Library Policies

Who can get a card?
This Library is partially funded by local property taxes and state aid in the form of a grant. If you live in or own real estate in the Rhode Island, your taxes help support the library and a card will be issued at no charge. In order to borrow materials from the Library, users must register for a borrower card. Cards which are free of fines and have not been used for a period of two years will be purged from the database.
        Patron Types:
  • Adult:  Patrons aged 18 or older.
  • Juvenile:  Patrons under the age of 18. A parental signature is required to obtain a library card. 
  • Non-Residents:  Non-residents who work in RI or college students may obtain a library card but must present a photo ID printed with their permanent address.  Non-residents who work in RI must also show a current paystub of a RI employer.  These cards must be renewed annually. College students must show a college ID as well as one with their permanent address.  Portsmouth property owners who are non-residents must show a current tax bill.
How to Get Your Card
  • To obtain a card you will need to show a valid picture ID from a city, state, or government agency such as a driver’s license, military ID, or a passport.
  • If your picture ID does not have a current address, a second piece of identification establishing residency by showing your current address will also be needed. Acceptable documents include a current utility bill, voter’s registration card, vehicle insurance card, or even your checks if they include your current address.
  • Non-residents who own property in Portsmouth need to provide a current tax bill for that property. Non-residents who work in RI must show proof of employment in RI.
Lost Cards
Library users who have lost their card may apply for a new one by showing valid identification and paying a non-refundable $1.00 replacement charge; minors also must be accompanied by the parent or guardian listed as the responsible adult on the minor’s card record. If a parent or guardian wishes to cancel a minor’s card they must be listed as the responsible adult on the minor’s card record. If the first card is later found, it must be destroyed or returned to the Library for reactivation with valid identification. Patrons should report lost or stolen cards as soon as possible; Library users are responsible for all materials checked out on their card up to the time that they report the card as lost.
Loan Periods / Borrowing Limits
The checkout period for books, books on CD, and music CDs is three weeks. DVDs, videos, and periodicals may be checked out for one week.  Only books and books on CD may be renewed for one additional 3-week period unless another patron has placed a hold on that item. No other items may be renewed.
Placing Holds
You can request materials in person, by phone or via the internet. We will notify you by phone or email you when the item is available for pickup.
Renewing Your Borrowed Items
Items may be renewed in person, by phone, or via the internet. Items may be renewed one time unless another patron has placed a hold on that item.
Overdue Notices
In order to remind Library users that they have overdue items, three notices will be sent: (1) an overdue notice at 7 days; (2) a second overdue notice at 14 days past due; (3) and a billing notice at 30 days past due. Notices are sent via email or print depending upon your library card registration preferences.
Library Fines
        Overdue Materials: Fine rates are as follows:
  • DVD/VHS/video games               $1.00 per day/per item
  • Interlibrary Loan                           $0.10 per day/per item
  • All other items                              $0.10 per day/per item
       Maximum Fines: To encourage the return of long-overdue materials, there is a maximum per-item fine.
  • For each item                 $6.00 per item
      Payment of Fines: The Library will accept the following forms of payment for fines accrued:
  • Cash
  • Personal check made out to the Library on a check for the exact amount of the fines.
  • Money order or cashier’s check
  • Visa, MasterCard or Discover (online only)
  • Returned checks will be assessed a $25 fee.  Payments must be made by cash, money order or cashier’s check.
Borrower Blocks
Patrons will be blocked from borrowing materials if any of the following conditions exist:
1.       If their overdue fines are at least $5.00
2.       If they have more than five (5) active claims returned
3.       If the Library has reason to believe that the user has changed address; when this is the case, the library user may be asked to present current address verification before being permitted to check out materials.
4.       If there is reasonable doubt of the person’s identity or permission to use the card.
Waiver of Fines and Fees
The Library staff has the option of waiving or reducing charges if they determine that extenuating circumstances are warranted.
Lost and/or Damaged Items
Lost, damaged or destroyed materials must be paid for at replacement cost. There are no refunds. 
Media Parts Missing
Before media items are checked in, staff will verify that all parts are present, in good condition, and in the correct box. If an item has part(s) missing, the staff will immediately attempt to notify the patron by phone or via email. If the attempt is unsuccessful, staff will mail an appropriate letter and make a notation on the patron’s record. The item in question will remain checked out until the patron returns the missing part of pays for the item.
Internet Access Policy
1.       The computer equipment is available for use from library opening until 15 minutes before the library closes.
2.       Cardholders, age 18 and over, access the Internet at their own discretion. Parents or guardians of users under 18 years of age must have completed and signed an Internet Use agreement/waiver.  
