Appropriate Library Behavior

The staff and the Board of Library Trustees of the Chelmsford Public Library are responsible for determining the rules of behavior necessary to protect all library users' access to the library and to its materials, to ensure the safety of library users and staff, and to protect the library's resources and facility from damage. To maintain an atmosphere appropriate for work, study and enjoyment for all library users and staff, the following policy on behavior at the library and on library property has been established. Library employees will courteously enforce the policy.

Examples of appropriate library activities include: browsing for materials, reading, thinking, quiet conversation, homework, writing reports and researching. Library computers are to be used quietly, so as not to disturb others. Group study, which creates enough noise to disrupt other patrons, may be conducted in our quiet study room, subject to scheduling and permission by library staff.

Inappropriate behavior is defined as noisy, boisterous or acting-out behavior that is inappropriate in a setting where serious study is being conducted. Examples of this include, but are not limited to: running, throwing, loud or abusive talking, including profanity to both the public and the staff, eating or drinking in other than designated areas, putting feet on furniture, loitering, gambling, inappropriate public displays of affection, excessive socializing, proselytizing, soliciting, selling, distributing leaflets, use of tobacco products and other activities which disrupt the library. Any illegal activities including vandalism will not be tolerated.

In addition, inappropriate behavior includes: unsolicited sexual advances, unwelcome comments of a personal nature or behavior that discomfits the staff or other library patrons. This behavior may represent a physical danger to people or property, or may interfere with the legitimate library business of other users or staff and will not be tolerated.

Appropriate behavior should also be applied when using library materials and equipment.

As the library is a community space used by people of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs, patrons must be aware of others and conduct themselves in such a way that does not intimidate or offend. The library is a public building and objectionable or pornographic images that can be seen by others (either intentionally or accidentally, and either on screen on in print) are not permissible. The library reserves the right to ask patrons to refrain from displaying images which are blatantly offensive and/or inappropriate for public viewing. Patrons who witness such behavior should alert library staff as soon as possible so that we can assess the circumstances of the situation and address it accordingly.

Staff will take the following steps when dealing with misbehavior:

  1. Patrons who are behaving inappropriately or disruptively will be verbally warned that the behavior must stop.

  2. If behavior continues, library employee will speak to the offender or ask the teen specialist or a department head to speak to the offender. A warning slip will be issued to the offender. This slip may be filled out by a staff member; but the Teen specialist or the Department Head on duty should review and sign off on the warning slips at the end of the day.

  3. Give a copy of the warning slip to the patron, a copy should be made to send to the parent or guardian if the patron is under the age of 18 and a copy should be filed in the administrative offices.

  4. When giving out a written warning, if possible, staff should check the patron warning computer file for previous warnings. If patron is a repeat offender and receives three warnings, library privileges are revoked for a period of no less than one month. Parents will be informed by a call from the library director.

  5. If patrons refuse to obey the library expulsion, the police may be called for assistance.

  6. No warning is required to expel a patron, if in the judgment of the library staff, the behavior in question (a) violates federal, state, county or municipal laws, or (b) poses an immediate threat to the safety or well-being of other library users or staff. Police may be notified by the supervisor on duty, if the threat to the public or the staff appears imminent.

  7. Formal expulsion from the library will be for a period of no less than thirty days or permanently. Duration of the expulsion is determined by the severity of the infraction. Patrons whose privileges are revoked may appeal to the Board of Library Trustees for reinstatement of library privileges. Appeal can be made in writing and will be addressed as part of a subsequent trustee meeting. Library employees are authorized to enforce these rules. The library reserves the right to revoke or restricts library privileges of a patron for behavior contrary to these rules and regulations. In cases where voluntary compliance is not adhered to, the police may be called for assistance.

Approved by the Library Trustees, May 2002
Revised, September 2006, December 2008