Minuteman Library Network Privacy Policy


Privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association, and confidentiality exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about users and keeps that information private on their behalf. The Minuteman Library Network (MLN) and our member libraries recognize the importance of protecting the privacy and confidentiality of our users' registration, circulation, and electronic access information. Our commitment to privacy and confidentiality has deep roots not only in law but also in the ethics and practices of librarianship.

Personal Information We May Possess

We must obtain certain personal information about you in order to provide a library account.  If you are affiliated with our college libraries, we may receive personally identifiable information to create and update your library account from your college.  This information about library users is found in the following contexts:

User registration information:

This is the information, including names, home addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses, that is provided to the library when a library card is obtained by a user.  This information is retained for library business, and user accountability for checked out materials.  It is also retained to determine eligibility for resources limited to residents of a community.

Circulation information:

When library materials are borrowed through our system, the information collected by Minuteman is limited to what is believed necessary or useful to conduct library business. Personal information is gathered for the purpose of identification and accountability of library materials.

Electronic Access Information:

We may obtain data regarding users at the time they use a library card to gain access to electronic content (for which the State, the Minuteman Library Network or the individual library pays a subscription fee). MLN keeps no permanent record of sites visited by library users, the electronic databases accessed, or the searches performed by individual users.  While we may disclose information about use of our website in aggregate (such as server use statistics), we will not disclose to third parties any information that could be used to identify individuals or their use of MLN resources, except as required by law or appropriate law enforcement procedures.

Access to Information We Have About You

Any person is entitled to view his or her own library account information in person with positive identification in our libraries. The records of minors with their own cards are also considered to be private to those persons.

Minuteman Library Network General Policy of Nondisclosure

MLN will not publicly disclose personal information about library users or their borrowing history.  MLN will not sell, lease, or give users’ personal information or borrowing information to companies, governmental agencies, or individuals except as needed by the participating libraries or as required by federal and state law. We provide essential information to trusted partners who work on behalf of or with Minuteman; however, these companies do not have any independent right to share this information. These companies must demonstrate that they agree that end user data will not be retained or sold or otherwise distributed or disclosed.

Personal information of library users may be accessed by and used by a staff member of MLN or of a member library when the staff member is acting within the scope of his or her duties in the administration of the library.  While all member libraries are encouraged to develop and implement their own privacy policy, MLN assumes no liability for disclosure of library user personal information by any library staff acting within or outside the scope of his or her duties.

MLN or a member library may be required to provide a user’s personal information to a local, state or federal governmental entity pursuant to compulsory legal process.  While we will make every effort to respect the privacy of our users, if under a legal requirement to turn over data, such as a court order, subpoena or search warrant, we will comply with the law.

Minuteman Library Card Registration Policy


All who live, work, or study in Massachusetts are eligible to apply for a Minuteman library card, or have their current Massachusetts library card added to the Minuteman user database. A valid Minuteman library card allows borrowing privileges at all member libraries, though select resources and databases may be only available based on residency or college affiliation.

Minuteman Library Network has adopted the following policy to verify the credentials of patrons. The following are minimum standards required before creating a new patron record.

One Account per Person

Each user will be issued only one patron account in the Minuteman database. The exceptions are students or faculty of MLN academic institutions, who may have a card from their academic institution as well as from their public library.

Identification and Proof of Address Required

Before creating a new patron record, the individual must present the following:
Current, valid Massachusetts Driver’s license or Massachusetts State Identification Card with current address.

one document from Section 1 AND one document from Section 2 below:

1. Proof of identification –current or expired-- (must include name and photo)

  • Passport
  • Alien Resident Card
  • Government issued cards, such as Military ID
  • State issued photo ID including welfare, Medicaid or FID card
  • University or school ID
  • Senior/T.A.P. ID issued by the MBTA (added by Membership 01/18/2017)

2. Proof of current local address*  (must include applicant’s name)  

  • Utility bill or tax bill (dated within the last 60 days)
  • Lease agreement
  • Imprinted bank check or deposit slip
  • Official school schedule with applicant’s name and address typed on it
  • Official letter verifying residency and mailing address dated within last 30 days from a  social service provider, temporary employer that provides housing, or a short-term residence
  • Postcard mailed to applicant from the library
  • eBills

*a Post Office Box or business address is not sufficient – a current residential address is required.

If applicant is under 13 years old, parent or legal guardian must provide proof of identification and address. A child must be present for a parent or legal guardian to get them a library card. 

