Canton Free Library


The primary goal of this policy is to protect the rights of Canton Free Library patrons to use library materials and services, to protect the rights of Canton Free Library staff members to conduct library business without interference, and to preserve Canton Free Library materials and facilities. The Library board has adopted these guidelines in order to keep this level of service and safety.  Persons who violate these rules may be asked to leave the library and may lose their library privileges.  Violations perceived as criminal may result in arrest and prosecution.  Any behavior that is disruptive to library use or operations cannot be tolerated.

The Library is open to all with the understanding that an atmosphere welcoming and functional to all is maintained.

Library Cards

A North Country Library System library card is required to borrow library materials and to access many of the library’s online subscription-based resources. A library card is not required to visit the library, participate in library programs, or utilize most other library services. 

Obtaining a Library Card

Prospective card holders shall complete a registration form and provide a photo identification and proof of current address. Individuals without a valid picture ID, or whose picture ID does not contain a current address, must present two documents that verify current address (e.g. a piece of mail or a bill). Library card holders may have only one library card within the North Country Library System; a NCLS library card is valid at all NCLS member libraries.

When a person requests a card, basic demographic information is gathered during the registration process. This includes current name, current address (mailing and physical addresses), date of birth, telephone number, and email address. This information is used only for the purposes of library operation and is not disclosed in any way that would identify the persons registering. All information provided during the registration process is protected by rules and the New York State law (Chapter 14 of the Laws of 1982, #4509) pertaining to confidentiality of library patrons records and privacy.

Children 14 and under must apply with a parent or guardian.

Users must present their library card to check out materials, and must have a card in good standing.

Renewing a Library Card

Library patrons are requested to verify their contact information on an annual basis; cardholders with unused cards are removed from the database on a schedule determined by the North Country Library System. Cardholders who have been removed may apply for a new card. 

Borrowing Library Materials

Loan Periods

  • One (1) Week: DVDs, Blu-Rays, Video Games, music CDs, specialized items such as museum passes, tool libraries items, and others
  • Two (2) Weeks: Newly acquired print books, magazines
  • Four (4) Weeks: Most print books (not new acquisitions), books on CD 
  • Digital materials through Hoopla and Overdrive are handled by those companies and may have different loan periods outlined by each service contract
  • Up to 25 items may be borrowed at one time


  • Users may have up to thirty (30) items on hold at one time.
  • Holds may be placed online, in person, or by telephone.
  • Materials on hold will be available for pickup for seven (7) days after the patron has been notified; notifications may be online, by email, or by telephone.


  • Physical items (except tools and museum passes) with one (1), two (2) and four (4) week loan periods may be renewed one (1) time if there is no waiting list. Tools and museum passes may not be renewed.
  • Interlibrary loan items may be renewed if allowed by the lending library.
  • Digital materials through Hoopla and Overdrive are handled by those companies and cannot be renewed or returned by library staff.

Overdue, Lost, and Damaged Materials

Canton Free Library does not assess users overdue fines for most late materials, with the exception of items from the Tool Library. Cardholders are responsible for fees associated with:

  • Overdue items from the Tool Library are assessed fines of $1.00 per day, to a maximum of $7.00.
  • Physical items overdue by more than forty-five (45) days are automatically assumed “lost” by the North Country Library System and the cardholder is billed for the replacement cost.
  • Physical Items reported as lost by a patron are marked as “lost” and the cardholder is billed for the replacement cost.
  • Physical Items damaged beyond repair are marked as “damaged” and the cardholder is billed for the replacement cost. 
  • On a case-by-case basis, a donation may be made in lieu of the replacement costs; borrowers are encouraged to speak directly with library staff prior to making a donation.

Borrowing Privileges

Borrowing privileges for patrons are suspended in the following circumstances: 

  • A Canton patron has more than five (5) items overdue and/or owes more than $5.00.
  • A Morley or Rensselaer Falls patron has more than five (5) items overdue and/or owes more than $2.00

Borrowing privileges are reinstated once library materials have been returned in good condition and/or any outstanding fines or fees paid. An item is considered returned when it has been discharged from the circulation system or otherwise checked in by a staff member.

