Statement of Basic Policies

The Board of Trustees of the Osterville Village Library Corporation has prepared and adopted this Statement of Basic Policies in order to express in written form those principles and guidelines which are important in the accomplishment of the library’s service to the community. The Bylaws of the Corporation have set forth the duties of the Board of Trustees, its officers and its Executive Committee, and their manner of election. Standing Committees are appointed to supervise the operation and maintenance of the building and grounds, to supervise the financial affairs of the Library, to advise the Board regarding the investment of the Endowment Fund, and to supervise the overall operation of the Library, as set forth in the Bylaws Article XVI Functions and Responsibilities of Standing Committees.

Gift Policy

The Board of Trustees has developed and approved a Long Range Plan and Library Policies, which outline the Library’s current and future services. All gifts received are evaluated according to the guidelines, and are accepted or declined based on their relevance to these documents. Gifts are accepted with the understanding that the Library will determine the best use of the gift as a benefit to the Library.

Circulation Policy

Anyone who is a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or who owns property in the Commonwealth is eligible for a free library card. In order for a new borrower to register for a card, they must present proper identification for verification of address.

Examples include:  Valid driver’s license, or current photo ID. A valid student ID may also be used.

New Borrowers

New borrowers under the age of 12, can register for a new card with their parent or guardian’s consent. The library contends that the responsibility for a child’s reading rests solely with the parent or legal guardian.

Anyone registering for a library card enters into a legal agreement with the Osterville Village Library in which the borrower agrees to comply with library policies. Library privileges may be suspended or withdrawn if the borrower does not comply. Patrons should have their library cards present each time an item is borrowed. If borrowers do not have their library card, they will be allowed to check out materials only after their name and address has been verified.

Non-Resident Borrowers

The Osterville Village Library is supported in part by the property taxes of the citizens of the Town of Barnstable and of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Massachusetts residents, or those who own property in the Commonwealth are eligible for an Osterville library card free of charge. Non-Residents who are temporarily working or vacationing in Osterville are permitted to apply for a temporary Library card.

Loan Periods and Fines

The Osterville Village Library is a member of the Cape Libraries Automated Materials Sharing (CLAMS) Network.  The following network-wide loan periods and fines apply:

Material Loan Period Overdue Fine
Books 14 Days $.10/day
Magazines 7 Days $.10/day
Newspapers In-House Use Only N/A
Audiobooks 14 Days $.10/day
DVDs 7 Days  $1.00/day
Music CDs 14 Days  $.10/day
Museum Passes 2 Days  $10.00/day


You may renew library materials by phone, online, or in person for one additional loan period provided there are no other requests for the item.


You are welcome to reserve library materials in person, by telephone, or online. When the item you requested comes in, we will notify you via email or by telephone. To reserve books online ( you will need to have a Personal Identification Number (PIN). PIN numbers are set for you at the main circulation desk.

Interlibrary Loans

You may request items, not locally available through the Commonwealth Catalog.  If you need help, library staff will be happy to assist you. Library materials may be returned to any CLAMS Network Library.

Lost Materials

You will be assessed the replacement cost of material permanently lost or destroyed as well as a processing fee of $3.00 per item.

You are responsible for all materials taken out on your card.  If you lose your card, report it immediately. You are responsible for all items checked out on your card up to the time you report it missing. The replacement card fee is $1.00.

Cape Libraries Automated Materials Sharing (CLAMS)

Your Osterville Village Library card allows you to check out items from all libraries within the CLAMS Network.

USA Patriot Act: Policy and Procedure

The Osterville Village Library recognizes the confidentiality of information sought or received and materials consulted, borrowed or acquired by a library user. This privacy is protected under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, section 78-7. The library will do its utmost to uphold the privacy and confidentiality of patrons’ free access to information. The library will rely on existing laws and library policies to control behavior that involves public safety or criminal behavior.

The OVL staff will comply with law enforcement when supplied with legal subpoena or warrant issued by a court with jurisdiction over the offense under investigation.

