University of Southern Maine Policies apply when using the Libraries’ spaces, services or resources and supersede specific Libraries’ policies. Libraries’ policies below provide clarification when University policies do not directly address unique situations.


The University of Southern Maine (USM) endeavors to develop and provide access to collections, services, facilities, equipment, and programs which meet the information and educational needs of the University community, and to advance the research, instruction, and service missions of the University.

In fulfillment of this purpose, and in response to advances in technology and the changing needs of the community, USM supports open access to information resources, including the Internet, to the greatest extent possible. In return, the University expects users of information resources to be aware of and act in compliance with all relevant federal and state laws, local ordinances, and University policies. It further expects its users to be familiar and to behave consistently with the several general principles which together constitute appropriate, responsible, and ethical behavior in an academic environment, particularly in regard to the use of the University’s information resources. Those principles include: Freedom of Expression, Respect for Privacy, Respect for Property Rights, Respect for Personal and Cultural Differences, Freedom from Harassment, Respect for and Compliance with Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright Law.

The University affirms that it will be a partner with users in promoting education and understanding of the appropriate, efficient, and successful use of information resources. Guiding Principles:

The University of Southern Maine supports the democratic principle of freedom of access to information for every citizen. The University endorses: the American Library Association (ALA)’s Library Bill of Rights ; ALA’s Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights , adopted by ALA in 1996; and the EDUCOM Guide to the Ethical and Legal Use of Software .

The University does not attempt to limit access to, or otherwise protect, users of information resources from any particular materials available in any format, beyond the choices it makes in selecting materials or providing electronic links to information sources of particular merit.

USM does not monitor, and has no control over, information accessible through the Internet. The University disclaims any warranty for any information found on the Internet as to its accuracy, authority, timeliness, usefulness, or fitness for a particular purpose. Likewise, the University disclaims any control over, or knowledge about, changes in content to the sources for which it has established links, or for the content of sources accessed through secondary links.

Use of the Internet and all other information resources will be managed in a manner consistent with other USM service policies. This includes: the University’s Student Conduct Code; the USM Library’s Rules and Expectations of Appropriate Conduct (rev. March, 1998); and the UMS Sexual Harassment Policy .

The Internet contains much information that is personally, academically, professionally, and culturally enriching. It also provides material that may be factually incorrect, offensive, disturbing to some individuals, and/or illegal. Moreover, the Internet may not be an adequate substitute for many other kinds of information resources which may be limited by copyright or other restrictions to local use. Users of information resources are encouraged to ask a librarian for assistance in finding the best sources for their research.

While the University is committed to serving the general public to the greatest extent possible, it reserves the right to give priority in service to the USM campus community (students, faculty, and staff), especially in the case of a high level of demand for limited equipment and materials. This may include limiting the amount of time patrons may have to use certain information resources and supporting equipment. Moreover, access to some information resources must be limited to campus patrons, notably in cases of licensing or other contractual agreements with vendors.

The University accepts its responsibility as a United States Government Document Depository Library to make the documents it selects on depository status available to the general public regardless of the format in which the document is distributed. Responsibilities:

All users of University of Southern Maine information resources are expected to behave responsibly, legally, and ethically in that use. To that end, it is the responsibility of those users to:

  • honor all state and federal laws, copyright provisions, and software licensing agreements to which the institution is a party;
  • be aware of and comply with University and the University’s agencies’ procedures and regulations for accessing and operating computer and related hardware, software, and other information resources;
  • cooperate with legitimate requests by University staff;
  • take precautions to protect accounts and passwords by selecting obscure passwords, changing them frequently, and not sharing such information or the use of the accounts with others;
  • download information from computers to disk whenever possible, photocopy multiple copies, and otherwise limit printing to what is directly needed in order to conserve paper and to make the most efficient use of resources;
  • properly logoff or logout whenever leaving a computer in an area which is accessible to others; treat others with dignity and respect; respect the privacy and confidentiality rights of others, including their files and accounts; use USM’s information resources only for purposes which are legal and consistent with the University’s mission.

