Patron Behavior Policy

I. General

The C.E. Brehm Memorial Public Library District is dedicated to providing access to knowledge and information through reading, writing and quiet contemplation.

The Library Board of Trustees is responsible for determining the rules of behavior necessary to protect the rights of individuals to use Library materials and services, to protect the rights of Library employees to conduct Library business without interference, and to preserve Library materials and facilities. The Illinois Local Library Act gives the Board the right “To exclude from the use of the Library any person who willfully violates the rules prescribed by the Board.”

The Board of Trustees believes that Library patrons have the right to use Library materials and services without being disturbed or impeded by other Library users, and that Library patrons and employees have the right to an environment that is secure and comfortable.

The theft, vandalism or mutilation of Library property is a violation of Article 16B of the Illinois Criminal Code. Depending on the value of the materials or property, violations of this Article are considered a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 3 felony. Violators will be prosecuted.

Violation of federal, state or local ordinances on Library property will be prosecuted.

II.  Specific Rules of Behavior

    1. Misconduct that disturbs Library users or staff or that hinders others from using the Library or Library materials is prohibited. In the case of any misconduct that, in the judgment of a staff member, is extreme, the offender may receive only one warning or may be ordered to leave the building immediately, as appropriate.
      1. Conversation that exceeds an acceptable noise level or is disturbing to other patrons or Library staff is prohibited.  Cell phone use is restricted to the pay phone area and all phones must be set to silent ring.  The patron receives one warning; at the second offense the patron must leave the Library for the rest of the day.
      2. Running in the Library is not permitted. The patron receives two warnings; at the third offense the patron must leave the Library for the rest of the day.
      3. Harassing others, either verbally or through actions, is prohibited. Harassment may include initiating unwanted conversations with other library users or staff, impeding access to the Library property or building or any area of the building, staring at another person, throwing objects or hitting another person. The patron receives one warning; at the second offense the patron must leave the building for the rest of the day.
      4. Fighting is prohibited. All patrons involved must immediately leave the Library building for the rest of the day.
    2. No smoking is permitted anywhere in the Library. Use of chewing tobacco and the possession of spittoons are prohibited in the Library. The patron must go outside and dispose of tobacco and/or spittoon; at the second offense the patron must leave the Library for the rest of the day.
    3. Eating or drinking is prohibited in the Library. Exceptions are use of water fountains, baby bottles, staff areas, and groups using the Metcalf Meeting Room. The patron is required to put the food or drink away, remove food or drink from the Library, or dispose of food or drink in a waste container. At the second offense the patron must leave the Library for the rest of the day.
    4. Solicitation for charitable purposes or selling is prohibited on Library property. The patron receives one warning; at the second offense the patron must leave the Library for the rest of the day.
    5. Petition, surveys, leaflets: The distribution of leaflets inside the Library is prohibited except in meeting room by groups authorized to use the room. Community organizations may submit literature to the administration for approval for display in the information racks. Taking surveys, asking patrons to sign petitions, or similar activities are prohibited inside the Library. The only exceptions to all of the above are activities sponsored or cosponsored by the Library. The patron receives one warning; at the second offense the patron must leave the Library for the rest of the day. Staff will dispose of any unauthorized materials left in the Library.
    6. Animals, except those to aid persons with disabilities, are not permitted in the Library. Animals may not be left unattended at Library entrances and exits. The patron must remove the animal from the Library building and/or entrances and exits immediately.
    7. Shirts and Shoes must be worn at all times in the Library. Roller skates, roller blades, or metal cleated sport shoes may not be worn inside the Library. A patron with no shirt or shoes must leave the building and is not permitted to return without shirt or shoes. A patron that has removed his or her shirt or shoes will receive one warning; at the second offense the patron must leave the Library for the rest of the day.

      Patrons whose bodily hygiene disturbs employees or other patrons to the extent that use of library facilities, collections or services is materially disrupted shall be requested by Library personnel to remedy the hygiene problem before resuming use of the Library. If, following a request, the patron fails or refuses to comply, or responds to the request in an abusive fashion, he/she will be required to leave the Library premises immediately.