3.       Library staff does not have expertise in all software programs. The library does own material related to the Internet which the staff can help the user locate.
4.       Patrons may not upload, transfer, modify, or manipulate Internet files. Because of the risk of viruses, etc., users saving files must use removable media. Upon completion of session, programs will be closed.  Any files saved to the computers will be lost when the computers are turned off.
5.       Please be aware that the library has no control over the resources on the Internet. The library cannot guarantee the reliability or currency of information found there. Parents or guardians should be aware that some sites can contain objectionable material.
6.       Users should employ common sense in accessing and displaying materials that may be offensive to others in this, a public setting. Parents and/or legal guardians are responsible for restricting a minor’s access to Internet materials. Abuses in the accessing of Internet materials that disrupt library functions or fellow patrons’ use will result in penalties. Penalties can range from being asked to log off the Internet, restriction or elimination or computer access, and/or restriction or elimination of library access and usage.
7.       Checking e-mail accounts is permitted; however, e-mail accounts will not be available through the library.
8.       Library cardholders may sign up for a one-hour session. If there is no one on the waiting list after that hour, the session may continue until another user requests computer time. PCs will be made available on the first come, first served basis. PCs may not be reserved.
9.       Patrons will be monetarily responsible for damages resulting from misuse or violation of these policies. Use of library services and materials can be revoked.
Interlibrary Loan Policy
Interlibrary loan is a process through which Library materials, or a copy of the material, are made available by one Library to another upon request. The purpose of interlibrary loan is to obtain Library material(s) not available at this Library.
Library users may request that the Library attempt to locate and borrow for their use a specific book or magazine which is not available in our Library currently. We charge a $2 fee for this service to offset the cost of postage.  Occasionally there is a charge imposed by the owning Library and the patron is responsible for that charge. There may also be a photocopy fee for lengthy articles. If there will be a charge, patrons will be notified before the material is ordered. This will allow them to decide whether they still want the material. Fees are collected w hen patrons pick up the requested material. Patrons are still responsible for fees if they decide not to pick up the material. 
1.       Requesting Interlibrary Loan Service: An interlibrary borrowing request may be submitted either by phone, fax, e-mail or in person. The interlibrary loan process is costly and the Library incurs costs well in excess of the postage fee for each item that it borrows from another Library. Consequently, the Library will not accept additional interlibrary loan requests from those Library patrons who have failed to pick-up requested items.
2.       Material Types: At the discretion of the owning Library, some types of material are not readily available for lending including but not limited to the following:
a.       Audiovisual materials (video games, DVDs, audio books, CDs)
b.      Reference material
c.       Current issues of magazines and newspapers
d.      Rare, archival, manuscript or fragile items
e.      Popular books
f.        New books
3.       Recalls: At any time the lending Library may recall an item and request the item’s immediate return.
4.       Renewals: Interlibrary loan materials are generally not renewable.
Prohibited Activities
In order to ensure that the best possible environment for study and research is provided for all users, each user of the Library is required to comply with the following restrictions:
1.       Removal or attempted removal of Library materials or property from a Library building or controlled area without authorization.
2.       Mutilation of Library materials or files by marking, underlining, removing pages or portions of pages, removing binding or stapes, removing security devices, tampering electronically, or in any other way damaging or defacing library materials.
3.       Deliberately concealing or misfiling Library materials in the Library for the exclusive use of an individual or group.
4.       Refusal to abide by the Library regulations regarding the return of materials and payment of fines and/or penalties. These would include penalties on lost or damaged items, “blocks” (preventing the patron from using “circulation” services until penalties are paid or books returned) as outlined in the Library publications.
5.       Any disturbance or behavior which interferes with normal use of the Library. Such inappropriate behavior includes activities that are distracting or disruptive to others. Examples of inappropriate behaviors include rowdiness, noise, prolonged conversation, abusive behavior, loitering, rollerblading, obstruction of facilities or access.
6.       Bringing animals into the Library building except those which are needed to assist persons with disabilities.
7.       Harassment or assault of Library staff or users.
8.       Cell phone use inside the Library.
9.       Consumption of food at the computers.
10.   Access to or use of any Library facility, equipment or service without proper permission by authorized persons.
11.   Entering or being in a restricted area of the Library, remaining in the Library after closing or when requested to leave during an emergency exercise.
12.   Damage or defacement of the Library building or equipment, inside or outside.
13.   Refusal to abide by policies or regulations pertaining to matters of health, safety and security.
