Library Policies

Collections & Lending Policies

The Reading Public Library lends items to all public library card holders with library cards in good standing (i.e., no billed items). Unless otherwise noted, all Reading Public Library materials without waiting lists may be renewed twice. Please see “Renewals” for further information.

Borrowing Periods:*
  • Books, Magazines, Audiobooks, Videogames, Library of Things: 14 days
  • Express books: 7 days, Express DVDs: 3 days (no renewals)
  • Telescope, DVDs, CDs: 7 days
  • Museum passes:1 day (no renewals)

Certain materials, such as items in the Library of Things, must be picked up and returned at the Reading Public Library.
Express items may not be placed on hold, but are available for in-library browsing.
Certain materials, such as museum passes and selected online resources, are limited to Reading residents.

* Special arrangements may be made by request. Extended loans are also available to Reading teachers and for school or special projects.  

Checkout Limits

Most library materials have no borrowing limits. However, to allow everyone to have access to items in certain collections we limit:
• Video Games: 2 per patron.
• CDs or DVDs: 20 per patron.
• Adult Library of Things: 2 per patron.
• Children’s Library of Things: 2 per patron.
To protect our collections, the library reserves the right to refuse service to anyone who abuses borrowed items, or is repeatedly late in returning borrowed items.

Special Collections

Local History: Items in the Library’s local history collection, including microfilm, do not circulate. Access to the local history room is by request only. Reservations are through the Research and Reader’s Advisory desk and may be made in advance or on a walk-in basis.
Library of Things: The borrower must read and sign equipment agreement. Certain items, such as the audio-visual equipment, may have age restrictions.
“In-Library Use” Equipment: This equipment may be used ONLY in the library and is generally checked out for two hours per day. The borrower must read and sign equipment agreement as needed. Certain items may have age restrictions.


Autorenewal uses an automated process to identify and renew items that are eligible for renewal. Autorenewal for Reading patrons applies only to items that belong to the Reading Public Library. Items from other NOBLE libraries may be renewed in person, by telephone or online.
Please note all materials from non-NOBLE libraries may not be renewed.

Restriction of Borrowing Privileges

Borrowing materials is unrestricted unless the patron has overdue items with a billed status. The billed 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.

Fines and Fees

Please see the Fines and Fees Policy for information regarding overdue, lost, or damaged materials.

Approved: 8/14/17, Amended: 10/15/19, Amended:  11/09/2021

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


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

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

The Board of Trustees of the Reading Public Library welcomes and encourages gifts and
donations which are consistent with the Library’s mission statement and collection development
policies. Donors are encouraged to speak to the Director if they have questions or would like
more information on donating to the Library.
Books and Other Materials
The Library does not accept donations of materials for the general collection. Instead, the Friends
of the Reading Public Library takes new and gently used materials for their book sale room. All
proceeds from these sales go to support Library programs, museum passes, and other library
Financial Donations
The Reading Public Library accepts financial gifts in support of programs, services, and
collections. Tax-deductible donations of money may be made in a number of ways to benefit the
1. Reading Public Library. Bequests and unrestricted gifts of any amount, to purchase
suitable materials, furnishings or equipment in memory of a friend or relative or in honor
of a special occasion (birthday, etc.) are welcome. The Library will make every effort to
honor the donor’s wishes for purchase of specific titles and subjects, or for furnishings and
2. Friends of the Reading Public Library, Inc. Membership and financial gifts support
many ongoing Library programs, museum passes, and other library services.
3. Reading Public Library Foundation, Inc. Pledges and donations of cash, securities or
real estate, etc. support an endowment fund that provides for the long-term and future needs
of the Library.
Other Gifts
Gifts of other, non-collection, and non-financial items must be discussed with and approved by the
Library Director or the Board of Library Trustees.
Terms and Conditions
The Board of Library Trustees cannot accept all gifts and request that prospective donors begin
the process by contacting the Library Director. Gifts will be considered using the following
1. relevance to the Library’s mission statement and collection development policies;
2. space;
3. cost of maintenance, processing, or storage;
4. significance to the community;
5. restrictions or limitations set by the donor;
6. added value or improvement to the space, collection, or services.
Upon approval and acceptance of a gift, the Library will send acknowledgements of receipt and
acquisition to the donor using provided contact information.
Gifts accepted by the Library Director or the Board of Library Trustees become the sole property
of the Reading Public Library, and may be sold or discarded as the Board sees fit.
The Library cannot assign a market value to gifts other than monetary donations. For tax purposes,
it is the donor’s responsibility to assign value and to document it for the Internal Revenue Service.
Receipts may be given which describe the gift.
9/2002 Adopted
12/2019 Amended