Interlibrary Loan 

Items not available at Canton Free Library may be requested from another library or service through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Interlibrary loan allows libraries to borrow materials from other libraries within the North Country Library System, and from libraries outside the system with whom there is a pre-existing reciprocity agreement. 

Items borrowed or lent by Canton Free Library are subject to individual library policies as well as those from library system (NCLS for example) agreements. In general, the more conservative rule shall apply to loan periods, holds, renewals, and overdue, lost, and damaged materials. Patrons are responsible for any costs associated with lost or damaged materials borrowed on their behalf. 

The library always attempts to borrow items from libraries who lend free of charge; patrons may be responsible for mailing fees when items are requested from libraries outside of the delivery network.

Special Collections

Tool Library

Canton Free Library has a “Tool Library” that includes construction tools, lawn and garden tools, kitchen gadgets, and other non-traditional library items. Specific information regarding the tool library includes:

  • Cardholders over the age of 18, whose library cards are in good standing, are eligible to borrow tools from the Canton Free Library (CFL) Tool Library. No more than three (3) items may be borrowed at any one time.
  • Borrowers who wish to use the Tool Library within the 3-month probation period after signing up for a new card may be required to leave a deposit for certain items. This deposit will be refunded by library staff upon timely return of the tool(s) in good working condition. Tools returned after their due date will be subject to forfeit of deposit.
  • All tools and equipment are the property of Canton Free Library. Only the borrower is authorized to use the tools. The borrower shall not permit the use of said tools by any other person except by the express permission of CFL.
  • The borrower agrees that Canton Free Library is not responsible for any manufacturing defects in quality of workmanship or materials inherent in any borrowed tools.
  • The Borrower agrees that if any borrowed tool becomes unsafe or in a state of disrepair, the borrower will immediately discontinue use of the tool and return it.
  • Before borrowing any tool or piece of equipment, the borrower shall sign a waiver to be provided by the Library, which will be kept on file at the library. The borrower acknowledges that he or she is capable of using the tool in a safe and proper manner.
  • Loan periods for tools are three (3) to seven (7) days, depending upon the demand and type of tool. The borrower agrees to return any borrowed item on or before the due date in the same condition, normal wear and tear excepted, as when it was borrowed. The borrower agrees to pay for the loss of or damage to any tool on loan to him or her. The borrower further understands that fines will be levied for each item kept past the due date. Repeated failure to return tools on time may result in revocation of borrowing privileges. The Library reserves the right to limit the number of tools borrowed and to alter the maximum loan period.
  • If the borrower wishes to renew the loan of the tool, he or she must contact the library by phone or in person. If there is no one waiting to borrow the item, it may be borrowed for one additional loan period. The Library reserves the right to refuse or limit renewals.
  • If a tool is not immediately available for loan, the borrower may place a hold on it through the online catalog or with a staff person. Library staff will contact the borrower when the tool becomes available. If a tool is available, the borrower may phone CFL and have the tool set aside to be borrowed later THE SAME DAY. If the borrower fails to come for the tool as agreed, the Library may lend the tool to another borrower. No tool will be held beyond closing time. Tools will not be reserved for a future date. Seasonal demands may affect reserve policies. 
  • When tools are not returned by the designated due date, CFL will issue an overdue notice. If the tools are not returned after the notice has been sent, appropriate steps will be taken to retrieve them, including by a collection agency and/or legal action.
  • The Tool Lending Library retains the right to refuse the loan of any item for failure to comply with any of the above rules and regulations, or for falsification of any information.
  • The Library retains the right to alter or suspend any of the above reserve policies.

Confidentiality Of Library Patron Records

The Canton Free Library supports every patron’s right to have his or her library records remain confidential. Library records include patron registration data, circulation records, overdue records, participation in library-sponsored programs, record of library visits, and/or any other data that contain information that links a specific patron to specific materials or services used.

Each patron has individual control over his or her library card and presentation of the card permits access to information about the cardholder’s current account information. 

The Canton Free Library abides by New York State Civil Practice Law § 4509:

§4509. Library records: Library records, which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of public, free association, school, college and university libraries and library systems of this state, including but not limited to records related to the circulation of library materials, computer database searches, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, requests for photocopies of library materials, title reserve requests, or the use of audio-visual materials, films or records, shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except that such records may be disclosed to the extent necessary for the proper operation of such library and shall be disclosed upon request or consent of the user or pursuant to subpoena, court order or where otherwise required by statute.

