64 Middlesex Ave. | Reading, MA 01867 | 781-944-0840

  • Borrowing Policies

    Borrowing Periods:*

    • New adult fiction & nonfiction: 14 days
    • Express books: 7 days, Express DVDs: 3 days
    • Videos, DVDs: 7 days
    • Books, CDs, Magazines, Audiobooks: 14 days
    • Museum passes:1 day

    * Special arrangements may be made by request. Extended loans are also available to Reading teachers and for National History Day projects.

    Media Privileges & Special Collections

    To allow everyone to have access to our materials we limit video games to two per family and CDs or DVDs to twenty per family. Our Library of Things collection is limited to two per family.


    Renewals may be done in person, by telephone or online. All materials from Reading or other NOBLE libraries may be renewed twice except those with waiting lists. Materials from non-NOBLE libraries may not be renewed. See a list of NOBLE libraries here.

    Restriction of Borrowing Privileges

    Borrowing of Library materials is unrestricted unless the patron has overdue items with bill status. The bill status (as established by the automated system) is firm, and unless there is compelling reason to act otherwise, delinquent patrons will be unable to check-out any library materials until their record is cleared.

    Lost cards

    Lost library cards may be replaced for a small fee when all outstanding materials are returned.

    Lost Materials

    Patrons must pay replacement cost of lost materials. A new copy of the same item may be accepted in lieu of payment.

  • Privacy Policy for Items on Reserve

    Many library users reserve items and then ask another person to pick them up when they become available. In order to protect the privacy and confidentiality of all our customers who reserve items we require that:
    • The person checking out items that are on reserve has the library card of the person for whom the reserves were placed.
    • OR that the person who placed the reserves has given authority to the person picking up the items by registering him or her at the Borrower Services Desk. This will be indicated by a “note” in the “message field” of the borrower’s record.
    If the person picking up the items does not have the borrower’s library card or authority as denoted in the borrower’s record, the person will not be allowed to pick up the items. The items will be held for pick-up at the Circulation Desk for additional time as determined by the Circulation technician and in accordance with the lending library’s policy.
    Approved: December 2003
  • Municipalities with Decertified Libraries

    In order for a public library to be certified in Massachusetts it must meet certain minimum standards of funding and service mandated by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. A public library that does not meet the minimum standards is “decertified” by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and is not eligible to receive state aid funding, apply for or receive LSTA grant funds, or enter into any contracts with the region to provide supplemental services.

    Massachusetts General Laws (605 CMR 4.01) state that certified public libraries are not required to loan materials to residents of municipalities with decertified libraries.

    This policy aims to address the issue of the fair and appropriate use of Reading tax dollars spent on public library service by limiting the reliance of a municipality with a decertified library on the Reading Public Library and its resources.

    The Reading Public Library upholds the importance of maintaining at least the minimum standards of public library service required for public library certification by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and therefore will not loan materials to residents of municipalities with decertified libraries.

    Public libraries that receive a waiver from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners are considered certified. Residents of municipalities in which the library has received a waiver will be permitted to borrow materials.

    As stated in the Massachusetts General Laws (605 CMR 4.01), “all residents of the Commonwealth shall have access to reading and reference rooms under the same conditions as residents of the community.” The Reading Public Library welcomes residents of all municipalities. However, residents of municipalities with decertified libraries are only able to use library resources within the bounds of the library building.

    Approved: 08/02
  • Teacher Loan Policy


    The Reading Public Library offers a wide variety of services to meet the educational and recreational needs of children, young adults, and those who work with them. Unlike a school library, the Reading Public Library does not attempt to collect curriculum-related materials unless those materials are of interest to the general public. Rather, the Reading Public Library seeks to complement the materials offered in a school library. Teachers who wish to enhance their students’ access to library materials are encouraged to take advantage of the special borrowing privileges offered to them.

