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Public Service Policy

Section 8: Patron Conduct

8.1 Code of Conduct

This policy establishes guidelines and expectations regarding standards of conduct among the patrons of the Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library while in the library and its immediate premises, in order to ensure the highest standard of health and safety for all who use the library, and to provide for the most efficient and effective operation of the library.

The following behaviors are prohibited on library property:

  • Any behavior that is prohibited by law, including but not limited to:
    • Sexual misconduct or harassment (e.g. unwanted physical contact, leering, sexual innuendoes, sexual propositions, acts of physical aggression)
    • Tobacco use on library premises
    • Using the internet for unlawful purposes (e.g. child pornography)
    • Theft or vandalism of library property or items belonging to staff and/or other library users
    • Unapproved entry in non-public areas of the library (e.g. trespassing)
    • Being under the influence, possessing alcohol or drugs, selling or using drugs or alcoholic beverages
    • Unlawful possession of weapons
    • Brandishing of weapons, using weapons to threaten or intimidate others, or using weapons in an unsafe manner that could reasonably result in personal injury or property damage
  • Any activity that unreasonably interferes with others’ use and enjoyment of the library, including but not limited to:
    • Harassing, threatening or intimidating patrons or staff
    • Loud or disruptive behavior which disturbs library activities
    • Recording video or audio of library patrons without prior administrative permission
    • Disregard for bodily hygiene, or any scent so offensive as to constitute a nuisance to others
    • Improper dress, including shoes, tops, and bottoms, while in library
    • Monopolizing/obstructing space or interfering with the free passage of staff or patrons in or on library premises
    • Solicitation or other commercial activities inside the library or on library grounds
    • Use of electronic devices in a manner that is disruptive to others (e.g. mobile phones)
    • Bringing animals other than service animals into the library
    • Sleeping, bathing, shaving, or washing clothes on the premises
    • Insufficient supervision of children
  • Using library materials, equipment, fixtures, furniture, buildings, or grounds in any manner that:Is inconsistent with normal library uses
    • Can damage library property or the property of others
    • Is likely to cause personal injury to one’s self or others
    • May cause damage or excessive or unreasonable wear
  • Disobeying the direction of a library staff member and/or remaining on library property when requested to leave.

Behavior that is prohibited by law or the CRCPL Patron Code of Conduct may result in the following consequences:

  • Request to change the behavior or leave the library
  • Suspension of library privileges
  • Intervention by law enforcement

CRCPL gratefully acknowledges the Public Library Association and the San Diego County Library for articulating this framework for the Patron Code of Conduct. 

8.2 Eviction

Patrons who fail to abide by the library’s policies are subject to having their library privileges suspended and/or being evicted from all premises of the library. Under normal circumstances, evictions and suspensions should be decided upon and imposed by the manager on duty.

However, in the absence or unavailability of a manager and if circumstances require prompt action, all staff are authorized to evict a patron from the premises for the remainder of the day following a code of conduct violation. In the event a non-management staff member issues an eviction, the staff member is required to review the eviction with his or her supervisor or other manager to determine whether the eviction should be extended beyond one day. The seriousness of the action and repeated misbehavior of a patron may indicate that a longer eviction than that indicated below is appropriate. The director is authorized to modify the terms of or to extend an eviction.

8.2.1 Procedure

  • All staff members are required to inform patrons immediately when improper conduct is observed or reported. Patrons should be given a chance to respond before any action is taken against them.
  • If, after giving the patron a chance to respond, the staff member still believes that the patron has engaged in improper conduct, the staff member should warn the patron that if the improper conduct continues he/she will be asked to leave for the day, and then give the patron the opportunity to correct his/her behavior.
  • Patrons who continue to engage in improper behavior after being warned will be asked to leave the library for a period of time as listed below. Under certain circumstances, a patron determined to have engaged in improper conduct will not be given the opportunity to correct their behavior and will be asked to leave immediately, following the guidelines below.
  • Patrons who have engaged in conduct that would normally result in eviction of a day or less will be verbally informed of the eviction and be given an opportunity to respond verbally.
  • Patrons who have engaged in conduct that would normally result in eviction for more than a day will be given written notice of the eviction, either in person or by U.S. mail, and the opportunity to respond in writing to the allegation.
  • If the patron is a minor, his/her parents/guardians should be informed of the allegation and be given the opportunity to respond, if possible.
  • At the discretion of library management, a minor child can be informed not to return to the library until the child’s parent or guardian contacts the director or a manager.
  • Whenever possible, warnings and evictions issued to patrons should be witnessed by another staff member.
  • Staff members should attempt to identify the patron being warned and evicted by name.
  • If additional information can be obtained, such as address, telephone number, and borrower card number, staff members should record this as well.