Consistent with the above, unacceptable uses and behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • damaging or attempting to alter computer equipment;
  • violating, or attempting to violate, computer system security;
  • violating, or attempting to violate, software license agreements;
  • incurring unauthorized or unreasonable costs for the University;
  • accessing files, data, or passwords of others without authorization;
  • disrupting or monitoring electronic communications without authorization;
  • harassing other computer users or University staff;
  • violating the privacy of others;
  • libeling or slandering others;
  • using any University workstation for any illegal purpose;
  • copying copyright-protected material without legal right or authorization;
  • intentionally and unnecessarily exposing others to material they may find personally unsuitable.

Results of Inappropriate Behavior:

It is important to recognize that inappropriate behavior has an adverse effect on the work of others, on the ability of University staff to conduct good service, and/or on information resources themselves. Thus it is expected that users of information resources at USM will be constructively responsive to others’ complaints, and receptive to University staff’s reasonable requests for changes in behavior or action.

University staff will attempt to resolve differences and problems among information users by asking for the cooperation of those involved, and for compliance with University policies.

The University will pursue infractions or misconduct that cannot be resolved informally with the general means it has available to it within the University and with law enforcement, as appropriate.

Serious infractions or misconduct may result in temporary or permanent loss of access privileges.

© Copyright 1999
University of Southern Maine
96 Falmouth Street
Box 9300
Portland, ME 04104

Guidelines and Policies for Appropriate Behavior in the Libraries

The Libraries strive to provide a welcoming, comfortable, safe, and appealing environment for the USM community. 

The Libraries are open for the purposes associated with an academic library, such as accessing print and electronic resources, conducting research, and studying.  

The Following Are Not Allowed: 

Disruptive, loud, or inappropriate actions or conversations.  

Patrons speaking loudly or on cell phones will be asked to move to more appropriate locations, such as outside the library.  In the Glickman Library, please use the stairwells or the Library Arcade. 

Verbally or physically threatening or harassing patrons or staff

Acting in any disorderly or disruptive manner, and/or exhibiting disruptive behaviors that affect others. 

Solicitations, petitions, or canvassing in the library or on library premises.

Using obscene or abusive language.

Consuming or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or engaging in any manner of substance abuse.

Smoking, chewing, vaping,  or other tobacco use.  USM is a completely Tobacco-Free Campus. 

Interfering with staff or another library patron’s use of the Library through poor personal hygiene. 

Using the restrooms for bathing, washing, changing clothes, or for any purposes other than the intended use.

Sleeping in or blocking aisles, entryways or exits.

Bringing firearms or any other weapons into the Library.

Animals in the Library except trained service animals. Emotional support animals are not allowed. 

Unaccompanied children or any children behaving in a manner that disrupts others.

Damaging, stealing, or misusing library property or resources.

Bicycles are not allowed in the building under any circumstances.  Please use the bicycle racks outside the library. 

Bringing into the Library more than two bags, maximum size 12” by 18” by 20,” plus one personal bag such as purse, laptop or briefcase (total 3 bags).

Oversize items such as bedrolls, duffle bags, large suitcases, four-wheel shopping carts or large plastic bags.

Unattended bags or personal items. 

Engaging in any other conduct which:

  • Is inconsistent with the purpose of the Library
  • Disrupts the orderly operation of the Library
  • Interferes with the use of the Library by others

The above policies are in effect for:

The Gorham Library

The Lewiston-Auburn College Library

The Glickman Family Library, Osher Map Library, and Atrium on the Portland Campus



as of 8/28/2021

Food and Drink Policy for Library Patrons

Snack size food is permitted in the library. Meal-size food is only permitted in designated Glickman Café areas and in designated areas during scheduled social events.

Full meals are prohibited. Takeout and food delivery service is prohibited (the delivery driver will be turned away).

All patrons are expected to dispose of containers and other trash in the trash receptacles provided. Please respect your surroundings and help keep the libraries clean.

