Policies & Guidelines

Civility Policy

Approved by the Board of Library Trustees February 12, 2001
Amended and approved October 2, 2012, May 5, 2015

The Kingston Public Library exists to serve the community. To promote effective and enjoyable use of the Library, the Board of Library Trustees has adopted the following rules of use.

  1. The Library is primarily an area for quiet study. Any person who, in the opinion of Library staff, is engaging in conduct inconsistent with the operation of the Library will be asked to stop that behavior and may be asked to leave. (MGL. Ch. 272, Sec. 41)
  2. The Library is a place of civility. Library users are asked to treat each other with respect. Threatening behavior, including, but not limited to, violence, threats of violence, and possession of weapons will not be tolerated. Library users are also expected to treat library staff with respect.
  3. The Library respects the privacy of its users. Library users are asked to respect the privacy of others.
  4. Parents and caregivers are responsible for the behavior and supervision of their children. While quiet play and conversation are welcome in the Children's Room, children, as well as adults, should respect the rights of others. Children whose behavior becomes disruptive to the ability of other library users to study, read or play in peace or to the ability of staff to do their work may be spoken to by Library staff. Parents and caregivers are asked to monitor their child's behavior so that staff intervention is not necessary. Parents and caregivers who are unable or unwilling to do this may be asked to take their child out of the building until the child is able to behave appropriately.
  5. Children under the age of 9 should not be left unattended in the Library. See the Kingston Public Library policy on Unattended Children
  6. Because of risks to health and safety, smoking is not allowed at any time within the building or in the courtyard. Library users may finish and extinguish their smoking materials in the ashtray outside the Library entrance but may not smoke within 30 feet of the entrance so that other users do not have to pass through second-hand smoke to enter the building. (Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 270, Sec. 21- 22)
  7. Food is not allowed in the Library, except at designated times or in designated rooms. Non-alcoholic beverages in covered containers are allowed, except at the computers.
  8. Alcoholic drinks and containers for alcohol are not permitted in the library. Drinking alcohol is not permitted on Library property, under Town of Kingston General By-Laws Ch.6 art.2.
  9. Cell phone ringers should be turned off inside the Library. Extended cell phone conversations may be disruptive to other library users. Cell phone conversations should be brief and quiet. Longer calls should be taken in the courtyard or outside. See the Kingston Public Library policy on Conversations and Cell Phone Use in the Library
  10. All bicycles must be left in the racks provided.
  11. Roller blades and skateboards may not be used in the Library.
  12. Shoes and shirts must be worn in the Library.
  13. Patrons may be required to leave the Library if their personal hygiene prevents the orderly operation of the Library or the ability of other patrons to use or enjoy the facility.
  14. The Library building, grounds and materials are an investment of the taxpayers. Damage to Library property costs tax dollars to repair. Those who purposely damage Library property may have their library privileges suspended or revoked and will be prosecuted. (MGL. Ch. 266, Sec. 100) Parents can be held liable for damage done by a child under 18. (MGL. Ch. 231, Sec. 85)
  15. Library users who trigger library theft detection systems may be required to open any bags or pocketbooks for inspection.
  16. Library materials and equipment are an investment of the taxpayers. Library materials should be returned or renewed in accordance with the Library's circulation policies so that all users have the opportunity to use them. It is an act of larceny to remove library materials from the Library without having checked them out. Library users who consistently abuse the circulation or computer use policies may have their library privileges suspended or revoked. Theft of library materials, use of false identification to obtain a library card, or use of another person's library card without his or her permission are against state law and will be prosecuted. (MGL. Ch.266, Sec.99A)
  17. All members of the public should feel free to use the Library and its resources. Library users should not interfere with another person's use of the Library or with the Library staff's performance of their duties in protecting those rights.

Please cooperate with Library staff, who must interpret and apply these rules. Your help will create a pleasant and productive atmosphere for all.

Collection Development & Maintenance Policy

Approved January 4, 2010

This collection development policy of the Kingston Public Library is designed to provide guidelines for the staff in the selection of library materials. It does not replace professional judgment, but rather defines the general tools and criteria used for materials selection.

Library Objectives

The role of the Kingston Public Library with regard to collection development is to provide the community with access to a wide range of materials for their educational, informational, cultural, recreational, and social benefit. To accomplish this, the Library collects material in various formats (written, filmed, recorded, electronic), provides a place to hold the material, and allows the material to be borrowed or used in the Library. In the case of electronic resources, remote access is also provided whenever possible. The Library offers professional guidance on locating the material and, when budget permits, sponsors programming to promote awareness of the collections. Since the community is diverse, the approach of the Library must be similarly diverse. Within the limitations of its budget, the Library seeks to obtain as wide a range of materials as possible. To augment its resources, it participates in an automated network with a shared catalog and circulation system, the Old Colony Library Network. It also joins together on a regional basis with other libraries and information providers.

In its collection development policy, the Kingston Public Library fully supports the principles adopted by the American Library Association in its Library Bill of Rights and its Freedom to Read Statement. The key principle underlying both documents and this policy is that of free speech. In all its activities, the Library will support that principle, providing an unbiased platform for the exchange of ideas.

Collection Criteria

  1. "Material" is defined in the broadest possible context. The key criterion is useful content, not format.
  2. Professional review media are used as tools for selection, along with feedback from the community.
  3. All material must meet the following specific criteria: it must have either current usefulness or permanent value, and it must either have a relation to the present collection or fill a gap in the present collection. As a general rule, the Library selects materials that have given good reviews in professional review media. In recognition that the Library is a tax-supported institution, materials may also be selected in response to individual request or popular demand.
  4. The Library will reconsider the inclusion of specific materials upon written request. A form is available at the circulation desk.
  5. Titles are selected without regard to the gender, race, creed, nationality, political or religious views of the author.
  6. In the case of controversial issues, variety and balance of opinion is sought.
  7. Responsibility for the reading and viewing habits of children rests with the parents or legal guardians. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that material may come into the possession of children.
  8. Providing textbooks and curriculum material is the responsibility of the school system. The Library will work closely with the school system to provide the general resources necessary to supplement a student's education. When possible, the Library will obtain from the schools copies of current textbooks to assist students in completing homework assignments.
  9. In selecting material, the Library will pay special attention to the commercial, civic and cultural heritage of the community.
  10. Goals for selection are not only to meet the needs of current users, but also anticipate the needs of potential users.
  11. Library materials are not kept from the general public except for the purposes of protecting the material from damage or theft.
  12. Systematic withdrawal of damaged, out-dated, or worn-out material is to be expected. Frequency of use, uniqueness, accuracy and currency of content, and physical condition are prime considerations in this decision-making. These materials will be systematically weeded from the collection according to accepted professional practices, and will be sold, distributed to other institutions, or destroyed.
  13. As older formats, such as vinyl records, audiotapes, and VHS tapes, become obsolete, they may be weeded from the collection.
  14. Newer formats will be introduced as they come into use within the community.
  15. Interlibrary loans are used to obtain materials not in the Library's collections.
  16. Gifts received by the Library are judged under the same criteria as purchased materials. They are accepted with the understanding that the Library may dispose of them in any way it sees fit.
  17. The Library is not an advocate of any particular ideas reflected in the materials in its collection. However, it does defend the principles of the freedom to read and declares that no material that has been challenged will be removed from the Library except following the established procedures for reconsideration or under direct orders of a court of competent jurisdiction.
  18. Ultimate responsibility lies with the Board of Trustees. Day to day responsibility for material selection is delegated to the Library Director and designated staff. Input from other staff and users of the Library is also actively sought.

The Library Director and the Board of Trustees welcome the opportunity to discuss these principles with interested individuals or representatives of groups.

Policy on the Acceptable Use of Library Computers & the Internet

Adopted by the Kingston Public Library Board of Trustees on March 5, 2007. Revised April 7, 2015

The Kingston Public Library is committed to providing outstanding service to all segments of our community as well as employing state-of-the-art technology to improve access to global resources. As part of the mission to meet the recreational, informational, and educational needs of the public, the Library makes available free access to the Internet for all residents, regardless of economic status or age.


Currently, however, the Internet is an unregulated medium. It allows access to a vast array of material from around the globe for individuals of all ages, but it also enables access to some material that might be offensive, harmful, and/or illegal. Information found on the Internet is not organized centrally by any one agency or author, nor does the Library select or restrict the information on the Internet. The Library does not vouch for or take responsibility for the accuracy, quality, or authenticity of information obtained through the Internet. The Library will not tolerate the use of its computers in a way that violates local, state or federal law.

Library staff will work with children to help them learn how to use the Internet safely and efficiently. However, library staff cannot be held responsible for information, images or ideas children may encounter in their use of the Internet. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of parents to guide the Internet activities of their children. The Library highly recommends that parents explore the potential scope of the Internet, and library staff will be happy to assist parents in learning how to use the Internet. Parents may also wish to accompany their children to the Library to help guide them in their searches. The Library strongly encourages parents to discuss with their children the material encountered on the Internet, much as they would discuss the information and messages found in books, videotapes, television shows and advertisements.

