Policies & Strategic Plan

Library Policies

This policy provides guidance and direction to Library staff and to volunteers.

Read the complete Newburyport Public Library Volunteer Policy and Program.

As a member of the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC), the Newburyport Public Library (NPL) adheres to system-wide circulation regulations. MVLC regulations include such policies and procedures such as: borrower registration, interlibrary loans, out-of-state network loans, and suspension of borrowing privileges of another library’s patron. The Newburyport Public Library’s circulation staff strives to anticipate and to fulfill community-borrowing needs.

Read the complete Newburyport Public Library Circulation Policy.

The Newburyport Public Library is a community hub that inspires and empowers all to access knowledge, culture and social connections. The Collection Development Policy addresses the library mission, responsibility for collection development, materials selection process, scope and maintenance of the collection, gifts, objections to materials and intellectual freedom, and ongoing review of the collection development process.

Read the complete Newburyport Public Library Collection Development Policy.


            The City desires to provide space on public bulletin board(s) for local announcements that are non-commercial and inform the public concerning general health, educational, recreational, social and cultural interest to Newburyport citizens.  The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for community postings in order to facilitate the sharing information by Newburyport citizens, while keeping the limited bulletin board space available to the largest number of citizens and avoid postings which obstruct other postings or monopolize the limited space.


            The City providing public bulletin board space is not an endorsement or approval of the content of any postings or events described in the postings.  The City is not responsible for the accuracy of any statements contained in any postings.  After the allotted duration for postings, all postings will be removed and destroyed.  The City reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to remove, move, or eliminate any and all bulletin boards presently made available for public postings.


This policy applies to bulletin boards now available for public postings in Newburyport City Hall or the Newburyport Public Library, or any other future locations of public bulletin boards erected on City property.


Any postings must be submitted in advance to ensure compliance with the following criteria:

1. Does not exceed 8½ by 11 inches in size.

2. Does not concern commercial, retail, or personal advertising for sale of goods or services.

3. Contains an individual person’s name and contact information (by email or telephone) as well as any related Organizational name and contact information.

4. Contains the date posted.

5. Is posted no more than 45 days in advance of the event described in the posting.

Limitations on Postings:

1. Postings may remain on a bulletin board no longer than 60 days from the date of posting.

2. No more than one posting per bulletin board may be made concerning a particular event or matter of interest by the same person or organization

3. Commercial notices, solicitations, business cards, job postings and retail advertising are not permitted.

4. Personal notices of items for sale or services are not permitted.

5. Personal solicitations for fundraising is not permitted


If any part, section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, phrase, clause, term, or word in this policy is declared invalid by a court of law, such invalidity shall not affect the validity or enforceability of the remaining portions of the policy.

City Contact Persons:

            Questions concerning this policy and submission of postings may be made to the following persons during normal business operating hours:

(a) City Hall Bulletin Boards:  Mayor’s Office;

(b) Public Library Bulletin Boards:  designated Library staff

The use of any public computer workstation in the Newburyport Public Library or access to the Library’s wireless network constitutes acceptance of this Internet Safety and Computer Use Policy. Patrons reaffirm this agreement each time they access the Internet in the Library. Failure to comply with library policy may lead to the loss of computer and/or library privileges. The Newburyport Public Library provides equal user access to information that is available through the Internet. Computers are available on a first come first served basis. The Library cannot guarantee access to a public computer.

The Library does not keep a permanent record of patron logins, website visits or files created, but complete privacy on a shared public computer or network is not a reasonable expectation. Access to the public computers is controlled by a PC management system. Local library patrons must log in to the computers using their own library card number. Using someone else’s library card and login information is against library policy and will result in revocation of computer privileges for both parties. Out-of-town occasional visitors can get a guest pass from the 2nd floor Reference Desk. Library patrons are guaranteed no more than two hours per day on public computers.

Read the complete Newburyport Public Library Internet and Computer Use Policy.

The Newburyport Public Library exists for the purpose of providing library services for residents of Newburyport, Massachusetts. The provision of meeting room space is not the primary mission of the library, and must always be subordinate to the paramount need to provide a safe, peaceful, and respectful environment in which to work in and use the library facilities.

Library meeting rooms are used primarily for library programs and activities. Meeting rooms are not intended for use for regularly scheduled meetings by clubs or organizations that charge membership fees; these are considered private purposes. The Library, at the sole discretion of the Head Librarian, reserves the right to re-schedule, cancel or re-assign meeting room locations and dates that conflict with Library needs or for other reasons.

All meetings must be free and open to the Public. Meeting rooms are available during the Library’s regular scheduled hours of operation.

Read the complete Meeting Room policy for a list of available meeting spaces, general guidelines, and reservation requirements.

