Library News

Holiday Shopping

by Library Staff | November 14, 2013 at 03:11 PM

Detail of Acton Center Schoolhouse, by Arthur F. DavisOnline Safety, Laws, Research

Here in Acton, tis the season for holiday shopping. As more and more of us take advantage of the speed and convenience of online shopping, it is worth taking a moment to learn about some of the ins and outs of shopping safely in this electronic age.

The government website  provides a wealth of information about online safety. Their “Online Shopping Tips” video is very helpful. Also, be sure to check out the article “Happy Holiday Shopping" by Colleen Tressler, a Consumer Education Specialist at the Federal Trade Commission.

The U.S. government's official web portal,, gives you access to a variety of consumer information. Check out these articles “Shopping Online,” “Online and Home Shopping,”  and “Your Rights When Shopping From Home.” 

The Better Business Bureau is an important resource for consumers. Here is an article that highlights safety tips for shopping online on Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving.) Entitled “Top Ten Cyber Monday Tips for Staying Safe When Shopping Online.”  The article provides BBB recommendations for the safest ways to shop.

Go to, a website of the Federal Trade Commission, for information about avoiding identity theft, using credit cards, and more.

The Massachusetts Trial Court Libraries website provides links to Massachusetts laws, regulations, and helpful articles describing “Massachusetts Law About Shopping and Returns.” You can see what the law says about gift cards, cancelations and rain checks.

Consumer Reports Online

Before buying, always be sure to do your research! The Acton Memorial Library can help.  Stop by the Reference Desk on the second floor for Consumer Reports magazine or Consumer Reports Online. Acton residents can access this service from home, and everyone can access the site from computers in the library. Go to, hover your mouse over “Resources & Research,” select “Databases” from the drop-down menu, then click on “Consumer Information,” or click here to login with you library card.

Consumer Reports Online includes several useful articles with online shopping tips. Once logged in, place your cursor in the box labeled “Find Ratings” and search for “shopping websites,” then click on “Shopping Websites Buying Guide.” 52 of the nation’s largest shopping websites are rated by over 28,000 readers for value, quality, navigation, checkout, shipping and customer support.

Shopping Locally

A print copy of Consumer Reports Money Advisor is also available for browsing in the reference area. This monthly publication regularly includes shopping and spending tips (as well as regular columns on credit, insurance, savings, taxes, real estate, and consumer rights). The February 2013 issue has a useful article, “Shop locally and save,” which reminds us that shopping locally is often the best deal and puts more money back into the local economy. The article mentions several online services and apps that can help you find products and services locally.

Last but not least, if "local" is what you are after, don't forget the library's annual Holiday Mini Fair on December 7 from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Library Meeting Room!  Local non-profits will have locally-themed items for sale.  Items typically offered include note cards, local cookbooks, holiday cards, jewelry, tee shirts, water bottles, baked goods, garden items, holiday gift bags, coffee mugs, and ornaments. This is a great opportunity to pick up a local gift while supporting local charities.

Information sources Web