Library Policies

Loan Policy

The Edwards Public Library is the public library for the town of Southampton. Under the Massachusetts Regulations for Minimum Public Library Service, residents of Massachusetts communities with public libraries certified by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners are eligible for a free borrower’s card from Edwards Library. Library trustees reserve the right, on a case by case basis, to deny borrowing privileges to residents of decertified communities.Proof of your current mailing address will be required at the time of registration. Children under 18 may use their parent’s identification and must have a parent or guardian signature to be issued a library card.

Our loan periods are as follows:

Books, audio books and compact discs circulate for three weeks and may be renewed one time for an additional three week period unless there is a request for the item by another patron.

DVDs and magazines circulate for one week and may be renewed for an additional one week period unless there is a request for the item by another patron. Museum passes are available and are checked out for three (3) days.

Renewals can be done at the library (it is not necessary to bring in the item), by telephone, or online at our web site

If material is supplied to you by another CWMARS member library, their loan policy may differ from our policy. If material is overdue, the overdue notices will come from the library that owns the material. Although the Edwards Library will continue to charge no overdue fines, we will send bills for replacement costs on items due longer than four weeks.

Please bring your library card with you when you come to the library to borrow items. The first replacement of a lost or damaged card is free, after that replacements will cost $1.

Failure to comply with loan periods and/or repeat loan violations may result in a restriction of borrowing privileges, or in some cases, loss of borrowing privileges. The final decision regarding these actions rests with the Library Trustee Board.
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Community Meeting Room Policy

The Trustees of the Edwards Public Library have formulated this policy for the use of the Community Meeting Room to ensure that Southampton residents have the greatest possible access to educational and cultural opportunities. The Library encourages events that are free and open to the public. The room will be available for community use Monday – Saturday during library operating hours and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday until 9:00 pm

The Community Room is made available as a public service. Booking the room in no way constitutes an endorsement of the program or philosophy of the group or individuals using the facilities. The Trustees reaffirm the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights which states that facilities should be made available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliation of individuals or groups requesting its use.

The priority of the Community Room is to support programs and functions that further the goals of the Library. When not being used by the Library, the room is available to town boards, committees, non-profit educational, civic, cultural and environmental groups.

Neither the Staff, Board of Library Trustees nor the Town of Southampton shall be responsible for supervision of children, or for injury to persons or property that occur while the meeting room, kitchenette or common areas are being used. Those attending meetings may not leave unsupervised children in the library. For more information refer to the Unattended Children Policy.

Regulations and Procedures

  1. Applicant must be 21 years of age or older.
  2. Application must be made at least one (1) week prior to use. The Library Director or designated staff will notify applicant of approval within two (2) days. If event is cancelled, the Library Director or designated staff should be notified immediately. Failure to give notice of cancellation may result in loss of Community Meeting Room privileges.
  3. Reservations may be made up to three (3) months in advance.
  4. Groups meeting during non-open library hours must pick up the key at the Southampton Police Department the day of the event. The key must be picked up by the person who applied to use the Community Meeting Room. The key must be returned to the Police Department immediately after the conclusion of the event. Failure to return the key to the Police Department at the conclusion of the event may result in the group being denied further use of the Meeting Room during non-operating hours. Loss of the key will result in a charge of $25.00.
  5. Events must end by 9:00 p.m.
  6. Advertisements and notices for non-library programs must note that the Edwards Public Library is not a sponsor of the event.
  7. If the Library is closed due to inclement weather, all programs will be cancelled.
  8. Chairs, tables, screen, lectern and use of the kitchenette area are available. Groups are responsible for their set-up. Chairs and tables must be returned to their original location. Storage space is not available.
  9. Light refreshments may be served and must be consumed in the Community Meeting Room.
  10. The Community Meeting Room must be left clean. All garbage and trash must be removed from premises. If there is a clean-up required after the event, there will be a $50 fee charged to the group.
  11. Tables must be covered when glue, paint or other materials that could mark furniture are used.
  12. Smoking and alcoholic beverages are prohibited on Library property.
  13. Materials may not be sold at the event without permission of the Library Director ore designated staff.
  14. Nothing may be hung on the walls without permission of the Library Director or designated staff. Persons wishing to display art in the Community Meeting Room should refer to the Library’s Art Exhibit Policy.
  15. No open flames of any kind are allowed.
  16. Children attending events must be supervised by group members. Pick-up of children must be monitored by the group.
  17. A maximum of 40 people may occupy the Community Meeting Room or common hallways. The number of people attending meeting/program must be reported on feedback form. Comments about the room are welcome.
  18. Applicant may not use amplification, microphones, or music without prior approval of the Library Director. The Director has absolute discretion in allowing or denying amplification, microphones, or music.
  19. Applicant is responsible for any and all damage to building, books, furniture, fixture or grounds, including costs for cleanup, during their use of the library.
  20. The Edwards Public Library is not responsible for the loss of any personal belongings or any injuries sustained during meetings/events not sponsored by the Library.
  21. Failure to comply with these Regulations and Procedures may jeopardize applicant’s future use of the room.

