Library Policies

To ensure that the Clapp Memorial Library provides a healthy and safe environment for all library users and staff, and to protect Library materials, equipment and facilities, the following guidelines for acceptable behavior when on Library property must be observed.

These guidelines are established in the interest of promoting equal access to, and enjoyment of, Library services. Failure to comply with these guidelines could result in removal from the premises, and in restriction and/or termination of library privileges, at the discretion of the Library Director, if such restriction is deemed necessary to protect library users, staff, or Library property. Police may be called, if necessary, to facilitate compliance with guidelines.

  • Cell phone conversations should take place in the Library entry hall.
  • Drinks in covered containers and light, pre-packaged snacks that are not distracting to others are permitted in the Library. Liquids and food are not allowed at computer stations.
  • Personal wheeled devices (bicycles, roller blades, skateboards, scooters or similar types of equipment) are not allowed in the building.
  • Library patrons will utilize personal electronic equipment (laptops, personal music players, etc) in a way that does not interfere with other patrons’ use of the library.
  • Patrons whose bodily hygiene interferes with the ability of others to use and/or enjoy the facility may be asked to leave.
  • To maintain a sanitary environment, caregivers should change diapers on the changing station in the downstairs restroom.
  • Using restroom facilities in any way that prohibits others from accessing them is not allowed.
  • Canvassing, selling, soliciting or distributing materials or products is prohibited except where permission has been granted in relation to a scheduled library event (also see Bulletin Board Policy).
  • The Children’s Room is reserved for use by children, their parents or caregivers, and adults searching for children’s literature.
  • Children must be supervised at all times. Children ten years and younger may not be left unattended.
  • In recognition of the special developmental needs and interests of young adults, the Young Adult Area is reserved for patrons in grades seven through twelve, those who accompany them, and others who wish to borrow materials from that area. This will be strictly enforced weekdays from 2:30 until closing, all school holidays, all day Saturday, and during summer vacation, generally judged to be from June 21 through Labor Day.
  • Damaging or altering library property is not allowed. All materials must be checked out before leaving the building. The library staff reserves the right to inspect the bags of any patron.
  • Weapons are not allowed in the library. Any object judged potentially dangerous by staff will be considered a weapon.
  • Engaging in any activity in violation of federal, state, or local law is prohibited.
  • Fighting, running, pushing, shoving and throwing things are not allowed. Verbally or physically threatening or harassing other patrons, volunteers or staff, including stalking, staring and lurking are behaviors that are not allowed. Shouting, profane, threatening or obscene language and other loud or disruptive behaviors are prohibited.
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs is prohibited on library property.
  • Shirts and shoes must be worn in the library.
  • Smoking is not allowed in the library.
  • All Library areas must be kept clear and open for unimpeded access for all patrons and staff.
  • No dogs may be left unattended on Library property.
  • Officially designated service animals necessary to accommodate personal disabilities and any animal associated with an approved library program are the only animals authorized in the library.
  • Patrons may not leave personal belongings unattended in the Library.
  • The Library is not responsible for the loss or theft of any patron’s personal property.
  • Patrons must leave the library by closing time. An announcement will be made five minutes before closing.
  • Any activity deemed by staff to be disruptive to library use will not be allowed.
  • Patrons shall cooperate with library staff who have sole authority to interpret and apply these guidelines.

Approved March 25, 2014—Clapp Memorial Library Board of Trustees

Revised October 18, 2016

In its role as a community center, the Clapp Memorial Library provides bulletin board space in the building’s front entryway for the posting of information regarding local government issues and notices, local cultural, recreational, and educational events, and event posting for non-profit organizations, in that order of priority. As space allows, postings for individual enterprises (e.g. lawn mowing, etc.) will be allowed. Literature of a commercial or purely partisan nature will not be posted. This does not include election information as provided by state and town government.
All other bulletin boards are for the posting of Library news and events only.

The following regulations apply:

  • Items must be delivered to the Circulation Desk for approval by library staff. They will be dated and posted by a staff member, as space permits.
  • Posted notices become Library property and will be disposed of within one month, or when the information is no longer current.
  • The size limit for notices is 8 ½ x 11. Larger notices of overriding community importance may be posted with the permission of the Library Director, and as space permits.
  • Petitions will not be posted.
  • Items posted in violation of this policy will be removed and discarded.

