Amended & Approved the Board of Trustees 12/13/10
ST. JOSEPH PUBLIC LIBRARY
GUIDELINES FOR PATRON BEHAVIOR IN LIBRARY FACILITIES
The St. Joseph Public Library provides materials and services to meet the informational and recreational needs of the citizens of the City of St. Joseph.
In providing appropriate service to an increasingly diverse clientele within library facilities, it is the goal of the library to create an environment which protects the health, safety, and welfare of library users and staff and the safety of library property.
It is also the policy of the library to request that library users engage in appropriate behaviors which do not interfere with the use of library facilities by others. The use of library facilities is governed by the principles of the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association, the Library Bill of Rights, local ordinances and state statutes, and the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Under authority granted by the Statutes of the State of Missouri, the St. Joseph Public Library reserves the right to limit the use of the library by individuals or groups who, in the judgment of library staff, by inappropriate behavior are interfering with the use of library facilities by others or are jeopardizing the health, safety, or welfare of library users or staff or the safety of library property.
Any activity that interferes with the rights of other patrons to use the library, disrupts the normal functioning of the library, could result in physical, emotional or mental injury to one’s self or others, or could result in damage to the facilities, equipment, or materials of the library is considered inappropriate behavior.
EXAMPLES OF INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:
- Any behavior that is disruptive to library use.
- Eating and drinking where restricted.
- Not wearing shoes or shirt.
- Obscene, abusive, threatening or intimidating language.
- Loud talking and general boisterousness.
- Staring at others for no legitimate reason.
- Following others for no legitimate reason.
- Public displays of affection.
- Unwelcome sexual advances to library users or staff.
- Substance abuse or public drunkenness.
- Prolonged sleeping.
- Entering a library facility after normal hours of service, unless authorized to do so.
- Panhandling or soliciting.
- Bringing bedrolls or other large pieces of luggage into the library.
- Engaging staff in extended non-library service related conversations.
- Restricting others’ use of the library.
- Possession of a weapon.
- Offensive personal hygiene.
- Loud usage or ringing of a cellular phone or electronic device that is disturbing to other library users. Cell phones and electronic devices should be used quietly in the library or in a lobby area.
- Violation of any federal, state or local law or ordinance.
PROCEDURES FOR DECISION-MAKING AND REPORTING
The following steps will be taken when library staff observes inappropriate behavior by patrons:
1. Any employee who observes such circumstances should report them immediately to the branch manager; or, in the absence of the branch manager, an assistant manager; or, in the absence of an assistant branch manager, the designated supervisor. In the absence of all of the above, the employee is authorized to make a decision about what to do next. This could include calling the director.
2. Appropriate actions on the part of the staff, except in an emergency, should begin with asking at least once the individual or individuals involved to engage in more appropriate behaviors, stating that the behavior is disturbing others, interfering with others’ use of the library, or impeding the staff’s ability to do its job. In the case of an emergency, or in view of dangerous or threatening behavior, staff is authorized to call the police immediately, before contacting a supervisor.
3. If the individual or individuals refuse to comply with this request, the staff is authorized to ask them to leave for the day and to invite them to return later when they are prepared to behave more appropriately.
4. If the individual or individuals refuse to leave, behave in a threatening manner, indicate a lack of willingness or ability to respond appropriately, or in any case of emergency, staff is authorized to call the police immediately, before contacting a supervisor.
5. If individuals are asked to leave the library or if the police are called, the following staff should receive immediately an oral followed by a written report: the director, branch manager, or assistant manager in the absence of the branch manager and the director.
6. Especially in the absence of the branch manager and assistant manager, an employee is encouraged to call the director. In the absence of the director, the administrative assistant should be contacted for direction.
RESTRICTION OR LOSS OF PRIVILEGES
The library reserves the right:
- to require anyone who engages in inappropriate behavior to leave the premises.
- to restrict privileges of the individual for a specified period of time.
- to ban the individual from the library for a specified period of time or permanently.