General Policies


1. Mission

The Board of Trustees adopted the following mission statement as part of its long-range plan for 2020-2022:

The Dover Free Library’s mission is to welcome community members of all ages and backgrounds to seek out lifelong learning experiences through reading, learning, thinking, technology, and discussion in a comfortable and friendly environment.

2. Who may use the library?

Residents of the state of Vermont shall have free library service and may register as patrons. Children (persons under 16) need parent’s or guardian’s signature to register. Out of state residents who are visiting the area for a short or extended stay may sign up for a card for a $10.00 annual fee (no charge for children under 14).

Unaccompanied children under ten may use the library at the sole discretion of the librarian, and children under fourteen may use the library provided they have a contact phone number with a guardian.

Patrons are encouraged to make a monetary contribution when they return overdue library material. Books and materials lost will be charged at current list price plus processing costs. Parents will be responsible for materials taken out by their children.

Materials from the circulating collection will be lent for a period of one to three weeks and may be renewed, if not on reserve, either by phone or in person. Loans may be made for a longer period at the discretion of the Director.

The Board affirms that the Dover Free Library’s Community Room may be used, by arrangement. Community Room application forms and policy use are available upon request.

When hiring or providing services, the library does not discriminate on the basis of class, race, ethnic background, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, or disability. The library strives to provide equal services to all patrons regardless of education level or reading ability.

3. Personnel

The Director is administrator of the library. Library assistants or other staff members will be chosen by the Director with the approval of the Board.

Job descriptions for the Director and staff will be on file at the library. The job descriptions will include the duties of the Director and staff in addition to salary and benefits. The salary and benefits for each fiscal year will be determined by the Board in consultation with the Director.

Library employees who substitute for the Director or staff will be paid at their usual salary rate. Other persons who substitute for the Director will be paid the same hourly rate as elected officers of the Town of Dover.

4. Trustees

The by-laws of the Board of Trustees are appended to this policy statement.

5. Hours

The library shall be open a minimum of 32 hours per week at times that permit the community to the best access to materials and services. The library will be closed on the following legal holidays:

  1. New Year’s Day
  2. Martin Luther King Jr.
  3. Presidents' Day
  4. Memorial Day
  5. Independence Day
  6. Labor Day
  7. Indigenous People's Day
  8. Armistice Day
  9. Thanksgiving Day
  10. Christmas Day

In addition, each staff member is entitled to two floating holidays per year.

The library will be closed at times when weather and / or other emergency conditions prevent personnel from opening and operating the library at the discretion of the Director. Hourly staff who miss work due to an emergency closing will be given an opportunity to make up the time, if they choose.

6. Materials Selection

The Director will select materials, develop the collection, and weed the collection with suggestions from the board and the general public, using the following criteria for selection:

  • Expressed need or interest in the community
  • Accuracy and literary quality
  • Relevance to the library’s role(s) in the community
  • Historical or current topical interest
  • Quality of technical production
  • Usefulness for providing a well-rounded collection, including multiple points of view on current or past controversial issues, when possible.
  • Reviews in professional journals
  • Inclusions in recommended professional lists
  • Local interest. Materials about Dover and the area will be sought and kept.
  • Budgetary considerations
  • Availability elsewhere. For items outside the scope of the collection, interlibrary loan will be encouraged.
  • The library will make every effort to work with the school library to insure the availability of a broad range of materials to townspeople, and to avoid duplication.

Collection development and provision for access to library materials will be carried out in accordance with the “Library Bill of Rights” and the “Freedom to Read” statements appended to this policy statement. When questions regarding intellectual freedom arise, the Board and Director will refer to interpretations of those statements published in the Intellectual Freedom Manual of the American Library Association.

Patrons should be aware that inclusion of an item in the library collection does not imply endorsement of its content by the library board, staff, or community. Some items may be offensive to some individuals. The library will not restrict its purchases, remove items from its shelves, or limit access to items solely because of objections from community members. Conversely, the library will not add an item solely because of endorsement by community members if, in the opinion of the Director, it does not comply with enough of the criteria for selection.

Gifts books and other materials will be accepted on the condition that the library has the authority to make whatever disposition it deems advisable. All gifts will be reviewed in accordance with the criteria listed above.

The library Board or staff members will not act in the place of the parent to restrict children’s access to materials. whatever their content, format, or reading level. Parents must assume responsibility for determining the use of library resources by their children. Controversial items will not receive special treatment, such as special shelving or labeling, which would restrict access.

If a patron wishes to protest an item available at the library, the patron must submit a written request on the form specified in the appendix of this policy statement. If desired, the patron may then present his or her case in person to the Board of Trustees and Director. The Board will respond to all requests with a written statement.

7. Confidentiality of Library Records

The Dover Free Library Board of Trustees affirm that patron and circulation records that could be used to identify which library materials were borrowed or requested by an individual person shall be confidential: unless subpoenaed by the government under Vermont State law or the Federal Patriot Act. More information concerning Vermont State Statutes on Library record confidentiality can be found at the Vermont State website. However, parents will be contacted, if necessary, regarding overdue, lost or damaged materials borrowed by their children.

8. Displays and Exhibits

Announcements of community interest may be displayed in the library building by permission of the Board or Director. Hobby, craft and art exhibits of community significance are encouraged but are displayed at the owner’s acknowledged risk, with no such work to be for sale at the library.

No organization or individual shall be permitted to place in the library any receptacle which solicits donations for any cause or organization (other than the library itself, or municipal services); nor shall any display be permitted that advocates or solicits consideration of any product or item sold by any commercial enterprise. Space will be provided for commercial and other notices on the bulletin board outside the library.

9. Use of the Library Rooms

The library facility may be made available for public gatherings of a civic, cultural, or educational nature on an equal basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of the sponsors. Groups using the library must arrange with the Director, who is responsible for the calendar of events. Such groups may not charge a fee for attendance. There must be no smoking. The facility must be left as it was found.

10. Use of library equipment

Telephone: the telephone shall not be used by private individuals except at the discretion of the Director or a staff member.

Procedures governing use of the copier and computer will be posted in the library.

11. Review / Revision of Policy

The Board will review this policy statement on an annual basis and make revisions if necessary.


Dover Free Library:  A Life-Long Learning and Community Cultural Center

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