The purpose of this policy is to outline fines and fees for use of Reading Public Library materials and services. All communications, bills and account blocks are in accordance with the NOBLE “Standard Notice Policy” and “Long Overdue and Billing Policy.” Reading patrons are not responsible for overdue fines from other libraries with the exception of bills pertaining to lost materials. Long overdue items are considered lost until returned or the bill for the item has been paid.


Fines may be paid in person using cash or check, or online with a credit card from the patron’s account.
Library of Things $5.00/day up to the replacement cost of the item
Laptops, Tablets $5.00/hour or full replacement cost after 1 day
Lost items* Replacement cost of the item
*Patrons must pay replacement cost of lost or damaged materials. Replacement costs vary. Speak to a staff member for more information.


Fax (facsimile) $1.00 per page
Photocopies $0.20 per page
Printing $0.20 per page black/white
$0.25 per page color
Document retrieval $0.20 per page black/white
$0.25 per page color

Replacement Library Cards

Adopted 10/94, Approved: June 19, 1995, Amended: 11/10/17, Amended: 10/15/19, Amended: 11/09/21


An important role of the Reading Public Library is to provide library materials selected in response to the diverse educational, informational, and recreational needs of all community members of whatever age and literacy level.

Professional staff select and provide materials in a variety of formats; including but not limited to, print, media, and digital formats; and in a variety of community languages.


This policy is intended to provide direction and guidance to staff members in their roles as materials selectors. Staff select materials in accordance with one or more of these criteria.

Specific criteria for selecting print and non-print library materials are:

  • Relevance to the library’s mission and core values
  • Current usefulness, interest, and/or permanent value
  • Popular demand
  • Relevance to the existing collection
  • Standards of quality in content and format
  • Price

The selection process includes the use of authoritative professional reviews, popular reviews, publishers’ catalogs, standard lists of basic works, firsthand examination, and patron requests.

The Library’s Gift Policy addresses donations of materials for the collection.

The following collections are selected by additional criteria:

Children’s Collection

This collection serves children from birth through sixth grade. Children’s librarians select materials and give special attention to books of value to parents, teachers, and other adults working with children.


Local History and Genealogy Collection

This collection includes material that bears on and advances our knowledge about the town of Reading Massachusetts and its history, people, and institutions.  The collection also provides genealogists with methodological aids with which to begin research and learn genealogical techniques.


Professional staff consider both content and accessibility of all periodicals.  Magazine subscriptions are reviewed yearly prior to renewal.


The Reference collection is intended to serve adults and students in middle school and up.  Materials selected for the Reference collection supply ready information on a certain subject, in an easy-to-use form, or are tools for bibliographic access.

Teen Collection

Professional staff select materials for teens to meet the needs, interests, and reading levels of young people from grades six through twelve.


The Board of Trustees of the Reading Public Library endorses the Library Bill of Rights (see appendix).  The Board recognizes its right and responsibility to provide worthwhile materials of interest to its readers, including those on all sides of controversial issues.

The Library does not advocate particular beliefs or views.  The selection of any given item is not an endorsement of the viewpoint expressed.  Library materials will not be marked in such a way as to show approval or disapproval.  Access to library materials shall be controlled only to the extent necessary to protect them from danger or theft.

Parents are responsible for determining what their children may read, watch, or listen to. Selection of materials is not restricted by the possibility that young people may obtain material their parents consider inappropriate.

Patrons with serious objections to specific items in the Library should direct their complaints to a librarian.  If the complaint is not resolved, the patron may file a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form with the Director’s attention. The item and the form will be reviewed by the Board of Library Trustees. If materials meet the criteria of selection, they will not be removed from the collection because of pressure by any individual or group.


