Library Policies

On this page you can read our policies and details about using some of our services.

General Policies

Chapel Hill Public Library provides free and open access to the Internet and does not use any filtering software. We also provide free WiFi on an open, unsecured network. We are not responsible for any content accessed via our computers or WiFi. Do not use library computers or WiFi for any illegal activity. Computer and WiFi users must abide by our expectations of behavior.
The Chapel Hill Public Library is a place for everyone, shared by the community, and used by many different people for widely different reasons. Here’s what we expect of all of our users:

  • We expect users to respect the comfort and safety of fellow library users and library staff. If your behavior is making others unsafe or uncomfortable, we’ll ask you to stop.
  • We expect users to comply with requests from library staff. If you don’t, we reserve the right to suspend privileges and/or access.
  • We expect users to comply with local, state, and federal laws. If you break the law, we may prosecute.

If you feel that something or someone is making your experience here uncomfortable or unsafe, please let a staff member know.

For their safety, children 9 years of age and younger must remain in the company of a parent or caretaker while in the library. Those same kids are welcome to attend programs alone, but their parent/caretaker must remain in the library in case of emergency. Children 9 and under who are unattended will be monitored by a staff member until a parent/caretaker is located. If we can not locate a parent/caretaker, staff will contact the police.

Borrowing Materials

Most of the materials in the library can be borrowed for 3 weeks at first, and renewed three times. A few exceptions:

Item Check out period Times you can renew
New books 2 weeks 3
DVDs 1 week 3
Friends’ books (marked with a blue tab) 2 weeks 0
Kids book kits 3 weeks 3
Adult book kits 6 weeks 0

If another user has placed a hold on an item that you have checked out, you will not be able to renew.

Borrowers may have 50 items checked out at a time, with the following limits:

Item Limit
DVDs 10
New Books 6
Friends’ books 2
Holds 15
We do charge fines when materials are late or lost. These are the late fees for each day when something is past due:

Item Fine per day Maximum
Most materials $0.25 $5/item
Book kits $2.50 None
Media Lab equipment $2.50 None
Lost library card First time free $1.00 per replacement

If you ever accumulate more than $25 in fines, you won’t be able to check out any more physical materials until you talk with us. Please understand that you are our top priority, and we want to work with you to find ways for you to keep using the library.

Grace Period
A grace period is in effect for three days after the due date for all items except Digital Media Lab equipment or Book Kits. For items returned on the fourth day past the due date, fines will start from the original due date.

We respect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality. Here’s what you need to know about that:

  1. We abide by state laws governing library privacy.
  2. We provide access to numerous online resources. When you use those resources, you are subject to their terms and privacy policies.

North Carolina General Statutes

The Library complies with North Carolina General Statutes, which include an Article on library user records.

Chapter 125. Libraries. Article 3. Library Records.

§ 125-18. Definitions.
As used in this Article, unless the context requires otherwise:

(1) “Library” means a library established by the State; a county, city, township, village, school district, or other local unit of government or authority or combination of local units of governments and authorities; community college or university; or any private library open to the public.
(2) “Library record” means a document, record, or other method of storing information retained by a library that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific information or materials from a library. “Library record” does not include nonidentifying material that may be retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the circulation of library materials in general. (1985, c. 486, s. 2.)

§ 125-19. Confidentiality of library user records.

(a) Disclosure. – A library shall not disclose any library record that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific materials, information, or services, or as otherwise having used the library, except as provided for in subsection (b).
(b) Exceptions. – Library records may be disclosed in the following instances:

(1) When necessary for the reasonable operation of the library;
(2) Upon written consent of the user; or
(3) Pursuant to subpoena, court order, or where otherwise required by law. (1985, c. 486, s. 2.)

To ensure that we have up-to-date contact information for our users, cards expire after three years. To renew a card, please stop by the the library and show staff a document that has your name and address. That’s it! You’ll be good to go for another three years. You can also call us at 919.968.2777 if you need assistance immediately.

We are working on improving the process to make it more convenient and thank you for your patience.


We welcome financial donations in any amount, as well as gently used books, CDs and DVDs that are both clean and in good condition. Please call 919.968.2777 if you’re not sure.
Donated books and audio are welcome Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the delivery area on the library’s lower level. To get there, head up Library Drive, turn into the staff parking lot and you will see a sign for deliveries and donations. You can leave the donation and get a receipt for tax purposes there.

To make a financial contribution, please contact us at (919) 969-2035.

Staff will add donated items to the collection or turn them over to the Friends of Chapel Hill Public Library. The Friends sell donated items at the Friends Book Store on the lower level, as well as at their large community book sales three times a year. Proceeds from these sales come back to the library annually and support special programs, popular materials, the Summer Challenge, and many other services.

