Customer Conduct Policy
The purpose of this policy is to further delineate the Sno-Isle Board of Trustees Customer Use of Library Spaces Policy and ensure its fair and consistent application.
This administrative policy provides expectations for conduct on Sno-Isle Libraries property and describes the procedure for appealing Library decisions on customer conduct.
Each customer has a personal responsibility to ensure that Sno-Isle Libraries is a welcoming public library environment for all. No one shall engage in behaviors contrary to the principles, roles, and responsibilities defined in the Board Customer Use of Library Spaces Policy.
In order to maintain a safe and welcoming environment for all, the Library expects customers to:
- Understand that the library is a public place shared by many.
- Avoid behaviors which unreasonably interfere with other customers’ ability to use the library and its services.
- Be courteous and respect other library customers and staff.
- Conduct themselves in a safe and orderly way; allowing others to do the same.
- Respect library property.
- Safeguard personal items and ensure they do not obstruct access or impair safety for others.
- Comply with all federal, state, and local laws.
- Comply with local and statewide health and safety requirements, including practices implemented by Sno-Isle Libraries to protect customer and staff wellbeing.
- Comply with reasonable requests from library staff.
- Follow Sno-Isle Libraries policies, including the Internet Use and Safety Policy.
Guiding principles for customer conduct
The following examples are provided in this administrative policy to illustrate ways in which a customer’s conduct would violate the responsibilities defined in the Board policy. The examples are intended to guide staff decision making. It does not presume to be a complete list.
Shared use of spaces
Customers are participants in a shared, public use environment and must conduct themselves accordingly. They will be courteous, considerate, and understanding of library customers and staff. Examples of conduct that would violate this principle:
- Discrimination based on an individual's race, ethnicity, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, public assistance status, or any other status protected by law.
- Stalking or harassment, including sexual and racial harassment.
- Behavior that is abusive, bullying, intimidating, or disrespectful, including obscene, racially charged, or abusive language or images.
- Bringing animals into the library, other than legally-recognized service animals trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, except as approved by authorized staff such as for a library program.
- Conversation that is loud and disruptive to other customers, including personal phone calls.
- Disruptive behavior such as fighting, running, excessive noisemaking, or the use of sports equipment, such as skateboards, that create a physical hazard for others.
- Offensive body odor and other personal hygiene practices, including excessive scent, which unreasonably interfere with other customers’ ability to use the library and its services.
- Having feet on or improperly using furniture, or blocking aisles, exits, or entrances.
- Using another customer’s library account without permission.
- Violating library policies or rules.
- Posing a safety threat to one’s self or others.
- Engaging in offensive touching, obscene sexual acts with one’s self or others, and indecent exposure.
- Entering or remaining on library property when the individual has been banned from the premises.
- Conduct, including sleeping, that adversely impacts other customers’ access to library services, resources, or spaces.
Children and dependent individuals
Parents, guardians, and caregivers are solely responsible for supervising the activities and choices of their charges. The Library and its staff and volunteers are not responsible for anything that occurs as a result of a child or dependent individual accessing library information or resources against parent, guardian, or caregiver wishes. Further, library staff and volunteers cannot be responsible for unattended children or dependents, and parents, guardians, and caregivers should be mindful that a library is a public place. In the event that a child or dependent of any age is left unattended, library staff members will attempt to contact a parent, or guardian, or caregiver in the following instances:
- The unattended individual is frightened or crying.
- The unattended individual is perceived to be in an unsafe situation or poses a threat to themselves or others.
- An unattended individual is acting inappropriately.
- An unattended individual remains on library property at closing time and appears to have no effective means to return home.
Law enforcement may be called if a parent, guardian, or caregiver cannot be reached in the above-referenced instances. If any customer’s immediate safety or health is threatened, library staff will call 911 immediately, before contacting a parent, guardian, or caregiver.
Stewardship of library resources
Customers are stewards of the Library and its resources and are expected to value and respect these resources. Examples of conduct that would violate this principle:
- Defacing, damaging, endangering, stealing, misusing, or destroying library property.
- Bringing beverages in uncovered containers into the library.
- Misuse of library furniture or interfering with the proper operation of library equipment.
Adherence to laws and policies
Customers will comply with federal, state, and local laws and policies. Examples of conduct that would violate this principle include:
- Panhandling or soliciting.
