Appropriate Library Behavior

I. Introduction

  1. Under the provisions of Chapter 43.52(1) of the Wisconsin State Statues, the Lester Public Library of Arpin Board of Trustees may enact regulations that serve to insure the safety of all library staff and patrons, protect the usefulness of the materials collection and maintain order in the library. 
  2. The Board of Trustees is committed to providing an atmosphere where people of all ages may come to read, browse, do research, or study. This policy does not prohibit quiet conversation between patrons and/or staff members or conversations required to carry on library programs of business. It is designed to preserve a reasonably quiet atmosphere where library patrons may use library services and materials without disturbance. 
  3. Inappropriate behavior includes any activity that disturbs others, interferes with library operations, damages the building or its furnishings as well as rudeness, profanity, or other behavior generally considered unacceptable in a public place. 
  4. This policy has been established for all patrons, if a patron is not responsive to the needs of other library users or disregards the policies protecting patrons, staff, and library property, the patron will be asked to leave the library. 

II. Specific Guidelines

  1. The rights of individuals to use the library should not be abridged or denied.  To guarantee these rights for all persons no library patron shall engage in the following prohibited behaviors:
  • Smoking or vaping. The library is a smoke-free zone. Smoking and/or vaping is prohibited throughout the facility.
  • Disturbing other users with loud conversation or listening to music, movies, videogames, or other streaming services without headphones.
  • Harassing, threatening, intimidating, or using obscene language toward other library users or staff.
  • Entering the library with bodily hygiene or scent that is noticeable by others or causes a disruption.
  • Using the restroom inappropriately (No washing, shaving or other grooming activities or taking library materials in the restroom.)
  • Possession or use of alcohol or drugs on library property or exhibiting signs of impairment upon entering the library.
  • Failure to wear a shirt, shoes, or clothing appropriate for a public venue.
  • Willful damage of library property.
  • Remaining in the building after regular closing hours.
  • Loitering on the premises under circumstances that warrant alarm for the safety or health of any person or property in the vicinity.
  • Carrying unauthorized weapons of any sort.
  • Engaging in any activity that can be construed as sexual in nature.
  • Viewing pornography on either personal or library owned devices. (Viewing of child pornography will result in a referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency.)
  1. No pets or other animals are allowed in the library unless they are guide dogs or part of a library program.
  2. Only persons on library business will be allowed to solicit for the sale of goods and services in the library. Salespersons may meet with authorized library personnel only. Exceptions may be made for library-sponsored activities and organizations affiliated with the library.
  3. Surveying of groups or individuals may only be done in conjunction with output measures or other similar surveys designed to quantify library use of satisfaction with library services.
  4. Canvassing—for example, soliciting signatures for a petition, nomination papers, and the like—is not allowed on library property.
  5. The staff is obligated to enforce these guidelines so that the facility can be used to the fullest by all persons.  Questions regarding the interpretation of these guidelines will be referred to the Library Director or other staff members in charge or the Library’s Board of Trustees.

III. General Guidelines for Handling Problem Patrons

  1. It is a patron’s responsibility to maintain necessary and proper behavior standards in order to protect his or her individual rights and the rights and privileges of other patrons.
  2. Occasionally, staff members may have to deal with patrons who violate the rights of others or who create a disturbance in the library.  If a patron creates a public nuisance, that patron may be restricted from the Library and from the use of library facilities.  Those who are unwilling to leave or do not leave within a reasonable amount of time, after being instructed to do so by staff, will be subject to the law. 
  3. A brief written report of any incident involving theft, vandalism, illegal activity or major disruptive behavior will be filed with the Library Director as soon a possible after its occurrence.  (A sample copy of the “Incident Report” follows.)
  4. The Library Director, acting on behalf of the Board of Trustees may suspend the library privileges of any individual who willfully violates library regulations when the severity or continued reoccurrence warrants such action (Wisconsin State Statute 43.52(2).)  The Library Director will inform the Board of Trustees of any such action taken. 
  5. The person whose library privileges are suspended shall be advised in writing of the suspension and the reason for such action.  The offending person shall also be informed that the suspension may be appealed at the next regularly scheduled Library Board meeting.

IV. Unattended Children

  1. One of the primary missions of the LPLA is to provide a variety of services for children of all ages.  The library encourages visits by young children and it is our desire to make these visits both memorable and enjoyable of the child. 
  2. “Unattended” means that the parent or designated person is not in close proximity to the child.  Library staff cannot be expected to assume responsibility for the care of unsupervised children in the library.  Parents are responsible fo their children’s behavior while in the library.
  3. Therefore, it is the policy of the Library that all children twelve years and under must be in the company of a parent/responsible person while in the library.  Even if the young person is attending a program, it is required that the parent/responsible person remain in the library throughout the program.  
  4. If it is determined that a child is lost or left unattended a staff member shall bring the child to the Library Director or other staff member in charge.  He/she will then attempt to identify and locate the parent/responsible person.  If a parent/ responsible person cannot be found then the child will be remanded to the care of the Wood Co. Police Department.

V. Disruptive Children

  1. Children of all ages are encouraged to use the library for homework, pleasure reading and attending programs.  The staff realizes that the library will be noisier at busy times and that children by nature can cause more commotion. 
  2. Examples of disruptive behavior include running up and down the book stack aisles, unsupervised use of the library equipment, pulling books from the sleeves – any behavior that interferes with other people’s use of the library or that may damage library property. 
  3. Whether they are with their parents or not, children who are continually disruptive will be dealt with firmly.  The child will be given a warning that he/she must settle down or will be asked to leave the library.  If after a second warning the child continues to be disruptive, he/she will be asked to leave the library.  If the child needs to contact a parent, he/she may do so and then wait by the Library Director’s desk until the parent arrives. 

VI. Theft of Library Materials

  1. According to section 943.61(3) of the Wisconsin State Statutes, the concealment of library material beyond the last station of borrowing this material is evidence of intent to deprive the library of possession of the material.  The discovery of library material which has not been checked out in accordance with established library procedures and which is concealed upon the person or belongings of another is evidence of theft. 
  2. According to section 943.61(4) of the Wisconsin State Statues, an employee of the library who has probably cause for believing that a person has committed a theft in his or her presence may detain the person in a reasonable manner for a reasonable length of time in order to turn the person over to the police, or to the person’s parent or guardian in the case of a minor. 
  3. The detained person shall be promptly informed of the purpose for the detention, but shall not be interrogated or searched against his or her will before the arrival of the police, who may conduct a lawful interrogation of the accused person. 

Reviewed and Updated: November 2022