    Only materials for use in the classroom or in support of the classroom are eligible to be checked out on a teacher card. As a professional courtesy, teachers are requested to notify a children’s librarian or a reference librarian if they wish to take more than three books on any one topic. This will ensure that sufficient materials are left for the general public.


    All teachers of Reading public or private schools are eligible for special teacher cards if their school has formally agreed to pay for any lost or damaged materials. Teachers who change schools must update their card to reflect their current position. Teacher Card Authorization forms, signed by principals, are on file in the Administration Office.

    Library Cards

    Teachers may get cards at either Children’s or Circulation desks. Each teacher will be issued his/her own card.

    Loan Period

    Library materials are checked out for 8 weeks.


    Due to the 8 week loan period, renewals will be made on an exceptional basis.

    Overdue Notices

    Notices will be sent to teachers as a reminder of outstanding library materials. Bills will be sent to principals. In May, bills will be issued for any outstanding charges. Teachers are requested to check with the Library about outstanding items in June, before the end of school. In the fall, the Library will notify teachers of any items left over from the previous year.


    There are no fines on overdue materials.


    The school is responsible for replacement cost of lost or damaged materials.

    Adopted 2/27/89 Revisions Approved: 6-19-95
  • Internet Access Policy

    The Reading Public Library recognizes the importance of electronic information to the educational, informational, cultural, and recreational needs of the community. To meet these needs, the Library offers full access to the Internet, current information about the Internet, and instruction on the use of the Internet through hands-on classes, lectures, and walk-in lessons.

    Wireless access provided by the Library is unsecured. Antivirus, security and privacy protection are the responsibility of the customer. Patrons using Library wireless access must comply with this Internet Access Policy.

    The Reading Public Library cannot guarantee the accuracy, authority, or timeliness of the information available on the Internet. Patrons are advised to exercise caution in divulging personal information through direct electronic communications, as doing so can compromise personal safety and privacy.

    Computers, like other library materials and services, are shared resources, and patrons are expected to limit their time on library computers while others are waiting.

    Materials obtained or copied on this computer network may be subject to copyright laws that govern making reproductions of copyrighted works.

    The Internet may contain material of a controversial or mature nature that may be offensive or disturbing to some individuals and may not be appropriate for certain age groups. Full access to the Internet is compatible with the Library’s endorsement of the Library Bill of Rights; Access to Electronic Information Services and Networks; and with the policies, goals, and objectives of this public library; however, viewing of certain materials in the Library may be considered improper in time, place or manner. The staff reserve the right to end an Internet session at any time if it is creating a disturbance.

    Accessing material that meets the legal definition of obscenity is prohibited. Minors shall not access material “harmful to minors.” Blatantly offensive visual or text-based materials constitute potential sources of sexual harassment to other patrons and to library staff and will not be tolerated. The use of Internet access through the Reading Public Library for illegal purposes or to transmit threatening, obscene, or harassing materials is also strictly prohibited.

    Violation of any part of this policy may result in discipline including, but not limited to, loss of access to the computers and, in appropriate cases, exclusion from the library.

    Approved: 9/15/97 (Revisions Approved: 7/20/09)
  • In-Library Use Public Laptop Policy

