Library Policies

Library Rules & Policies


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 in accordance with the library’s Mission & Vision Statement.

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 Accessible PDF viewing and downloads for most policies.

Appropriate Behavior Policy

Appropriate Behavior Policy Download PDF   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 using the Library and Library resources:

  • • All Federal, State, and local laws are to be followed at all times.
  • • Common courtesy is expected of all Library users, staff, and volunteers while using the Library, and while interacting via phone, email, and social media.
  • • Beverages in closed containers (including hot cups with lids) and food are permitted in designated areas. Library staff will provide clarification to any interested parties. Patrons using Library computers are asked to leave their beverages in a designated area, away from the workstations.
  • • Firearms and other weapons are not permitted in the Library (except for those being carried by law enforcement officers).

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.

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees, June 2015
Revised and Updated April 2020

Bulletin Board Policy

download icon  Bulletin Board Policy

The Ashburnham Stevens Memorial Library provides timely information related to the educational, cultural, social, and recreational interests of its community. Posting information of community interest on Library bulletin boards helps disseminate this information to the community.

The Stevens Memorial Library does not sell material or collect money on behalf of any agency or organization, with the exception of the Friends of the Stevens Memorial Public Library.

The Stevens Memorial Library does not endorse material approved to be displayed or the organizations or individuals providing it.

  • 1. All materials for posting must be presented to a Library staff member by mail, email, or in-person delivery.
  • 2. Material to be posted/distributed on Library Bulletin Boards must be approved by the Library Director or their designee.
  • 3. Material is not accepted for social media posting or posting on the Library website.
  • 4. Material to be posted must be clearly readable and not exceed 11”x 17". 8½” x 11” postings receive priority.
  • 5. Material will be approved based on its informational value to the community, at the discretion of the Library Director or their designee.
  • 6. Approved material will be date-stamped and posted on a space-available basis with priority (in order) given to:
    • a. Official notices of The Town of Ashburnham
    • b. Stevens Memorial Library information, events, and activities
    • c. Ashburnham events and activities
    • d. Regional events and activities
    • e. Commercial or for-profit activities
  • 7. Items may be posted up to one month prior to an event, as space permits.
  • 8. Posted/distributed items may be removed to make space for higher priority items.
  • 9. Expired or superseded material will be removed and recycled upon expiration.
  • 10. Unapproved items will be removed and recycled.

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, March, 2022

Cash Handling Policy

download icon  Cash Handling Policy

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: The Library will maintain complete transparency regarding all of its income and expenditures. The Library will dispense any monies over its opening balance to the appropriate party, either the Treasurer of the Town of Ashburnham, or the Friends of Ashburnham’s Stevens Memorial Library.

At no time will the Library hold more than $100 in Friends money, more than 10 Friends membership envelopes, or $130 in Town money ($100 over the opening balance). If these amounts are exceeded, the money must be transferred to the appropriate party immediately.

No petty cash will be held at the Library.

Out-of-pocket expenses will be reimbursed through the normal warrant process when appropriate.

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, February 2016, Reviewed April 2020

Circulation Policy

Circulation Policy Download PDF  Circulation Policy


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 four (4) or older who lives, works, or owns property in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

In order to check out items, or place holds, positive proof of address is required for all adult patrons, eighteen (18) years of age and older. Examples of acceptable forms of proof of address include a state-issued ID, a lease, or mail received at one’s current address.

Applicants under the age of fourteen (14) must have a parent or guardian guarantee their application with a signature and proof of address. Applicants fourteen (14) and older may register for a library card using any of the following materials or combination of materials to verify residence: 1) Student ID 2) Student schedule 3) Mail received at one’s current address and/or 4) Verification of residency using the town street listing provided annually by Town Hall.

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. 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

  • Books/CDs — 3 Weeks
  • Multi-DVD Sets — 3 weeks, 1 renewal
  • DVDs, Magazine — 1 Week. 2 renewals
  • Interlibrary Loan Items — 3 weeks, unless otherwise specified by lending library
  • Museum Passes — 2 days, unless otherwise specified

All items, with the exception of DVD sets and museum passes, will be auto-renewed for (2) renewal periods as long as they have not been requested by another patron. Once an item has no remaining renewals, it must be checked in and re-shelved so that it might be available for others.

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.

Overdue Items

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 an auto-generated email or 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.

Interlibrary Loans

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 &amlp; 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:

  • 1. The cardholder (with card or other proper identification).
  • 2. Library staff acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the library system and in facilitating interlibrary loans.
  • 3. Persons authorized by the cardholder to access the individual's records.
  • 4. Representatives of any local, state, or federal government, pursuant to a subpoena or search warrant authorized under the authority of federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or investigative power. Upon receipt of any such subpoena or search warrant, the Library Director will consult with legal counsel to determine if the subpoena or search warrant is in proper form and if there is a valid basis for its issuance before providing confidential information.

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.

Application guidelines for residents who are unable to come

 Approved by Library Board of Trustees, February 2015
Revised February 2016, April 2016, January 2017, October 2017, January 2020

Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy Download PDF  Collection Development Policy


This policy outlines the rationale, goals, and criteria that shape the Stevens Memorial Library’s collection. It also offers guidance to Library staff for materials selection and collection maintenance. This policy allows the Library to respond to community needs and interests while safeguarding the collection from societal and political pressures. The Collection Development Policy is periodically evaluated and updated to ensure its relevance and to align it with the Library’s Strategic Plan and its mission and goals.


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 criteriaThe Stevens Memorial Library supports the community as a source of print and non-print information. The Library provides 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.

The goal of the Stevens Memorial Library is to develop a collection that is used intensely. The Library does not approve or disapprove of the views expressed in materials included in the collection. The inclusion of an item does not constitute an endorsement by the Library. Selections for the collection will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of satisfying selection goals and criteria.

The Library recognizes the critical role it plays in developing the information literacy skills of its community. Information literacy is defined as, the ability to find, evaluate, organize, use, and communicate information in all its various formats, most notably in situations requiring decision making, problem solving, or the acquisition of knowledge. As part of the Library’s commitment to information literacy, the Library collects credible resources with reliable information from authors and organizations with acknowledged expertise.

