NEW BEDFORD FREE PUBLIC Library Policy on Borrowing

A valid library card must be presented to borrow materials.

To apply for a library card, see the guidelines below:

  • Anyone may apply in person at the main library or branches for a library card with presentation of a valid photo identification and acceptable proof of address*.
  • Organizations must submit a list of individuals authorized to use the card along with their signatures. The director of the organization must sign the registration form.
  • Residents of group homes must present a letter of residency from the director of the home written on letterhead from the group home.
  • Children 17 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who must co-sign the registration form and present their own valid photo identification and acceptable proof of address*.

Card validation: A library card is valid for 3 years and subject to an address check every 3 years which requires presentation of a valid ID*.

Lost or stolen card: Replacement cards cost $1.00 and require presentation of a valid ID*.

*Acceptable Proof of Address includes but is not limited to:

Valid Massachusetts Driver’s License with current address

Valid Massachusetts State Identification Card with current address

An imprinted bank check or deposit slip

Rent receipt (confirming 30 day occupancy)

Utility bill dated within the last 30 days

Letter verifying residency and mailing address dated within the last 30 days from a social service provider, temporary employer that provides housing, or a short-term residence

***In the event an acceptable proof of address is not available, the library card will be mailed to the patron at the address provided. The card will be entered with a temporary status. Upon receipt of the card, the patron will need to return to the library with card in hand to have status updated.

If patrons give their library card to other individuals, it is assumed that they have been given the right to procure materials on that card.  Patron (owner of card) remains the party responsible for items not returned if they failed to notify the library that card was stolen.

Loan Periods

  • Print and audio materials may be borrowed for 2 weeks.
  • Video Recordings may be borrowed for 1 week unless otherwise specified.
  • Museum passes may be borrowed as specified for each museum.
  • Teachers may borrow items with a “Teacher’s card” up to 6 weeks. Use of the collection with a “Teacher’s card” is subject to specific rules. Contact Circulation Desk for more details**.
  • Reference material does not circulate

Loan Limits

  • Patrons may have a total of 35 items on their card.
  • Video Recordings are limited to 10 items.
  • Museum passes are limited to 1 per family.

Patrons are allowed 2 renewals either in person at the circulation desk or by telephone. Items may not be available for renewal when another patron has placed a “hold” on that particular item. Patrons may also place holds via the Web at with a valid library card and knowledge of their PIN **.

Patrons may reserve (place a hold) in person at the library by using the online catalog with a valid SAILS library card. They may also access the online catalog via the web at with a valid library card and knowledge of their PIN **.
Circulation staff will also place holds for patrons at the circulation desk or via the telephone.
**Contact Circulation Desk of the New Bedford main library for assistance with the needed information at 508- 991-6275.

Late Fees
For print and audio items, fines accrue at a rate of $.05 per day to a maximum fine of $2.00 per item.

For videos and DVDs, fines accrue at a rate of $.25 per day to the maximum of $5.00 per item.

For museum passes, fines accrue at a rate of $5.00 per day to the maximum of $25.00 per pass.

Patrons who have fines of $10.00 and over will be blocked. Borrowing privileges will be restored only when fines are paid.


Adopted by the Board of Library Trustees

May 26, 2015