Pandemics, Natural Disasters, and Other Emergencies

Whelden Memorial Library establishes the following policy for pandemics, public health emergencies, weather related events, natural disasters, and other emergencies to supplement other approved policies. During emergencies, the Library Director is given the authority to deviate from approved policies as necessary to ensure the health and safety of patrons and staff members.

The Director is encouraged to continue providing in-person services and to resume those services as soon as safely able to do so while also complying with the orders and direction of local and state authorities and guidance from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). Internal considerations on open hours, staffing levels, services, and programs will include the availability and/or health status of staff members, the need to maintain safe staffing levels, and conditions in the community. In cases in which the Director is unable to obtain prior approval for changes by the Board or Head of the Trustees, they will notify the Trustees of any changes made as soon as reasonably possible.


Some steps that the Director may take may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Closing the building early, not opening, or delaying openings
    • When change in open hours occurs unexpectedly due to weather, emergencies, and disasters, scheduled staff members receive no loss in pay
  • Reducing public access to areas of the library 
  • Canceling, suspending, and resuming both library and non-library programs
  • Temporarily raising the age at which unaccompanied minors may come to the library by themselves
    (as of 1/20/22, children under the age of 10 must be accompanied while using library services)
  • Setting in-person total occupancy limits and limits on how long individuals may stay
  • Implementing a requirement that all patrons wear masks when inside the building or attending programs
    • Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, patrons who qualify for exemptions to wearing face coverings will be directed to use curbside pickup or other remote services to the best of the library’s ability
  • Eliminating the use of public restrooms or reducing the number of restrooms available to the public 
  • Temporarily approving a reduction in the minimum staffing levels during open hours, making modifications to services and areas where patrons may go in the library as necessary
  • Determining when and which staff members are authorized to work from home and their assignments during remote work
  • When a tornado warning or other weather event or emergency occurs during library hours, the library may remain open past its normal closing time to shelter patrons until it is determined that it is safe for everyone to leave 

Other temporary changes in operational hours, staffing levels and assignments, services, and programs may be made by the Director as they deem appropriate for the circumstances. 


In cases in which the Director is unavailable, they will designate a staff member or the most senior library staff member is given the authority to make any temporary changes to the daily operations of the library. The Library Director and Head of the Trustees will be notified of any changes as soon as reasonably possible. 


Approved: Whelden Memorial Library Board of Trustees, February 1, 2022 

Behavior Policy


Whelden Memorial Library welcomes all members of the public. This policy is designed to promote a safe, comfortable environment for its users and staff while supporting appropriate use of the library and its services.


Scope and Enforcement 

This policy shall apply to all library buildings and grounds, library programs conducted on or off site, and all persons entering in or on the premises, unless otherwise specified. 


If a patron cannot understand and follow the Behavior Policy and/or becomes sick, anxious, or disruptive and/or requires transportation, staff will help by locating their companion, if any. If a companion is not available on-site to assist the patron, staff will, to the best of their ability, contact a parent/guardian/caregiver/family member to assist the patron.


Staff members observing unacceptable behavior will inform patrons of policy infractions with a warning. If the behavior continues, staff may ask the patron to leave the library for a stated period of suspension. In the case of any misconduct that, in the judgment of a staff member, is extreme, staff may ask a patron to leave immediately without warning. The Library Director will be advised of the incident and any action taken as soon as possible, which could include restriction of library access or privileges. A parent or guardian of a minor involved in unacceptable behavior will be contacted. When deemed necessary, the Barnstable Police Department will be called. Incidents in which a patron’s access or privileges are suspended will be documented and shared with the Board of Trustees.


If a patron wishes to appeal the decision to suspend privileges or library access, they may contact the Library Board of Trustees via letter, mailed or emailed, and will be contacted directly by the Head of the Trustees or their designee.


Library Rules and Unacceptable Behavior 

Unacceptable behavior is any behavior that either consciously or unconsciously violates or restricts the rights of others to use the library, prevents employees from doing their jobs, or jeopardizes the safety of library users, staff and/or property.


