Eldredge Public Library Mission Statement

The Eldredge Public Library strives to meet the informational, recreational, and cultural needs of Chatham residents and visitors, and it continues its historical tradition as a free public library, providing professional and exceptional customer service, exemplary materials, resources and programs, current technologies, meeting space, academic support and opportunities for community connection and public discourse in a safe, inclusive and neutral setting.

Library Policies

Borrowers Policy

        1. All library patrons are eligible to receive a library card.
        2. To acquire a card, borrower must provide proper identification.
        3. Children may obtain a library card at the age of 5.
        4. Teacher cards are available for classroom teachers and homeschoolers. These cards extend the due date from the default two week loan to a four week loan. Personal items may not be checked out on Teacher cards.
        5. Borrowers are responsible for all items borrowed on the card, including the fines charged for overdue materials and replacement costs for items lost or damaged.
        6. Borrowers are responsible for keeping their registration information current.
        7. Anyone, of any age, who is eligible for a library card may use any materials in the Eldredge Public Library and shall not have that privilege limited by any staff person. Parents who wish to deny their children access to certain materials must take on that responsibility.

Borrowing Restrictions

        1. General Loan periods: Fiction and non-fiction books, new books, large print books, audio books, music CDs, magazines, and kits/games are loaned for a period of two weeks.  DVDs, Blu-Rays, Playaway Views and Playaway Launchpads are loaned for a period of one week. Museum passes and equipment are loaned for a period of three days.
        2. Borrowing Restrictions: There is a limit of 50 items that a borrower may take from the Eldredge Public Library at any given time. The following limits per card are enforced to assure that there is sufficient  information or materials available in a given format.

          PLAYAWAY VIEW - 1
          TOTE BAGS - 1

        3. Renewals: Materials may be renewed 3 times, either in person or over the phone, if no one is waiting for the materials.
        4. Book Returns: Most items may be returned in the book drop outside the building or brought to the front desk. There is a drop box designated for videos and audio cassettes in the parking lot. Museum passes, Launchpads, Playaway Views, Equipment, ILL/Comcast items and Totebags  must be returned inside the library during library hours.

Collection Development Policy

The Eldredge Public Library strives to meet the informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs of Chatham residents by offering a broad, well-organized, up-to-date collection of materials, as well as access to remote sources of information.  In general, the collection is confined to currently useful materials and does not attempt to serve as an historic or scholarly research center, with the exception of the Waterman Genealogy Collection and the Cape Cod Collection.  The library provides materials for self-study and provides materials supporting local courses of academic study when possible; however it does not seek to provide the depth and breadth of an academic library.  The basic goal is a general collection to meet the needs of all age groups in Chatham.  The EPL fully endorses the principles documented in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association.  The collection development policy is periodically evaluated and revised as necessary to provide guidance for implementing changes in the collection.


The Board of Trustees is responsible for adopting a materials selection policy.  Responsibility for implementing the policy is delegated to the library director, who may in turn delegate portions of that responsibility to qualified staff members.


The library seeks to include, rather than exclude materials and tries to provide a balanced collection, presenting varied points of view on current and historical issues.  Among the criteria used for selection of materials are:

  1. Popular appeal: good reviews in appropriate sources, patron requests, currently popular authors, best selling titles, appealing genre works.  Current circulation trends are taken into account.
  2. Relationship to existing collection: broadens or strengthens collection, or provides variant point of view.
  3. Of current or enduring value: quality of writing, importance or usefulness of content.
  4. Meets community needs as reflected in the library’s long range plan.
  5. The selection of materials is subject to budget and space limitations.


A regular program of evaluation is essential to maintaining an effective and attractive collection.  Materials are removed from the shelves which are:

  1. Outdated or misleading in content, or superseded by newer or better materials.
  2. No longer of current use.
  3. In poor physical condition.

Weeding of the collection is to be an ongoing activity, with each part of the collection given attention according to the current weeding schedule.


Patrons wishing to recommend the removal or reclassification of a particular item in the library collection may submit a written “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form.  The request is reviewed by the Library Director, bearing in mind the Library’s mission statement and the selection criteria of this collection development policy.  After review, the Director will respond within 30 days of receiving the formal request.