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Patron Behavior Policy

The purpose of the Patron Behavior Policy is to establish guidelines that will ensure the safety of Library users and staff, as well as the protection of Library resources, grounds, and facilities from damage.

Unacceptable behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • Any illegal activity
  • Smoking and vaping
  • Eating and drinking in the Library near the computers. Water and coffee are permitted in the Library, but not near the computers. Soft drinks and juice are prohibited in the Library. Exceptions for special events may be made by the Library Director
  • Intoxication from drugs or alcohol
  • Creating a disturbance by making noise, talking loudly, or engaging in other disruptive conduct (MGL, Chapter 272, Section 41)
  • Misuse of the restrooms
  • Running
  • Misuse or mutilation of any Library materials or resources
  • Verbal, visual, or physical harassment or paying unwelcome attention to Library staff or patrons
  • Unauthorized soliciting, campaigning, and petitioning in the Library or on Library grounds
  • Bringing in animals, except for service animals, exceptions may be made for special programs
  • Using cell phones in the Library. When entering the building, patrons should turn cell phone ringers off or put on silent. If a call must be made or taken, patrons need to use the entrance hall or exit the building.

All bicycles must be left outside in the rack.

Persons without shoes and shirts will not be allowed in the Library.

Patrons who exhibit any of the above unacceptable behaviors are subject to removal from the building and/or restriction of Library privileges. The Southampton Police may be called, if necessary.

Parent/Guardian Responsibility for Minor Child

Parents are responsible for monitoring the behavior of all children using the Library. However, for children who are acting inappropriately, staff reserves the right to intervene. A warning will be given and if disruptive behavior persists, the child will be asked to leave, and their parent will be contacted.
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Unattended Child Policy

Children of all ages are welcome in the library. However, it is the responsibility of parents and caregivers to ensure their safety and appropriate behavior. The Library staff is not responsible for the supervision of children left unattended by their parent/guardians or caregivers. To ensure the safety and well being of the children in the library, the following policies have been established:

  • All children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian or caregiver who must be in the immediate vicinity of and in visual contact with the child. An exception would be children attending a library program that does not require a parent/guardian in the room. However, the parent/guardian or caregiver is expected to remain in the library building and immediately join the child at the end of the program.
  • Parents/guardians or caregivers of children between the ages of 10 and 12 must be in the building while the child is using the library facilities.
  • Teenagers are defined as children over the age of 12 and are treated as young adult users. However, they are still legally the responsibility of their parents and should have emergency contact information available in the library patron record as well as in their possession in case of an emergency.
  • When parents and children are attending classes or programs in the library meeting room, parents are responsible for the direct supervision under the age of 10.
  • Children under the age of 10 may attend a library program that does not require a parent/guardian/caregiver in the room. However, the parent/guardian/caregiver is expected to remain in the library building and immediately join the child at the end of the program. Children under the age of 10 not taking part in the class or event must be either in the meeting room with the parent or under constant supervision of a child who is 12 or older.
  • Parents attending adult programs in the library must supervise children under the age of 10 unless those children are under the supervision of a child 12 or older.
  • Parents are asked to ensure their children maintain a level of conversation, behavior and play appropriate to a library. No one shall disrupt the enjoyment of the library for others. Exploration of the collection is encouraged. However, correct organization ensures that all patrons can easily make selections. Healthy respect for our books and toys is appreciated. We expect patrons to enjoy them and put them away when done.
  • Parents are responsible for monitoring the behavior of all their children. However, for children who are acting inappropriately, staff reserves the right to intervene. A warning will be given and if disruptive behavior persists, the child will be asked to leave.
  • Children and their parent/guardian or caregiver should be aware of the closing times of the library. This is important as the closing times vary throughout the week. If a child is left at the library without a ride or assistance in getting home at closing time, every attempt will be made to contact a family member or caregiver by telephone. If a child is not picked up at closing time, library staff will notify the Southampton Police Department. Staff will stay with the child until police or a parent/guardian arrives. In the event that a parent/guardian does not arrive, the child will be placed in the care of the Southampton Police Department. Please note that the Police Department is required by law to contact the Department of Social Services in this situation. If the situation recurs, library privileges will be revoked. Under no circumstances will library staff transport any child from the library during or after business hours.
  • The Edwards Public Library staff and trustees assume no responsibility for children of any age left unattended in the library.