Some patron data is retained by the North Country Library System (NCLS) as part of their administration of the library’s circulation software. This data falls under the North Country Library System Confidentiality Policy

Digital Video Surveillance

The Library employs video security cameras to ensure the physical security of the library facility, staff and patrons. 

Access to Digital Images

Only the Director and authorized staff may access the recorded digital video images in pursuit of incidents of criminal activity or violation of library policies. 

General Public Requesting Access to Security Camera Footage

Library confidentiality and privacy prohibit unauthorized persons, including the general public, from viewing security camera footage. If a member of the general public wishes to obtain a copy of video footage they should make the request to the Director.

Law Enforcement Requesting Access to Security Camera Footage

Law enforcement requests for security camera footage or still photographs shall be given to the Director when a subpoena, warrant, or court order is issued pursuant to law. Before complying with any such requests, legal counsel may be consulted to determine the proper response.

In the event of a search warrant, which is executable immediately, library staff will comply with the search warrant and the Director will consult with the Library Board President and/or legal counsel when appropriate.

Retention of Digital Images

The Library avoids creating unnecessary records, retaining records not needed for the fulfillment of the mission of the Library, as well as practices that could place personally identifiable information on public view.

Recorded digital video images are stored digitally and kept until new data is recorded.

Security Camera Locations

Reasonable efforts are made to safeguard the privacy of library patrons and employees. The video security cameras are positioned to record only those areas specified by the Director, and will complement other measures to maintain a safe and secure environment in compliance with library policies. Regarding the placement and use of the digital recording cameras, staff and patron safety is the first priority; protection of library property is of secondary importance.

Cameras may be installed in locations where staff and customers would not have an expectation of privacy. Cameras will not be installed in areas where staff and public have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as restrooms; nor are they deliberately positioned to identify a person’s reading, viewing, or listening activities in the library.

Cameras are not installed nor will they be used for the purpose of routine staff performance evaluations.

The recording of audio is restricted and will not be used.

Use/Disclosure of Video Records

Video records and still photographs may be used by authorized individuals to identify those responsible for library policy violations, criminal activity on library property, or actions considered disruptive to normal library operations.

Video records and still records may be shared with authorized library employees or Trustees when appropriate to maintain a safe, secure and policy-compliant environment.

Under certain circumstances, individuals authorized under this policy may use a still photograph or selected portions of recorded data to request law enforcement review for assessing the security risk of a specific individual or for investigating a crime on library property.

Social Media

Canton Free Library participates in social media for many reasons but primarily to communicate information about library services and resources, community news and activity, and to engage with the community about topics relevant to the library’s mission or goals.

Social media sites may have their own terms of service, privacy, acceptable behavior, and stated consequences for violating those terms of service. It is up to the user to review those terms of service prior to engaging in social media.

Canton Free Library uses social media for community engagement on several levels, to be determined on a post-by-post basis:

  • The library posts information related to its programs, services, and operations. The library may also post information that is related to the Canton community, surrounding areas, or to library users in general. 
  • The library may or may not seek comments on individual social media posts. The library reserves the right to close comments at a predetermined time and not in response to the commentary received.
  • All social media interaction should be appropriate for audiences of all ages.
  • The library strives to provide accurate, timely, and appropriate content on social media. However, social media users should exercise their own judgment about the quality and accuracy of any information presented through social media. 
  • Public comments on social media do not reflect the views or positions of the library, trustees, or employees. 
  • Unacceptable behavior by library patrons or the general public on library social media accounts that is not protected by the First Amendment, such as copyright violations, obscenity, child pornography, defamatory or libelous comments, or imminent or true threats against the library or individuals are prohibited and may result in deleting comments or blocking of the user. 
  • Posting of unrelated material such as “spam”, illegal activities, items for sale, or other commercial solicitation on library social media accounts will be removed.
  • The library does not intend to infringe on the freedom of speech, but users are expected to maintain the same code of conduct online that is expected and enforced for in-person behavior within library property. 
  • Reconsideration of social media posting or comment is subject to the same procedure as reconsideration of any other library materials or programming.

