Using the Library

The Chester Library serves the residents of Chester Borough and Chester Township, New Jersey.

The library houses a collection of over 70,000 books, DVDs, CDs, video games, audiobooks and e-books. In addition, it offers a wide array of adult, teen and children’s programs, public computers, online research services, and community meeting rooms.

Call 908-879-7612 for further information, or come out to the library today!

Chester Library cards are available free of charge to anyone who resides or owns property or a business in either Chester Township or Chester Borough. In addition, courtesy privileges are extended to those who work or attend school in Chester. We honor cards from other libraries in the Main Library Alliance and we also honor cards from libraries participating in Open Borrowing.

The Main Alliance Library Catalog can be accessed here.

New materials generally may be borrowed for two weeks and may be renewed if not requested by another patron. Books older than 6 months may be borrowed for 4 weeks. New entertainment videos (feature films) may be borrowed for two days.

Materials may be returned to any library in the Main Library Alliance system.

Late return fees of 15¢ per day are charged for most materials Some special items such as videos, museum passes, and devices may carry daily fines of $1 – $5 but are clearly marked. The maximum fine on any item is $5.

The library has 11 public PCs with internet access. In addition, the library provides free wireless access, and 2 photocopiers that can be used by any member of the public. Our online resources are available on all PCs. Access to our resources, including our catalog and databases, is available to all library card holders via their own internet connections. The Main Library Alliance Library Catalog is easy to use and, once you find a title, it can be reserved online.

When you get to the card catalog, log in before searching (or to access your account). You will need your library card number and your PIN. If you don’t know your PIN, call us at 879-7612 and we will give you some tips on retrieving your number. The Library will not give your PIN out over the telephone; you will need to visit the library if you cannot access your account.

We urge you to call the holding library to verify the availability of any item in the catalog prior to making a trip to pick up the item. Most libraries will check their shelves and hold the item for you. Alternatively, you may call us to ask that we have the item sent here for pick up.

The policy of the Chester Library is to provide equitable access to the public computers for all library patrons.

  • Patrons must sign in to a computer with their Main Library Alliance library card. If a patron does not have a Main Library Alliance library card, a one-hour guest pass will be issued at the front desk.
  • Computer usage is limited to one hour if other patrons are waiting. Main Library Alliance library card holders may request a one-hour extension if no patrons are waiting to use the computers.
  • A limited number of laptop computers are available for use at the Library. If all public PCs are in use, the staff may, at their discretion, loan a laptop to a patron. The patron will be required to agree to the Library’s laptop loan policy and leave their library card and driver’s license or other photo ID at the front desk.
  • Printing: black & white pages may be printed at a cost of $.10 per page and color pages may be printed at a cost of $.30 per page. All computers print at the color printer/copier. Patrons may retrieve their print-outs using the print station connected to the printer.
  • Patrons may use flash or thumb drives or download to CDs on all computers. A limited supply of flash drives are available for $5 at the front desk.
  • DVDs may not be viewed at the library on the public computers.
  • Patrons accessing sites with audio must use headphones or earbuds with computers. Earbuds may be purchased for $1 at the front desk.

Patrons should recognize that computers do not have privacy screens so content they are viewing will be visible to other patrons. Patrons should be considerate of their neighbors when viewing material that may be construed as offensive by some.

Internet Use

The Chester Library is pleased to offer our customers access to the wealth of resources available on the Internet.

The Chester Library does not monitor and has no control over the information accessed through the Internet and cannot be held responsible for its content.

The quality of information on the Internet varies, and each user must consider the validity and reliability of the information found.

Library personnel does not monitor or supervise Internet access, except that they have the authority to end a session when material displayed on the screen is inappropriate to our public setting or to limit time of use.

Children’s Use of Computers and the Internet

Parents or guardians are solely responsible for their children’s computer use in the Library and must set the boundary of acceptability for their children.

Need to print at the library from your laptop or device?
Go here to register. Enter your e-mail address & choose the Chester Library from the drop-down menu. You can retrieve your printouts at the Library printer/copier. This feature is only for documents that can be e-mailed. No print screen feature available. Ask staff for assistance.

