The South Berwick Public Library serves the all the citizens of the town of South Berwick from infants to elders.  We work to deliver useful and meaningful ways for individual life-long learning, employment, empowerment, creativity, and engagement in our world.

The Library Advisory Board and the Library Director develop and share policies that help guide our decision-making and operations so that we can all enjoy and safely use our public library.
Visitor Behavior Policy
The South Berwick Public Library asks all library visitors to be considerate in using the shared space of the library building and grounds.  The South Berwick Library Advisory Board has endorsed the following guidelines to maintain a safe and enjoyable atmosphere.

  • No running
  • Proper attire includes shirts and shoes (pants go without saying!)
  • Quiet areas must be respected
  • Food is restricted to a designated area in the library and drinks must have covers.
  • Persons may not engage in behavior that is illegal or infringes on the comfortable and safe use of the library by others, disrupts the operations of the library and/or monopolizes the time of the staff.
  • Parents are responsible for the behavior of their children.
  • Unattended children must be self-sufficient. If not, the parent or caregiver will be located and failing that, local police will be contacted.
  • Everyone must obey all rules about computer use including the Internet use policy, signing in, and time limits.
  • Animals may not be brought into the building except for certified service animals, service animals being trained by a certified trainer, and animals approved for a library program.
  • Soliciting and petitioning are not allowed.
  • Smoking, open flames, and alcohol are not allowed.
  • To ensure the safety and well-being of library staff, hostile, intimidating, or threatening behavior directed at staff may result in a suspension of library privileges.
Persons who ignore staff requests to comply with these guidelines may be asked to leave the property. Persons who repeatedly violate this policy or pose a threat to the comfort and safety of others may have their library privileges restricted or suspended.  Appeals to a restriction may be made to the Library Advisory Board.

Approved 5/2022 by the Library Advisory Board
South Berwick Public Library Internet Use & Safety Policy
The South Berwick Public Library is dedicated to providing free access to information, educational materials, and entertainment to all who enter.  We offer electronic information networks as an essential component of our mission.

The Internet is an unregulated entity and the library cannot control the material available on it nor is the library responsible for the content, quality, accuracy, or currency of any information found on the Internet. All users are expected to use electronic information networks in a responsible and ethical manner. They should exercise good judgment in accessing sites as they are not always secure and they may encounter sites that are disturbing, offensive, or illegal.

In accordance with federal statutes of the Child Internet Protection Act our computers are equipped with a filter by our service provider, the Maine School and Library Network.  The purpose of the content filter is to prohibit access by to materials deemed obscene or otherwise harmful to minors, and to child pornography.  Adults over 18 may ask a staff member to remove the block for legal adult material.

Library staff have various levels of training on the Internet and other electronic devices and will assist users as time allows.

Computer use:

  • Users must sign in at the desk to use a computer station.
  • Computer time is limited to ½ hour.  After that time is up, you may remain on the computer until another person requests the service. Computers are available up until 15 minutes prior to closing.
  • Parents are responsible for establishing and enforcing family computer use guidelines for their minor children.  Parents should discuss computer use and safety on the Internet with their children including inappropriate contact, conduct, and content, especially when using email, chat, social media, or other forms of direct electronic communication.” Adults must accompany children under 7 years old when they use the workstations.  Children 13 and under must use the Children’s Area computers unless they are accompanied by a parent.
Restrictions include but are not limited to the following:

  • Users may not use electronic information networks to harass others.
  • Users may not alter library hardware and software by any means.
  • Users may not violate copyright laws or software licensing agreements.
  • Users may not use, install or download material to the hard drive of library computers.
  • Users will not display or print material not appropriate to a public setting.
  • Users may not disclose, use, or disseminate the personal information of a minor without express authorization from the parents or guardians of the minor.
  • Users may not engage in unauthorized access such as “hacking”, or other illegal activities.
  • Use of the electronic information networks may not violate any Federal or State law.
  • Printing charges are .10 per page (b & w) .25 per page (color).
Failure to comply with these guidelines will result in revocation of computer workstation and wireless access privileges at this library, and may also have legal consequences.  Patrons wishing to appeal loss of privileges may contact the Library Advisory Board.

Approved  Library Advisory Board Town of South Berwick 10/23/2020
Meeting Room Policy
South Berwick Public Library Meeting Space Policy   

The South Berwick Public Library offers rooms for public meetings as one of its services to the community.  Space is made available at no charge to area non-profit organizations, students and tutors who are engaged in literacy activities, and individuals and groups during regular library hours.

The library subscribes to the equitable use of its facilities regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of the individuals or groups requesting use.  Use of the meeting room does not an endorsement by the Library of any group’s policies or beliefs or programs.  Groups may not imply in their advertising or during meetings that the Library sponsors or supports the meeting, group, or presentation without permission from the library director.

