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Blue Hill Library

Library Policies

Mission Statement

The Blue Hill Public Library opens doors to information, culture, community and the world.

Statement of Identity and Core Values
The Blue Hill Public Library serves all the people of the Blue Hill Peninsula: children and adults of all backgrounds and circumstances who seek information and the pleasure that comes from the life of the mind. As a dynamic cultural center dedicated to preserving the past while exploring the future, the library integrates new technologies with traditional collections. It hosts and sponsors lectures, discussion groups, community meetings, exhibits, and displays. The library opens doors to the adventures of learning and believes that the unbound access to ideas and information is indispensable to an informed citizenry and the search for truth. Adopted 12-15-15

Library Organization and Legal Status

The Blue Hill Public Library is a private, non-profit 501(c)3 corporation.  We are governed by a board of trustees that is elected by our membership.  All cardholders in good standing or anyone who makes a financial contribution to the library is considered a member of the corporation, entitled to one vote at our annual meeting.

The Library’s operations are funded by its Endowment, by contributions and other gifts, and by annual appropriations, predominantly from the town of Blue Hill, but also from the towns of Penobscot, Sedgwick and Surry.

Although the Library is not a municipal facility, it is a Public library and generally observes applicable standards and policies of the American Library Association such as the ALA Code of Ethics, Library Bill of Rights, and Freedom to Read Statement.

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Who may use the library?

Library Registration
Everyone is welcome to use the Blue Hill Public Library, regardless of residency or age.  Each applicant will receive an individual library card upon registration. 

We suggest that very young children, those who cannot yet write their own name, use their parent’s library card.  When a child under the age of 12 joins the library, a letter will be sent home to the parents of each applicant.  This letter will explain the child’s rights and obligations as a library member, as well as those of the parent as legal guardian to the child.

Parents and guardians are legally and financially responsible for their children until the age of 18, but the library's policy of confidentiality for all ages should always be considered.

Please note that an individual’s library account will be treated in a confidential manner in accordance with state law.

Unattended Children
The library encourages people of all ages to visit the library.  Those using its resources have the right to expect a safe and comfortable environment that supports appropriate library services.   Children and young people are expected to adhere to the same standards of patron conduct expected of adults. Responsibility for the safety and behavior of children rests with the parent/guardian/caregiver, not with library personnel.  Children under the age of 7 should not be left unattended but should always be in the immediate presence of and under the control of the person who is responsible for those children.  Older, unaccompanied children who are disruptive may be asked to leave the library.  If they can not safely return home alone, they should phone an appropriate adult.

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Circulation Policies

The smooth operation of a lending library is based on a concept of responsibility and trust that materials will be returned or renewed in a timely manner so they are available to all patrons.  To that end the library will assess fines on overdue materials at the following rates:


Loan Period

Fine Amount

Replacement cost

Most Print items, audio items, etc.

3 weeks, renewals possible

20 cents per day per item

Full retail replacement cost for similar edition

Videos and DVDs

1 weeks, renewals possible

$.50 per day per item

Full retail replacement cost for similar edition

Special Collections

By special arrangement only, 24 hours, no renewals,

$.50 per day per item

Assessed on an individual basis

Circulating Reference

Circulation period varies according to item, no renewals

$.50 per day per item

Full retail replacement cost for similar edition

When a patron has accrued $5.00 in fines or replacement costs, his/her account is suspended.  All borrowing privileges will be suspended until the matter is resolved.

Note that renewals are available by phone and online 24 hours per day.  For telephone renewals, call 374-5515, listen for the prompts.  For web renewals, visit our web site, and look for a link to our catalog. 

Inter-Library Loan Policy

  • An individual may have only 4 active ILL requests at any given time.
  • The Library does not normally request or loan:

Items that are currently owned by the Blue Hill Public Library but are unavailable because they are on loan to another patron.
More than one audio/visual item at a time (note that Maine State Library Outreach Services may be a viable option for some patrons).
Books released in the last 6-9 months.