The Newburyport Public Library (hereinafter referred to as the NPL) welcomes Newburyport residents, consortium borrowers, visitors, and guests, and does not prohibit access by any person. The NPL encourages everyone to use the collections, services, and facilities of the library. While offering opportunities for reading, information access, special programs, and quiet study, the library strives to maintain a secure and welcoming environment in which patrons are expected to respect the rights of other users. Persons, who, in the professional judgment of the staff, engage in conduct inconsistent with the orderly operation of the library, will be asked to leave. Minors may be asked to leave until a parent/guardian has been consulted.

Patrons are expected to adhere to the following rules:

  • Patrons will not engage in any illegal activity in the library building or on the property. Patrons will not deface or mar any of the library’s collection or damage or destroy furnishings and equipment, structural features, or any library property, as defined in the Massachusetts General Laws (MGL, Ch. 266, Sec. 100). Parents can be held liable for damage done by a child under the age of eighteen (MGL, Ch. 231, Sec. 85).
  • Smoking, including E-cigarettes and vaping, is not allowed.
  • Food may only be consumed in the designated area in the Lobby. Drinks in spill-proof containers are allowed throughout the Library.
  • Cell phone use is allowed in designated areas only.
  • Shirts and shoes must be worn.
  • Patrons may be required to leave if their personal hygiene prevents the orderly operation of the library or the ability of other patrons to use and/or enjoy the facility.
  • With the exception of trained guide and service animals, no pets or other animals are allowed in the library building.
  • Bicycles, roller blades, skateboards, scooters, or similar equipment may not be used on library property, including the ramp and stairs. Bicycles should be left in the bike rack on Prince Place.
  • No solicitation of any kind will take place on library property. Only approved library fundraising efforts are permitted.
  • Patrons are responsible for their personal property and are encouraged not to leave items unattended. Library staff will not watch or safeguard patron property.
  • A patron may be required to leave personal belongings that are being used inappropriately with the library staff until he/she leaves the library.
  • Any materials removed from the library must be checked out on a valid library card or through other standard library procedures. It is an act of larceny to remove library materials without having checked them out on a valid library card. Bags may be inspected at the doors by library staff.
  • Parents are responsible for the supervision and behavior of their young children. Children under the age of 9 years must be accompanied by someone 14 years of age or older. Although children 9 and older may be left unattended for a reasonable length of time, children should know how to reach a parent or guardian, and a parent should be aware of the closing time of the library. Library staff members will not transport children from the library to any other location. Should children be left unattended in the library after closing, staff will call the Newburyport Police Department after attempting to contact a parent.
  • Disrespectful or disturbing behavior by patrons toward other patrons or library staff will not be tolerated and may be cause for expulsion from the library as well as temporary suspension of library privileges.
  • Patrons may not move furniture or make changes to the library environment without approval from staff.
  • When listening to audio devices, patrons must use headphones and set the volume to a level that will not distract others. Conversations should be limited and conducted in a manner that will not disturb others.
  • Patrons are restricted from nonpublic areas of the library. In addition, patrons may not be in the library before or after operating hours unless approved by the Head Librarian.
  • Failure to comply with the NPL Internet and Computer Use Policy may lead to the loss of computer and/or library privileges. Copies of the policy are available at the Reference Desk.
  • The Library follows directives of the City and State Boards of Health and of the Governor of Massachusetts in regards to public health and safety. Patrons must comply with all Library health and safety guidelines.
  • A patron who violates the library’s regulations and policies may be denied the privilege of access to the library by the Board of Directors on recommendation of the Head Librarian. Any patron whose privileges have been denied may have the decision reviewed by the Board of Directors.
  • Patrons should report disturbing behavior to library staff.
  • Patron cooperation with library rules and policy will help promote a positive library experience for everyone.

Library programs fulfill the NPL’s mission of bringing educational, recreational and accessible programming to the public. NPL programs can be defined as specific educational, recreational or cultural group events or activities sponsored by the library. Programs may be ongoing, a series or a one-time event.

The selection and organization of library programming is done by qualified library staff, based on the needs and interests of the community at large. Beliefs and opinions expressed during these programs do not represent the opinions of the NPL, library staff, Library Board of Directors or the City of Newburyport.

NPL programs must be free of charge and open to the public. The NPL reserves the right to limit program attendance based on space and staffing constraints, safety issues or unreasonable disruption to NPL services or activities. NPL staff will attempt to limit any disruption as much as possible The NPL reserves the right to set age limits or make recommendations for age limits for programs. The NPL reserves the right to cancel programs; rescheduling will be at the library’s discretion.

Read the complete Newburyport Public Library Programming Policy.

The Newburyport Public Library utilizes social media to maintain a welcoming online presence, to foster communication with library users and to publicize library events and services. Social media includes any tool or application which allows users to generate and share online content and commentary. The Library utilizes several forms of social media. For the purpose of this policy, social media content will refer to any text, photo, video or other image formats that are posted on the Library’s social media sites. This policy is in addition to and complements any existing or future Library and/or City of Newburyport policies regarding the use of social media, technology, computers and the internet.

