Art Exhibit Policy

The Cary Memorial Library offers gallery spaces to community artists (suitable for displaying two-dimensional art): 

  • Piper Gallery (on the Main Level)
  • Walter S. Pierce Gallery (in the Lower Lobby)
    • Primarily features K-12 student artwork starting in November 2022.
  • Meeting Room Gallery (on the Lower Level)
    • For special exhibits or pieces from permanent collection.

The Library also offers two display cases (suitable for displaying three-dimensional art):

  • Sophia Ho Case (near Mass Ave Entrance)
  • Mass. Ave Display Cases (in the Commons area)

The Lexington Community Center offers one gallery space to community artists (suitable for displaying two-dimensional art):

  • 2nd Floor Gallery

There are multiple display cases at the Community Center, some of which are reserved for use by the Center. The cases that are available to artists are:

  • Case #1: 33" wide x 52" high x 32" deep (glass on both sides, art will be seen from the front and back)
  • Case #2: 33" wide x 52" high x 32" deep (glass on both sides, art will be seen from the front and back)
  • Case #3: 33" wide x 52" high x 32" deep (glass on both sides, art will be seen from the front and back)
  • Case #6: 31" wide x 64" high x 12" deep (glass on front only)
  • Case #7: 43" wide x 64" high x 12" deep (glass on front only)
  • Case #8: 60" wide x 64" high x 12" deep (glass on front only)
Artists may request multiple cases.

Selection and Scheduling of Exhibits

There is an annual selection process for artists wishing to show in one of the Town’s public gallery spaces.

  • January – Artists are solicited to exhibit at the library.
  • April – Applications are due by the end of April.
  • May – Artists are selected for exhibiting for the next exhibition year (July - June).

Selection Criteria

Exhibit space is made available to anyone, but, due to high demand, priority will be given to Lexington residents, and subject to such additional criteria. Normally no artist will be accepted for exhibition more often than once every two years.  Artists are asked to indicate which month(s) they prefer, and which gallery assignments they will accept. The schedule and location of exhibits will be managed by the Library’s Programming Team. In some cases, gallery spaces may be subdivided to accommodate more than one art exhibit at a time, or combined to create a larger venue. The Library and the Community Center reserve the right to earmark gallery spaces for departmental exhibits and displays.

Exhibition Logistics

Art exhibits are scheduled as two-month increments.  Artists must be prepared to hang their exhibits within the first two days of the month assigned. All artwork included in the exhibit must remain hanging for the duration of the show (unless other arrangements are agreed upon by both parties).

All two-dimensional gallery spaces utilize a special hanging system for artwork.  Works must be framed with a wire across the back to accommodate this system.  No other method of hanging (tape, glue, tacks, nails, etc.) may be used.  Artists (or their representatives) must be prepared to hang their own work with minimal assistance from Library or Community Center staff.  If stools or step-ladders are required, artists must provide their own or request one in advance.

The artist may produce a sign, artist’s biography, and brief description of the exhibit for display.  The artist is also responsible for producing labels for each art piece.  The Library/Community Center will provide hooks, painter's tape, and a hanging system.

The Library and Community Center are public buildings serving people of all ages. We ask that artists ensure that pieces are “family friendly.” Questions about content will be clarified during the application process. A member of the Library or Community Center Staff must approve the exhibit after it is hung, and may require changes in layout for appearance or safety considerations. A complete list of the all the artworks contained in the exhibit must be left with the Library or Community Center Staff at the time the exhibit is installed.

Exhibits must be removed no later than the last day of the month. The Library and Community Center have no space to store any artwork. Artwork must be removed from the buildings immediately after the exhibit is dismantled.


The Town of Lexington does not hold insurance for artwork on exhibit and is not responsible for loss of or damage to any of the artists’ work.


The exhibitor agrees to indemnify and hold harmless, the Town of Lexington, the Cary Library, and the Lexington Community Center against any theft, damage, or liability as a result of the use of the exhibit space.


The library features exhibits on the website and newsletter. Artists may submit their own publicity to the press. Artists may create and distribute their own postcards or invitations to receptions.   

Artist's Reception

If the artist wishes to host a reception, they may contact Meeting spaces at the Library and Community Center book quickly – we cannot guarantee space will be available to all artists.

Responsibility for signage, refreshments, set up, and clean up of a reception rests with the artist. Library and Community Center staff are not available for assistance with receptions. No alcohol may be served at artist receptions.

Sale of Artwork

The Library and Community Center will not engage in selling or negotiating for the sale of artwork on behalf of the artist; however, business cards, price lists, or contact information for the artist may be left in the gallery. The Library and Community Center receive no commission for any artwork sold.

Banners & Signage on Library Grounds

Thanks in part to its location in the Town Center, the Cary Memorial Library receives frequent requests to display signage or banners on the library’s building and grounds. In order to maintain a welcoming environment for all and out of respect for our historic location, the Library Board of Trustees generally allows only library or library affiliate (Cary Library Foundation or Friends of Cary Library) programs to be advertised on the library property.

Exceptions may be made for programs sponsored by Town departments/committees or for other community organizations when the library is an active partner/sponsor for the program.

This policy applies to banners, yard signs, sandwich boards, and the Library’s Massachusetts Avenue Kiosk. Signs placed without the explicit permission of the Library will be removed.

Related policies:

Policy approved by Library Board of Trustees – 5/5/21

Bulletin Boards and Materials Distribution Policy

General Principles & Purpose

Cary Memorial Library provides a limited amount of bulletin board space in the library for individuals and groups in the community to display civic, cultural, and educational information and announce events and services that are of general and current interest. These types of materials are different from the library’s collection of print and non-print materials and are not selected by library staff. Display of events or information does not imply library endorsement.

Public Bulletin Boards

The library provides bulletin boards in the outer front lobby to be used by members of the public, including businesses, organizations, and private individuals, to post items of general interest to others. Flyers from upcoming events and business cards are examples of appropriate items.