Printing and Scanning

Laser printing costs $.15 per page for black and white and $.50 for color copies.

We sure do. It’s on the lower level near the computers. You can save the images to memory sticks, send them through email, or print them. It’s free to use. A professional scanner is also available in our Digital Media Lab.

Collections Development Guidelines

A core function of Chapel Hill Public Library is to collect, curate, and make accessible library materials in a wide variety of formats that respond to community interests and demographics. The library’s goal is to maintain a popular, up-to-date collection attuned to the diverse needs of Chapel Hill residents. Collection formats, subject matter, and target audiences will be reflective of community demand.

If you want us to consider an item that’s not in our collection, please feel free to send us a suggestion.

How do we decide what enters or leaves the collection? Here are some of the factors that we consider:

  • Popular demand!
  • Critical reviews from the industry and media
  • Established authority of an author or their publisher
  • Current or long-term significance of a work
  • Accuracy and timeliness
  • Relationship to existing collection
  • Price, format, condition, and ease of use

The library Director has ultimate authority for the collections.  That responsibility is shared with our staff of professional librarians.

We fully subscribe to the principles adopted by the American Library Association in its Library Bill of Rights and interpretive statements. In short, we welcome all points of view.
When we receive a monetary donation for the purchase of materials, we are extremely thankful. We follow all of the guidelines on this page as we choose how to best invest those funds.

We also accept donated materials for consideration as additions to the collection, including works by local authors. We reserve the right to use or not use any donation as we see fit. Once we accept a donation, it becomes the property of Chapel Hill Public Library. Due to the high volume of donations, we do not return donations or track their status in the consideration process.

The library may choose not to add materials to the collection that do not meet its evaluation criteria.
We buy every new book published by the authors listed below. Their new books appear in our catalog about 2 – 3 months before they’re released. You can place holds on them and we will notify you when they arrive.