8.2.2 Eviction Guidelines

INFRACTIONS:

  • Improper dress, including bare feet and no shirt.
  • Offensive body odor, which constitutes a nuisance to other patrons or staff.

ACTION:

  • Warning and may be asked to leave the premises to correct the problem.

INFRACTIONS:

  • Distributing or posting unauthorized printed materials.
  • Bringing animals (other than service animals) into the library.
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that one is unable to exercise care for one’s own safety or the safety of others.

ACTION:

  • 1st violation––Warning and may be asked to leave the premises to correct the problem.
  • 2nd violation––7 day eviction.
  • 3rd violation––1 month eviction.

INFRACTIONS:

  • Abuse or improper use of library facilities and equipment.
  • Smoking inside buildings.
  • Unreasonable noise to include: loud talking, singing, boisterous activity, persistent and/or loud sounds from electronic devices.
  • Monopolizing/obstructing space, seating, tables or equipment to the exclusion of others.
  • Profane, obscene or abusive language, including racial or ethnic epithets.
  • Gambling, panhandling, soliciting money, any activity for personal profit.
  • Engaging in any act which disrupts or prevents the normal and intended use of the library by any other patrons or staff.

ACTION:

  • 1st violation–– Warning and may be asked to leave the premises for the remainder of the day.
  • 2nd violation––7 day eviction.
  • 3rd violation––1 month eviction.

INFRACTIONS:

  • Intentionally destroying, vandalizing, or damaging library property, including defacing materials.
  • Intentionally destroying, vandalizing, or damaging other patron’s property while on library premises.
  • Trespassing, violating an eviction, or entering upon library property when banned.
  • Theft or attempted theft of personal or library property.

ACTION:

  • 1st violation––4 month eviction.
  • 2nd violation––1 year eviction.

INFRACTIONS:

  • Inducing panic or placing false emergency calls to public safety agencies while on library premises.
  • Harassing patrons or staff verbally or physically, including acts of harassing behavior committed via electronic or written communication while on library premises.
  • Possession, selling, or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs on library premises.

ACTION:

  • Asked to leave the premises immediately. Eviction period up to one year determined after review by management.

INFRACTIONS:

  • Engaging in or soliciting any sexual act, including indecent exposure.
  • Fighting, challenging someone to a fight, physically abusing or assaulting anyone on library premises.

ACTION:

  • Immediate 1 year eviction.

8.2.3 Rights of Redress

Any patron evicted from library premises has the right to appeal that eviction. Patrons who have engaged in conduct that poses a risk to the safety of other patrons or staff may not be permitted on the premises while an initial determination of their case is made. In such cases, the library will act as quickly as possible in ruling on the patron’s case. Patrons who have engaged in other conduct may be asked to leave the premises for the remainder of the day but will be allowed back on the premises while an initial determination of their case is made.

If the individual disagrees with the eviction:

  1. The patron should contact the Enrichment Director or Executive Director within 48 hours of receiving his/her eviction to initiate an appeal. The patron should explain the reasons for the appeal and include any additional information that he/she wants considered during review.
  2. The appeal and any additional supporting information will be considered. The patron will be advised of the decision on the eviction terms within seven business days.
  3. Upon receipt of the decision, the patron has the right to further appeal the eviction to the Board of Trustees. The Executive Director must be notified of the intent to appeal at least one week before the Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting, with reasons for the appeal, and include any additional information that the patron wants considered.

8.3 Solicitation

Patrons should be free to use the library without interruption from outside petitioners, survey takers, interviewers or solicitors. Members of the public may not engage in solicitation or distribution of materials on library property at any time for any purpose. Petitioners, survey takers and interviewers are permitted outside the building on library grounds provided that access to the library is not impeded and patrons are not pressured to sign. In the event any petitioner fails to follow the above instructions, they will be asked to leave the premises for creating a disturbance as outlined in the code of conduct and eviction policies above. Library-related questionnaires sponsored or co-sponsored by the library are allowed inside the libraries.

