McArthur Public Library

270 Main St - Biddeford, Maine - 207 284 4181

Library Policies

How do I get a Library card?

You qualify for a free McArthur Public Library card if you live, work, own property, teach, or go to school in Biddeford. For all others, there is an annual $30 membership fee. All we need is a completed and signed application, current ID, and proof of your current residence (not just your mailing address).

Acceptable ID:

Driver's license or state ID
Social Security card
Alien Registration card
School ID
Food stamp cards

Acceptable proof of residence:

Auto registration
Printed checks/deposit slips
Utility bill
Cancelled mail with postmark dated within the last 30 days
Valid hunting or fishing license
Rent receipt
Lease or mortgage agreement

Children (ages newborn-13) will need a parent or legal guardian's signature and ID to get a library card. We encourage parents to get cards for all their children

Family Cards

Out-of-town residents may choose to get one card for the whole family for a single membership fee of $30.00.

Circulation FAQs

What can I get with my card?

Your library card allows you to borrow books in both regular and large print, magazines, pamphlets, CDs, videocassettes, DVDs, and audiobooks. Sorry: reference materials must stay in the library.

How long can I keep them?

Most library books, CDs, and long DVD sets can be checked out for three weeks. Most videos, DVDs, some high-demand children's books, and CDs, DVDs, and videos borrowed from other libraries check out for one week.

How many can I take?

For the most part, as many as you can keep track of. We ask that you limit yourself to no more than 2 books from any nonfiction section. In order to ensure that we have enough audiovisual material on hand for browsers, we ask that you keep your video game borrowing to 2, DVD borrowing limited to 5 and your CD borrowing limited to 10.

What if I return them late?

Children's materials are fined 5 cents a day per item. The fine on most adult and young adult materials is 20 cents a day per item.

Can I renew my books?

If they are not on reserve for another patron, library items may be renewed for one more check-out period. Additional renewals may be made at the discretion of library staff. Renewals may be made in person, online or over the telephone.

Can I reserve a book that is checked out to someone else?

Yes, you may, and we will give you a call when it comes in. We will hold reserved material for 10days after you have been called. Keep in mind that there is frequently a long reserve list for popular items, and it may be a while before we call. Please also remember that we cannot guarantee that a book will be returned on time! We're happy to help you place a hold, or you can do it yourself online.

What if you don't have the item I need?

McArthur Library belongs to a statewide network known as Minerva, and you can connect to the holdings of over 60 Maine libraries through our electronic catalog. If none of the libraries in our network owns (or is willing to lend) the item you want, you may make an interlibrary loan request and we will search the country for it. If the item you are searching for is brand-new, or hasn't yet been published, you may fill out a purchase request slip and that will be referred to the appropriate librarian for consideration Warning: it is relatively difficult to borrow audio or video materials from outside of Minerva, and we cannot guarantee the success of these requests.

What if I don't return what I've borrowed?

Because library items are meant for the whole community to share, it is important to return them on time. If items are not returned, you will be billed for their cost and you will not be allowed to borrow anything else until they are returned, or paid for, in the case of lost books. Once overdue items are returned, you will owe the library only the overdue fines.

What if I move?

Please keep us updated when you move or change your phone number. We need to be able to reach you when that best seller you have on hold comes in.

Fees for Replacement of Library Materials

Library materials are billed at the suggested retail price. This is to help cover not only the item cost but also library processing fees. Pleased be advised that replacement copies are not accepted. Multi-disc sets and DVD/CD combos will be charged list price for the entire set. We cannot replace individual parts of any items.

Please note: materials borrowed from another library will be billed at a cost set by the lending library; these costs may be as high as $100 per item. These items are also billed 45 days after the due date with no replacement, refunds, or returns accepted. This policy is set by the statewide MINERVA Board

Internet Access Policy

The McArthur Library endeavors to develop collections, resources and services that meet the cultural, informational, recreational and educational needs of our diverse community of users. It is within this context that the McArthur Library offers access to the Internet.

The McArthur Library does not monitor and has no control over the information accessed through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content. The Internet is a global entity with a highly diverse user population and Library patrons use it at their own risk.

All Internet resources accessible through the Library are provided equally to all library users.  Parents or guardians, not the Library or its staff, are responsible for the Internet information selected and/or accessed by their children. Parents, and only parents, may restrict their children, and only their children, from access to Internet resources available through the Library.

