Public libraries are legally considered limited public forums. (per Kreimer, 1992) This means that a public library is only obligated to permit the public to exercise rights consistent with the mission and purpose of the library. The library has the right to regulate all activities conducted on library property based on established policies. (per Education Law §90.3(8))
The rules of conduct for library patrons is as follows:
- Appropriate clothing and footwear are required.
- Please speak in quiet voice, refrain from cell phone conversation in the Library, and use headphones for all audio.
- Food and drinks are not allowed with the exception of water in clear, resealable containers.
- Alcohol, tobacco/cigarettes of any kind, lighters/open flame and illegal drugs are prohibited on Library property. (per Education Law §1399-o)
- Animals, other than service animals, may not be inside or left unattended outside the the Library.
- Sleeping or loitering on Library property is prohibited.
- Parents/guardians are responsible for their children’s behavior. Children under the age of 10 may not be left unattended in the library.
- Adults not accompanied by a child or not actively using children’s materials may not be in the Children’s area.
- Any behavior that hinders the use of the Library or Library materials or interferes with Library staff is prohibited. Such behavior includes but is not limited to the following:
- Any activity prohibited by law, including possession, sale, or use of alcoholic beverages, illegal substances, or weapons on Library property, intoxication or behavior leading to suspicion of intoxication.
- Violent, threatening, hostile, or harassing behavior either verbal, written, electronic, or physical.
- Language and gestures that are rude, inappropriate, or that disturbs other individuals.
- Damaging or defacing Library property.
- Buying, selling, or soliciting for personal or commercial gain without permission of the Director.
- Offensive personal hygiene.
- Use of skateboards or other sports equipment in the Library.
- To ensure a respectful workplace and Library experience, filming, photographing, and recording any person, including an employee, without express consent is forbidden. People may request the ability to film the premises and staff on site from the Director and/or Board of Trustees; if the activity will not interrupt work or violate the rights of the employee or library patrons, it will be allowed. Filming, photographing, or recording minors on Library premises is absolutely forbidden without written consent of the child’s parent or guardian. Credentialed journalists wishing to film in the library in their professional capacity are exempt from this policy, so long as filming does not interrupt operations, harass staff and patrons, and with permission of the Director or Board.
Patrons are encouraged to report concerns or disruptive behavior to staff. When staff or patrons feel that the health, safety, or security of the library, staff, or patrons are threatened, they may take any and all appropriate action. Library staff reserve the right to summon police assistance at any time.
Staff may employ the following consequences:
- A verbal warning;
- Expulsion for the day;
- Suspension of library privileges for a specified period of time as determined by the Director;
- Barring the patron from the library for a specified period of time as determined by the Director;
- Depending on the level of severity, repeat violations may result in a permanent barring and suspension of all library privileges as determined by the
Patrons, who have previously been spoken to about their behavior, need not violate the same rule to be subject to stricter enforcement and may not be warned that their behavior is inappropriate before expulsion. Any patron whose library privileges are suspended and/or barred under these rules has the right to one appeal to the Board of Trustees. The Board’s decision is final.
Sanctions will be determined based on the following set of examples. These lists are not all inclusive and are only indicative of the severity of the behavior. When a patron is suspended or barred from the library, a letter will be sent to the address on file.
Verbal warning issued for:
Noise level, food, drink, attire, supervision, inappropriate behavior, sporting equipment in the building, loitering, sleeping, disruptive behavior, complaint by another patron
Immediate expulsion for the day issued for:
Illegal activity, threatening, harassing, intimidating, violent, or hostile behavior, damage to property, not responding to repeated verbal warnings
Suspension and Barring by Director:
Continual (3 times in 2 weeks) verbal warnings for the same violation = 3 month suspension Immediate expulsion of more than 3 times in 1 month = 6 month suspension
Threatening, harassing, intimidating, violent, or hostile behavior towards staff = 1 year barred Previous 6 month expulsion = 1 year barred
Threatening legal action = until settled by lawyers
Permanent barring and suspension by Director:
Suspension or barring of privilege for 6 months or 1 year with no change in behavior Repeated threatening, harassing, intimidating, violent, or hostile behavior