    The Reading Public Library is pleased to make laptop computers available for in-library use. Please take a few minutes to review the following policy.
    • Laptops will be loaned to Reading residents with Reading Public Library card accounts in good standing (no billed items).
    • Cardholders must be high school age or over.
    • Prior to borrowing a laptop for the first time, users must state they have read and agree to this policy.
    How do I borrow a laptop?
    • Laptops may be checked out at the Research and Reader Services Desk for up to 2 hours per day.
    • Borrowers must leave a photo ID at the Research and Reader Services Desk.
    • Laptops are loaned on a first come, first served basis (no reservations). Laptops may be renewed once, for an additional hour, subject to availability.
    • Laptops must be returned promptly, powered on, to the Research and Reader Services Desk. Laptops must be returned at least 30 minutes prior to the library closing.
    Where/How can the laptop be used?
    • The laptop may be used anywhere in the library and ONLY in the library. Removal of laptops from the library will be considered theft and prosecuted.
    • Software loaded on Dell laptops includes Microsoft Office Suite and various internet browsers. Chromebooks are optimized for cloud based applications through Google apps and the Chrome browser. Wireless printing is available from the laptops with relevant fees.
    • Power cords are provided. Laptops will run approximately two hours on battery.
    What happens if I am late returning the laptop? Laptop late fee is $5 per hour. If not returned after 24 hours, the fine is the full replacement cost:
    • $1200.00 for Dell laptops and $500 for Chromebooks
    What is my responsibility?
    • The borrower is completely responsible for the laptop from the initial time of borrowing until the library staff records and clears its return. A laptop must be returned in the same condition as when it was borrowed. The user will be charged for up to the full replacement cost if the computer is damaged, not returned for any reason or components are missing (see above for full replacement cost). Fees for the power cord will be charged based on replacement value.
    • Please report hardware/software problems immediately—you may be held responsible for any unreported problems.
    • Users may not install any software or change the configuration of the laptops. Users may not save work to the laptop.
    • Never leave the laptop unattended. You are responsible for replacing the laptop if it is stolen while checked out to you. Never borrow a laptop for someone else to use. You will be held directly responsible for any problems, not your associate.
    • The library is not responsible for any computer viruses that may be transferred to or from a user’s external drive or storage device.
    • The library is not responsible for any files left on any computer or for loss or damage to files.
    • The library reserves the right to refuse service to anyone who has a record of abusing equipment or is repeatedly late in returning laptops.
    Revised 01/2017
  • Safe Child Policy

    For purposes of this policy the following definitions will be used:
    Unattended Children:
    Under 9 years old and unaccompanied by a parent, guardian, or other caregiver;
    Under 9 years old and on a different floor of the Library from a parent, guardian, or other caregiver.
    Under 9 years old and being “supervised” by someone under 14 years old.
    Any individual, at least 14 years of age who is responsible for a child.


    The trustees and staff of the Reading Public Library strive to create a warm, inviting, fun, and safe environment for children. The Library offers many programs and services that encourage children to develop a love of books, reading, and learning. The safety and well-being of children at the Library is a serious concern.

    The following rules have been established regarding unattended children because we care about the safety of all our customers.

    1. 1. Parents or guardians should be responsible for having their children picked up by the time or before the Library is closed.
    2. 2. Children under the age of 9 must be accompanied by a caregiver while in the Library
    3. 3. Children ages 9 to 11 should not be left unattended for longer than two hours at a time.
    4. 4. Children ages 9 and above should have the telephone number of their parent or guardian or other designated adult available in the event of an emergency or unexpected closing.
    5. 5. Should it be determined that a child under age 14 has been left at the Library at closing time, every attempt will be made to contact the child’s parents or other family member. The Reading Police will be called if no one can be reached. Staff members will remain after hours with an unattended child until the parent, guardian, designated adult or police arrive. The Reading Police plan to go to the child’s home first and leave a message indicating that the officer will be picking the child up at the Library and will bring him or her to the Police Station.
    6. 6. Staff members staying with the child will be compensated for time spent waiting.
    7. 7. Staff members should fill out an incident report form and leave it for the director when the Police are called.
    8. 8. Library staff members will not transport children from the Library to any other location.
    9. 9. Parents, guardians, or caretakers who violate the rules stated above risk having their library privileges restricted or revoked.