Materials Selection

Selection is the process by which the Library staff decide what material to add to the collection. The ultimate responsibility for collection development rests with the Library Director who operates within the framework of policies administered by the Library Board of Trustees. The Library Director delegates the selection of materials to Library staff.

Selection Goals and Criteria

Material selection provides a collection that satisfies the needs for recreational and reference reading for users of all ages. Books, periodicals, electronic, and audiovisual materials are selected using the following criteria:

  • ■ Well-reviewed by known review sources
  • ■ In demand or recommended by Library users
  • ■ Appeal and relevance to community interests
  • ■ Extent of publicity, critical review, and current or anticipated demand
  • ■ Authority and reputation of the author
  • ■ Accuracy, clarity, usability, and timeliness
  • ■ Date of publication
  • ■ Aligned with the Library’s mission
  • ■ Relation to the existing collections
  • ■ Format, durability, and ease of use
  • ■ Price and availability of funds
  • ■ Longevity of the work is reflected in its price
  • ■ Availability from another library or resource (i.e. system-wide holds, Interlibrary Loan, electronic databases, etc.)
  • ■ Importance as an historical record
  • ■ Library space considerations
  • ■ Condition of material

Library collections are continually evaluated to meet these criteria. No single criterion can be applied to all materials. Various criteria will be applied to material according to different circumstances. Library staff weigh selection criteria and goals, evaluate selection tools, and exercise judgment and professional expertise in determining a material’s appropriateness for the Library’s collection.

Collection Policies
General Collections
The Library:

  • ■ Refrains from purchasing or collecting (including donations) textbooks, toy or pop-up books, abridged or condensed books or audiobooks, and professional titles.
  • ■ Limits or ceases purchase of outmoded non-print formats (e.g., VHS format videos, cassette tapes, compact discs) in favor of newer technologies once that new technology is firmly established.
  • ■ Is 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.
  • ■ 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.

Special Collections

  • The Whittemore Preservation Room houses local history materials, with a strong emphasis on the history of Ashburnham.

Collection Maintenance

Library collections are curated to be relevant, exciting, and attractive. With the exception of the Preservation Room collection, the Library does not serve an archival function. Maintenance of the collection is an ongoing process.

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 (Continuous, Review, Evaluation, Weeding) Manual: Expanded Guidelines for Collection Evaluation and Weeding for Small and Medium-Sized Public Libraries. Weeding is the process of removing materials from the collection.

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
  • ■ Items that are available in digital format and/or available in other libraries

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.

If a Library card holder feels that an item in the Library’s collection should be moved or removed, they may fill out a “Request for Reconsideration” form. Challenged material will be reviewed with consideration for the objections raised to determine if further action is needed. The Library, upon receipt of a completed form, reviews the item for inclusion in the collection in terms of the Library’s Strategic Plan, mission and vision, 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 within 30 days of receiving the formal request. Appeals may be directed to the Library Board of Trustees. Trustees will consider the matter at their next regularly scheduled meeting provided that the appeal is presented to the Board 48 business day hours in advance of their next 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 Approved by Library Board of Trustees, March 2015 Revised and Updated April 2020 5 that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

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

We therefore affirm these propositions:

1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

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

2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.

Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

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

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

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

The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees, November 2022.

Request For Reconsideration of Library Materials

Obtain the PDF of the Reconsideration of Library Materials here.

Community Relations Policy

Community Relation Policy  Community Relations Policy


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:

  • • to promote community awareness of library services;
  • • to stimulate public interest in and usage of the Library;
  • • to develop public understanding and support of the Library and its role in the community; and
  • • to establish the Library’s reputation as a nonpartisan, nonsectarian, unbiased meeting ground for all ideas.

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.

Special Circumstances

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.

Social Media

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:

  • • Make sure all social media postings are accurate, without grammatical errors or factual misrepresentations.
  • • Maintain privacy, confidentiality, and obtain permission to use other people’s content.
  • • Find ways to engage patrons, including with the use of adding content that supports the Library’s mission.
  • • Make sure all postings provide a positive reflection of the Library; all posts should be constructive and beneficial.

All public relations and promotion activities will be approved by the Library Director or designee(s). Please see also: Town of Ashburnham, Social Media Policy #008.

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, October 2017. Updated February 2020

Confidentiality of Patron Records

Collection Development Policy Download PDF  Confidentiality of Library Records


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 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.

Circulation, registration information, and information retrieval records may not be disclosed except to:

  • 1. The cardholder (with card or other proper id).
  • 2. Staff of C/W MARS Network members acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the library system and in facilitating interlibrary loans.
  • 3. Persons authorized by the cardholder to access the individual's records identified by a signed note of permission given by the cardholder.
  • 4. Representatives of any local, state, or federal government, pursuant to subpoena or search warrant authorized under the authority of federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or investigative power. Upon receipt of any such subpoena or search warrant, the Library Director will consult with legal counsel to determine if the subpoena or search warrant is in proper form and if there is a valid basis for its issuance before providing confidential information.

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.

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.

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, September 2016

Exhibition Display Policy

Exhibit Display Policy Download PDF  Exhibition Display Policy


Ashburnham Stevens Memorial Library enriches the well-being of its community by offering individuals, groups, and/or organizations the opportunity to exhibit artwork in the Library. The materials and information in these exhibits may represent controversial points of view. Exhibitors are encouraged to display artwork that shows an awareness that the Library supports a diverse community of all ages, including younger children.

Policy Purpose

The purpose of this Art Exhibition Policy is to provide guidance in the criteria for selection of art exhibits and to encourage equitable utilization of exhibit space by artists and groups in the Ashburnham area. Any individual, organization, or commercial establishment may use exhibit space subject to Exhibit Guidelines.

The Library's need for exhibit space takes precedence over art exhibits by non-library individuals and groups. When selecting art exhibitors, preference is given to artists and groups from Ashburnham and the surrounding communities. Applying for an exhibit does not guarantee that exhibit space will be provided. The Library Director or their designee is responsible for scheduling exhibits, including a day and time to install and remove exhibited works.