8.4 Tobacco Free

Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library (CRCPL) is dedicated to maintaining a safe and healthy public environment, improving indoor and outdoor air quality, and promoting the comfort of library staff and patrons. Research shows that tobacco use, including smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke and electronic-cigarette vapors constitutes a significant health hazard. In addition to causing direct health concerns, tobacco contributes to institutional costs, including fire damage, cleaning and maintenance costs, and costs associated with employee absenteeism, health care, and medical insurance.

Given these concerns, and in accordance with Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3794.05, all buildings, grounds, and vehicles of CRCPL are smoke and tobacco free. Tobacco use and smoking in all forms, including the use of electronic cigarettes and smoke-free oral tobacco products, is not permitted in any facility, vehicle, or on property owned by CRCPL.

Tobacco use is permitted within personal vehicles as long as the vehicle is parked 25 feet from any facility entrance and/or 25 feet from any ventilation intake, and the smoke and tobacco products are completely contained within the vehicle.

Any person who uses tobacco products in library buildings or on library grounds in violation of the policy is subject to the provisions of applicable laws and/or library disciplinary action. Non-compliance with the tobacco-free policy, as with non-compliance with the other rules of the library, should be brought to the attention of library management.

Ensuring compliance with the smoke and tobacco-free library policy is the responsibility of the entire library community. The success of this policy depends on the thoughtfulness, consideration, and cooperation of users and non-users. It is the responsibility of all members of the community to comply with this policy. Any individual may voice objections to tobacco use on library property without fear of retaliation.

8.5 Unattended Minors

The library wishes to provide a safe environment for visitors of all ages; however, library facilities are open to the public, which can present risks to children. Parents, caregivers, and group leaders need to be aware that staff cannot be responsible for the safety and security of unattended children. “Unattended” is understood to mean that:

  • A child is out of view of the parent or caregiver and/or not actively engaged with the parent or caregiver.
  • A child is alone at the library without appropriate supervision.
  • A child is dropped off at the library without appropriate supervision.

Children under the age of 7 must be accompanied at all times by a parent or caregiver. Parents and caregivers must exercise their own judgment regarding whether to leave their children over the age of 7 unattended in the library. The library cannot monitor children who enter and leave the library. Children who are disruptive may be asked to leave the library. Parents and caregivers should only leave unattended children at the library if they are capable of coming and going by themselves.

Children who become disruptive, a security or safety issue, or endanger themselves or others anywhere on library property will be asked to correct their behavior. If the behavior continues, the child will be asked to leave the library as indicated by the eviction policy above.

Parents and caregivers are responsible for arranging transportation to and from the library for unattended children. Transportation for these children should arrive prior to the closing time. If a child’s transportation has not arrived before closing time, the Library may call the police if the child expresses concern or if the Library staff member believes there is reason for concern.

If a child has been left at the library at closing time, staff will attempt to contact the parent or caregiver. At least two staff members shall remain with the child. If the parent or caregiver cannot be reached within 15 minutes of closing the police will be called. If the police pick up a child after closing time, staff should place a note on the library’s main doors indicating that the police have been called to assist with an unattended child. The note should not mention the name of the child but should include date, time and the child’s age and sex. Under no circumstances will staff take the child away from the library.

8.6 Video Surveillance

In order to deter crime and to aid in protecting the safety of individuals and the property of the library, the library uses video surveillance equipment. Video surveillance is limited to areas that do not violate the reasonable expectation of privacy; such as areas of public usage, staff work areas, parking lots, and grounds. Targeted video surveillance is prohibited if such observation is based on the characteristics and classifications that would be considered discriminatory under law (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, etc.).

The Executive Director, management, technical support staff, and authorized contractors are the only persons authorized to access the video surveillance system.

The Executive Director will review all requests received by the library to release recordings obtained through video surveillance. Video recordings and photos obtained through video surveillance will be released in accordance with applicable laws. Under exigent circumstances or in response to a search warrant or court order, recordings and photographs may be released to the police. Exigent circumstance is defined as an emergency situation requiring swift action to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property, or to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect, or destruction of evidence. No release of video recordings or images will occur without prior authorization by the director or his/her designee.

Requests for recordings and photographs which show identifiable persons, identifiable library materials in the possession of a patron, or identifiable requests or other readable communication from a patron to a library employee shall be evaluated prior to any release outside the library, under the library’s Confidentiality and Public Access to Library Records policies.

Recorded video will be saved no longer than 30 days and will then be automatically erased, unless retained as part of a criminal investigation or court proceedings (criminal or civil), or other bona fide use as approved by the director.

Video footage or images retained as part of a criminal investigation or court proceedings will be stored in a secure location by the Information Technology Manager.