The consumption of beverages (covered containers are strongly encouraged) is allowed at desks, carrels, tables, and reading areas. Containers must be covered near computers, photocopiers and other equipment

Food and beverages are prohibited in the Osher Map Library and the Special Collections Department Alcohol possession and consumption is not allowed in the library, except when authorized at university events. In this instance, the alcohol must remain within the event space. 

Thank you for respecting your surroundings, others using the library, and helping keep the libraries clean and safe.

  • Photographs/videos cannot show USM signage, USM logos, or anything that could identify USM in any way (USM logos visible could be seen as USM sponsoring or affiliated with an outside group).
  • The photographer/videographer needs to have prior permission in writing from those appearing in their photographs or videos, including people in the background.  USM Public Affairs Photo/Video Release Form
  • If the photography or video recording is authorized, the University may ask to witness the photo shoot to ensure compliance with the above rules and regulations.
  • The University reserves the right to terminate photographing or videotaping within the Libraries immediately, as deemed appropriate by university staff.

If any questions, please contact USM Public Affairs


The University of Southern Maine Libraries welcome and encourage gifts that support the curriculum needs of the University. Through the thoughtful donation of books and materials over the years, the Libraries have been able to develop our collections well beyond what would have been possible through the standard acquisitions process alone. 

The same selection standards apply to gifts as to the rest of the collection. If you are unsure about the criteria or have questions, please contact us at

Finding the Right Home for Your Books and Materials

To determine if USM is the best home for your donation, follow these guidelines:

  • Is the material in good physical condition and suitable for regular circulation?
  • Is the material suitable for academic use? Books should be published by a reputable source. In general, for the humanities, published in the last twenty five (25) years; for STEM disciplines, published in the last three (3) years.
  • Does the title support classes taught at the University? Consult the list of programs for more information.

The University Libraries generally do not accept the following:

  • Textbooks
  • Paperback novels
  • Condensed books
  • Outdated media formats (e.g. LPs, Beta videos)

Please provide a list of materials including the title, author, publication date, and general condition of the materials for evaluation prior to donation. Do not leave materials for donation in the book drop, our mailbox, etc.

All donations are accepted at the discretion of the Collections Manager in consultation with the Dean of Libraries & Learning. 

A donation statement may be inserted into the catalog record at the donor’s request. For example: “Gift of…” or “Donated in honor of…”

We will provide an acknowledgement letter which indicates the number of items given.

If your materials are rare or unique, please consult the collection policy of the Special CollectionsFranco-American Collection, or the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education.

A printable version of these policies with suggestions for alternate agencies which may accept materials can be found in our downloadable Libraries Gifting Brochure (PDF).

All gifts are accepted with the understanding that upon receipt, the University of Southern Maine reserves the right to determine retention, location, cataloging treatment, and other considerations relating to use. Materials received as gifts cannot be returned to donors. The Libraries cannot accept gifts with special requirements of location, circulation, or treatment without the approval of the Dean.

In accordance with United States tax regulations and the Association of College and Research Libraries “Statement on Appraisal of Gifts,” the Library will not appraise the value of gifts in kind.  It is the ultimate responsibility of the donor to provide an estimated value of an in-kind gift, preferably through an appraiser.  Appraisals should be made before the gifts are transferred to the University of Southern Maine in order to establish their fair market value. If you wish to have your materials appraised before committing to donation to USM, please consult the Maine Arts Commission’s appraisers and conservators page.  If the donor values the gift in excess of $5,000 and claims a charitable tax deduction, he/she must file IRS Form 8283 (see Administrative Practice Letter V – C). If the University disposes (sells) the same in-kind gift within three years, the University must file IRS Form 8282 (see Administrative Practice Letter V – C). Proceeds from the sale of in-kind gifts may be deposited in an appropriate gift program provided that detailed documentation is maintained.

The Board of Trustees reserves the right to decline any gift which it considers inappropriate, burdensome or contrary to the purpose of the University System charter. Final authority to accept or reject gifts rests with the Board of Trustees.  The University System may not accept gifts that will interfere with or otherwise restrict academic freedom.  Gifts accepted must meet the reasonable expectation of supporting the University in their mission.  Gifts accepted must not interfere with established University policies and procedures and must not interfere with established anti-discrimination policies.