Read the complete Newburyport Public Library Social Media policy.

The Newburyport Public Library encourages children of all ages to visit the Library, attend library programs, and take advantage of age appropriate resources and services. Staff members are happy to assist children in using library resources; however, staff cannot provide child care or assume responsibility for the safety of children left unattended on the Library’s premises. Parents, guardians, and/or caregivers are responsible for the safety and supervision of children at all times in the library and on library property.

Any child 8 years old or younger must have a parent or caregiver in the immediate vicinity of (and in visual contact with) the child. The parent/caregiver must be at least 14 years old. A sibling may act as caregiver only if he or she is at least 14 years old. Children 8 years old or younger may attend a library program without a parent/caregiver in the room as long as the parent/caregiver remains in the library and immediately joins the child at the end of the program.

At the discretion of a responsible adult, a child 9 years old or older may be left unattended for the period of time needed to select materials, complete homework, or attend a program.

Children, like all library users, are required to respect library property and act in a manner appropriate to the use and function of the library. Children who exhibit inappropriate behavior may be asked to leave the library, and will be given the opportunity to contact a parent/guardian. The library assumes no responsibility for the whereabouts of an unattended child who has been asked to leave library property.

Parents, guardians and/or caregivers need to be aware of scheduled library closing times and understand that the Library may have to close unexpectedly due to weather emergencies or safety issues. It is the responsibility of parents, guardians and/or caregivers to let their children know what they should do if they must leave the library. All children should have the telephone number of someone who can assist them in an emergency.

Library staff will contact the police or other appropriate City agency if a child appears to be at risk or if a child is left unattended when the library closes. Once the Library is closed children may not wait in the Library and staff members are not available to stay with a child after closing. Under no circumstances will library staff transport or take a child away from the library building.

Read the complete Newburyport Public Library Unattended Child policy.

The Newburyport Public Library (NPL) strives to maintain a safe and secure environment for staff and community members who use the Library, and to protect library materials and property. In pursuit of these objectives, selected public areas of the library premises are under continuous video surveillance and recording. Video surveillance complements other measures used to protect the safety of library visitors, employees, assets, property, and to identify persons breaking the law or violating the library’s Patron Policy. A notice is displayed at the main entrance informing the public that security cameras are in use.

The Video Surveillance Policy establishes guidelines for the placement and use of digital video cameras, as well as the access and retrieval of recorded digital video images at the NPL. Video monitoring and recording will be conducted in a manner consistent with all applicable laws and ordinances.

Read the complete Newburyport Public Library Video Surveillance policy.

The Newburyport Public Library (NPL) strives to maintain a safe and welcoming environment for all visitors.

The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for photography and/or video or audio recordings by staff and/or visitors to the NPL.

Read the complete Video, Audio and Photography Recording Policy.

Library Guidelines

The Newburyport Public Library provides proctoring services when possible.

Proctoring services are free but expenses including printing, copying, and postage are the responsibility of the student. The student must contact the Assistant Head Librarian in advance to arrange proctoring and receipt of instructions from the student’s institution prior to administering the exam.

The library can provide individual space for written or computer-based exams as appropriate.

Read complete proctoring guidelines for the Newburyport Public Library for additional important information.

What We Can Offer

The Library can host tours of the Children’s Room or Teen Space. Given adequate notice, we can provide research instruction and/or tips for using our online catalog. We offer read-alouds of 2-3 picture books upon request. We do not offer full story times for class visits.

How to arrange a visit

The library must consider staffing constraints, available space, and other programs before accommodating class visits. Requests must be made at least 48 hours in advance. To arrange a visit, contact Allison Privitera, Head of Children’s & Teen Services, at (978-465-4428 x 4) at least 48 hours before you hope to visit, even if you are not seeking a tour or other engagement from staff.

Please remind students of the following expectations prior to every visit:

  • Teachers, please check in with library staff upon arrival. We will advise you about where students should leave their personal effects that day so that they don’t create tripping hazards. Students should be mindful at all times that there are patrons in the building trying to work, access materials, and enjoy a pleasant and calm environment.
  • Books in the library are organized in a very specific way. Students should not attempt to reshelve a book if they don’t know exactly where it goes.
  • Students should bring their physical library cards with them to the Library. We have the capability to look up accounts (provided it is the student’s own card and not that of a caregiver), but this can be very time-consuming. The physical card eliminates that issue.

Library Strategic Plan

The Library engages in a strategic planning process every four or five years. The completed plan is submitted to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and an Action Plan is submitted yearly. Read the Newburyport Public Library Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2024.

The Library is currently working on our next strategic plan. Please click here for updates.