Vassalboro Public Library Covid-19 Policies 

June 2020 (revised December 2020)

Objective: To resume operations in a way that helps mitigate health risks to staff, patrons and volunteers while also providing appropriate levels of services to the public.  Any patron who does not abide by the following guidelines may be asked to leave the library. 

Service Levels:

Stage 1 Service Level: Curbside requests: circulation of books, audiobooks, and DVDs by library member request and pickup (no browsing or in-library self-selection). 

1. Patrons will be encouraged to call or email us with requests. 

2. Staff will handle books with a mask and wipe-down the items with 70% Alcohol before putting in a bag and leaving outside on a bookshelf or stool.  Library members will return books via book-drop. 

3. Returned items will be sorted and left in the entryway for at least 96 hours, and returned into our system after quarantine and being disinfected. 

Stage 2 Service Level (June): Limited Opening. 

1. Patrons may enter the library to browse the stacks and select materials.  There is a 30-minute time limit for browsing of materials. No more than five people in library at one time (does not include staff or volunteers).  There will be a sign on the door to help limit capacity.  Only one family of children ages six and under allowed at a time.

2.  Patrons are required to wear masks and sanitize or wash hands when entering the library.  Staff will wear masks at all times when interacting with the public and inside the library premises.

3.  Handling Returned Items:

a.    All returns placed in the book drop or in the bookcase in the entryway.  Materials will be sorted by staff and will wait in quarantine for 96 hours before check-in.

b.    Materials will be handled with clean sanitized hands or gloves.

c.     All book covers, disc boxes, and discs will be wiped down with sanitizer prior to checking in.

4.  When patrons browse for materials they MUST NOT return books onto the shelf that they have touched.  We ask everyone to only touch what he or she plans to take home.  Signs will encourage patrons to bring all materials they have touched to the circulation desk or a designated bookshelf.  These items will be quarantined for 96 hours. 

     5.  Computer use is limited to 30 minutes.  Please inform staff if you need to print or need help on the computer.  Sanitize hands before using the computer.  Computer use for entertainment or social media purposes is discouraged until further notice and is limited to 30 minutes. 

Computer use can be extended per staff discretion for 2 hours only if our library capacity limits (5 people) are continuously met and that patron is using our computers for legitimate reasons: home or job search, taxes, education, research, etc.  Patrons who use our computers for longer than 30 minutes may be asked to leave if we need to accommodate waiting patrons.    

     6.  Only one person or family group in the book-sale room at a time.  Everyone must wear a mask and sanitize hands.  We also encourage all people to wear gloves (provided) in the book-sale room because books may need to be shifted.  Please bring exact change or small bills.      

Stage 3 Service Level: Programming may resume in accordance with the state guidelines to restrict gatherings to fewer than 50 people. Our goal will be to create as much space between attendees as possible, for all programs to require pre-registration, and as often as possible be held outdoors. There are no plans for in-person programs until the pandemic numbers have decreased significantly. 

Stage 4 Service Levels: Pre-COVID-19 operations levels, TBD by State of Maine. 


Building Re-Opening Plans:

1.     Library space changes to accommodate continued social distancing:

a.    Plexiglass at circulation desk to minimize potential aerosol transmission around the circulation desk.  

b.    Establish six-foot safety zones around the circulation desk.

c.     Signage around the library will provide reference points for handled materials, and in-person limitations in certain areas – book-sale room, computer areas and bathrooms.

d.  Maintain regular deep clean one day a week by a professional local cleaner. 

2.     Staff health and safety plans:

a.    Establish cleaning routine for immediately following use of patron PCs, upon receipt of checkout items, doorknobs, and bathrooms (exit clean). 

b.    One staff member will work the circulation desk while the other stays in the office. Circulation staff will regularly clean and disinfect high touch surfaces as well as maintain regular circulation and reference services. 

c.     No one other than staff or volunteers in the office.

d.    Provide gloves and masks for staff.  A limited supply of masks is available for patrons who are in need.

e.    Provide hand sanitizer, soap, and paper towels at all times.

f.     Maintain reasonable supplies of disinfectants and cleaners.