The Library does not attempt to serve as a depository of record nor to purchase materials of a highly specialized or technical nature.  It does not undertake to support individual research in any subject field except local history.  When requests are received for material outside the scope of this collection, every effort will be made to borrow the material from another library, or to direct the patron to an agency where the material may be found.

The Reading Public Library is cognizant of the resources of other public, academic, and special libraries and will not needlessly duplicate materials.  Through cooperative agreements with other libraries, particularly the North of Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE), the resources of those libraries are readily available to Reading Public Library patrons.

This policy recognizes the differing functions of school and public libraries and establishes the responsibility of the school to supply materials needed in quantity to support the school curriculum.  The Library undertakes to provide a general, comprehensive collection that will enrich the resources available to students and teachers.


To ensure that the collection remains useful and reliable, it is evaluated on an ongoing basis, with decisions made whether to dispose of, repair, or retain items.  Material is evaluated based on use, physical condition, currency of information, number of copies, inclusion in standard bibliographies, and availability in nearby libraries.

Materials that are withdrawn from the collection are disposed of at the discretion of the librarians responsible for the designated areas.

The library is not able to save materials for patrons or notify patrons when materials are withdrawn.


The acquisitions budget for each department or category is established by the Director at the beginning of each fiscal year.


It is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees to approve policies for the selection of Library material, formulated by the Director.  These policies are administered by the Director with the assistance of the staff.  Responsibility for selection of specific materials rests with the Director, but the Director’s interpretation of policy is subject to review by the Board.

Adopted 1/95, Revisions Approved June 19, 1995, Amended April 2021

Appendix I

American Library Association 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  • Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  1. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  2. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  3. 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.
  • All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; January 29, 2019.

Inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.

Although the Articles of the Library Bill of Rights are unambiguous statements of basic principles that should govern the service of all libraries, questions do arise concerning application of these principles to specific library practices. See the documents designated by the Intellectual Freedom Committee as Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights.


General Library Use

The purpose of this policy is to establish the rights and responsibilities of all people who use and work at the
Reading Public Library, and to ensure a comfortable, safe environment with full and equitable access to all
Library programs and services.

Everyone who uses our facilities or seeks our assistance should receive impartial, high-quality, and friendly
service. The Library supports the needs and contributions of all people regardless of any distinguishing
characteristics that all too often divide people in society whether explicitly protected by law or not.

Patron Rights

The Reading Public Library supports the rights of all individuals to:
Receive friendly, courteous, and respectful service;

Have free and equitable access to information;

Expect privacy and the confidentiality of information shared with the Library when using our web site or
other library services;

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.

Patron Responsibilities

The patron has the responsibility to follow all public health, safety and fire regulations, and other policies
designed for the public good, which include refraining from:

Smoking, vaping, chewing tobacco, or ingesting hallucinogenic substances inside or within 50 feet
outside of the building.

Blocking sidewalks, entries, and passageways.

Running or roughhousing in the building.

Having bare feet in the building.

Using skateboards, hover boards, rollerblades, scooters or similar inside the building.

Defacing or improperly removing Library materials, furnishings, or equipment.

Eating or drinking in the History Room or any location determined and clearly marked as such by the
staff for programming or Library service purposes.

Littering: patrons must dispose of trash, wrappers, and empty containers in trash and recycling bins.

Entering staff only or other restricted areas.

Leaving unaccompanied children under the age of 9. (see Reading Public Library Safe Child Policy).

Bringing in animals or pets except for properly leashed and trained service animals.

General Library Use

To ensure individuals’ right to use the Library free of disruption, Library patrons and staff will refrain from
disrespectful, dangerous, destructive, or illegal conduct, including but not limited to the following behaviors:

Verbally or physically harassing, threatening, or bullying any staff member or patron, or displaying
unwanted attention toward another person;

Soliciting on Library property;

Carrying a weapon or a facsimile of a weapon;

Fighting, physical abuse, assault or perpetrating physical violence against another person;

Making violent or threatening statements to others;

Engaging in intimidating or harassing behaviors, including following or stalking other patrons or Library

Refusing to follow reasonable direction from Library staff, including but not limited to leaving the Library
during normal closing procedures or following a suspension of Library privileges;

Damaging, destroying, stealing, or otherwise vandalizing Library property;

Using audible functions on equipment (such as cell phones, computers, and handheld electronics). All
cell phone conversations should be in low tones and kept brief;

Shouting, pushing, hitting, throwing things, and other boisterous conduct;

Talking in the sections of the Library reserved for quiet study.