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Internet Use and Safety Policy


The Library provides access to the Internet to help meet the diverse needs of its patrons. Internet resources offer a wealth of information that augments library collections. The library has no responsibility for content found on the Internet, including information that may be inaccurate, out-of-date, offensive or illegal. The Edwards Public Library Board of Trustees endorses the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights, a policy that protects a person’s freedom to choose library materials free from censorship.


The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Internet is a forum of free expression, and as such is protected by the First Amendment. The Library does not use filtering software to block access to the Internet or the World Wide Web.


Parents and guardians. not library staff, are expected to set and enforce rules for their children’s use of the Internet. Parents are expect to accompany children under 10 years old in using the Internet. In addition, parents or legal guardians must assume responsibility for ensuring their own minor children’s safety and security when using email, instant messaging, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, chatrooms, or other forms of electronic resource information.


The public and staff may only use the Internet and Electronic Resources for lawful purposes. The posting, transmitting, accessing or displaying of obscene matrial, as defined by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272, Section 31, is prohibited. Conduct which would violate any state or federal law is prohibited.

Internet access is a privilege that the Library may provide to patrons, and comes with certain responsibilities. Unacceptable uses of these resources by anyone will result in the suspension of access privileges.

Examples of Unacceptable Uses of the Internet and Electronic Resources include, but are not limited to:

  • Using the Internet for illegal purposes or for the transmission of threatening, harassing, defamatory or obscene materials. Obscene materials, as determined by the office of the Massachusetts General, are illegal.
  • Unauthorized copying of copyright-protected material in any format
  • Violation of another user’s privacy
  • Unauthorized access to remote computer systems, including so-called “hacking”
  • Destruction of or damage to equipment, software, or data belonging to the Library or to other users
  • Attempting to install, delete or modify library software; attempting to gain unauthorized entry to the Library’s network or to cause degradation of system performance
  • Moving or changing the arrangement of Library computers and attached equipment.

Children’s Use of the Internet

The Library is aware of parental and governmental concerns about child safety on the Internet. The Library also cares deeply about children and has put in place policies, procedures, and information for parents to ensure that children have and enriching and safe online experience.

While instruction is provided and help offered, librarians cannot monitor individual use of the Internet. Access to the Internet carries with it the potential to deliberately or accidentally access inaccurate, inappropriate, or offensive material. Therefore parents and guardians are encouraged to take an active role in their children’s use of the Internet and to talk about their personal values, expectations, and rules for safe behavior when using this resource.

Parents should encourage their children to speak to the librarian if they get to a web site that makes them feel uncomfortable. The Library makes available copies of brochures to help parents better guide their children’s use of the Internet and give basic Internet safety tips for children and adults.

All electronic resources available through the Library are provided equally to all library users. The Library affirms the right and responsibility of parents or legal guardians to guide their children’s use of all library resources, including the Internet. As is the case with all other library materials, any restriction of a child’s access to the Internet is the responsibility of the children’s parent or legal guardian.

Parents or legal guardians, not the library staff, are responsible for the Internet, email, chat rooms and electronic resource information selected and/or accessed by their children.


The Library will protect the privacy of patrons in their use of the Internet to the fullest extent possible under the law. The Library keeps no permanent record of the Internet sites visited, electronic databases used or the searches performed by individuals. Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78, Section 7, names and addresses of public libary patrons as well as the materials borrowed or information accessed electronically are considered not to be part of the public record.