Approved March 20, 2012

Titles for the Library Collection

Thank you for your interest in donating a title to the Clapp Memorial Library.

Space issues at the Library dictate careful consideration before adding unsolicited items to the collection. Many factors influence collection development decisions and we cannot guarantee that a donated item will become part of the Library collection. While we appreciate and applaud the efforts of local writers, it is not possible to add every donated work to our shelves.

Donated materials may be accepted, with the understanding that they are subject to the same scrutiny as purchased or solicited materials, and all donated materials become the property of the Clapp Memorial Library. To request consideration for your title, email a book description along with 2 published reviews as follows:

Adult Fiction:

Adult Nonfiction:

Juvenile and Young Adult:

Our Collection Development Policy states:  In the acquisition of new materials, library staff consults recognized review sources, including, but not limited to, the American Library Association publication Booklist, Library Journal, The New York Times Book Review, and other professional and publishing review resources. We follow qualitative selection standards developed by specialists, and evaluate material based on the following criteria (all of which may not apply to all formats and types of materials):

  • accuracy
  • authoritativeness
  • currency
  • contemporary significance or permanent value
  • popularity or demand
  • representation of important viewpoint, trend, or cultural movement
  • present and potential relevance to the community
  • composition of current collection
  • space and budgetary constraints
  • quality and usefulness of physical format
  • unique point of view

Please be advised that technical services procedures and the availability of cataloging information can delay the processing of new materials. Some accepted items may take up to 1 month or longer to become “shelf ready.”

Titles Donated for the Annual Book Sale

Items not added to the collection may be sold by the Friends of the Clapp Memorial Library for fundraising purposes; see more information here.

Monetary Donations

Remember that all donations are tax-deductible. The Clapp Memorial Library is a 501c(3) organization.

You may donate online simply by filling out the form at our Mighty Cause Donation page, and making your donation by choice of credit card.

The Clapp Memorial Library welcomes the commitment of responsible volunteers, who support, enrich, and enhance the Library’s services and programs by performing tasks for which paid employees are not available. Volunteers are an important extension of the Library’s staff.

Volunteers supplement, but do not replace, the work done by employees. They may perform a variety of duties, a range limited largely by the talents and skills of the volunteers themselves and by where the library can make productive use of their assistance. Volunteers are selected based on their qualifications in relation to the needs of the library at any given time. Priority in selection may be given to individuals who have demonstrated the ability, through previous work experience, to work independently after receiving library training in the area of assigned work. Volunteers are trained for routine, recurring tasks and/or occasional special projects or events.

Prior to engaging in any volunteer activity, each volunteer will be required to submit a volunteer application form. If there is a match of skills with library needs, an interview will be scheduled. If no suitable volunteer opportunities exist at the time of application, application forms will be kept on file for a period of one year. Due to time and space constraints, the Library may be unable to accommodate all interested volunteer applicants.

Teen volunteers (grades 7-12) will fill out a Teen Volunteer Application form and return it to the Head of Children’s Services. A parent or guardian must sign the Teen Volunteer’s application form to give permission for the young person’s service in the library. Teens seeking volunteer opportunities will be subject to the above selection process and all other provisions of this policy.

Each individual who participates in this volunteer program agrees and acknowledges that they are not employees of the Clapp Memorial Library or the Town of Belchertown and shall sign a document releasing the Clapp Memorial Library from liability for any injuries sustained by him/her while performing volunteer service for the library. Both the volunteer and the Clapp Memorial Library have the right to terminate the volunteer’s association with the Library at any time, for any reason, with or without cause. There will be no formal evaluation process for volunteers.
A Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check must be conducted on prospective volunteers age 18 and over before service begins.

If a vacancy for a paid position should open in the library, interested volunteers may apply. However, there are many variables to be considered in hiring permanent staff, and we do not recognize an obligation to give priority to a volunteer.

Volunteers will report to a staff supervisor who will explain and supervise volunteer duties.

All volunteer work will be completed within normal library hours unless exceptions have been made by the Library Director.

Volunteers must act in accordance with library policies and reflect positive customer service attitudes to all library patrons.