Animals on Library Property

Library visitors with pets on library grounds are encouraged to keep pets leashed or caged as appropriate, and to clean up any messes.

Only official service animals are permitted in the library unless participating as part of a library sponsored program and approved in advance by the Director.

Persons with Disabilities

The library is committed to providing equitable access for persons with disabilities to library facilities and services as required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, applicable state and local statutes, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

The library has a handicap accessible front entrance with a lift to the lower and main floors, plus a handicap accessible side entrance with ramp to the main floor. The library has two handicap accessible restrooms on the lower level across from the Paige Room.

The library endeavors to make sure physical spacing is accessible, but acknowledges the layout of some spaces may be challenging to some individuals. Library staff is willing and available to assist in accessing materials that are located in difficult to access locations, including tall shelves or out-of-the way storage spaces. 

The library will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities unless those accommodations would impose an “undue hardship” on its operations. Persons requesting accommodation should contact any staff person who will then identify the employee best qualified to provide assistance. 

Alcohol Consumption

The Canton Free Library property, including the building and grounds, is free from alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, vaping, and illegal drug use. 

Exceptions may be made for alcohol distribution by an authorized alcohol vendor licensed by the State of New York offered at events sponsored by the Library or Friends of the Library and approved by the Board of Trustees. 

Smoking & Vaping

The Canton Free Library is committed to compliance with New York’s prohibition of smoking on the grounds of public libraries. According to Public Health Law §1399-o, subdivision 6:

“Smoking shall not be permitted and no person shall smoke within one hundred feet of the entrances, exits or outdoor areas of any public or association library as defined in subdivision two of section two hundred fifty-three of the education law; provided, however, that the provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to smoking in a residence, or within the real property boundary lines of such residential real property.”

“Smoking” is defined in Public Health Law §1399-n(8) as “the burning of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco or cannabis as defined in section 222.00 of the penal law, or cannabinoid hemp as defined in section three of the cannabis law.” 

“Vaping” is defined in Public Health Law §1399-n(9) as “the use of an electronic cigarette.”

Under Public Health Law §1399-p, “No Smoking” signs, or “No Vaping” signs, or the international “No Smoking” symbol, which consists of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a circle with a bar across it, shall be prominently posted and properly maintained where smoking and vaping are regulated.

Patron Behavior

Under the provision of Chapter 2.26 of the New York State Education Law, the Canton Free Library Board of Trustees may enact regulations that serve to ensure the safety of all library staff and patrons, protect the usefulness of the materials collection, and maintain order in the library.

The Canton Free Library exists to provide full library service to people of all ages who visit the library. The staff strives to maintain a safe and healthy environment where library users and staff can be free from harassment, intimidation, and threats to their safety and well-being. In pursuing these goals, the library seeks the cooperation of its patrons as follows:

Disruptive Behavior

Disruptive behavior is conduct that materially and substantially interferes with or obstructs the mission, functions, programs, and services of the library. Abusive language or behavior toward staff, volunteers, and visitors will not be tolerated.

Patrons demonstrating disruptive behavior will be required to leave the library after one warning from library staff. Patrons are also expected to comply with a reasonable request or order to disperse and loitering on library property after dismissal is not permitted.

Examples of disruptive behavior may include, but are not limited to:

  • Demeaning, outrageous, or malicious verbal or physical conduct; threatening comments or behavior
  • Habitual profanity or vulgarity; sexual harassment
  • Willful disobedience of library policies or procedures; uncooperative attitude; open and persistent defiance of authority
  • Noisy or boisterous actions; yelling, waving arms and fists; running, talking loudly, eating in areas where food and beverage are not permitted
  • Misuse of library property; defacing library materials, damaging furnishings, hacking into technological devices; theft of library or personal property
  • Laying on the floor, blocking access to areas, using furniture as it is unintended and rendering it unusable to others
  • Excessive use of staff time that detracts from their ability to perform library functions and/or assist others

Staff will report all emergencies to 911 or the Canton Village Police as appropriate; staff will inform the Director or designated person in charge immediately or as soon as practicable, and complete an incident report which will be kept on file in accordance with the library’s records retention policy.

