Circulation Policies
A 28-day loan period applies for all physical, circulating books, with the exception of New Fiction books, which have a loan period of 14 days.

The following loan periods apply to DVDs:

Adult and Juvenile DVD:                     1 week

New Adult and Juvenile DVD:             3 days

TV Series:                                                 2 weeks

Streaming and downloadable collection loan periods vary based on individual digital platforms.

Renewals
Most library materials can be renewed for two additional loan periods. The Hackettstown Free Public Library will not renew materials that have been reserved by another person.

There are several ways to renew library materials:

  • In person at the Circulation Desk
  • Online at https://catalog.mainlib.org/logon.aspx
  • By phone at 908-852-4936

Extended Use Fee
Each cardholder is responsible for returning borrowed library materials by the assigned due date.  An extended use fee will be charged for each overdue item.

Lost and Damaged Materials
Cardholders are responsible for lost or damaged materials checked out on their library card.  In the case of children under the age of 18, a parent or legal guardian will be asked to accept responsibility for items loaned in order to keep the child’s card in good standing.  Charges for lost or damaged materials include the price of the item plus a processing fee (see Fee Schedule).

Placing Holds on Materials
Library cardholders may place a hold on items that are currently checked out.  Cardholders will be notified by phone or email when a requested item is available for pickup. The status of a requested item can be checked online by visiting www.hackettstownlibrary.org and following the My Account link.

There are several ways to place a hold:

  • In person at the Circulation Desk
  • By phone: 908-852-4936
  • Online through the library catalog at catalog.mainlib.org

Open Borrowing
The Hackettstown Free Public Library is a member of the Morris Automated Information Network (MAIN), a consortium of 38 public libraries located in Morris, Somerset, and Warren Counties.  Patrons are required to register for a library card at their home library and may use it at any of the MAIN libraries.

InterLibrary Loan
Through Inter Library Loan, the Hackettstown Free Public Library may obtain books for patrons from public, university and special library collections on a local, regional, state and national level.

Patrons are responsible for all charges they may incur from other libraries; such charges cannot be absorbed by the Hackettstown Free Public Library.  Charges incurred by the Hackettstown Free Public Library from another library (or outside agency or organization) in the performance of a library service for a specific patron may be passed along to that patron at the discretion of the Director.  In such cases where charges may be assessed, the patron will be notified of the potential cost when the service is requested.

Internet and Computer Use Policies
Public access to the internet is available to all users of the Hackettstown Free Public Library on library-owned computers and via a wireless connection for personal laptops and other wireless devices.  The library provides internet access to support and expand the library’s role in providing information and educational resources in many formats.

Use of Computers by Children
The library does not restrict access to any resource on the internet for reasons of content.  Parents or guardians are responsible for information selected and/or accessed by their children via the internet.  Because children who use the internet unsupervised may be exposed to inappropriate or disturbing information and images, parents and guardians are encouraged to monitor their children’s use of the internet.

Internet Code of Conduct
All library users are expected to show consideration for others when viewing Internet sites.  No person shall use a computer in a way that disturbs or interferes with other users, employees or operation of the library.

All federal, state and local laws are in effect while library patrons are using computers in the library.  Examples include laws governing copyright, gambling, and display of pornographic materials.  Anyone who breaks any law using a computer in the library may be banned from using the library and/or library computers, and may also be subject to criminal prosecution.

Anyone who accesses the library’s network must:

  • Recognize that public workstations must be used in a manner that respects the rights of others and therefore should refrain from activity that prevents others from using the internet at the library.
  • Not use the internet for any illegal activity or purpose.
  • Not violate copyright or any other law.
  • Not damage or alter the setup or configuration of the equipment or software used to access the internet at the library.
  • Refrain from the deliberate or reckless propagation of computer worms, malware or viruses.
  • Refrain from the transmission of threatening, harassing, violent, obscene or abusive language or images using the internet, applications or email.

Failure to Comply
In the event that a patron violates this policy, a staff member will inform the individual that his/her behavior violates the Internet Code of Conduct, and that it must stop.

Library employees are authorized to terminate the computer session of anyone who fails to comply with the Internet Code of Conduct.

Staff Assistance with the Internet and Technology
Staff will assist library users with use of the internet and library-supplied technology, including suggestions for effective search strategies.  Library staff will also provide general assistance with personal electronic devices, particularly those that are used to access library-supplied digital content.  However, the library cannot guarantee that staff will be able to assist users at all times the library is open.

