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Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library Policies

Conduct in the Library

The library is a public place where everyone is welcome and we ask each person in the library to:

Be considerate of the needs of others by not engaging in disruptive behavior;
Use cell phones in the lobby and not within the library;
Provide responsible supervision as necessary for children and adults under their care;
Respect library materials and return them in the state in which they were issued;
Eat and drink only in designated areas and place wrappings in garbage cans;
Leave the newspapers and reading area chairs neat and tidy;
Respect library staff in their authority to implement these guidelines.

How to Join


Residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake and surrounding area are entitled to a library card at no charge. To apply for a card, please visit the library in person to complete a registration form and present staff with identification showing your name and current address. You will then need to present your card each time you wish to take out resources from the library.


Children under the age of 14 are encouraged to become avid readers and to have their own library cards. Parents/Caregivers must complete the application on behalf of the child. Children have the same borrowing privileges as adults except for DVDs, which can only be checked out on an adult card.

Children under the age of 14, who wish to use the Internet at the library, must have the permission of their parent or caregiver. Parents and caregivers are responsible for the child's use of the Internet and must therefore complete a permission form which ensures that the library's Internet Acceptable Use Guidelines are reviewed and understood.

Library staff are not responsible for monitoring any individual's use of the Internet. In terms of immediate assistance for patrons using Internet, E-mail or other software available on our public access terminals, staff are able to help users access the Internet. Users are expected to be knowledgeable enough to use the computers in the library on their own. Note that children under the age of 10 cannot be left unattended in the library.


Your library card entitles you to free access to:

circulating resources in the library's collection;
the Internet for a one-hour session on a first come, first served basis;
the children's computer with educational tools and reading programs for kids;
place holds on books that are already checked out;
place requests for items on interlibrary loan;
the library catalogue and your borrowing information from home via the website;
wireless access to the Internet from within the library;
many library programs and special events.

Borrowing Materials

Loan & Renewals
Item Type Loan Period Renewals
Express Collection 7 Days 0 Renewals
Adult Books 21 Days 2 Renewals
Kids Books 21 Days 2 Renewals
Movies 7 Days 1 Renewals
Audiobooks 21 Days 2 Renewals
Magazines 21 Days 2 Renewals
Music CDs 21 Days 2 Renewals
Item Type Fines Per Day Maximum Fines
Express Collection $1 $10.00
Adult Books $0.25 $10.00
Kids Books $0.25 $10.00
Movies $1.00 $10.00
Audiobooks $0.25 $10.00
Magazines $0.25 $10.00
Music CDs $0.25 $10.00

Adults may borrow up to 10 DVDs, at one visit. If there is some event causing a high demand in a particular subject area, we may limit borrowing to 3 items per topic for adults, and 5 items per topic for children doing homework assignments.

Returning Materials

Please bring your returns to the circulating counter in the library during library hours. When the library is closed, please use the Book Drop to the right of the front entrance of the library.

Note that if you are unable to come to the library the day your materials are due, you can call to renew them by phone, or by accessing your online library account. You may also return materials in the Book Drop until 9 am the following day and these materials will be checked in as of the day before. For example, if your book is due on Tuesday, July 11 and you arrive after closing that night, you can deposit the materials in the Book Drop up until the library opens at 9am the next morning. These materials will be checked in as returned on July 11.

Reciprocal Returns Between Libraries

If you have taken out a book from any other library in the Niagara Region, you may return it to the NOTL Public Library and we will send it back to the originating library. Please allow at least an extra week before the book is due to do so. The NOTL PL is not responsible for the book in transit or for ensuring the book arrives on time.

Please note: These are books you have borrowed yourself, these are not books we have borrowed for you through interlibrary loan.


Provided there is no one on a waiting list for an item you have checked out, an item can be renewed a maximum of two times. Exceptions: DVDs may be renewed once. You can do so in the following ways before the book is due:

Call us at 905 468-2023 and ask us to renew it for you;
Renew it yourself by accessing your online library account. Go to and click on the "Login to My Account" button in the top right hand corner of our web pages. Just ask staff during your next visit to the library.

Placing/Requesting Holds

To place a hold on any book:

Call us with the book title and ask to go on the hold list;
Access the library catalogue at the library or from home;
Just ask staff during your next visit to the library.

Interlibrary Loan Service

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library participates in the local, provincial and national resource sharing networks, which allow us to borrow materials for you, from other libraries across Canada.

If you cannot find a book in our collection, please ask staff to request a book on interlibrary loan for you. Please be prepared to wait 2-3 weeks for the book to arrive, and we will call you when it is in. Please note that most libraries do not loan their most current material (ie. materials purchased within the last year).

Lost/Stolen Library Cards

If you lose your card or it is stolen, please call us right away at 905 468-2023. Your library card is a valuable piece of personal information. One replacement card will be issued at no charge. Each replacement thereafter will cost $3.00.