Exhibit Selection Criteria

  • • Quality of exhibition design, implementation, artistic merit, and originality
  • • Subject, technique, and style are suitable for intended audience that includes all ages and sensibilities, including young children
  • • Interest to viewers and the public
  • • Appropriate scale and medium for the available exhibition space
  • • Local, regional, or historical relevance
  • • Relationship to other community events and interests
  • • Variety in media, subject, and style in relation to the rest of the exhibit schedule
  • • Ease of installation
  • • Representation of an influential movement or unique genre
  • • Significance of the exhibitor

Exhibit Guidelines

  • • Each artist/group is responsible for installing, hanging, labeling and removing their own works at the agreed upon days and times. Library Staff assistance is not available for artwork installation. The Library reserves the right to remove and/or dispose of work that is not removed by the agreed upon date. Artists/groups who fail to remove work on the specified date will not be allowed use of the Library exhibit space in the future.
  • • Exhibits must conform to the space and weight restrictions of the exhibit areas.
  • • Exhibited art must be suitably framed and hung using the provided hanging system. Tape, labels, thumbtacks, or adhesives are not permitted unless approved by Library staff.
  • • Exhibits must Identify the exhibitor(s) by name within the display. Works must be original.
  • • Exhibitors must submit a complete exhibit inventory to the Library Director no later than the time of installation.
  • • Exhibited works must remain on exhibit throughout the entire exhibit period. The Library does not provide storage for the property of exhibitors.
  • • An individual or organization may be limited to one exhibit per year unless otherwise approved by the Library Director.
  • • The Board of Library Trustees reserves the right to prohibit any person or group from displaying artwork.
  • • Exhibit reservations may not be transferred to another artist unless approved by the Library Director.
  • • Exhibitors must sign an Exhibit Agreement and a Waiver that releases the Library from any responsibility for loss or damage to works on display.

Insurance and Waiver/Liability

The Library does not carry insurance for borrowed or exhibited works. The Library is not liable or responsible for loss, disappearance, theft, or damage to an artist's work, nor any financial damages or bodily harm caused by, or related to an exhibit. All items exhibited in the Library are displayed at the owner's own risk. Artists are required to sign a waiver releasing the Library from any responsibility for loss or damage to an artist's work.

Sales of Exhibited Works

The Library does not allow solicitation or selling of items in the Library unless permission has been received by the Library Director. Any sales resulting from an exhibit must be conducted privately by the artist or their representative outside the Library. Library staff will not be involved in the sale of artwork. A price list and business cards with contact information may be made available in the exhibit area. Exhibit materials sold during the display period may not be removed before the end of the exhibition. Prices of works for sale may not be affixed to the wall or artworks.

Receptions and Exhibit Promotion

Artists may schedule an opening reception in collaboration with the Library Director or designee. Installation of an exhibit must be completed at least 24 hours before a scheduled reception. Production and distribution of postcards or invitations are the responsibility of the artist. The Library will provide promotional materials for an exhibit and art opening at the request of the exhibitor provided that the exhibitor shares the required requested materials with the Library in a timely fashion. Exhibitors must supply the Library with biographical material and descriptions of the display for use in Library promotions.

Exhibit Space Availability

The Library’s Community Room is the primary exhibition space available for artwork. Exhibits in the Community Room are open for viewing by the public whenever the room is not in use for a Library program or meeting. Programs and meetings are posted on the Library's Events Calendar, so that exhibit visitors may plan ahead. The Library reserves the right to consider other spaces in the Library for art exhibition purposes.

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, January, 2024

Gift Acceptance Policy

Gift Acceptance Policy Download PDF     Gift Acceptance Policy

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. As a general rule, the Library does not accept paperbacks, textbooks, magazines, encyclopedias and other multi-volume sets, and books and materials in poor condition (discolored, musty, outdated, damaged, etc.).

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: "Town of Ashburnham FBO 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, 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
Revised and Updated April 2020

Homebound Delivery Policy

Gift Acceptance Policy Download PDF     Homebound Delivery Policy

In order to better serve its community, the Stevens Memorial Library provides delivery of materials to homebound residents. Such service is available on a monthly basis to C/W MARS cardholders who live in Ashburnham and are unable to come to the Library due to temporary (lasting one month or more) or permanent illness, injury, or disability. Library cards will be kept at the Library; current cardholders will be issued a replacement card to be held at the Library.

After filling out a form to describe reading preferences and any accommodations required, patrons will be eligible to receive up to ten (10) items per delivery. Library volunteers will deliver books (physical, including large print; or audio), magazines, DVDs (no more than 5), and CDs. If the patron wishes to make requests for specific titles, the Library will make every effort to satisfy those requests. Otherwise, Library staff or volunteers will make choices based on the patron’s stated preferences. Due to the extended loan period inherent in this program, new materials are not available for homebound delivery and the Library reserves the right to make other restrictions as necessary.

All deliveries will be made by volunteers who have undergone a CORI background check. While the volunteers are authorized to discuss reading preferences, they cannot provide assistance with tasks of daily living, or provide personal or financial advice. Volunteers should not enter the homes of the people to whom they are delivering. If no one answers the door, volunteers will not leave the materials. Patrons who will not be home during a scheduled delivery should call the Library ahead of time to reschedule delivery. Patrons who consistently disregard their delivery schedule without notice will be removed from the schedule until a more consistent availability is established.

In keeping with the Stevens Memorial Library’s Circulation Policy, no late fines will be applied to materials kept past their original due date. Items will automatically be renewed beyond the first loan period of three weeks, unless items are requested by another patron. If items are not returned after all available loan periods, these materials will be considered lost. Patrons will be charged for lost materials and delivery of further materials will be suspended until items are returned, replaced, or paid for. If items are returned damaged, patrons may be asked to purchase a replacement. A pattern of loss or damage to materials will result in a loss of privileges. If the patron does not wish to continue with the program, the patron should contact the Library as soon as possible to have all checked out materials picked up for return to the Library.

 Approved by Library Board of Trustees, Feb 2015
Revised and Updated April 2020

Inclement Weather Policy

Download PDF  Inclement Weather Policy

Stevens Memorial Library may close because of inclement weather for the safety of the public and the staff. In general, the Library will remain open unless Ashburnham’s Town Hall closes. In the event that an inclement weather decision must be made independent of Town Hall, the Library Director or their designee will make this decision based on the recommendations of the Department of Public Works and the Chief of Police, Library’s ability to meet minimum staffing levels, and the physical condition of the facility, including the stairs, ramp, and parking lot.