It is not acceptable to use Internet access for any purposes that violate U.S. or state laws. Examples of unacceptable use include, but are not limited to: harassment of library users or staff; libeling or slandering others; violation of computer security systems, unauthorized use of computer accounts, access codes, or network identification numbers assigned to others; destruction or damage to equipment, software or data belonging to the library or other users; disruption or unauthorized monitoring of electronic communications; unauthorized copying of copyright-protected materials.

Violations of this policy may result in loss of computer privileges and/or loss of library privileges. Illegal acts involving library computing resources may also be subject to prosecution by local, state, or federal authorities.

The Kingston Public Library assumes no liability for any damage to user data or loss of user privacy sustained while using Kingston Public Library equipment.

The Library offers programs, books and tutorials to help library users learn how to navigate the Internet safely and efficiently, and how to evaluate the information found online.

Computer Use Guidelines

October 2012

Computer Availability & Use

  • Users must sign in at the reference desk. In the Children's Room, users do not need to sign in.
  • Sessions are limited to one hour. Users may be able to stay longer if no one is waiting.
  • No more than two persons at a time on the computer.
  • Software games and programs may not be installed on any public computer.
  • Users may not change wallpaper or settings.
  • Report any computer problems to the reference staff.
  • If you leave your computer during a session, it may not be available when you return. If you leave, please log out and take your belongings with you.
  • Computers will be shut down by staff 15 minutes prior to closing. All computer users are expected to cooperate by saving and closing their documents and leaving the computers when directed by staff.


  • Printing is $.20 per page.
  • All computers are set to print in black and white. Please let the reference librarian know if you wish to print in color.
  • Use the Print Preview option and select only what you want to print.
  • Only paper supplied by the library can be used in the printer.

Laptops, eBook Readers & Other Devices in the Library

  • To access the library's wireless connection, patrons need a laptop with built-in Wi-Fi capability.
  • Patrons should connect to the wireless network called "Kingston Public Library." No password is needed.
  • Library staff are not able to provide in-depth technical assistance. Library staff are not allowed to handle your device.
  • The Library does not assume responsibility for the safety of your equipment. Please remember that this is a public setting and keep your belongings with you at all times.

Food & Drinks

  • No food is allowed in the library, except during specific programs.
  • Drinks in covered containers are allowed in the main reading room. However, they are not allowed at the computers or on the floor near the computers.

Policy on Unattended Children

Approved April 14, 2008

The Kingston Public Library welcomes children of all ages. However, the Kingston Public Library is NOT responsible for the safety or wellbeing of children who are unattended in the Library. This is solely the responsibility of the parent or guardian. The Kingston Public Library staff are here strictly to help you and your children with library needs. The staff are not licensed to perform childcare.

Parents and caretakers are strongly urged to accompany their young children to and within the Library. Parents and caretakers should be aware that the Library is a public building and is not necessarily safer than any other public place or building. Parents and caretakers should be aware of their child's whereabouts in the Library throughout the visit. Parents and caretakers of young children should stay with their child throughout the visit. Children who are not old enough to leave the building without an adult should not visit the Library without an adult. Parents and caretakers are also reminded that unexpected events may occur in which the Library could close without notice, stranding an unattended child.

The Kingston Public Library reserves the right to ask any patron to leave the building if he or she is acting in an inappropriate manner, creating a public nuisance, or inhibiting the rights and privileges of others. This includes children. In the case of young children, a parent or guardian must accompany the child. In the absence of a parent or guardian, the Library staff will call the Kingston Police Department.

Parents should be aware of the Library's schedule in order to avoid having a child stranded after the Library closes. In the event that an unattended child is not picked up at least 15 minutes prior to closing, the Library staff will attempt to notify a parent or guardian. If these attempts are unsuccessful, the Library staff will notify the Kingston Police Department prior to closing. A staff member will stay with the child until the police arrive.

Policy on Tutors

Approved December 7, 2010, revised April 7, 2015, working revision December 19, 2018

The Kingston Public Library welcomes tutors and their students.

The Gallery has been designated as a Tutoring Area and we ask that tutors use this space. The Adult Room and Reading Areas are for quiet reading or work and should not be used for tutoring sessions. The Teen Room is for teens ages 11 to 18 and is not available for tutoring. There are also tables in the Children's Room for tutors working with children ages birth to 11.

The Library doesn't maintain lists of tutors, allow tutor advertising, or provide tutor recommendations. Individuals seeking tutoring services are referred to the Silver Lake Schools.