Please note: In recognition of the fact that some Internet content is inappropriate for young children, the Library has installed an Internet filter on the computers in the Children's Room. Parents and guardians should understand that such filters are not 100% effective; we advise you to supervise your children's sessions.

The McArthur Library does not seek to limit users of Internet access computers in the Adult Room from obtaining information you might find offensive. There are sexually explicit materials and other information resources on the Internet that you may personally find controversial or inappropriate. Similarly, the Library is limited in its ability to prevent third parties from observing information on the monitor.

Users of computers in the Library should be aware that they are in a highly public place. Should you use a public access computer to view unprotected speech as defined by the Supreme Court*, you may be asked to discontinue your viewing.  If you do not cooperate with staff requests, you risk losing your computer privileges. Not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete or current information. You need to be a good information consumer, questioning the validity of the information you find. Please remember that many times, you will find the specific information you need right here in our books, periodicals, electronic databases, etc.

Individuals who use Library computers for illegal purposes will have their privileges revoked and may be subject to criminal prosecution.

*The Supreme Court makes an exception for obscenity, which must meet the following criteria to qualify:

Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;

Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law [defined in Maine as depicting or describing ultimate sexual acts, excretory functions, masturbation, or lewd exhibition of the genitals;

Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.


Staff Assistance

Library staff will provide as much assistance as possible in helping you access the Internet and make use of the applications installed on public access computers. However, you must bear in mind that Library staff cannot fill out forms for you or provide editorial advice. The need to serve many Library patrons at once makes it impossible for staff to provide in-depth training concerning Internet surfing or personal computer use.


Guidelines for Access and Printing

Access to any of the Library's Internet computers is governed by Cassie, our computerized waiting list. If you see a vacant computer, please use your library card to log in and begin your use. If all computers are in use, please use the registration computer, in the Adult Room, or go to the desk, in the Children's Room, to get onto the waiting list. If you do not have a McArthur Library borrower's card, please see Library staff for a guest pass, or go to the Check-Out Desk by the front door for your own library card.

Computer access is provided in 45 minute increments if there are other patrons waiting. If there is no one waiting to use a computer after you, you may extend your time in 10-minute increments at the prompting of the computer.

Important! The computer is not kidding when it tells you your turn will end. If you do not save your work, you risk losing it. If you do not have a floppy disk or flash drive to save your work, you may purchase one at the information desk.

If you have a preference of one specific computer over another, you may select it when making your reservation. Please bear in mind that this may extend your wait significantly. If Library staff become aware that the computer sign-up system is being abused in any way, offenders will lose their computer privileges for one week. Please play fair.

Printing from Library computers costs $.15 per page. Computer users are responsible for the cost of all pages printed. Printing from the Internet can be very squirrelly; often you may find that what seemed like a short document has resulted in a 45-page printout. Please use Print Preview or cut and paste to a Word document to control your printing costs. All printouts may be retrieved at the desk in the Children's Room;and by using the automated printer system upstairs in the Adult Room. Keep in mind that your print job will be sharing a printer with many other computer users; to ensure that your material is not mistakenly taken by someone else, please pick up your printouts as soon as you have printed them.

Meeting Room Policy

The McArthur Public Library offers meeting room space to area non-profit organizations, businesses and individuals, as well as to the City of Biddeford for public meetings.  Priority in making these spaces available is given first to Library functions, then to the City of Biddeford or its departments, and then to non-profit organizations or individuals representing non-profit organizations. As part of our mission to the community, space is made available to these entities without charge.

Businesses or for-profit entities are welcome to use the spaces, as they are available; below is a suggested donation schedule for the use of the two rooms:

1. Small Group Meeting Room on the first floor adjacent to the Circulation desk (accommodates up to 8 people): $25/hr.

2. Community Room on the first floor (accommodates up to 75 chairs, theater-style): $50/hr. Important note: The Community Room has a mobile divider wall. This wall should NOT be operated by anyone other than  a library employee. Your group or any individual may be liable for any costs required to repair damages to this wall if you attempt to operate (open or close) it. If the wall is closed, you can utilize the door that is built into the wall. Upon your arrival, if you find the wall to be closed (and you would like it open) or vice versa, you must ask a library employee for assistance. We reserve the right to book the space on the other side of the wall concurrently, so it's possible there may be other meeting room users on the other side. This wall is designed to be sound-resistant, but not completely sound-proof.