Disciplinary Procedures
Upon investigation of a complaint which is deemed to be a breach of the Library Policies as defined, a person designated by the Library Director may conclude that action is warranted. At this point the person designated by the Library Director will decide on the appropriate disciplinary procedures to follow.
Generally, the Library Director will deal with breaches of the Library policies using the authority given by virtue of the office. In cases of persistent breach of the policies, or extremely inappropriate conduct, the Librarian will generally consider whether the conduct constitutes disciplinary action.
The person designated by the Library Director to consider the case may impose the following sanctions or combinations of them upon Library users found to be in breach of these regulations.
1.       Formal written reprimand. In the case of a student or staff member, a copy of the written reprimand may be sent to the Library user’s Chair, Director, or Supervisor.
2.       Denial of access to the Library and its services for a period of up to 1 year. This denial of access will be confirmed in a written notice to the Library user found to be in breach of this Regulation. In the case of a student or staff member, a copy of the written notice may be sent to the Library user’s principal, dean, or director.
In addition, Library users who are in breach of this policy may be placed on conduct probation for a period not to exceed 1 year, with the provision that one or more of the sanctions, as appropriate, will be applied if the conduct probation is violated.
3.       Appeal Procedures. A Library user who has been notified of the denial of access to the Library and its services has up to 10 days (from the mailing of the notice) to appeal the decision.
The Library Director, or his/her designate (other than the person who considered the case and imposed the sanction being appealed) will hear the appeal and will render a decision to uphold or dismiss the appeal, or possibly to vary the sanction imposed. The accused Library user or users may be assisted in the appeal by another person who may be legal counsel.
Privacy Policy
The Library strives to protect the patron confidentiality in relation to items used in the Library or checked out, and to information sought through Library systems or the Library’s reference services. In accordance with state law, registration and circulation records are confidential and disclosure of these records is limited to the patron him/herself or to that person’s designee as indicated in writing, and to Library staff in the performance of their duties.
All other disclosure of these records is permitted only by court order. Protection of confidentiality does not extend to records of outstanding fines or fees; payments for the use of Library premises or equipment; or communications directed to the Library regarding Library services. 
Rules of Conduct
These rules of conduct are for the comfort, safety and protection of all Library patrons and library staff. Library staff will firmly and courteously enforce these rules. We ask your cooperation in maintaining an environment conductive to enjoyable use of the Library for all.
1.       Dangerous, destructive or illegal conduct, including but not limited to the following, will not be tolerated:
a.       Physical abuse or assault;
b.      Fighting or challenging to fight;
c.       Making violent and threatening statements;
d.      Engaging in or soliciting any sexual act; and
e.      Damaging or destroying Library property.
2.       Any patron displaying any of these behaviors will be instructed to leave the Library immediately. Police will be called and appropriate legal action will follow.  In addition, based on the severity of the situation, a suspension of Library privileges for up to one year will be applied without advanced warning or prior suspension.
The following behaviors are also prohibited:
a.       Using harassing or insulting language.
b.      Leaving children under the age of 8 unattended by a parent or authorized adult.
c.       Blocking Library entrances or exits with bicycles, strollers, etc., or leaving animals unattended on Library property.
d.      Participating in any activity in the library or at public entrances/exits which interferes with any person’s comfort or safety.
e.      Entering the Library with animals other than service animals authorized by law.
f.        Entering the Library with bicycles, roller skates, roller shoes, scooters, skateboards, or other similar devices.
g.       Smoking or drinking except for a nonalcoholic beverage in a bottle with a secure top.
h.      Possessing, consuming, or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
i.         Lying on the floor or sleeping.
j.        Unreasonable use of the rest rooms, including laundering, bathing and shaving.
k.       Failing to wear a shirt, pants/skirt, and shoes.
l.         Disturbing or annoying anyone with loud and/or unreasonable noise, including but not limited to using electronic equipment or mobile phones at a volume that disturbs others.
m.    Carrying weapons of any type.
n.      Petitioning, soliciting or selling merchandise or services without written permission from the Library.
o.      Personally monopolizing Library space, seating, tables, or equipment to the exclusion of other patrons or staff.
p.      Fraudulent use of another’s Library card for any purpose.
q.      Refusal to follow reasonable direction from Library staff.
Any patrons displaying these behaviors will be addressed in the following manner:
a.       First Violation: Initial warning; given a copy of Library rules of Conduct.
b.      Second Violation: Library privileges suspended for 1 day.
c.       Third Violation: Library privileges suspended for 7 days.
d.      Fourth Violation: Library privileges suspended for up to 1 year.

