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Library Policies

Access to the Internet

The Library mission –developed by Board of Trustees working in conjunction with library staff and members of the community—states that the Amherst Town Library “strives to provide all community residents—both young and old—with materials and services for their information, educational and entertainment needs.”

The strain of support for intellectual freedom runs through all library policies including the materials selection policy and the electronic media policy.

Positive approach

  • ATL networks are designed to give patrons the ability to search for the information which they need using the most effective tools available.
  • We purchase databases of information from traditionally trusted sources such as periodicals and government publishers.
  • Reference staff provides many bookmarks to help patrons move quickly to well tested sites on the Internet.
  • The Amherst Town Library web site also directs users quickly to carefully selected sites on many subjects.
  • We conduct workshops to teach patrons to search effectively and to evaluate sources.
  • We try to protect the privacy of patrons by positioning of computer screens so that they do not face directly into traffic areas of the library and by providing areas where patrons can discretely ask librarians for help.

In a special effort to protect patrons, we do two things:

  • We clear all search history from the browsers after each person leaves a computer so that the next patron will not inadvertently stumble across material which may not be appropriate for him or her.
  • The Amherst Town Library Children’s Page offers a safe alternative to young people by offering a professionally selected subset of the Internet with good sites for both research and entertainment. The two networked computers in the children’s room operate in the kiosk mode so that children can move easily around the sites on the Children’s Page without going out onto the World Wide Web as a whole.

As there are serious questions about how effective Internet filters can be considering the complexity of human knowledge, we consider our more positive approach to safe use of the Internet to be a better method of serving our patrons’ diverse needs.

The Library Director will be happy to speak further with any Amherst citizen about ATL Internet access concerns.

 

Circulation Policies

Circulation Policy

Click here to download the pdf.

Collection Development

Philosophy and Scope

Collection development at the Amherst Town Library is based on principles of intellectual freedom and equal access for all. The library maintains a collection that represents a broad spectrum of opinion and subject matter, in diverse formats, suitable to a variety of learning and recreational interests. The library builds a collection for the general public that is responsive to changing community interests and needs.

Responsibility for Collection Development

The Board of Library Trustees adopts a Collection Development Policy which they authorize the Library Director to administer. The Director allocates the materials budget and designates staff to develop selection and acquisition procedures and to make purchasing decisions subject to approval.

Materials Selection Process/ Criteria/ Standards

Library staff use a variety of tools to aid in awareness and selection of materials including professional review journals, popular media, electronic interest groups/ listservs/ feeds, publishers’ catalogs, patron and staff recommendations.

The lack of a review or a favorable/ unfavorable review shall not be the sole reason for rejecting or adding a title.

Staff will objectively evaluate based on the entire work, not just individual parts and the work’s overall contribution to the collection.

Many selection criteria will be considered, carrying different weights in different circumstances. Budget and space availability, as well as availability of the material through interlibrary loan will also shape the selection process. All materials, whether purchased or donated, will be evaluated critically based on some combination of :

  • authority and accuracy
  • current usefulness or interest
  • relevance to the existing collection’s strengths and weaknesses
  • standards of quality in content and format
  • price and availability
  • relevance to library’s mission and goals
  • local demand
  • informational and recreational needs of users
  • level of funding for materials

Additional criteria that will be considered when selecting materials in electronic formats include

  • ease of use
  • accessibility to concurrent users
  • enhancement of the print equivalent (if applicable)
  • reduction of space requirements
  • continued access to retrospective information
  • flexible and accessible technical requirements

Works which are obviously and exclusively created for pornographic or sensational purposes will not be selected. Objectionable language and vivid descriptions of sex and violence when dealt with realistically within the context of a work will not be criteria for rejecting the title.

The responsibility for a child’s choice in reading materials belongs with the parents and legal guardians of the child. Collection selection will not be determined by the possibility that controversial works may come into the possession of children.