Volunteers are expected to refer all patron questions and requests to the library staff, other than purely directional questions (e.g. where is the bathroom; where is the children’s room, etc.).

The Library relies on volunteers to perform their duties according to an agreed upon schedule. Reliability and punctuality are important. Volunteers are expected to give reasonable notice if unable to report for a scheduled work time.

In the event that a volunteer is unable to adequately perform the duties assigned to him or her, and no other appropriate positions are available, volunteer service may be terminated.

Persons who seek volunteer assignments at the Clapp Memorial Library to meet a requirement set by an outside agency for the performance of community service shall be subject to the above selection process and all other provisions of this policy. Following the guidelines of the Town of Belchertown, we are not able to accommodate requests for supervision of court-ordered community service.

Volunteers are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of ALL library information. Failure to maintain confidentiality will result in immediate termination of the volunteer.

The number and skill level of volunteers accepted will be based on the amount of work and supervisory time available.


  • Ability to follow directions.
  • Willingness and ability to work at assigned tasks.
  • Ability to interact with patrons and staff in a courteous manner.
  •  Dependability and flexibility.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Mastery of numerical and alphabetical order.
  • Manual dexterity.
  • Willingness to ask questions to ensure successful completion of assignments.
  • Ability to work independently.

Please be aware that an applicant’s particular interests and abilities may not suit the library’s needs at this time. Assigned volunteer duties are subject to the changing needs of the library and could be altered. Additionally, if performance of a particular task is no longer needed by the library, a volunteer may be released from service.

Purpose of Policy and Community Served
The Clapp Memorial Library strives to meet the informational, educational and recreational needs of the community by promoting access to popular, in demand materials for all ages. The library does so through the development and effective use of its collections, chosen to meet the needs and interests of the Belchertown community and library users from the surrounding area. It is a resource for independent lifelong learning and also seeks to complement the library resources of the Belchertown schools, without duplicating their special functions or holdings. This policy provides guidelines whereby the library can develop the collection most suited to meet community needs. Access to additional resources and information outside the scope of its collection is also available through regional delivery and interlibrary loan, as facilitated by our membership in the Massachusetts Library System and the resource sharing network C/WMARS.

Responsibility for Collection Development

Responsibility for collection development rests with the Library Director, who delegates some duties, as appropriate, to department heads. The Board of Trustees and the staff of the Clapp Memorial Library are committed to facilitating access to all information for all readers. To that end they support and adhere to the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read statement, the Freedom to View statement, and the Library Bill of Rights.

Access to Collections
All patrons have equal access to all library holdings. The library does not act in place of or in the absence of the parent/guardian. Parents or guardians are responsible for enforcing any individual restrictions that they may place on their child’s use of library resources. The library serves people of all ages, beliefs and backgrounds. The spectrum of ideas and philosophies espoused in the materials in the collection will be wide and varied, representing divergent points of view. The library may circulate materials whose manner of presentation or subject matter may be offensive to some individuals. Inclusion of any item in the library collection does not constitute an endorsement of a particular belief, point of view or opinion. Budgetary and space constraints may limit our ability to purchase certain materials.

Selection Process
The Clapp Memorial Library collection is designed to serve the needs of the general public. The collection includes materials in a variety of formats, including but not limited to: books, periodicals, audio and video recordings (on CD, portable media player, or DVD), electronic resources, e-readers, digital content, and miscellany such as kits. In its role as a cultural and recreational center, acquisition of small musical instruments for public borrowing would be consistent with the library’s mission, space permitting. The library strives to evaluate new and emerging formats and make them, when appropriate, available to our borrowing public. Requests from staff and patrons are encouraged and will be given serious consideration, based on standard selection criteria.

The library purchases current materials proportionate to levels of demand and use, while anticipating and responding to emerging community needs. The collection will reflect interests, attitudes and beliefs as they become apparent in the local community. The library strives to present a balanced and unbiased collection. A diversity of views on controversial topics should be represented. The possible controversial nature or the anticipation of challenges will not preclude the purchase of material.