Service level Abbreviated Guidelines:

a.    Limit number of patrons to 5 inside the library at all times.  Patrons are limited to 30 minutes to browse for materials. 

b.    Patrons are required to wear a mask at all times.

c.     Return all books in the book-drop or on the clearly marked bookcase in the entryway.  Materials will not be checked-in for 96 hours. 

d.    Sanitize or wash hands (provided) when you enter the library.

e.    Patrons may browse and self-select materials but are discouraged from placing handled books back on shelves.  All handled library materials will be brought to the circulation desk and placed in quarantine for 96 hours.

f.      Multiple simultaneous patrons will need to wait on the “healthy distance” marks to checkout books.

g.     Computer use is limited to 30 minutes.  Computer use for entertainment purposes is discouraged until further notice and will be limited to 30 minutes.  Computer use can be extended per staff discretion for 2 hours only if our library capacity limits (5 people) are continuously met and that patron is using computers for legitimate reasons: home or job search, taxes, education, etc.  

h.    In the book-sale room patrons will be expected to sanitize hands and wear a mask before they touch books.  Only one person or family group allowed in the book-sale room.  We will encourage all people to wear gloves (provided) in the book-sale room because books will inevitably be shuffled around.



Library Policies

To insure that all patrons may have considerate use of the Vassalboro Public Library, appropriate behavior is expected.  Violation of any of the following rules will result in a warning and/or expulsion from the property.  Whenever necessary, police will be contacted.  The Director and supervisory staff have authority to carry out all powers of this policy.
1.   No boisterous behavior (arguing, demanding, etc.).
2.   No smoking except in designated areas.
3.   No destruction or mutilation of library property.
4.   No parking bicycles or other vehicles in a manner that blocks or hinders entry to the library.
5.  No conduct which is disruptive to the operation of the library or threatening to patrons, staff, or library property.
7. Cell phones must be turned down in the library building.  If you need to make a call, please use your phone in one of the two entryways to the building.

Circulation and Borrowing Privileges

Registration requirements

The Vassalboro Public Library is a tax-exempt public library, but we do receive a contribution from the Town of Vassalboro, which is included in our budget.  This means that people residing within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Vassalboro Library pay taxes to support the library.  Those people who live within the boundaries of the Vassalboro Library need pay no additional fee to be eligible to receive library privileges.  Membership is renewed every 3 years without additional fees, provided the library member continues to reside within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Library, is a patron in good standing, and has used their library privileges to check out materials or attend programs.  There is a no fee to replace damaged, destroyed, lost, or stolen library cards.  At this time, you may also choose a three to four digit member number to substitute for a library card.

Individuals residing beyond the jurisdictional boundaries of the Vassalboro Library and not within the boundaries of another public library, and owning no property within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Library, may purchase a non-resident card for the price of 10$ for an individual and 25$ for a family. 

Adults wishing to register for member privileges, or renew an expired borrower’s card, must bring with them two forms of identification, at least one of which bears their name and address.  These forms of identification include, but are not limited to, driver’s license, utility bills, mail, or voter’s registration card. 

Children under the age of 18 must have a parent’s signature on any initial application for a library card.  The application must be completed with both the child and adult present in the library.  Children under the age of 16 may use the proof of residency provided by their parent.  Children 16 and over may choose to provide their own proof of residency, or use that of their parent.

Confidentiality of Records

The Vassalboro Public Library abides by Maine Statute Title 27, Chapter 4A section 121 Confidentiality of Library Records which states that the records of patron transactions and the identity of registered library patrons is confidential material.  The Vassalboro Library does not make available the records of patron transactions to any party except in compliance with the law.  The Vassalboro Public Library does not make available lists of registered library patrons except in compliance with the law.
ELigibility to borrow

The Vassalboro Public Library was established in 1907 as a Free Library and does not charge its members for overdue books.  Vassalboro Library members are eligible to borrow materials from the Library in a variety of formats including books, magazines, DVDs, puzzles and audio-books.  All materials are loaned for a period of two weeks.  There is no limit on the amount of materials you can check-out.  We ask that members be vigilant in renewing their materials by calling or emailing us.  Any materials over one week overdue may result in an email or phone call reminding you to return or renew your items.  Those who have materials out longer than one month may, at the Director's discretion, have their account suspended until all materials on their account are returned. 