The Library Director or designee will contact the Board of Trustees Chair to inform them previous to any changes to the Library’s operational hours.

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 closes 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.

If the Library closes 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 to provide an update as soon as the decision has been made that impacts the Library’s usual operational hours. The Library will also provide updates through the Library website and its social media accounts.

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, March, 2023

Interlibrary Lending Policy for Other Libraries

ILL Policy for Other Libraries PDF Download  Interlibrary Lending Policy for Other Libraries

The Stevens Memorial Library will loan print, audio, and video materials to other libraries in Massachusetts whenever possible with the following restrictions:

  • ● Materials are loaned for six (6) weeks. Renewals are available via email or phone unless a hold has been placed on the item. ● Reference and historical items are not available for loan.
  • ● New materials are loaned rarely, and renewals may not be available for these items.
  • ● Other institutions may place holds on items that are currently out to a borrower, provided that the item is both:
    • ○ more than three (3) months old
    • ○ due within 10 days of the date the hold is being placed
  • ● Returnable material will be shipped via the Massachusetts statewide delivery system whenever possible, or via USPS Library Mail; material may be shipped via other means if the borrowing library pays all shipping charges.
  • ● Nonreturnable materials will be scanned and sent via email whenever possible, or sent via fax or USPS First Class mail if necessary.
  • ● Loan requests are accepted through email, phone, mail, or fax.
  • ● Repeated or egregious breach of this policy by a requesting library may result in its being barred from future loans. Such violations include (but are not limited to) repeatedly keeping materials overdue, failing to properly package returning items, or losing, damaging, or defacing materials

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:

  • ● Materials are loaned for six (6) weeks.
  • ● There is no charge for any loan, however borrower pays return postage costs.

Address: Stevens Memorial Library
20 Memorial Drive
Ashburnham, MA 01430

Phone: 978-827-4115
Fax: 978-827-4116

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, April 2016
Revised and Updated April 2020

Interlibrary Lending Policy for Patrons

ILL Policy for Patrons Policy Download PDF  Interlibrary Lending Policy for Patrons

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.

  • 1. To place an interlibrary loan request, you must:
    •   • Have valid C/W MARS account privileges
    •   • Have an accurate phone number and mailing address on the account
    •     o An email address is extremely helpful for the back and forth that is frequently involved in the ILL process.
    •   • Provide as much information as you have about the item(s) you are looking for 
    •   • Be able to pick up the requested item(s) at the Stevens Memorial Library
    •   • Be able to return the item(s) to the Stevens Memorial Library. ILL items may not be returned to another C/W MARS library, and they may not be returned in a book drop.
    • 2. The Stevens Memorial Library is willing to request the loan of materials of all types, but patrons using ILL services are cautioned that some types of materials, including but not limited to the following, may be unavailable:
      •   • Audiovisual material (DVDs, CDs, Blu-Rays, etc.)
      •   • Bulky or fragile items, or those that are difficult to ship
      •   • E-books or journals
      •   • Items published in the past year
      •   • Rare or valuable materials
      •   • Reference (non-circulating) materials
    • 3. A patron may have no more than four (4) ILL transactions in process at any given time. This includes items currently checked out and those that have already been requested.
    • 4. Borrowed items will be available for pick-up at the library until they are due, at which point they will be returned to the owning library.
    • 5. Please note that the usual SML lending times do not apply to interlibrary loan items, and that items checked out on the same day may have different due dates.
      •   a. Items are assumed to be nonrenewable. Should renewal be allowed by the lender, the patron must notify the Library staff seven (7) days before the due date. The Library staff will not automatically request a renewal.
      •   b. Renewals are not guaranteed and are at the owning library’s discretion.
      •   c. All borrowed material is subject to recall by the owning library. Borrowers must respond within one business day if the owning library recalls the item.
    • 6. The Library accepts that postage via Media Mail rate (or other, whichever costs less) is part of ILL business, and absorbs the cost. Should a lender charge a loan fee (that is, a fee over and above postage as described above), the patron must accept or deny the fee in order for the transaction to be processed.
      •   a. No lending fees will be levied without prior authorization from the borrower.
      •   b. Payment of the lending fee is expected upon pickup of the material. The Library will not release material until the fee is paid. In the event that a patron agrees to pay a fee then fails to pick up the material, the Library will add the full amount due as a manual fine of the patron’s C/W MARS card.
    • 7. Patrons are responsible for payment of all fines and fees that accrue on overdue items. Fines for overdue interlibrary loaned items vary as each library has their own fine schedule.
  •   a. Borrowers are responsible for any charges levied by a supplying library for materials lost or damaged while charged out to the borrower. No refunds will be made for lost and paid Interlibrary Loan materials that are subsequently found.
  • 8. The Library will honor any limitation on use (e.g., in-library use only) imposed by the lender.
  • 9. When material cannot be borrowed, locations will be identified for on-site use if possible.
  • 10. Interlibrary Loan service may be limited or suspended for borrowers who repeatedly fail to pick up requested Interlibrary Loan materials, keep materials overdue, or damage or deface materials.

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, April 2016, Reviewed April 2020

Internet Use Policy

Internet Policy Download PDF  Internet Use Policy


The Stevens Memorial Library provides computer services, including free access to the Internet, in accordance with the Library's mission to provide access to an extensive collection of informational resources and materials. The Internet is a global network providing a gateway to a wide range of educational, recreational and reference resources, many of which are not available in print. The Internet also includes materials patrons may find personally offensive, distasteful, controversial or inappropriate. Access to the Internet carries with it the potential to deliberately or accidentally access such material. The Library is not responsible for the accuracy, content, nature or quality of the information found there.

As with other Library resources, Library staff may provide assistance to its Patrons using the Internet. However, Library staff cannot monitor individual use of this resource. In order to guide appropriate use of this resource, the Library has established the following policy:

The American Library Association’s (ALA) policies oppose anything that prevents access to constitutionally protected speech in libraries. Because filtering software cannot distinguish between protected and unprotected speech, ALA opposes the use of filters in libraries. The Trustees of the Stevens Memorial Library support the position adopted by the American Library Association that sees the use of filtering software as an abridgement of the Library Bill of Rights, and does not use filtering software onLibrary Internet workstations.