Gifts

The library welcomes gifts of materials, but reserves the right to evaluate them in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials. Gifts may be refused if they do not meet the objectives of this policy or require special housing. The library will not accept conditions relating to the gift and reserves the right to dispose of the gift, at its discretion, when it no longer fits the needs or scope of the collection. The library does not provide evaluations for tax purposes nor does it make the arrangements for such an evaluation.

De-selection

In order to maintain a collection that is current, reliable, in good repair, easy to use, and appealing, materials are withdrawn on a continuing basis. Collections should change over time to reflect changes in the community and the library’s goals. Materials will be de-selected when they are judged to be dated, inaccurate, seldom used, in poor condition, or otherwise not in compliance with the criteria for selection.

Controversial Materials and Intellectual Freedom

The Amherst Town Library does not promote particular beliefs or views, but strives to provide free access to a well-balanced collection of topics, suitable to the diverse members of the community. Language, situations or subjects that may be offensive to some community members do not disqualify materials which, in their entirety, are judged to be of value.

The library houses materials in the areas to which they seem most suitable, but does not restrict their use by ages or other criteria.

The library does not rely on private advisory codes or rating services in the selection of materials, but also does not remove them if they are integral to the packaging of the work.

In the interest of protecting the individual’s right to have access to materials, the library supports:

  • The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
  • The Library Bill of Rights, Adopted June 18, 1948, by the ALA Council; amended February 2, 1961; amended June 28, 1967; amended January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 24, 1996.
  • The Freedom to Read Statement, 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.
  • The Freedom to View Statement, Endorsed January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council

Should a community member object to a particular item owned by the Amherst Town Library, the patron will be offered the opportunity to fill out a “Citizen’s Request for Reconsideration of a Library Resource”. The request shall be reviewed by three library staff members and/or trustees including the Library Director. The Library Director will issue a written decision to the challenger that may be appealed to the Library Board of Trustees. In the event of an appeal, the decision of the Library Board of Trustees is final. The challenged materials will remain in the collection while the material is being reviewed.

Internet

Library mission states that the Amherst Town Library “strives to provide all community residents [both young and old] with materials and services for their information, educational and entertainment needs.” The World Wide Web has become an essential tool for research, casual information needs and recreation. There are serious questions about how effective internet filters can be considering the complexity of human knowledge. Therefore, we provide our patrons with unfiltered Internet access and employ a “positive approach” to guide patrons to selected sections of the Internet. First, the Amherst Town Library website directs users to carefully selected sites on many subjects. Second, the Internet computer in the children’s room is restricted to search only chosen, edited subscription databases accessed via the Internet. We consider our more positive approach to safe use of the internet to be a better method of serving our patrons’ diverse needs.

Displays & Exhibits

  1. Library bulletin boards will be used to display information about library services and events, municipal meetings or job postings, and flyers from non-profit groups. All postings require the approval of the Library Director or designee and will be dependent upon perceived level of local interest and space availability.
  2. Posters of cultural, educational, civic or charitable events may be displayed with the Library Director’s permission.
  3. No materials that advocate the election of a candidate, political or otherwise, shall be displayed in the library or on library grounds.
  4. No materials that advocate consideration of any product or item sold for purely commercial enterprise shall be displayed in the library.
  5. No petitions will be allowed.
  6. A “fine arts floater” which is attached to the existing town insurance policy covers all items on loan to the library. The library assumes no responsibility for the preservation, protection or possible damage or theft of any item displayed or exhibited. Patrons shall be required to sign a release form when displaying their items.

Gifts

  1. Books, videos, audiobooks, magazines and other library materials will be accepted in accordance with the Collection Development policy.
  2. Gifts of money, real property and /or stocks will be accepted if the conditions attached thereto are acceptable to the Library Board of Trustees.
  3. Personal property, art objects, portraits, antiques and other museum objects will be accepted at the discretion of the Board of Trustees.

Interlibrary Loans

With our Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service, you can access materials from other libraries throughout New Hampshire and the rest of the country. Interlibrary Loan is a primary service that supports the mission of the library by providing enhanced access to library materials and information. The purpose of Interlibrary Loan is to obtain materials not available in our library and to provide material from our collection to other libraries.