The Clapp Memorial Library offers access to the internet as a resource providing information far beyond the confines of the library. The library provides access to online databases and selects a limited number based on cost, community interest, ease of use, and usefulness. Selection is also based on relation to state- provided databases, with the intention of avoiding duplication of those resources.

An item will be purchased to fill heavy demand, even though reviews may be unfavorable or other items on the same subject are in the collection.

No attempt is made to acquire textbooks, curriculum, or academic study materials if those materials are not of general interest to the public.

Library staff consults recognized review sources, including, but not limited to the American Library Association publication Booklist, Library Journal, The New York Times Book Review, and other professional and publishing review resources.

We follow qualitative selection standards developed by specialists, and evaluate material based on the following criteria (all of which may not apply to all formats and types of materials):

  • accuracy
  • authoritativeness
  • currency
  • contemporary significance or permanent value
  • popularity or demand
  • representation of important viewpoint, trend, or cultural movement
  • present and potential relevance to the community
  • composition of current collection
  • space and budgetary constraints
  • quality and usefulness of physical format
  • unique point of view

Fiction: The library seeks to provide a wide selection of fiction of current popular interest in a variety of styles and genres, and a reasonable selection of classics or older titles of recurrent interest or special literary merit.
Nonfiction: The library selects according to accuracy, currency and representation of various viewpoints. These criteria apply to both our adult, young adult and juvenile collections. Subject areas of high demand are represented in greater variety and numbers than areas of low demand.
Reference: Given the constraints of limited space and budgets, the Clapp Memorial Library acquires new reference materials on a very limited basis. The availability of online research databases through C/WMARS and the MBLC and the availability of internet reference sources contributes to a lessened demand for traditional print reference materials.
Periodicals: The library selects a variety of popular magazines to fill the need for recreational as well as informational reading. Criteria for selection are representation of community interest, complements or fills a collection development need, attractiveness of format and accuracy of information. Back issues are kept for one year.
Audiovisual Collections: The library purchases music representing significant performers, composers and a broad range of musical styles. The library currently purchases music on compact disc, and unabridged fiction and nonfiction audio books on disc and on dedicated media players called Playaways. The movie collection is purchased on standard DVDs, with a smaller collection in blue-ray format. While the collection is geared toward classic and contemporary films, the library also collects informational videos including but not limited to documentaries, travel, history, health, and “how-to” subjects.
Young Adult: This collection is devoted to titles of particular interest to adolescents aged 12 through 18. Fiction, nonfiction, magazines and audio books are selected to entertain, educate, and encourage exploration. To fulfill these needs, the collection will inevitably include materials on controversial or sensitive topics. Graphic novels will also be purchased to satisfy demand.
Children: The library collects print, audio, video and electronic resources to stimulate creativity, develop reading ability, and satisfy a child’s need for information and entertainment. This collection serves children from birth through sixth grade, and adults involved with children such as parents, teachers, and group leaders. Non-fiction should be accurate, timely and objective. Children’s fiction is subdivided according to interest and reading levels—picture books, easy readers, general fiction, including a variety of genres and reading levels. Materials in this collection, like all of literature, often reflect reality. As such it may include materials considered controversial or potentially offensive to some.
Special Collections: The library maintains a non-circulating collection of Local History materials, primarily books, but including photographs and newspaper articles. This collection is devoted to Belchertown history, and the history of surrounding towns. The local newspaper, The Sentinel, is available bound 1915-2011, on microfilm 1915-2003, and on compact disc 2004-2008, and 2011.

Gifts & Donations
Gifts of materials are accepted, with the understanding that they are subject to the same scrutiny as purchased or solicited materials, and all donated materials become the property of the Clapp Memorial Library. Items not added to the collection may be sold by the Friends of the Clapp Memorial Library for fundraising purposes, or discarded at the discretion of the Library Director.

The library will accept memorial gifts in the form of funds rather than particular titles. The library will make every effort to honor the spirit of the donation by choosing items that, as much as possible, reflect the interests of the friend or loved one being remembered, within the broad parameters of our collection development policy. The choice of the particular title is left to the discretion of library staff. While we recognize the special nature of these donations, such materials may not be retained indefinitely, and are subject to our standard withdrawal process.