A parent or guardian must accompany children under the age of eight (8) while using the Internet.

A parent or guardian must accompany children under the age of eight (8) while using the Internet.

Computers, laptops, or mobile devices designated for the sole use of children or young adults (under 18) may not be used by other Patrons.

Reservations for same-day computer use may be made in person or via telephone. If the Patron does not claim his/her reservation within ten (10) minutes past the reserved time, the reservation may be forfeited.

The time limit for any Internet session is thirty (30) minutes if other Patrons are waiting. Patrons must close their work and leave the computer workstation when requested to do so by Library staff.

The Library reserves the right to limit the number of people at each workstation. Printing is available from all wired workstations at the posted price.

Patrons may use the Library’s wireless Internet connections to access the Internet from their own laptops or mobile devices. The Library’s wireless networks are unencrypted and such use is at the Patron’s own risk, including but not limited to the risk of being monitored and recorded as well as being vulnerable to security attacks which may affect the Patron’s devices.

Patrons using the Library’s wireless connections accept all the risks associated with such use, and the Library has no responsibility for damage or loss of any nature whatsoever arising from a Patrons’ use of the Library’s wireless networks.

Some devices may not be compatible with the Library’s wireless Internet connection. Patrons who have difficulty connecting to the Internet or experiencing poor connections are encouraged to report the issue to the circulation desk, and if requested to do so a Library staffer may be able to assist with such difficulties. However, Library staff is not responsible for troubleshooting Patron’s devices, and are not responsible for any loss or damage resulting from providing assistance to a Patron.


Patrons may not use the Library’s Internet access in any manner that violates any local, state or federal laws, rules or regulations, including but not limited to:

  • 1. Unauthorized copying of copyright- protected materials,
  • 2. Transmission or receipt of chain letters, broadcast letters, or any form of junk mail,
  • 3. Transmission, receipt or display of threatening, obscene, or harassing materials,
  • 4. Transmission or receipt of computer viruses,
  • 5. Unauthorized accessing of local or remote computer systems, including hacking or other unlawful activities,
  • 6. Activities which interfere with or disrupt other users, services or equipment,
  • 7. Unauthorized disclosure of personal identifying material concerning a third party,
  • 8. Damaging, altering degrading or otherwise affecting the Library’s computer equipment, peripherals, software, or operating configurations, or installing software applications or accessing or altering its computer hard drive files.

Patrons may not shut down the Library’s computer workstations.

VIOLATIONS: Violations of this policy shall result in loss of Library computer privileges and may result in the loss of all Library privileges. Any suspension or revocation of privileges may be reviewed upon written request to the Library Director.

WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY: The Stevens Memorial Library and the Town of Ashburnham specifically disclaim any warranty as to information accessed on the Internet, including but not limited to its content, authority, reliability, currency, or use. The Stevens Memorial Library and the Town of Ashburnham assume no liability for any damage to persons or property, including but not limited to damage to user data or loss of user privacy sustained while using the Library’s computers.

Patrons using the Library’s free wireless services are bound by the Library’s Internet Use Policy.

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, August 2015
Revised and Updated April 2020

Lending to Residents of Decertified Communities Policy

Lending to residents of Decertified Communities Download Lending to Residents of Decertified Communities Policy


Policy on Lending to Residents of Decertified Communities

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
Reviewed April 2020

Library of Things Collection Policy

Library of Things Policy Download Library of Things Collection Policy


The Library of Things is a collection of non-traditional items that support the Stevens Memorial Library’s mission to provide educational, cultural, historical, and recreational materials that meet the needs of our users. Patrons who borrow a Library of Things item agree to abide by the Stevens Memorial Library’s Library of Things lending guidelines below.

Scope of Collection

The purpose of the Library of Things is to provide diverse opportunities for learning and engagement. The Library of Things is not intended to be comprehensive, as the Library is limited by a finite amount of funds and storage space for these items. The Library of Things may include, but are not limited to:

The Library of Things collection provides diverse opportunities for learning and engagement. The Library of Things collection is not intended to be comprehensive, as the Library is limited by funding and storage space for these items.

Please click on the following link to see examples of what is included in the Library of Things collection.

Selection of Materials

Library staff select materials for the Library of Things collection based on the needs and interests of Library patrons. The Library welcomes input from the community concerning the collection. All suggestions for purchase are evaluated using the same selection criteria as for other materials.

Not all Library materials may be suitable for all members of the community. Responsibility for a child’s use of Library materials, regardless of format or content, lies with the parent or guardian, not with the Library.

The Library reserves the right to take a Library of Things item out of circulation temporarily to use for Library purposes (workshops, demonstrations, or other programs), or to repair a damaged item.

Library of Things Guidelines for Borrowing and Use

A valid CW/MARS Library card is required to borrow a Library of Things item. Library of Things items are not available through system-wide holds. All Library patrons are required to check out and return Library of Things items to the Circulation Desk. Please do not use the book drop to return Library of Things items.

Loan Periods and Fees

In most cases, a Library of Things item may be borrowed for one week and renewed once unless another borrower is waiting. The Library reserves the right to change borrowing periods for a Library of Things item at any time.

Proper Use and Liability

Please use care when handling the Library of Things item you have borrowed.

Borrowers are solely responsible for a Library of Things item and will be billed for reasonable repair or replacement costs associated with damage or loss.

The Library is not responsible for any injury, loss, or damage that may occur from use of a Library of Things item. The responsibility to protect against loss is the borrowers.

Staff will inspect Library of Things items upon return. Borrowers are expected to return the Library of Things item with all parts and components in the original condition and in the original Library container to the Circulation Desk. Patrons will be financially responsible for any damage to an item while in their possession.

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, December, 2023

Meeting Room Policy

Meeting Room Policy Download Meeting Room Policy

The Stevens Memorial Library has three rooms available for public use as a meeting room. The descriptions below detail the room particulars, potential seating configurations for the room, and what additional amenities are available.