Borrowing Guidelines

Materials that may be obtained via ILLiad include books and photocopies of journal articles. However, types of materials not ordinarily circulated by this library are unlikely to be loaned by other libraries. Examples are reference books, newspaper or journal issues, audio/visual materials, and fragile, rare, or otherwise valuable books. Additionally, many libraries are reluctant to loan high demand or current year titles, dissertations, or master’s theses.

It is expected that requests will be for research or course-related study. Interlibrary loan is for short term use and cannot be used as a substitution for purchasing textbooks. Procedure

All first-time ILL users and those who have not yet registered in ILLiad must create a user profile before submitting requests. It is highly recommended that before creating your profile you read the ILLiad FAQ to gain an understanding of the ILLiad system and its capabilities.

It is important that your citations be complete. For a periodical article request, the source of reference (index, database used, or source) should be filled in. ILL staff will assist you in completing the request form if you have problems. Average turnaround time for articles is 2-5 workdays. For books the average time is 5-7 workdays.

Articles are delivered electronically to your desktop as outlined in the ILLiad FAQ. Books received via ILLiad can be picked up on the USM campus of your choice at the Circulation desk on the first floor of the library. You will be notified by e-mail when your materials arrive.

Loan periods and other stipulations (library use only, for example) are set by the lending library and must be adhered to by the borrower.

Renewals are handled in a manner outlined in the Interlibrary Loan FAQ.

Return materials to the Circulation desk or in the book drop at any USM campus library.

Fees accrue for overdue items, and your ILLiad account and URSUS record may be blocked for excessively overdue items. Costs

Most libraries do not charge for loans and photocopies. Patrons should indicate on their ILLiad requests the maximum amount they are willing to pay, if any, for materials we cannot obtain for free. Patrons are responsible for authorized charges regardless of whether or not they pick up materials or find them useful. Charges are added to your URSUS record.

Any questions contact the Interlibrary Loan Departments: Gorham: 780-5343 Portland: 228-8449


  • University of Southern Maine borrowers (students, staff & faculty) must be currently enrolled or employed at the University and must present their USM ID to borrow books, or use the reserve collections;
  • University of Maine System borrowers (e.g. students and employees from other campuses) must be currently enrolled or employed by the system, and must present their university library identification card to borrow books or use the reserve collections.
  • Alumni, Courtesy, and Corporate card patrons must have a current record at USM Libraries and must present their courtesy card to borrow books or use the reserve collection.

Loan Periods and Renewals

U.S.M. material:

  • Undergrad Students & Staff: Four week loan with (2) three week renewals
  • Grad Students & Faculty: Semester Loan with (1) semester renewal
  • Other: Four week loan with (2) three week renewals

Requestor material:

  • All patrons (Except Faculty): Four week loan with (1) two week renewal
  • Faculty: Semester Loan with No Renewal
  • Reference, Serials, and Special Collections do not circulate.
  • Items are renewable if they have no holds, have not been recalled, or are not billed. Renewals may be in person or by telephone. Self renewals are possible on URSUS.

Overdue Policies

  • Material is due on the assigned due date or time.
  • USM Libraries send courtesy reminder notices (5 days prior to date due), first and second overdue notices, recall notices, hold pick-up, and cancellation notices via email.
  • The Libraries use the official University email.
  • Overdue notices are a courtesy and the library takes no responsibility for the non-receipt of overdue notices.
  • Billed Book Charge   $45.00
  • Processing Charge     $5.00
  • Billing Fee                   $5.00
  • Overdue Recall           $1.00/day per item
  • Unpaid fees and fines will be sent to the Student Billing Office for collection.
  • The billed book charge & the processing fee may be waived once the materials are returned. Once an item has gone to the billed stage the billing fee ($5.00) remains.


Special Collections and the Franco-American Collection at University of Southern Maine Libraries & Learning make our collections available for research purposes. We acknowledge that some materials are harmful to the communities that use and/or are represented in our collections. For example, these resources may include language and images that are racist, sexist, or homophobic. These materials do not represent the views of the University.

