Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to further delineate the Hennepin County Library Board Patron Use of Library Spaces Policy and ensure its fair and consistent application.

Patron Responsibilities

Each patron has a personal responsibility to ensure that Hennepin County Library is a welcoming public library environment for all.

No one shall engage in behaviors that are contrary to the principles, roles, and responsibilities defined in the Library Board Patron Use of Library Spaces Policy.

Patrons are expected to:

  • Understand that the library is a public place shared by many.
  • Avoid disruptive behaviors that may hinder other library patrons.
  • Be courteous and respect other library patrons and staff.
  • Conduct themselves in a safe and orderly way; allowing others to do the same.
  • Attend children in their care, keep them safe, and pick them up before the library closes.
  • Respect library property.
  • Safeguard personal items.
  • Comply with all federal, state, and local laws.
  • Follow Hennepin County and Library policies, including the Internet Public Use Policy.

The following examples are provided in this administrative policy as a way to illustrate ways in which a patron’s conduct would violate the responsibilities defined in the Library Board policy. The examples are intended to guide staff decision making. It does not presume to be a complete list.

Patrons are participants in a shared, public use environment and must conduct themselves accordingly. They will be courteous, considerate and understanding of library patrons and staff.
Examples of conduct that would violate this principle:

  • Behavior that is abusive, intimidating or disrespectful including obscene, racially charged or abusive language.
  • Conversation that is disruptive to other patrons, including personal phone calls.
  • Disruptive behavior such as fighting, running, excessive noisemaking.
  • Offensive body odor, including excessive scent, which unreasonably interferes with other patrons' ability to use the library and its services.
  • Sleeping that impedes others from using library spaces or resources.

Parents and caregivers are responsible to supervise the activities and choices of their charges.
Example of conduct that would violate this principle:

  • Leaving vulnerable individuals or children under eight years old unattended or alone in the library.

Patrons are stewards of the library and its resources. They will value and respect library resources and conduct themselves in a safe and orderly way.
Examples of conduct that would violate this principle:

  • Defacing, damaging, or destroying library property.
  • Bringing beverages in uncovered containers or eating food in the library.
  • Use of library furniture, power cords for personal electronic devices or sports equipment, such as skateboards, that create a physical hazard for others.

Patrons will comply with federal, state, and local laws and policies.
Examples of conduct that would violate this principle:

  • Panhandling or soliciting.
  • Bringing dangerous weapons on the premises.
  • Consuming alcoholic beverages or controlled substances or being under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances in a manner that causes a public disturbance.
  • Smoking, chewing tobacco or use of e-cigarettes.
  • Infringement of copyright laws including illegal downloads of copyrighted material.

Failure to follow the Patron Use of Libraries Policy may result in eviction from the library and may include a trespass order or arrest. Inappropriate conduct will be referred to the proper authorities for legal action in accordance with Minnesota Statutes. The Security Division of Hennepin County addresses any appeals to a trespass notice.

Staff Responsibilities

Staff play an important role to ensure that Hennepin County Library is a welcoming public library environment for all.

Staff are expected to:

  • Weigh the degree of disruptive conduct with the onsite conditions at the time.
  • Exercise their best judgment in determining conduct that is in violation of the Patron Use of Library Spaces Policy and in determining the correct course of action.
  • Explain the Patron Use of Library Spaces Policy to patrons.
  • Request that patrons conduct themselves in a way that is necessary to maintain a welcoming public library environment.
  • Seek assistance from Security Staff and/or library supervisors to resolve ongoing or escalating patron conduct issues.

Roles and Responsibilities taken from the Hennepin County Library Board Policy: Patron Use of Library Spaces.

Process

This administrative policy is reviewed every four (4) years by the Library Services Division Manager (or designee). The review is done in conjunction with the Hennepin County Library Board’s review of the Patron Use of Libraries Policy. Upon completion of the review, this policy is revised or reaffirmed.

Policy History

Next review: 12/01/2017
Last reviewed/revised: 02/07/2014
Adopted: 12/18/2009