Abercrombie Joe
Adair Cherry
Adler Elizabeth
Adler-Olsen Jussi
Ahern Cecelia
Albert Susan Wittig
Albom Mitch
Ali Monica
Allen Sarah Addison
Allende Isabel
Alvarez Julia
Amis Martin
Andrews Donna
Andrews Mary Kay
Archer Jeffrey
Atkins Ace
Atkinson Kate
Atwood Margaret
Auel Jean
Bachman Richard
Bain Donald
Baldacci David
Balogh Mary
Barclay Linwood
Barker Clive
Barr Nevada
Barry Dave
Bass Jefferson
Beaton M. C.
Bell Ted
Berenson Alex
Berenson Laurien
Berg Elizabeth
Berry Steve
Binchy Maeve
Black Benjamin
Black Cara
Block Lawrence
Bohjalian Chris
Bolton Sharon
Bond Larry
Born James O.
Bowen Rhys
Box C. J.
Boyle T. Coraghessan
Bradford Barbara Taylor
Brashares Ann
Brockmann Suzanne
Brooks Geraldine
Brooks Terry
Brown Dale
Brown Dan
Brown Rita Mae
Brown Sandra
Bujold Lois McMaster
Burke Alafair
Burke James Lee
Bushnell Candace
Butcher Jim
Cabot Meg
Cain Chelsea
Cameron W. Bruce
Card Orson Scott
Carr Caleb
Cash Dixie
Cash Wiley
Castillo Linda
Castle Richard
Chabon Michael
Chamberlain Diane
Cherryh C. J.
Chevalier Tracy
Chiaverini Jennifer
Child Lee
Child Lincoln
Childs Laura
Clancy Tom
Clark Carol Higgins
Clark Mary Higgins
Clark Mary Jane
Clarke Richard A
Coben Harlan
Coelho Paulo
Collins Jackie
Connelly Michael
Conroy Pat
Cook Claire
Cook Robin
Cornwell Bernard
Cornwell Patricia
Coulter Catherine
Crais Robert
Crider Bill
Crombie Deborah
Crusie Jennifer
Cunningham Michael
Cussler Clive
Dailey Janet
Dallas Sandra
Danticat Edwidge
Davidson Diane Mott
de Castrique Mark
de los Santos Marisa
De Rosnay Tatiana
Deaver Jeffery
Dekker Ted
Delinsky Barbara
DeMille Nelson
Deveraux Jude
Diamant Anita
Diaz Junot
Dickey Eric Jerome
Divakaruni Chitra Banerjee
Dodd Christina
Doerr Anthony
Doherty Paul
Doig Ivan
Donati Sara
Donoghue Emma
Dorsey Tim
Douglas Carole Nelson
Due Tananarive
Dugoni Robert
Dunant Sarah
Eco Umberto
Edgerton Clyde
Eggers Dave
Erdrich Louise
Esquivel Laura
Eugenides Jeffrey
Evanovich Janet
Evanovich Stephanie
Evans Nicholas
Evans Richard Paul
Fairstein Linda A.
Feehan Christine
Fesperman Dan
Fforde Jasper
Fforde Katie
Fielding Joy
Finch Charles
Finder Joseph
Fitch Janet
Flagg Fannie
Flint Eric
Fluke Joanne
Flynn Gillian
Foer Jonathan Safran
Follett Ken
Ford Richard
Forsyth Frederick
Fossum Karin
Fowler Connie May
Fowler Karen Joy
Francis Dick
Frank Dorothea Benton
Franzen Jonathan
Frazier Charles
French Nicci
French Tana
Gabaldon Diana
Gaiman Neil
Galbraith Robert
Garcia Marquez Gabriel
Gardiner Meg
Gardner Lisa
Garlock Dorothy
Garwood Julie
Genova Lisa
George Elizabeth A.
Gerritsen Tess
Gibbons Kaye
Godwin Gail
Goodkind Terry
Grafton Sue
Graham Heather
Green Jane
Gregory Philippa
Griffin W. E. B.
Grimes Martha
Grippando James
Grisham John
Gross Andrew
Grossman Lev
Gruen Sara
Gulley Philip
Gutcheon Beth
Guterson David
Haddon Mark
Haldeman Joe
Hall James W.
Hamilton Laurell K.
Hannah Kristin
Hannah Sophie
Harbison Beth
Harkness Deborah
Harris Charlaine
Harris Joanne
Harris Robert
Harrod-Eagles Cynthia
Hart Carolyn G.
Hart John
Haruf Kent
Heller Jane
Helprin Mark
Hiaasen Carl
Higgins Jack
Hilderbrand Elin
Hill Joe
Hillerman Anne
Hinton Lynne
Hoag Tami
Hoffman Alice
Hood Ann
Hooper Kay
Hornby Nick
Horowitz Anthony
Hosseini Khaled
Howard Linda
Iggulden Conn
Iles Greg
Indridason Arnaldur
Irving John
Isaacs Susan
Ishiguro Kazuo
Jackson Joshilyn
Jackson Lisa
Jakes John
James P. D.
Jance J. A.
Jenkins Jerry B.
Johansen Iris
Karon Jan
Kava Alex
Keillor Garrison
Kellerman Faye
Kellerman Jesse
Kellerman Jonathan
Kellogg Marne Davis
Kenyon Sherrilyn
Kerr Philip
Keyes Marian
Khoury Raymond
Kidd Sue Monk
King Cassandra
King Laurie R.
King Stephen
Kingsbury Karen
Kingsolver Barbara
Kinsella Sophie
Kleypas Lisa
Konrath J. A.
Koontz Dean R.
Koryta Michael
Krentz Jayne Ann
La Plante Lynda
Lackberg Camilla
Lackey Mercedes
LaHaye Tim
Lahiri Jhumpa
Lamb Wally
Lansdale Joe R.
Le Carre John
Le Guin Ursula K.
Lehane Dennis
Leon Donna
Leonard Elmore
Lescroart John
Lethem Jonathan
Lewis Beverly
Lindsay Jeff
Lindsey Johanna
Lindskold Jane M.
Lipman Elinor
Lippman Laura
Lively Penelope
Lovesey Peter
Lowell Elizabeth
Ludlum Robert
Lustbader Eric
Lutz Lisa
MacDonald Ann-Marie
Macomber Debbie
Maguire Gregory
Mallery Susan
Mankell Henning
Mantel Hilary
Marcinko Richard
Margolin Phillip
Marklund Liza
Maron Margaret
Martel Yann
Martin George R. R.
Martini Steve
Mason Bobbie Ann
Maupin Armistead
Mayle Peter
Mayor Archer
McCall Smith Alexander
McCarthy Cormac
McCrumb Sharyn
McCullough Colleen
McDermid Val
McDermott Alice
McDevitt Jack
McEwan Ian
McLaughlin Emma and Nicola Kraus
McMillan Terry
McMurtry Larry
McNaught Judith
Medlicott Joan A.
Meltzer Brad
Messud Claire
Michaels Fern
Mieville China
Miller Linda Lael
Mina Denise
Mitchard Jacquelyn
Modesitt L. E.
Moning Karen Marie
Monroe Mary
Monroe Mary Alice
Moore Christopher
Morgan Robert
Moriarty Liane
Morrell David
Morrison Toni
Morton Kate
Mosley Walter
Moyes Jojo
Muller Marcia
Munro Alice
Murakami Haruki
Murphy Shirley Rousseau
Neggers Carla
Nesbo Jo
Niffenegger Audrey
Oates Joyce Carol
Ondaatje Michael
Packer Ann
Palahniuk Chuck
Palmer Michael
Paretsky Sara
Parker Robert B.
Parker T. Jefferson
Patchett Ann
Patterson James
Patterson Richard North
Pearl Matthew
Pearson Ridley
Penny Louise
Perry Anne
Perry Thomas
Peters Elizabeth
Picoult Jodi
Poyer David
Preston Douglas J.
Pronzini Bill
Proulx E. Annie
Pynchon Thomas
Quick Amanda
Quindlen Anna
Quinn Spencer
Rankin Ian
Rash Ron
Ray Jeanne
Reichs Kathy
Reilly Matthew
Rendell Ruth
Rice Anne
Rice Christopher
Rice Luanne
Richards Emilie
Riordan Rick
Robards Karen
Robb J. D.
Robbins Tom
Roberts Nora
Roby Kimberla Lawson
Rollins James
Rosenberg Joel C.
Rosenberg Nancy Taylor
Rosenfelt David
Ross Ann B.
Roth Philip
Rothfuss Patrick
Ruiz Zafon Carlos
Rushdie Salman
Russell Mary Doria
Russo Richard
Ryan Hank Phillippi
Sanderson Brandon
Sandford John
Saul John
Scalzi John
Scottoline Lisa
Sebold Alice
See Lisa
Shaara Jeff
Shreve Anita
Shriver Lionel
Siddons Anne Rivers
Sister Souljah
Sittenfeld Curtis
Slaughter Karin
Smiley Jane
Smith Haywood
Smith Lee
Smith Martin Cruz
Smith Zadie
Sparks Nicholas
Steel Danielle
Steinhauer Olen
Stevens Chevy
Tan Amy
Tanenbaum Robert
Tartt Donna
Taylor Brad
Taylor Patrick
Theroux Paul
Thompson Victoria
Thor Brad
Todd Charles
Toibin Colm
Tracy P. J.
Trigiani Adriana
Tropper Jonathan
Turow Scott
Turtledove Harry
Tyler Anne
Unger Lisa
Vachss Andrew
Vargas Llosa Mario
Viets Elaine
Vincenzi Penny
Walker Alice
Walters Minette
Walton Jo
Ward J. R.
Waters Sarah
Weiner Jennifer
Weir Alison
Weisberger Lauren
White Karen
Whitehead Colson
Wickham Madeleine
Wiehl Lis
Wiesel Elie
Wiggs Susan
Wilhelm Kate
Willig Lauren
Wilson F. Paul
Winspear Jacqueline
Wolf Dick
Wolfe Tom
Woods Sherryl
Woods Stuart