The library welcomes gifts of books and other materials with the understanding that it will evaluate them in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials.  All donations (of furnishings, equipment, and materials, etc) become the sole property of the library and all gifts may be utilized, sold or disposed of in the best interest of the library.  When gift items are withdrawn from the collection, the Library will not notify the donor of the withdrawal.  The Library will not automatically replace worn-out, damaged for lost gift items.  The decision to add a particular item to the collection rests with the Library Director or designee.

No gifts which are accompanied by qualifying instructions as to disposition, housing or use will be accepted.

When the library receives a cash gift for the purchase of materials, selection will be made by the librarian after consultation with the donor.  Books purchased in honor or in memory of specific people must be books of lasting value to the collection, as they are considered long-term additions.

Donations of furnishings, artwork, equipment and miscellanea that are not deemed circulating materials will be considered for acceptance by the Library Board of Trustees on the advice of the Library Director.  The criteria for acceptance will be based on need, space, relevance to the library’s collection and mission statement, and maintenance requirements.  Also taken into consideration will be historic, aesthetic or cultural importance, or rarity.


Public Computer Policy

Users cannot save or download files or programs to the hard drive. Saving files or documents to a disk is acceptable. Users may not install or use their own software programs on the library computers. Users may bring in a laptop computer for use in the Library, but they may not hardwire the laptop to our Internet connection or use the Library telephone lines. Users may use our wireless Internet service if their laptop has wireless capability. (Please refer to Internet policy for rules on Internet access and email.)

The Eldredge Public Library makes no guarantees, implied or otherwise, regarding the reliability of the computers. We make a great effort to keep all the computers in working condition, but occasionally a computer may stop working; the library shall not be held responsible for any loss or corruption of the users' data.

Printing is available on designated machines at no charge to the user. Donations toward printing costs are gratefully accepted.

The Eldredge Public Library does use a computer sign up system. There are computers designated for adults, teens and children. Users may not use a computer that is not for their age group, even if those computers are in use and other computers are not in use.


Internet Policy

The Internet is an international collection of computer networks that can communicate with one another. The Internet is decentralized, with no person, organization or government in charge. Unlike materials available at the Library which have been selected by professional librarians, information found on the Internet could come from anywhere . Users are therefore cautioned to be aware of the reliability and authority of the site being used. The Eldredge Public Library does not monitor and has no control over the information accessed through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content. Users can only access the Internet through the designated public computers. They can bring in their own laptop computer for use with our wireless Internet access.

Users must comply with the United States copyright law and all other applicable laws. Users cannot save or download files or programs to the library computers. Saving files to a flashdrive is acceptable.

The library is a forum for all points of view and adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights formulated by the American Library Association. The Library does not censor access to the Internet or protect users from materials they may find offensive. Internet users should be aware that some websites contain offensive material.

Unauthorized access, including "hacking" and other unlawful activities by users is prohibited. Access to sites that violate local, State or Federal Laws is prohibited. Public display of materials on the Internet that are objectionable to other patrons or staff is prohibited. A user who violates one or more of these rules will be made to shut down the website and computer use may be suspended or banned.

As with other library materials, restriction of a child's access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian. We cannot guarantee or supervise the safety and security of minors when they are using the Internet, electronic mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications. The unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors is prohibited. Minors are not allowed to access materials that are harmful to them . It is the responsibility of the parents or guardians to monitor their child's Internet access and behavior while they are online in the Library.

The Eldredge Public Library allows users to access their e-mail from the designated public computers. However, users may not configure Outlook Express to access their e-mail. E-mail is in no way associated with the Eldredge Public Library. Users are not allowed to use the library name or address when opening an e-mail account.

The Eldredge Public Library makes no guarantees, implied or otherwise, regarding the reliability of the data connection and shall not be held liable for any loss or corruption of the data resulting from using the Internet connection.

Wireless Internet Policy

Unattended Child Policy

The Eldredge Public Library strives to create a warm, inviting, and fun environment for its youngest patrons. The Library offers many programs and services that encourage children to develop a love of the library, books, reading, and learning. However, the safety and well-being of every child is of utmost importance. To ensure the safety and well-being of each child, the Eldredge Public Library has established the following Unattended Child Policy.

Children 8 years-old and younger must be accompanied by a parent or adult caregiver at all times in the Children's Room. At the discretion of a responsible adult, a child 9 or older may be left unattended for the period of time needed to select materials, complete homework assignments, or attend a program. The library staff will not be responsible for supervising unattended children. (These children should know how to reach a parent or caregiver during their library visit.) Parents and caregivers should be aware of the Library's hours. The Library staff is not responsible for supervising children left alone when the Library is closed but will make an effort to contact a parent or adult caregiver for immediate pick-up. The Library staff will not transport children from the Library to any other location. If arrangements cannot be made, the Chatham Police Department will be contacted.

Appropriate Library Use Policy

The Eldredge Public Library strives to provide a facility that is clean, comfortable and safe for selecting materials, reading, researching, studying, writing, and attending Library or community sponsored programs and meetings.  To this end, the Library is responsible for establishing rules of conduct to protect the rights and safety of Library patrons, volunteers and staff and to preserve and protect the Library’s materials, equipment, facilities and grounds.

Enforcement of these rules will be conducted in a fair and reasonable manner.  Failure to comply with the Library’s established rules, regulations and policies could result in removal from the premises and/or expulsion from the Library for a designated period of time.   A juvenile offender may be barred from using the library except in the company of an adult.  Violations could also result in the restriction or termination of Library privileges.

For the comfort and safety of patrons, volunteers and staff, and the protection and preservation of Library property, the following actions are examples of conduct not allowed in the Library building or on the Library grounds:

  • Engaging in any activity in violation of Federal, State, local or other applicable law or Library policy.
  • Carrying firearms or dangerous weapons of any type (except by law enforcement officers).
  • Being under the influence of alcohol/illegal drugs and selling, using or possessing alcohol/illegal drugs.
  • Verbally or physically threatening or harassing other patrons, volunteers or staff, including stalking, staring, lurking, offensive touching, and obscene acts such as sex acts and indecent exposure;  unwelcome attentions or interactions with other patrons or staff.
  • Soliciting money, donations or signatures.  Conducting surveys not authorized by the Library.  Political or religious proselytizing. 
  • Stealing, damaging, altering or inappropriate use of Library property including hardware and software, printers, copiers, phones, furniture, other equipment, and library materials.
  • Trespassing in nonpublic areas or being in the Library without permission of an authorized Library employee before or after Library operating hours.
  • Fighting or challenging to fight, running, pushing, shoving or throwing things.
  • Disruptive behavior or a failure to comply with established rules which interferes with the use of the library by other patrons or with a volunteer's or staff member’s ability to carry out his or her duties.
  • Failure to comply with proper use of Children’s and Young Adult areas.  The Children’s Room is reserved for use by children, their parents and guardians.  The Young Adult Room is reserved for use by people aged 13 to 18 (or still in High School).
  • Using restrooms for bathing or shampooing.
  • Littering.
  • Smoking, chewing, or other tobacco use in Library facilities or smoking within 25 feet of the building.
  • Entering the building barefoot, without a shirt or face mask (when required), or being otherwise attired so as to be disruptive to the Library environment
  • Consuming food and beverage in the Library (except for nursing, baby bottles, or in designated and program areas)
  • Using wheeled devices inside Library building, including skateboards, roller-skates, bicycles, scooters, and strollers. (Exceptions include wheelchairs, walkers, and other devices needed by patrons with disabilities).
  • Lying down or sleeping anywhere in the Library
  • No pets or animals other than service animals.
  • Neglecting to provide supervision for children under the age of eight, who must not be left unattended in any part of the building.  (Please see unattended child policy). 
  • Committing or engaging in any hate crimes as defined under state and federal law or any acts of bias, hate or prejudice exhibited in conduct that is in violation of another behavior not allowed by the Eldredge Public Library Appropriate Library Use Policy.




 When a patron fails to comply with the Library’s established rules, regulations and policies, the following steps will be taken:


  1. Issue a verbal warning that if the behavior in question does not cease, the patron will be asked to leave. * At any time a staff member feels that a patron’s behavior threatens the safety of another patron or staff member or constitutes an illegal action, the staff member in charge will call the police immediately.
  2. Show the Appropriate Library Use Policy to the patron.
  3. Request that the patron leave the library.
  4. If patron refuses to leave, inform him/her that the police will be called.
  5. Call the police. * If the offender is an unaccompanied juvenile, staff may elect to call the child’s parents or guardians in lieu of the police.