Many patrons use the Library as a place for quiet study or reading. Patrons and staff should respect the rights of
others and not engage in disruptive conversations or activities. The following noise zones have been

Each zone has an
acceptable noise level:

Children’s Room Normal Conversational Tones
First Floor Reading Room Reduced Noise (quiet talking permitted)

First Floor Quiet Study Room Silent

First Floor General & Teen Room Normal Conversational Tones

Ground Floor Meeting Rooms and Lobby Normal Conversational Tones

Ground Floor General Reduced Noise (quiet talking permitted)

Free Speech and Expressive Conduct Activities

The Library supports open expression and free speech by the public, including through spoken communication,
distribution of literature, and other forms of free expression. The Library does not regulate the content of such
expressive activities. However, in order to preserve Library facilities for their intended purpose, to allow for the
orderly operation of these facilities, and to preserve public safety, the Library regulates the time, place, and
manner of such activities.

Members of the public who are interested in using Library facilities for expressive activity shall notify the
librarian in charge prior to engaging in such activity to ascertain the availability of space and shall comply with
the following guidelines.

Use of Library Facilities for Expressive Activities:
External Facilities Spaces. For public safety purposes, expressive activities are prohibited in the Library
parking lot and driveways. The sidewalks and lawn surrounding the Library are generally available for
expressive activities, provided that the limitations and prohibitions set forth below are followed.

Internal Facilities Spaces. Designated areas within the Library, including the meeting rooms, lobby and
vestibule, may be available for expressive activities. Interior spaces are limited, but may be made
available, provided that they provide adequate area for the proposed activity and the limitations and
prohibitions set forth below are followed.

  • Limitations and Prohibitions.
    o Use will occur only during the Library’s normal operating hours.

    o Use of Library facilities shall not impede or interfere with the passage of patrons or the normal
    operations of the Library.

    o Users will not disrupt or interfere with any individual’s use of the Library.

    o The Library may specify the time and location of such activities as necessary to ensure equal
    access to other users.

    o Users will not force or coerce any individual to take materials or sign petitions.

    o The Library reserves the right to close any facility space due to safety considerations.

    o The Library reserves the right to give scheduling priority to the use of any facility space for
    Librarysponsored activities.

    o Users shall not engage in any political fundraising.

    o Users shall not engage in any illegal activity.

Posting of Materials on Library Bulletin Boards. 
The Reading Public Library is committed to disseminating information that is of general interest to the
community and provides spaces for the public posting of flyers, notices, and posters. Please refer to the
Library’s “Policy on Distribution, Posting, and Collection of Materials” for further guidance.

Enforcement of Policy

The librarian in charge has the responsibility to address disruptive patrons and/or direct such patrons to leave
the Library or take other appropriate measures.

People engaging in general disruptive behaviors will be given one warning before being told to leave the
Library. They will also receive a printed copy of this and any other relevant policy.
People engaging in destructive or more serious disruptive behaviors will be told to leave immediately
and receive a copy of this and any other relevant policy.

If directives to leave the building are not heeded or if the situation escalates, the librarian in charge will
call the police. Individuals will be warned that the police are being called.

Persistent and continued disruptive behavior may result in a written warning or “No Trespass” order
issued by the Director or their designee.

Written warnings are to be handed directly to the patron. If they refuse the document, a copy may be
mailed or emailed if that information is available.

“No Trespass” orders prohibit access to library property for up to one (1) year depending on the severity
of the violation. They are filed with and enforced by the Reading Police. Permanent “No Trespass”
orders may be issued in consultation with Public Safety and the Board of Library Trustees.

Parents/Guardians and the schools (if known) will be notified when a minor receives a written warning
or “No Trespass” order. No Trespass orders for minors may permit use of the library for school
purposes when accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Under no circumstances will Library personnel touch the patron as part of a disciplinary action.

At all times, Library staff will be courteous, tactful, and firm. Reasons for appropriate action will be
clearly communicated to the patron.