If applicant is between the ages of 13 and 17 and cannot meet the ID and address requirements, parent or guardian must provide proof of identification and address.  A teen must be present for a parent or legal guardian to get them a library card. 

Out-of-state Residents

Out-of-state Residents who meet the following requirements, may be issued a library card with sufficient identification:

  • Work in Massachusetts
  • Attend school in Massachusetts
  • Own property in Massachusetts
  • Are temporarily living in Massachusetts for more than 2 months        

Out of state residents must provide identification showing their home/permanent address. Property owners must provide verification such as tax bill, utility bill, etc for their Massachusetts property. Students must verify their status with school identification and provide their school address. Out-of-state residents working in Massachusetts must provide their work address. Patrons who are temporary residents (such as college students or au pairs) should be registered with permanent address in the secondary address field.

Minuteman Library Network Social Media Policy

The Minuteman Library Network (MLN) has established social media sites primarily to inform Minuteman Library users about programs, resources, and events, held at any of the Minuteman Library Network Member Libraries. Library social media sites include any online forum, site, web application, or account created and maintained by MLN or its agents, which permit users to communicate with others users through postings. They include but are not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. The MLN social media policy applies to all users of the MLN social media sites.

Users should have no expectation of privacy in postings on MLN sponsored social media sites. By using these sites, users consent to the MLN's right to access, monitor and read any postings on the sites. The full MLN privacy policy can be seen above at: https://www.minlib.net/policies#privacy-policy 
Third party websites also have their own privacy policies, which apply to all users of the Minuteman Library Network social sites.

The Minuteman Library Network  reserves the right to monitor content before it is posted on all of its social media sites and to remove any messages, tags or postings that it deems to be abusive, defamatory, in violation of copyright, or otherwise inappropriate for the service. 
The Minuteman Library Network does not act in place of or in the absence of a parent and is not responsible for enforcing any restrictions which a parent or guardian may place on a minor's use of social media sites.

Copyright and sharing 
Users will make every attempt to protect copyrighted or other intellectual property rights. Proper credit needs to be given to all referenced sources.

By posting on the MLNs social media sites, users give MLN permission to use their name, profile picture, and the content of any posting users make without compensation to them or liability on the part of the MLN. This permission ends when users delete their posting.

MLN does not mine content from its affiliated sites and groups. MLN may repost social media content where beneficial for the network. MLN may send outreach communications to its member libraries to post and share events on their own social media sites.

Minuteman may use its social media sites to inform library users of legislation being considered at the state or federal level.

The name Minuteman Library Network, Inc. is trademarked - Reg. No. 3,745,968 and it can only be used on official MLN social sites, forums and groups.

Affiliated Groups
MLN Central Site Staff has administrative privileges for those affiliated pages, accounts or posts, bearing MLN's logo or trademark. 

Adapted from policies prepared by Worcester Public Library and Berkshire Athenaeum Pittsfield's Public Library

Minuteman Library Network Digital Collection Policy

(approved 4/25/2012)

Policy Description/Details:

The Collection Development Policy for Digital Content for the Minuteman Library Network (MLN) is based on and reflects MLN's stated mission, vision, and goals. Digital content shall be selected by a Collection Development Committee, whose members, chosen from a representative cross section of member libraries, are appointed based on qualification by reason of education and training. The responsibility for the materials in the collection resides with the MLN Membership Committee.

Digital content shall be selected and retained on the basis of its value for the interest, education, information, and recreation of the people of the communities comprising the MLN. We recognize the challenges of purchasing for both public and academic libraries while fulfilling the needs of the diverse population that MLN serves. The Collection Development Committee shall consider all library user suggestions of titles and subjects to be included in the library collection, and purchase materials based on this policy.

The following criteria are taken into consideration in selecting materials for the collection:

  • Interest and demand –staff and patron requests, usage data, waiting lists
  • Suitability of subject, style, and reading level for intended audience
  • Reviews – in review journals, popular media
  • Best sellers and award winners
  • Effective match of content to medium
  • Budget considerations
  • Authoritativeness of author, issuing body, and/or publisher
  • Accuracy and comprehensiveness
  • Currency where important to the topic
  • Diversity of viewpoint
  • Format – availability and popularity

No material that meets MLN's selection criteria shall be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of the author or those contributing to its creation. Not all materials may be suitable for all members of the community.

Request for Reconsideration of Digital Content