Lost and/or damaged materials

Materials borrowed are the responsibility of the library patron.  Replacement cost (not original purchase price) is the responsibility of any library member who borrows and loses library materials.  In the case of children under the age of 18, it is the parents’ responsibility to pay for lost or damaged items.             

Interlibrary loan

When patrons want material that is not available within the Vassalboro Library, we request other libraries to provide it.  This is the process of interlibrary loan.  Materials borrowed through interlibrary loan have a circulation period determined by the lending library, not the Vassalboro Library.  We are happy to borrow materials from other libraries for you, but we ask that you respect the date by which those materials must be returned.  This due date can be found on a slip that is provided with your interlibrary loan.  
When the Vassalboro Library is lax in returning materials borrowed through interlibrary loan, the library can temporarily lose the privilege of borrowing materials for all of its members.  It is crucial that materials borrowed through interlibrary loan be returned in a timely manner.  Habitual failure to do so may result in loss of the privilege in order to preserve the privilege for other library patrons. 

You can have up to five requests in the searching process at one time.  Materials can take up to two to three weeks for our in-state van delivery, which comes every Wednesday.  If an item cannot be found in Maine libraries it will need to come from out-of-state.  Any youth under the age of 17 can request items out-of-state free of charge.  We do ask that all adult patrons pay the $3.00 shipping cost, back to the out-of-state lending library, so that we may continue this valuable service.   
Materials borrowed through interlibrary loan which are lost or damaged are charged to the patron according to the bill provided by the lending agency.


Library members may reserve materials not immediately available for patron use, but are in the collection of the Vassalboro Public Library.  When the reserved materials are available to the member who has placed the reserve, the library will notify the member via phone or email.  If the member is not available by phone, a message will be left.  The date of the message will be noted and the material will be held for the patron for a period of one week.  If additional library members are waiting for the material, the next member on the list will be called and notified of the availability of the item, and the same procedure will be followed.  If no additional members are waiting for the material, the material will be placed back into general circulation.  In no circumstance will the library leave more than one message regarding a hold on a specific item.  Relay of the message to the appropriate person in the household, and prompt retrieval of the material, are the responsibilities of the library member.


            Copies and Computer printouts:  .10c per page for black and white and .25c for color.  If enlargement or reduction is required by the patron, the per page fee applies to each step in that process.  Enlargement and reduction is not an exact science and may take several pages. 
           We do not fax at this time.  You can visit our Town Office to send a fax.




 The purpose of the Vassalboro Public Library collection is to provide resources to assist individuals in their pursuit of educational objectives, intellectual and emotional growth, the enjoyment of leisure time and practical solutions to daily problems.  The library is responsible to announce this purpose statement, in regards to our collection, to evaluate and alter it as the community changes and to increase the opportunity for all potential users of its resources to achieve their purposes through the library.

The library keeps the collection vital and useful by retaining or replacing essential materials, and by removing, on a systematic and continuous basis, those works that are worn, outdated, of little historical significance, or no longer in demand.  Materials that are removed from the library collection may or may not be made available for public purchase at book sales.

The Vassalboro Library endeavors to build a collection representing varying points of view.  The choice of library materials by members is a personal choice.  Responsibility for the reading materials of children and adolescents rests with their parents or legal guardians.  While a person may reject materials for himself or herself and for his or her children, he or she cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to the materials by others.  The library supports intellectual freedom and has adopted the following statements as policy: ALA Freedom to Read Statement, ALA Library Bill of Rights, and the “Freedom to View” statement of the American Film and Video Association.

Requests for reconsideration can be registered by library members, and shall be made in writing and given to the library director for a written response.  Appeals are directed to the Board of Trustees for the final decision.

Our Collection Policy assumes specific definitions for the term "resources" and for the four categories of activity to which these resources are directed.  The term "resource" includes:
1.         Print and non-print materials available within the Vassalboro Library.
2.         Electronic database sources
3.         Resources in other libraries or locations to which the library may achieve access through interlibrary loan or a similar resource sharing process.

