Standards of Behavior

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Standards of Behavior

We welcome you to the Library. Everyone has a right to quality Library service in an atmosphere that is calm, safe and free of disturbances from others. While you are here, please be considerate of others. The Library has created this Code of Conduct to ensure a positive Library experience for everyone who visits any Mendocino County Library.

Respect Library Rules

Patrons must follow rules and policies of the Mendocino County Libraries.

Food or Drink

Eating and drinking in the Library are allowed only in designated areas or for programs and meetings held in the meeting room area of the Library.

Restroom Use

Using the public restrooms for shaving, bathing, or as laundry facilities is prohibited.

Selling, Soliciting, Mass Distribution of Materials or Panhandling

Selling, soliciting, panhandling, or mass distribution of unapproved materials is prohibited.

Public Displays of Obscene Material

Public displays of obscene or visually disturbing material that interferes with the ability of others to use the library, or as prohibited by law, is prohibited.

Loitering

Loitering in the Library, on Library steps, entryway or Library property thereby creating a nuisance to those who are trying to enter or exit the building or to use Library resources is prohibited. Patrons shall be engaged in activities associated with the use of a public library while in the building.

Sleeping

Sleeping is prohibited.

Furniture and Property

Leave furniture in its place. Avoid putting feet on the furniture. Use the Library’s facilities, materials and furnishings as intended.

Inappropriate Language

Inappropriate or abusive language is prohibited.

Personal Belongings/Animals

Sleeping bags, bedrolls, and packages in bulk or quantity that cannot be stored entirely under the owner's chair are prohibited. Personal belongings should not be left unattended anywhere on Library property. With regard to animals in the Library, only assistance animals are permitted.

Smoking

Smoking is prohibited inside the building, on Library steps, all entry ways or outside of any public entryway. Smokers must be at least 20 feet from any entrance to the library.

Offensive Odors and Dress Code

Anyone whose bodily hygiene is offensive so as to constitute a nuisance to other persons shall be required to leave the building. Since many people are sensitive to strong fragrances, patrons are asked to refrain from excessive use of perfumes or colognes. Being fully clothed, including shirt, shoes, and pants, dress, or skirt, is a requirement of using the Library.

Harassing Behavior

Harassing behavior is prohibited. Harassing behavior may take many forms and includes, but is not limited to: unwanted conversations, verbal abuse, advances of a personal or sexual nature that intimidate or make the other party uncomfortable, harassing or obscene gestures or sounds, offensive touching, staring at library staff or at other patrons so that performance of their duties or use of library resources is materially disrupted, and intentionally monopolizing staff time so that performance of duties is materially disrupted even after the staff member has clearly indicated that a reference or customer service transaction has ended. For the purposes of enforcing the Library's Code of Conduct, harassing behavior directed at a Library employee by a Library patron shall include behavior which occurs anywhere both on and off Library property, over the phone, by mail or any electronic source.

Disturbing Noise

Disturbing anyone by unreasonable noise (e.g., cell phones; videoconferencing applications such as Skype or Face time; loud conversations; loud singing; radios; other electronic devices with headphones turned up at an unreasonable volume; etc.,) is prohibited.

Following/Stalking

Stalking others in the Library is prohibited. Stalking is the willful, malicious, and repeated following and harassing of another person. For the purposes of enforcing the Library’s Code of Conduct for staff, following/stalking behavior directed at a library employee by a Library patron shall include behavior which occurs anywhere both on and off of the Library property.

Abusive Behavior

Abusive behavior, such as threats or violent behavior toward staff or patrons, is prohibited.

Unsafe Behavior

Unsafe behavior such as roughhousing, climbing on furniture, running, skateboarding, or any other potentially injurious action is prohibited.

Trespassing

Trespassing is prohibited. To trespass includes entering any Library building during a period of suspension of Library privileges, entering any non-public area of the Library, failing to leave the Library immediately upon closing, or being in the Library before or after public hours without express permission from authorized Library personnel.

Unattended Children

Children are encouraged to visit our Libraries. The Library is concerned about children’s safety and welfare. We recognize parents’ or guardians’ responsibility for the behavior and well-being of their children. We respect the privacy of all Library patrons and intervene only when a child is deemed at risk.