While in the library or using its resources patrons are expected to:

  • Be considerate and respectful of other library users and staff 
  • Ensure that children under the age of 10 are supervised by an adult 
  • Be responsible for personal belongings
  • Respect other users’ privacy
  • Respect library materials, furnishings, equipment, and facilities by using them appropriately
  • Be responsible about trash, spills, or odors related to food and drink, which are allowed unless they create a nuisance
  • Wear sufficient attire, including shirt and shoes, at all times 

Unacceptable Behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • Loud talking, laughing, or using audio equipment or cell phones that disturbs other patrons
  • Recording staff or patrons without obtaining permission
  • Attempting to record or obtain patron records or personal information of patrons or staff without permission including requesting check-out records, contact information, etc.
  • Any behavior that endangers the safety or health of others
  • Refusal to follow the reasonable direction of a library employee
  • Behavior that is willfully annoying, harassing, or threatening to another person
  • Inappropriate use of library materials, furnishings, or facilities
  • Sleeping
  • Theft, vandalism, or deliberate destruction of library materials or personal property of other patrons and staff
  • Soliciting of any kind, unless permission has been granted by the Library Director
  • Monopolizing library resources or staff time
  • Use of the telephone, unless in an emergency or permission is granted by staff
  • Entering non-public areas, unless invited by a staff member
  • Bringing animals into the building, except service animals or with permission from the Library Director
  • Use of alcohol, cigarettes, e-cigarettes or vaporizers, or illegal substances in the library
  • Having hygiene-related offensive body odor or perfume that disrupts others’ use of the library
  • Failing to provide adequate supervision of a person or group to whom the patron has a duty of care
  • Carrying firearms and dangerous weapons of any type (except by law enforcement officers)
  • Violation of any local, state, or federal law

Staff reserve the right to ask a patron to leave the library for any of the reasons listed above or for other kinds of behavior they deem inappropriate.


Approved: Whelden Memorial Library Board of Trustees, February 1, 2022 

Child Safety Policy

The Whelden Memorial Library is dedicated to providing a welcoming and safe environment for patrons of all ages. The safety and well-being of children using the library is a serious concern. In addition to its Behavior Policy, the library maintains the following policy concerning child behavior and supervision.


Children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by a responsible caregiver, defined by the library as an individual over the age of 14 who is entrusted with the care of a minor. Accompanied is defined as “within sight.” An unaccompanied minor is defined as a child who is in the library alone or whose caregiver is in the library but is not adequately supervising.

Staff are not responsible for providing supervision and care of children of any age, whether in the library or on library premises. Staff do not monitor children entering or exiting the building nor do they monitor who they are leaving with. Even when absent, the responsibility for the care, safety, and behavior of children using the library rests with the parent/guardian. Parents/guardians assume all liability for damage done by their children to the library facility, equipment, and materials.

In addition to our Behavior Policy, if a staff member deems a child’s behavior to be inappropriate or disruptive to other users (i.e., running, horseplay, shouting, etc.), staff may give a verbal warning to the child, and if possible, will inform the caregiver. If an unattended minor is asked to leave the library, staff will make their best attempts to contact a parent/guardian/caregiver to inform them of the situation, but they are not required to do so. In some cases, minors may be asked to leave the library for a stated period of time and will not be allowed back until a parent/guardian has met with the Library Director. 

Unaccompanied Minors, Emergencies, and After Hours

In case of a medical emergency, and staff, using their best judgment, determine it to be a dangerous situation, emergency services will be contacted, then the parent/guardian/caregiver, in that order.

 Staff will attempt to contact a parent/guardian/caregiver for the following reasons:

  •  a child under the age of 10 is left unattended during operating hours, or during a library program (unless otherwise permitted in the program requirements)
  •  a child under the age of 14 is alone in the building at closing

If staff are unable to reach a responsible caregiver and a period of 30 minutes has elapsed, they will contact the Barnstable Police Department to assume responsibility for the child. Under no circumstances will a library staff member remove or transport a child away from the library building.  In the case of a child left alone in the building after closing, two staff members will remain with the child until pickup. In all cases, an incident report will be filed and the Library Director will be notified. If/when a parent/guardian/caregiver arrives, staff may explain the Child Safety Policy and provide a written copy if necessary. 