We ask tutors to observe the following guidelines while tutoring in the library:

  • Tutors are responsible for students under 18 years of age while on library property until they are released to a parent/guardian or to authorized transportation.
  • Tutors are responsible for the behavior of the students being tutored in the library.
  • Instruction and conversation should not distract other library users. Tutors are requested to use the Gallery, as noted above. Tutors may be asked to move to a different location if they are distracting other library users.
  • Tutors and students should bring their own supplies, but they are also welcome to use supplies from the library's homework carts.
  • We are happy to assist tutor teams, just as we would assist any library patron.
  • No messages may be conveyed through the library staff.
  • Extended parent/tutor conferences should not take place in the library. Brief conversations are welcome.
  • The exchange of money for tutoring services is not permitted in the library.
  • Tutors may not advertise their business in the library.
  • Tutoring sessions must be completed 15 minutes before closing.
  • Tutor belongings or use of space should not interfere with easy access to collections and library equipment. The library offers equal access to our collections and will not allow tutoring situations to infringe on others' use of library space or collections.
  • Tables or other library spaces cannot be reserved for tutoring, nor can the expectation be made that others will be asked to move to accommodate a tutoring session.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Policy on Posting & Distribution of Non-Library Materials

Approved September 4, 2012; revised September 2, 2014

As a service to the community of Kingston, in the interest of promoting the dissemination of information among its members, the Library devotes bulletin board space and distribution areas for posting or passive distribution of printed and electronic materials from other community organizations.

The availability of materials for posting or distribution does not constitute an endorsement of the views contained therein by the town administration, the Library trustees, or employees of the Kingston Public Library.

Such space is made available on an equitable basis without regard to the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use. Priority will be give to requests for space from members of the community of Kingston. As such space is limited, materials will be posted or distributed as space becomes available and shall be posted or distributed for a period of not more than 30 days.

As materials posted, exhibited or distributed, may represent controversial issues, submissions are encouraged that represent the full range of opinions on any issue. Materials posted or distributed must identify the individual or organization that has provided the materials.

Materials that will not be considered for posting or distribution include:

  • Materials in support or opposition to any political candidate or ballot measure.
  • Materials in support or opposition to any specific religious conviction.
  • Materials that solicit donations, memberships, or petition signatures.
  • Commercial or business advertising.
  • "For Sale" notices.
  • Personals ads or notices.

The Library trustees delegate the authority, to determine the suitability for dissemination of materials submitted, to the Library Director or his or her designate. Any disagreements over such determination of suitability for posting or distribution shall be heard by the Board of Library Trustees at their next business meeting.

Materials left for posting or distribution without the prior approval of the Library director, the director's designee, or the Board of Library Trustees, shall be discarded.

Policy on Endorsements

Approved February 1, 2010

The Board of Library Trustees may endorse nonprofit organizations whose mission is consistent with that of the Kingston Public Library and whose activities help accomplish the Library's mission and benefit the Library's constituents. Such endorsement may include encouraging financial and other support for the organizations endorsed. A vote of the Board is required for any endorsement.

Policy on Solicitations

Approved February 1, 2010; revised September 4, 2012

The Board of Library Trustees will place limits on commercial activities and fund-raising activities in the Library building and in Library publications.

The Board may permit occasional commercial or fund-raising activities related to the mission of the Library or to organizations endorsed by the Board.

Commercial activities for other organizations may take place within the Meeting Room only if they are consistent with the Board's Meeting Room policy.

Commercial or fund-raising notices may be placed on the Library's bulletin boards only if they conform to the Board's Policy on Posting and Distribution of Non-Library Materials.

Customer Service Policy

Approved December 2, 2014

Building our community by inspiring ideas and enriching lives

The Kingston Public Library strives to consistently exceed customer expectations with friendly, knowledgeable and responsive staff; with balanced, current and accurate resources; and with a clean, safe and accessible building. We recognize that each customer is important, with unique needs, and we provide equal consideration and respect to all. Each customer will be treated with courtesy, respect and consideration regardless of age, race, sex, nationality, religion, educational background, physical limitations, information requested, or any other criteria.

We regard customer service as our most important value and seek to maintain a friendly, positive atmosphere for both patrons and staff. Excellent service arises from respect for both external customers and internal customers, that is, library patrons and library staff.

This Policy serves as the foundation for all staff interactions with the public and with each other. All other library policies should be interpreted in light of these principles.

Customer Service Principles

To promote a culture of comprehensive customer service, the Library endorses the following principles:

  • Each staff member is a representative of the Kingston Public Library.
  • Staff have authority and flexibility to make accommodations to solve problems.
  • We will always seek a way to say yes to reasonable requests from patrons and coworkers by fulfilling them or offering alternatives, working together when appropriate.
  • We will treat patrons and coworkers in a friendly, respectful, nonjudgmental manner.
  • We will honor patron and coworker privacy and keep requests for information confidential.
  • We will give precedence to people needing assistance over other library tasks.
  • We will refer complaints about the quality of service received to the appropriate supervisor or to the Library Director.