All Staff Responsibilities:

Weigh the degree of disruptive conduct with the onsite conditions at the time.
Exercise their best judgment in determining conduct that is in violation of this or any other Library
policy, determining the best course of action.

Explain and distribute this policy to patrons.

Request that patrons conduct themselves in a way that is necessary to maintain a welcoming public
Library environment.

Seek assistance from Library supervisors or public safety officials to resolve ongoing or escalating patron
conduct issues.

Fill out the appropriate disruptive behavior forms and distribute to administration. Disruptive behavior
forms are located at each service desk.

The Reading Public Library is for everyone’s enjoyment. We appreciate your cooperation with all Library policies
in order to ensure the Library is a pleasant place to visit and all who use these public facilities receive respectful

First reading 8/14/17; Public Hearing & Approved, Board of Trustees 9/11/17; Updated 9/10/18, Revised 1/10/22

The Library has 3 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.

The Reading Public Library believes that tutoring is an activity consistent with the Library’s role as an educational center in the community. To accommodate the needs of all library patrons, the Board of Library Trustees endorses the following policy:


1. Tutors are requested to work with students in the Homework Center during designated hours.


2. When the Homework Center is unavailable, tutors are requested to work at other lower level spaces. Tutors working with young children may work in the Children’s Room.


3. Homework Center space is available on a first-come-first-served basis.


4. There is a limit of 2 students per tutoring session.


5. Tutors are responsible for students under 11 years of age while on Library property until released to a parent/guardian or to authorized transportation.


6. Students and tutors are expected to follow all rules and policies of the Library including the Patron Rights and Responsibilities Policy and applicable sections of the Meeting /Conference Room Policy.


7. The Library reserves the right to limit tutoring activities if space resources are strained or activities interfere with Library operations.


8. It is the tutor’s responsibility to check the Library’s hours of operations and program schedules before making appointments with students.


9. It is the responsibility of the tutor and the student to make all arrangements prior to arrival at the Library. The Library will not allow incoming or outgoing calls between the tutor and the student on Library equipment. The Library will not take or receive payment on behalf of students or tutors.


10. The Library does not sponsor, recommend, or assume liability or responsibility for the work and/or activities of tutors who use Library space.


11. Tutors may not publish or distribute advertisement or letters identifying the Library as their place of doing business or imply Library sponsorship of their activities.



Adopted 9/16/2016
Revised 01/13/2020

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

Library provides public access to the Internet
The Reading Public Library recognizes the importance of electronic information sources to assist library users in finding the information they need. The Library provides resources in a wide variety of formats to meet the educational, informational, cultural, and recreational needs of its diverse community. The Library offers full access to the Internet and does not actively monitor Internet use. Current information about the Internet and instruction on the use of the Internet is available through services and programs offered by the Public Services Division.

The Library provides wireless Internet access
Patrons using Library wireless access must comply with this Internet Access Policy. The wireless access is unsecured, and the patron is responsible for their own antivirus, security, and privacy protection. RPL does not encrypt data sent or received through our Internet services. Patrons are advised to exercise caution in divulging personal information through direct electronic communications, as doing so can compromise personal safety and privacy.

The Library does not control the information available on the Internet
The Reading Public Library cannot guarantee the accuracy, authority, or timeliness of the information available on the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content. Users should carefully evaluate the information they find when using this resource.

The Library provides Internet access to minors
The responsibility for what minors read or view on the Internet rests with a parent or caregiver. Library staff is available to assist customers in selecting or suggesting the best mix of information resources to meet their needs.

The Library requires responsible use of the Internet.
Computers are shared resources. Patrons should limit their time on library computers while others are waiting.
Materials obtained or copied on this computer network may be subject to copyright laws and licensing agreements. It is the responsibility of the user to respect these governing rules and be responsible for the payment of fees for any fee-based service.

Unfiltered access to the Internet is compatible with the Library’s endorsement of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Bill of Rights, ALA’s Access to Electronic Information Services and Networks, and the policies, goals, and objectives of this public Library. The staff reserve the right to end an Internet session at any time if it is creating a disturbance as some content may be considered improper in time, place, and manner.
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 library staff and are not tolerated. Patrons may not use internet access through the Reading Public Library for illegal purposes or transmit threatening, obscene, or harassing materials.
Those who violate these rules risk having their library privileges restricted or revoked.