Group Visits

It is recommended that the Library Director be contacted prior to any group visit to the building so the library staff can make the visit special, meaningful, and fun. Adults accompanying a daycare, class, supervised visit, or other group stand  in loco parentis  while using the library. When visiting the library, we ask the following:

  •  The child-to-adult ratio is adequate to ensure appropriate supervision without the assistance of library staff
  •  The Library Director is informed of planned visits that are more than an hour long and/or occur more than three times a week

If it is determined that these requirements are not met, the group visits may be suspended by the Library Director, until changes are made.

Repeat violations of this policy may result in  restriction or loss of library privileges or access  for minors and/or their parents/guardians/caregivers. See the library’s Behavior Policy for appeals information.

Approved: Whelden Memorial Library Board of Trustees, February 18, 2022 

Collection Development Policy

This policy is intended to provide guidance for the selection and evaluation of materials, print and non-print, which anticipate and meet the needs of the West Barnstable community. As the community changes, the library will need to periodically reassess and adapt its holdings to reflect new and differing areas of interest and concern. 

The library fully endorses the principles documented in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association (found on the ALA.org website).

Responsibility for Selection and Suggestions for Purchase

The authority and responsibility for the selection of library materials rests ultimately with the Library Director. Under their direction, selection is delegated to appropriate library staff. All staff members and the general public are encouraged to recommend materials for consideration. All suggestions for purchase are subject to the same selection criteria as other materials and are not automatically added to the collection. 

Selection Criteria

All materials are considered in terms of a variety of criteria including but not limited to: community/local interest, availability in other library collections, cost, overall demand, accuracy or currency of information.

Staff will use their best professional judgment when considering any material for purchase. Addition to the collection does not imply agreement with or approval of the viewpoints expressed in the work. Individual items which may be considered controversial or offensive by some may be selected if it will contribute to the overall variety and balance of the collection.

Responsibility for the viewing or reading habits of children rests with their legal guardians. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may come into the possession of children. Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents, and no library material will be sequestered except to protect it from damage or theft.

Some material may be designated for “in-library use only” based on age, transportability, cost of replacement, etc. and may be loaned out on a case by case basis at the discretion of the Director.

Requests for Reconsideration

Patrons of Whelden Memorial Library may recommend the removal of material from the collection by submitting a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form. This form will be made available to library patrons upon request. Each submission will be reviewed by the Library Director, and the patron will be notified of the decision to retain or withdraw the material within 30 days. Each request will be evaluated in relation to this collection development policy, the ALA code of Ethics, Freedom to Read Statement, and Library Bill of Rights. A request may not be considered if submitted by an individual who is not a patron in good standing of the Whelden Library. Material under review will remain in the circulating collection until a determination is made.


Maintenance of the library's collection ensures its usefulness and relevance to the community. Evaluation of material depends heavily on the staff's professional education and experience in assessing the needs of the community and the content of the collection. Some factors for evaluation are: physical condition, library space constraints, age/accuracy of information, and circulation statistics.

Materials that are “weeded” are withdrawn from the collection. The library makes every effort to dispose of all material to the best advantage- through donation to the Friends of the Whelden Memorial Library and other community organizations or through recycling.

Material Donation

Donations are gratefully accepted as long as no restriction is placed on their use. They are subject to the same selection, evaluation, and disposal criteria as purchased material. The library cannot guarantee the permanence of any gift in the collection. Materials not added to or weeded from the collection are not typically returned to the donors. 

Approved: Whelden Library Board of Trustees, March 17th, 2022

Gift and Donation Policy

Whelden Memorial Library welcomes gifts of library materials, personal property, or money that improve and enrich the library resources, including donations intended to memorialize a loved one.

Gifts can include books and other library materials, cash, securities, and real property. The Board of Trustees have adopted the following policy to govern the receipt and disposition of donations.

Acceptance of Gifts

Those wishing to make a gift to the library should contact the Library Director or a member of the Board of Trustees.

Acceptance of gifts will be voted on by the Library Board of Trustees based on the recommendation of the Library Director. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Library Director, without Board consultation, for furniture or permanent fixtures to be housed within the building, items of lesser monetary value, and/or library materials.

Return of Items

Once accepted by the library, gifts become library property and are subject to inclusion or removal at the discretion of the Library Director and/or Board of Trustees and will not be returned. The library reserves the right to sell, giveaway, or otherwise dispose of any gift as they see fit.


