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Behavior Policy

Introduction/Overview
The Bridgeville Public Library aims to insure service to all its customers. The Library serves the community most effectively when everyone follows these guidelines.

Definition of Problem Behavior
Problem behavior is any behavior which either consciously or unconsciously violates or restricts the rights of customers or staff to use the Library.

General Library Behavior Guidelines
The Bridgeville Public Library supports the rights of all individuals to:

  • Use the library without discrimination
  • Receive friendly, courteous and respectful service
  • Have free and equal access to information
  • Have a clean, comfortable and pleasant environment
  • Use the library undisturbed without threat of harm, invasion of property, or interference

The Library is for everyone's enjoyment. The following guidelines for customer conduct, inclusive of but not limited to, are essential to ensure respect for individuals who use this public facility:
 
Audio Equipment: Playing audio equipment so that others can hear it is not allowed.

Bicycles: Bicycles must be parked in designated areas outside the building. They are not allowed on the lower entrance ramp or inside the building.

Cell Phones: As a courtesy to other Library users, customers entering the Library with a cell phone, pager, or similar electronic device should turn the device off or set it to a non-audible signal (flashing light, vibration, etc.).

Children: See SAFETY OF CHILDREN IN LIBRARY policy for additional information about unattended children and disruptive behavior.

Clothing: Shirts and shoes must be worn in the Library.

Computer Equipment (Misuse of): Abuse of equipment includes banging on the keyboard or other use of excessive force, misappropriation of hardware or software, and attempts to alter the software. Oftentimes "misuse" may be nothing more than a small child unknowingly banging on the keyboard. If this is the case, the child, or the child's guardian, should be asked to stop the behavior; do so in a polite, non-threatening manner.

Daily Closing: Staff will give a ten-minute warning prior to closing time. Customers are responsible for knowing the closing time for that day. Personal belongings left in the Library at closing time will be locked in the building until the Library is next open to the public.

Damages: Those who damage or deface Library materials or property will be prosecuted. Parents can be liable for damage done by a child under the age of eighteen.

Disturbances: Creating a disturbance by making noise, talking loudly, or engaging in other loud or disruptive conduct is not allowed. Willfully annoying another person. Using profane, obscene or offensive language.

Entrances: Building entrances and exits including the ramp to the lower entrance may not be blocked. Carriages and strollers may be left near the entrance provided that the entrance is not obstructed.

Food and Drink: In order to create a welcoming atmosphere, eating and drinking, if done responsibly, is allowed throughout the building with the exception of the computer/local history room and/or when using items from this collection. Abuse of this privilege may result in a request to leave the building.

Interference: Interfering with another person's right to use the Library or with the Library staff's performance of their duties is not allowed.

Library Furniture (Misuse of): In order to maintain clean and attractive Library facilities and furniture, it is forbidden to sit on tables and heating units, place feet on furniture, lie on floors, or to deface walls and elevators. Customers should sit one to a chair.

Loitering: Loitering on Library property is not allowed. This rule requires staff to exercise discretion with regards to what is considered unacceptable loitering behavior. In general, the determining factor will be whether the offending party prevents others from enjoying the Library.

Personal Possessions: Personal possessions should not be left at public service points for safekeeping. The Library is unable to guarantee the security of such items.

Pets: Certified service animals and guide dogs are allowed in the Library at all times. Unattended animals, inside or outside the building, are not permitted.

Public Displays of Affection: Excessive displays of affection are inappropriate behavior for the Library.

Restrooms: Misusing the rest rooms (e.g. using them as a laundry or washing facility, or defacing the walls) is not allowed.

Running: Running is not allowed in the Library building.

Skateboards, Roller Skates and Other Sports Equipment: Customers may bring these into the Library while they look for materials, however they may not be used on Library property.

Sleeping: Library users who simply doze off for a short time should ordinarily be left alone. Habitual offenders should be asked to remain awake or be asked to leave. Discretion should be used in approaching a sleeping customer. Do not touch or shake them.

Solicitation: Soliciting customers and staff for donations or for the purpose of obtaining signatures on petitions is not allowed on Library property.

Staff Only Areas: Customers are not allowed to enter areas posted "Staff Only" without permission. These areas include but may not be limited to, any staff work area, the staff break room, and the mechanical areas of the building.

Suicide: Staff should treat all threats of suicide seriously and immediately report them to the police.

Threats: Threatening behavior, including, but not limited to, violence, threats of violence, and possession of weapons is not allowed.

Tobacco: Smoking and the use of tobacco products is prohibited in the Library.

Expulsion from Building/Suspension of Library Privileges
Failure to comply with the behavior guidelines stated above will result in the offending customer(s) being asked to leave the Library; continued noncompliance will result in suspension of library privileges.

For minor infractions (loud, disruptive, blocking entrance/exit, profanity, viewing inappropriate images on library network, etc.):

  • First offense: asked to leave the library for the remainder of the day
  • Second offense: asked to leave the library for the remainder of the day
  • Third offense: a two week suspension will be imposed

If minor infractions continue the Director/Board will use their judgment on a case-by-case basis.

For major infractions (smoking in the building, possession of illegal drugs or alcohol, using the library network for illegal or obscene purposes, etc.):

  • First offense: asked to leave the library for 24 hours
  • Second offense: a two week suspension will be imposed

Depending on severity of the infraction and on a case-by-case basis, punishment is at the discretion of the Director and/or Board of Trustees. Major infractions that put the safety of others in jeopardy (threatening, weapons, vandalism, inappropriate touching, etc.) will incur a three-month suspension. If major infractions continue the Director/Board will use their judgment on a case-by-case basis.

The Director delegates to Library supervisors, and by extension any Library staff member, the authority to request a customer leave the building. If the Director is present, s/he may be asked to take the necessary disciplinary action, including expulsion. Customers misbehaving are generally given two warnings and then asked to leave the facility. Particularly egregious behavior may warrant immediate expulsion. Customers asked to leave the facility for disciplinary reasons are at a minimum barred for the remainder of the day and/or evening.

Barring a customer for a period greater than one day is a decision that will be made by the Library Director and/or the Board of Trustees. The Director is authorized by the Bridgeville Public Library Board of Trustees to exclude from the privileges of the Library any problem customer.

Violations of the Policy will result in increasing levels of action, ranging from asking the patron to leave the library for the remainder of the day to the patron’s permanent loss of all library privileges to legal prosecution. The level of action shall be determined on a case-by-case basis and shall be within the sole discretion of the Library Director or his/her designee.

Notice of suspension of library privileges will be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address of the customer or, in the case of a minor child, his/her parents or guardian. A copy of this correspondence will be sent to the Bridgeville Police Department.

Appeal of the suspension may be made, in writing, to: Board of Trustees, Bridgeville Public Library, 210 Marker Street, Bridgeville, DE 19933, within ten (10) days of receipt of notice of suspension. The customer, or in the case of a minor child, the parents or guardian, will be notified by the Board of the date and time of the hearing on the notice of appeal.

It is important to emphasize that at no time will physical force be used by any library personnel to remove a customer from the building. As appropriate, other library staff on duty may accompany an employee when a customer is to be informed that s/he is requested to leave the building or is not permitted to take this action. If the customer resists and immediate removal is needed, the police will be contacted.


Bridgeville Library · 600 South Cannon Street · Bridgeville, DE 19933      302.337.7401

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