Library Policies


The Alameda Free Library seeks to provide access to educational, informational and cultural resources to the community.  As part of that belief, the Library encourages the artistic and cultural interests of the community by providing a showcase for art by community and area artists. Space is provided for displays and exhibits of an educational, cultural, civic, charitable or recreational nature, not for advertising for commercial enterprises nor for exhibits designed to serve specific candidate, campaigns, or parties.  The Library is not, in providing space for art, establishing a public forum, and is not limited to merely imposing time, place and manner restrictions on the proposed items for display.  Additionally, the Library welcomes exhibits that relate to Library collections and resources, reflects the diversity of Alameda, attracts a broad audience, or connects to other exhibitions or programs in the community presented at or about the same time.

The Alameda Free Library has adopted the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and its numerous interpretations.  In accordance with this document, display and exhibit spaces at the Library are made available on an equitable basis, regardless of the belief or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.  Materials in an exhibit or display will not be excluded because of the origin, background or views of those contributing to the creation of the displays or exhibits.  Materials will not be prohibited or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

The Alameda Free Library endeavors to present a broad spectrum of opinion and viewpoints.  The Library does not endorse the beliefs or viewpoints of topics which may be the subject of exhibits or displays in the Library.  The Library Art Exhibit committee is responsible for the selection of Library art exhibits.  Special consideration will be given to works of art produced by local artists.

The Library Art Exhibit Committee shall be made up by:

  1. Library Director
  2. Library Exhibits Manager
  3. A member appointed by the Library Board
  4. A member appointed by the Library Board
  5. A member appointed by the Library Board

Persons appointed by the Library Board are Alameda Residents

The Alameda Free Library shall have the final decision on the arrangement of all exhibits and displays.  The Library reserves the right to reject any part of an exhibit or to change the manner of display.  Works that are fragile in nature or whose framing or display arrangement is of questionable durability may be rejected.

The Alameda Free Library is not responsible for any artwork that is lost, damaged, or stolen while on exhibit or display. Although reasonable precautions will be taken to protect materials, the artist assumes the risk of loss of, or damage to, the piece as it is on display. The Library will not be responsible for the reimbursement or replacement of lost, stolen or damaged material.

Artists are not to display prices next to their artwork during the duration of the exhibit.  The Library is NOT a sales venue; however, a price list for exhibited items will be made available at the Information Desk on the first floor.

The Alameda Free Library will not charge for the right to display artwork.

Adopted by the Alameda Free Library Board 02.14.07


It is our goal to have an atmosphere that is welcoming and comfortable, and safe for all as well as one that is conducive to the proper use of the Library. The public is expected to behave in a manner that is respectful of the Library's customers and staff, materials and equipment, and facilities and premises. A person who behaves otherwise will be required to leave the building. For the comfort and safety of Library customers, volunteers, and staff, and the protection of Library property, the following policy will be adhered to.

1. The Alameda Free Library will uphold all applicable laws and regulations in regard to public behavior.

2. Dangerous, destructive or illegal conduct, including but not limited to the following, will not be tolerated:

  • Possessing weapons and explosives is not allowed on Library property
  • Physically abusing or assaulting other customers or staff
  • Fighting or challenging to fight
  • Making violent and threatening statements
  • Engaging in or soliciting any sexual act
  • Possessing, consuming, or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs

Any customer displaying any of these behaviors will be instructed to leave the Library immediately. Subject to the Library Director’s Discretion, Police may be called and appropriate legal action may follow. In addition, based on the severity of the situation, a suspension of Library privileges for up to one year may be applied without advance warning or prior suspension.

3. Library customers shall be engaged in activities associated with the use of a public Library while in the building. Customers not engaged in reading, studying, using Library materials, or attending a class/program may be required to leave the building.

