CW MARS Policies

Borrowing Privileges

Public Libraries
All who live, work, or study in Massachusetts can apply for a CW MARS public library card by visiting their local library. 

Residents of Massachusetts who live in a town with a public library certified by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to receive state aid may apply for a CW MARS eCard.

Local Library Policies

Some borrowing and lending policies are set at the local library level.  Patrons whose primary residence is out of state may have card fees based on local library policy. Patrons who reside in municipalities where the library is not certified to receive state aid may have borrowing restrictions based on local library policy. 

Check with your local library for more details.

Academic Libraries

Borrowing and lending policies at academic libraries may differ from public libraries. Academic materials circulate according to local academic policy. 

Check with the academic library for more details.

Borrowing Physical Materials

Borrowing Privileges

A valid CW MARS library card must be used to borrow physical items. 

A valid card is one that: 

Lending Policies

Loan policies are set by the owning library.    

In general, periodical, DVD and Video formats circulate for a minimum of 7 days with a minimum of 1 renewal of the same loan period. All other regular print material circulates for 21 days with a minimum of 1 renewal for 21 days.

Contact your local library for more details.  

Fines & Fees

As of September 2022, C/W MARS libraries voted to not charge overdue fines.  All general circulating material is fine free. Some specific exceptions (such as hotspots, equipment, and course reserves) may assess overdue fines, and these are determined by local library policy.  Some libraries in the network are still working towards removing overdue fines.  Because patrons may borrow materials from different libraries, they may see overdue fines on some materials and not others.  Questions on overdue fines can be directed to your local library

Replacement costs for lost items may be paid at any CW MARS library. Charges may also be paid by credit card by logging into My Account online patron portal.

Returns & Renewals

Library materials may be returned at any CW MARS member library. 

Library materials may be renewed with a valid library card, see Borrowing Privileges valid card definition above.

Materials that are able to be renewed (i.e. have a renewal available) will be automatically renewed with no action needed by the patron. An email notification will be sent with renewal status of checked out items.  

Borrowing Electronic Materials

Borrowing Privileges

A valid CW MARS library card barcode must be used to borrow electronic items. A valid card is one that: 

Lending Policies 

Standard lending policy for econtent is 2 weeks, but patrons may log into their OverDrive account Settings to set their desired loan period as 1 week, 2 weeks or 3 weeks.  Default loan periods can be set by format (i.e. ebook, audiobook, video and magazines can have different loan defaults if desired).

A maximum of 7 electronic items may checked out.

A maximum of 10 holds may be placed on electronic items.

Fines & Fees

There are no fines or fees assessed on econtent.  

Returns & Renewals

Patrons are encouraged to return electronic items early if finished. This allows the item to fill holds for other waiting patrons more quickly. Once the borrowing period ends the content will disappear from the device.

Renewals are only allowed if there are no holds on the material.

CW MARS eCard Registration

The CW MARS eCard is an electronic library card that can be used to access online materials such as e-books, e-audio, e-magazines, and more. CW MARS eCards provide access to e-content for 2 years before they need to be renewed. eCards can also be upgraded to full library cards at any point for patrons who want to place holds and check out physical materials.

Am I eligible for an eCard?

You are eligible to apply for a CW MARS eCard if you…

If your library card has expired, please contact your library to renew your borrowing privileges.

If you are not eligible to apply for an ecard online, please contact your local library. See our General FAQ for more information. 

Physical Library Card Registration

To register for a public library card, patrons should visit their local library in person with a photo ID.

Required Information 

Patron's first and last name are required. Patrons will need to provide proof of identity and current address.  Contact information such as a phone number, email address and/or mailing address is required.  Libraries may collect additional information to help identify the patron such as date of birth.

Proof of Identity and Address Verification

Patrons should provide a photo ID to verify current address. Valid IDs include drivers license, state ID, passport, student ID or work ID. If ID does not have current mailing address, another proof of address may be required such as personal check or mail.  Positive identification for children can be provided by the parent or guardian.

Account Information 

Patrons will be issued a unique barcode for identification.  This barcode will be used for authentication, checking out materials and placing holds in CW MARS online catalog and econtent platforms and databases. Lost or missing cards should be reported to the library.  

A default password will be issued. Patrons are strongly encouraged to log into My Account and update their default password. Patrons can manage notification preferences and settings via My Account.  They can place holds, renew items and pay charges via My Account.