Forgeron Meeting Room Policy

Our Meeting Room policy is currently under review and use of the meeting room is temporarily unavailable to community groups and organizations.

Forgeron Hall, located in the lower level of the Eldredge Public Library, is available for meetings and programs. The primary purpose of the room is to provide appropriate space for Library meetings and programs to support and promote the Library’s mission of providing free and easy access to informational, recreational and educational materials. However, when the room is not being used by the library or by its support groups, it will be available for use by community groups and organizations.


The hall has a seating capacity of 150. The room can be divided in half with a seating capacity of 110 in the front half and 70 in the rear half. Meetings must end and the room be vacated ½ hour before the Library closes. Patrons who arrive before their room reservation time will not be admitted into the Library is the Library is closed. Please allow for set-up and break down time with you are scheduling the program. (See “User Responsibilities” section) All bookings are to be made by signed application at least two weeks prior to the event if possible. The reservation is not complete until the applicant receives a confirmation from a designated library representative.

Meeting Room Use

The Forgeron Hall is for meetings of non-profit community organizations, a substantial number of whose members are Chatham residents. Other groups may present informational or educational programs. No commercial activity or sales are allowed. Programs are to be approved by the Director and be of an educational, cultural or community nature and open to the public. Non-library meetings must not be publicized in a manner which suggests the library’s sponsorship or affiliation.

Performance acts must be sponsored by the library or by a local community group or organization. All performers are approved at the discretion of the Director and/or Board of Trustees.

The meeting room cannot be used for personal or family purposes, or company parties. The room may only be used by political groups for holding political forums where all sides of the issue are being discussed. Club meetings may be limited to members only but Clubs must be willing to accept new members from the community, space permitting.

The room may only be reserved by an adult. Youth groups may use the room if a responsible adult is present at all times.

Forgeron Hall may be used for art or craft displays for a period of two weeks. All items are to be hung from existing strips (no thumb tacks, tape, etc) or placed in designated display areas. The mounting and removal of display materials is the responsibility of the owner. A date and time for the mounting and removal of materials must be arranged with the Director. The artist mounting the display must sign a waiver accepting full responsibility for the safety of all items in the exhibit. No sales may be made in the library, but pertinent information may be made available.


The Forgeron Hall is available during Library operating hours without charge. Any requests for use of the hall other than Library operating hours will be subject to a fee of $25 per hour to cover supervision, utilities, and custodial services. Use of the room is contingent upon the Library’s ability to provide a staff member to supervise the meeting. There is a minimum fee of $25.00. If the Library is closed during your meeting time, library services will not be available to attendees

No meetings may be held at which admission is charged, or at which money raising projects are conducted. This regulation would preclude the holding of auctions, rummage sales, etc. (Requests for permission to use the hall for fund raising projects that would directly and solely benefit the Eldredge Public Library will be acted on by the Library Board of Trustees.) Selling of books, music cd’s or other related materials is only allowed if a portion of the proceeds is donated back to the library.


User Responsibilities

The sponsoring organization is responsible for setting up the room and for returning the room to its former state, including the removal of all support materials and equipment. Absolutely nothing may be stored at the library, and the library will not be responsible for anything left by any user of the hall.

Kitchen facilities are available upon request, including a stove, sink, refrigerator and dishwasher. It is requested that foods that create maintenance problems not be served. The sponsoring organization is responsible for clean-up of the kitchen facilities, tables and chairs. Under no circumstances should any leftover food products be left stored in the refrigerator or cabinets. Alcoholic beverages may be not served.

The users and/or sponsoring organizations shall be responsible for any damage or misuse of the room and its equipment. Payment for any damage or misuse shall be made in full within thirty days of notification of the amount due. If any individual or group continues to damage or misuse the facilities, that individual or group will have their privileges terminated by the Board of Trustees.

The users and/or the sponsoring organization shall be responsible for the adherences to all fire, safety, and capacity laws and regulations. No smoking is allowed anywhere in the building.