4. The following activities are not associated with the use of a public Library and are specifically prohibited:

  • Smoking
  • Sleeping
  • Open container beverages
  • Bringing food and/or drink into the Library; outside food may be consumed in Dewey’s Friends Café
  • Bringing animals into the Library, except for service animals
  • Abusing, misusing or vandalizing Library facilities, furnishings or equipment
  • Using harassing, insulting, offensive, loud, or abusive language
  • Rearranging or disarranging Library furnishings or materials
  • Damaging, mutilating, cutting pages from Library materials
  • Using rest rooms for washing clothes, bathing, or shaving
  • Bringing in bicycles, skateboards, in-line skates, etc. must be carried at all times
  • Entering areas posted "staff only"
  • Soliciting for money or other items, or selling any items
  • Soliciting or conducting surveys not authorized by the Library
  • Gambling and group activities which are disruptive to the Library environment
  • Noisy , boisterous, or disruptive activities
  • Unnecessary staring at or following another person about the Library with the intent to annoy that person
  • Disturbing or annoying anyone with loud and/or unreasonable noise, including but not limited to using electronic equipment or mobile telephones at a volume that disturbs others
  • Personally monopolizing Library space, seating, tables, or equipment to the exclusion of other customers or staff
  • Fraudulent use of another’s Library card and/or number for any purpose, including using another’s Library card to reserve or use Library computers
  • Refusal to follow reasonable direction from Library staff, including but not limited to leaving the Library during normal closing procedures or during an emergency evacuation

5. Maintain bodily hygiene that is not so offensive as to constitute a nuisance to other persons in the Library. Exuding pervasive odors, including pervasive fragrances caused by perfume or other scented products, which constitute a nuisance to other customers or staff. Shirts and shoes must be worn in the Library; bathing suits are prohibited.

6. Keep feet off chairs, tables and counters, and treat the collection, furnishings, facilities and equipment with care.

7. The Library is not responsible for lost, damaged or stolen personal property.

8. Adults are responsible for the conduct of minors in their charge and are required to monitor their behavior.

9. The Library is not responsible for the safety of minors left unattended.

10. Report criminal conduct or vandalism of any kind to staff immediately so the police can be called.

All bags and other articles are subject to inspection by Library staff or other authorized personnel. The Library reserves the right to limit the size and number of items brought into the Library.

Adopted by the Library Board on October 14, 1998 / Revised and adopted April 2011


Expulsion from Building/Suspension of Library Privileges

Failure to comply with the behavior policy will result in the offending customer(s) being asked to leave the Library and staff may call the police for noncompliance with this policy for behavior; continued noncompliance will result in suspension of Library privileges.

The Director delegates to Library supervisors, and by extension any Library staff member, the authority to request a customer leave the building. Customers misbehaving are generally given a warning and then asked to leave the facility. Particularly egregious behavior may warrant immediate expulsion from all Alameda Libraries. Customers asked to leave the facility for disciplinary reasons are at a minimum barred for the remainder of the day and/or evening.

A suspension may be one day, up to one year, depending on the conduct. The Director is authorized by the Alameda Free Library Board of Trustees to exclude from the privileges of the Library patrons who repeatedly violate the library policy.

Physical force will not be used by any Library personnel to remove a customer from the building. As appropriate, other Library staff on duty may accompany an employee when a customer is to be informed that s/he is requested to leave the building or is not permitted to take this action. If the customer resists and immediate removal is needed, the police will be contacted.

Adopted by the Library Board on October 14, 1998 / Revised and adopted April 2011


Borrowing Rules
When you sign your library card, you agree to follow the rules and regulations of the library.
The following rules apply to the borrowing of materials from the library.

1. You are responsible for all items borrowed on your card.

2. Books, magazines, and audio cassettes are loaned for 3 weeks and may be renewed once providing there are no holds placed on that title.

3. Books, audio cassettes and magazines may be renewed by telephone.

4. To replace a lost or stolen card, a fee of $2 will be charged.

5. Damaged barcodes are subject to a replacement cost of $0.50 each.

6. You will be charged a fine for each overdue item. You will not be charged for days the library is closed.

7. You may use your card at the Main library and all branches. You must have your library card with you to check out materials.

8. Library cards may be used to check out up to 10 magazines, 5 video titles, 5 audio titles, 5 DVDs, 2 Playaways and a reasonable number of books at any one time. However, there is a limit of 4 books per subject at the Main library and 4 books per subject from the children's collection and at the branches.


Purchase Request

If you would like the Library to purchase a title that isn't currently in our collection, please fill out this form and make certain to check "Purchase Request". Your request will be submitted to the collection development Librarian for that subject.                      