In keeping with Article V of the Library Bill of Rights, all meetings held in the library are expected to be free and open to the public.  The Library Director must approve any other use before a room reservation is confirmed.

Businesses and for profit entities may use the meeting rooms when presenting informational programs that are free and open to the public.  Closed meetings will be charged a rental fee for use of the town facility and must comply with all other regulations for rented space.

Reservations for the space may be made on a first-come first-serve basis with the following priorities:

Library sponsored programs, town sponsored meetings/programs, South Berwick non-profit groups, and literacy tutoring, all others.

The library has two areas that may be reserved during regular library hours for up to 2 hours at a time:

  • Community Room: Seats 20 people theater style or accommodates 4-5 tables and chairs
  • Study Room: Seats 6 people at a table
Individuals or groups wishing to use one of the meeting rooms must check with staff to find out if the room is available.  A designated sponsor must fill out a Meeting Room Use Agreement prior to confirmation of a reservation and take responsibility for following all rules.  Businesses and for profit use of rooms in any town facility requires a certificate of insurance.   Groups may purchase one-time insurance through the Town of South Berwick website TULIP program on-line.

The Library Director reserves the right to restrict the frequency with which a space may be reserved in order to make it more widely available and reserves the right to deny a reservation.  Appeals may be made to the Library Advisory Board.


  1. Groups using the Community Room are responsible for setting the room up for functions and for restoring it to its original condition after use.
  2. Refreshments may be served and must be confined to the Program Room. Groups are responsible for providing all of their own supplies and cleaning up completely after their program.  There are no kitchen facilities and alcoholic beverages are not allowed at any town facility.  Open flames are prohibited.
  3. Groups using the Meeting Room must not disrupt the normal functions of the library.
  4. The library reserves the right to cancel a reservation by any group should the room be needed for a library sponsored event though every effort will be made to work around already scheduled meetings.
  5. Any group that wishes to show a film as part of an event must ensure that it possesses the public performance rights to that film. Any unauthorized public performance of a film is a violation of federal copyright law.  Films license rights may be checked at http://library.movlic.com/
  6. The organization or individual arranging for room use will be responsible for paying for any and all damages to the property of the Library and for any personal injuries which may result from such use of the rooms. The library does not assume any liability for groups or individuals attending a meeting in the building, or any responsibility for equipment, supplies, or other items brought to the library by any group or individual attending a meeting. This responsibility will extend to paying for any attorney’s fees incurred by the Town of South Berwick or the Library in protecting itself from such claims.
  7. Should security be required, the group is responsible for providing and paying for security.

Approved by the South Berwick Public Library Advisory Board September 15, 2020
Circulation Policy
It is the philosophy of the South Berwick Public Library to provide service to all without discrimination. The library seeks to have as few restrictions on the flow of information as possible while protecting the community’s library resources.

Confidentiality of Library Records    Maine State Law Sec. 1. 27 MRSA §121 https://legislature.maine.gov/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=SP0127&item=3&snum=127

Maine State laws provides confidentiality for patrons of personally identifying information, including but not limited to the library patron’s name, address, phone number and e-mail address and information that identifies a library patron as having requested, obtained or used books or other materials in any medium at the library or provided by the library.

A record designated confidential by subsection 1 may be released only with the express written permission of the library patron involved; to officers, employees, volunteers and agents of the library to the extent necessary for library administrative purposes; or as the result of a court order.
Registration Requirements
Library users must be registered with a library card and account to borrow materials.

Applicants must have identification that shows proof of residence in South Berwick, Berwick or North Berwick, Eliot, or Rollinsford NH to register for a free library membership.  Forms of ID include, but are not limited to, a driver’s license, student ID, rent receipt, utility bill, check book, or other piece of mail showing a residential address (a P.O. Box is not acceptable information.)  These can be on paper or on a person’s phone. Nonresidents who pay South Berwick property taxed may register for free borrowing by showing a receipt of their tax bill.

Applicants under 14 years old must have a parent or guardian (with valid ID and proof of residency) visit the library with them and give their consent on the application form before a child can register.  Applicants 14-18 may use their school ID, or communication from RSU35 on their phone as proof of residency or may ask a parent to show their proof of residency.

Patron memberships are added to the library database and a card is issued. Friends, family members, or visitors will be allowed to borrow items on someone else’s registration only with their express permission in a note, by phone conversation, the library card in hand, or by their presence at the library. Anyone found to be using another person’s registration to borrow materials without their consent may be denied borrowing privileges of their own.  All registrations expire after 1 year, at which time library staff updates address and phone number information and sets a new 1-year expiration date.

Any membership that has an expiration date three years prior, will be deleted from the database and the person will be required to re-register.