Account Expiration

Library cards are valid for two years. Patrons will receive a courtesy email notifying them of expiration date. Patrons should contact their local library to confirm contact and address information and renew expiring cards.  

eContent Selection Policy

The CW MARS Digital Catalog is a shared collection of materials in various electronic formats, including ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and video. The goal of our electronic content selection policy is to further support our mission of empowering our libraries to provide excellent services to their communities through resource sharing technology.  To support this goal, we curate a broad collection of purchased and licensed content which includes:

Reconsideration of Materials 

CW MARS adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom outlined in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read and Freedom to View policy statements in selecting content for our shared electronic collections. We curate a diverse collection based on the needs and interests of the communities that we serve.  

Patrons who wish to request reconsideration of materials available in the CW MARS Digital Catalog (i.e. OverDrive/Libby) should contact the Library Director at their local CW MARS library.

Internet Policy

The C/W MARS network is a multitype automated library consortium that facilitates efficient resource sharing and rapid access to information for users of its member libraries through the provision of high quality computer and support services. C/W MARS provides information services, including access to the Internet, to meet the needs of its member library patrons.

The Internet offers a wealth of information that enables libraries to augment library materials. While much of the information on the Internet is professionally and culturally enriching, there may be material that is offensive to some individuals, or that may be illegal. C/W MARS assumes no responsibility for Internet content, including information that may be inaccurate or out-of-date. C/W MARS endorses the ALA Library Bill of Rights, its interpretations, and in particular Access to Electronic Information, Services and Networks.

C/W MARS does not control or monitor material available on the Internet. Parents and guardians, not the member libraries or their staff, are responsible for information accessed by their children. C/W MARS member library patrons and staff must follow the policies of this Network and its Internet Service Provider, the University of Massachusetts University Information Systems. Prohibited use includes:

Each member library is responsible for informing its patrons of prohibited uses and reporting any violations of this policy to the C/W MARS Executive Director. If the member library believes criminal activity has occurred, the local authorities should also be notified. In the event that any of the prohibited activities occur, C/W MARS may suspend or terminate Internet access to that library until such time that the library implements procedures to stop this activity. Whenever practical, C/W MARS will provide the library advance notice and an opportunity to address the problem.

C/W MARS does not provide individual email accounts to library users. Individual C/W MARS libraries may have local Internet policies that may apply in addition to this policy. C/W MARS is committed to the protection of patron privacy in their use of the Internet.

Privacy Policy

C/W MARS is committed to the protection of patron privacy. The Network does not require personal information to use the online catalog, electronic databases, or the Internet. C/W MARS keeps no permanent record of the Internet sites visited by library patrons, the electronic databases accessed, or the searches performed by individual patrons. In accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78 Section 7: “That part of the records of a public library which reveals the identity and intellectual pursuits of a person using such library shall not be a public record … “C/W MARS considers circulation and registration records identifying the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of library patrons, as well as the materials borrowed or accessed electronically, not to be part of the public record. The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 (P.L. 107- 56) supercedes state law and expands the federal government’s authority for access to library records and documents to protect against international terrorism and clandestine intelligence activities. It also expands federal law enforcements’ authorization to track telephone and electronic communication, including any dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information and the actual content of the communication.

C/W MARS collects no personal information about users of the Internet, electronic databases, or the online catalog, unless patrons choose to provide it. This information will be used only to enhance the patron’s use of the library and the online card catalog. It will not be shared with third parties without the explicit permission of the patron. Library patrons should be aware that C/W MARS and other Massachusetts library organizations license commercial databases from a variety of vendors. The Network will make every effort to restrict electronic database vendors from collecting and using identifying personal information of its library users, however it provides no guarantee that personal information will not be shared with third parties.

The intellectual pursuits of individuals using library or Internet resources are considered confidential information regardless of the age of the borrower. Such records shall not be made available to any individual or agency except pursuant to such process, order, subpoena or warrant as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative power.

Upon receipt of such process, order, or subpoena, the Executive Director will notify the C/W MARS Executive Committee, except when prohibited by the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, and consult with the Network attorney to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is in proper form and if there is evidence of good cause for its issuance. If the process, order, or subpoena is not in proper form or if good cause has not been shown, such defects must be corrected before the information is provided. The Network recognizes that a legal search warrant must be honored immediately; however the library or affected patron(s) may challenge the warrant after the fact.

Member Library Directors and C/W MARS staff should refer all formal requests for circulation, registration, or usage records to the Executive Director.

Individual C/W MARS libraries may have local Privacy policies that may apply in addition to this policy.