Interlibrary Loan Service
The Alameda Free Library can call upon a national network of lending libraries if a requested title is not available in our collection. The final decision on whether or not to lend an item is left to the discretion of the lending library, so acquisition of requested items is not guaranteed. Any fees imposed by the lending library are the responsibility of the Alameda customer. The Alameda customer is also responsible for any late, lost or damaged fees. To make an Interlibrrary Loan request you can complete this form, or contact a Librarian at any of our locations.

Large Print Books
Fiction and non-fiction books with easy-on-the-eyes typeface are available in the Main Library and the branches.

Loan Periods
You may borrow all items for three weeks. You may renew most items for three more weeks, unless another patron has placed it on reserve. Because of high demand, Videos and DVDs cannot be renewed.


You may renew items in person at any Alameda Free Library location, by telephone by calling (510) 523-7091, or online at Have your library card and the item to be renewed at hand when calling.

Special Services
Alameda Reads: Adult Literacy Program, (510) 865-2454
Specially trained volunteers provide one-on-one tutoring in reading and writing for English-speaking adults.

Outreach Service, (510) 747-7742
Upon request, the library will deliver books to patrons who are unable to visit the library or are in convalescent hospitals.


Intended Purpose and Managing Availability of Public Access Internet Computers

Internet access is provided as an additional research tool for library patrons. To help manage the availability of Internet computers for this purpose, chat groups, online games, word and data processing applications are not permitted. Library staff is authorized to manage Internet computer availability. Users are expected to comply when asked by Library staff to relinquish a computer.
To help maximize the availability and utility of the limited number of Internet computers, please observe the following policies, guidelines and procedures.


Procedures for Internet Computer Use
To log on to an Internet computer you will need to have your current Alameda Free Library card in hand. Internet computers are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Typically, time slots will be 60 minutes, but may be adjusted by staff to 30 minutes during peak use periods.
    (e.g. Sunday 1-5; Saturday 1-5; weekdays 3-5:30)
  • No more than two people at the computer. 
  • Prints cost 15 cents per page for black & white / 85 cents per page for color;
    please pick up and pay for your print job at the copier alcove.

Procedures may be slightly different at the two branch libraries, please call if you have specific questions.


Time Limits
In the interest of serving all our customers, the Library reserves the right to set time limits on any Internet computer.
Time limits are changeable and will be posted. Procedures regarding time limits and reservations may vary from branch to branch.
Users should contact their branch of choice for details.


Time on the Computer for Children
The Internet computer in the Children's Department is for the use of children, their caregivers and teachers. Use by children will take precedence over other users. In branches, staff may reserve their Internet computers for exclusive use by children during periods of the day throughout the week. These times will be posted. It is advisable to contact the branch you wish to use for the most current information about time limits and reservations.


Responsible and Courteous Use
Computers must be used in keeping with the Alameda Free Library's "Use of the Internet" and "Behavior in the Library" policies. All users of computers in the library are expected to use this resource in a responsible and courteous manner, consistent with this policy.


Internet users are asked not to gather around Internet computers when doing so may create physical impediment or an abnormal noise level affecting other occupants of the library. In the close quarters of the library, the computer screen is less private than is usual with typical library materials. Some courtesy safeguards for Internet users and other library occupants are:

  • Filtering software on the computers in the children's areas
  • People of all ages, backgrounds and sensibilities frequent the library. Be aware that others may inadvertently observe the computer monitor. Consider this when accessing potentially offensive information or images.
  • As with other resources of the library, respect the privacy of Internet users.

Assistance with Using the Internet Computers and with Research

For many staff, using the Internet is a new experience. Other staff have more experience. In all cases, staff will be glad to assist you in getting started on the Internet computers, whatever their level of experience. Please ask staff for information about local opportunities for more in-depth instruction on Internet or personal computer use.Librarians can be of particular assistance for reference searching on the Internet. Internet access expands the resources available to the researcher through the Library. However, the Internet is not always the best or most expedient medium for the information needed. Please ask a Librarian to help when in doubt about the best route to find the information you need.


Downloading Information from the Internet; Virus Security
To prevent computer viruses, you may not use your own computer software programs or diskettes on the Library Internet computers. Downloading information from the Internet is permitted, provided this is done on your personal USB memory device at the time of download. Although the Library uses a virus checker on the computers, this will not guarantee protection. Software downloaded from the Internet to your USB device may contain a virus.