The library affirms that Interlibrary Loan is an adjunct to, not a substitute for, the library’s collection. The Amherst Town Library participates in Interlibrary Loan in order to support the diverse research needs of library users and to satisfy their broad reading interests. [This policy defines those items not available through self-initiated patron requests through our GMILCS ILS system.]

I. Definition

Interlibrary Loan is a transaction in which the Amherst Town Library borrows materials directly from another library on behalf of a patron, or another library borrows materials from the Amherst Town Library on behalf of its patron.

II. Conditions of Service

In delivery of Interlibrary Loan services both in borrowing and in lending, the Staff will follow procedures established at the Amherst Town Library in accordance with the standards of the American Library Association’s Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States, the United States Copyright Law and the United States Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU) Guidelines, federal and state laws governing confidentiality of records, the New Hampshire State Library System, and GMILCS, Inc.

III. Interlibrary Loan Borrowing

Users

Interlibrary Loan Borrowing Service is available to all patrons holding a valid library card from the Amherst Town Library. It is important that the patron “contact information” be up-to-date and any attached fines to the patron’s record be under $3.00 at time of pick up.

Types of Materials Borrowed

Amherst Town Library patrons may request specific materials not owned by the Amherst Town Library, materials missing from the library’s collection, or materials owned by the library that are being repaired or temporarily unavailable. If a title is owned by the Amherst Town Library and currently checked out, it is preferable to place a hold on that item for the patron. If the item requested is for a book club, time essential research, or other “urgent” need, an Interlibrary Loan request may be made for that item. Library Staff has the discretion to make the decision whether an Interlibrary Loan is appropriate at the time of request. Circumstances to consider in this decision include: book club need, title is part of a local school reading list, and whether there exists an extended wait time at the Amherst Town Library, yet the title is easily available at other libraries. All formats (i.e. audios, videos, books, journal articles, etc.) may be requested.

How to Submit a Request

A patron may place a request in-person at the Information and Research Desk, the Circulation Desk, and the Children’s Room Desk, via email (library@amherstlibrary.org), via fax (603-672-6063), or over the phone (603-673-2288). Each patron may submit up to three requests at one time. Additional requests will be accepted at the discretion of the Staff.

Turnaround Time

Service will be provided as quickly as possible. The Amherst Town Library makes every effort to place requests with a potential lending library within 24 hours. Turnaround time varies depending upon the lending library’s response and the materials requested. Patrons will be notified by telephone or email as soon as the requested item arrives at the Amherst Town Library. For in-state requests, the Amherst Town Library receives materials through the New Hampshire State Van delivery service 5 days a week. It is a reasonable expectation to receive an item within 1 week of the request in most cases. Out-of-state requests usually necessitate a longer turnaround time and often depend on time associated with mail delivery. If patrons have time restraints on their requests, the Staff will seek to expedite the request to the best of their ability. Once a patron has been notified of a requested item’s arrival, the Amherst Town Library strongly encourages the patron to pick the item up within 1 week.

Conditions of Use

The Amherst Town Library will observe any restrictions or limitations of loaned materials [i.e. “in library use only”, limited loan periods, etc.] that are imposed by a lending library.

Loan Period

Interlibrary Loan items are checked out to patrons for a loan period of 3 weeks. For Book Club Members, books are set to be due 3 days after the scheduled book discussion. Yet, as noted above in section E, conditions of use may dictate a different loan period. Renewals are possible if all parties involved in the transaction agree to the extended loan period. The Amherst Town Library strongly encourages renewal requests be made in advance of the due date to lead to more efficient communication and processing with the lending library. Interlibrary Loan items are returned by patrons to the Amherst Town Library at completion of the patron’s loan period. The Amherst Town Library then processes the item for return to the lending library.