    8. Children, ten (10) years of age or younger, may not be left unattended in the Library. They must be under the direct supervision of a parent or other caregiver, age 16 or older, responsible for the child when in the Library. If the parent or caregiver is in the Library, the child will be taken to the responsible person who will be warned to supervise the child. Two warnings will be given. On the third offense the patron must take the child out of the Library and will not be permitted to return with the child for the rest of the day. If no parent or caregiver is present in the Library, the parent will be contacted and told that this is not permitted.

    9. Seating: The Library reserves the right to limit the number of people who may sit together. There is a limit of four persons per study table, one person per individual carrel, and one person per chair. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of Library staff on duty in the case of a special project or to permit access to particular Library materials. The patrons receive two warnings; at the third offense the patrons must leave the Library for the rest of the day.

      Organized tour/study groups will limit their visit to the library stacks area to a maximum of three hours. There will be one adult supervisor for every ten children.

    10. Climbing on Furniture: Equipment and furniture may only be used for their intended purpose. Standing or climbing on furniture or brick wills is not allowed. Step stools are provided by the Library for standing on to reach materials on high shelves. The patrons receive two warnings; at the third offense the patrons must leave the Library for the rest of the day.
    11. Personal Belongings: The Library is not responsible for personal belongings left unattended. Patrons will be warned that, for their own protection, they should not leave personal belongings unattended. Patrons may not leave personal belongings in the Library when they leave the building for lunch or shopping. Should belongings be left unattended for an extended period of time or at closing, a full-time employee along with another staff member as witness, will remove the belongings to the staff office area. Staff will label item with the date, time, and names of two staff finding items. Personal belongings left at the Library will be disposed of after three months. Unclaimed wallets, purses, and other items of value may be turned over to the Mt. Vernon Police Department.
    12. Theft or Mutilation of Property: The Library reserves the right to inspect all bags, purses, briefcases and packs for Library materials in the event that a security system is activated. Any time a patron is suspected of concealing Library materials for the purpose of stealing or mutilating the materials, employees may require the patron to present personal bags or cases for inspection. Anyone found stealing or mutilating Library property will be prosecuted.
    13. Service Desks: Only Library staff or authorized individuals are allowed behind the public service desks. The patron receives one warning; at the second offense the patron must leave the Library for the rest of the day.
    14. Skateboards may not be ridden anywhere inside the Library on Library property.
    15. Patrons must leave the Library at the designated closing time. Library staff are not responsible for patrons’ transportation or safety beyond the closing time. Closing announcements will be made in each department at least ten (10) minutes before closing. Patrons should complete their library business and leave the Library by the closing time.
    16. The violation of federal, state, or local laws will not be permitted. Theft, vandalism, and mutilation of Library property are criminal offenses that will be prosecuted.

III. Repeated Violations of the Library Rules of Behavior
Patrons who cause repeated disturbances in the Library will have their Library privileges revoked or restricted.

    1. Adults – An adult patron who has caused repeated disturbances in the Library will be warned that his/her Library privileges will be revoked and he/she will not be allowed to enter the building if the behavior continues. This warning will be in the form of a letter sent by the Administrative Librarian and will suggest that the patron contact the Administrative Librarian if further discussion is needed. If the patron continues to cause disturbances, she/he will be barred from the Library for one month. If, when Library privileges are reinstated, the disturbances continue, the Library will take action to bar the individual from Library property for a length of time that the Board deems appropriate.
    2. Minors – Children who have caused repeated disturbances in the Library will be warned that his/her Library privileges will be revoked and he/she will not be allowed to enter the building if the behavior continues. This warning will be in the form of a letter sent by the Administrative Librarian to the child’s parents or guardians describing the problems, warning them of the consequences, and suggesting that the parent/guardian contact the Administrative Librarian if further discussion is needed. Minors who become a continuing disturbance in the Library will not be permitted to use the Library unless a parent or guardian accompanies the child to the Library and supervises the child while she/he is in the building. The first time the child’s Library privileges are restricted it will be for a period of one month. If the disruptive behavior continues, the Library will take action to bar the individual from Library property for a length of time that the Board deems appropriate.

Ordinance 95-1

Approved: February 14, 1995
Revised:  December 13, 2001