Misuse of Computers
Misuse of an Internet computer may result in loss of computer privileges, loss of library privileges and possible prosecution. Using the computers for expressly prohibited applications, for commercial purposes, or for criminal or illegal purposes constitutes misuse. Misuse includes:

  • Tampering with settings, attempting to make unauthorized entry into other networks or systems,
  • Invading the privacy of others or sending harassing or threatening messages, failure to pay for prints,
  • Mishandling, damaging or jeopardizing the use of the search station and failure to comply when asked by staff to relinquish the computer, and any violation of the Alameda Free Library Policy for Use of Internet Computers.

Adopted by the Library Board on October 14, 1998

State Law protects the contents of library patron records.


Under this law, library employees are prohibited from sharing information about what a patron has checked out with anyone else, even parents and spouses.


Under this law, no one outside library staff, can find out what you are reading or viewing without your consent or a court order.


Under this law, we are not permitted to do any of the following:

  • Tell a parent what a child has checked out (even if a fine is owed on that material)
  • Give an item on hold to a husband, wife or parent, even when they have the library card that was used to hold the book
  • Provide access to library records to law enforcement without a search warrant.

As a library patron, you can permit other people to know what you have checked out or to pick up library holds for you, however, you must provide a signed note specifically allowing that person to have access to your library records.


Minor Patrons
The Library has the responsibility to protect each individual library user's right to confidentiality and privacy regardless of age. If a library cardholder is 16 years old or under, the parent or guardian who signed for the child’s card may be given specific information regarding that child's record.

  • If the parent or guardian is in possession of the child's card, they may be given any information in the child’s record.
  • If the child's card is not in the parent's or guardian's possession, the information provided will be limited to:          

       Fines/Fees owed  


If you like, we can provide you with a copy of the statute (Government Code Title 1, Division 7, Chapter 3.5, Sec. 6267).


Thank you for helping us to conform to this law regarding the privacy of library records.


PUBLIC RECORDS ACT (Protection of Library Records)

(Government Code Title 1, Division 7, Chapter 3.5)


Sec. 6267. Registration and circulation records of libraries supported by public funds.


All registration and circulation records of any library which is in whole or in part supported by public funds shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person, local agency, or state agency except as follows:


(a) By a person acting within the scope of his or her duties within the administration of the library.
(b) By a person authorized, in writing, by the individual to whom the records pertain, to inspect the records.
(c) By order of the appropriate superior court.


As used in this section, the term “registration records” includes any information which a library requires a patron to provide in order to become eligible to borrow books and other materials, and the term “circulation records” includes any information which identifies the patrons borrowing particular books and other material. This section shall not apply to statistical reports of registration and circulation nor to records of fines collected by the library.



The Reference Department of the Alameda Free Library provides proctoring services for written, open book examinations and certain online examinations. We are pleased to offer these services to distance learners as part of our commitment to the lifelong learning and continuing education needs of the community. Services are offered under the following guidelines:

  • Proctoring is only offered at the Main Library
  • The exam must be an open book exam 
  • Any professional librarian on duty at the time the student comes in may proctor the exam 
  • We can only proctor online exams on a limited basis.
    Students may use their personal laptops

The library will:

  • Receive a printed copy of the exam by U. S. mail, courier or email
  • Verify the student’s identification at the time of the test 
  • Provide a place near the Reference Desk to take the exam 
  • Record the time the student begins and finishes the exam 
  • Certify that the exam has been monitored under these conditions

The student is responsible for:

  • Contacting the library to arrange a time to take the exam
  • Providing a return envelope and postage for returning the exam

The library is unable to:

  • Accept exams by fax
  • Return exams by fax or email 
  • Return exams by FedEx, unless the student arranges for a pick up at the Library 
  • Monitor closed book exams 
  • Ensure a quiet testing area 
  • Check on student activity during the exam process 
  • Maintain time control over segments of a test 
  • Keep any exam left at the library longer than one month

To set up an appointment or for further information, please call the Reference Department at (510) 747-7713 during library open hours.


Fines for most overdue items from the Adult collection are twenty cents per item per open day. The maximum fine is $5 per item for books and other materials.