These resources respond to four categories of activity:

1. Resources for Education

2. Resources for Emotional and Intellectual Growth

3. Resources that Enhance the Enjoyment of Leisure Time

4. Resources that Assist in the Practical Solution of Daily Problems
A. Materials that empower the individual to live more independently.
B. Materials generally directed at the solution of short-term problems.
C. Materials that help individuals save money, improve health, save time, etc.


The library acknowledges that each person has information needs that are important to that individual.  It also recognizes that it has limited financial resources to respond to these needs.  The library has a responsibility to use public funds in ways that are advantageous to the largest number of its members.  While the library's materials collection will not deny any need consistent with its mission, the library will nevertheless develop its collections with the recognition that it has the ability to meet certain needs more effectively and efficiently than other needs. 


The responsibility for book selection rests with the library, operating within the framework of the policies enunciated herein, and adhering to generally accepted professional practices. 

Copyright Restrictions

            The copyright laws of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) govern the reproduction, distribution, adaptation, public performance, and public display of protected material.

            Under certain conditions, public libraries are authorized to lend, lease, or rent copies of computer programs and videotapes to patrons for nonprofit purposes.  Any person who makes an unauthorized copy or adaptation of a computer program or videotape or redistributes the loaned copy or publicly performs or displays the computer program or videotape, except as permitted by Title 17 of the United States Code, may be liable for copyright infringement.

            The Vassalboro Library reserves the right to refuse to fulfill a loan request if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the request would likely lead to violation of the copyright law.


Selection is the decision to add, retain or delete material as part of the library's resource collection.  All materials, whether purchased by the library or donated to it, are evaluated in accordance with these guidelines.  Each item is evaluated on its significance as an entire work rather than upon the merit of individual parts.  Selection decisions may be made upon one or a combination of guidelines as applicable to the item in question.  Guidelines used by the Vassalboro Library to evaluate materials to be selected for its collection include:
1.                                         The needs of the community.
2.                                          The overall balance of the collection.
3.                                          The spirit of service and the philosophy of the library.
4.                                          The availability of material from other sources.
5.                                          Budgetary limitations.
6.                                          Suitability of the format of the item for library use.
7.                                          Relation to existing collection and other material on the subject.
8.                                          Reputation or significance of the author.
9.                                          Reviews in professional literature or patron request.
10.                                      Accuracy of the item.
11.                                      Appearance in standard bibliographies and indexes
12.                                      In-print availability.
13.                                      Literary merit.
14.                                      Locally produced or authored material.
15.                                      Price.
16.                                      Suitability of reading level, interest level and treatment of subject to
the age of the intended audience.
17.                                      Use of the material locally as assigned reading, viewing or listening.

Selection Tools

Because it is impossible for librarians to examine all items being considered for purchase, they depend on reliable selection aids.  The librarians regularly depend on the reviews found in standard sources.  Other selection aids, such as “Notable Book” lists chosen by the American Library Association, National Book Awards lists, Pulitzer Prize lists, and published lists of bestsellers may also be used as required.

Non-Book Materials
The criteria for and the methods of selection of non-book materials are the same as for books.

Non-book items purchased by the library for in-house use or for circulation may include pamphlets, study prints, art prints, computer software, microfilm, compact discs and cassettes, recordings of books on cassette, cassette/filmstrip and cassette/book kits, games, toys, puzzles, and puppets.

The acquisition of a variety of non-book materials is under constant evaluation and is subject to change.  Cost of items, budget, use, and availability of new items are the determining factors in selection. 

Request for Reconsideration of Materials

Strong objection to any library materials must be made in writing. Examination and reconsideration of materials, if necessary, will be handled by the Library Director.  

The Vassalboro Library subscribes to the provisions of the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement as adopted by the American Library Association.  These documents are considered a part of this policy.  All individuals have the right to choose which library materials they will use.  However, no one has the right to restrict the freedom of others to read whatever they wish.  No book or other material in question is automatically removed from the collection because of an objection to it.

Collection Maintenance

Duplicate Copies
The number of copies purchased varies with the expected use of any item. As extensive use for individual titles is demonstrated, duplication to meet the demand is implemented.

