Book Donations

Plaistow Public Library gladly accepts donations of books (in hardcover and paperback), movies (on DVD), and music (on CD). All items not added to the Library's collection are offered for sale to patrons and the general community.

If you have a large number of items to donate (more than a regular-sized box), please contact the Library first to make arrangements.

The Library reserves the right to refuse donations of dated, damaged, and otherwise inappropriate materials.

Specifically, the Library does not accept:

  • Audio cassettes
  • Dirty or moldy books
  • Encyclopedias
  • Magazines
  • Textbooks
  • VHS tapes

The Library will issue, upon request, a receipt for the number of materials donated, but staff cannot appraise items.

Collection Development

The Library relies on a wide variety of criteria to guide its purchasing and deselection decisions related to books, audiobooks, movies, and the like. We explain these criteria in depth in the attached policy document.

This file also includes procedures for patrons to request reconsideration of a particular item in our collection.


Library Cards

Resident Cards

Any individual who resides in, teaches in, or owns property in Plaistow may obtain a library card simply by providing appropriate identification at the Library's front desk (proof of residency, property ownership, etc).

These cards are free-of-charge and may be renewed annually, provided that the cardholder continues to reside in, teach in, or own property in Plaistow.

To apply for a library card, visit the library in person with a valid ID and proof of residency.

You may use this card number to access all the digital content we provide (ebooks, e-audiobooks, music, online learning tools, research platforms, and more)


Non-Resident Cards

Any individual not eligible for a resident card may obtain a non-resident library card; for this, you pay a fee comparable to the annual tax amount that Plaistow residents pay in support of the Library. These cards currently cost $65 and remain valid for one year, entitling the bearer to all the same services and materials as resident cardholders.

If your card isn't working or if you are locked out of your account, just email or call us 382-6011 and we'll see what we can do to help. 

Patrons must present their library cards or valid ID in order to check out.

Overdue Materials

NOTE: Late fees have been temporarily suspended during the pandemic (effective March 17, 2020).

If a patron does not return an item to the Library by its due date, they will incur daily fines until the item is returned. Fines are capped at $10/item, but any patron owing $15 or more will have their borrowing privileges suspended.

Once an item is two weeks overdue, the Library will notify the patron by phone. Once an item is two months overdue, the Library will send the patron a bill for its replacement cost. If the overdue item is still not returned to the Library within a reasonable time, the patron will have their borrowing privileges suspended until they return or pay for the item.


Loan Periods and Fines

Most books may be borrowed for three weeks. Magazines may be borrowed for two weeks, and movies for one week.

When the Library is open, materials may be returned to a cart beside the front desk. A book drop is located at the Library's front entrance for the convenience of patrons who wish to return materials when the Library is closed.


Material Type

Loan Period

Fine Amount

Books, Audio Books, and Music

3 weeks



2 weeks


"Lucky Day" Books 1 week $0.25/day

Movies and Video Games

1 week









Lost Materials

A patron who loses, destroys, or has stolen from him/her any item from the library is liable for its replacement cost. The Library does not provide refunds for items that are found after payment: lost or destroyed items remain the property of the patron.

The Library may accept replacements in place of payment if a staff member provides prior approval and items meet the Library's quality standards. 

Patron Code of Conduct

Policy Statement
Adopted by the Plaistow Public Library Board of Trustees, May 12, 2015
These rules of conduct are intended to protect the rights, health and safety of Library patrons, staff, and volunteers, and to preserve and protect the Library’s materials, equipment, facilities, and grounds.
These and other Library rules and policies are further intended to ensure that the building and its resources are used for activities associated with the use of a public library, in particular those activities endorsed by the community of Plaistow through the elected Library Board of Trustees.
People shall respect the rights of others using the Library and shall not unnecessarily interfere with their ability to use the Library or with employees’ performance of their duties.
Patrons whose behavior demands constant staff attention and/ or which can reasonably be expected to disturb others may be removed from Library property, lose library privileges for a period of time, and/ or face prosecution for criminal offenses.

Regulations & Procedures
A.  All staff members are authorized to enforce observance of these and other Library rules and procedures in a fair and reasonable manner. This includes providing verbal and written warnings, explanations, and physical copies of Library rules and policies.
B.  Depending upon the seriousness of the violation, staff members may call the Police for assistance and/ or ask an individual to leave the premises immediately, either with or without a prior warning.
C.  A brief report of any incident involving a violation of this policy will be written and placed on file with the Director as soon as possible after its occurrence.
D.  The Director is authorized to impose a further suspension of library privileges when the severity or continued reoccurrence warrants such action.
E.  Any suspension by the Director, or removal of a visitor, and the reason(s) for such will be reported to the Board of Trustees and communicated promptly by registered mail to the visitor in question and, in the case of a child under the age of 18, to the parent or guardian as well.
F.  Individuals facing suspension of privileges longer than one week shall be offered a hearing in front of the Board of Trustees, who shall schedule a meeting as soon as is practical. The purpose of the hearing will be to consider all available evidence and to render an impartial decision on whether the offense(s) merit(s) the penalty imposed.