Unattended Children Policy

Parents may not leave children under the age of twelve years unattended in the Library and are responsible for their children's behavior while in the Library.  If a child is left unattended in the Library, the staff will attempt to locate his/her parents.  The Portsmouth Free Public Library assumes no responsibility for children left unattended at the Library after closing.  However, for the safety of the child, the staff will not leave a child under the age of twelve alone to wait for a ride.  If a parent or caregiver does not arrive within ten minutes of Library closing, at least two staff members will wait with the child and will attempt to telephone a parent or adult caregiver.  If the staff is unsuccessful, or if an adult does not arrive within 30 minutes of Library closing, the police will be summoned to assist the child.

A record will be maintained of all violations of this policy.

Library Volunteer Policy
In order to achieve our mission, our Library encourages the active participation of citizens, of a variety of ages, as a valuable resource to the Library. The Library Volunteer Program is designed to expand and enhance public service to the community. Volunteers are valued by the Library as an important support system for paid staff and as a demonstration that residents appreciate the positive impact of the Library on the quality of life in their community.

Library Technology Plan

Vision Statement

The Portsmouth Free Public Library's commitment to public service reaches beyond the traditional collection and resources of a public library.  In its mission to provide opportunities for lifelong learning, the Library is continually responsive to the changing needs of the community.  This commitment to lifelong learning includes public access to the Internet and the World Wide Web and reference databases.  Access to these electronic resources is essential for our patrons in their quest for timely information that may affect their families, their lives, their professions, their recreation and their financial well-being.  Portsmouth Free Public Library is determined to fulfill its commitment to public service by providing the technology and the expertise to help the community access the "virtual library".

Technology Assessment:  Current Inventory and Operations


            Direct ISP connection, T1, OSL

Data Lines:

            Category 5 to all workstations


Operating Systems:  Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows 7

Applications:  Microsoft Internet Explorer 10, Microsoft Office 2007.  Staff use only programs:  Quickbooks 2010

Miscellaneous:  Norton Antivirus Corporate Edition, Deep Freeze, Netgear for Print Server


               4 Dell Optiplex GX520 Computers            

               16 Dell Optiplex 780 Computers

               3Dell Optiplex 790 Computers

               8 Dell Optiplex GX745 Computers

               4 Dell Optiplex 7010 Computers                

               12 Dell Latitude Laptop Computers           

               1 Seagate BlackArmor Network Storage

               13 Desktop Printers (3 w/scanners)

               11 Barcode Scanners

               4 Receipt Printers

               2 Public Access Printers

               1 WiFi LinkSys Access Point

Staff Skill Level:

Staff members are trained in all required software using LORI and local resources.  Staff members are offered opportunities for additional training based on their interests.  Professional development is required in areas involving updated software and hardware as necessary.

Patron Training:

Afternoon and evening training is offered to patrons using staff and volunteer assistance. Instruction is provided in the Program Room using video projection and hands on work on laptop computers in a "lab like" area in the Library.

Goals, Objectives, Activites:

Expanded Services Goals

1.  The Library will expand its services by providing some standard library reference sources and tools as well as some specialized databases.

·  To develop a plan for providing services most requested by Portsmouth residents by assessing needs and reviewing new products and vendors annually.

·   Maintain the Gale Reference Package.

                        Target Date: Annual        

                        Assessment: Maintained and improved services

                 2.  The Library's web site will provide access to local and global information.

·  To maintain the currency and continually enhance and expand the links to the resources in the web site.

                        Target Date:  Continuous

                        Assessment:  Maintained and improved access

                 3.   The Library will assess and improve security on all workstations.

·  Update virus protection on all computers.

·  Consult with LAN specialist on methods to improve security and implement those methods.

                        Target Date:  Annual

                        Assessment:  Secure system

                4.     Install filtering software offered by OSL

                        Target Date:  Annual

                        Assessment:  Installation and Maintenance

                5.    Continue the upgrading of computer equipment

                       Target Date:  Update 10% of the equipment each year

                       Assessment:  Meeting target

                6.   Respond to the community’s needs to have a Genealogy & Local History work area and   databases.

· Digitize the John T. Pierce, Sr. Portsmouth History Collection

· Digitize the local newspapers The Sakonnet Times and The Portsmouth Times

                        Target Date:  Annual

                        Assessment:  Meeting target

Training Goals

1.   Portsmouth Free Public Library will identify and address the needs of both staff and patrons.

· To provide staff training with both in-house sessions and appropriate workshops outside the library.

· To provide patrons with individual aid as needed and printed help aids to give step-by-step instructions.

· To provide informal instruction for all patrons using electronic reference resources.

·         To provide one-on-one and classroom training for use of downloadable media.

Target Date:  Annual

Assessment:  Maintain a record of workshops


The Library will provide adequate funds to increase the level of electronic resources each year by seeking funding from the town budget and grants.


The ability of the Library to meet the goals set forth above will determine the success of the plan.  Re-evaluation each year will determine if the plan needs modification.  As the field evolves daily, corrections to the plan will be ongoing.