(Frequently Asked Questions)
If you are unable to find an answer to your question here, or want to pose one that you think will be of general interest, e-mail your question to library@town.northborough.ma.us

Fines and Service Charges
Use the library online
New DVDs
Using Other Libraries

Donating Used Books
Who Can Use the Meeting Room?

Q. Why doesn’t your library charge fines? Wouldn’t that help the library?
A. Our Trustees in the 1970s went to a no-fine system so that people would not have a punitive image of the library. As a matter of practicality, the small amount of money collected does not warrant the amount of staff time to collect and report the funds. By state law, any money collected must be returned to the Town's general fund rather than to the library.
Q. If you don’t have fines, why did I have to pay one?
A. One of two things probably happened. One is that you actually paid a service charge, which is assessed when books are returned more than a month late (see below). That is different than paying a certain amount for each day something is overdue. The other possibility is that you owed money to another library for something returned late. Even if you never went to another library directly, if you requested an item we didn’t own, or placed a hold because our copy was checked out, the item would come from another library. Other libraries have overdue fines which we can collect. We collect these fines because otherwise people who owe fines to other libraries would return all their overdues to our library.
Q. Why do you have a service charge for late books? I thought you were the Northborough Free Library?
A. "Free” in this case is a historic term. Prior to the establishment of tax-supported public libraries, people had to pay an annual membership fee to belong to a library. Normal use of the library does not require payment. However, it is reasonable for the library to recoup its costs when someone has either lost or damaged a book, or kept it a month past the due date. To keep your use of the library "free,” be sure to return all borrowed items on time.
Q. Can I do some of my library transactions online?
A. Yes, you can do a number of things online with your library card. Read more about it under "Your Library Card."

Q. Do you have a list of the videos you own?
A. The list would be too long to maintain. If there’s a particular title you want, you can look it up by title in the catalog. Here’s a trick for finding our complete listing:
Go the library catalog. On the right side of the screen, find the box that says "Other Searches, " and click on the first heading, "Advanced Keyword."
On the next screen, go to the first empty box next to Any Field.
Type in two asterisks: **
Then go to the box that says "Material Type" and select the format you want -- for example, Video (DVD).
There are other boxes where you may choose a different language ( foreign films, for example), or search a different library.
In the box that says "Search and Sort," you can specify date, and the results will show the newest items first.
Go to the bottom of the screen and click on the "Submit" button.

Q. Can I use my C/W MARS card in other libraries?
A. Yes. Most of our neighboring libraries are members: Shrewsbury, Westboro, Southboro, Marlboro, Hudson, and Worcester. Any public library in Massachusetts that receives state aid must serve a patron from any other public library in Massachusetts that also receives state aid. Smaller town libraries (Boylston, Berlin) will need to make their own cards, so you should bring some identification. The same is true with libraries in another network, such as Framingham in the Minuteman Network. In these cases, your actual C/W MARS card won't work, but you should be able to get one of their cards.
Q. Can I return Northborough items at other libraries? Can I return other libraries' items to Northborough?
A. Yes to both questions, as long as the other library is in the central library region, as Northborough is.  Your item will be checked in that day.  However, if the item is from another region, we will send it to the appropriate library, but since our computer systems are not linked, there is no way to track the item.  You are responsible for the item until it reaches the owning library.
 The Regional Library Systems, through your state tax dollars, provides delivery service among libraries.  Items are sorted at a central location, so returning an item at a neighboring library does not necessarily mean it will reach the owning library the next day. This same delivery system brings the items that you request from other libraries.
Q. Are you accepting used books?
A. Donations are accepted anytime the library is open. Staff at the Check-out Desk show you where to leave them. Please do not put donations in our book drops!

The library accepts donations of books, DVDs, music, audiobooks, and recent textbooks.
We do not accept donations of board books, VHS, puzzles, games, encyclopedias, or old textbooks.

They are sorted by the Friends of the Library; most donated items go to the Friends of the Library for resale, and the rest go to a charitable organization.  One organization is Got Books, and there is a collection bin behind the Central One Credit Union on the corner of Main St. and Maple St. You can also call 978-664-6555 or go to http://www.GotBooks.com  Another organization the library has used is Hands Across the Water at http://www.surplusbooksforcharity.org
Q. Why do you allow certain organizations to meet at the library?
A. Our Meeting Room policy states under which conditions a group is allowed to use our Meeting Room.  See the policy under Meeting Rooms.  One group has as much right to use the space as another group.  Allowing a certain group to use the library does not necessarily mean the library, Town, staff, or trustees agree with its policies or points of view.  We can allow a political group to meet, for example, as long as an opposing political group has the same right to meet.  The group may not collect money at the meeting, and must make all meetings open to the public, which is the policy for any group meeting in the library.