Selection of Library Materials Policy

In its selection of books and other materials, the Library subscribes fully to the principles adopted by the American Library Association in its Library Bill of Rights and its Freedom to Read Statement. It is the function and duty of a public library to provide the means, whenever possible, through which all people may have free access to the thinking on all sides of an issue.

Censorship of books and other materials, urged or practiced by volunteer arbiters of morals or political opinion, or by such organizations must be challenged by libraries in maintenance of their responsibility to provide public information and enlightenment throughout the various media.

Responsibility for Collection Development

Ultimate responsibility for the materials selection policy lies with the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees delegates to the Director and appropriate staff the responsibility of selecting materials for the library’s collection. Requests from library patrons will be considered for purchase.

Criteria for Selection

All library materials will be considered for selection purposes, as long as they align with the Library's mission and goals.

"Selection” refers to the decision that must be made either to add library materials to the collection, or to retain materials already in the collection.

The object of selection is to acquire library materials that will inform, educate, entertain, and contribute to the enrichment of the mind and spirit.

As an aid in selection, the library staff consults competent reviewing media and basic lists of standard works. Using standards of purpose and quality, the library’s collections will be built to meet the needs and interests of the community – while working within the constraints of the library’s annual materials budget.

Library materials must meet the following criteria as are applicable to its inclusion in the collection:

1. Current usefulness or permanent value

2. Authority and competence of presentation

3. Importance as a record of our times

4. Relative importance in comparison with other works in our collection on the same subject

5. High demand from the public – popularity of title. A special effort is made to collect materials about Cape Cod and by Cape Cod authors

6. Selections are made based on content without regard to the personal history of the author

Responsibility for the reading of children rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection should not be inhibited by the possibility that books may inadvertently come into possession of children.

Library materials are not marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents and no book or other item is sequestered, except for the purpose of protecting it from damage or destruction.

The library may acquire textbooks or other curriculum related materials as they relate to the interests of our patrons and school system.

Systematic withdrawal of lost, damaged, worn, and outdated materials is part of the collection development process. Frequency of circulation, accuracy of information, and availability of newer materials are among the factors considered before a book is withdrawn from the collection. Local history is an exception.

Duplication of titles is determined by popularity, importance of the book, and by budget. The Osterville Library is part of the CLAMS system and thereby participates in the Interlibrary Loan System.

Gifts of Books and Other Library Materials

Gifts of books and other library materials are judged on the same basis as purchased materials. These are considered with the explicit understanding that such factors as duplication, lack of community interest, processing costs, and inadequate shelf space may prevent their addition to the collection. Gifts that are not added to the collection are sold through the Friends of the Osterville Free Library book sale.

Freedom to Read

The Osterville Village Library does not advocate the ideas found in its collection. The presence of a magazine, book or other material found in the library does not indicate an endorsement of its contents by the library. The Board of Trustees defends the principles of the Freedom to Read Statement.

Code of Ethics of the American Library Association

The Osterville Village Library supports the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association.

Patron Code of Conduct

Everyone has the right to receive assistance from the library staff and to use the library and its services without being disturbed by others. Each person has responsibility to behave in a manner that does not violate the rights of others, interfere with library services and operations, or interfere with staff in the performance of their duties. The Library staff is not responsible for personal belongings of patrons using the library, however, if you lose something, please inquire at the circulation desk.  All public areas of the library, including meeting rooms, restrooms, entrances, furnishings, and equipment must be used for their intended purposes and are covered by this policy.


Talking loudly, or engaging in disruptive conduct that disturbs others is not allowed.

Food and beverages are only allowed in the Community Room or unless provided by library approved events. 

Smoking or other use of tobacco is not permitted either inside or on Library premises. 

Shoes and clothing appropriate for a public setting must be worn.

Children age ten and younger must be supervised by a responsible person. Animals are allowed only to assist persons with disabilities, or as part of a library sponsored program.

