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Sample Public Library Policies & Development Tips

Below you will find policy development tips and samples. They are divided into two categories:
- external (policies dealing with the public) and
- internal (administrative policies).

The library boards' ultimate responsibility is to ensure and protect the reputation of the institution - best realized through the adoption of clearly written library policies. Written policies provide consistency for patrons and staff, help to resolve misunderstandings, reduce incidents of conflict and help to protect from litigation.

Internal Policies

External Policies (4 categories):


Public Space

Meeting Space / Exhibit Space

Internet / Technology



Internal Financial Controls

Purchasing Policy

Internal Controls

Investment Policy

Fundraising / Gift Policy

Friends Policy

Conflict of Interest Policy

Code of Ethics

Confidentiality of Patron Records

Record Retention / Document Destruction

Freedom of Information Act (FOIL)

Law Enforcement Inquiries

Personnel / Human Resources Policies


Media / Public Relations Policy

Filming & Photography Policy

Disaster Policy

Volunteer Policy



Lending Rules & Procedures

Collection Development / Material Selection Policies

Challenge of Library Materials

Public Space

Patron Code of Conduct

Child Safety / Unattended Children

Americans with Disabilities Act Statement & Service to Disabled Patrons
"Americans with Disabilities Act Statement: Each library should adopt a general policy statement that affirms its support of equal access for persons with disabilities and the ADA. The ADA statement should be displayed in the library and printed brochures for programming, services and policy brochures for children as well as for adults. The library should be compliant as possible for its facility and especially for programming for children. ADA Home Page: [from the NYLA/YSS "Kids Still Welcome Here" document ] .

Tutoring in the Library

Meeting Space / Exhibit Space

Meeting Room Use

Meeting Rooms, Displays, Public Forums [Library Law Blog]
Anti-Defamation League Q&A for Public Libraries

Displays and Exhibits


More Samples:
Petition Posting Policy
from the Patterson Library of Westfield, NY: Petitions
Petitions will be placed on Bulletin Board #2. A disclaimer will be posted with petitions stating that any information which appears on the community information board does not necessarily reflect the policies and/or opinions of the library staff or library board. Petitions should be presented to the Library Director. Upon receipt of a petition, the Library Director will date the petition and record the name of the person presenting the petition. The petition will be allowed one week for display. Petitions should be no larger than 8 ½" x 14 " and no more than two pages in length. Petitions will be disposed of after one week of display if they are not collected by the petitioner.

Internet / Computer Use


Computer Use

Wireless (Wi-Fi) Networks

Social Media Policy

From the MHLS Building Your Base Online Project

Web Site Disclaimers


To view full collections of samples from other states visit:

For more policy samples from MHLS libraries contact: Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Coordinator for Library Sustainability

Last updated: August 2014