Charges

The Amherst Town Library does not impose a fee for borrowing materials through Interlibrary Loan from other libraries in New Hampshire. However, out-of-state libraries do often impose fees for various services. If the lending library specifies that it imposes fees for Interlibrary Loan (i.e. postage, insurance expenses, photocopy charges, or general fees), patrons will be consulted about their willingness to pay before the materials are borrowed. Once a patron authorizes the charges, he/she is responsible for payment even if the item is not picked up. In addition, patrons incur an automatic charge of $5.00 for shipping and handling if it is necessary to obtain the interlibrary loan material from an out-of-state source. If a “series” of items are being sent from an out-of-state library, require multiple mailings, and are generated by one patron’s request, shipping and handling costs to the patron may be reduced at the discretion of the Library Director.

Responsibility

The patron is responsible for picking up the requested item at the Amherst Town Library within 1 week of notification. It is also the responsibility of the patron to return the item to the Amherst Town Library in a timely fashion. If an item received through Interlibrary Loan is returned late, overdue fines are incurred by the patron at 25 cents per day with a maximum fine of $4.00 per item. If an item is damaged or lost, the patron is responsible for the cost or replacement of the item [depending on the lending library’s preference], any processing fee charged by the lending library, and a $2.00 processing fee assessed by the Amherst Town Library. Failure to return Interlibrary Loan items on time or to pick up items ordered through Interlibrary Loan could result in fines and /or suspension of Interlibrary Loan privileges. The Amherst Town Library will be responsible to the lending library for materials borrowed on behalf of its patrons, from the time the material arrives at the Amherst Town Library until the item is returned to the lending library.

Statistics

The Amherst Town Library will maintain records of current transactions in order to inform patrons of the status of their requests and will annually report activity (numbers of transactions) as required to the New Hampshire State Library.

V. Interlibrary Loan Lending

Users

The Amherst Town Library will loan materials to all libraries that abide by the standards set forth in Section II, Conditions of Service, of this policy. Additionally, the library will respond to all requests from other libraries informing the library of the status (i.e. “filled” or “denied”) of their request.

Materials Available

All materials from the Amherst Town Library collection are available for loan except the following: Reference Collection materials, Archival Collection materials, and any item in high demand in the Amherst Town Library. NHU-PAC (New Hampshire Union Public Access Catalog) requests to our library for newly purchased items may be denied if the item has only been on the shelf for one month or less.

Format for Requests

The Amherst Town Library responds to email (library@amherstlibrary.org), fax (603-672-6063), phone (603-673-2288), mail (Amherst Town Library, 14 Main St., Amherst, NH 03031), and NHU-PAC requests. The Amherst Town Library responds to both in and out-of-state requests. For out-of-state requests, an email, or ALA fax or mailed form, is necessary to accompany phone requests.

Turnaround

The Amherst Town Library will endeavor to respond as quickly as possible to all requests and seeks to have the item sent in the appropriate manner to the requesting library within 2 days.

Loan Period

Interlibrary Loan items are checked out to other libraries for a loan period of 4 weeks. READS-TO-GO Book Club Kits may be checked out to other libraries for a loan period of up to 8 weeks. Renewals are possible if all parties involved in the transaction agree to the extended loan period.

Charges

The Amherst Town Library does not charge for lending materials to other libraries through the New Hampshire State Van delivery system. For requests from libraries outside the New Hampshire State Van delivery system, the Amherst Town Library reserves the right to pass on any charges incurred that are deemed beyond the reasonable costs (i.e. mailing, photocopy, or insurance costs). “Beyond the reasonable costs” is defined as above $10.00. The Amherst Town Library will charge the borrowing library for materials that are damaged or lost on Interlibrary Loan. The cost reflects the replacement cost of the item plus a $2.00 processing fee.

Investments

General

The overall portfolio should be managed in accordance with the Prudent Man or Prudent Person rule. The definition of prudence is based on RSA 31:25-b: “a prudent investment is one which a prudent man would purchase for his own investment having primarily in view the preservation of the principal and the amount and regularity of the income to be derived there from.”