The Chester Library offers Notary Public Services for the benefit of the residents of our community. The following guidelines will be followed in the provision of Notary Service:

  • Walk-ins will be accommodated when a notary is working.  However, notaries are not necessarily scheduled during all open hours.
  • It is recommended that patrons seeking Notary Service call the Library prior to their visit to ensure that a Notary is available at that time. (908) 879-7612
  • Valid photo identification—e.g., driver’s license or passport—is required of any customer seeking Notary Service.
  • Notary service is limited to three documents per person, per visit.
  • The library will not provide witnesses and witnesses may not be solicited from customers using the Library.
  • Documents in any language other than English will not be notarized at this facility.
  • New Jersey law requires that a Notary and the customer seeking notarization be able to communicate directly with each other. Library Notaries are not permitted to make use of a translator to communicate with a Notary Service customer.
  • Notary Service is not available for Deeds or other real-estate related documents, Wills, Living Wills, Living Trusts, Codicils or Depositions.
  • Certain public documents cannot be copied and notarized. Examples of these are: Passports, Birth Certificates, Death Certificates and Marriage Certificates.
  • In accordance with New Jersey Notarial Law, Notaries will not provide service if the customer, document or circumstances of the request for Notary Service raise any issue of authenticity, ambiguity, doubt or uncertainty for the Library. In this event, the library Notary may, at his/her sole discretion, decline to provide Notary Service.
  • Notary services are provided free of charge by the Chester Library to Chester Library card holders.  In lieu of fees, donations to the library are welcome.

Interlibrary loan is a transaction in which one library borrows an item directly from another library on behalf of a patron.

Interlibrary loan is not a substitute for developing our collection and will be used to obtain specific items outside the scope of our collection or for items no longer available from the publisher. The Chester Library will exhaust local resources first, including its own collection and that of other public libraries in the Main Library Alliance. If an item is not available within the Main Library Alliance we will search for it first within New Jersey and second nationally.

For our patrons: We will request items only for persons holding valid Chester Library cards. Items in the Main Library Alliance catalog may be requested online. There is no charge for this service.  For materials borrowed from other sources, any lending and photocopy fees charged to us will be the obligation of the patron. Please tell us the maximum amount you are willing to pay at the time you request an item. There is not normally a postage charge to our patrons, but we do reserve the right to charge if a large number of items are requested. We will notify our patron when an item has been received. In general, books less than six months old are not available and we may consider these titles for purchase. Audiovisual materials and textbooks are not usually available for interlibrary loan. We do not limit the number of requests from an individual but reserve the right to process not more than 5 requests per day per individual.

For other libraries: We will accept requests for materials electronically through JerseyCat. We generally do not lend audiovisual materials outside of Morris County. Books less than six months old are generally not available. Requests for available items are filled within 24 hours. We do not charge fees and lend for 28 days.

After reading our room reservation policy here, you will find the room reservation link at the bottom of the page.

The meeting rooms of the Chester Library may be reserved for public gatherings when not being used for Library programs. Permission to use the Library meeting rooms in no way implies Library sponsorship or endorsement of any group or its program.

The rooms are available as described below to not-for-profit groups only and must be reserved using a Chester Library Card.

The Larison Room

The Larison Room may be used by groups of 10-70 persons. Groups with less than 10 persons may reserve the Small Meeting Room. The Larison Room may be reserved by the same individual or group no more than once in a calendar month except by approval of the Director or Director’s designee.

The Larison Room is available for use during library hours and must be reserved in advance.  Food and non-alcoholic beverages are permitted. No food is to be left in the room. Smoking is prohibited in the Library building.

Small Meeting Room

The Small Meeting Room is intended for groups up to twelve (12) people. The Small Meeting Room may be reserved by the same individual or group no more than four times in a calendar month for no more than three hours each time except by approval of the Director or Director’s designee.

General Meeting Room Rules

The Larison Room and Small Meeting Room may be reserved as described below. The Library reserves the right to refuse, on a case-by-case basis, a reservation request when it would monopolize the rooms for one group at the expense of others. Library needs will take priority over other uses, as when the Library serves as proctor for a test. In this case, the Library does the scheduling for the test-taker.