  • Overdue fines will be assessed at the same rate currently charged by the Blue Hill Public Library, or if applicable, the rate of the lending library, whichever is higher.

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Home Delivery of Library Materials

Depending on availability of volunteers, the library can deliver materials to or pick them up from the homes of house-bound patrons.  Delivery is also available to patients at the Blue Hill Memorial Hospital.

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Policy for Reference Services

Service Goals
The staff at Blue Hill Public Library endeavors to provide accurate information and materials in response to requests from library users in an efficient, courteous and timely manner.  Reference services will be delivered free of staff members’ individual bias, consistent with the principles expressed in the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics and Library Bill of Rights. 

Priority and Delivery of Service    
Services available through the reference desk generally include information services; instruction on the use of the library and library materials; bibliographic verification of items requested; readers’ advisory; inter-library loan services; referral to community services; and tourist information. Questions are generally answered in the order received, with priority given to questions asked by patrons in the library.
When answering specific information questions, staff will normally cite the source of the answer.  Personal beliefs, opinions, and experience are generally not acceptable sources of answers to reference questions but, if given, will be identified as such.  In all cases staff will endeavor to deliver service free from their own personal beliefs and bias.

Telephone reference service is normally limited to supplying readily available information that does not require extensive research and that can be accurately imparted over the telephone.  Extensive research that requires selection of appropriate materials, interpretation of data and sources, or analysis of information (i.e. genealogical research) will be performed directly by the patron.  Detailed information, especially that which is subject to analysis or interpretation, will not be relayed over the telephone.  Samples of available materials can be gathered and held for patron pick-up.
Staff are not permitted to photocopy materials to be mailed except under circumstances authorized by the library director (i.e. for disabled patrons who cannot come to the library, for other libraries, etc.).  Telephone reference questions that can be answered quickly (two or three minutes) without affecting service to patrons in the library should be handled while the patron waits.  Questions that require more time to answer, or that are received while other patrons are waiting in the library, will be handled as callbacks.   

Limitations of Reference Service
Staff members are not authorized to make purchases for or act as an intermediary between patron and the marketplace (i.e. online shopping).  In no case may a staff member be given a patron’s personal credentials such as user name, password or credit card information.
Instruction about the use of a patron’s personal computer will be generally limited to advising patrons on how to access the library’s public networks.  Staff may not act as “tech support” for a library patron or assist with configuration of a patron’s PC or other electronic device.  Staff may never directly touch a patron’s computer and are not personally liable for any damage caused to a patron’s computer when advising about its use.

All requests for reference information are strictly confidential.  Reference staff may consult with each other when necessary to serve the patron or consult with staff at other libraries, agencies, and organizations.  Questions are tallied for statistical purposed and may be compiled to assist in staff training.  In all cases, patron confidentiality and privacy will be maintained.

Additional care and caution will be exercised when providing legal, medical, or consumer information.  To avoid misunderstandings, it is advisable that patrons visit the library to review this type of information, rather than receiving the information over the telephone.  Reference staff will provide definitions, quote material verbatim, and direct patrons to information sources.  Staff will not offer advice or opinions, condense or abstract information, or suggest a course of action or diagnosis.  Staff will provide the source and copyright date for legal and medical information.

Based on Model Policies for Small and Medium Sized Public Libraries 1998, Neal Schuman Publishers, inc. pp106-107.

Adopted by the Blue Hill Library Board of Directors, 2-24-2009

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Collection Development Policy Summary

The Blue Hill Public Library’s material selections are guided by a Collection Development policy.  A full version of that policy is available upon request, or from our web site. 