The library does not accept responsibility for this material, and reserves the right to dispose of any material left in the outer lobby at any time. Anything posted on walls, doors, or windows will be removed.

Due to space limitations, preference will be given to notices about events in Lexington and surrounding communities surrounding communities (Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Burlington, Concord, Lincoln, Waltham, Winchester and Woburn).  Small notices under 8.5” x 11” are encouraged to help maximize this community resource. One copy, dated, may be posted for an event or announcement. Notices posted for longer than one month are subject to removal. The library cannot accept responsibility for the preservation or protection of materials posted. Once notices are removed, they are discarded.

Library Bulletin Boards & Distribution of Flyers

Materials for all bulletin boards and materials distribution areas inside the library proper are posted and removed by library staff. These bulletin boards and materials distribution areas are reserved for non-commercial notices that are civic in nature. Community calendars, information from local non-profits, and government information are examples of appropriate items.

These notices, flyers, and brochures should be brought to the Circulation Desk. Due to space limitations, preference will be given to notices about events in Lexington. Small notices are encouraged and oversized posters may be rejected. One copy, dated, may be posted on a bulletin board for an event and may be removed by library staff after one month. The library cannot accept responsibility for the preservation or protection of materials posted or distributed. Once notices are removed, they are discarded.

For all bulletin boards and materials distribution areas in the library, materials should be appropriate for all ages.

Policy approved by Library Board of Trustees – 10/17/2012
Last updated: 4/4/2019

Children's Room Rare Book Use Policy

Mission: To provide access to a sampling of books representing the history of children’s literature and illustration. Books added to the collection are chosen based upon its impact on the field of children’s literature, the historical value of text or illustrations, and the book’s uniqueness rather than monetary value or rarity.

  1. The Cary Memorial Library Children’s Rare Books collection is accessible to all patrons during regular library hours.
  2. Children under the age of eleven may use the Rare Books collection only with an adult present. 
  3. Books in the Children’s Rare Book collection may only be examined in the Children’s Room at a location designated by Children’s Room staff. 
  4. Patrons are required to leave a driver’s license or library card with the Children’s staff while examining books from this collection.
  5. Only two books from the collection may be requested/viewed at one time by a single user.
  6. In order to protect the materials, books in this collection may not be photocopied, or scanned.
  7. Patrons wishing to take notes while using a rare book may use only pencils.
  8. Food, drinks (including covered beverages), and chewing gum are not permitted while using the collection.
  9. Handle rare materials gently and use discretion.  Turn pages slowly and carefully and use care when unfolding and re-folding inserts.  Use care with books that are brittle; some bindings cannot be opened completely without damaging the item
  10. Staff will inspect the books prior to use and again upon return. Patrons will be responsible for any damage to a book while in their possession.

Patrons who wish to examine books in this collection will be given a copy of this policy.

Policy approved by the Board of Library Trustees – 6/10/14

Children's Use of the Library Policy

The Cary Memorial Library is a warm and inviting place for children to develop a love of books, reading, and libraries. The Children’s Room contains a wide range of materials that are selected for children through grade 6. The library reminds parents that responsibility for a child’s use of library materials, regardless of format or content, lies with the parent or guardian, not the library.

While the Library staff strive to create a welcoming and comfortable place for children, it is important to remember that the library is a public building, and may not always be a safe place for unaccompanied children. 

To help provide for the well-being of children using the Library, the following policies have been established:

Use of the Children’s Room:

Seating in the Children’s Room is reserved for children in grades 5 and below and their caregivers. 

Unattended Adults in the Children’s Room/Children’s Programs:

  • Adults are permitted in the Children’s Room when accompanied by a youth or if the adult is actively using the collection or space in a way deemed appropriate by the staff.
  • Unattended adults are not permitted in youth programs except with approval from the Youth Services staff.
  • Unaccompanied adults may be asked to use other areas of the library.   

Unattended Children Policy:

Parents/caregivers are responsible for the safety and well-being of their children on Library property. Here are the guidelines for leaving your child unattended in the library for short periods of time:

  • Children under the age of 4 must be directly supervised (“within sight”) of a responsible caregiver. 
    • An active and engaged caregiver of at least 12 years of age must be in the immediate vicinity and in visual contact with the child at all times. 
    • Caregivers must attend programs with their children.
    • Non-custodial caregivers should have emergency contact information for parents/guardians.
  • Children between the ages of 4 and 8 must be closely supervised (within the same room or area of the library) by a responsible caregiver.
    • An active and engaged caregiver of at least 12 years of age must be in the immediate vicinity and in visual contact with the child at all times. 
    • Caregivers must remain in the building when their children are attending programs.
    • Non-custodial caregivers should have emergency contact information for parents/guardians.
  • Children age 9 or older may use the library unattended.
    • Children must be mature enough to follow the library’s Rules of Behavior Policy. Consequences for violating this policy may include being asked to leave the library. If a child is unable to leave the library without an adult, they should not be left unattended in the library.
    • Unattended children must have an emergency phone number with them when using the library unattended. This is of particular concern for an emergency closure of the library.

Unattended children should be picked up at least 5 minutes prior to the Library’s closure.  At closing, if a child under the age of 12 remains, two library staff will wait with the child outside the Library.  If a parent/guardian cannot be reached or does not arrive within 15 minutes of the Library’s closing, the Lexington Police will be contacted to take custody of the child.

Library staff are not allowed to transport any child to any location.

Your Child’s Library Card

Per state law, a child’s library card is granted full privacy rights.  Parents who choose to allow their child to obtain their own library card should be aware of the limitations of what library staff are allowed to reveal to them about the child’s card.  For more information, please review our handout for parents “Your Child’s Library Card”.

Policy approved by the Library Board of Trustees – 11/6/19
Updated – 3/1/23

Collection Development

General Principles and Purpose

The materials collection, one of Cary Memorial Library’s major assets, is developed and managed to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of library patrons of all ages in the Town of Lexington.  This policy is meant both to guide librarians and to inform the public about the principles upon which selection and retention decisions are made.

