Library Policies

Borrowing Policy

Gettting a library card

Any resident of Massachusetts who can provide proof of current address is entitled to a library card. To get a library card we ask that you provide proof of residence. Ask at the main floor circulation desk for more details. We do ask that you present your Minuteman Library Network card or a valid identification card when checking out library materials.

Loan periods of materials are as follows:

  • Books- 3 weeks
  • Videotapes/DVDs- 3 weeks
  • Books on tape, Compact Discs- 3 weeks
  • Magazines- 3 weeks
  • Technology, Games and Unique Objects- 3 weeks
  • Speed Reads- 3 weeks

Fine Policy

Most items may be renewed once either in person, by phone, or from your home computer. Although patrons will receive overdue notices, the library does not charges fines for most overdue materials with the exception of Speed Reads which do accrue a $1.00 per day late fine.

A replacement fee will be charged for any lost or damaged materials.


Minuteman Library Network

The Dover Town Library is a member of the Minuteman Library Network. The MLN is a consortium of 35 public and 7 college libraries that work collectively to provide excellent service to its library users. The 42 libraries are in the Metrowest region of Massachusetts. Patrons are entitled to use the resources of all of the libraries in the Minuteman Network; please inquire if you have specific questions about your Minuteman privileges.

Children’s Policy

The Dover Town Library is a valuable community resource of materials, information services, and programs. As a public institution, its doors are open to all, regardless of age, origin, race, gender or background. These rules provide some general guidelines within which children, parents and caregivers can use the Library safely and effectively.

The library has the following expectations for children while using the library:

  • Please pick up the toys before you leave the Children’s Room
  • Parents and caregivers are responsible for the supervision of their children
  • Children under the age of 9 must be attended by a parent or a responsible childcare provider while in the library
  • Children ages 4 through 8 attending a library program must be brought into the building by a parent or responsible childcare provider who must remain in the building until the conclusion of the program when they resume supervision of their charge
  • Children under the age of 4 must be attended at all times
  • Parents and caregivers are responsible for their children’s behavior

Self-supervised youth, aged 9 and up, are welcome to use the library as long as they observe general rules of conduct. For safety’s sake, parents should make sure that their children are sufficiently mature before allowing them to visit the library by themselves.

Parents should realize that, even when they are not present, they are responsible for their children’s behavior.

If the Library is closing and there are children left in the building without a caregiver, the Library staff will make every effort to locate the parent or caregiver to pick up the child. Failing that, the police department will be called, and the situation transferred to that agency.

Adopted: May 8, 2001

Community Room Policy

As a public service, and as part of its mission to educate and inspire all members of our community, the Dover Town Library (the “DTL”) may offer the use of its Community Room for gatherings by groups engaged in civic, cultural, or educational activities, subject to approval by DTL. The use of the DTL Community room is subject to restrictions, including the following:

  • The DTL Community Room is not available for personal or for-profit events;
  • All events at the DTL must be free of charge, open to the public;
  • Items may not be offered for sale, nor may the room be used outside normal DTL operating hours without the prior, express written approval of the Board of Library Trustees or its designee;
  • Groups must comply with all DTL policies, procedures and posted notices; and
  • The use must be consistent with, and not disrupt, normal library operations or violate DTL’s Patron Behavior Policy.

The DTL Community Room is made available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of the groups making the request. Likewise, the approval of a request to use the DTL Community Room does not in any way constitute or imply DTL or Town endorsement of the event or of the aims, actions, or policies of any individuals, group, or organization or the views expressed.

Who Can Make a Request to Use the DTL Community Room?
Any group or organization requesting to use the DTL Community Room must designate a Group Leader who must be at least 18 years old, a resident of Dover, authorized to act on behalf of the affiliated organization or group, and shall be held responsible for the event’s compliance with all DTL rules, regulations, and policies. Priority for the use of the DTL Community Room is determined as follows:

  1. Events or programs hosted by the DTL;
  2. Events or programs hosted by the Friends of the DTL;
  3. Events or programs hosted by the Town of Dover;
  4. Events or programs hosted by Dover-based non-profit organizations or community groups; and
  5. Events or programs of a civic, cultural, or educational purpose hosted by other non-profit organizations or community groups.

Requests will be denied if the Organization or Group Leader:

  1. Submits a request which fails to establish that the planned event meets the criteria for DTL Community Room use or otherwise does not comply with any other DTL rules, regulations, and policies;
  2. Has a balance due to the DTL for prior use of the Community Meeting Room; or
  3. Has previously failed to comply with DTL rules, regulations, and policies.

How Does One Make a Request to Use the DTL Community Room?
If you would like to book the DTL Community Room, please complete the DTL Meeting Request Form. Requests must be submitted at least one week in advance of, and no more than two months prior to, the requested date. Any Reservation Fee is due and payable before the event and no later than 72 hours after reservation approval is delivered to the Group Leader. Failure to pay the amount due in a timely manner may result in the cancellation of the reservation.