    Approved: 6/03
  • Children's Room Program Policy

    All children’s programs are free and open to the public. We may suggest age-appropriate guidelines for children to participate, and it is the responsibility of the parent/caregiver to respect the guidelines. We reserve the right to ask disruptive audience members to leave the program. We also are not responsible for the health or contagiousness of attending children. In programs where the attendance has to be limited, we reserve the right to register Reading residents before taking out-of-town participants. Any program which requires a fee (for example, a theater trip) is sponsored by the Friends of the Reading Public Library. Bus and ticket fees are prepaid by them. Participants register and pay these costs in the Children’s Room, but the money is returned to the Friends’ treasury.
    Approved: 6-19-95
  • Meeting Room Policy

    The Library has 5 meeting rooms for rent. The Meeting Room Policy must be read by all who rent Library spaces. Rooms can be booked at our Meeting Room Rental page.
  • Tutoring Policy

    Tutors are welcome to use the library for sessions with students, and are encouraged to use our Homework Center.
  • Patron Rights and Responsibilities

    The Reading Public Library supports the right of all individuals to:

    • Receive friendly, courteous, and respectful service
    • Have free and equal access to information
    • Have a clean, comfortable, and pleasant environment
    • Use the library without discrimination
    • Use the library undisturbed without threat of harm, invasion of property, or interference

    To allow for the safety of all patrons:

    • Sidewalks, entries, and passageways must remain free of obstacles.
    • Use of skateboards, rollerblades, roller-skates, or scooters are not allowed on library premises.
    • Library patrons should not bring animals or vehicles into the library except as required by persons with disabilities.
    • Patrons must not deface or improperly remove library materials, furnishings, or equipment.
    • Library patrons should not consume food or beverages in unauthorized areas such as the History Room. Trash, wrappers, and empty containers should be disposed of properly.
    • Library patrons are prohibited from staff or other restricted areas.
    • Children under the age of 9 must be accompanied by a caregiver while in the library. (RPL Safe Child Policy 6/03).
    • Many patrons use the library as a place for quiet study or reading. Patrons should respect the rights of other and not engage in loud conversation or noisy activities.
    • No talking is allowed in the sections of the library reserved for quiet study.
    • Cell phone and pagers should be used in designated areas only. Patrons should speak in low tones and keep conversations brief.
    • A pay phone is provided for public use next to the book drop on the side of the building. Library telephones are not for public use except in an emergency.
    • Loud or boisterous conduct, including shouting, pushing, hitting, fighting, throwing things, or playing audio equipment so that others can hear it, is prohibited.
    • Verbally or physically harassing, threatening, or bullying any staff member or patron, or displaying unwanted attention toward another person
    • Smoking or using alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs
    • Loitering or soliciting on Library property
    • Carrying a weapon or a facsimile of a weapon

    Patrons should abide by library guidelines for time limitations, computer use, and restrictions on the numbers of people using computers and tables.

    The Reading Public Library is for everyone’s enjoyment. We appreciate your cooperation with these guidelines in keeping the library a pleasant place to visit for everyone and ensuring respectful treatment for all individuals who use this public facility.

    First reading 8/15/05; Public Hearing & Approved, Board or Trustees 9/19/05
  • Piano Policy

    The Baldwin grand piano was purchased and presented to the Reading Public Library entirely through private donations raised by the Friends of the Library. The intent of the donors was to facilitate musical programs for the community featuring professional, quasi-professional, or amateur musicians at the discretion of the Library Trustees and staff.

    However, in accepting and thereby assuming responsibility for the piano, the Board of Trustees takes a position that such a sensitive instrument cannot be made available on a day-to-day basis for casual play, nor can it be made available for general practice.

    Like all activities conducted in our Community Room, these performances shall be of a non­ profit nature and no fees may be charged for attendance. The sponsoring group or performing artist is responsible for related room fees (see Meeting Room Policy) and the cost of piano tuning required for the event. The library will provide a quote for the tuning upon scheduling of the program.

    Whenever possible, proposals for use of the piano should be submitted to the Library Director at least one month prior to the requested date. (Printable Piano Request Form) Such proposals shall include all pertinent program information. A sponsoring group must be prepared to pay supplemental custodial fees in the event that a program runs outside of normal library operating hours.

    All requests are subject to review and approval of the Board of Library Trustees.

    Approved 6/1998; Revised 01/2017