The library endorses the principles of intellectual freedom as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights and contained within the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements as put forth by the American Library Association. The library provides materials to support each individual’s journey, and does not place a value on one customer’s needs or preferences over another’s.

Library staff members develop and maintain a patron-focused collection by anticipating and responding to local user needs and interests. Conversations with library users about materials in the collection are welcome, and provide valuable feedback about the collection.

The materials budget allocation is based on multiple factors including user demand, cost of materials, durability, publishing trends, changes in the information marketplaces, and overall collection balance. Library staff use reference resources, professional judgment, and experience to select these materials. The library collection includes popular and in-demand materials, such as best-sellers, large print books, audiovisual materials, business resources, world language materials, medical and health guides, school and career information, and titles of interest to children and teenagers.  In addition, the library preserves and makes available a collection of texts, newspapers, maps, photographs, and documents pertaining to the history of Lexington, MA.

The library is currently collecting in multiple formats, including:

  • Print - hardcovers, paperbacks, magazines, and newspapers
  • Audiovisual materials – CDs, DVDs, “Play-aways”
  • Microform – microfilm
  • Digital – ebooks and audiobooks, streaming media platforms, online databases, digital historical archives, and the library’s website and social media accounts
  • Special Collections:
    • Lexington Author Collection - Cary Library maintains a special collection of works by Lexington authors.  The library strives to include at least one representative work of every Lexington author in our collection. Space, staff time, and budget restrict our ability to collect more comprehensively. Gifts of titles by Lexington authors are greatly appreciated.
    • Library of Things - The Library of Things is a collection of non-traditional library items with the purpose of providing diverse opportunities for learning and engagement.  A Library of Things Collection Development and Circulation Policy as well as Library of Things Guidelines for Borrowing and Use [PDF] are available.
    • Local History Collection – Cary Library collects, preserves and makes available to residents, researchers and the general public materials that document the history of Lexington. Priorities for materials selection and retention are: (1) Materials about Lexington's history, families, buildings, events, organizations, individuals, etc.; (2) Materials about communities with geographic or topical connections to Lexington; (3) Materials about other Massachusetts communities; (4) Materials about New England. Cary Library does not accept donations of archival records or personal papers of organizations or individuals, or donations of non-print materials (e.g., photographs, slides, objects, art, and scrapbooks).
    • World Language Collections – Lexington is a diverse community and the library is committed to growing and maintaining World Language collections that meet the needs and interests of local residents. Because the library staff does not include native speakers of all the languages we collect, community volunteers who are fluent in those languages may be consulted for help in selecting and evaluating World Language materials. Guidelines for the World Language Collections are available.

The library provides free, open, and equitable access to library collections for all users.  The library neither encourages nor discourages any particular viewpoint.  Materials will not be excluded because of the race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political or social views of the author. Selection of materials by the library does not constitute endorsement of the content or of the views expressed in those materials. 

Not all library materials may be suitable for all members of the community.  Responsibility for a child’s use of library materials, regardless of format or content, lies with the parent or guardian, not with the library.

Responsibility for Selection

Materials are selected by the library staff, based on the criteria outlined in this policy. Designated staff are responsible for specific areas of the collection.  The responsibility for selection and retention ultimately rests with the Library Director, operating within the framework of this policy as voted by the library’s Board of Trustees.

Selection Guidelines

Materials selection is a critical and interpretive process.  Reviews are the principal tool used in the selection of library materials and electronic resources.  Staff members selecting library materials and electronic resources also consult bibliographic publications, publisher and vendor advertising and demonstrations, popular demand, and requests by library users. All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are evaluated using guidelines including:

  • Public demand and anticipated demand
  • Attention of critics and reviewers, award winners, or inclusion in bibliographies
  • Clarity, accuracy, and technical quality of presentation
  • Reputation or qualifications of the author, creator, or publisher
  • Contribution to the diversity of the collection
  • Suitability and durability of format
  • Cost and availability of materials through municipal procurement process
  • Condition of material (in the case of donations)
  • Availability of catalog records (for World Language materials)
  • Treatment of subject for intended audience (particularly in youth collections)
  • Availability from other Minuteman Libraries or through Inter Library Loan

Additional guidelines for the evaluation of electronic resources also include:

  • Comparison of content with other available formats
  • Cost
  • Customer assistance requirements
  • Ease of access
  • Hardware requirements
  • Licensing requirements
  • Networking capabilities
  • Staff training

Resource Sharing with Other Libraries

Cary Library is a member of the Minuteman Library Network, whose community of 36 public and 5 academic libraries offers additional depth and variety of collections to which Cary Library users have access.  Selection of materials for the Cary Library collection is done with an eye to the special strengths and the immediate availability of these other library collections.  In the case of expensive electronic collections, group cooperative purchasing allows economically feasible access to these products for all member libraries and their users.

Patron Requests

The library welcomes suggestions from the community via our Purchase Suggestion form. All suggestions for purchase are evaluated using the same selection criteria as for other materials and are not automatically added to the collection.  Those not purchased are acquired for library users by interlibrary loan wherever possible. 

Donated Materials

The library does not accept materials that are not outright gifts.  Our Materials Donation Policy states that materials donated to the library are received with the understanding that they are subject to the same selection, evaluation and disposal criteria as material acquired for purchase.  In most cases, the library cannot guarantee the permanence of an item donated to the collection.  Items not added to library collections may be sold, transferred to other libraries, donated to other nonprofit organizations, or recycled.  Items of extreme value or historic significance are handled on an individual basis. 

Collection Maintenance

Systematic de-selection of materials from the collection is a necessary adjunct to selection.  Before being withdrawn, items are considered in accordance with the following guidelines (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Damage to item
  • Duplicate copies
  • Lack of use
  • Obsolescence
  • Space needs
  • Updated editions available

Reconsideration of Library Materials

Lexington residents may request this reconsideration of an item in the collection by completing the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form.  Completed requests are evaluated by the appropriate professional library staff.  Incomplete requests will not be considered.

The Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form, and the Library’s written response to it, become part of the public record.  In case of disagreement, a user may appeal a selection decision to the Library Director, and finally to the Board of Library Trustees.

The Library will not consider requests submitted by individuals who are not residents of Lexington. The Library opposes attempts by individuals or groups to censor items in its collection.

Reconsideration of digital content in the Minuteman Library Network collection may be made via the Minuteman Library Network’s Request for Reconsideration form

Policy approved by the Library Board of Trustees — 10/17/12, updated 4/7/22


Cary Library Display Policy

The Cary Memorial Library has multiple display spaces located throughout the library. Displays are developed by library staff, and occasionally in conjunction with community partners. The library gives priority to the following types of displays:

  • Displays featuring library materials or publicizing library programs
  • Works of art created by local artists
  • Cultural displays created in partnership with local community organizations
  • Historical materials or artifacts
  • Informational material from Town departments, state agencies, and Lexington based schools

Applications to collaborate on a display are reviewed by library staff and selected based on multiple factors including:

  • Relevance to community needs and interests
  • Relationship to library mission
  • Potential to promote and encourage the use of library collections & resources
  • Historical, cultural, or educational significance
  • Budget and costs, including staff time, related to creating a display
  • Availability of library display spaces
  • Connection to other community programs, exhibitions, or events
  • Appropriateness for for people of all ages
  • Safety and security of library patrons, staff, and facilities
  • Collaboration with Town and community partners
  • Relationship to national and local observances, commemorative months, and local initiatives (i.e., National Library Week, Women’s History Month, etc.)

Interested Lexington community members and organizations are encouraged to use our “Suggest a Display'' form to propose a display. These proposals are evaluated according to the criteria listed above. Final decisions on what displays are offered are made by the library director.

The Library and the Town of Lexington are not liable for any theft, vandalism, loss, or damage to items on display at the library. If exhibitors desire insurance, they must arrange for it at their own expense.

Library displays do NOT constitute an endorsement of the content of the display. Displays are not used to directly further commercial, religious, or partisan purposes or for the solicitation of business.

Lexington residents with a concern about a library display should direct that concern to the Library Director for consideration.


Policy approved by the Library Board of Trustees – 10/17/2012, updated 5/3/23

Food in the Library Policy

For the comfort of our patrons, the Cary Library allows snack/individual portions of food in designated areas of the library. These spaces are the main level Commons Area, the Teen Room, and the lower level corridor outside of the Children’s Room.

Examples of appropriate foods include small bags of pretzels, granola bars, string cheese, apples, or small containers of yogurt. We ask that you not consume hot, aromatic, or potentially messy items (pizza, burgers, and salads) in the library. 

Covered beverages are allowed in all areas except for the local history rooms on the main floor.

We ask our patrons to clean up after themselves, and to notify staff if there is a spill that needs attention.

Library staff do not oversee food for potential allergens, such as nuts or dairy. Those with severe allergies should be aware that allergens may be present in the library.  

Policy approved by the Library Board of Trustees – 5/18/2016

Gifts of Artwork Policy

Due to the enormous responsibility of owning and maintaining collections of art, the Cary Memorial Library does not actively collect in this area. The library will, from time to time, receive offers of art to be added to the library’s permanent collection and displayed within the library building. The policy below creates a framework to consider such gifts.

This policy covers two‐dimensional and three‐dimensional works of art and other objects for display, including but not limited to paintings, photographs, murals, fabric art, murals, works of sculpture, pieces of realia, and objects of historic, literary, or cultural interest.

The Director of Cary Memorial Library is authorized to receive works of art on behalf of the library. To assist in this process, the Director may establish an Art Selection Committee to consider the merits of potential gifts. Recommendations to accept artwork of significant value (in excess of $5,000) are sent to the Library Board of Trustees for approval.

Art Selection Committee: The committee will be composed of a combination of individuals (no fewer than 3) with expertise in art, and those who know and understand the library environment. The committee will include, professional artists or other members of the arts community, as well at least one member of the Board of Trustees.

Appraisals: The library cannot provide appraisals of gifts it accepts for income tax or other purposes, but will acknowledge acceptance of all gifts.

Conditions of Acceptance: The acceptance of gifts designated for public display on Library property shall be considered with attention to the ongoing cost of display, maintenance, and security, as well as suitability, including location. No guarantee is made that any gift will be permanently displayed or kept by the Library.

The library will only accept gifts of art that are made without restriction. The title of such gifts passes to the Cary Memorial Library. The library cannot be held liable if any item is destroyed, damaged or stolen. Only ordinary care in maintaining the gift can be expected. The library may exercise the option to sell any such gift and use the proceeds for any purpose appropriate to the library’s mission.

Policy approved by the Board of Library Trustees 1/20/2010
Last updated – 10/3/2018

Internet Use Policy

Just as libraries do not vouch for or endorse the viewpoints of written material in their collections, they do not do so for electronic information. The Cary Memorial Library assumes no responsibility for the use of the Internet by children. It is not possible for library staff to control specific information children and youth may locate on the Internet. Selection policies, which serve to govern a library's purchase of written materials, may not apply to material accessed electronically. It is the responsibility of the user (or parent, guardian or caregiver) to determine what is appropriate.

All users of electronic information resources such as the Internet are expected to use these resources in a responsible manner, consistent with the educational and informational purposes for which they are provided, and to follow these rules and regulations:

  • Using resources for educational, informational and recreational purposes only but not for unauthorized, illegal or unethical purposes.
  • Respecting the privacy of others by not misrepresenting oneself; by not attempting to modify or gain access to files, passwords, or data belonging to others; by not seeking unauthorized access to any computer systems, or damaging or altering software components of any network or database; and by not interfering with other's use of public access workstations or the guest Internet access.
  • Making only authorized copies of copyrighted or licensed software data.
  • Not sending, receiving, or displaying text or graphics which may reasonably be construed as obscene.
  • Misuse or abuse of the Library's computers or guest Internet access will result in suspension of Internet access privileges. Persons using this equipment, or their own equipment and the Library's guest Internet access, agree not to make any changes to the setup or configuration of the software or hardware.
  • Library staff is available to assist users in their use of these resources, but may not be familiar with every application or device users wish to use. Due to scheduling constraints, there may not be an Internet trained librarian on duty at all times. Because of the many different Internet applications available, and the variety of devices users may bring into the Library, the Library cannot provide complete technical support.
  • The guest Internet access is a public network. Users should take adequate precautions by configuring their own device’s security settings appropriately
Library of Things Collection Development & Circulation Policy


The Library of Things is a collection of non-traditional library items that complement the Cary Memorial Library’s mission to ignite curiosity, facilitate lifelong learning, and connect our community. Patrons who borrow a Thing agree to abide by the Cary Library’s Library of Things lending guidelines below.