For Video cassettes and DVDs, the fine is $1 per title per open day.
The maximum fine is $10 per video.

Fines for items from the Children's collection are ten cents per item per open day.
The maximum fine is $3 per item.

You may place 52 free reserves in a calendar year.
Additional reserves will be charged $0.50 per item.


Library accounts are considered in "good standing" when any combination of fines, fees, and/or lost materials is less than $10.00.

Accounts are blocked from library privileges when any combination of fines, fees, and/or lost materials exceed $10.00; further, when a library account exceeds $25.00 in any combination of fines, fees, and/or lost materials a final notice of Unresolved Charges is sent to the card holder.  If no action is taken to resolve the account, the account is automatically referred to the library collection agency, Unique National Collections, to assist in the recovery of materials and resolution of fines & fees owed.


In keeping with its mission and with advances in information technology, the Library provides users with access to the Internet.
The Library is a forum for all points of view and adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights formulated by the American Library Association.

The Internet is a global electronic network that is vast, dynamic and unregulated. Because of this, information may not be accurate, current or complete. some information, commentary and graphical images may be offensive or disturbing for some. library customers are advised to exercise critical judgment when using information found on the Internet. The Alameda Free Library makes no warranty, expressed or implied, for the timeliness, accuracy or usefulness of information obtained via the Internet.

The Alameda Free Library supports parents and guardians in their efforts to guide their children's intellectual and social development. Parents are encouraged to review the guidelines for Internet use on the web site, Child Safety on the Information Highway and to discuss appropriate use with their children. The Library may provide filtering software on selected Internet stations that have been designated for use by children. Several companies produce and sell filtering software. These products attempt to screen out what may be offensive, especially to children, on the Internet. For more information about filtering software and how it works, ask a librarian at the Reference Desk. Even with the use of filtering software, however, the Library cannot guarantee that children will be protected from all offensive material. As with other resources in the Library, it is the sole right and responsibility of the parent or guardian to provide any monitoring or restriction of their own child's access to the Internet.

The Internet is not a secure medium and the privacy of electronic communication cannot be guaranteed.
Users are cautioned that ll transactions and communications are vulnerable to unauthorized access.

Users must comply with U.S. copyright law and all other applicable laws.

Adopted by the Library Board on October 14, 1998

The Main Library offers public meeting rooms for groups and for small study sessions. Small group study rooms can accommodate 4-6 persons are available, at no cost, on a same-day, first-come, first-served basis. The only exception is that participants in the Alameda Reads Literacy Program may sign up one day in advance. Sign-up and entry into these study rooms are handled at the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor. 

Rooms Available by Advance Reservation for Public Use:
Community Meeting Room A - occupancy 49
Community Meeting Room B - occupancy 62 (combined A & B occupancy 111)
Family Study Room - occupancy 12

All reservation requests must be made in writing. There is a nominal fee for room use.

Room Use Policies and Reservation Form
Meeting Room Use Policy

Group Priority and Fee Structure

Room Reservation Form

All forms downloadable in pdf format or you may pick up copies at the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor of the Main Library.


The study rooms are intended to be used primarily for tutoring and group study.
The rooms may be booked in person for two hours per day, on a first come, first served basis, for the next available room. Between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m., the room may only be booked for one hour.
This means that the room can be booked from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m., 2:30 p.m. -4 p.m., 3 p.m. - 4 p.m., etc.
Rooms booked for the last hour must be vacated 5 minutes before closing (4:55 p.m. and 7:55 p.m.)



Additional Policies

  • ID will be held while the room is in use. Acceptable forms of ID are a library card, California Driver’s License or ID, or a student ID.
  • A group may not be booked for multiple sessions under different names. 
  • After the scheduled time is up you may stay in the room longer if it has not been booked, although you may be asked to leave at any time after your scheduled booking. 
  • The room will be held for 10 minutes after the start time, then, if no one has shown up, the room may be given to another party. 
  • Food or beverages, other than bottled water, are not allowed. 
  • If you would like to use the white board, you must provide your own dry erase pens and erasers. 
  • The white board must be left clean at the end of each session.
  • Users are asked to adhere to the Library Behavior Policy while in the room.
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