The following actions are examples of conduct not allowed on Library property that can be reasonably expected to disturb others; disrupt regular operations and activities; harm or endanger the Library’s property; and/ or threaten the rights, health and safety of Library patrons, staff, and volunteers. This list is not intended to be all-inclusive.

  1. Abusing, threatening or harassing staff, volunteers, or patrons, either verbally or physically (for example, swearing, stalking, prolonged staring, lurking, offensive touching, or performing lewd acts).

  2. Stealing, damaging, altering, or inappropriate use of Library property.

  3. Engaging in any activity in violation of Federal, State, local or other applicable law, or Library policy.

  4. To prevent theft of Library property, all bags and other articles are subject to inspection by staff. The Library reserves the right to limit the size and number of items brought into the building.

  5. Being under the influence of alcohol/ illegal drugs or selling, using, or possessing alcohol/ illegal drugs.

  6. Entering Library premises while on suspension for violations of the Code of Conduct.

  7. Horseplay, running, fighting or challenging to fight, pushing, shoving, or throwing things.

  8. Using scooters, roller-skates, bicycles or similar wheeled devices in the building.

  9. Creating disruptive noises such as loud talking, yelling, screaming, banging on computer keyboards, or using audible devices with or without headphones at a volume that disturbs others.

  10. Lying down or sleeping in the restrooms, on any floor, couch, table, or seat in the Library, or in such a manner as to block aisles, exits, or entrances.

  11. Bringing pets or animals, other than service animals necessary for disabilities, except as authorized by the Director.

  12. Photographing, filming, or recording other patrons without their consent.

  13. Soliciting, petitioning, canvassing, conducting surveys, or distributing written materials without express permission of the Library.

  14. Engaging in behavior or activities which impede access to or egress from Library property.

  15. Trespassing in nonpublic areas, being in the Library without permission of an authorized Library employee before or after Library operating hours, camping on Library grounds, or parking in non-designated areas.

  16. Loitering in areas designated for other classes of patrons in a manner that interferes with the intended use of those spaces (e.g., unaccompanied adults in the Children’s Area, children in the Adult areas).

  17. Using open flame or other burning/ heating elements.

  18. Consuming food or beverages in the Library, except at events sanctioned by the Library. Drinking from lidded beverages, away from public access computers, is allowed.

  19. Smoking, chewing, or other tobacco use.

  20. Littering, spitting, clipping nails, changing diapers in public areas, or other unhygienic actions.

  21. Using restrooms and toilets in ways and for purposes other than those for which they were intended (e.g., bathing or shampooing, shaving, doing laundry, changing clothes, placing foreign materials or excessive toilet paper in the toilets, clogging the toilet and failing to report this to staff, etc.)

  22. Entering the Library barefooted, bare-chested, with offensive body odor or personal hygiene, or being otherwise attired so as to constitute a nuisance to other persons or damage Library property (wet bathing suits, cleats, etc.)

  23. Leaving personal belongings unattended. The Library shall not be responsible for patrons’ belongings.
Renewing Materials

Library materials may be renewed online. To begin, access your account in our catalog. (Contact us if you don't know your username and password.)

Once logged in, check off the items that you'd like to renew, then click the appropriate button. Please note that most materials may not be renewed more than twice, and that renewals are generally not possible with new materials and materials with holds placed on them by other patrons.

Library materials may also be renewed in-person or by calling the Library at 382-6011.

Reserving Materials

Patrons may reserve any of the Library's materials, with the exception of "Lucky Day" books and reference materials. These reservations may be placed online, by phone at 382-6011, or in-person at the Library's front desk.

To place holds online, access your account in our catalog. (Contact us if you don't know your username and password.)

Search the catalog for the item(s) of interest, then click the blue "Place Hold" button on the right.

If the Library knows your e-mail address, you will receive an e-mail notifying you as soon as your item is available. (Otherwise, you will be notified by phone.) The Library will hold your item at the front desk for three business days. If you do not claim your item within this time, it will be put back on the shelf or offered to the next patron waiting for it.