Types of Materials Included in Collection

The purpose of the Library of Things is to provide diverse opportunities for learning and engagement. To further this goal, the Library of Things may include:

  • Home Improvement and Assistive Devices, such as a Kill-A-Watt meter and a hotspot (internet service) Music and Audiovisual Equipment, such as a portable record player, digital video camera, analog to digital conversion equipment, and musical instruments
  • Science and Technology Kits, such as a digital microscope, telescopes, simple robotics, and beginner computer programming kits
  • Crafting Tools, such as a sewing machine and a lap loom
  • Puzzles and Games, such as board games, card games, group games, and jigsaw puzzles
  • Children's Learning Kits: kits that circulate out of the Children's Room designed to promote early literacy skills such as talking, writing, playing, a critical thinking, and problem solving.

The Library of Things is not intended to be comprehensive and the library is limited by a finite amount of storage space for these items. For a full list of items available, visit Cary Library of Things.


The library staff will select materials for the Library of Things based on the needs and interests of library patrons. The library welcomes input from the community concerning the collection. A suggestion for purchase procedure enables users to request that a particular item or subject be purchased by the library. All suggestions for purchase are evaluated using the same selections criteria as for other materials and are not automatically added to the collection. The Suggest a Thing for Purchase form is available.

Due to limited storage space and the staff time necessary to evaluate, test and maintain each Thing, the library can accept only a limited number of donations. The library does not accept materials that are not outright gifts, and cannot guarantee the permanence of a gift in the collection. Materials donated to the library are received with the understanding that they are subject to the same selection, evaluation and disposal criteria as material acquired for purchase. To suggest a donation please email with a description of the Thing and your contact information.

Not all library materials may be suitable for all members of the community. Responsibility for a child’s use of library materials, regardless of format or content, lies with the parent or guardian, not with the library.

Due to the nature of the items contained in the Library of Things, these items will not be shared via delivery with the other libraries in the Minuteman Library Network. All library patrons are required to check out and return Library of Things items to the Main Desk and Children’s Learning Kits to the Children’s Room at the Cary Library in Lexington, MA.

Evaluation of Collections

The library will use circulation data and community suggestions to guide future selections for the Library of Things collection. Items that are not popular and do not circulate will be withdrawn from library collections according to the Collection Maintenance portion of the Collection Development Policy.

Library's Use of Things

The library reserves the right to take a Thing out of circulation temporarily to use for library purposes (workshops, demonstrations, or other programs), or to repair a damaged item.


Policy Approved by Library Board of Trustees — 12/7/2016
Last Updated — 1/8/2020

Library of Things Guidelines for Borrowing and Use [PDF] 
Library of Things Lending Agreement [PDF]

Materials Donation Policy

Thank you for your interest in contributing materials to Cary Memorial Library. Before you leave any materials with us, please read the following and the terms of our Collection Development Policy regarding donated materials. Exceptions to this policy must be discussed in advance with the staff member responsible for the relevant collections.

  • All donations of materials must be outright gifts and become the property of Cary Library.
  • Library staff determine which donations will be added to the collection using the criteria described in our Collection Development Policy. Full text of our Collection Development Policy is available.
  • Donations may be removed from the collection at any time due to age, damage, or lack of use. Materials removed from the collection cannot be returned to you.
  • Donations that are not added to the library’s collection may be sold, transferred to other libraries, donated to other organizations, or recycled.   


Policy Approved by Library Board of Trustees — 1/8/2020

Meeting Rooms Policy

The library’s meeting room spaces are not available for use by outside groups.

Individuals and organizations interested in offering a program (or series of programs) to the public at the Cary Library, may use our suggestion form to connect with our Programming Team.

Meeting spaces are available at the Lexington Community Center and in other Town facilities.

Privacy Policy

Your library account information is confidential

The staff of Cary Memorial Library respects every patron's right to privacy and supports patron confidentiality as stated in the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 78, Section 7. As free and democratic institutions, libraries must protect the individual's right to have his or her reading patterns or reference questions remain a private matter. The practical ramifications of such a policy often mean that a staff member responding to an inquiry concerning a family member's or another person's reserves or circulation records is prohibited from sharing those records.

How does this affect your library visit? Please read on for frequently-asked questions concerning privacy and confidentiality issues.

Q: Can my spouse/friend/neighbor/family member pick up my reserve materials for me?
A: Yes, if you have given your library card to them, or if they have a copy of the hold pickup notification sent to the email address on their your library account. .We will also accept a library barcode displayed on a mobile device.

Q: Can you tell me what items are out or overdue on the card of my child (aged 10 years or younger)?
A: Yes, if you have the child's library card.

Q: Can you tell me what items are out or overdue on the card of my child (aged 11 or older)?
A: No, but we will be happy to mail a list of those items to the card holder, or show you how the card holder can login from home to check their account.

Q: If I forget my library card, can I still pick up my reserved book?
A: Yes, if you bring in some other form of identification, or if you are able to answer a series of questions to confirm your identity.

Q: If my dad gives me his card and asks me to call the library to find out if there is a book on hold for him, would the library staff tell me?
A: If you have his card, we can tell you only that the book is here.