If an unattended child comes to the attention of Library staff, staff will make a good-faith attempt to contact the parent or guardian. If the parent or guardian cannot be reached, the child will be referred to the local law enforcement agency. Children age 8 and under may not be left unattended anywhere in the Library and must be accompanied and directly supervised by a responsible adult.

Unlawful Behavior

Unlawful behavior while in the Library or on Library property, including, but not limited to, carrying unlawful weapons, assault, indecent exposure or sex acts, use of drugs or alcohol, damage to library property, theft, attempted theft, brandishing a weapon, public drunkenness or intoxication, public urination and defecation, is prohibited.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors determines all Library policies, including standards for public behavior on the premises of all public Libraries in the County. The Library retains the right to take any action necessary to ensure a safe and appropriate environment for everyone.

These standards of behavior are available as a brochure and online at www.mendolibrary.org. The County Librarian and his/her designated staff are responsible for interpreting these rules in accordance with applicable law and for ensuring appropriate behavior in all Library facilities.

Enforcement of these rules will be conducted in a fair and reasonable manner. Any person who violates these standards will be asked to bring their behavior into compliance immediately or leave the Library. Failure to comply with the Library’s established rules, regulations, and policies could result in removal from the premises and suspension from the Library for a period of one day to one year. Violations could also result in the restriction and/or termination of Library privileges, including use of library computers and other equipment.

A patron has the right to request an Administrative Review of a suspension order that is for a period greater than seven days. Please see Suspension of Library Privileges Notification and Appeal Process Policy.

SUSPENSION OF LIBRARY PRIVILEGES NOTIFICATION AND APPEAL PROCESS

Patrons who do not comply with the Mendocino County Library Standards of Behavior Policy may be asked to leave the Library for a period of one to 30 days by the Branch Librarian or Person in Charge. The County Librarian manages any proposed suspensions of 30 days to up to one year.

A.   IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION WITH FURTHER ACTION TO FOLLOW:

The following behaviors will not be tolerated:

  • physical abuse or assault
  • fighting or challenging to fight
  • making violent or threatening statements
  • damaging, destroying, or theft of library property

Authorized Library staff will instruct anyone displaying these behaviors to leave the Library facility immediately. Police will be called and additional legal action may occur, as appropriate. In addition, based on the severity of the situation, a suspension of library privileges for up to one year will be applied without advance warning or prior suspension. Library staff will notify Library Administration immediately, where a determination of the appropriate suspension period and procedures will be assigned by the County Librarian.

All other prohibited behaviors will be addressed in the following manner:

  1. First Violation: Initial warning and given copy of the Standards of Behavior
  2. Second Violation: Library privileges suspended for the day
  3. Third Violation: Library privileges suspended for seven days
  4. Fourth Violation: Library privileges suspended for up to a year

Circumstances, including the seriousness or continuing nature of the conduct may warrant immediate suspension of Library privileges.

At the recommendation of Library staff and branch managers, the County Librarian or designee will issue a letter to the patron specifying the behavior that violated the Mendocino County Library Behavior Policy; penalty for doing so, which may include a suspension of Library privileges from all Mendocino County Libraries and facilities; and the designated suspension time of up to one year.

At the recommendation of the County Librarian, the Board of Supervisors may suspend a patron from Mendocino County Library facilities for a period of one year or more if the patron’s conduct is deemed an ongoing threat to library patrons or staff.

Any patron who has had his or her Library privileges suspended may appeal once in writing to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. An appeal petition must be mailed or delivered to the County Librarian at Mendocino County Libraries, 105 N. Main Street, Ukiah, CA 95482, within 15 days of the suspension. The appeal petition must include all reasons the patron believes he or she is not in violation of the Mendocino County Library Behavior Policy or why the suspension is not appropriate.

The Board of Supervisors, upon hearing the petition during a public meeting and then voted upon, will issue a written determination of the appeal within 60 days of the receipt of the petition. The Board of Supervisors may uphold the suspension, overturn the suspension or propose an alternative. The determination is final and shall have no precedential value. An appeal may not be repeated.

(Adopted by BOS 5-20-14)