The Malcolm Stewart Community Room

  • Accommodates larger groups of up to 50. Room measures 34’ x 23’
  • Amenities: kitchenette, whiteboard, up to 13 folding tables and chairs
  • Room is accessible by elevator

The Story Time Room

  • Accommodates groups of up to 20. Room measures 18’ x 18” *
  • Seating available on a carpeted floor
  • Amenities: one two-person couch, two comfortable seating chairs, and carpeted floor
  • Room is accessible by elevator

* This room has open walls

The Preservation Room

  • Accommodates groups of up to 25. Room measures 34’ x 33’*
  • Amenities: tables and chairs
  • Room is accessible by elevator

* While the footprint of the Preservation Room is larger, the ceiling is lower and not all the room is available for seating.

Additional technology is available for meeting rooms upon request. If you would like to request a laptop, projector and screen, and/or a public address system (PA), please indicate these needs on the room request form.

Not sure what room best fits your needs? Please talk with a Library team member.

When meeting rooms are not being used for Library programs, the Library encourages the use of meeting rooms by organizations for educational, cultural, recreational, or charitable activities during Library operational hours. 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. Outside groups are not allowed to use Library meeting spaces 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 fundraising is not mentioned in the 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. Meeting rooms are scheduled according to the following priorities: Library-related meetings or programs; municipal meetings; outside organizations. Library staff will contact room users if the Library closes and a program is cancelled.


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 by an adult who will be personally responsible for the conduct of the meeting, adherence to Library policies and etiquette, payment of any fees or charges, and restitution for any damaged or lost Library property. Requests for use of Library audiovisual or other technology equipment can be made at the time of booking on the room request form.

2. All groups are required to fill out a written application. Failure to notify the Library of cancellations may result in forfeiture of future bookings. Groups can reserve a meeting up to three months in advance of their meeting. Groups can have up to three scheduled events on the upcoming calendar.

3. Groups using the meeting room are responsible for 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. The Library is not responsible for any loss of, or damage to, personal property.

4. Meeting rooms must be returned to their original state when vacated, including returning furniture 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.

5. All fire codes and applicable laws must be followed while on Library property, including the prohibition of smoking and following guidelines on the limit on the numbers of people allowed in the 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 for meeting room use.

7. All meetings must end 15 minutes before closing, unless a waiver has been given by the Library Director and special arrangements have been made. All meetings must be held during the Library's operational hours.

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.

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, October, 2021
Photography & Videography Policy

Photography & Videography Policy Download PDF  Photography & Videography Policy


Policy Statement

This policy covers the building and grounds of the Stevens Memorial Library.

The Library recognizes its role as a limited public forum related to the mission of the Library. Activities that interfere with Library services and programs will not be permitted. Photography and videography (filming), as defined below, is allowed if it meets the guidelines of this policy, does not interfere with Library services, and it is consistent with the Library’s mission statement and code of conduct.


Photography and videography is defined as producing an image using equipment capable of recording an image. This includes but is not limited to cell phone cameras, still cameras, video cameras, and movie cameras.

Documenting Library Programming and Services

Stevens Memorial Library reserves the right to document its programs, services, and patrons’ use of the Library. Photographs or video taken by official representatives or designees of the Library may be used for publicity purposes in online and printed materials. Attendees and/or Library patrons consent to having their photograph taken and used for such purposes. If a Library patron does not wish themselves or their child to be photographed or videographed, the patron must notify Library staff. No names will be used in conjunction with photos or videos without express written consent. All such photography or videography will be in accordance with Library policy.

The Library will make every attempt to provide seating for audience members who prefer not to be photographed or videographed at a program event. Performer needs and space limitations may impact this, so these accommodations may be limited and cannot be guaranteed.

Approvals of Requests The Library Director or their designee is authorized to grant permission to photograph or film the interior of Library buildings or Library grounds, setting the conditions under which the photograph or filming may take place. Requests for permission to film or photograph must be made at least 24 hours prior to filming or photography and must occur during the Library’s operational hours.


Photography and videography is permitted when the following conditions are met:

  • • The Library Director or designee is notified 24 hours in advance and has given permission.
  • • It is for personal, noncommercial use, educational projects, or Library promotion.
  • • It is done during a posted Open Meeting per MGL c30A (18-25).
  • • It does not interfere with Library services.
  • • It occurs during Library operational hours.
  • • It does not reveal the nature of an individual’s intellectual pursuits or items borrowed.
  • • The photographer has secured any and all necessary permissions to make images of patrons and of the creative or intellectual property of a patron or presenter. The Library assumes no responsibility for securing such permissions.
  • • It does not require moving or changing Library furnishings including lights and light fixtures for the purpose of making an image.

Photographic Releases

Photographers and videographers photographing or filming on Library premises and grounds have sole responsibility for gaining all necessary releases and permissions from persons who can be identified in any photography or video. If any person to be photographed or filmed is under 18 years of age, permission must be obtained by the photographer or videographer from a parent or adult guardian on behalf of the minor. The Library undertakes no responsibility for obtaining these releases.

Other Conditions

Photography or videography of public areas for patrons and visitors wanting a remembrance of their visit is permitted as long as:

  • • additional equipment such as tripods and/or lighting is not used
  • • the photography or videography only captures the image of the person photographing or filming
  • • anyone being photographed or filmed has granted express permission to be photographed or filmed
  • • the photography or videography does not interfere with Library operations, staff or patrons.

There may be designated areas in Library locations and/or exhibition areas or other areas or events where photographing or filming is prohibited.

Permission to photograph or film does not release the persons or groups involved from liability for injuries to persons or property that result from their activities on Library property.

Right to Terminate

The Library reserves the right to terminate or restrict any photography or videography that causes an undue disturbance, violates Library policy, or endangers patrons or staff or violates any local ordinance, or state or federal law. The Library Director or designee may terminate any session that compromises patron safety, or the integrity of its buildings, grounds, or collections.

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, July, 2022

Preservation Room Policy

Preservation Room Policy Download Preservation Room Policy


The Stevens Memorial Library has established the Ruth B. Whittemore Preservation Room to preserve and assist in research of the history and heritage of Ashburnham. The purpose of the Preservation Room collection is to:

  • · Collect, arrange, describe, and preserve the documents, photographs, artifacts, books, and other materials that constitute the historical record of Ashburnham;
  • · Help Ashburnham residents understand the history and importance of the Town and its citizens, and to contribute to the social enhancement of the Town;
  • · Provide access to historical materials for educational, research, and scholarly purposes.