Upon request, the library will provide written acknowledgement of the receipt of any gifts. In accordance with income tax regulations, the determination of value for non-monetary gifts will be left to the donor.

Guidelines for Acceptance

Library Material

Acceptance of gifts of library materials (books, periodicals, movies, objects, etc.) are subject to the criteria outlined in the Collection Development Policy and will be accepted at the discretion of the Library Director.  

Personal Property

Gifts of items for display or preservation may be accepted based on the following criteria:

  • The item is specifically and clearly related to the library or local history, or otherwise serves the Library’s strategic directions and/or mission.
  • There is adequate space to display and/or house the item.
  • The item can receive proper care and attention.
  • Monetary Gifts

Monetary gifts are greatly appreciated. Gifts can be given for general purposes to be used by the Library Director and Trustees at their discretion, or for specific purposes as designated by the donor.

Directed donations will be handled by the Board of Trustees, who with the Library Director, will work out terms of acceptance that are compatible with library policies, the donor's intent, and applicable laws.

Gifts of cash for the direct purchase of library materials will be handled by the Library Director and may be accepted with the understanding that all material purchased with those funds must meet the collection development criteria and serve the library’s mission. 


Approved: July 21th, 2022, Whelden Library Board of Trustees

Social Media Policy

This policy governs Whelden Memorial Library’s participation in online venues and social media. Social media is defined here as any web application, site, or account, including but not limited to blogs, social networks, online communications, online catalogs, websites, and mobile apps used by the library.

Social media allows the library and public a convenient forum to discuss and share information on a range of topics relevant to the library and its mission, including: library information, programs, services, and collections. Whelden Library’s social media is not intended to be a public forum for general debate or exchange of ideas. 

Library Use of Social Media

Decisions regarding library utilization of social media shall be made by the Director.

Information posted should be free of bias, personal opinions which are degrading to others, and profane language. All posts should be related to upcoming events, services, materials, or the overall mission of the library. Links to outside sources and third-party apps must be relevant to the post or library mission.

The library is not required to share posts or information on behalf of outside organizations. Links or information may be shared with the intent of keeping our community connected to and informed of resources, events, services, or information relevant to community needs or interest. 

No photos of an individual should be posted without consent. No photos of minors should be posted unless their guardian has provided their consent.

Posting and Participation on Social Media

Patrons, community members, and the general public are welcome to comment on library posts and events to share their opinions and views on library-related subjects. Such postings do not indicate endorsement by the library of the opinions and ideas expressed.

The library is not liable for any content posted by any participant in a library social media forum who is not a member of the library’s staff.

Users may be held personally liable for commentary that is defamatory, obscene, proprietary, or libelous by any offended party.

Social media users should be aware that there is no expectation of privacy when posting on library social media sites. Use of such websites acknowledges the library’s right to access, monitor, read, reproduce, and/or edit (while retaining the original intent of the post), any postings on those sites.

Users are expected to abide by the terms and conditions set by third party social media platforms as well as follow appropriate Federal and State Law.

Social media is not intended to be used by the library to officially document, address, or discuss library user issues, concerns, or problems. The library asks that all formal complaints be addressed directly to the Library Director.

Unacceptable Content and Content Removal

The library reserves the right to restrict or remove any content on its social media sites that violates anything indicated in this policy. This includes the removal of content and comments because they are not related to the particular subject or are deemed inappropriate or unacceptable. 

Examples of unacceptable content include but is not limited to:

  • Obscene material or hate speech 
  • Personal attacks, insults, or threatening language 
  • Private or personal information, including phone numbers and addresses, or requests for personal information
  • Falsification of identity
  • Plagiarized, copyrighted, or trademarked material
  • Comments, links, or information unrelated to the purpose of the forum
  • Advertisement, solicitation, and spam
  • Slanderous, libelous, threatening, or defamatory statements
  • Content not related to library business, programs, events, resources, and materials
  • Images of individuals posted without consent

Library staff will do their best to reach out to the individual who posted the removed content to supply them with a copy of this policy and a brief explanation of why their content was removed. The Library reserves the right to ban or block users who have posted in violation of this policy without prior notification or warning.


Approved: August 19th 2022, Whelden Library Board of Trustees