Q: If my neighbor gives me her library card and asks me to find out what books she has that are overdue, would the library staff do that for her and tell me?
A: No, but we can renew those books for her, unless one of them is on reserve for another patron, or we can mail a copy of her library record to her. We can also accept payment from you on her behalf and then mail her a receipt.

Q: Last week I requested three books for my son. We used his card, I think, but I stopped by today and all I have is my card. Can I pick up his books?
A: The books must be picked up using the card under which they were reserved. You may also pick up his books if you have a copy of the hold pickup notification sent to the email address on your son’s library account. We will also accept a library barcode displayed on a mobile device. If you have a copy of the hold pickup notification, you may pick up his books.

Q: The email address in my library card record is not right, but I can't remember what our email address is. Could you check my husband's card and tell me what it is?
A: We are sorry, but the information in his patron record is confidential, but we can send out a test email to verify that the address you have given us is correct.


Your Child’s Library Card

What Every Parent Should Know

The Cary Library, in compliance with Massachusetts State Law and with American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, protects the privacy of library users. This means that the personal information and reading history of our card holders may not be shared with anyone but the library card holder, even if the card holder is a minor. We recognize that this policy can be challenging for parents who are trying to manage their children’s library cards so here’s some information we hope will help.

If your child is between the ages of 0-10: (roughly elementary school age)

  • Your child may apply for a library card with a parent/guardian present. 

  • Proof of current address is required at the time the card is issued. (examples include: parent’s drivers license, passport, state ID, piece of first class mail, car registration, signed lease)

  • We will ask for an email address where notices will be mailed - generally with young children parents/guardians opt to use their email address for their child’s card. 

  • A PIN is also set up at this time. The library card number and PIN may be used to login to the library card account to see what’s currently checked out, place a hold, renew materials, or pay fines.

  • Having both the library card number and the PIN is the best way for a parent/guardian to manage their child’s account online.

If your child is between the ages of 10-13 (roughly middle school age)

  • Your child may apply for a library card with a parent/guardian present, OR if they generally use the library alone, we will send a registration form home for a parent/guardian’s signature.

  • NOTE: If your child returns a signed registration form to the library, they will need to provide proof of address – since most children this age do not have any form of ID, the easiest way is to bring a piece of mail that was received at the home address.

  • We will ask for an email address where notices will be mailed – generally middle grade children still use a parent email for their cards, but increasingly younger users want to use their own email accounts. NOTE: library cards may have more than one email address listed – all notices would be sent to both email accounts. This is a great tool to use to give your child increasing responsibility over their library account!

  • A PIN is also set up at this time. The library card number and PIN may be used to login to the library card account to see what’s currently checked out, place a hold, renew materials, or pay fines.

If your child is 13 or older 

  • Your child does not need your permission to register for a card. 

  • Proof of address is required. Acceptable forms of ID include a school photo ID and proof of current address. A piece of mail addressed to your child may be used for address verification.

  • When the card is issued, we ask for an email address where any notices will be mailed. Middle and high school age children generally prefer to use their own email address but a parent email may be added with the child’s permission (all notices for the account are then sent to both emails).

  • A PIN is also set up at this time. The library card number and PIN may be used to login to the library card account to see what’s currently checked out, place a hold, renew materials, or pay fines.

 IMPORTANT NOTE: Children may request to change their PIN number/email address for their account. If this happens, parents should ask their child for updated information in order to access the account – the Library staff cannot access a library card PIN and will not reset the PIN without the child present. 

In order to access your child’s library card information (regardless of the child’s age)

When library cards are issued, a PIN is established for the account. The library card number and PIN may be used to access library account information online. If you want to access your child’s library card information, write down their barcode number/PIN and keep it somewhere safe for when you want to log on to their account. Some of the things you can do online (24/7):

  • See a list of what is currently checked out on the card

  • Renew library materials (unless someone else is waiting for the item)

  • Place reserves on materials, 

  • Download eBooks and eAudio books

  • Pay overdue fines or lost book fees using a credit card

If you want to pick up reserves for your child (when your child is not present)

If you want to check out items on your child’s card or pick up a reserve placed on a child’s card (without the child present) you can do this in several ways:

  • By bringing the child’s library card with you. Since all new library cards are issued with a duplicate “key chain” card, many parents keep copies of all their children’s cards on their key chains. Helpful hint: this works for spouse’s cards as well

  • By bringing a copy of the email which states that the item is available for pick-up. You may bring either a printed copy of the email or you may show the email via your smart phone.

  • By loading copies of family library cards onto a card management smart phone app (such as Key Ring and Card Star)

Cary Library Program Development Policy

The Cary Memorial Library supports its mission to ignite curiosity, engage minds, and connect our community by developing and presenting a broad range of library programs for patrons of all ages. We offer programming that instills a love of learning and enrichment through educational and cultural experiences and is representative of the people and communities we serve.

Programs presented at the library are developed by library staff, often in conjunction with community partners. In developing and delivering programs, the library staff utilizes staff expertise, collections, equipment, and facilities. The following criteria are used in making decisions about program topics, speakers, and accompanying resources.

  • Relevance to community needs and interests
  • Relationship to library mission
  • Potential to promote and encourage the use of library collections & resources
  • Historical, cultural, or educational significance
  • Presenter background/qualifications in content area
  • Balance of current programs being offered at the library
  • Budget and costs, including staff time, related to presenting a program
  • Availability of library spaces
  • Connection to other community programs, exhibitions, or events
  • Safety and security of library patrons, staff, and facilities
  • Collaboration with town departments, community and cultural groups, and local non-profit organizations
  • Relationship to national and local observances, commemorative months, and local initiatives (i.e., National Library Week, Women’s History Month, etc.)

Interested performers, speakers, and community members are encouraged to use our “Suggest a Program '' to propose potential programs. These proposals are evaluated according to the criteria listed above. Final decisions on what programs are offered are made by the library director.