Unattended Children

The library assumes no responsibility for the supervision and safety of unattended children. Preschool children shall be accompanied by an adult at all times. Caregivers are reminded that the Canton Free Library is a public building and therefore open to all people and a child’s safety should not be assumed.

Library staff assume no responsibility for unattended children at closing time and will not stay with unattended children nor offer transportation home. No unattended child is allowed, under any circumstances, to wait inside the building after closing.

If it becomes necessary to tell unattended children to leave, either for behavioral reasons or at the end of the library’s service day, staff will attempt to collect contact information from the child, allow the child to use the library’s telephone to contact a caregiver, or contact a caregiver directly as circumstances warrant. If an adult is unavailable to pick up the child, staff will inform the Youth Services Specialist, Director, and/or other person designated by the Director. At that time, staff will decide the safest plan of action in the child’s best interest, which may include contacting the village police department. 

Bequests and Gifts

The Canton Free Library welcomes bequests and gifts of cash, securities, and materials which are consistent with its mission. All gifts are considered unconditional and unrestricted unless specified otherwise in writing. Conditional or restricted gifts must be accepted by the Board of Trustees or conform to guidelines established by the Board. Unrestricted donated materials (books, art, decorative objects, etc.) may be sold and the proceeds used for the benefit of the library. However, before such a step is taken, an attempt will be made to contact and inform the donor. The Board reserves the right to reject materials which do not fit the purpose of the library and which are unable to be sold. Guidelines for specific situations follow:

Monetary Contributions

All monetary donations will be acknowledged and any specific desires of donors will be honored. A record of all memorial or honorary gifts will be maintained and materials purchased with such gifts will contain a gift plate naming the donor and the honoree. Acknowledgements will be sent to the donor and to the honoree or family of the deceased.

Unsolicited (not part of a specific fund-raising effort) and unrestricted monetary contributions of $1,000 or more will be added to the Endowment account. Unrestricted contributions of $500 to $999 will be added to the Barkley-Howe Reserve Fund. All others will be added to general operating funds and used at the discretion of the Director and the Budget and Finance Committee.

Bequests, Securities, and Annuities

Restricted bequests, etc. will be used as directed. Unrestricted bequests of $1,000 or more will be added to the Endowment while unrestricted bequests of $500 to $999 will be deposited in the Barkley-Howe Reserve Fund. Lesser amounts will be added to general operating funds and used at the discretion of the Director and the Budget and Finance Committee. All bequests will be suitably acknowledged and recognized.

Unrestricted bequests or gifts of securities. In consultation with all CFL investment managers, the Budget and Finance Committee will determine whether to sell immediately or retain unrestricted bequests or gifts of securities. If sold, distribution of monies realized should follow guidelines in the preceding paragraph.

Art, Furniture, and Decorative Objects

Gifts of art, furniture, and decorative objects are welcomed, but the library retains the right to de-select and sell such items if and when they are no longer useful.

Books and Other Materials for the Collection

See Item Donations Policy in the Collection Development Policy.


If any provision of this policy is determined to be invalid or unenforceable, all other provisions shall remain in full force and effect and said provision shall be reformed only to the extent necessary to make it enforceable.

Canton Free Library

Donor Agreement Form

I/we, ____________________________________________________, the undersigned, am/are the sole owner(s) / author(s) / executor(s) / administrator(s) / heir(s) and do hereby deliver and transfer to the Canton Free Library the items described below: (Please print clearly)

to wit:




To be used by the said Library as a part of its local history collection and reference for historians, both professional and amateur, with the right to quote from them, comment upon them and publish all or parts of the same. I/we relinquish any literary rights which I/we possess to the contents, unless limiting conditions are specifically stated as follows:




Items not retained by the Canton Free Library shall be:

  • Discarded by the Library
  • Returned to the donor or heirs
  • Sold to benefit the library
  • Other (Describe): ________________________________________________________


Dated: _______________, 20_____. Signature: ______________________________________

Printed Name: ___________________________________ 

Address: _______________________________________ 

Telephone Number: ______________________________

Email Address: __________________________________

For Staff Use Only: 

Received by: ________________________________________ Date: ______________________________________

Approved by the Canton Free Library Board of Trustees 2022-05-18