Worcester Public Library Behavior Policy

Welcome to the Worcester Public Library!

To fulfill our vision we must ensure that that the library environment is conducive to studying, reading, engaging in programs, and researching. This necessitates the willingness of all library users to be considerate of the rights of others to work safely and undisturbed. To ensure that such an environment exists, the Library has established guidelines for behavior in all library facilities.

THE FOLLOWING ARE PROHIBITED AT THE WORCESTER PUBLIC LIBRARY:

  • Engaging in any activity in violation of Federal, state, or local law is prohibited.
  • Threatening behavior including but not limited to violence, threats of violence, and possession of weapons (M.G.L., c. 269 § 10).
  • Fighting or challenging to fight; pushing or shoving a person, or throwing objects (M.G.L. c. 272, §§ 40, 41).
  • Being under the influence of alcohol and or illegal drugs and selling, using, or possessing alcohol and or illegal drugs.
  • Sexually, verbally, or physically harassing, intimidating, or threatening other patrons, staff or volunteers; this includes, but is not limited to, behavior such as stalking, staring, lurking with intent to annoy, offensive touching, obscene ac ts, and indecent exposure.
  • Smoking (M.G.L. c.270, § 22), chewing and other tobacco use in Library facilities, including use of all e-cigarettes or any other nicotine delivery devices.

Smoking shall be prohibited within fifty (50) feet of all municipal building entrance and exit ways, per City of Worcester Revised Ordinances of 2008, Part One, Chapter 8, Section 3 Tobacco Products Control Ordinance.

  • Creating a disturbance by making noise, talking loudly, or engaging in other disruptive conduct which could reasonably be expected to disturb other persons (M.G.L. c. 272, § 41).
  • Using offensive, obscene or abusive language and or gestures.
  • Playing audio equipment so that others may hear it (without headphones or with headphones at a volume audible to others). Cell phone and pager audible ringers must be turned off in Library quiet zones.
  • Eating and drinking are restricted to protect the collections and equipment in the library. Only food that is purchased at the café in the Main Library branch is allowed, and it must be consumed at the café.
    • A beverage (coffee, water, etc.) in a closed container is allowed except at computer stations, microfilm work stations, and the local history area.
    • Refreshments and food for meetings and special activities held in the Children’s Program Room, and the Banx and Saxe Room at the Main Library will be allowed.
  • Gambling or group activities that are disruptive to the Library environment.Stealing, damaging, altering, or inappropriately or illegally using Library property (including computer hardware and software, printers, copiers, phones and other equipment) (M.G.L. c. 266 § 100).
  • Theft of library materials, use of false identification to obtain a library card, and use of another person’s library card without permission (M.G.L. c. 266, § 99).
    • Violators will be prosecuted.
  • Rearranging furniture, putting feet up on chairs or tables, sitting on tables, and other inappropriate use of furniture. No more than four patrons allowed at a table.
  • Entering the Library with strong body odor or poor personal hygiene so as to be disruptive to the Library environment. Persons whose bodily hygiene is offensive so as to constitute a nuisance to other persons shall be required to leave the building.
  • Bringing animals into the library except those needed to assist persons with disabilities (M.G.L. c. 272, § 98A).
  • Misusing the rest rooms (e.g. using as a laundry, grooming or bathing facility). Flushing of any materials other than waste and toilet paper is strictly prohibited.
  • Remaining in the Library without being engaged in purposes for which the Library was opened, such as studying, reading, engaging in programs, and researching.
  • Running.
  • Sleeping.
  • Littering.
  • Blocking aisles, exits, entrances, or stairwells.
  • Spitting (M.G.L. c. 270, § 14).
  • Soliciting or canvassing of any kind.
  • Entering areas posted “Staff Only” without permission, trespassing in nonpublic areas, or camping on Library grounds.
  • Using or storing wheeled devices in the Library (or on Library property except in designated areas) including bicycles, self-propelled tricycles or scooters, skateboards, roller skates, rollerblades and shopping carts. All bicycles must be left outside of the building. Wheelchairs, walkers and strollers are welcome.
  • Otherwise interfering with another person’s right to use the library or with the library staff’s performance of their duties.

IN ADDITION:

  • Persons who trigger library theft detection systems may be asked to empty any bags, briefcases, handbags or other containers, and/or to remove jacket or coat for the purpose of locating concealed library materials (M.G.L. c. 266 §§ 99A-100). Law enforcement may be contacted to respond to such an instance of suspected concealment.
  • Those who damage or deface library materials or property will be prosecuted (M.G.L. c. 266, § 100).
  • Parents are responsible for the behavior and supervision of their young children. Parents may be held liable for damage done by a child under 18 (M.G.L . c. 231, § 85G).
  • The Children’s Area is reserved for use by children, their caregivers and adults interested in children’s literature. Adults not accompanying children may not loiter in the Children’s Area.
  • The Teen Zone is reserved for young adults ages 13 through 17.
  • Unattended items (such as bags, backpacks or laptops) may be regarded as suspicious and removed. All personal items must fit under a chair.
  • The Library is not responsible for any lost or stolen item.
  • All persons are required to be fully clothed, including footwear. Entering the Library without footwear, without a shirt, or otherwise attired so as to be disruptive to the Library environment shall be considered a violation of this policy.
  • All patrons must leave promptly at closing time.

ENFORCEMENT:

Please note the items listed above are not an exhaustive list. Library staff may address any other behaviors which interfere with the use and enjoyment of the Library by other patrons and/or interfere with Library staff in the performance of their duties. Failure to comply with the Library’s rules, regulations, and policies may result in suspension of Library privileges for a period of time, and/or in arrest and prosecution when applicable. Determinations regarding suspension of Library privileges will be made based on the severity of the violation. In addition, law enforcement may be called and appropriate legal action may follow.

APPEAL PROCESS:

A patron who has been banned from the Worcester Public Library shall have the right to file a written appeal to the Head Librarian or designee. The appeal must be filed within ten (10) calendar days of the date that the patron is notified that the patron’s privileges have been suspended. The decision of the Head Librarian shall be final and conclusive.

APPROVED LIBRARY BOARD OF DIRECTORS: MARCH 10, 2015 

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