The Library cannot be responsible for any confidential or financial information patrons may send over the Internet. A person’s use of the Internet leaves electronic information in the public domain. Internet communications are not private, nor are they confidential.

Consequences of Usage Violations

Library staff will take action to implement this Internet Policy and will report violations of the policy to the Library Director for follow-up with the proper authorities.

Illegal use of the Internet will be considered grounds for a “no trespass” order to be served to the offender. A no tresspass order is a notice from the Police Department stating that the offender will not be allowed on Library property or in the building.

Any Internet crime that can be documented will be reported to the appropriate authorities.

Failure to follow the Internet Use and Safety Policy Guidelines, or action contrary to Library Policy may result in revocation of use privileges for three months. A second infraction will result in a one year revocation of Internet and electronic resources use privileges. Any suspension or revocation of privileges may be reviewed upon written request to the Libary Director.


The Edwards Public Library does not actively monitor and has no control over the information accessed through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its contents, authority, reliability, currency or use. Neither the Board of Trustees of the Edwards Public Library, the Library staff, nor the Town of Southampton is liable for any negative consequences that may occur as a result of using the Library’s Internet connection.

Guidelines for Library Internet Use

Computer Use

Computer time is on a first come, first served basis. You may be asked to present a valid library card or driver’s license in order to use the Library’s computers. All users must sign in on the signup sheet. Users of Adult computers may use a computer for 1 hour. If the computer is available, the time may be extended at the discretion of the staff person in charge. The computers may be used for a maximum of 3 hours per day by any one user. Patrons are assigned to one computer at a time.

Computers in the Children’s Area of the Library are reserved for the exclusive use of children 14 years and under and their parents/guardians or caregiver. Children 8 or younger must be accompanied by a parent/guardian or caregiver. Adults not accompanying minors are excluded from using computers in the Children’s Area. Use of computers in the Children’s Area is restricted to 1 hour.

Internet and Electronic Resources are available during the Library’s public service hours. Workstations will be shut down 15 minutes before the Library closes.

Users are expected to have a basic knowledge of computers. Staff is not available to set up or instruct patrons on the use of emaiL or any other computer function.


As a protection against viruses, there must be no downloading of information from external devices or downloading of information from the Internet, or any other source, to the Library’s public Internet computers.


Users are responsible for understanding and adhering to the Internet Use and Safety Policy.


There will be a charge of $.20 per printed page. Payment may be made at the circulation desk.

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Volunteer Policy

Edwards Public Library is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all volunteers without regard to race, ethnicity,  religious affiliation, national origin, beliefs, age, disability or serious illness, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

The Trustees of the Edwards Public Library encourage individuals and groups to volunteer their time and efforts in the service of the Edwards Public Library.

Volunteers provide important support to the Edwards Public Library staff and perform tasks that are critical to the mission of the Library. They may perform a wide variety of duties, guided by the talents and interests of the volunteers themselves, and by where the library can make best use of their assistance.

Volunteer schedules will be set by the Director and the volunteer. If a volunteer cannot make their scheduled time on a particular day, they are expected to notify the Library staff as soon as possible. If a volunteer’s service does not meet the needs of the Library, the Director may opt to discontinue those services.

We welcome volunteers of all ages, starting at the age of 12. Volunteers between the ages of 12 and 14 will be limited to one hour per week of service; exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Library Director.  Parents/guardians are expected to come into the Library to pick up their children at the end of their volunteer session. If the parent/guardian in unexpectedly delayed, they must notify the Library Director. if a child is left without a ride or assistance in getting home at closing time, staff will attempt to reach a family member or caregiver by telephone. If unable to reach anyone, staff will contact the Southampton Police Department and will stay with the child until the police or a parent/caregiver arrives. (Please see Unattended Child Policy for full details).

Application Process for Volunteering

  • Prospective volunteers are requested to fill out an application form. Applicants who are under the age of 18 must have signed permission from their parent or legal guardian.
  • Interviews will be scheduled with the Library Director for those interested in working in the Adult area or with the Children’s Librarian for those interested in working in the Children’s area.