Withdrawal of Materials
The cycle of service requires that some items must be discarded, and the weeding process is an integral part of collection development. Maintaining a balanced, useful, and attractive collection demands that items be regularly withdrawn. Weeding requires expert knowledge of the collection, the community, patterns of library use, and selection principles. Weeding is the responsibility of the staff member who makes acquisition decisions in specific subject areas. Space issues at the Clapp Memorial Library result in aggressive weeding in order to provide adequate space for new materials.

“THE CREW METHOD: Expanded Guidelines for Collection Evaluation and Weeding for Small and Medium-Sized Public Libraries” provides accepted guidelines to assist in weeding decisions and will be employed when needed. Some criteria for weeding include:

  • Physical condition
  • Currency and authority
  • Accuracy of information
  • Recent use/circulation
  • Current need
  • Breadth of subject area

Because of the extreme lack of shelving space in the Clapp Memorial Library, duplicates of adult titles will not be retained longer than two years after publication, unless special circumstances and public interest demand ownership of duplicate copies. Withdrawn materials will be offered to the Friends of the Library for sale at their biannual book sales.

Reconsideration of Materials
Complaints regarding library materials will be directed to the Library Director. The Director will hear the complaint and will inform the patron of library selection procedures and policies, furnishing a copy of the Clapp Memorial Library Collection Development Policy. Patrons wishing to formally challenge the appropriateness of an item in the collection may submit a “request for reconsideration” form. Receipt of the reconsideration form will be acknowledged within two weeks. The matter will be brought before the Board of Trustees at their next regularly scheduled meeting. No materials will be removed from the shelves until the Trustees and Director have ruled on the request.

Approved March 20, 2012

The Clapp Memorial Library (CML) furthers its mission of connecting “its users to ideas, technologies, experiences, and to others in the community and the world at large” by offering a broad range of programs that provide additional opportunities for lifelong learning, personal enrichment and community interaction.

The Library Director is responsible for all programming and may delegate this authority to appropriate departmental staff. The following criteria are applied to decisions regarding program topics and presenters:

  • Community needs and interests
  • Availability of appropriate program space
  • Treatment of content for intended audience
  • Presentation quality
  • Presenter background/experience/qualifications in content area, including references
  • Budget
  • Topical currency
  • Historical or educational significance
  • Connection to other community programs, exhibitions or events

Due to the small staff size and related scheduling issues, the CML cannot accommodate all requests to present a program in the facility. A program application must be completed and returned to the Circulation Desk. If a proposal is deemed feasible and likely to attract sizeable interest, the requestor will be contacted within one month. Applications will be kept on file for possible future programming.

When possible and feasible, the CML may partner with community agencies, organizations, and educational and cultural institutions to co-sponsor public programs. Professional performers and presenters that reflect specialized or unique expertise may be hired for CML programs, which are free and open to the public.

Every attempt will be made to accommodate all who wish to attend a CML program. However, when safety or the success of a program requires it, attendance may be limited. When limits must be established, attendance will be determined on a first come, first served basis, or with advanced registration. In some cases, the nature and success of a children’s program may require a limited attendance based on age.

External organizations or individuals partnering with the CML on programs must coordinate marketing efforts with the Library’s staff and secure the Director’s approval before distributing any promotional materials. Sign-in lists may not be distributed by program presenters of CML programs and efforts to promote commercial enterprises or solicit future business are not allowed. The sale of books or CDs by authors or performers as part of a CML program is allowed. Presenters are encouraged to donate a copy of their work to the CML for possible inclusion in the Library collection.

CML sponsorship of a program does not constitute an endorsement of the content of the
program or the views expressed by participants or speakers.

Approved November 19, 2013

The Clapp Memorial Library strives to create a warm, welcoming, fun and enriching environment for children while ensuring the safety and well-being of each child. To maintain an atmosphere that allows all patrons to utilize services without the impediments of unnecessary distractions, the Clapp Memorial Library has established this Unattended Child Policy.

For the purposes of this policy, an unattended child refers to a child in the library alone, or a child whose parent or caregiver is in the library but is not adequately supervising that child. The latter situation may occur when the adult and child are in separate areas of the building or when the adult is using library materials or equipment and is not supervising the child. Direct visual supervision is required. The Library adheres to the guideline that if you cannot see your child, you cannot supervise your child.