  1. Rooms not previously reserved are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  2. Use of the Small Meeting Room is limited to three hours per day. However, if the rooms are not scheduled by other groups, users may remain but must vacate when another group wants a room.
  3. Reservations may be made using the online reservation system  or by calling the Library at 879-7612 and are subject to approval by the Director or Director’s designee.
  4. Reservations will be forfeited if not claimed within 15 minutes of the reservation time.
  5. The person who reserves the room will be responsible for any damage to the room or its furnishings.
  6. The Small Meeting Room may not be reserved by an individual for their sole use. The Quiet Study Room at the rear of the Library is available for individuals who require a quiet place to study or work. No reservation is needed for the Quiet Study Room.
  7. The Small Meeting Room may not be reserved for use by tutors without prior approval of the Library Director or the Director’s designee.
  8. Meetings may not disrupt the use of the Library by others. Users are subject to all Library rules and regulations and may be asked to leave if they do not abide by them. Users shall maintain proper order and adhere to all applicable state, federal and municipal regulations.
  9. All meeting room applications must be approved by the Director or Director’s designee. One adult twenty-one (21) years or older must be in attendance when minors use the Larison Room.
  10. Solicitation of money (including admission charges, dues, donations or sales) is prohibited.
  11. Preparation of the rooms for the meeting and clean-up following the meeting are the responsibilities of the group requesting the use of the rooms. The group will also be responsible for any damage to Library property, including carpet cleaning if necessary.
  12. Groups are responsible for notifying the Library of cancellation of any meeting or program.
  13. The group must furnish all supplies and materials needed. The Library cannot undertake to care for or store any material for groups using the meeting rooms.
  14. The Library staff will not be responsible for the supervision of children while adults are attending meetings.
  15. Meetings do not have to be open to the public.
  16. A Library staff member may be present at any time during any meeting.
  17. Any advertising or publicity for a program must include the phrase “not a Library-sponsored activity.”

Written or electronic application for use of the Meeting Rooms must be submitted to the Director or Director’s designee for approval or disapproval prior to the time of the meeting, but not more than four (4) months in advance. All applications must be approved by the Library Director or Director’s designee and will be considered in the order of their receipt.

The Library Board of Trustees reserves the right to cancel or suspend any permission granted to any group or organization that violates these regulations.

The Library Board of Trustees reserves the right to waive regulations at its discretion.

We are currently transitioning to a new online room reservation platform.  Please call the library (908) 879-7612 or stop in if you would like to reserve a meeting room.

The Friends of the Chester Library hosts book sales from time to time for which we collect donations. There are currently no sales scheduled, so we are not collecting at this time.

We accept:

  • Children’s books (paperback and hardcover)
  • Adult books (paperback and hardcover)
  • DVDs, Music CDs, Audiobooks on CD

We do not accept:

  • VHS tapes
  • Books or music on cassette
  • Textbooks
  • Condensed books
  • Discards from other libraries
  • Encyclopedias
  • Magazines or inserts
  • Computer books more than a year old
  • Financial and travel books more than 2 years old
  • Musty, stained, marked-up or water damaged books

 The IRS will not let us set a monetary value on your donation, but you may request a signed receipt for the number of items donated.

To allow all patrons of the Chester Library to use its facilities to the fullest extent during regularly scheduled hours, the Library Board of Trustees has adopted the following rules and regulations:

Patrons shall:

  • Engage in activities associated with the use of a public library. Patrons not reading, studying or using library materials may be required to leave the building.
  • Respect the rights of other patrons. Patrons shall not harass or annoy others through noisy or boisterous activities, by staring at another person with the intent to annoy that person, by following another person about the building with the intent to annoy that person, by playing audio equipment so that others can hear it, by singing or talking loudly to others or in monologues, or by behaving in a manner which can be reasonably expected to disturb others.

Patrons shall not:

  • Consume food or beverages except in designated areas, smoke or use tobacco products.
  • Be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  •  Engage in any illegal activity while in the library building.
  •  Interfere with the use of the Library by other patrons, or interfere with library employees’ performances of their duties.
  • Deface or mar Library materials, including but not limited to books, magazines, newspapers, recordings or other items of the Library’s collection, nor shall they deface, mar or in any way destroy or damage Library furnishings, walls, machines, or other library property.
  • Enter the building without a shirt or shoes. Patrons must wear a covering of their upper bodies and shoes or other footwear. Patrons whose bodily hygiene is offensive so as to constitute a nuisance to other patrons may be required to leave the building.
  • Bring pets or animals into the Library other than service animals.

Any materials removed from the Library must be checked out on a valid library card or through other standard library procedures such as inter-library loan.

Any patron not abiding by these and other rules and regulations of the Library may be required to leave the Library premises. Library employees may contact the Chester police if deemed advisable.

Any patron who violates these rules and regulations may be denied the privilege of access to the Library by the Library’s Board of Trustees, on the recommendation of the Director or Director’s designee. A patron whose privileges have been denied may have the decision reviewed by the Board of Trustees.

The Chester Library is committed to providing the best possible service to all our patrons. Part of that service is creating a safe, supportive environment for children. The Library’s Policy on Supervision of Children is intended to provide this environment. Parents and other caregivers should bear in mind that the Library is a public space, open to all who choose to enter. The Library staff has many duties to perform during the day. While staff attempt to be attentive and alert to children in the area, they are often called to another part of the building, to the phone, or to work with other patrons.