- Carrying, exhibiting, displaying, or drawing any dangerous weapon in a manner that manifests as an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons.
- Consuming intoxicating substances or being under the influence of intoxicating substances in a manner that causes a public disturbance.
- Smoking, chewing tobacco, or use of e-cigarettes or similar devices inside the library, and/or in violation of federal, state, or local law while on library premises.
- Infringement of copyright laws including using library equipment or internet services to illegally download copyrighted material.
- Noncompliance with a library suspension or trespass notice.
Staff have an important role to ensure that Sno-Isle Libraries is a welcoming public library environment for everyone. Staff are expected to:
- Weigh the degree of disruptive conduct with the onsite conditions at the time.
- Exercise their best judgment in determining conduct that is in violation of the Customer Use of Library Spaces Policy and other relevant Library policies and rules in determining the correct course of action.
- Explain the Customer Use of Library Spaces Policy to customers.
- Request that customers conduct themselves in a way that maintains a welcoming and safe public library environment.
- Seek assistance from library supervisors, security staff, or local law enforcement to resolve ongoing, escalating, or severe customer conduct issues.
Willful and persistent failure to comply with the Customer Use of Library Spaces Policy may result in loss of library privileges. In the event of a minor customer conduct issue, staff will issue one or more warnings as appropriate before resorting to implementing a loss of library privileges. Major customer conduct issues such as actual or threatened violence, discrimination, or harassment may result in an immediate loss of library privileges with no warning.
The minimum period for loss of library privileges is one day, for which the customer will be required to leave the library for the rest of the day but will retain access to online resources. This suspension may be applied for a first time, minor violation that does not cease after one or more warnings.
Repeat minor violations, as well as moderate or severe violations, may result in a suspension of library privileges, typically for a period of one week to one year. Depending on the circumstances, suspensions of longer durations may be imposed. Suspended customers will be sent, via certified mail, a letter of explanation within ten days of the infraction. In the event the customer has no valid mailing address, the Library Manager will have a copy of the letter of explanation to provide to the customer, should they return to the library.
In the case of a suspension, Sno-Isle Libraries reserves the right to issue a trespass notice through the appropriate law enforcement agency. Any incidents involving illegal activity may be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency. When library privileges are suspended, the customer will lose access to all Sno-Isle Libraries facilities, grounds, physical materials, and electronic resources for the duration of the suspension.
Library staff are expected to apply library policy in a fair and reasonable manner. Any customer who is subject to a suspension of library privileges may appeal the decision in writing by contacting the Director of Public Services. The written appeal must be submitted within thirty days of the date of the suspension notice. The Director of Public Services will review the written appeal and make a determination to uphold, modify, or overturn the suspension within fourteen days, providing written notice to the customer of the outcome. Written notice will be sent via certified mail. In the event the customer has no valid mailing address, the Library Manager will have a copy of the written notice to provide to the customer, should they return to the library.
If the Director of Public Services’ determination is not satisfactory, the customer may submit a written appeal to the Executive Director within fourteen days of receiving the Director of Public Services’ determination. The Executive Director shall review the written appeal and issue a determination within fourteen days, providing written notice to the customer of the outcome in the manner described above.
If the Executive Director’s response is not satisfactory, a final written appeal may be submitted in writing to the Board of Trustees within fourteen days of receiving the Executive Director’s determination. The matter will be placed on the Board’s agenda and be discussed during the next regular meeting, which is open to the public. After allowing an opportunity for public testimony on the issue, the Board will issue a final determination within thirty days and provide written notice to the customer of their decision in the manner described above.
Associated Policies and Laws
- RCW 27.12.270. Rules and regulations—Free use of libraries.
- RCW 27.12.290. Violators may be excluded.
- RCW 27.12.330. Penalty for injury to property.
- Sno-Isle Libraries Board policy. Customer Use of Library Spaces.
- Sno-Isle Libraries Board policy. Library Bill of Rights.
- Sno-Isle Libraries Board policy. Internet Use and Safety.
This administrative policy is reviewed every four (4) years by the Director of Public Services (or designee). The review is completed in conjunction with the Sno-Isle Libraries Board’s review of the Customer Use of Library Spaces Policy. Upon completion of the review, this policy is revised or reaffirmed.
Date approved: December 3, 2020
Next review date: 2024
Adopted: December 3, 2020