General Responsibilities

  • · The Stevens Memorial Library Board of Trustees is the governing body of the Library and exercises ultimate authority over all aspects of its operations, including the acquisition and disposition of items in the Collection and the use and administration of the Preservation Room collection.
  • · The Board of Trustees delegates all collection development decisions, including those related to the Preservation Room collection, to the Library Director. Any exceptional situations may be referred to the Board for approval.
  • · The Collection is preserved, cared for, and administered by the Library Director and Staff in accordance with approved policies and professional guidelines.
  • · The Board of Trustees may alter or amend this policy. The Board may also make exceptions in particular cases, which shall not permanently modify the policy.


In general, the Collection includes the following:

  • · Ashburnham vital records, annual reports, bylaws, street lists, genealogies, town histories, church records, and maps; · Personal papers of Ashburnham residents (diaries, correspondence, etc.);
  • · Works of Ashburnham authors;
  • · Works about or published in Ashburnham, including locally-published or curated newsletters and newspapers;
  • · Photographs of Ashburnham or its residents if determined to have historical or research value;
  • · Works and records pertaining to regional history

The collection does not generally contain the following:

  • · Art;
  • · Items determined by the Board of Trustees to require an exceptional financial commitment to upkeep, insure, or access;
  • · Yearbooks;
  • · Meeting minutes or agendas;
  • · Most non-print media (at the discretion of the director);
  • · Current news articles

Acquisition of materials

General Guidelines

The Library generally accepts into the Preservation Room collection only donated items, but depending on the circumstances, items may be added by means of gifts, bequests, purchases, exchanges, or loans. Gifts to the Stevens Memorial Library may or may not qualify for deductions under federal or state tax codes. Donors are advised to obtain legal guidance on the deductibility of a prospective donation and their own appraisals for tax purposes. When deciding upon an acquisition, the Library considers many factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • · Are the materials consistent with the desired scope of the Preservation Room collection?
  • · Is the condition, size, and physical nature of the material such that the Library can properly store, care for, and maintain them?
  • · Do the materials complement other items in the collection?
  • · Are the materials currently useful or likely to have significant historical value in the future?
  • · Generally, there should be no undue restrictions on materials, such as those allowing only certain individuals to access them, imposing long periods during which the materials are closed to research, and the like. Exceptions can be made for rare and extremely valuable materials.

Conditions for Accepting Materials

The Stevens Memorial Library has established a Gift Acceptance Policy that can be viewed in its entirety on the Library website or at the Library. Relevant portions are summarized or expanded upon here for the sake of convenience. Unless otherwise agreed:

  • · All donations are considered outright and unconditional gifts to be used at the exclusive discretion of the Stevens Memorial Library.
  • · All donations include any necessary permissions, including copyright, for the reproduction by the Library of materials for commercial, scholarly, and educational use, provided that proper credit is given.
  • · There is no guarantee that accepted materials will be permanently exhibited. · There is no guarantee that Special Collections will be kept physically intact.
  • · Subject to the rules and regulations of the Library governing access, materials accepted into the Collection may be accessed by all members of the public.
  • · Donors’ contributions will be publicly acknowledged, but personal contact information will not be released. Anonymous gifts are appreciated and can be specially arranged.

Deaccessioning of materials

Materials are considered deaccessioned when they have been formally and permanently removed from the Preservation Room collection. As stated in the Collection Development Policy, “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.” (Approved by Library Board of Trustees, February 2015).

The Library considers many factors in making a deaccession decision, including, but not limited to, the following questions, which are seriously considered before deaccession takes place:

  • · Does the material reflect the mission of the Stevens Memorial Library and the purpose of the Preservation Room collection?
  • · In what ways would deaccessioning of the materials affect public access to information and historical research?
  • · Would it be more useful to patrons and educators if the materials were located at another organization?
  • · Is this duplicate material or can the information it contains be found in another format?
  • · Has the material deteriorated so much that it is no longer useful? Is the cost of restoration/preservation higher than the materials warrant or the budget permits?
  • · Are the materials accessible? Are the resources available for processing, cataloging, and preserving the materials?
  • · Are there any restrictions, including Donor agreements or other legal issues, affecting whether/how the materials can be deaccessioned?
  • · Does the material lack the physical integrity leading to a loss of historical value (e.g., the materials were found to be inauthentic or were heavily and badly restored)?
  • · Does the condition of the materials pose a danger to the Library, its collections, its staff, and/or visitors (e.g., biological or chemical threats, flammability, size, etc.)?

In the case that items are deaccessioned, their disposition is at the discretion of the Library. This may mean that materials are returned to the donor, transferred to another institution, sold, or destroyed. The Library makes every effort to destroy no materials in this collection, and will only do so when no other options are available or applicable. Records of deaccessioned materials will be retained by the Library.

Access to the Collection

The Preservation Room is a climate-controlled room located on the upper level of the Library. Its collection may be accessed during regular library hours as staff and time allow, and therefore it is strongly recommended that patrons contact the Library and make an appointment before visiting. Access to the Collection is subject to rules and regulations designed to ensure the integrity of the Collection and to assess the continued usefulness of items in the collection.

Violation of these rules may result in restriction or denial of access to the Collection by the Library Director. Appeal from a restriction on or denial of use, should be made in writing to the Board of Trustees, whose decision will be final.

Researchers who cannot come to the Library may contact the staff for research assistance.

Rules and Regulations

1. Individuals who wish to use the Preservation Room collection are required to show a photograph ID. This ID will be held at the Circulation Desk while the collection is being accessed.

2. No material may be removed from the Preservation Room without prior permission of a staff member.

3. Photographs, photocopies, and scans of materials cannot be taken without permission of Library staff.

4. Materials may be used for publication purposes only if written consent has been obtained from the Library. The patron assumes sole responsibility for any infringement of the literary rights, copyrights, or other rights which pertain to the use and/or publication of historical materials.