In order to maintain the best possible collection of materials, a continual weeding process takes place. Items are discarded if they are outdated, if they no longer circulate, if there are more duplicate copies than needed, or if they are in poor physical condition.

A complete weeding of the entire collection is accomplished every five years. Items discarded are plainly marked and may be offered at the annual book-sales.


Library property (i. e. print and non-print materials, equipment, supplies and or any personal property) which in the judgment of the Library Director is no longer necessary or useful for library purposes, may be disposed of in the following manner:
1.         Books and non-print materials from the library's collection or gift materials may be discarded, sold, or, upon the approval of the Library Director, be given to local philanthropic, educational, cultural, government or other not-for-profit organizations.
2.         Any other personal property having an individual current value of less than $100 may, at the discretion of the Library Director, be discarded, turned in on new equipment or made available for sale in accordance with the policies of the Library's governing body.
3.         No favoritism shall be shown to library employees, members of the Library Board or members of their immediate families who make bids on or purchase any library item declared surplus.

Revision of Selection Policy
Because the needs of the community change, this materials selection policy is revised as needed and/or is reviewed at least every five years.

Patron Requests

The library welcomes patron interest in the collection and will seriously consider all requests that specific materials be acquired.  The library is under no obligation to fill any particular request if not deemed suitable to the collection. 

Any patron who would like to request a specific item for purchase should fill out a Suggested for Purchase form (see attachments) and inform Library Staff.

Donations, Gifts and Memorials


The Vassalboro Library is grateful for gifts, and its collection has been enriched by donations of materials as well as by contributions.  Through donors, the library has been able to acquire materials which could not have been purchased otherwise.  The library staff can supply, upon request, a list of needed materials for consideration by the donor.

Donation of Books and Audio Visual Materials

In accepting a gift of materials, the library reserves the privilege of deciding whether items donated should be added to the collection.  Out of the many books and other materials which community members generously give, a considerable proportion can be used.  The material will be judged by the same standards of selection as those applied to the purchase of new materials.  The Vassalboro Library accepts gift books with the understanding that books which are useful to the library collection will be retained and other books disposed of in whatever manner the librarian deems best.  

Gift Book PrograM

The Vassalboro Public Library welcomes monetary contributions specifically for book purchases in memorial to or in honor of named individuals.  In order that the Library can properly honor the generosity, a special form to record the information is used and should be completed.

Donation of Art Objects and Other Types of Materials

Although such gifts are usually welcomed and valued, final decision on their acceptance rests with the Library Director and the Board of Library Trustees.

Donations—Others, e.g. Monetary

The Vassalboro Public Library welcomes cash contributions, gifts of real property, stocks, and bonds.  It is our custom to expend cash gifts on materials, equipment, or a project which is acceptable to the donor.  Although it is unlikely, there may be an occasion in which the restrictions set by the donor make it impossible for the library to accept the contribution.  All donations are subject to the approval of the Library Director with the backing of the Library Board of Library Trustees.

Recognition of Gifts

For memorial books to the library, the library may place within the book the name of the donor, if desired.  Accepted gifts will be honored in our gift remembrance book.

Use of Gifts

All gifts are accepted with the understanding that it may someday be necessary that they be sold or disposed of in the best interest of the library.  The Library cannot commit itself to perpetually housing a donation.

Income Tax Statements

The Vassalboro Public Library cannot appraise the value of a donation of materials or art.  It will, however, issue the donor a letter acknowledging the donation.  It is the donor's decision whether he or she will determine the value of the donation or utilize an independent appraiser.  While the gifts to the Library as a governmental unit qualify as tax deductible, the donor will have to consider the particular circumstances of his or her situation for the specific effect.  


No donation can be accepted unless it is given to the library without restrictions unless the Board of Library Trustees has specifically adopted an agreement to do so.  All gifts may be used, sold, or disposed of in the best interest of the library.  All donations are accepted only if, in the opinion of the Library Director and the Board of Library Trustees, they are in the best interests of the library.

A Gift Agreement Form must be signed by the donor and approved by the Library Director for unrestricted gifts and the Board of Library Trustees for restricted gifts.