In selecting materials for the collection, the Blue Hill Public Library aims to:

  • Primarily serve the needs of residents of the Blue Hill Peninsula.  Patrons from other communities are welcome and encouraged to use the Library as well.
  • Provide a wide variety of engaging materials, representing as many viewpoints as possible, in the format that is most useful to the patron.
  • Provide materials that assist Library users with lifelong learning, crafts, obtaining useful skills, hobbies, home economics, “do it yourself” skills.  To the extent that is possible, the Library serves as a research facility for a broad range of subjects.  Necessarily, breadth of collection will be achieved at the expense of depth in certain areas.
  • Collect and preserve fiction and non-fiction items about Maine, Hancock County, Blue Hill, and the surrounding areas.
  • Make accessible to patrons up-to-date and accurate reference materials. Materials will be collected in the formats that are most suited to the user and with future collection considerations in mind. 

The Library staff will also strive to:

  • Continuously evaluate the Library’s collections, weeding materials that are out of date, worn, inaccurate.
  • Stay aware of technological changes which may improve our service or affect the development of the collection.
  • Cooperate with other libraries, to avoid inappropriate duplication of resources and services, while ensuring wide coverage of subjects.
  • Participate in cooperative programs promoting collection development of shared resources within the state of Maine.

Policy on Collection Accessibility
All materials except museum, archive items and special collections will be freely and easily accessible to the public.  There will be no labeling of any item to indicate its point of view or bias.  The Library assures free access to its holdings for all patrons, young and old, who are free to select or reject for themselves any item in the collection.  Individual or group challenges to a particular item or type of material in the collection will not preclude its use by others. Children are not limited to the children’s collection, although these collections are kept separate from other Library collections to facilitate use.  Responsibility for a child’s reading rests with the parent or guardian, not with the Library.  Staff are prohibited from restricting access to the collection.
Blue Hill Public Library Board believes that the right to read is an important part of the intellectual freedom that is basic to democracy.  The library has adopted the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and Freedom To Read statements, together with the ALA interpretations of those statements, as official Library policy.

Requests for Withdrawal of Materials (material challenges)
Whenever any patron formally objects to the presence or absence of any Library material, the complaint can be given a hearing.  Any complainant will be supplied with the “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form (form appended) and offered the opportunity to have her/his concern heard.  If the request is for withdrawal of material, the chair of the Collection Development Committee will convene a committee to examine the item in question.  The ad hoc materials review committee will consist of the chair of the Collection Development Committee, Library Director, one or more staff members and one or more members of the Library Board.  Decisions will be rendered by majority vote.

The ad hoc committee will check reviews and other standard guides, survey Library colleagues, and determine whether the item conforms to the selection standards of this policy. If it is a request for addition of an item that has been rejected by the Library, the Library Director will reconsider its addition.  The committee has final responsibility for deciding whether to add or withdraw the material in question and will notify the complainant and the Board, giving the reasons for the decision.   Materials subject to complaint shall not be removed from use pending final action.  All material challenges will be handled in a manner consistent with the Library’s confidentiality policy.

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Internet Acceptable Use Policy

General Rules

  • Please sign up to use any computer.   
  • Do not use our computer resources or network unlawfully.
  • Do not tamper with our computers, systems or settings in any way.
  • Do not expose other individuals to material that they or, if under 18, their parents, may find objectionable.
  • Please report any problems with library computers to a staff member immediately.  The Library shall have no liability for any damages, direct or indirect, occurring as a result of the use of our electronic resources.
  • If you do not comply with these rules, you will be held liable for any damage and your privilege to use the Library’s computer resources will be revoked.

Staff members are not authorized to:

  • Assist with any online purchases or financial transactions.
  • Reconfigure or install software on any computer not owned by the Library  

A note for wireless users:

  • Our network does not protect your machine from viruses or third party eaves-dropping.  

Print / Copy Policy
Copies and computer print-outs are available as a convenience to our patrons. The cost for this service is fifteen cents per sheet, regardless of size or number of sides copied. There is no charge for reasonable amounts of copies to local students in grades K-12 as long as the copies being made are directly related to school assignments.