5. Food and beverages (including water) are not allowed in the Preservation Room for any reason.

6. Patrons may only bring pencils (no pens), paper, notebooks, or computers into the Preservation Room. Patrons must obtain permission to bring cell phones, cameras, and portable scanners. All other belongings will be held at the Circulation Desk.

7. Patrons may not write on any materials or trace them.

8. All materials must be placed on the tables. They may not be placed in the patron’s lap or propped against the edge of the table. In some cases, the use of gloves may be required.

9. Patrons must put all materials back in the proper folders and boxes in their original order.

10. The patron assumes all financial responsibility for any damage to the materials caused by her/his use.

11. The Library may restrict access to items that are in fragile condition. If available, suitable reproductions will be provided for those who wish to use these materials.

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, Feb 2015
Reviewed April 2020

Safe Child Policy

Safe Child Policy Download PDF  Safe Child Policy


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 civil 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, is not acceptable. 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 in closed containers may not be consumed in the Children's Room but may be consumed in the Activity Room when available.

It is the responsibility of a parent or caregiver to ensure appropriate use of computers and other electronic library resources by young children. Please be aware that internet access on library computers may be 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
Revised and Updated April 2020

Takeout Technology Policy

Takeout Technology Policy Download PDF  Takeout Technology Policy


The Ashburnham Steven Memorial Library offers technology that you can borrow. All technology is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

We have:

  • • Chromebooks
  • • Hotspots
  • • Record players
  • • iPads

Ask a Library team member for more information about these items.

You can request these items through the Library catalog the same way you request books and other items, if you have a valid CW MARS library card that does not have fines or overdue items.

Loan Rules:

  • • Technology is checked out for 1 week (7 days). Items can be renewed if no other patrons have requested the item.
  • • Late fees for technology returned after the due date is $5/day with a maximum fine of $25.
  • • Patrons may not alter or delete any settings or configurations of the technology.
  • • Patrons are responsible for damage to or loss of technology and their accessories as a result of accident, theft, misuse or neglect.
  • • Patrons are required to report loss of or damage to the technology or accessories to Library staff.
  • • Replacement cost for damaged technology is indicated on the tabs below for individual items.
  • • Patrons are responsible for any violation of the Internet Use Policy and all other applicable Library policies.
  • • Technology must be picked up and dropped off at the Ashburnham Stevens Memorial Library during the Library’s operational hours.
  • • Please do not return technology in the drop box. Curbside pickup is not available for technology.

Technology Replacement Costs:

  • The replacement cost for Chromebooks is $250.
  • The replacement cost for turntables is $60.
  • The replacement cost for iPads is $500.

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, November 2021

Volunteer Policy

download icon  Volunteer Policy & Application


Volunteers provide support to the 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. Volunteers may perform a range of duties based on their talents and interests and the needs of the Library.


Stevens Memorial Library volunteers perform a service by contributing their time, energy, and talents to the Library. Volunteers receive no financial compensation, and must be enrolled by the Library prior to performing assigned tasks. There are three basic categories of volunteer:

  • a) Any individual, sixteen (16) years or older, who assists with work done at the Stevens Memorial Library, without remuneration.
  • b) STUDENT INTERN: Any middle school, high school, college student, or organization member who performs volunteer work, without remuneration, as part of an authorized school or organizational program to earn academic credit or merit awards. All student interns require the permission of a parent or guardian to volunteer.
  • c) COMMUNITY SERVICE: Persons who seek volunteer assignments at the Stevens Memorial Library to meet a requirement set by an outside agency for the performance of community service are subject to the volunteer selection process and all other provisions of this policy.


  • a) The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not permit an individual to perform hours of volunteer service for a public agency when those hours involve the same type of services which the individual is employed to perform for the same public agency.
  • b) Outside organized non-profit groups who volunteer to carry out a specific project at the Library must comply with federal and state labor laws.


Prior to engaging in any volunteer activity, each volunteer is 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 acknowledges that they are not an employee of the Stevens Memorial Library or the Town of Ashburnham. Each individual who participates in this volunteer program signs a document releasing the Library and the Town from liability for injuries sustained by him/her.

  • 1. As part of the appointment process, the Library investigates an applicant’s work and personal history, which may, depending upon a prospective volunteer’s assignment, include a Criminal Offender Record Inquiry (CORI) and/or a Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) check.
  • 2. VACANCIES: Volunteers are selected based on their qualifications, the needs of the Library at any given time and their reliability. Unsolicited volunteer applications are considered to determine if a vacancy exists that matches the skills of the applicant. If there are no suitable volunteer opportunities, application forms are kept on file for a period of one year. Applicants will be contacted if a project is identified that matches their interests or qualifications.
  • 3. SUPERVISION: Volunteers work directly with Library staff members to receive training and complete projects. All volunteers are assigned one primary staff member to guide them in their work, however other staff may offer guidance to volunteers.
  • 4. HOURS OF SERVICE: All volunteer work must be completed within operational Library hours unless an exception is made by the Library Director. Hours of volunteer service are at the mutual convenience of the volunteer and the supervisory staff member. Because supervisory staff prepare meaningful volunteer assignments, volunteers are asked to give reasonable notice if they are unable to report to work during their agreed upon schedule.
  • 5. UNAVAILABLE INSURANCE: Neither the Town of Ashburnham nor the Stevens Memorial Library will provide any medical, health, accident, or worker's compensation benefits for any volunteer. Volunteers are not eligible to receive worker's compensation benefits for any injuries sustained while working as a volunteer.
  • 6. PUBLIC SERVICE: While Library volunteers typically have limited public service exposure, they are expected to act in accordance with Library policies and to reflect positive customer service attitudes to all Library patrons.
  • 7. CONFIDENTIALITY: Librarians’ professional ethics require that personally identifiable information about Library users be kept confidential. While Library volunteers typically have limited exposure to Library records, they are expected to respect the confidentiality of Library users.
  • 8. TERMINATION: Nothing in this policy creates a contract between the volunteer or intern and the Stevens Memorial Library or Town of Ashburnham. Both the volunteer and the Stevens Memorial Library have the right to terminate the volunteer's association with the Library at any time, for any reason, with or without cause.

View the remainder of this policy document, including applications.

Approved by Library Board of Trustees, April, 2022