Scope

This investment policy applies to all money and financial resources, governed by the Library Board of Trustees, available for investment on behalf of the Amherst Town Library.

Objectives

The primary objective of the library’s investment activities are:

  1. legal: to conform with all applicable federal, state and other legal requirements
  2. safety: to adequately safeguard principal
  3. liquidity: to provide sufficient liquidity to meet all operating requirements
  4. yield: to obtain a reasonable rate of return

Investment Authority

Library trust funds are overseen by the Library Board of Trustees. An elected Treasurer and Chairman of the Board are empowered by the Board to act as agents to expend funds and execute tasks associated with day-to-day management.

Reporting

The Treasurer of the Library Board of Trustees will report on the value and growth of Library Trust Funds and transaction history at monthly board meetings, a minimum of 4 times per year.

Meeting Rooms

The library has two public meeting rooms available to educational, cultural and civic groups based in Amherst or serving Amherst residents. Organizations agreeing to the terms outlined below are welcome to meet in one of these rooms when they are not being used for library programs or meetings.

To Reserve a Room

  • Use the library’s online system—it's fast and easy!
  • Visit or call the library (673-2288)
  • Email a completed meeting room application |

For reservations within the next three days, please call or visit the library in person.

Please note: Use of a library meeting room implies acceptance of all library policies, including the Meeting Room Policy, Unattended Children Policy and Patron Behavior Policy.

Patron Behavior

The Amherst Town Library supports the rights of all individuals to:

  • Use the library without discrimination
  • Receive friendly, respectful and professional service
  • Have free and equal access to information
  • Have a clean, comfortable and pleasant environment
  • Use the library undisturbed without threat of harm, invasion of property or interference.
  • Express their opinions and concerns regarding library materials and services to appropriate library staff.

In order for the library to be used and enjoyed by all patrons the following guidelines should be observed:

  • This policy pertains to behavior in the library building and on library grounds.
  • Many patrons use the library as a place for quiet study. Patrons should respect the rights of others and not engage in loud conversations or noisy activities. Inconsiderate use of cell phones will not be tolerated.
  • To ensure the safety of our young patrons, parents are responsible for the behavior and supervision of their children. (Please see “Unattended Children Policy”)
  • To ensure a clean, comfortable and pleasant environment, proper use and care of the building and all materials is essential. Patrons may not deface or improperly remove library materials, equipment or furnishings, or prevent timely access to library resources through theft or deliberate misuse of materials.
  • No one may interfere with another person’s right to use the library free of disruption or with the library staff’s performance of their duties. Examples of disruptive behavior include: use of obscene language, running, throwing objects, resting feet on furnishings or equipment, or any activity resulting in loud noise. The Library Staff are empowered to identify disruptive behavior. Refusal to comply with the reasonable request of staff members will be considered disruptive behavior.
  • Threatening the safety or rights of another person, violent or disorderly behavior, threats of violence or use of abusive language, possession of weapons, blocking entrances or interfering with people entering/ exiting the building are not acceptable.
  • Use of alcohol and tobacco is not permitted anywhere in the library building or on library grounds.
  • Solicitation and distribution of non-library materials is not permitted without the permission of the Library Director or designee.

Any patron violating the above guidelines may be denied access to the library by the Library Director or designee. The library staff reserves the right to contact the Amherst Police Department for assistance related to the dismissal of a patron.

Patrons whose privileges have been denied may request a review by the Library Board of Trustees.

Patron Privacy

The Amherst Town Library collects personally identifiable information only when necessary for the fulfillment of the mission of the library. In compliance with NH RSA 201-D:11 personal information and/or records of library activity shall be released only as provided for in this policy.

  • Application must be made to the Library Director or her designee.
  • The Director shall consult with Chairman of the Board of Trustees or his designee and the legal counsel of the Town of Amherst.
  • The request for information must be accompanied by a court order in proper form that has been entered by a court of competent jurisdiction after showing good cause by the law enforcement agency or person seeking the recorded information.

