Behavior and Conduct on Library Property Policy
Rules for Public Behavior and Conduct:
To maintain an atmosphere appropriate for work, study, and enjoyment for all Library patrons and staff, the following policy on behavior in the Portsmouth Public Library and on Library properties has been established. The policy will be courteously, but firmly, enforced by library staff.
Rules for public behavior and conduct are necessary to:
- Protect the rights of individuals to use library materials and services.
- Protect the rights of library employees to conduct library business without interference.
- Ensure the use of library buildings, materials, and services by the greatest number of individuals.
- Preserve library facilities and materials from harm or theft.
- Ensure the safety of library patrons and employees.
Behavior that Interferes with the Rights of Other:
Any behavior that interferes with the orderly operations of the Library is prohibited. The following behaviors or situations are not permitted and will result in being asked to correct the situation immediately or to leave Library property:
- Improper dress including bare feet and no shirt.
- Entering or remaining upon library premises with an offensive and pervasive body odor that constitutes a nuisance to patrons and staff.
- Bringing pets or animals other than Service animals necessary for disabilities into any library location.
- Unreasonable noise including: loud talking, singing, shouting, boisterous behavior, cellphone, pay phone and audio/visual equipment usage.
- Use of profanity or loud conversations which are disturbing to other patrons or employees.
- Sleeping in or on library property.
- Abusing library furniture, equipment, materials or vandalizing any library property.
- Neglecting to provide proper supervision of children or leaving children under the age of 12 unattended per the Library’s Unattended Child Policy.
- Tobacco use of any form including electronic nicotine delivery systems anywhere in or on library property.
- Possessing, selling, distributing, consuming or being under the influence of any alcoholic beverage, illegal drugs or controlled substance.
- Eating while inside the library building except for those groups using the Meeting room.
- Using restrooms for bathing or shampooing, doing laundry or shaving.
- Creating a health hazard due to visible presence of pests on person, belongings or their returned Library materials.
- Fighting or challenging to fight, running, pushing, shoving or throwing things on Library Property.
- Possessing weapons or other items deemed dangerous by library staff or violating the posted concealed weapons prohibition.
- Engaging in any behavior that is disruptive, threatening or harassing in nature to patrons or staff including stalking, staring, impeding access to the building or property, lurking, offensive touching and obscene acts or gestures, sex acts and indecent exposure.
- The Library reserves the right to inspect all bags, purses, briefcases, backpacks, etc. for library material.
- The Library reserves the right to limit the number of individuals who may sit together.
- The Library requires that all motorized equipment be used with caution and at a minimal speed.
- Library equipment or work areas designated for staff may not be used for public use.
- Soliciting or conducting surveys unless approved by Director or Board of Trustees.
- Bicycles, skateboards, scooters, roller-skates, rollerblades, or shopping carts may not be brought into the library.
- Personal property may not be placed in a way that impedes access or blocks evacuation routes inside or outside the building.
- No patron may represent himself as an employee of the library.
- Gambling, panhandling, and soliciting money or any activity promoting personal profit.
- Engaging in any activity in violation of federal, state, local or other applicable law or library policy.
- Children under the age of twelve must be accompanied and attended to by a care giver or parent, and must abide by the behavior policies.
Library Response to Violations of Behavior Policy:
The Board authorizes the Director or their designees to temporarily or permanently restrict or revoke the library privileges of any individual who violates these rules. The Board also authorizes the Director to file charges against individuals who continually violate this policy.
Security personnel and all library employees are authorized to notify an individual when his/her behavior violates these rules. Failure to comply with the Library Behavior Policy will result in the removal from the premises, suspension or termination of library privileges or prosecution. Policy infractions will result in being asked to change the behavior that violates the policy. If a patron violates a policy, he/she will be asked to leave library property for the day. If the individual does not leave library property, law enforcement will be called for assistance and a possible charge of criminal trespass per Section 2911.21 of the Ohio Revised Code may occur.
If there are repeated infractions from an individual and they have previously been asked to leave for the day, the next step will be a 30-day suspension of library privileges and being banned from any library location or property. If, after the 30-day suspension any infractions occur, a 180-day suspension will be enforced pending the Director’s decision for further disciplinary action based on all written reports and documents kept on the violator. Further disciplinary actions may include a one-year suspension up to and including a permanent termination of library privileges and use of any library location. The suspension process may be waived and a termination of library privileges may occur immediately depending on the seriousness of the infraction. The Director will impose all suspensions lasting 30 days or longer.
Suspension Appeal Process:
A patron whose suspension exceeds 30 days has the right to a review by the Director. A patron may request an in-person hearing or submit a written statement or other documentation to the Director in which case the Director will decide based upon the documents. Written or verbal requests must be made within seven (7) days of notification of the suspension. If a patron requests an in-person hearing, the patron will be notified of the date, time and place by mail. To request a hearing or review in writing, please mail the request to Director, Portsmouth Public Library, 1220 Gallia St., Portsmouth, OH 45662. To request a hearing or review in person, please call the Director at 740-353-5990.
The above rules are based on powers granted to a library board of trustees under Ohio Statutory and Case Law to operate a public building. The rules will be posted at each location and on the library’s website.
An incident report must be completed by any staff member involved with a patron or staff member who violates the above policy or has been asked to leave the building.