteer program shall sign a document releasing the Library and the Town from liability for injuries sustained by him/her.
Approved by the Library Board of Trustees, February 2016