Personnel Policy & Amendment

Welcome new employee!

On behalf of your colleagues, we welcome you to the Town of Amherst and wish you every success here.

We believe that each employee contributes directly to the Town of Amherst's growth and success, and we hope you will take pride in being a member of our team.

This handbook was developed to describe some of the expectations of our employees and to outline the policies, programs, and benefits available to eligible employees. Employees should familiarize themselves with the contents of the employee handbook as soon as possible, for it will answer many questions about employment with the town of Amherst.

We hope that your experience here will be challenging, enjoyable, and rewarding. Again, welcome!

Sincerely,

Bruce Bowler, Chairman, Board of Selectmen

Gary MacGuire, Town Administrator

Amendment

The Amherst Town Library Board of Trustees adopts the Town of Amherst Employee Policies Handbook with the following amendments:

  • Where “Board of Selectmen” is written, “Library Board of Trustees” is implied.
  • Where “Town Administrator” is written, “Library Director” is implied.
  • In Section 314 regarding Educational Assistance, the Amherst Town Library will extend the same educational assistance benefits to Regular Part-Time Employees.
  • In Section 108 regarding Conflicts of Interest, the policy will apply to members of the Board of Trustees as well as employees.

Privacy Statement

As librarians we have a professional obligation to respect the right to privacy for all of our library users. New Hampshire Law protects your right to privacy so that others cannot know how you use library services and materials. We ask for your cooperation in helping protect the rights of all library users, including children.

Materials On Hold:

We can only give out titles of materials on hold to the person who placed the hold. If you plan to pick up an item on hold for another patron, you must present their library card at the time of checkout.

Renewals:

You may renew materials for another person by phone or in person, but we can only let you know the number of items and the types of items being renewed.

Overdue Materials and Fines:

We can only give out titles of overdue materials to the person who has borrowed them. Overdue notices will be mailed to the person who has borrowed the materials, including children. Once the notice arrives at the patron’s home, the parent may intervene if they so choose. You may pay fines for another patron, but we can only tell you the amount of the fines and the number of items with fines. We encourage you to request a printed receipt of the materials that you borrow. This receipt can be kept in a visible location in your home for reference.

The Amherst Town Library collects personally identifiable information only when necessary for the fulfillment of the mission of the library.

In compliance with NH RSA 201-D:11 personal information and/or records of library activity shall be released only as provided for in this policy.

  • Application must be made to the Library Director or her designee.

  • The Director shall consult with Chairman of the Board of Trustees or his designee and the legal counsel of the Town of Amherst.

  • The request for information must be accompanied by a court order in proper form that has been entered by a court of competent jurisdiction after showing good cause by the law enforcement agency or person seeking the recorded information.

Reference Service

I.  Statement of Library’s Mission

The Amherst Town Library shall strive to provide all community residents with materials and services for their information, education and entertainment needs.

II.  Mission of the Reference Department

It is the mission of the Reference Department to effectively meet the community residents’ information, education, and entertainment needs by bringing the library’s resources and potential users together through a variety of services.  The Reference Staff is committed to providing excellent customer service to all research requests in an attentive, prompt, accurate, and professional manner.  Intellectual freedom and respect for confidentiality are the foundation of our services.  The Reference Department affirms the Library Bill of Rights and Code of Ethics as stated by the American Library Association.  In this rapidly changing information environment, we, as professional Reference Librarians, take actions each day to stay current and up-to-date in our knowledge of information sources and strive to respond to the specific needs of our community of library users.  Reference service is available to all persons served by the Library regardless of age, sex, religion, race, social, or economic status. 

III.  Purpose of this Policy Statement

The purpose of this policy statement is to provide the Staff with a compendium of information policies that promote a uniform standard of service of the highest possible quality for all library patrons.

This policy is designed both to orient new Staff members and to be an information resource for more experienced Staff.

The Head of Reference will endeavor to review the policy annually for currency, accuracy, and completeness.  Specific changes will be made throughout the year as the need for them arises.