Available Dates and Hours:
The DTL Community Room is generally available during regular DTL hours of operation. The Group Leader is responsible for ensuring the group sets up tables and chairs when the reservation begins and puts furniture away and clears away all food, beverages, and trash before the reservation ends. If the DTL Community Room’s kitchenette is used, the Group Leader is also responsible for ensuring that the group cleans that space. Thus, DTL Community Room Requests should include enough time for set-up and clean-up in their requested time frame. Failure to comply may result in cancellation of all existing DTL Community Room reservations.

The DTL Board of Library Trustees or its designee shall be responsible for the approval or denial of DTL Community Room Requests for any event(s):

  1. Occurring more than ten times in any calendar year;
  2. To be scheduled for a date more than two months from the date of the request; or
  3. To be held in part, or in its entirety, outside regular DTL hours.

Food and Beverages: Food and beverages may be served at an approved event. Alcoholic beverages, use of open flames, and smoking are strictly prohibited. DTL’s Community Room’s kitchenette is available for use, provided that the Group Leader bears sole responsibility for ensuring the provision, serving, and removal of such food or beverages.

Reservation Fees Per Event:

  • Town Government: $0
  • Dover-based non-profit organizations and community groups: $0
  • Other non-profit organizations or community groups: $ 25/hour (subject to change)

Publicity and Promotion: The DTL may publish information about the event to the public, including, but not limited to, information posted on the DTL or Town website, or shared via e-mail, newsletter, social media, and in press releases to local news outlets.
Promotional materials created by the Requestor or organization using the DTL Community Room must state, “This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the Dover Town Library.”

Policy Authority:
The Board of Trustees establishes library policy and is the sole authority in interpreting these rules and regulations. The Library Director has supervisory responsibility over all aspects of DTL use as delegated by the Board of Trustees.

Adopted: October 10, 2000
Revised: January 10, 2005
Revised: June 13, 2023

Gift Policy

Dover Town Library Policy on Gifts and Special Collections

1.Encouragement of gifts for memorial purposes
The Trustees of the Dover Library actively encourage the establishment of trusts and gifts for memorials.

2. Conditions for gifts of money
Tax-deductible donations may be made to the Dover Library Gift Fund. Expenditure of this money is determined by the Trustees.

3. Tax-deductible gifts
The Library staff cannot estimate the value of a gift for tax purposes. The Director will write a letter acknowledging the receipt of the item, but the donor must determine the value.

4. Conditions for acceptance of books and other materials
Materials in good physical condition, containing accurate current information, and deemed by the Director likely to be of use to patrons, may be accepted.

5. Disposition of gifts
The Director may accept materials which are not added to the collection with the understanding that these items may be sold, donated, or otherwise disposed of by the Director. The donor relinquishes and assigns to the Library all legal rights to the donated material.

6. Acceptance of personal property, art objects, portraits, etc.
Gifts of this nature will be considered on an individual basis by Library Trustees and the Director. The Trustees reserve the right to decline a gift. These items may be displayed, stored, or disposed of at the direction of the Library Trustees. The donor relinquishes and assigns to the Library all legal rights to the donated material.

7. Acceptance and shelving of special collections
The prime consideration in accepting a special collection is its usefulness to library patrons. Special collections present special challenges, particularly in shelving. Separate shelving reduces the effectiveness of a collection as a working part of the Library’s holdings, and is discouraged by the Director, and Trustees. The Director determines the acceptability and disposition of special collections.

8. Use of special bookplates
The Library has special bookplates to use in memorial books or other donations. In the case of a large number of books purchased through a trust fund, the donor may have special bookplates designed and left at the library to be added to books as they are purchased.

9. Acceptance of historical materials and writings of local authors
The Director may accept books and other printed materials for its Dover or Massachusetts collections. If the Director feels that some materials would be better used by the Dover Historical Society, the donor will be referred there. The Library staff will accept the writings of local authors in so far as they meet the criteria set forth in the Library’s Book Selection Policy.

10. Acceptance of special interest literature
The Library needs to maintain a balance on matters of opinion, so the Director reserves the right to limit the quantity of material accepted concerning special causes and viewpoints.

11. Gift Acknowledgement form
Both the donor and a Library staff member should sign and date the “Gift Acknowledgement” form for all donations to the Library other than monetary contributions. One copy of this form goes to the donor, one is retained by the Library.

October 2007
Revised and Updated: November 2010

Materials Selection Policy

Materials Selection Policy

Dover Town Library


Ultimate responsibility for the materials selection policy lies with the Board of Trustees. The Board delegates to the Library Director the selection of library materials and the development of the collection, who in turn may delegate responsibility for selection to appointed staff members, known as selectors.  This policy guides Library staff in maintaining and developing the materials collection.  It also serves to make community members familiar with the principles and resources that inform staff throughout the process.


The materials collection is one of the Library’s most visible resources, used extensively by both the Dover community and the larger Minuteman Library Network.  In developing the collection, Library staff strive to meet the educational, informational, and entertainment interests of library patrons of all ages in the Town of Dover.

Basic to the Materials Selection Policy are the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View Statement as adopted by the Council of the American Library Association, which are appended.  These documents form the foundation of the Library’s commitment to free, open, and equitable access to the collections for all library users, and the collections neither encourage nor discourage any particular viewpoint.  Materials selection and inclusion in the collection do not constitute the Town or Library’s endorsement of the content, the content creators, or the views expressed in the materials.