Complimentary cards are issued to town employees and anyone who teaches in the public school system.  They must show an RSU35 school system paycheck stub in addition to valid personal ID.

Institutions and organizations in the South Berwick area may apply for borrowing privileges.  The registration must be signed by the head of the organization who agrees to take financial responsibility for charges against the institution’s registration including damages and replacement costs.  The institution is responsible for naming people who may use the registration.

Non-resident patrons may register for borrowing privileges by showing valid ID and paying a fee. All family members use one registration when borrowing.
Eligibility to Borrow
Individuals presenting valid library cards are eligible to borrow materials from the South Berwick Public Library as follows:

1 No materials on the account have a billed status (3 weeks overdue)

  1. The account has no late fees in excess of $5.00
  2. No materials borrowed from another library for them are overdue in any amount
The library staff may not waive these rules without permission from the library director.  Items may be held for a short period to allow the patron to correct the situation.


The Maine library community reciprocal borrowing program allows a card holder to use a South Berwick Public Library card at any participating library in the state of Maine.  Items borrowed from other libraries are the responsibility of the individual who borrows them and are subject to all rules and regulations of the lending library.  Check with other libraries for any limits imposed on borrowers through the reciprocal borrowing program.


The library charges card holders for the replacement cost of lost and damaged items.  The library may accept a new copy of the same item, purchased by the borrower, in lieu of money which benefits the library and can cost the borrower less as well.


Fines are charged on late materials at .05/day per item. Waiving fees requires senior staff approval.


South Berwick Public Library circulates materials that the town owns and materials coming into the system from other libraries.  Patrons may borrow up to 50 items at a time. Items that have holds on them by others in the system cannot be renewed.

Format                                                      Loan Period           Renewals
Books, Audiobooks, and Movies———–3 weeks————–1 renewal
Ukuleles—————————————–1 month————–0 renewals
Wheelchair————————————-as needed
Walker——————————————-as needed


MILS———————————————2 weeks————-1 renewal

MaineCat————————————–varies by library—1 renewal

Reference books do not circulate.  Upon request, patrons with impeccable library records may check out some reference materials for short periods with the approval of the library director.
Holds may be placed by patrons through MILS, in person, over the phone, or by email.  Patrons will be notified when the materials are available, and items will be held for 1 week before being returned to the shelf or the lending library.

Responsibility for the administration and interpretation of this policy rests with the Library Director.

Approved by the Library Advisory Board March 16, 2021
Reference Services
Reference Services Policy

The South Berwick Public Library serves a diverse public with unique individual needs and levels of ability to conduct research independently.  At times of peak activity within the library, it is mandatory that rules for providing reference assistance be established.

The Reference Interview – Definition

A reference transaction is an information contact which involves knowledge, use, recommendations, interpretation, or instruction in the use of information sources by the library staff.  It includes information and referral to materials of all formats, other institutions, or people inside or outside the library, by any form of communication.  Directional information or questions about rules or policies are not reference transactions.

The Library Advisory Board and library director of the Library encourage staff of all levels to pursue continuing education opportunities which will enable them to better meet the needs of the library’s patrons.  All staff members receive in-house training regarding appropriate responses to patron questions, including reference questions.  This training includes reference interviewing techniques, reader’s advisory service, and bibliographic instruction.  All staff members are taught to treat each question asked with respect insofar as the level of assistance required and the topic of the question.  Names of users and the transactions that occur between users and the staff are confidential and not discussed outside a professional context.

Reference service and materials are available to all regardless of the age, race, sex, social, or economic status of the patron.  Reference service and materials are available during all hours the library is open and are provided in response to all forms of inquiry including but not limited to patrons in the library, the telephone, email, and TTY.  The reference questions of patrons visiting the library are given the highest priority.  All requests for information receive an answer or response within a day if the library is open.  Questions that cannot be answered with onsite resources are referred to another agency.  Such referrals are verified and/or mediated by library staff.

In the instance of legal, medical, investment, or tax reference questions, the staff may only guide the patron to the material available on the topic of interest.  The staff may not evaluate or interpret the information provided nor may the staff define the meaning of terms, offer investment advice, select income tax forms, or serve as a surrogate for a professional in any of the fields listed above.  If all materials within the library are beyond the understanding of the patron, the patron will be advised to consult with their professional from the above listed fields for additional information or advice.

Reference materials regardless of format, may not be removed from the library.

Telephone Reference Service

The library provides telephone reference service during the hours of library operation.  Priority attention is given to patrons who are in the building and needing assistance.  If possible, all information inquiries are handled on a first come-first served basis.  If the library staff cannot provide immediate help, patrons wanting service will be contacted as soon as possible.