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Exhibit Policy

The Library's Britton Gallery, Roland Howard Room Display Cases and other exhibit areas are part of the Library's collection space.  The Library selects and exhibits artwork and other materials that are consistent with its mission.  As with the Library’s materials collections, the Library seeks to make available materials that represent a variety of media and techniques, that are of artistic or literary value, that match the interests of our patrons, fit attractively in the available space, have some relationship to Blue Hill or surrounding areas, or to Maine, and that represent a variety of viewpoints. 

The Blue Hill Public Library does not discriminate based on doctrinal point of view expressed by an exhibit and hereby endorses the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights and the ALA interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights as related to library exhibit spaces and bulletin boards.

As with any other part of the collection, the library welcomes requests and suggestions from patrons and others for materials to be displayed.  The library does not, however, guarantee that any particular request will be granted and reserves the right, in its discretion, to reject any exhibition.  Objections to the materials displayed, where a patron asks that the materials be removed or limited in some manner, are treated in the same manner as challenges to books and other materials.

Some work exhibited at the Library is available for purchase.  Artists are asked to donate to the Library 25% of all sales generated by exhibit at the Library.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees (6-29-05)

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Bulletin Board Policy

Bulletin Boards
The library has limited bulletin board space that it makes available for community news, events, and non-profit information.  Items of a commercial nature will not be displayed.  All items must be smaller than 12”x18”, and may be hung for no longer than four weeks at a time.  Each poster should be labeled with a posting date.  Library staff will remove items that have expired or have been on display longer than four weeks.

Dissemination of Free information and Advertising materials (pamphlets and other materials)
The library makes space available for the distribution of free materials such as pamphlets, flyers, brochures, leaflets and other media that provide information about non-profit, community, educational, cultural or recreational projects, events or services.  Because space is limited, the library does not guarantee ongoing display of such materials for any individual or group.  Items should be compact, with no larger than an 8.5”x14” footprint.  The library, at its sole discretion will add or remove items from this area.  Items for consideration should be presented to the Library Staff for display.

Use of Library Grounds for Third-Party Signs
The library does not permit private third-party signs to be posted on its property.  Limited posting of signs for community organizations or events may be possible with the approval of the Library Director.  Signs for political candidates or advocacy issues will not be permitted.  All signs must be of a size and nature so as not to interfere with normal library business, traffic safety, and may be displayed only for no more than a week.
See also: The Blue Hill Public Library Exhibit Policy and Meeting Room Policy
Adopted March 7th, 2013

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Gift Acceptance Policy

The Blue Hill Public Library, a non-profit, tax-exempt 501c(3) organization, welcomes gifts of materials, money or real property. Gifts and donations may be made to the library in a number of ways both restricted and unrestricted: to the Annual Appeal that provides vital support to library operations, to the library’s Endowment Fund which provides for our longevity as an institution and secures our future, for specified purposes, or, through the gift of tangible objects and ephemera as additions to the library collection or facility.

Monetary Gifts
Monetary gifts can include gifts of cash, checks, bequests, annuities, stocks and bonds given to the library by donors, estates, corporations or foundations.

Unrestricted Monetary Gifts
Unrestricted gifts are monetary gifts either unsolicited or raised through the Annual Fund, special appeals and events. Unless a specific condition or directive is clearly stated by the donor and on record, or in the event of a major bequest when the gift would normally be added to the library’s endowment, monetary gifts shall be considered as unrestricted and will be deposited into the Annual Fund in support of operations. Acknowledgement of all monetary gifts shall be sent soon after receipt. Gifts may be made to the Annual Fund at any time during the year.  Monetary gifts received by mail will be applied to the budget year during which the gift envelope is postmarked.

Restricted Monetary Gifts
Restricted gifts are donor-directed monetary gifts given with specific purposes.  Restricted gifts are not deposited into the Annual Fund, and if accepted are used for a specific purpose as prescribed by the donor.  Such purposes must be consistent with the mission of the library.  
Expenditures from restricted funds do not require prior approval of the Library Board if they meet the donor’s designated purpose.  Monetary donations made to support one-time material purchases will not replace regularly budgeted library expenditures and will not be used to replace already funded activities.