Tables and chairs are available for use. A sound system, television, video/DVD player, projection screen, compact disk player, cassette player, digital, slide and overhead transparency projectors, laptop computer, lectern and electric piano are also available for use. The user must provide additional furniture or equipment if needed. If the presenter is using a Macintosh computer, they must provide their own connector cable to work with our digital projector. Users must show that they are capable of using the equipment properly.



The Eldredge Public Library Board of Trustees establishes the policy regarding the use of the Forgeron Hall and is the sole authority to interpret these regulations. The Director has the supervision responsibility delegated by the Board of Trustees. Any and all parts of this policy may be revised, modified or amended by the Board of Trustees at any time. Exceptions to the rules concerning the use of the Forgeron Hall can be made only by a vote of the Board of Trustees.

The Town of Chatham, the Eldredge Public Library, its Board of Trustees, Director, Employees and Volunteers assume no responsibility for the loss, theft or damage of any property of any group, individual or organization using the Forgeron Hall.

Due to the extremely limited parking at the library, it is advisable that, through advertising or newsletters, people can be encouraged to utilize other parking lots in town.

Quiet Study Room Policy

Quiet Study Room Application

The Quiet Study Room is available during normal library hours for use by patrons who require a quiet atmosphere in which to pursue individual study, as well as to contain the noise of small group discussions.

The room is available on a first come, first serve basis unless reserved in advance. Patrons with advance reservations take priority. Reservations can be made by filling out the reservation form which is available at the Front Desk.

Individuals and small groups may reserve the room for their exclusive use. Some examples of acceptable use include tutoring, study groups, interviews, video conferencing and discussion groups. The room may not be used to distribute or solicit orders or sell goods and services. The room is not intended to be the regular meeting site of a group or organization. Noise must be kept to a minimum and should not be heard outside the room.  The room is not sound proof.

When occupied, the door is to remain unlocked. As is true throughout the library, no food or drinks are allowed in the quiet study room. Persons who misuse the quiet study room will be asked to leave.


Social Media Policy

Eldredge Public Library strives to enhance the quality of life in Chatham by providing its residents and visitors with library services they need and want such as informational and recreational materials and programs, cultural enrichment, intellectual stimulation, academic support and social interaction.  To help achieve this mission, the Library uses social media to foster communication with library users and the community.  Social media is any website or application which allows users to generate and share content.  The library uses several media tools, including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Comments, posts and messages are welcome on the Eldredge Public Library social media sites.  Posts will be monitored regularly by library staff for content and relevance.  The Eldredge Public Library encourages engaging dialogue with its fans, followers, and likers, however, the library reserves the right to delete comments and ban or block users who violate our Appropriate Library Use Policy, this Social Media Policy, or post comments that contain any of the following:

        • Offensive, obscene, racist or hate speech / language
        • Personal attacks, insults, threats
        • Commercial advertisements and spam
        • Material that is plagiarized or protected by copyright
        • Private, personal information published without consent
        • Political or religious content
        • Libelous and slanderous statements
        • Hyperlinks not directly related to the topic
        • Solicitations for donations or memberships requiring fees
        • Material that is deemed off topic or inappropriate
        • Photos or other images that may fall in any of the above categories

In addition, the Eldredge Public Library reserves the right to edit or modify any postings or comments for space or content, while retaining the intent of the original post.   Users should have no expectation of privacy in posting on the Library’s sponsored social media sites.  The Library reserves the right to reproduce comments, posts, messages and pictures in other public venues.

Users should be aware that third party websites have their own policies, including privacy policies, and should proceed accordingly.

The Eldredge Public Library assumes no liability regarding any event or interaction that may arise out of posted content.  The Library does not endorse or review content outside the “pages” created by the EPL.  Participation in the Eldredge Public Library social media sites implies agreement with all Library policies, including Social Media Policy and Appropriate Library Use Policy.  By joining, utilizing or posting on the library social media sites, you agree to comply with this policy. The Eldredge Public Library does not act in place of or in the absence of a parent and is not responsible for enforcing any restrictions which a parent or guardian may place on a minor’s use of social media sites.

The role and utility of the social media sites will be evaluated periodically by library staff, and may be terminated at any time without notice to subscribers.