IV.  General Guidelines for Reference Service

Priorities

Service to the public receives priority over any other duties.  Other tasks and professional assignments are secondary.  In-person patron requests are handled first.  Telephone, email, fax, and mail requests are responded to in a timely manner and meet the library users’ communicated time needs.  Questions that remain unanswered at the end of a Reference Librarian’s desk shift may be passed on to the incoming Reference Librarian if deemed necessary.  Staff members are encouraged to consult with colleagues if they need help with a difficult question.  If the requested information cannot be provided within 24 hours, the patron should be notified of the status of the request.  The Library’s primary responsibility is to Amherst Town Library patrons.  Only basic reference service is provided for requests from those who are not Amherst Town Library cardholders.  Library users with time-consuming inquiries who are not Amherst Town Library cardholders may be referred to the public library in their own community, if appropriate; and, in cases where the Amherst Town Library has special resources in Staff or materials, and the needs of the user seem to warrant it, assistance beyond the routine may be given.  In answering Reference questions, authoritative and reputable sources are consulted and cited after a complete Reference Interview is conducted.  The Reference Department will actively communicate the scope, nature, and availability of the information services we offer.

Information Access

The Reference Department will maintain innovative and effective tools for meeting the community residents’ information needs.  These tools include a customer friendly web site, excellent print and non-print information sources, and useful and relevant electronic databases available in the library and remotely.  Collection decisions affirm the Amherst Town Library’s Reference Collection Development Policy. The library’s building shall not be a boundary to its information services.  The Reference Department offers Reference Service to information seekers at the place where they are when they have a question and will endeavor to be progressive in seeking new technologies available to communicate with library users.  Photocopies provided to patrons in conjunction with the answering of Reference questions are free.

Education, Culture and Entertainment Access

The Reference Department offers educational, cultural and entertainment opportunities in the following ways:  one-on-one or “group” help with research needs; one-on-one assistance in computer applications; and, cultural and entertainment programs that respond to the needs of the community and affirm the role of the library as a community gathering and information center.

Interlibrary Service

The Reference Department offers excellent interlibrary loan services to support the diverse research needs and to satisfy the broad reading interests of all Amherst Town Library patrons.  For detailed interlibrary loan policies and procedures, please see the Interlibrary Loan Policy section.

Revision approved by Library Board of Trustees September 17, 2012.

Request for Confidential Records

Confidential library records will not be released or made available to any person unless a court order in proper form has been entered by a court of competent jurisdiction after showing good cause by the law enforcement agency or person seeking the records.

  • It is lawful for employees of the library to refer any agent or officer seeking confidential library records to an administrator in charge.  It is not necessary to respond immediately to any request.  If a staff member is approached by any person requesting confidential library records, he/she should ask for identification and then immediately refer the person to the Director.  If the Director will be unavailable for longer than 24 hours, the staff member should refer the person to the Chairman or Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
  • The Director or Board Member will meet with the inquiring agent or officer with library counsel or a colleague in attendance.
  • If there is no court order compelling the production of records, the requestor shall be informed of the library’s confidentiality and privacy policies and the State of New Hampshire’s confidentiality law (RSA 201-D:11).
  • If the agent or officer presents a court order, the Library Director shall immediately contact the Chairman or Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees so that the court order can be referred to the legal counsel for the Town of Amherst for review.  The Library Director or the Board Member will notify the Amherst Town Administrator of the use of legal counsel.

If the court order is in the form of a subpoena:

  • Counsel should examine the subpoena for any legal defect, including the manner in which it was served on the library, the breadth of its request, its form, evidence of sufficient showing of good cause made to the court.
  • Through legal counsel library administration will insist that any defect be cured before confidential records are released.
  • Library administration shall follow the subpoena strictly and shall not release any information not specifically requested in it.
  • If disclosure is required, library administration shall ask the court to enter a protective order drafted by the town counsel keeping the information confidential and limiting its use to the particular case.