Solicitation or sale of items is not permitted on library property with the exception of fundraising efforts or similar activities approved by the Board of Trustees. Cell phones may only be used in the foyers, community room and outside the building.

Non-public areas of the library may not be entered without permission of a staff member.

Running or other activities that present safety hazards are not permitted. Activities (such as blocking sidewalks, doorways, or aisles) that impede access to the building and its materials are not permitted.

Bicycles, large baby carriages, roller blades, scooters and skateboards must be left outside of the library.

Threatening behavior, including, but not limited to, violence, threats of violence, and possession of weapons, is not allowed.

Other acts which constitute a violation of local ordinances or the Massachusetts General Laws, such as, but not limited to, theft, disorderly conduct, vandalism will be reported to the Barnstable Police Department.

When the behavior of a person constitutes a disruption which interferes with the use of the library by other patrons, or impedes staff from performing their duties, the patron will be given a verbal warning to stop the behavior.  If the behavior continues, the patron will be asked to leave the premises. If the patron refuses to leave, the Barnstable Police Department will be called.

If an unattended child is causing a disruption that interferes with others, and whose behavior is not controlled by staff warnings, the parent should be called.  If the parent cannot be reached, and the child will not comply, the Barnstable Police should be notified.

Computer Policy

The Osterville Village Library strives to offer the best technology available for use by library patrons. In order to keep this equipment in optimal condition, and in order to minimize the amount of time staff must spend performing computer upkeep and troubleshooting, the following rules are in effect: "CLAMS” computers are to be used only to access the online catalog. No sign-up is necessary for the public access catalog. Patrons must sign in before using the library’s one-hour Internet and word processing computers. Time limits are strictly enforced at times when there is high demand for computers. In order to avoid the introduction of computer viruses and other destructive elements:

  • Patrons may not use any software or programs that are not provided by the library.
  • Patrons may only save files to disk that have been scanned for viruses. Patrons wishing to access files on a disk brought from home may ask for assistance at the Circulation Desk.
  • Security software is in use on Library computers.

Any computer user attempting to circumvent these security provisions will lose computer privileges. The Library’s computers may only be used for legitimate educational and recreational purposes. Any person found engaging in any of the following activities will lose his or her computer privileges.

  • Harassment, libeling, or slandering of other persons.
  • Destroying or damaging equipment, software or data belonging to the library or to library users. This includes changing settings on library computers, or attempting to circumvent the library’s security software.
  • Violation of copyright protected material.
  • Violation of the rules of the networks traversed.
  • Unauthorized use of computer user accounts, access codes, or network identification numbers assigned to others.
  • Violation of software license agreements.

In the case of illegal activity, the library will notify proper local, state or federal authorities.

Individuals who believe they have been treated unjustly may appeal in writing to the Books and Operations Committee of the Board of Trustees. The Committee shall reply in writing within five (5) working days. The Committee’s decision will be final.

Internet Usage Policies
The Osterville Free Library provides users with access to the Internet. The Internet is a global electronic network that provides dynamic information and facilitates inter-communication. The Library has no control over access points that often change rapidly and unpredictably. Osterville Village Library users of the Internet are responsible for the choice of sites they visit.

The Library is a forum for all points of view and adheres to the right of free speech, as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights formulated by the American Library Association. As with books and other materials, parents of minor children must assume responsibility for their children’s use of the Internet through the Library’s connection.

The Osterville Village Library makes no warranty, expressed or implied, for the timeliness, accuracy or usefulness of information accessed via the Internet. The Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from its connection with the World Wide Web or other Internet services.

Help Us Maintain Our Wonderful Community
Help us maintain our family-oriented, community atmosphere by refraining from displaying images that may be offensive to others. Because our public computers are in high-traffic areas, frequented by our youngest patrons, you may not view pornography on library computers.

Library’s Liability
The Osterville Village Library assumes no liability for loss of or damage to a computer user’s data, nor for any damage or injury arising from the invasion of the user’s privacy.