Limit of Liability
The library endeavors to provide access to information of the highest quality, but library personnel have no control over the quality of information on the Internet.  Because Internet content is not managed or governed by any single entity, library users are encouraged to exercise critical judgment and consider the validity and reliability of the source of information when accessing Internet sites.

Library staff can assist users with connecting a personal device to the wireless network but cannot troubleshoot problems related to a specific wireless device or assist in making changes to a device’s network settings and/or hardware configuration.  The library cannot guarantee that all devices will work with its wireless access points.

All wireless users should have up-to-date virus protection on their laptop computers and wireless devices. The library cannot be responsible for information that is compromised, or for any damage caused to hardware or software.

Use of the Hackettstown Free Public Library’s wireless network is at the risk of the user.  The library disclaims all liability for loss of confidential information or damages.  Users are cautioned that, because security in an electronic environment such as the internet cannot be guaranteed, all transactions, files and communication are vulnerable to unauthorized access and use and, therefore, should be considered public.

Library Cards
A Hackettstown Free Public Library card is necessary to borrow materials from the library and to remotely access subscription-based digital content. Library cards can be obtained in person at the Circulation Desk.

The Hackettstown Public Library card is free for anyone who lives, works, pays property taxes or goes to school within the boundaries of the Hackettstown municipality.

Free Borrowing Privileges are Extended to the Following:

  • Residents of the Town of Hackettstown
  • Students in the elementary or secondary school within the town (and their families)
  • Non-resident taxpayers and their immediate families
  • Teachers and school officials in town school for as long as they are employed by the local school system, even though they may not reside within the town. Separate cards are not issued to members of such teachers’ families.

Courtesy Cards
Courtesy cards can be issued to people who work or attend school in Hackettstown and do not reside in a community served by a MAIN member library. Proof of eligibility (such as a pay stub or a report card with the person’s name and work or school address) must be shown along with the home library card or documentation that shows the person’s home address.  Patrons with a courtesy card are eligible for in-person service and may request materials through the patron online request system for pick‐up at the issuing library.

College Student Card
Students who are enrolled at an institution of higher learning located within the MAIN service area may be eligible for a College Student card.  Patrons with a student card are eligible for in-person service, but may not request materials through the patron online request system.

Proof of Eligibility for Library Cards
Proof of residency or property ownership and photo ID is required for registration.  Please register in person at the library and bring a driver’s license, rental lease, utility bill, bank statement, or government issued ID showing a Hackettstown address.

Minors
All children under the age of 18 must have parental endorsement of their library borrowing cards.  Children ages four and up are eligible to receive their own library card.

Library Code of Conduct
The Board of Trustees has adopted a Library Code of Conduct to help ensure a comfortable and safe environment within the library.  This policy is intended to provide clear and reasonable rules to guide behavior while in the library and on library premises.

The library subscribes to Article IV of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights (see Attachment 2), which states, “library facilities should be made available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals requesting their use.”

Unacceptable behavior includes actions in the library or on library premises that interfere with the use of the library by others, creates a risk of injury to oneself or others, inhibits the work of library staff, disrupts the peaceful enjoyment of the library or creates a risk of damage to library, personal or staff property.

The Library Code of Conduct is to be observed by everyone in the building or on library grounds. Unacceptable behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • Any activity that constitutes a violation of federal, state or local criminal statutes or ordinances.
  • Damage, defacement, or theft of any library property or material, or any personal property or material.
  • Possession, distribution, or use of alcohol.
  • Possession, distribution or use of controlled substances.
  • Use of tobacco products or e-cigarette devices.
  • Sexual conduct.
  • Use of profanity, abusive or threatening language or threatening gestures, bullying or unwanted physical conduct.
  • Unreasonable noise levels including shouting, loud talking or disruptive conversation, uncontrolled or repeated ringing of cell phones and loud cell phone conversations.
  • Solicitations, petitions or canvassing in the library or on library premises.
  • Consumption of food except in designated areas or at authorized library functions.
  • Bringing animals inside the library with the exception of service animals or those allowed at a library-approved event.
  • Lack of personal hygiene that interferes with the use of and enjoyment of the library by others or interferes with the work of library staff.
  • Prolonged sleeping that interferes with the use and enjoyment of the library by others.
  • Use of the library restrooms for anything other than their ordinarily intended purpose; such purposes do not include bathing, shaving, or washing hair.
  • Use of personal electronic equipment at a volume that disturbs others.
  • Leaving unattended children or adults who are in need of supervision.
  • Removing or not wearing footwear or shirts within the library building.