Library sponsorship of a program does NOT constitute an endorsement of the content of the program or the views expressed by the participants. Because the Cary Library serves everyone, differing viewpoints and a diversity of perspectives are to be expected. Program topics, speakers, and resources are not excluded from programs because they may be deemed controversial to some people. Programs are not used to directly further commercial, religious, or partisan purposes or for the solicitation of business.

Library Sponsored Events

  • All library sponsored programs are open to the public and free of charge
  • Programs may be held on site at the library, off site, or online
  • Decisions related to whether the program is in person, hybrid, or virtual are made by the coordinating staff in collaboration with the performer or speaker. Hybrid or virtual programs are recorded if permission from the speaker is granted
  • Program attendance will not exceed the capacity of its space
  • Authors, artists, or performers may sell books or other items during a library program. Sale of other products or services at library programs is not permitted unless authorized in advance by the Library Director

Event Promotion

  • Library programs are listed on the Cary Library website, events calendar, and social media platforms and may be featured in library newsletters
  • Library program information may be submitted to local, state, and national media
  • The library staff develops program promotional materials based on the library’s branding/accessibility guidelines
  • All externally created graphics for collaborative programs must be approved by the library.
  • Organizations collaborating with library staff may submit their logos for inclusion on program publicity

Due to the nature of program or space limitations, program attendance may be limited and advance registration may be required. The Library may create a waitlist for popular programs.

The Library will make every effort to provide accommodations to individuals with disabilities. Please see the Accessibility Services page on our website for more information.

The Library does not guarantee seating to registered attendees who arrive after the program has begun. The Library reserves the right to deny attendance or remove individuals whose behavior violates the Library’s “Rules of Behavior” policy.

Programs may be canceled due to unforeseen circumstances or low registration. Canceled programs are not automatically rescheduled. When possible, advanced notification of program cancellations will be made on the Library’s online calendar of events and by other appropriate communication channels.

Lexington residents with a concern about a library program should direct that concern to the Library Director for consideration.


Policy approved by the Library Board of Trustees — 5/3/23

Rules of Behavior Policy

General Principles and Purpose

The Trustees of the Cary Memorial Library have established these Rules of Behavior to ensure the rights and safety of library users and staff, and to preserve and protect the library’s materials, equipment, facilities, and grounds. These rules, along with other library policies, will be applied in a fair and reasonable manner. 

Respect for other library users and library staff members shall be maintained at all times. Disruptive or inappropriate behavior that infringes on others’ use or right to use the library shall not be permitted.  The library staff reserves the right to determine if other actions not listed below constitute “disruptive or inappropriate behavior.”

Individuals who will not respect these expectations may be asked to leave the library, have library privileges suspended, or be subject to legal action.

Examples of disruptive or inappropriate behavior include (but are not limited to):

  • Smoking, vaping, using electronic cigarettes, using alcohol, or any other controlled substance while on library property. 
  • Loud talking, loud audio equipment, use of profanity, running, throwing things, fighting, pushing or shoving.
  • Stealing, damaging, altering, or inappropriate use of the library facilities, collection, or technology.
  • Distributing written leaflets and/or soliciting patrons within the library facility, in the parking lot, or on walkways immediately adjacent to the library entrances are not permitted.  (Such activities may be conducted on public sidewalks a reasonable distance from the library entrances in order not to impede entrance into and egress from the library.)
  • Using personal electronic equipment, such as CD players, IPods, MP3 players, laptop computers, and cell phones in a manner that disturbs other library users.  Devices that play music may be used with headphones so long as the volume does not disturb others.  Cell phones may be used so long as their use does not disturb others.  Those holding loud or extended conversations will be asked to use their cell phones in the lobbies or outside.
  • Using the public restrooms for bathing, laundry, or any other unintended purpose. Single person restrooms are intended for use by one person unless a parent or other caregiver is required.
  • Using the Meeting Room kitchen for personal use.
  • Excessive public displays of affection.
  • Indecent exposure/public indecency.
  • Interfering with others’ use of the library, its services and materials.
  • Interfering with library staff members’ ability to perform their responsibilities.

To Ensure That the Library is a Clean, Welcoming Environment for All:

  • Beverages in covered containers are permitted in most areas of the library.  They are not, however, allowed in the Genealogy Room or at the public computers.
  • Food is limited to the Main Level Commons, the Lower Level Corridor, and the Teen Space or in other designated spaces during library sponsored events.
  • Appropriate attire, including shirts and shoes, should be worn by patrons of all ages.  Examples of inappropriate footwear include roller skates, roller blades, cleats and golf shoes.
  • Walkways throughout the building and access to library materials should not be obstructed. Sports equipment, musical instruments and other bulky objects brought into the library should not obstruct access to library materials nor block walkways throughout the building. 
  • Power cords should not cross pathways or be used in ways that create a trip hazard.
  • Animals, except for service animals, are not permitted.
  • The use of study rooms and meeting rooms is limited to those who have signed up.
  • Personal belongings should not be left unattended. Library staff members are not responsible for patrons’ personal property. Police may be called to remove items that appear to have been abandoned.
  • The library reserves the right to inspect all bags, purses, briefcases, backpacks, etc., for concealed library material.
  • Patrons should not bring personal property into the library that the library staff considers to be hazardous.  The library staff may refuse to permit a patron to have access to the library in such circumstances.  
  • The telephones at all service desks are business phones.  They may only be used by patrons, with staff permission, in cases of emergency.
  • The material and equipment in the library are here for patron and staff use.  Any purposeful damage done to the material, equipment, furniture, building or property of the library is against the law and will be reported to the police.
  • Bicycles should be placed in the bike rack and locked.  Bikes and scooters (or other similar wheeled items) may not be left inside the library or on the handicap ramp leading into the library.
  • Guns and other weapons are not allowed in the building at any time (except by law enforcement officers).

Policy approved by the Library Board of Trustees – 03/03/2014

Last updated – 11/6/2019


Security Camera Policy

Guidelines for security cameras used throughout the building


The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the placement and use of digital security cameras, as well as the access and retrieval of recorded images at the Cary Memorial Library (CML).