The Library’s professional selectors use published reviews, industry alerts, standard bibliographies, and other professional resources to assess the value of materials being considered for the collection.  All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, must meet a combination of the following criteria:

  • Current usefulness or permanent value
  • Accuracy and reliability
  • Relevance to the existing collection
  • High standards of quality in content, format, and ease of use
  • Importance as a record of the times
  • Dover author or local information


The Library withdraws materials from the collection not only to maintain its usefulness, but to make the most effective use of available space. Selectors will use the same criteria in deaccessioning materials from the collection as they use in acquisition. Selectors will also review usage data and professional resources when considering the following categories of materials for deselection:

  • Worn, damaged, or mutilated items
  • Duplicate copies of seldom used titles
  • Materials that contain outdated or inaccurate information
  • Superseded editions of specific titles
  • Materials no longer of demonstrated interest or demand.



The Library selectively accepts donated books or other materials to add to the materials collection.  In doing so, it follows the Gifts and Donations Policy set forth by the Board of Library Trustees.  It is the prerogative of the Library to accept or reject any gift, and selectors will evaluate any accepted materials according to this Materials Selection policy.

When the Library receives a cash gift for the purchase of memorial or commemorative books or collections, the selection will be made by the Library Director or a designated staff member in consultation with the donor, if requested, in concordance with the Materials Selection policy and Library acquisition procedures. Library staff will enter the name of the donor or the person memorialized or commemorated on the bookplate.


Although selectors carefully choose materials based on the criteria outlined above, there can arise differences of opinion regarding selected materials. The use of library materials by patrons is an individual matter.  While patrons may choose not to borrow materials for themselves or their children, the removal of challenged materials is a practice of censorship that bars access for all library users–including those community members who do not object to the content.  As such, Requests for Reconsideration of Materials are taken seriously and with great deliberation.

Patrons wishing to voice an objection to an item in the Library’s collection may ask for a Request for Reconsideration of Material form from a Library staff member at any service desk and submit the completed form to the Library Director.

Items named in a Request for Reconsideration will not be automatically removed on request, and they will remain in circulation pending a decision from the Library Director.  That decision will be based upon several factors, including the merit of the work as a whole, rather than excerpts of the work.  The Library Director will also factor professional reviews, community interests, popular demand, and the accuracy and currency of the content into the decision.

The Library Director will acknowledge receipt of the completed Request for Reconsideration and make a determination in consultation with the staff member responsible for that collection area.   The Library Director will send the patron a written decision.  If the requester disagrees with the Library Director’s decision, they may send a written appeal to the Board of Library Trustees. The Request for Reconsideration Form and the Library’s response(s) to it are part of the public record.

Adopted: September 8, 2003

Revised: December 6, 2022

Appendix I.

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.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.


Appendix II.

Freedom to Read Statement

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.
    Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
  2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.
    Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
  3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
    No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
  4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
    To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
  5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.
    The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
  6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.
    It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.
  7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.
    The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.

A Joint Statement by:

American Library Association

Association of American Publishers


Subsequently endorsed by:

American Booksellers for Free Expression

The Association of American University Presses

The Children’s Book Council

Freedom to Read Foundation

National Association of College Stores

National Coalition Against Censorship

National Council of Teachers of English

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression

Appendix III.

Freedom to View Statement

The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the  First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:

  1. To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.
  2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
  3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
  4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
  5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public’s freedom to view.

This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.

Endorsed January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council

Patron Behavior Policy


The Dover Town Library seeks to provide a safe, welcoming environment for all library visitors. The Library and its staff serve the community most effectively when Library visitors respect basic guidelines. Therefore, the following rules should be observed in order to ensure a pleasant Library experience for all. Patrons who exhibit behavior inconsistent with the following guidelines may be asked to leave the library.

• Be respectful of your neighbors.
• No smoking, drinking, or drug use is permitted in the Library.
• Shirts and shoes must be worn in the Library.
• With the exception of those assisting patrons with a disability, animals are not allowed in the building.
• Bicycles and skateboards must be left outside the building.
• Theft, damage, misuse, or defacement of library materials, equipment, or facilities is not permitted. All materials must be checked out before leaving the building.
• Patrons are responsible for their personal property. Please do not leave items unattended as the Library is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
• Verbally or physically threatening any staff member or patron is forbidden.
• Using abusive, obscene, or profane language or actions directed in such a manner as to threaten the rights or safety of another person, or infringe on the sensibilities of others is forbidden. Harassment or intimidation will not be tolerated.
• No illegal activity or behavior is permitted.
• Patrons are expected to cooperate with staff when closing time is announced, during fire drill evacuations and other safety concerns.

Please cooperate with the Library staff who must interpret and apply these guidelines. Your cooperation will help promote excellence in Library service for everyone.

Any patron violating the above guidelines may be denied access to the Library by the Library Director or Director’s designee. Patrons whose privileges have been denied may have the decision reviewed by the Library Board of Trustees.

Adopted: June 7, 2004
Updated: December 11, 2012