BETHEL PUBLIC LIBRARY
PATRON BEHAVIOR POLICY
A primary goal of the Bethel Public Library is to provide a quiet and well-mannered environment that will allow the Library’s patrons to fully use and enjoy all of its resources. To accomplish this goal the Library staff asks that its patrons conduct themselves in a manner that is respectful of others. While the Library Board of Directors and staff recognize the rights of all individuals to use the Library there are times when decisions must be made to protect persons and property. Therefore, under certain circumstances, the Library staff is authorized to remove and exclude individuals from the Library’s premises.
A. INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR WITHIN THE LIBRARY OR ON LIBRARY GROUNDS
Some of the following circumstances shall constitute just cause for removal from Library premises, suspension and/or termination of Library privileges:
- 1. smoking on the north side of the building including the parking lot, sidewalks, and main library entrance.
- sleeping, loitering, littering, soliciting, or being under the influence of alcohol or other substances;
- inside the library: smoking, use of food or drink, talking in areas designated for quiet study, use of cell phones;
- viewing and/or displaying information or images that are obscene, pornographic, or harmful to minors (consistent with state laws and/or local standards) via the Library’s public access computers or through any other method;
- skateboarding, in-line skating, fighting, boisterous behavior, use of foul language, running, pushing, climbing, obstruction of persons or vehicles, and other behavior determined by staff, in its sole discretion, to be disruptive;
- engaging in theft, vandalism or other criminal acts;
- engaging in other behavior that interferes with the proper and established functioning of a public library, that threatens the safety and/or welfare of individuals, or that interferes with the quiet enjoyment of the library and library grounds by other individuals.
In the event a patron’s actions present an imminent danger to the life or safety of him/herself or others, he/she will be expelled from the premises immediately.
In the case of emergency situations, the Library reserves the right to expel patrons from the premises and is authorized to call upon other agencies (e.g. police, fire department, etc.) in order to protect people and property.
B. CHILD BEHAVIOR AND SUPERVISION
The Library Board of Directors and staff view service to children as an important part of the Library’s mission. Children are encouraged to use the Library for reading, study, research, quiet play, and attending programs.
However, parents, guardians, and caregivers should be mindful that the Library is a public building open to all individuals, and that unattended children are vulnerable. In order to provide for the general welfare of all persons using the Library, and in order to provide for the general safety of children using the Library:
- 1. All children ages 11 and under must be accompanied and adequately supervised by a responsible person (e.g. an adult or mature adolescent.)
- Children 12 years and older may use the Library when unaccompanied by a responsible adult. However, parents, guardians, or caregivers are expected to be aware of the opening and closing times of the Library, and to make suitable arrangements to meet and/or transport their children. Inclement weather, power failures, and other unforeseen emergencies can and do occur, requiring the Library to open late or to close early. Children left alone in the Library or on Library premises could be at risk of danger.
- Parents, guardians, and caregivers are responsible for the safety and conduct of their children while they are on Library premises. The Library is not responsible for children who socialize on Library premises after closing.
- The Library staff is not responsible for providing supervision and care for children while the parents, guardians, or caregivers are outside the Library or in another part of the building. The staff does not monitor children leaving the premises, nor is it their responsibility to know if a child is leaving with a parent, guardian, relative, friend, or stranger.
- Children are not allowed to go into staff areas including behind the Circulation Desk or other public service desks.
- Children are expected to adhere to the same standards of conduct as are adults. Disruptive children are defined as children violating the Library rules and regulations as defined by Library policy. Disruptive children may be asked to leave the Library. In the cases of small children whose behavior might at times be disturbing to others, Library staff may request that the caregiver remove the child from the building temporarily.
Parents, guardians, and caregivers are referred to the Connecticut General Statutes 53-21a, which describes the legal consequences that can result from leaving children under the age of 12 unattended in a public place.
C. CHILD SAFETY:
Any public place can be dangerous for a child who is left alone or who is stranded after closing hours. While the Library staff does not accept responsibility for the safety, care, or supervision of an unattended child of any age, Library procedures will deal positively with issues of security and safety specifically related to minors.
Only animals assisting the handicapped are permitted in the Library building.
POLICY EFFECTIVE DATE, AMENDMENTS, AND REVISIONS
This policy is effective upon approval of the Library Board of Directors. Amendments and/or revisions to this policy shall be formulated and recommended to the Board by the Policy Committee. The policy may then be amended and/or revised at the regular meeting of the Board, following the meeting at which the amendment and/or revision was proposed.
|Approved by the Library Board of Directors:
||January 22, 1990
|Revised and approved:
September 23, 2002
December 12, 2005
May 22, 2006
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