Enforcement

A staff member observing a violation of the library’s rules shall approach the patron observed violating the policy courteously, tell the patron that the behavior is unacceptable, and ask the patron to refrain from the behavior.

If the behavior continues, the staff member may approach the patron a second time, reiterate the relevant policy, and warn that he/she may be asked to leave the library.  If the behavior is so disruptive or if the staff member believes a second warning is inappropriate under the circumstances, the staff person need not approach the patron a second time.  In the event the patron does not cease the behavior, the staff member is to direct the patron to leave the library immediately.  If the patron refuses to leave, the staff member may warn the patron that he/she has no choice but to call the police or may call the police without warning if deemed appropriate.

If the person being asked to leave is a minor, staff will ask if the child’s parent or another caregiver needs to be called to pick him/her up.  If the child has nowhere else to go and cannot leave the library, he/she will be instructed to sit quietly in another part of the library until they are picked up or can go home.

The Board of Trustees authorizes library staff to suspend the library privileges for those whose behavior prevents or interferes with the effective use of the library by others.  Violation of these rules may be cause for a temporary or permanent prohibition from future use of library facilities.

Guidelines for Suspending Patrons

The following guidelines are to be used when a library patron has violated the Code of Conduct policy sufficiently to require suspension from in and around the Library premises.  The length of the suspension will be based on the nature of the violation.

  • 1-7 day suspension: For behavior such as refusing to comply with standard rules in the Code of Conduct.  This is for more minor disruptive behavior and should be considered the basic response when patrons are having a hard time following Library rules.
  • 30 day suspension: For verbal abuse or inappropriate language rather than an assault. This also applies to repeat offenders who have already been suspended for 1-7 days several times.
  • Six Month Suspension: For more pronounced disruptive behavior and for more serious violations of the Code of Conduct. This includes significant verbal harassment of staff or other patrons.  This also includes patrons who have had prior suspensions and who continue to violate the Code of Conduct.
  • One Year Suspension: For very serious problems, such as verbally or physically threatening behavior, physical assaults of patrons and/or staff, or criminal activity in the library, with review for possible continuation. The police are usually called for this type of incident and the patron may be arrested.  Verbal threats include statements like, “I’ll kill you if I see you again.”  This can also include patrons who have repeatedly violated the Code of Conduct and have a prior history of suspensions from the Library.  At the end of the suspension, the Board of Trustees will review the suspension and decide whether the period of time needs to be extended.
  • Beyond one year: For the most serious incidents such as shooting a gun in the library, threatening behavior towards children, or stalking a staff member. The library Director and Board of Trustees will review this suspension and make the appropriate decision as to the length.  Prior to the end of the suspension period, the library Director and Board of Trustees will review the suspension and decide whether the period of time needs to be extended.

Library staff may also suspend a patron until further notice until the Director has a chance to investigate and review an incident.  Staff will notify the Director immediately or as soon as feasible (not to exceed 24 hours) of the incident and action taken.  The patron will then be notified about the Director’s decision.

If the individual who has been suspended wishes to appeal this decision, he or she must notify the Director in writing within 10 days of the date of the notification of suspension.  The appeal will be heard at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees.  Trustees will decide by a majority vote to uphold the suspension if the behavior is a sufficient threat to the ability of the Library to operate in a safe manner or if the behavior prevents staff and patrons from using library services, furniture, facilities, and materials for their intended use.  The suspension will be in effect until this vote is taken.  Trustees will instruct the Director to contact the person making such an appeal by letter and inform him/her of the decision of the Board.

Notary Policy

Library Notaries witness a person signing a document or signing a sworn statement on a document.  The Library Notary documents that:

  • The signer of the document appeared before the Notary
  • The Notary positively identified the signer
  • The signer both acknowledged the signature as hers or his, and that the signature was made willingly.

