This Conduct Policy was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Whiting Public Library to promote a safe, attractive, and orderly atmosphere; to ensure every person’s ability to use the library and library materials to the maximum extent possible; and to have reasonable access to library facilities without interference from any other person. The policy cannot anticipate every possible event or situation. Employees are expected to use their best judgement in the spirit of this policy.
The Whiting Public Library supports the rights of all individuals to:
- Friendly, courteous, and respectful service;
- Free and equal access to information;
- Privacy and confidentiality in their use of library services and collections;
- A clean, comfortable, and pleasant environment; and
- Use of the library undisturbed and without threat of harm, interference, or discrimination.
Use of Library facilities and resources implies acceptance of our Patron Rules of Conduct, which are based on these basic principles:
- Respect other patrons and their right to have a positive experience of the library.
- Respect library employees whose responsibility it is to help you get the most from your library experience and to maintain a safe and comfortable atmosphere for all patrons.
- Respect all library facilities, materials, computers, equipment, and resources, and understand and follow rules related to their use.
Respect of other patrons
To ensure individuals’ rights to use the library free of disruption, library patrons shall be engaged in activities associated with the use of a public library while in the building. Patrons not engaged in reading, studying, using library materials or services, attending programs or classes, or viewing exhibits may be asked to leave the building.
Noise and conversations are expected to be kept at low levels out of consideration for other patrons. Disruptive conduct, which is any behavior that disrupts the normal functioning of the library or library programs by behaving in a manner which reasonably can be expected to disturb or be a nuisance to others is not tolerated. Bringing pets or animals into the Library, other than service animals necessary for accommodation, must be authorized by the Director.
Respect of library employees
The safety and security of our employees and patrons are of the utmost importance. Library employees have the right to a safe and respectful workplace environment. Patrons will use polite language and keep their tone of voice moderate.
Conduct that causes or threatens harm to others, interferes with library employees’ performance of duties, or constitutes persistent, unwanted behaviors will not be tolerated.
All patrons are expected to comply with reasonable requests of any library employee.
Respect of facilities, materials, computers, equipment, and resources
The Library is supported by taxpayers who reside in the city of Whiting. These patrons expect our facilities to be clean, comfortable, and safe. It is expected that all library users will treat library materials, furniture, and equipment with care, and use library facilities, materials, and furnishings as intended.
Capped beverages are allowed only in the adult department in areas away from library computers.
Soliciting is not permitted except in support of the library and sanctioned library activities.
Enforcement of the Patron Conduct Policy
- Library employees may at any time request that patrons show library cards and other documents (driver’s license, school ID, e.g.) for purposes of identification
- The library reserves the right to inspect all bags, purses, briefcases, or backpacks for concealed library materials.
- It is expected that patrons will follow federal, state, and local laws and policies. Library employees are authorized to call the police for assistance in the case of violent behavior or illegal activities; or to ensure enforcement of this policy.
- Library employees have the authority to decide what is considered appropriate behavior and to enforce the Patron Conduct Policy. Library staff will inform the patron of the relevant conduct policy and warn the patron that continued violation will result in loss of privileges. Staff may ask the patron to leave the Library property for one day if they are uncooperative or argumentative. The Library reserves the right at all times to immediately eject a patron who is dangerous or in any way threatening employees or other patrons. In addition, the
- Library may pursue remedies under Federal, State, or local law where applicable.
- Unattended minors who do not abide by library rules and policies, or who exhibit unacceptable behavior, will be asked to leave, and/or call their parents for a ride home. If unable to reach their parents, or if a ride is unavailable, the children may be considered abandoned and the local police department or Child Protective Services may be called.
Suspension of Library Privileges
- The Whiting Public Library Board of Trustees authorizes library staff and law enforcement officers to enforce the library’s published Patron Conduct Policy up to and including long-term suspension of library privileges, permanent banning from the library, or prosecution.
- Depending on the nature and frequency of the behavior, consequences may include suspension of library privileges or permanent banning. The Library Director has the authority to ban from the library premises any individual whose behavior is a sufficient threat to the ability of the library to operate in a safe manner or individuals who repeatedly violate the Patron Conduct Policy. If the individual facing exclusion is under the age of 18 a registered letter will be mailed to the parent/legal guardian informing him/her that the minor has been banned form the library. This letter will note the reason the minor was banned from the library and inform the parent/legal guardian that the child will not be allowed to return to the library unless he/she is accompanied by the parent/legal guardian and assurance is made that the unacceptable behavior will not reoccur. Reinstatement of library privileges is at the discretion of the Library Director. Parents and caregivers are responsible for the welfare and behavior of their minor children (under 18) while in the Library or on Library grounds, regardless of whether or not they accompany their children. The Whiting Public Library assumes no responsibility for unattended children.
- Banning or exclusion from library premises denies the patron access to the building, grounds and services of the Whiting Public Library. The individual will receive the suspension notice in writing and a copy will be kept at the library. The patron may still access from an offsite computer the library’s webpage and any databases available through that site.
- If any individual named in a suspension notice enters the Whiting Public Library before the return date listed on the suspension notice, it will be considered criminal trespass and the individual will be asked to leave. If the individual does not leave when asked, staff will contact local law enforcement
- Individuals who have had their library privileges suspended may appeal the suspension. The request must be made in writing and will be evaluated by the Library Board.
- It is the sole responsibility of the individual banned to apply for reinstatement of library privileges. These are not automatically available at the end of the period of exclusion. A written request must be presented to the Library Director to be eligible for reinstatement.
DANGEROUS WEAPONS POLICY
Except for law enforcement officers, possessing on library property any dangerous weapon, including but not limited to the following items, regardless of any permit for the same: knife, billy club, blackjack, nunchuks, throwing star, martial arts weapon, pellet or BB gun, paint ball gun, dart gun, or electrical device designed to disable or incapacitate someone is prohibited. An individual may possess a chemical spray, such as mace, as long as such a device is carried only for personal self-defense and is not brandished about or displayed in an aggressive or threatening manner.
An individual who possesses a valid permit or who otherwise is legally authorized may possess a firearm, provided that said individual complies with this policy. All individuals possessing firearms on library premises must comply with state and federal law and also must comply with the following provisions. Failure to comply with these rules will result in removal from the library premise.
- Handgun possession – Ind. Code §35-47-2-1. No person may possess a handgun on library property or inside any library building (“Library Premises”) unless they also possess a valid permit to carry a handgun in the State of Indiana. Any person carrying a hand gun on Library Premises must provide proof of license if requested by law enforcement personnel.
- Criminal Recklessness – Ind. Code §35-42-2-2. All firearms carried on Library Premises must be secured in a manner which prevents potential injury or serious bodily harm to any other person or to property.
- Criminal Recklessness – Ind. Code §35-42-2-2 and Point a Firearm – Ind. Code §35-47-4-3. No person may point, brandish or display a firearm in any manner that is intended to threaten or intimidate any library patron or library staff member.
- Criminal Recklessness – Ind. Code §35-42-2-2. Persons may not carry a firearm in any manner which violates Indiana’s Criminal Recklessness Statute.
Approved by the Board of Trustees at the regular monthly meeting March 13, 2018.