Last updated: 18 June 2015

Meeting Rooms

In short, almost everyone. Some groups can use the rooms for free, while we ask others to pay a small fee. The Town uses these user types to make a determination:

  • Community Groups are defined as groups that are non-commercial and not-for-profit in nature
  • Non-Profit Groups are defined as tax-exempt charitable organizations that either hold or have an application pending for 501(c)(3) status with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service
  • Private Groups are commercial groups, businesses, or private organizations established either for for-profit purposes or for non-profit, non-charitable purposes
  • Individuals are defined as citizens, families, campaign organizations and other unaffiliated groups
  • Political Parties are as defined by North Carolina General Statute § 163-96(a)
  • User(s) as used herein refers to the individual or group sponsoring the meeting, event or activity

Room reservations work on a first come, first served basis. However, priority goes to library-sponsored programs, Town Council meetings, groups affiliated with the library (Board of Trustees, Friends, and Foundation) and Town boards, committees, commissions and task forces.

These priority groups are not subject to the reservation guidelines or the fee schedule listed elsewhere on this page. The Town reserves the right, under extraordinary circumstances, to pre-empt or cancel reservations, meetings, or events. If this happens, we will give as much notice as possible and will help you look for another meeting site.

  • Community Groups and Non-Profit Groups holding meetings that are free and open to the public do not pay for using the rooms.
  • Political Parties holding annual or biennial precinct meetings and county and district conventions do not pay for using the rooms. However, fees will apply for after-hours use, certain before-hours use, kitchen use, and on-site staff use by these groups.
  • With the exception of Political Parties holding annual or biennial precinct meetings and county and district conventions, Community Groups and Non-Profit Groups wishing to hold private meetings do pay according to the Town’s fee schedule below.
  • Private Groups and individuals holding any meeting do pay according to the fee schedule below.