Internet Acceptable Use Policy

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library provides public access to the Internet at no charge, in keeping with its role in providing equal access to information and resources to meet the needs of our community.

In support of intellectual freedom, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library has no control over the information accessed through the Internet at the library, and cannot be held responsible for its content. Many sites carry information you may find controversial, inappropriate or obscene. The Internet is a global entity with a highly diverse user population and library patrons use it at their own discretion, and acknowledge this when they agree to the Acceptable Use Policy which must be read and acknowledged at each computer before logging onto the Internet.

Users are reminded that not all sources on the Internet provide age-appropriate, accurate, complete or current information. Users should evaluate Internet sources as they would print publications. You may need to question the validity of the information you find.

The library cannot control the availability of information links, which can often change rapidly and unpredictably.

Users are advised that because security is technically difficult to achieve, electronic files and communication could become public.

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library staff and board assume no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from the use of its Internet stations or its wireless access.


Children under the age of 14 must have written permission from their parent/legal guardian to access the Internet at the library. The parent/legal guardian must come to the library to sign the permission form on behalf of their child. The signing of this form acknowledges agreement that as with other library materials, supervision or restriction of a child's access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian. The Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library assumes no responsibility for the use of the Internet by children.

Conditions and Terms of Internet Use in the Library

Violation of the library's Internet Use Policy may result in the loss of Internet privileges and/or removal from the library. Any library users involved in illegal activities will be subject to criminal prosecution.

Users May Not:

download files
make any attempt to damage or change the configuration or setup of computer equipment or software
use or install personal software or data of any media
send, receive or display text/graphics which may reasonably be construed as obscene
violate copyright law or software licensing agreements
attempt to modify or gain unauthorized access to files, data or passwords belonging to others
seek unauthorized access to any computer system
harass, slander or libel other users
engage in activity which is disruptive to other library users
There are information resources which are inappropriate to a library setting. Because the library is a public place, library staff has the authority to end an Internet session when such material displays on the screen.

Staff Assistance

Library staff will assist patrons with Internet use as time permits but cannot offer in-depth training or troubleshooting. Patrons who require extra help or training are encouraged to investigate formal education programs: the library does offer some basic level courses - please enquire.

Collection Development

The Collection Development Policy reflects the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library’s commitment to intellectual freedom and is one of the Library’s fundamental policy documents. This policy supports the Library’s mission to enrich the community by providing access to the world’s ideas and information and defines the philosophy that creates and shapes the Library’s unique collection. The practices that maintain the collection and the guidelines that help the collection respond to community needs while protecting the collection from societal and political pressures are also defined. This policy sets out the parameters for collection development, materials selection and is the basis for collection evaluation, planning and budgeting.

Self-Published Authors Policy

The Library receives numerous requests from out-of-area and local authors to add their self-published books or books they have published at their own expense.

Although this type of publishing is experiencing rapid growth, these books often do not meet the selection requirements, outlined in the Materials Selection Policy, for inclusion in the Library’s permanent collection. They typically have not received reviews in standard published sources and may not meet the criteria that the Library normally sets for inclusion in its collections.

The Library wishes to support local authors while maintaining the standards needed in permanent collections. The Library will establish a Local Authors shelf at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library.

Guidelines for placement on the shelf are as follows:
- Authors must be Niagara-on-the-Lake residents or the books must take place in Niagara-on-the-Lake or otherwise demonstrate a strong local interest.
- Each book must be approved by the Library Manager or Chief Librarian, before being accepted for placement.
- A submission form must be completed for each title donated.
- Books will be accepted as donations from the author or publisher. Materials that are donated become the property of Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library and as such cannot be returned to the donor. At the discretion of the

Local History Collection Policy

Due to its unique location, geography and history the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is the subject of much published material in many formats. This policy reflects the high value placed on the informational and research uses of the local history collection (Niagara Historical Research Collection or NHRC). It is also evidence of the Library’s acceptance of its responsibility in the area of preservation and conservation of local history material.

In order to preserve original materials and to make the NHRC as widely available to the public as possible, the Library will maintain and enhance the online Vita Collection through digitization, indexing, linking and otherwise making available the Library’s own collections and pertinent material from other sources.

The Library will acquire as far as it is possible and practical, and as funds allow, copies of all material relating to the municipality of Niagara-on-the-Lake if it is pertinent to the knowledge and understanding of the town. Materials to be collected include historic, cultural, civic, economic, religious, and any other form of expression both contemporary and historic.

Papers and records of local groups that more properly belong in an archive will not be added to the NHRC or stored for those groups.

The Library actively solicits donations of NHRC materials from the community, and may/will add digital copies to the NHRC without retaining the original.

Addition of materials by local creators on non-Niagara area subjects is done at the discretion of the Library Manager and Chief Librarian.

Local History material does not circulate and is not available for inter-library loan. These items must be used in –house at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library.