Memorial and Honorary Gifts
The library is proud to share in the legacy of, or in honor of, friends and relatives of library patrons.  When a gift is received in memory or honor of an individual, library staff will take appropriate steps to notify the next of kin, or the individual being honored.

Any Memorial Gifts received by the library that are not restricted by the donor may be designated for a specific fund or purpose by the Library Board. Donations may be made to this fund at any time. Expenditures from these funds do not require prior approval of the Library Board if they meet the donor’s designated purpose.  

Adelaide Pearson Society
The Blue Hill Public Library Board has established the Adelaide Pearson Society to recognize past, present and future bequests of $5,000 or more to the Library’s Endowment Fund. Adelaide Pearson was a founding member of the library, who gave time, collections and funds to The Blue Hill Public Library’s establishment and expansion, and whose dedication to the institution was crucial to its existence.  All Society members shall be listed by name on the plaque hung in the library.
The Blue Hill Public Library will make every effort to honor the wishes of the donor. As with all gifts, acceptance of bequests and inclusion in the Adelaide Pearson Society is at the discretion of the Library Board.

Non-monetary gifts:
Art, Books and Other Tangible Objects
The library collections and grounds have benefitted many times over the years from selective acceptance of gifts of items and property. Gifts of books and other appropriate library materials without conditions attached are gratefully accepted. However, such gifts cannot be guaranteed to become part of library holdings or displays.  For example, special housing or permanent shelving cannot be promised, nor can the library guarantee to keep intact a group of donated materials.   The Blue Hill Public Library has been particularly fortunate in the past in receiving fine paintings, sculpture, as well as furniture, equipment and estate items from donors. Acceptance of such gifts will be made by the Library Director, or if warranted, by the Library Board.
Gift terms such as a request to display or keep an item, or group of items in perpetuity are substantial commitments that will rarely be made.  Such decisions are made by the Library Board with the recommendation of the Library Director. 
The Library Board reserves the right to sell, loan or divest itself of donated non-monetary gifts in accordance with the law and applicable library policies.

Appraisal of gifted items
The library’s staff is not authorized to appraise gifted materials or services.  The library staff also cannot advise on tax deductibility or deduction value of tangible gifts, and strongly recommend that any potential donor consult with their own attorney or financial advisor.  If the donor requires an appraisal for income tax or other purposes, it is the donor's responsibility and the library recommends that the donor have the appraisal made prior to transfer of ownership to the Blue Hill Public Library.

Adopted by the Board of Directors 12-16-03, revised August, 2009, September, October, 2014. Pearson Society added June 2015.


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Privacy and Confidentiality Policy

Patron privacy

Maine has a confidentiality of library records law:

27 M.R.S. §  121.  Confidentiality of library records

Records maintained by any public municipal library, the Maine State Library, the Law and Legislative Reference Library and libraries of the University of Maine System and the Maine Maritime Academy that contain information relating to the identity of a library patron relative to the patron's use of books or other materials at the library are confidential. Those records may only be released with the express written permission of the patron involved or as the result of a court order. 

Accordingly, library staff members are not authorized to discuss library records with anyone other than the cardholder, nor are they allowed to release your private information without a court order.  Minors are afforded the same privacy rights as adults.

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Mailing list

The library maintains a mailing list for fund-raising and other purposes.  We will not sell or rent this list, nor grant access to anyone except pursuant to official Blue Hill Public Library business.

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Record Retention Policy

Your private library records contain personally identifiable information.  To protect your privacy we will cull our circulation records on a biennial basis, keeping the past 2 years of circulation records that identify you or books, etc. you may have borrowed.  We will keep Internet sign-up logs for only as long as we need to record the statistical, not personally identifiable information (usually about two weeks).

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Adopted 3/23/2004; Revised 6/30/2005, 3/31/2006, 2/25/2009, 12-15-09; Updated 4/4/11