Hourly Rates for Community Groups and Non-Profits

A B C D Staff Time Catering Kitchen
Free and Public Events $0 $0 $0 $0 $25/hour $30 flat fee

Hourly Rates for Private Groups or Individuals

A B C D Staff Time Catering Kitchen
$150 $150 $30 $30 $25/hour $30
  • Reservations can be made via this website, phone, email, or in person at the library
  • You or your organization may have up to 3 reservations at a time
  • If you have to pay fees, we ask that you do so before the meeting
  • Special requests may be made in advance and may require additional fees
  • Questions regarding denial of use or assessment of fees shall be addressed by the Library Director in consultation with the Town Manager
  • We ask that you set up tables and chairs and return the room to the condition that you found it. Failure to do so will result in a revocation of privileges. Only tables and chairs assigned to each meeting room are available for use by the reserving group
  • We’re glad to show you how to use equipment in the room. Please ask for that help in advance so we can have staff there. Staff is not available to operate meeting room equipment or teach users without prior arrangements made at time of reservation.  Library staff support is subject to the “on-site staff” fee.
  • Programs or activities may not begin before the library opens nor end later than library closes unless prior arrangements have been made and approved. Note that meetings that do not conclude at closing time as agreed will be charged for a full hour of the after-hours fee
  • Planning a big event? Keep in mind that parking is limited. If your program will bring in a large number of vehicles, we may ask that you use off-site park and ride lots and assume all costs and responsibility for transportation to the venue
  • If any damage happens during your event, you or your group are responsible. That includes any and all damages to the facilities, equipment or property, including the costs of all labor, materials, and supplies to repair or replace the damage
  • Activities for Profit. Advance ticket sales or admission charges to private events are permitted, however you can not charge admission at the door. The exchange of goods or services in library meeting rooms is generally prohibited, though exceptions may be made by the Library Director or designee
  • Signs and Advertising. Posters or other signs advertising events in library meeting rooms must be approved by the Library Director or designee before they go up. We ask that you do not post signs on meeting room windows, tables, walls, ceilings or equipment
  • Safety. Users must take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of all activity participants
  • Indemnity. The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Town of Chapel Hill and its officers, agents and employees from all loss, liability, claims or expense (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) arising from bodily injury, including death or property damage to any person or persons caused in whole or in part by the negligence or willful misconduct of the user except to the extent same are caused by the negligence or misconduct of the Town
  • Liability. As a condition of using our equipment or facility, users shall hold the Library and Town harmless from any claim or liability arising out of any activity or conduct of the group or individual while using the facility in question
  • Compliance. Users are responsible for compliance with all ordinances, codes, policies, and laws related to the proposed use of Town buildings, grounds, or parks, and must obtain all necessary permits for the proposed event
  • Reservation of Rights. We reserve the right to prohibit use of facilities, for just cause, including, but not limited to, improper use or prior misuse of facilities, failure to abide by the provisions of this policy, disruption of library business, and failure to compensate the library for use and/or damages to a facility. It’s a right that we hope never to have to exercise
  • Non-Discrimination. The library is a place for everyone. When you use our facilities, please understand that they will remain available on a non-discriminatory basis and accommodate individuals regardless of age, sex, race, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disabilities, affectional preference, or marital status
  • Waiver of Terms. The Library Director reserves the right to waive or vary any provision in this policy when doing so would more effectively serve the public’s interest, except when prohibited by law
  • Disclaimer. In making library facilities available for use under this policy, neither Chapel Hill Public Library nor the Town of Chapel Hill assumes obligation or responsibility for the activities of the individuals or groups nor makes any direct or indirect endorsement of the activity

Work Rooms

  • Reservations are not required to use a work room, but we strongly encourage them; whoever makes a reservation has priority
  • Work rooms may be reserved online. If you need help with the process, visit a service desk or call 919-968-2777
  • Work rooms may be booked up to four hours per day by the same person or group


Photos and videos taken at Chapel Hill Public Library events and programs are often shared with the community in a variety of forms. Videos are archived on our YouTube channel. Photos are added to our, Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr accounts, and on rare occasions to our website.

You are our top priority at CHPL, so if you are uncomfortable with having a picture that features you online and would like it to be removed from our website or social media accounts, please let us know. It will help if you can give us a link to the web page where the photo in question is displayed.

We also appreciate it when people share their own pictures with us. Do you have a great shot of something that happened in or around the library? Please send it to us!