  • All children under the age of 9 must be accompanied and continually supervised by a parent or caregiver while in the library. The caregiver must be 14 years old and over.
  • Parents and caregivers, not library staff members, are responsible for the actions and safety of their children while visiting the library. Staff can not know whether children are leaving the building with a parent, or with a stranger.
  •  If a problem arises, or if the Library is closing and the parent(s) of an unattended child under the age of 9 cannot be located, staff will make a reasonable attempt to contact the parent(s) or guardian(s) by phone. If the parent or guardian cannot be contacted, staff will call the Belchertown Police. A staff member will wait with the child until the Police arrive. The Library Director will be informed any time this action becomes necessary. The Director will contact the child’s parent or caregiver to explain the library policy and why the action was required. Repeated incidents may result in loss of library privileges for both the child and the responsible adult, at the discretion of the Library Director.
  • It is the policy of the Library that staff members may not transport children from the Library to any other location.
  • Children between the ages of 9 and 12 may use the Library unattended for up to 2 hours, at the discretion of their parent(s). These unattended children are subject to the rules and regulations in effect regarding behavior and conduct and must know how to reach their parent(s) or guardian, if asked to do so by Library staff.
  • A child determined by the staff to be disrupting normal library activities will be given one warning. If deemed necessary, an attempt will be made to contact a family member or caregiver to pick him/her up. If the behavior persists, the child may be asked to leave the building. If a family member or caregiver cannot be reached, the Belchertown Police Department may be contacted, at the discretion of Library staff.
  • Library staff cannot be responsible for unattended children leaving the building on their own. If a child is too young to leave the Library alone, the child is too young to be in the Library alone.
  • Children attending Library programs are supervised by the Library staff only during the scheduled time of the program. In the case of a program that requires that a parent or caregiver accompany a young participant, that parent or caregiver is expected to provide supervision for the child in his or her care. The Head of Children’s Services may, at her discretion, require parental/caregiver supervision of a child during the course of any children’s program.
  • Parents must be aware of Library hours of operation and close attention should be paid to weather conditions that could necessitate an unexpected closing.
  • Children under the age of 9 must be accompanied by an adult on the elevator.
  • A minor (anyone under 18 years of age) who creates chronic problems may be required to be accompanied by a responsible adult who will remain with the teenager while in the library.
  • Parents or caregivers are responsible for ensuring the appropriate behavior of their children in the library. Rules of behavior as outlined in the Standards of Conduct policy apply to children and their caregivers. Anyone who displays disruptive behavior (as outlined in that policy) may be asked to leave the building.
  • In any situation involving the safety of children, and specifically whenever the parent/caregiver or police are contacted, staff will complete an Incident Report.

Approved January 20, 2015

The Clapp Memorial Library provides public access to the internet as part of the Library’s information services. The internet provides access to valuable information resources which may not be available elsewhere and are increasingly required in daily life. The unique, unregulated nature of the internet requires that users exercise judgment regarding information accessible on various internet sites. The Library provides public computers and free wireless internet to help meet the needs of all patrons.

The Library is not responsible for content found online, including information that may be inaccurate, out-of-date, or offensive.  Parents and legal guardians have sole responsibility to monitor their children’s use of Library resources, including internet access. Parents concerned about access issues are encouraged to join their children in using the Library’s internet services.

Safeguards are put in place to protect privacy, however, the Library cannot ensure the privacy or confidentiality of any information sent via the Internet.  Patrons are expected to use Internet resources in a responsible manner, respecting the rights of others.

Unacceptable Use

  • Computer access may be revoked due to tampering or inappropriate use, including:
  • Using the Internet for illegal purposes
  • Using the Internet in violation of Massachusetts General Law 272, Section 28, Matter harmful to minors, dissemination; possession; defenses
  • Unauthorized duplication of copyright-protected materials in any format
  • Transmission of chain mail, broadcast letters, or junk mail of any type
  • Transmission of threatening, harassing, defamatory, or obscene materials
  • Unlawful access to computer systems and accounts.
  • Damage or alteration of library equipment, software, or security.

APPROVED: March 19, 2019—Clapp Memorial Library Board of Trustees