Approved: 9/15/97 (Revisions Approved: 7/20/09, 7/7/20, 4/11/2022)

The Reading Public Library is committed to disseminating information that is of general interest to the community and provides spaces for the free distribution of handouts and the public posting of flyers, notices, and posters. The posting of notices on the bulletin boards does not imply endorsement by the Library.
All requests for distribution or posting of materials should be referred to the Borrower Services Desk. Library employees maintain bulletin boards and areas for distribution of materials. Materials posted or left for free distribution without approval from the Library will be discarded. A section may be reserved for library announcements. Because space is limited, the Library will give preference to materials that:

  • are from the town of Reading;
  • are from Reading organizations;
  • are from non-profit organizations;
  • announce events, activities, and services in a timely fashion;
  • are of a suitable size.

Posted materials shall not contain illegal, threatening or intimidating messages and shall not otherwise violate the “Patron Rights and Responsibilities Policy”.
In general, announcements of events maybe posted up to one month before the event. Posters of a general nature that do not advertise a specific date or event will be removed when space for other announcements becomes limited. The Library assumes no responsibility for the preservation or protection of materials posted or placed for free distribution.
In addition, the Reading Public Library does not permit the sale of materials by or on behalf of another agency, nor does it serve as a collection center unless specifically requested to do so for Municipal, State or Federal agencies. Special consideration will be given to publicity for services or programs presented by the Friends of the Library and the Reading Public Library Foundation. Other organizations may apply for special consideration to the Board of Library Trustees.

Approved May 2001; Amended January 10, 2005; Amended March 12, 2018; Amended September 10, 2018

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 programs and services that encourage frequent visits by children and their families to help develop a love of books, reading, and learning. However, library staff cannot provide child care or assume responsibility for children’s safety. Parents, guardians, teachers and caregivers, are responsible for the behavior and safety of children visiting the library. Staff cannot be placed in the position of supervising unattended children.


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


    • Children under the age of 9 must be accompanied and adequately supervised by a caregiver while in the Library
    • Children ages 9 to 11 should not be left unattended for longer than two hours at a time.
    • 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.
    • Parents or guardians are responsible for picking up children by the time the Library closes. Both children and adults need to be aware of library hours.
    • 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 them to the Police Station.
    • Staff members must fill out an incident report form and leave it for the director when the Police are called.
    • Library staff members will not transport children from the Library to any other location.
    • Parents, guardians, or caretakers who violate the rules stated above risk having their library privileges restricted or revoked.


Appropriate Use to Youth Spaces:

The Children’s Library and any other designated children’s space are reserved for use by children under the age of 12, their parents or caregivers, teachers, and adults interested in children’s literature while they are retrieving material from the collection. The Teen Room and any other designated teen space are reserved for teens in grades 6-12 and those who accompany them, and adults interested in Teen literature while they are retrieving material from the collection. Children and Teen programs and events are an extension of these youth spaces and thus this policy applies. Adults without a child or teen will not be allowed to attend youth events, without permission from the Reading Public Library staff.


The Children’s restroom is for the exclusive use of children and their caregivers.


Approved: 3/22

Statement of Policy:

Virtual meetings are available at no charge for Reading non-profit and non-commercial organizations, groups, or individuals engaged in educational, cultural, and civic activities. All virtual meetings must be open to the public for registration and attendance. Applicants for virtual meeting room privileges may not limit or discriminate admission for any person requesting admission to the meeting based on race, sex, color, creed, national origin, religious belief, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
Provided eligibility requirements are met, virtual meeting rooms are available regardless the organization’s, group’s, or individual’s beliefs and affiliations. Use of the Library’s virtual meeting rooms does not imply endorsement of the group’s or individual’s policies, beliefs, or programs by the Reading Public Library, Board of Library Trustees or the Town of Reading.
Virtual meetings are available to nonprofits that serve Reading, or Reading Residents with a valid library card provided that:
1. the meeting, event or program serves an educational, cultural, or civic purpose to the community.
2. Applicants do not charge any fees for registration or attendance.
3. meetings, events or programs are open to the public.
4. the primary clientele are Reading residents.
5. Applicants do not offer the sale of any goods or services.
1. Application must be completed and submitted online by an authorized representative for the organizations, groups, or individuals (“Applicant”). The Applicant is responsible for ensuring that virtual meetings are conducted in accordance with library rules and policy.
2. The library may request proof eligibility from the Applicant.
3. Virtual meetings may be reserved up to 90 days from the application date.
4. Virtual meetings maybe reserved for up to three hours and should include a minimum of 15 minutes for set up.
5. Virtual meetings are only available during the library’s hours of operation.
6. Virtual meetings must begin at least one hour before the library closes to public service.
7. Virtual meeting rooms are not available for social functions.
8. The Applicant must be over 18 and agree to be the designated responsible adult, remaining present at all times if the event involves minors.
9. All virtual meetings details and registration links will be publicly posted to the Reading Public Library’s Community Event Calendar.
10. All publicity materials for non-Library meetings, events or programs must state that the program is not endorsed or sponsored by the Reading Public Library, The Board of Library Trustees, or Library staff. The Applicant may include the Library address and location, but may not use the Library telephone number or email as a contact point.
11. Reading Public Library reserves the right to revoke permission previously granted if deemed appropriate. Failure to adhere to any of these guidelines may result in the cancellation of the organization’s, group’s, or individual’s reservation.
12. Any individual, group, or organization may be prohibited from participating in a virtual meeting in the future for violating any of the virtual meeting use provisions set forth above and on the application for use.
Adopted: 01/11/2021
Revised: 08/09/2021

The Reading Public Library’s History Room is available to all researchers. This policy is to ensure the preservation and longevity of the materials and applies equally to all persons.
This policy covers the space and all materials housed in the Library’s History Room. The collection includes Town Annual Reports, RMHS Yearbooks, Resident Lists, historical vital records, public documents, and other items deemed to be historically significant, or pertinent to the Town of Reading and its residents.
Due to the delicate and fragile nature of many of the materials in the History Room, the History Room will remain locked at all times. Researchers may make appointments to access the space and open-shelf collections. Items in secure storage require a special request and are retrieved by a library employee. Library employees are responsible for monitoring the light, humidity, and temperature requirements of the room.
Access to some items may not be available if an item is deemed too delicate for physical handling and view. Every effort will be made to provide access to a digital copy if available.
Patrons who engage in behavior that could cause damage to materials may be denied access.
Patrons may make advance or same-day appointments to access materials in the History Room. Appointments may be made online, by calling the library, or done in-person.
Patrons are checked-in at the Research and Reader’s Advisory Desk and need to provide proof of identification with a valid state or federal photo ID, or a valid library card from the NOBLE library system.
1. All materials in the History Room must be handled with care.
2. Items in this collection do not circulate.
3. Paper and pencils, a small purse or wallet, and mobile devices, such as a phone or laptop computer are permitted in the History Room.
4. Food, drink, and chewing gum are prohibited.
5. Pens are not permitted.
6. The library can provide pencils and notepads upon request.
7. Materials may not be leaned on, written on, folded, traced, or handled in any way likely to damage them.
8. Patrons may not adjust shades, furniture, or environmental controls
9. Briefcases, backpacks, and other bags are not permitted. The library will provide a locked space for the researcher’s belongings
10. Wifi is available
11. Items from secure storage must be requested a minimum of 45 minutes before the library closes.
The History Room is a quiet workspace. Cell phone conversations are not permitted.
Use of a flash is prohibited. Non-flash photography is allowed, so long as the item will not sustain damage in the process of handling, arranging, and photographing (See also: Copyright).
Patrons may request photocopies, digital images, and other reproductions of materials (See also: Copyright). Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and library staff will determine whether an item is too delicate to photocopy.
Patrons can complete a Reproduction of Material form; and all related fees are due at the time of the request.
A growing number of items from our collection have been digitized and digital surrogates can be freely accessed via the library’s website ( on the Local History and Genealogy page.
It is the responsibility of the patron to understand and comply with relevant copyright law. Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, sell, or display Reading Public Library materials can be requested by filling out a Permission to Use Materials form. Permission of the copyright owner should also be obtained, if not owned by Reading Public Library.
Information about patron’s research in the History Room, including their topics and the materials used, is kept strictly confidential.
Adopted: August 9, 2021