Patron Code of Conduct
In order to ensure constructive, safe, and enjoyable use of Library facilities, materials, and services, as well as the personal comfort of all patrons, the Newton County Library Board has established the following code of conduct.
- Patrons should use appropriate levels of noise. Patrons should not shout, conduct loud conversations, engage in arguments and/or use abusive, threatening or offensive language.
- Patrons may not bully, harass, or bother people including staring at or following another patron or staff member, engaging, threatening in offensive or abusive behavior, or displaying drunkenness or drug intoxication. Solicitation is not allowed.
- Patrons should practice acceptable hygiene in body and clothing. Patrons with excessive body odor or excessively smelly or dirty clothing may be asked to leave.
- Rowdy behavior such as running, chasing, or wrestling are not allowed.
- Bringing weapons or threatening objects into the library is prohibited
- Except for service animals, patrons may not bring animals into the library or leave them unaccompanied except in vehicles or leashed on library property (with appropriate consideration of weather and temperature).
- Food and drinks are not allowed in the library except as refreshments during library programs or at scheduled meetings held in the program room.
- Smoking and the use of tobacco products are not allowed.
- Cell phones should be set to silent or turned off while in the library and cell phone conversations should be conducted outside.
- Use of mobile devices for verbal communication is prohibited inside the building. The use of mobile devices for wireless Internet, text messages, e-mail, etc. is permitted. Computers, mobile devices, and other audio devices may be used with headphones as long as they are at a level that does not disrupt patrons or staff near them.
- Patrons are expected to leave the library upon the designated closing time. Minor children must be picked up before the library closes. Parents who do not pick up their children before closing may be reported to the sheriff’s office.
- Leaving a child under 10 years old unattended by an adult is not allowed.
- Shirts and shoes are required.
- The library is not responsible for unattended personal items and will not store them in staff space for patrons. A lost and found is maintained. Items not claimed after 2 weeks will be donated to charitable organizations or disposed of.
- The public may only enter staff areas to look at used books for sale unless invited to enter by a staff member.
- Water and electric outlets outside the building are for the purpose of library maintenance. They are not to be used by patrons.
- Patrons may not deface or damage the library building, materials, or property.
- Failure to comply with the above may result in expulsion from the library or the loss of library use privileges.
Any staff member may enforce this Policy by pointing out violations to patrons and requesting compliance. The Library Director or staff member on duty may restrict access to Library facilities with immediate dismissal of the patron from the premises, by suspending the patron’s access to Library facilities for a set period of time, or by denying access to specific services and/or programs.
Suspension of Library Privileges
A staff member on duty may suspend the Library privileges of a patron, including access to materials, activities, services, or facilities without prior approval of the Library Director if the situation is a serious offense and constitutes a violation of Newton County Library policies. Examples of serious offenses include, but are not limited to: verbal abuse, violence, threatening behavior, sexual harassment, theft or attempted theft, or any behaviors that threaten the safety and security of staff and/or patrons. The person-in-charge shall call the Police Department rather than place themselves or others in a threatening situation.
• The person-in-charge may issue an immediate suspension order by requesting that the offending person leave the Library immediately.
• The person-in-charge may issue a warning letter to the offending patron for offenses that do not require immediate suspension of privileges (example: situational anger inappropriately expressed in a disruptive manner).
• The person-in-charge may issue a suspension of privileges order when behavior is serious and/or repeated after a verbal warning has been issued. The time of suspension will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the number of times the patron has been suspended previously. Suspension orders will be issued in writing when possible.
Right of Appeal
A patron with suspended privileges may appeal a suspension in writing to the Library Director within 14 working days of the date of the letter. The patron must state clearly why he/she believes that his/her privileges should be restored.
The Library Director or a designee will respond to the appeal in writing within 14 working days of the date the appeal was received. Privileges will remain suspended throughout the appeals process.
If the patron is not satisfied with the Library Director’s decision, he/she may appeal to the Library Board of Trustees at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. He/she must appear in person to make this appeal. The decision of the Board of Trustees is final.
Adopted by the Newton County Library Board September 23, 2013. Amended 12/7/2015. Amended 2/27/2017. Amended 4/2/2018. Amended 8/5/2019.