Mercer County Public Library
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MERCER COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY BEHAVIOR AND CONDUCT POLICY

The Mercer County Public Library building and bookmobile are public facilities to be used by all people for the purpose for which they were established. It is the intent of the Board of Trustees to provide a safe environment and a quiet and orderly atmosphere for all patrons so that they may enjoy the services provided by the Library. The Board of Trustees is responsible for determining the rules for public behavior within or upon these facilities. The Board of Trustees has authorized the Director, or designee, to take all action necessary to maintain the safety and security of our patrons and library property and to maintain an orderly atmosphere.

UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIORS

Prohibited behaviors shall include but not be limited to:

Smoking or use of tobacco products or simulated smoking devices within the library;

Eating or drinking within the library, unless part of an organized library event;

Being under the influence of, or using, alcohol or controlled substances;

Loud or disorderly conduct;

Harassment of other patrons or staff;

   Trespassing;

Damaging or abusing library property, including materials, furnishings or computers;

Library staff shall try to remain cognizant of behaviors within the library. Staff shall be receptive to complaints from patrons and, unless the behavior is such that warrants immediate action to ensure the safety of patrons or staff, shall warn offending patrons to alter their conduct and, if necessary, provide a copy of this policy for the patron's review. If the offending behavior continues, the Director, or designee, shall be informed. The Director, or designee, shall ask the offending patron to come into the office to discuss the problem. If a resolution can not be reached at that point, the Director, or designee, shall advise the patron to leave the premises.

If the offending patron is an adult, the Director, or designee, is authorized to revoke the offending patron's library privileges for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days. The patron may request the Board of Trustees to review the Director's decision.

If the offending patron is a minor child, a minor being defined as under the age of eighteen (18) years, the Director may revoke the minor's library privileges until such time as the Director is able to meet with the minor patron and their parent(s). Subsequent violations by a minor patron may result in revocation of privileges for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days. The minor patron, or parent, may request the Board of Trustees to review secondary revocations.

Patrons who have been asked to leave the premises have lost their right to be in the library and failure to leave may result in the notification of law enforcement and prosecution for Criminal Trespass. Loud, obnoxious or abusive behavior within the library may result in prosecution for Disorderly Conduct. Any patron who willfully damages or destroys library property may be prosecuted for Criminal Mischief. Any patron who engages in a physical confrontation with another patron or staff may be prosecuted for Harassment or Assault.

The library is here for the enjoyment of all. While staff will be tolerant of patrons who behave in an unusual manner, it is equally important not to ignore someone whose behavior poses a threat to the safety or security of the public or causes other patrons to leave the library.

This policy was adopted 11/11/2002 by the Mercer County Public Library Board of Trustees.