If the court order is in the form of a search warrant:

  • A search order is executable immediately (unlike a subpoena).  The agent or officer may begin a search of library records as soon as the Library Director is served with the court’s order.
  • The Library Director shall ask to have a representative from the Board of Trustees and town legal counsel present before the search begins in order to allow counsel an opportunity to examine the search warrant and to assure that the search conforms to the terms of the search warrant.
  • Library administration shall cooperate with the search to ensure that only the records identified in the warrant are produced and that no other users’ records are viewed or scanned.

If the court order is a search warrant issued under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) USA Patriot Act amendment:

  • The procedures for a regular search still apply.  However, a search warrant issued by a FISA court also contains a gag order.  No person or institution served with the warrant can disclose that the warrant has been served or that records have been produced pursuant to the warrant.
  • Library staff and their representatives cannot disclose any information to any party, including the patron whose records are the subject of the search warrant.  The gag order does not change the library’s right to legal representation during the search.

Unattended Children

The Amherst Town Library welcomes children of all ages to use and enjoy the facilities, collections and programming offered by the library. The library attempts to provide a safe environment for children to select books and other materials and to attend library programming. However, young children are not safe when left unattended in the library. The staff cannot know if children are leaving the building with their parents or with strangers. For the safety of minor children and the enjoyment of all patrons using the library we have developed a specific policy regarding unattended children.

  • The Library Staff recognize that all children are unique and mature at different rates. We recommend that children under the age of ten not be left unattended in the library. We highly recommend that children under the age of eight not be left unattended in the children’s room. A child is unattended if a parent, teenaged sibling or responsible adult is not present with the child at all times while in the library.
  • At the discretion of a responsible adult, older children may be left unattended for the period of time needed to select materials, complete a homework assignment, read, or attend a program. The child must know how to reach the adult in case the need should arise. Children should not be left for longer than three hours; the library does not provide child care services.
  • Parents are responsible for the behavior of minor children at all times, even if they are not in the library with the child. Library staff does not serve in loco parentis, in place of the parent. If a child’s behavior is inappropriate for the library, and he/she does not respond to appropriate guidance from library staff, the parent will be contacted to remove the child from the library. If the parent cannot be reached and the child’s behavior is deemed dangerous or unduly disruptive, the Amherst Police Department may be called.
  • If a child is left at the library without a way home at closing time, library staff may call the child’s home or parent’s place of business using information provided by the child, the patron database, or the telephone directory. If contacted, the parent will be told that their child must be picked up immediately. If the parent cannot be located or if a parent has not picked up the child within one half hour, the library staff may contact the Amherst Police Department.
  • Under no circumstances will a staff member take a child out of the library or give a child a ride home.
  • The Amherst Town Library and its staff do not assume responsibility for any child left unattended in the library. All library patrons, regardless of age are subject to the Patron Behavior Policy concerning disruptive behavior (see policy in corresponding section on this page).
  • As used in this policy, the term “parent” may include legal guardians or other persons having custody or control of a minor.

Approved by Board of Library Trustees: 22 February 2006

Website

Intent

The Amherst Town Library web site will support the mission of the Amherst Town Library. To do so, the Library selects, acquires and provides access to materials across a variety of electronic formats via the site.  The Library web site provides electronic access to subscription databases, the Library’s online catalog, selected web sites and other appropriate information sources as well as information about the Library’s services and activities.

Collection Development

The Library’s link selection policy is consistent with our materials selection policy.  Criteria for selection include: currency, authority, content, organization and accessibility. 

Sites selected are not under the control of the Library.  The Library is not responsible for the contents of any linked site or links within selected sites.  The Library does not guarantee selected sites will be 100% accurate.  Inclusion of a site does not signify endorsement by the Amherst Town Library.

The Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from use of its electronic services or its connections to the Internet.

The Amherst Town Library reserves the right to remove pages and the right to refuse linking to pages that are not essential to the Library Mission or do not comply with this policy.  The Library web site is not to serve as a public forum.