There is a meeting room upstairs, but this is not able to be reserved in advance. Use of this room is limited to a drop-in basis for a maximum time period of 2 hours, and users must consult with staff at the Adult Room Information Desk on the 2nd floor. If this room is required for a Library function or meeting, those using the room may be asked to vacate the room, although the Library will make every effort to accommodate the needs of patrons.

Functions held in the Community Room are expected to be free and open to the public; the Director must approve any other use before a room reservation is confirmed.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON PARKING: Parking in downtown Biddeford can occasionally be challenging. Currently, as of April 2013, street parking is free but there is a limit of 2 hours, and they do ticket. There is a Biddeford Savings Bank parking lot (where you will need to pay) at the intersection of Main and Jefferson, and if you can park there, we can validate for up to an hour at the front desk of McArthur Library. However, the Bank does reserve many spaces in that lot for its customers, so we cannot guarantee that you will be able to park there. Please keep this in mind if you have a large group, should you be arranging a large event held in our meeting room.

Organizations using the Community Room are responsible for setting the room up for functions and for restoring it to its original condition after use. Use of audio-visual equipment should be indicated on the Community Room Booking Form.

Reservations for meeting rooms can only be made for up to a month in advance. In other words, recurring reservations for monthly meetings will not be allowed, in order to provide fair access to the community.

All users of either room must email to inquire about making a reservation – these reservations should only be considered confirmed once you have heard back from Library staff. Please allow 48 hours for a response.

Please be sure to include: your name, contact information (email and phone), your group/organization and whether it is a non-profit, requested dates and times, room you are requesting, and purpose of meeting room usage.

Light refreshments may be served in either room, but alcoholic beverages are not permitted. All trash, spills, crumbs, etc., must be cleaned up. Compensation for any damage or cleaning to either room, its contents, or equipment beyond normal wear and tear will be the responsibility of the booking organization.

Any group that wishes to show a film as part of an event must ensure either that it possesses the public performance rights to that film or that it is covered by the Library’s site license. Any unauthorized public performance of a film is a violation of federal copyright law. To check whether a film is covered by the Library’s license, enter the title in the search engine at or consult with the Library staff.

No smoking is permitted in the library or on the grounds interior to the surrounding fence. Room users are expected to have completed their activities and tidying-up by the time the Library closes. Off-hours use of the Library facilities is permitted only with the express approval of the Director, pending availability of staff to monitor building security. The library will assess a minimum charge of $20/hr for the off-hours use of the facilities, in order to cover the direct costs to the Library.

Use of Library facilities by any organization does not constitute McArthur Library’s endorsement of the organization’s activities or beliefs.

The organization or individual arranging for room use will be responsible for paying for any and all damages to the property of the Library or others and for any personal injuries which may result from such use of the room or rooms. This responsibility will extend to paying for any attorney’s fees incurred by the Library in protecting itself from such claims.


Community Information Posting Policy

The McArthur Library maintains a community information area that includes brochure racks and wall space for posters and flyers. As space is very limited, the Library also maintains an electronic bulletin board both in the Community Information Area and as a link from the Library’s website. This policy covers both physical and electronic postings.  In all instances, informational postings with regard to Library programs and events take priority over other postings, which will be displayed physically, provided space is available, and posted on the electronic bulletin board.

Postings of time-sensitive events or those of limited duration will take priority in allocation of wall space over those of a more lasting nature, as will those for more local events and organizations over statewide or national events or organizations.

The posting of materials or brochures does not constitute an endorsement by the Library of the sponsoring organization’s activities or beliefs.

It is the responsibility of Library staff to maintain the Community Information Area.

General guidelines for inclusion of materials in the Community Information Area follow:

(1) Only materials for non-profit organizations will be considered.

(2) The sponsoring organization and basic contact information must be clearly indicated on posters and brochures.

(3) While events and information of a political or religious nature are permitted, campaign literature is not.

(4) Commercial advertisements will not be considered for inclusion.

Any exceptions to this policy will be made at the discretion of the Director and must be considered within the context of the Library’s mission.