The following guidelines need to be followed in the provision of Notary Service:

  • This service is free to Hackettstown residents. Out of town residents will be charged a $5 fee.
  • Call ahead to make sure the notary is available or to make an appointment. Drop-in notary services are not available 45 minutes or fewer prior to closing.
  • Notary Public service is limited to three documents per person per day.
  • The person who will sign the document must be sure that the document is completely filled out–leaving no blanks except where the customer will sign the document when appearing before the Library Notary. Library Notaries may not notarize any document with blank spaces.
  • The document(s) should not be signed before arriving at the library.
  • Government issued photo identification is required of any customer seeking Notary service.
  • Documents in any language other than English will not be notarized.
  • New Jersey law requires that a Notary and the customer seeking notarization be able to communicate directly with each other. Library Notaries are not permitted to make use of a translator to communicate with a Notary service customer.
  • In accordance with New Jersey Notarial Law, Notaries will not provide service if the customer, document or circumstances of the request for Notary service raise any issue of authenticity, ambiguity, doubt or uncertainty for the Library. In this event, the Library Notary may, at his/her sole discretion, decline to provide Notary service.
  • The Library Notary does not provide Notary service for Wills, mortgages, deeds, birth certificates, codicils, depositions, marriage licenses, I-9 forms or Powers of Attorney.
  • In situations where a witness is required the Library will not provide witnesses and witnesses may not be solicited from patrons using the Library. To serve as a witness, the witness must personally know the individual whose document is being notarized and must be in possession of valid photo identification.

Meeting Room Policy

The Hackettstown Free Public Library provides meeting room space as a community service, for purposes that enhance the Library’s mission to enrich the lives of all members of our community with opportunities for learning, entertainment, cultural enrichment, and access to information.

The Library allows civic, cultural, educational and charitable groups the use of the Library conference room and other public rooms within the Library as availability permits and when they are not in use by the Library.  Access will be provided on equal terms, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of the organization or individual requesting use of the meeting rooms.  Use of meeting spaces by groups not directly related to the Library does not imply the Library’s endorsement of those meetings or activities.

Fundraising events are permitted only if sponsored by the library, Friends of the library or other organizations affiliated with the library.

Reservations

Reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.  The reservation of Library facilities shall be the prerogative of the Director of the Library, in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the Library Board of Trustees.  Any organization or individual (sponsor) desiring to schedule the use of a room must complete the Meeting Room Application (available on the library’s website or at the circulation desk).

Guidelines

  • Meetings considered to be political, advocating for or against a particular candidate or position, private meetings, or social events are not permitted.
  • All meetings must be open to the public and free of charge.
  • The room is not available for use by individuals or groups that are offering seminars in order to solicit customers or business for their organizations.
  • All literature distributed at meetings must be clearly marked with the name of the sponsoring group; “Hackettstown Free Public Library” shall not be included in any such literature.  The library’s address may not be used by any organization as its headquarters address.
  • A Certificate of Insurance may be required for reservation of library facilities.
  • Permission to use the library’s meeting rooms in no way implies library sponsorship or endorsement of any group or its program.
  • Due to demand by community groups and Library-sponsored programs, organizations requiring guaranteed regular time slots cannot always be accommodated.
  • Events must end 15 minutes prior to the regular closing time unless prior arrangements are made with the Director.
  • The sponsor may arrange food and beverage service in the meeting rooms, but no food may be carried into the main portion of the Library.
  • At the conclusion of the event the sponsor shall promptly clean up any debris and remove from the premises all materials and equipment provided by the sponsor. The room must be left in the same condition as found at the beginning of the event.  Trash must be bagged and placed where directed.  Kitchen facilities must be left clean.  All costs to the library to repair damages to the room, its furnishings and fixtures or any other library property or property on loan to the library, beyond ordinary wear and tear, will be charged to the sponsor.
  • Events may not disrupt other library patrons.  Event attendees are subject to all library rules and regulations and may be asked to leave if they do not abide by them.  The sponsor is responsible for maintaining proper order on the part of all participants.  At least one responsible adult (18 or older) must always be present.
  • The organization/individual will adhere to all Town ordinances.  Alcoholic beverages and illegal substances are prohibited by local ordinance.  Use of open flames or candles in the meeting room is prohibited.  Smoking or vaping are not permitted in the library.
  • The library reserves the right to refuse permission for use of the rooms to any group or individual that does not meet these requirements.