Guiding Principles

The Library values integrity and acts with honesty and fairness as it conduct its business in accordance with its mission, vision and guiding principles.

People meeting and shaking hands


The mission of the Mahwah Public Library is to be an essential resource, connecting everyone in the community with ideas, information, technology and each other to further lifelong learning opportunities and the cultural and business interests of its residents.


The Mahwah Public Library Board of Trustees and staff will work together to:

  • Promote and encourage a lifelong love of reading and learning, particularly in our young people.
  • Provide current materials of high interest to the community in a variety of formats – e.g., books, magazines, electronic data, videos and recordings – for people of all ages.  
  • Provide timely, accurate information and reference services, employing a highly qualified staff to form a link between library materials and users in a congenial and professional manner.
  • Be a central meeting and gathering place for people and businesses of Mahwah.
  • Celebrate the diversity of our community by providing multicultural programs.
  • Partner with other organizations to improve access to local historical and civic information (museum info, town records, key religious and other community organizations).
  • Employ relevant technologies to improve operational efficiency and enhance access to information.

Guiding Principles

  • Intellectual Freedom:  The Library staunchly supports intellectual freedom and adopts the The American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, and Freedom to View statement.  The Library endeavors to build a collection representing varying points of view. The choice of Library materials by users is an individual matter. Responsibility for the reading/viewing choices of children and young adults rests with their parents or legal guardians. While a person may reject materials for himself or herself and for his or her children, he or she cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to the materials by others.
  • Service Excellence: We are customer-focused and deliver positive experiences.  Our employees are knowledgeable and seek to understand our users’ needs and points of view.  We provide convenient and timely service, demonstrate friendliness and reliability, and are proactive in offering options and solutions to the public and each other.  We are committed to accessibility.
  • Welcoming Environment:  We maintain an attractive, clean, environmentally sustainable and comfortable facility, recognizing its unique value to the community.
  • Innovation: We pursue innovation as a means to keep our services and technology contemporary and vibrant.  We implement appropriate advancements in technology for operational efficiency and enhanced customer service. 
  • Lifelong Learning: We play a unique role in our community so that learning can thrive.  We offer comprehensive services and programs that encourage intellectual and professional development of individuals throughout their lives.  The Library supports reading and lifelong learning within its walls and by taking services out into the community.  We provide services for learners of all ages and especially for children.
  • Freedom to Know: We provide free and equal access to library resources and facilities.  We support the open exchange of information and ideas that represent multiple points of view.  We value the benefits of diversity.  Our employees handle requests for information in a manner that protects and respects every user’s right to know and right to read.
  • Integrity & Trust: We serve the residents of Mahwah with financial integrity.  We act with honesty and fairness as we conduct our business with patrons and each other.  We assume personal responsibility for accomplishing the goals of the organization.
  • Staff Appreciation: We recognize that the Library’s employees are our most valuable resource.  Therefore, we treat each other with respect and value teamwork.  We encourage staff to pursue their professional goals.  We attract, celebrate and retain outstanding staff members.
  • Communication: We engage in the open and honest exchange of information as a critical process for creating synergy of ideas within our library and with our community.

Strategic Plan

The Mahwah Public Library undertook development of its first strategic plan in 2011. That plan guided the Library’s development and growth through 2012 through 2015. Notable accomplishments during this time include completion of the lower level renovation, construction of a unique teen space, “The Inbetween,” maintaining a high level of use – and a growing audience for programs – during a time of stagnant economic growth. Read the 2012-2015 Strategic and Technology Plans.Plan.

In the fall of 2015, the Library Board of Trustees formed an ad hoc committee to develop a second long-range plan to guide the Library from 2016 through 2018. Notable accomplishments during this time include construction of five quiet study rooms on the main floor, development and execution of a marketing strategy to improve communications with patrons and the community at large, significant upgrades to the wired and wireless network, and a focus on data-driven collection management. Read the 2016-2018 Strategic Plan.

In the fall of 2018, the Library once again began a new Strategic Plan to guide us for the next five years. This dynamic planning process was designed to be both community-focused and forward-looking. Shifting demographics, usage statistics, prevailing industry trends, emerging technology, SWAT analysis, surveys, best practices, and benchmark data were all taken into consideration throughout the process. The Committee worked together to evaluate this wealth of information and develop strategic initiatives that were closely aligned with the mission, vision and guiding principles developed as part of the previous strategic plan. The selected goals of sustainable funding, an increase in programming and non-traditional services, and more embody a plan that is both responsive to the community’s current expectations and actively plans for future growth. Read the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan.