Library Policies

Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library Policies

Conduct in the Library

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

Be considerate of the needs of others by not engaging in disruptive behaviour;
Masks and/or face coverings are required in all common indoor library spaces
Physical distancing of two (2) metres must be adhered to at all times in common indoor library spaces
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 is not permitted in common indoor library spaces
Leave the newspapers and reading area chairs neat and tidy;
Respect library staff in their authority to implement these guidelines.

Proof of vaccination is required for all in-person library programming.

How to Join


Residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond are entitled to a library card at no charge. To apply for a card, please fill out the form available on our homepage and visit the library in person to 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.

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
Adult Books 21 Days 2 Renewals
Kids Books 21 Days 2 Renewals
Movies 7 Days 2 Renewals
Audiobooks 21 Days 2 Renewals
Magazines 7 Days 2 Renewals
Music CDs 21 Days 2 Renewals


We have discontinued fines at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library.

Fines and Replacement Fees

Borrowers with lost or long overdue materials will be billed the replacement cost of the item, plus a non-refundable $5.00 per item administration fee. 


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 intelligent shelves in the library foyer, or 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 LiNC: Libraries in Niagara Cooperative, you may return it to the NOTL Public Library and we will send it back to the originating library. If you drop off library materials belonging to any library outside of LiNC we are unable to return these items to the originating library, and you will likely accrue library fines.

Please note: Reciprocal returns 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.


The library offers programs to children, young adults, adults and families. Programming supports the library’s mission to enrich the community by encouraging and providing access to the world’s ideas and information. 

Proof of vaccination is required for all in-person library programming.

Children and Youth Services

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library recognizes that the needs of young people are important in their own right and that their intellectual growth, cultural appreciation and recreational activities should be fostered through quality
library service, delivered with consideration and respect.

Unattended Children

NOTL Public Library staff recognizes that children of all ages have a right to a welcoming, respectful,supportive and safe environment when they visit the library.

The library expects parents, caregivers and teachers to:
a) not leave children requiring supervision unattended in or about library premises
b) monitor the use of services and collections by children under their care
c) be responsible for borrowed materials and fines incurred by children under 14 in their care
d) be responsible for the appropriate behaviour of children under their care

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.

Users will be respectful of others when viewing and listening to internet content and will not engage in activity which is disruptive or offensive to other library users. Use of the public network for illegal, actionable or criminal purposes or to seek access to unauthorized areas is prohibited. Illegal use will be reported to the police. Users of the public network may not violate or circumvent copyright and other intellectual property rights. User-supplied software and/or files shall not be installed on the library’s computers, and users may not modify or reconfigure software installed on the library’s computers or network.

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.

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. Users who deliberately violate the rules may have their internet and/or library privileges suspended.


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.

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.


The Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library recognizes a user’s choice of print and electronic materials is a private matter. The library will therefore make every reasonable effort to ensure personal information about its users and their use of library materials, services and programs remains confidential.

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.

Philosophy of the Collection

The rate of circulation, number of customer purchase requests and the number of holds on items are closely monitored, triggering the purchase of new items and additional copies of high demand items.

The Library upholds the right of the individual to access information, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox or unacceptable to others. The presence of an item in the library does not indicate an endorsement of its content.

Materials for children and teenagers are intended to broaden their vision, support recreational reading, encourage and facilitate reading skills, supplement their educational needs, stimulate and widen their interests, lead to recognition and appreciation of literature and reflect the diversity of the community. The reading and viewing activity is ultimately the responsibility of parents, who guide and oversee their own child’s development.

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 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.

Request for Reconsideration of Library Material

A resident expressing a concern about any item in the collections will be directed to the senior staff person on duty. If after discussing the matter, the resident wishes to request that the item be reconsidered, he/she will be given a copy of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library’s Collection Development Policy with the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form. The Chief Librarian will review the matter to ensure all pertinent information is to hand to support or override the recommendation of staff.


The NOTL Public Library welcomes and encourages contributions from individuals, groups, foundations and businesses for the purpose of enhancing and enriching collections, programs and services.

General Gift Acceptance

The library accepts the following types of contributions:
a) books, manuscripts and other printed material
b) audio visual material
c) art and photographic works of archival significance
d) material of significance for local history and genealogy
e) equipment
f) toys
g) cash
h) other in-kind gifts or services
i) property of significant value, such as real estate
j) transfers of securities
k) planned gifts such as bequests or gifts of life insurance


The library respects a donor’s right to make an anonymous gift. Receipts will be issued in accordance with the library’s charitable status for monetary contributions of $20.00 or more.

From time to time the library will offer the opportunity for significant philanthropic investment in the library infrastructure to ensure the sustainability of excellent library service in the community. The library board has the authority to recognize significant contributions by naming library services or facilities in honour of its benefactors.

Corporate logos are not permitted and will not be incorporated into signage or plaques associated with donor recognition.

Sponsorships & Partnerships

To fulfill its mission, the NOTL Public Library welcomes a broad base of support from various sources including for-profit businesses.

The library negotiates partnerships with, and accepts support from, the business community in ways that will benefit and recognize the supporting companies while enabling the library to better achieve its mission without compromising its principles.

The library does not accept any support that implies or requires endorsements of products.