The Library strives to take reasonable precautions to assure a safe and secure environment for its patrons and staff. Because library staff is unable to provide direct supervision over all areas within the library and library grounds, digital security cameras have been placed at selected locations in order to observe and record visible activities of persons within the library.

Cameras will not be installed for the purpose of monitoring staff performance.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Camera placement shall be determined by the library director or his/her designee.  Cameras shall not be placed in areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as restrooms.

Cameras are not positioned to identify a person’ reading, viewing or listening activities. However, to the extent that any recorded images include identifiable persons requesting information or checking out an item, such record shall be treated as confidential as provided under Massachusetts Law.

Public Notice

Signage shall be conspicuously displayed within the library advising of the recording of digital images. 

Data Storage

Cameras will record activities in real time and images will be saved to the camera server’s hard drive.  Current software deletes images automatically as the capacity of the hard drive is reached.

Digital images will not be maintained, provided no criminal activity or policy violation has occurred or is being investigated. Digital records and still photographs may be used by authorized individuals to identify those responsible for library policy violations, criminal activity on library property or actions considered disruptive to normal library operations as delineated in the Library’s Rules of Behavior Policy.

In situations involving trespassed patrons, stored still images may be shared with staff.  Shared images may remain posted in restricted staff areas for the duration of the banning period.  After the banning period ends, these images will be archived in the Administrative Offices for 5 years.

Authority to Access Camera Data

The library director holds the authority to designate library staff members who may access real time or recorded footage. 

Circumstances under which designated staff may access images in real time include, but are not limited to, observation of areas beyond view from designated work stations for assurance of safety and security.  Access to real time or recorded imagery is also authorized to designated staff upon report of suspicious behavior, including policy violations, criminal activity, destruction or theft of library property or assets, or other activity that may be disruptive to library operations.

Law Enforcement Access to Real Time or Recorded Digital Images

General requests for viewing of real time or recorded images by law enforcement officials must be presented to the library director.  If the library director is unavailable, such requests shall be presented to the administrative or supervisory staff designated by the library director to hold such authority.

Digital images form library cameras are shared with public safety and law enforcement entities under the following conditions:

  • When pursuant to a subpoena, court order, or when otherwise required by law.

  • When needed as evidence of criminal activity taking place in the library building or on library property.

Emergency Responders Access to Real Time Camera Feeds

In the event of notification of an emergency situation at the library Lexington Police, or other appropriate public safety/law enforcement authorities, are granted temporary access to the library’s live camera feed in order to coordinate the emergency response. This access must be terminated and the library will change access passwords once the situation is under control and the immediate danger to public safety has passed.

Public Disclosure

Confidentiality/privacy issues prohibit the general public from viewing security camera footage that contains patron information. If the library receives a request from the general public to inspect security camera footage which contains patron information, the general public will be advised to file a police complaint.   

Revised and updated 6/6/2018

Social Media Policy

Cary Memorial Library participates in social media on a variety of platforms. The library uses social media to share information about upcoming events, programs, services, readers’ advisory, updates to hours of operation, and to keep users informed of activities at Cary Library.

Library social media sites including comments are subject to applicable public records laws and are retained as per the Town of Lexington’s Social Media Policy.

Cary Library reserves the right to monitor content on all its social media accounts and remove any content it deems, in its sole discretion, obscene, abusive, defamatory, threatening, harassing, discriminatory, in violation of copyright laws, or in violation of Cary Library’s Rules of Behavior Policy. The Library also reserves the right to block users who violate this policy.

Any public comments expressed on Cary Library’s social media platforms do not reflect the views or positions of the Library or its staff. The Library is not responsible for the content of public comments.

The use of links, references, or other third-party content does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by Cary Library.

Policy approved by the Library Board of Trustees – 7/25/16, Updated 9/5/18, 5/3/23

Study Rooms Policy

General Principles & Purpose

As part of its mission to provide resources that promote lifelong learning, Cary Library offers study rooms for use by members of the public. These rooms are available for quiet study or small group work. Study rooms may not be used for commercial purposes.

Cary Library has five study rooms:

  • 1 rooms with a capacity for 2 people
  • 2 rooms with a capacity for 3 people
  • 2 rooms with a capacity for 8 people

Use of Study Rooms

  • Study rooms are available on a first come, first served basis.
  • Sign-up sheets are posted daily on the door of each room. We do not book study rooms in advance or by telephone.
  • There is a two hour limit per day.
  • No Shows:  Reservations are void after 15 minutes.
  • Groups of 1-2 people are asked to use the smaller room when available so that the 2 larger study rooms are available to larger groups.
  • Power and wireless internet access are available in all five rooms.
  • All study rooms are equipped with white boards. Markers are available at service desks.
  • All Cary Library Rules of Behavior apply in the study rooms.
  • No food is permitted in the study rooms, but covered beverages are allowed.
  • The library is not responsible for loss or damage to personal items. Do not leave personal items unattended if you leave the study room for any reason.
  • Public use of the library’s study rooms must be subordinate to the need to provide a safe, peaceful, and respectful environment in which to read and study. No use of the study rooms will be allowed that is likely to disturb library patrons in their customary use of library facilities, impede library staff in the performance of their duties, or endanger patrons, staff, or the library building or collections.

Policy approved by the Library Board of Trustees – 10/17/2012
Last updated – 7/25/2016
Teen Room Usage

The Cary Memorial Library’s Teen Room is intended for use by students in grades 6-12.  Other individuals are welcome to visit the Teen Room briefly to retrieve books and other library materials or to request assistance from staff working in that space.

The Teen Room represents the Library’s intention to ensure that Lexington’s middle and high school students have a place that is safe, relaxing, and responsive to their needs and interests.  For this reason, use of the space, including the furniture and computers will be held exclusively for teenagers. The Teen Room is not an appropriate space for tutoring.

Policy approved by the Library Board of Trustees – 5/18/2016
Updated – 3/1/23

Web Accessibility

As part of the Town of Lexington, Cary Library strives for accessibility for all across our website.
View the Web Accessibility Statement.