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Materials Selection Policy


The Edwards Public Library endeavors through its collections, programs, and services to help meet the informational, cultural, and recreational needs of all Southampton residents.  A top priority of the Library is to provide popular materials to library patrons who are composed primarily of retired and working adults, students, and preschoolers.  A secondary role is to provide support for the educational endeavors of children from preschool through high school by offering a carefully selected collection of books and skilled personal guidance.

The Library provides service to all, within the context of the above objectives, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, beliefs, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or serious disease.


Ultimate responsibility for the materials selection policy lies with the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees delegates to the Director the selection of library materials and the development of the collection.


The objective of selection is to collect those books and other Library materials that will inform, entertain, and contribute to the enrichment of the mind and spirit.  Selection decisions are made on the basis of staff judgment and expertise, patron requests, and by evaluating reviews in library reviewing journals and other library selection tools.  Materials are evaluated on the significance of the entire work rather than individual parts.  The following principles will guide selection:

  • Current usefulness or permanent value
  • Authority and accuracy
  • Importance as a record of the times
  • Relation to the existing collection
  • Relative importance in comparison to other works on the subject
  • High standards of quality in content, format, and binding
  • Price, availability, and demand
  • Availability of materials in other libraries within the consortium

The Library will review decisions regarding specific materials upon written request.  A form for this purpose is available at the circulation desk.


The principles stated in the adult materials selection policy are applicable to the selection of materials for children.  The Library cooperates with the school libraries so that the services of the two agencies may complement each other.  The major function of the school library is to provide curriculum related materials.  The Edwards Library seeks to provide a more comprehensive collection.  The children’s collection is carefully selected for children of all ages, with emphasis on materials which stimulate imagination, entertain, develop reading ability, and that provide sound information and understanding of the world they live in.


The collection of the Edwards Public Library is available to all community residents and registered borrowers during regular Library hours.  Library materials are not marked to show approval or disapproval of the contents, and no book or other item is sequestered except for the purpose of protecting it from injury or theft.  The use of rare or scholarly items of great value is controlled to the extent required to protect them from harm.

Responsibility for the use of materials by children and young adults rests with their parents or legal guardians.  The selection of material for the adult collection and access to it is not restricted by the fact that children may obtain materials their parents consider objectionable.


The Library recognizes that it is impossible for a small library to provide a balanced comprehensive collection that is strong enough to meet all community needs.  As a member of CWMARS, an automated resource sharing network, and MLS, a state supported regional library system, the Edwards Library supplements its resources with materials borrowed from other libraries through these larger entities.

Textbooks are not ordinarily purchased by the Library unless material in another form is not conveniently available.

The Library acknowledges a particular interest in local history and in works of local authors and will endeavor to collect materials by authors from Southampton and the towns which border it.


The Library welcomes gifts of books and other materials with the understanding that it will evaluate them in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials.  The Library cannot appraise gift materials for tax purposes.  The Library will, upon request, provide receipts which indicate the number and condition of items received.  When the Library receives a cash gift for the purpose of memorial books or collections, the selection will be made by the Library.  The name of the donor or person memorialized will be designated on a special bookplate.


In order to maintain a collection which is current, reliable, in good condition, and which is related to the needs and interests of the residents of Southampton, materials are withdrawn on a systematic and continuing basis.  Materials are discarded when they are judged to be dated, inaccurate, seldom used, in poor condition, or otherwise no longer appropriate.  The criteria used in selection also applies to the process of withdrawing material from the collection.  Replacement materials will be considered using the same criteria for the selection of new materials.

Materials withdrawn from the Edwards Public Library will be disposed of in a manner consistent with their quality and condition.   Materials no longer useful to the Library will be given to the Friends of the Edwards Public Library to be sold for the benefit of the Library.   Materials removed because of dated content or poor condition will not be imposed on another library or institution and will be discarded.


The Edwards Public Library endorses the principles of the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement adopted by the American Library Association which are appended.


This statement of policy will be revised as times and circumstances require.


  • Library Bill of Rights – adopted June 18, 1948, amended February 2, 1967, and June 23, 1980, by the American Library Association (ALA) Council
  • Freedom to Read Statement – adopted June 25, 1953; revised January 28, 1972, January 16, 1991, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee
  • Request for Reconsideration Form

Approved by the Board of Trustees February 2023

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