Behavior and Use of Facilities

Behavior & Use of Facilities

The Missouri River Regional Library Board of Trustees strives to maintain safe and secure facilities for public library service. The Library Board and staff have the right and responsibility to protect the safety of all library patrons and to maintain order on library property, which includes setting rules of behavior and regulations for the use of library buildings. These rules do not replace or preclude the use of good judgment on the part of library staff in specific situations.

Approved: August 21, 2018

Regulation

Patron Code of Conduct:

In order to fulfill its mission, the Missouri River Regional Library is committed to providing a safe and positive atmosphere for patrons in our libraries. Any behavior that threatens this atmosphere will not be tolerated. Such behavior includes the harassment of patrons or staff, any interference with staff members in the performance of their duties, lingering in the children’s area without library intent, and any other behavior that would interfere with legitimate library activity. Library users who fail to behave responsibly, or who act in violation of our policies, may be asked to leave.

In accordance with the patron code of conduct:

  1. Noise levels will be kept to a minimum within the library.
  2. The library and its grounds are an alcohol, smoke, tobacco, vapor, and drug- free environment.
  3. Service animals are welcome in the library and must be on a leash.
  4. Solicitation of funds and sales of goods by the general public are not allowed on library property except as requested by the Library, or on behalf of the Library Friends or Foundation.
  5. Drinks with secure lids are permitted.  Food is not allowed, unless it is in a meeting room or at a Library-sponsored event.
  6. Theft or damage of library property will result in loss of library privileges.

The following behaviors and actions are prohibited on Library property:

  1. Disobeying the reasonable direction of a library staff member.
  2. Harassment of any kind or the intentional annoyance of any patron or staff member.
  3. Behavior that is disruptive to library use.
  4. Interfering with staff members in the performance of their duties.
  5. Lingering in the children’s area without library intent.
  6. Any state of undress, including lack of shoes.
  7. Indecent conduct or exposure of one’s person.
  8. Using abusive or foul language.
  9. Skateboarding, rollerblading and roller-skating.
  10. Being in non-public areas of the Library without permission.
  11. Public intoxication.
  12. Possessing large objects that block access or impede safety.
  13. Lack of personal hygiene to such an extent that it interferes with library use by others.
  14. Excessive use of fragrance, perfume or cologne.
  15. Cell phone use in undesignated areas.
  16. Leaving children 10 and under unattended.

Procedures:

Patrons who break the above patron code of conduct and list of prohibited behaviors may be approached by a library employee and asked to stop the behavior, if they refuse to cooperate they will be asked to leave the library. If the patron refuses to leave, law enforcement will be notified.

Incidents of prohibited or illegal behavior may result in banishment from library property. In such cases, the library director will notify the patron in writing if possible and may notify local authorities.

With regard to service animals, staff may ask a person to remove a service animal when that animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the safety of others or if its behavior is disturbing other library users. When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the service animal been trained to perform. Staff may not ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the service animal, or ask that the service animal demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task. Comfort animals are not allowed.  No other animals are allowed in library buildings or on the Library bookmobile unless as part of a Library-sponsored event.

Youth in the Library

Service to youth is a major focus of the library's mission. Youth are welcome to use the library at any time it is open. However, the library does not have a specific responsibility to care for, or watch out for youth left unattended in its facilities. Children under 10 must be accompanied by someone 14 or older at all times. Parents or caregivers are responsible for the behavior of their children. Teachers are responsible for the conduct of their students when they are in the library for a class visit or tour.

The library recognizes that teens deserve a space that is safe, relaxing, and responsive to their needs and interests. As such, the library maintains the Teen Zone for use by teens aged 12-18. Patrons outside of this age range may be permitted at the discretion of Teen Zone staff.

Procedures:

If unattended children are left at the library, a parent or legal guardian will be notified to pick them up. If a parent cannot be reached, the police will be called to escort them to the police station to be picked up by a parent or legal guardian.

Under no circumstances will a library employee or volunteer transport a youth from library premises.

As a parent or guardian, you are responsible for what your child reads, and for materials checked out on your child's library card. Being a library card holder is an excellent chance for your child to learn about responsibility; how to choose what to read, making sure library materials are returned on time, and paying fines when materials are overdue.

Our book selectors seek materials that will provide a broad range of viewpoints and subject matter. Consequently, while our collection has thousands of items families want, like and need, it may also have materials that some parents might find offensive to them or inappropriate for their children.

Libraries must meet the diverse needs of everyone in the community. They cannot overrule the rights and responsibilities of individuals by deciding who does or doesn't have access to library materials. Decisions about what materials are suitable for particular children should be made by the people who know them best -- their parents or guardians.

Children mature at different rates. They have different backgrounds and interests, and they have different reading levels and abilities. For instance, one parent may feel a particular library book is inappropriate for his daughter, while the same book may be a favorite of her classmate's family. These factors make it impossible for librarians to set any criteria for restricting based on age alone. To do so would keep others who want and need materials from having access to them.

Like adults, youth have the right to seek and receive the information that they choose. It is the right and responsibility of parents to guide their own family's library use while allowing other parents to do the same.

Parents should discuss rules regarding library use with their children. If you are concerned they will not respect your wishes, it is your responsibility to visit the library with them.

Librarians are not authorized to act as parents, but they are happy to provide suggestions and guidance to parents and youth at any time.