A. Unaccompanied Children Under Eight

The safety and well-being of children at the Library is a serious concern, therefore the Library maintains this policy:

  1. All children under the age of 8 must have an adult or a responsible person 14 years or older with them at all times while they are anywhere in the Library.
  2. No Library staff member is authorized to accept responsibility for the supervision or care of any minor child left alone or unattended at the Library at any time.
  3. No child under the age of 8 will be allowed on the computers without a parent or guardian seated with them.

B. Unaccompanied Minors Between the Ages of 8 and 16

Children between the ages of 8 and 14 may be in the Library unaccompanied by an adult for an appropriate period of time, usually no more than 2 hours. The Library staff reserves the right to determine the amount of time that is appropriate for individual children. If children are not obeying the Library’s Patron Code of Conduct, staff may ask them to leave the Library.

A child between the ages of 14 and 16 may be in the Library for an unspecified amount of time provided that the child is obeying the Library’s Patron Code of Conduct.

Parents or guardians should be responsible for having their children picked up by the time or before the Library is closed.

Should it be determined that a child under age 14 has been left at the Library at closing time, every attempt will be made to contact the child’s parents or other family member. The Chester Police will be called if no one can be reached. A staff member will remain after hours with an
unattended child until the parent, guardian, or police arrive.

Staff members staying with the child will be compensated for time spent waiting.

Staff members should fill out an incident report and leave it for the Director when the police are called.

Library staff members will not transport children from the Library to any other location.

Parents, guardians, or caretakers who violate the rules stated above risk having their library privileges restricted or revoked.

C. Unaccompanied Adults

The Children’s Room is reserved for children, their parents or responsible adult caregivers, and adults interested in children’s literature, such as teachers and college students taking children’s
literature classes. Out of concern for the safety of young patrons, adults who are unaccompanied by a child or children in the Children’s Room may be questioned by staff, and may be asked to move to another area of the Library.

The Morris County Library offers a Libraries-by-Mail service to home-bound residents. Click here for more information or to sign up for the program. You will need a Chester Library Card to participate in the program.

The choice of library materials by users is an individual matter. While a person may reject materials for themselves or their children, they cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to the materials by others.

It is the belief of the Library Board of Trustees that the Library has a right and a duty to keep on its shelves a selection of materials on subjects of interest representing all sides of controversial topics. Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents. No library material will be sequestered except to protect it from damage or theft.

In addition, the Chester Library will develop and purchase a collection that will benefit the broad spectrum of its service community. This will include, but is not limited to, serving the needs of adults, teens, and children in their unique ways. The responsibility for children’s and teens’ exposure to library materials rests with their parents and/or legal guardians, and the Library assumes no responsibility for controlling the access of children and teens to the entire collection of the Library.

Patrons who wish to request the withdrawal or reclassification (e.g., a proposal to change a YA tile to Adult) of materials currently owned by the Library are encouraged to discuss their concerns with a Department Head. If the patron is not satisfied with the response to their request, the Department Head will provide the patron with a “Chester Library Request for Reconsideration of Materials” form (here) to request formal reconsideration of the Library resource. Withdrawn materials will be handled in accordance with the Collection Maintenance section set forth herein.

If the patron opts to submit the Reconsideration Form, the following procedures shall occur:

  • Once a completed and signed form has been received by the Director, the Director will form a committee composed of the Director, at least one staff member, and at least one member of the Board of Trustees. This committee will review the material, gather all pertinent reviews and information and determine whether the material meets the selection criteria outlined above, and whether it is appropriate to the collection. During the review process the item will remain available in the Library’s collection.
  • In performing its review, the committee will consider Library Board-approved policies, and, as appropriate, the ALA Library Bill of Rights, the ALA Freedom to Read policy, and the ALA guidelines on intellectual freedom.
  • The Director will inform the patron of the committee’s decision in writing. If the patron is not satisfied with the decision, they may appeal to the Library Board by contacting the Library Director and asking for the item to be placed on an upcoming Library Board meeting agenda. The item in question will remain available throughout the period of appeal.
  • If it is determined that the item will remain in the Library’s collection, the Library will not accept another Request for Reconsideration of that item for 5 years.
  • Requests in excess of two per year by the same individual may be declined by the Library for consideration.
  • The final authority regarding removal or retention of Library materials ultimately resides with the Library Board of Trustees.