Web Link Procedures

Policies & Procedures

Linking to a BPL web site

The Boston Public Library does not enter into reciprocal link agreements. We provide links to sites that help fulfill the mission of the library. The creation of a link from a BPL site does not obligate the publisher of the linked site to link back to the library, but the publisher is, of course, welcome to do so.

Entities and individuals do not need to request advance permission to link to a Boston Public Library web site if making a simple link to a web page. However, links to a BPL site or page are permitted under only under these conditions:

  • Entities and individuals linking to library web content or services shall not present the content or service within frames, present the library’s content as its own or otherwise misrepresent BPL content.
  • No entity or individual may publish a link to content that otherwise requires authentication by username and password, or by library card and/or PIN. Furthermore, the publishing of borrower record information, including library card number, PIN, or any personally identifying information is strictly prohibited. (See Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 78, Section 7.)
  • Links to a library site may not portray any person or subject in a false or misleading light.
  • Certain information on library sites may be trademarked, service-marked or otherwise protected as intellectual property. Protected intellectual property must be used in accordance with state and federal laws and must reflect the proper ownership of the intellectual property.
  • Any link to a Boston Public Library web site should be a full forward link that passes the client browser to the destination unencumbered. The "Back" button should return the visitor to original site if the visitor wishes to back out.
  • The Boston Public Library reserves the right to change page names or addresses any time without notice. Entities and individuals linking to BPL sites must regularly verify links to web pages.

Links From BPL to External Sites

In establishing and maintaining its web sites and services, the Boston Public Library does not intend in any manner to create a forum or other means by which public discourse, exchange of opinions, or discussion on issues of unrestricted nature may occur. Rather, the sole and limited purpose of the BPL’s web sites and hyperlinks is to serve the cultural, educational, and informational needs of the people of the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This does not preclude the Boston Public Library from publishing user-contributed content that supports its stated mission and/or goals.

Consistent with the Boston Public Library Web Link Policy, it is the BPL’s practice to limit external links to the following kinds of web sites and content:

  • Freely accessible information deemed by staff review to supplement BPL holdings, services, programs, exhibitions, and/or events.
  • Federal, state, and local governmental units that provide additional services and information that users of the BPL web services may find of interest.
  • Nonprofit organizations that users of the BPL web services may find of interest.
  • Educational institutions including K-12 school districts, community colleges, and universities.
  • Commercial sites of sponsors or other contributors of resources to library events or programs.
  • Commercial sites of news media organizations providing coverage of a topic of interest to BPL customers.
  • Commercial sites of vendors with whom the Boston Public Library has contracted to provide information or services to its customers.

Link Requests

Entities or organizations that wish to establish a link from a Boston Public Library site to their web site must read and comply with these procedures and provide contact information. Required contact information includes:

  • Name of the organization operating the web site.
  • Physical address (i.e., a postal address) of the organization.
  • Non-profit status of the organization, if applicable.
  • Name of the person responsible for the web site.
  • E-mail address of the person responsible for the web site.
  • Telephone number of the person responsible for the web site
  • Internet address (URL) of the web site.

Requests for links from a Boston Public Library site will not be granted automatically and are not guaranteed for web site operators who provide the required contact information. Links to external content on web pages hosted by the Boston Public Library will be added at the library’s sole discretion.

Requests may be emailed directly to webmaster@bpl.org or may be submitted through our Questions or Suggestions page.

Link Removal

The Boston Public Library reserves the right to remove links to an external web site that otherwise meets these guidelines. This discretion may be exercised if the external web site is judged to:

  • No longer reside at link address.
  • Be less advantageous than other resources discovered.
  • Does not provide a navigation method for the visitor to return to the BPL site via a link or use of a browser “Back” button.
  • Contains outdated or incorrect information.
  • Contains misleading or unsubstantiated claims.
  • Contains illegal, libelous biased, harmful, or defamatory content.


For questions and concerns regarding Boston Public Library Web Link Procedures, e-mail webmaster@bpl.org.

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