Photocopy Service

The library provides a photocopy machine for the patron’s convenience and to protect the library collection.  Copyright laws are to be followed by all patrons making photocopies.  The library has no responsibility for personal violations of copyright law.

Approved by the Library Advisory Board February 17, 2021
Volunteer Policy
The South Berwick Public Library volunteers are a significant addition to the Library’s staff.  Volunteers perform a wide variety of tasks that are vital to the library.  The following policy is designed to promote a satisfying experience for the Library and the volunteer.

Definition of a Volunteer

One who performs a service of his/her own free will; one who contributes time, energy, and talents directly or on behalf of the South Berwick Public Library and is not paid by Library funds.  All volunteers must be accepted and enrolled by the Library prior to performance of assigned tasks.

Using Volunteers

To achieve the vision and mission of the South Berwick Public Library, we view the active participation of citizens, of a variety of ages, as a valuable resource to the Library.  After fulfilling Library procedures, the Library accepts and encourages the involvement of volunteers at most levels of the Library and within appropriate programs and activities.  Volunteers have the right to be given meaningful assignments, the right to be treated as an equal, the right to effective supervision, the right to full involvement and participation and the right to recognition of good work.

Guidelines for Volunteers

  1. Each volunteer is required to wear a volunteer badge.
  2. Volunteers will receive regular training from the appropriate supervisor.
  3. Report to the supervisor at the beginning and end of each shift.
  4. A background check may be made on each adult volunteer.
  5. Volunteers will make note of time donated in the Volunteer Notebook.
  6. Volunteers will show respect to patrons, other volunteers and staff.
  7. Should a Volunteer have a grievance with a staff person, another volunteer or library patron, every attempt will be made to handle the situation through the Library Director or appropriate supervisor.
  8. The South Berwick Public Library reserves the right to terminate the services of the volunteer if merited.
  9. Volunteers may not be used to establish and maintain new library services.
  10. Volunteers will not be used to replace or reduce the number of paid staff.
  11. Volunteers will be covered with respect to liability insurance in relation to their duties.
  12. Volunteers should expect to fulfill a commitment agreed upon with the Library.
  13. Volunteers are recognized as contributors to the goals and services of the Library.
  14. Volunteers are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of all library information. Failure to maintain confidentiality will result in immediate termination of the volunteer’s role at the Library.
  15. The Library staff will, upon request, provide letters of reference for the volunteer, if deemed appropriate.
  16. All volunteers are registered by completing an application form.
  17. Each registered volunteer will be interviewed by the Library Director and/or the Volunteer Coordinator. Once approved for service, every attempt will be made to match the skills with the available volunteer positions.
  18. All personal information about the volunteer is for internal use only.
  19. Parental permission is required for all junior volunteers (under age 18).
  20. If you will be late or absent, notify your supervisor or the person in charge as soon as possible.
  21. If you decide to terminate your service to the Library, notify your supervisor as soon as possible.
  22. Volunteers should refer patron questions to the staff.
Sample Tasks for Volunteers

  • Shelf reading
  • Material shelving
  • Help with programs and projects
  • Light cleaning assignments
  • Processing new materials
  • General clerical work
  • Special events
Other assignments will depend on the unique skill set of the volunteer

Benefits of Volunteering

  • Feeling good about yourself
  • A feeling of accomplishment
  • Being of service to your community
  • Recognition by staff, community, friends, etc.
  • Chances of continuing education opportunities
  • Meet new people and make new friends
Approved by the Library Advisory Board March 16, 2021
Community Bulletin Board and Handout Policy
The South Berwick Public Library encourages the display of informational posters and brochures in the lobby of the library promoting non-profit, civic, cultural, educational, charitable, and recreational events of interest to the community.

All items for posting or distribution must be presented to the staff for approval; library staff will be responsible for the placement and removal of materials.

Preference will be given first to library information, then to items of a timely nature, and to organizations that have an affiliation with the town of South Berwick.

Printed materials promoting programs or projects of a personal or commercial nature may not be displayed.  Materials of this kind may be distributed via the “Local Business & Services” and “Get Involved!  Local Classes, and Programs and Interest Groups” notebooks.

Posters promoting religious events sponsored by local denominational groups may be displayed.

Informational or political events may be displayed.  No campaign materials or petitions are permitted.

Distribution and posting of items by the library does not indicate endorsement of the issues, events, or services promoted by those materials.

Items left or posted without approval will be removed and discarded without notice.

The Library Director reserves the right to remove and discard notices at any time for any reason.

The Library Director and the Library Advisory Board reserve the right to deem a notice or brochure inappropriate for posting or distribution.

Right of Appeal:

Appeals to this policy may be made to the Library Advisory Board.

Approved by the South Berwick Public Library Advisory Board September 15, 2020