We aim to describe resources in a respectful and inclusive manner. This means that while original sources may contain or use harmful language, staff are committed to contextualizing this language and describing collections while considering our own biases. We recognize that terminology evolves over time and that efforts must be ongoing to address legacy descriptions.

Users can help by reporting harmful content with the Report Harmful Content form. Name and email fields may be left blank for anonymity.

What is Harmful Content?

Material in the Special Collections and the Franco-American Collection may be harmful or contain disinformation. According to the National Archives and Records Administration, harmful content may: reflect racist, sexist, ableist, misogynistic/misogynoir, and xenophobic opinions and attitudes; be discriminatory towards or exclude diverse views on sexuality, gender, religion, and more; include graphic content of historical events such as violent death, medical procedures, crime, wars/terrorist acts, natural disasters and more. Harmful content may also be found in institutional collecting and digitization policies that demonstrate bias and exclusion.

What We Do

We make every effort to add harmful content warnings to resource descriptions so that users will see them before they arrive at the content itself. Resource descriptions include records on Digital Commons and ArchivesSpace. Harmful content warnings are applied by the Archivist of the Franco-American Collection, Coordinator of Special Collections, or the Special Collections Librarian.

Any staff or user may recommend a content warning using the Report Harmful Content form. Recommendations are reviewed by a review board which may include the Dean of Libraries and Learning, Coordinator of Special Collections, Digital Projects Manager, Archivist of the Franco-American Collection, Special Collections Librarian, Library Specialist, and Vice President of Equity, Inclusion, and Community Impact.

Content Warning Structure

Content warnings include the following statements:

  • Opening phrase: “Content warning:”
  • Content warning terms selected from an established list of terms (see below)
  • Additional context as needed.
  • Disclaimer: “These materials are made available for research use and do not represent the views of the University.”
  • Flagging instructions: “We encourage users to recommend additional content warnings through the Report Harmful Content form.”

Example Content Warning:

Content warning: homophobia and heterosexism; pornographic content. The editors discuss their choice of the title Fag Rag in issue 2. These materials are made available for research use and do not represent the views of the University. We encourage users to recommend additional content warnings through the Report Harmful Content form.

Content Warning Terms

As of 2024, a comprehensive list of terms is not yet available. These articles include lists of terms commonly used in content warnings:

The Story Graph, a book review website, uses the following terms as of 2023:

Abandonment, Ableism, Abortion, Acephobia/Arophobia, Addiction, Adult/minor relationship, Alcohol, Alcoholism, Animal cruelty, Animal death, Antisemitism, Biphobia, Blood, Body horror, Body shaming, Bullying, Cancer, Cannibalism, Car accident, Child abuse, Child death, Chronic illness, Classism, Colonisation, Confinement, Cultural appropriation, Cursing, Deadnaming, Death, Death of parent, Dementia, Deportation, Domestic abuse, Drug abuse, Drug use, Dysphoria, Eating disorder, Emotional abuse, Excrement, Fatphobia, Fire/Fire injury, Forced institutionalization, Gaslighting, Genocide, Gore, Grief, Gun violence, Hate crime, Homophobia, Incest, Infertility, Infidelity, Injury/injury detailIs, lamophobia, Kidnapping, Lesbophobia, Mass/school shootings, Medical content, Medical trauma, Mental illness, Miscarriage, Misogyny, Murder, Outing, Panic attacks/disorders, Pedophilia, Physical abuse, Police brutality, Pregnancy, Racial slurs, Racism, Rape, Religious bigotry, Schizophrenia/Psychosis, Self harm, Sexism, Sexual assault, Sexual content, Sexual harassment, Sexual violence, Slavery, Stalking, Suicidal thoughts, Suicide, Suicide attempt, Terminal illness, Torture, Toxic friendship, Toxic relationship, Trafficking, Transphobia, Violence, Vomit, Xenophobia, War


This policy will be reviewed every two years by Digital Projects, Franco-American Collection, and Special Collections.

Approved by the Dean of Libraries & Learning, May 8, 2024.