Art collection loan policy



A loan is the temporary physical transfer of material without transfer of ownership.  The purpose of the New Bedford Free Public Library’s loan policy is to support the availability and dissemination of Special Collections materials in a manner consistent with the Library’s stewardship responsibilities for this material.

I.Outgoing Loans

A. Lending of art work:


  1. Works of art loaned by the New Bedford Free Public Library are made for purposes of exhibit, research and public education.
  2. Loans are only made to other museums, non-profit educational or cultural institutions or government agencies that are open to the public on a regular basis.
  3. Loans are only made to those institutions whose facilities offer adequate assurance for the physical well-being and security of the requested object. Requests must be weighed against (1) the condition of the object requested; (2) the risks of travel and temporary domicile; (3) the merits of the loan in making a significant contribution to knowledge.
  4. Loans are only made to institutions employing staff able to handle, exhibit and care for the loaned material according to professional museum standards.
  5. Loans are not made to individuals (except for purposes of professional conservation treatment or specialized photography/digitization), private corporations, clubs, committees, offices or similar organizations or to institutions unable to meet loan guidelines set by the American Alliance of Museums.
  6. Loans are not made for commercial purposes.
  7. Short term exhibit loans for an afternoon, day or weekend will not be made.
  8. For security and preservation reasons, loans of original artwork in the special collections will not be made to City Hall for use in offices, meeting rooms, hallways or the City Council Chambers. Loan of non-special collections property (which does not fall under the scope of this loan policy and does not require approval by the Board of Library Trustees) is permitted.
  9. Loan of original artwork in the special collections to the office of the Mayor of New Bedford may be made at the discretion of the Board of Library Trustees, and is limited to no more than two (2) oil paintings or black and white prints that are valued at under $7000 total. The office of the Mayor will make good faith attempts to allow access to any Library art work on loan when requested by researchers and visitors.
  10. A fee of $150.00 per object will be charged to the accredited borrowing institution. This fee may be waived if it presents a hardship to the lending institution that in itself would jeopardize the loan.
  11. Final responsibility for the approval of loans from the collection must remain with the Board of Library Trustees, acting on the recommendation and advice of the director.
  12. Short term loans to institutions or individuals for purposes of conservation treatment, scientific analysis, research, photography, digitization or other type of professional service will be documented with a temporary custody receipt form signed by both parties. Such loans are made at the discretion of Library staff and do not require the approval of the board of trustees.

B. Terms for loan of special collections materials for exhibitions:


  1. Loan requests must be made in writing a minimum of two months in advance of the start of the loan, and include information on the purpose of the loan; name(s) or description of the object(s) requested; the duration of the proposed loan (from the date when objects are to leave the library through the date they are returned); and where and under whose responsibility the library collections will be exhibited while on loan.
  2. The borrowing institution is required to submit an American Alliance of Museums Standard Facilities Report for review, outlining staffing, security, fire protection and environmental controls of the facility and specific area where the library object(s) will be exhibited.
  3. The borrower is responsible for packing, transportation, insurance, and all other factors of transporting the loan, unless otherwise stated. All packing and carrying charges are borne by the borrower.  Handling, packing and installation of materials are to be carried out by professionally trained personnel.  The borrower is responsible for returning the loan at the time stated.
  4. The object(s) will be insured portal to portal by the borrower at the valuation placed upon it by a qualified appraiser and approved by the Board of Library Trustees. Materials are to be insured against theft, fire, water or other damage while outside the New Bedford Free Public Library.  The New Bedford Free Public Library requires a certificate of insurance from the borrowing institution.
  5. It is understood that the object(s) in the loan will remain in the condition received and will not be repaired, restored, cleaned, or altered in any way without the permission of the New Bedford Free Public Library. The condition of the object(s) is understood to be as stated in the Library’s loan agreement.
  6. All damage to the object(s) at any point in the loan from the out date until returned will be reported to the New Bedford Free Public Library immediately.
  7. The object(s) may not be lent to a third party without the advance approval of the New Bedford Free Public Library.
  8. In general, loans will not exceed one year in duration. Requests for extensions may be made and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  9. The object(s) may be photographed only with permission of the Library. The borrower agrees that photographs taken of the loan will be used only for the purpose stated on the loan form.  The Library will receive a copy of all photographs for record purposes.  All publications of photographs of items in the loan will bear the credit line “Courtesy of the Trustees of the New Bedford Free Public Library.”
  10. The Library may recall the loan at any time during the loan period. Conditions for removal of a loan may include (but are not limited to): Deterioration of the loaned object(s); threat to security of the loaned object(s); borrower fails to adhere to the loan conditions stated on the loan agreement form.
  11. Failure to follow the Library’s loan policies will jeopardize future loan requests from the borrowing institution.

II. Incoming Loans

The New Bedford Free Public Library accepts loans for exhibit purposes.

A. Loans from other institutions:


  1. All requests for loans must be made in writing by the Library director.
  2. When an exhibit loan has been approved, originals or copies of the loan agreement, releases, or other written agreements are given to the curator of art, who, in consultation with the lending institution, oversees arrangements for insurance, shipping, unpacking and repacking.
  3. A condition report will be completed when the object(s) are unpacked at the Library and again when they are packed for return to the lending institution.
  4. The Library is obligated to abide with all conditions set by the lending institution.

B. Permanent or indefinite loans:


  1. The Library no longer accepts permanent or indefinite loans (defined as incoming loans for which no expiration date is specified) into its art collection. Permanent loans from individuals who retain ownership of the object(s) obligate the library to protect and preserve these objects for the owner, which is not the Library’s purpose.
  2. The Library currently has 8 works of art on loan or deposit, the majority of which have been here for over 90 years. To resolve unclaimed or abandoned loan issues, the Library will follow the procedures set forth in Section 1, Chapter 200b of Massachusetts Act 2402, “An Act Relative to the Disposition of Museum Property.”



Adopted by the Board of Library Trustees

September 17, 2015