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Section title

Rules of Behavior Governing the Use of Tacoma Public Library Facilities

July 17, 2013

 Rules of Behavior

Governing the Use of Tacoma Public Library Facilities



Administrative Policy: #10.49.1

Purpose:          The purpose of these rules is to ensure that patrons of Tacoma Public Library have access to and use of library the facilities in a quiet, orderly, peaceful and safe atmosphere, unhindered and undisturbed by the disruptive actions and behavior of others.  These rules are further intended to protect the rights and safety of our public and our library staff members and to preserve the property under the control of the Library.

Authority:         The Library Board of Trustees has the authority under state law to establish reasonable rules and regulations regarding the use of Tacoma Public Libraries and to exclude any person who willfully and persistently violates those rules.  (See RCW 27.12.270 and RCW 27.12.290).  The rules shall be enforced in a fair and reasonable manner with exclusion periods that vary based on the category of the violation.

Request to Identify:  The Library Board of Trustees gives the authority to library staff and security staff to request picture identification from any adult that has been asked to leave for any library behavior violation.  If picture identification is not available or refused, the maximum duration of exclusion will apply.  For minors a parent or legal guardian contact will be required.

Rules of Conduct:        For the comfort and safety of patrons and staff and the protection of Library property, the following actions are examples of conduct not allowed on Library property and the consequences of those activities.

Category A: Violation of Library rules (non-criminal)

Duration of exclusion is a verbal warning to a maximum of 30 days

  •  Disruptive behavior, such as creating loud noises, loud talking, screaming or banging on furniture or computer keyboards.
  • Entering the Library barefoot or without a shirt or removing one’s footwear or shirt while in the Library, or being otherwise attired so as to be disruptive to the Library environment.
  • Having offensive body odor or personal hygiene so as to unreasonable interfere with other’s ability to use the Library and its facilities.
  • Consuming food or beverage in the library. (All food and beverage containers must be placed out of sight or removed from the library premises)
  • Bringing in items, excluding personal items, (purse, laptop, and briefcase) that occupy floor space in excess of what will fit beneath one library chair
  •  Placing items in such a way as to block access to seating or aisle ways.
  • Leaving packages, backpacks, or any other personal items unattended.
  • Moving library furniture from where it is placed by Library staff.
  • Entering the building with, or using wheeled devices such as skateboards, roller-skates, roller-blades, heelys, bicycles or scooters.  Bicycles and scooters must be left in designated areas outside of the facilities. These restrictions do not apply to ADA assistive devices or baby strollers.
  • Sleeping or appearing to be sleeping in the Library; having feet on furniture; or blocking aisles, exits or entrances.
  • Leaving children under the age of seven unattended in the Library.  For purposes of this policy “unattended” means that the person responsible for the child is not within sight of the child.  Library staff will not assume responsibility for the safety and security of unattended children.  If a problem involving an unattended child of any age arises, the police or child protective services will be called.
  • Bringing pets or animals, other than service animals necessary for disabilities, into the Library, except as authorized by the Library Director or his or her designee.
  • Inappropriate use of Library property, including computer hardware and software, printers, copiers, and other equipment.
  • Using audible devices with or without headphones set to a volume that disturbs others.
  • Using cell phones or other communication devices in a manner that disturbs others or use of such devices in areas of the library that are designated as quiet areas.
  • Gambling
  • Littering
  • Smoking, chewing, or other tobacco use, such as rolling cigarettes, on Library property.
  • Distributing literature, gathering signatures, soliciting contributions or conducting surveys inside the library or on library grounds, including designated library parking areas or library entrance areas, without Library authorization.
  • Failure to comply with a reasonable staff or security request to cease behavior that interferes with the effective functioning of the library
  • Using restrooms for bathing or shampooing, doing laundry or changing clothes

Category B:  Serious Violation of Library Rules (non-criminal)

Duration of exclusion is 7 days to a maximum of 1 year

  •  Verbally or physically harassing other patrons or staff, including stalking, staring, lurking or use of profanity
  • Entering the library or library grounds during a period of exclusion
  • Taking photo or video of patrons or staff without their permission. 

Category C: Drug or Alcohol Possession or Use

Duration of exclusion is 7 days to a maximum of 1 year

  •  Being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Possession of alcohol or illegal drugs

Category D: Violation toward Person(s) or Property)

Duration of exclusion is 30 days to a maximum of 1 year

  •  Damaging or stealing Library property in Library facilities or on Library grounds, including any circulating or non-circulating materials, computer hardware and software, copiers, or any other library equipment or property valued under $250.00.
  • Damaging the personal property of another library patron (valued under $250.00).
  • Engaging in any other behavior that would constitute a misdemeanor under applicable law.

Category E (Serious Violation toward Person(s) or Property)

Duration of exclusion is 6 months to a maximum of 1 year

  •  Assault, fighting, or challenging to fight.
  • Selling or using alcohol/illegal drugs on library property including library grounds
  • Damaging or stealing Library property in Library facilities or on Library grounds, including any circulating or non-circulating materials, computer hardware and software, copiers, or any other library equipment or property valued at $250.00 or above.
  • Damaging the personal property of another library patron (valued at$250.00 or above).
  • Refusing to leave Library property after being issued a Notice of Exclusion.
  • Offensive touching and obscene acts such as sex acts, and indecent exposure
  • Trespassing in nonpublic areas, being in the Library without permission of an authorized Library employee before or after Library operating hours, remaining on Library property once excluded.
  • Verbally or physically threatening other patrons or staff.
  • Engaging in any other behavior that would constitute a felony under applicable law.

Enforcement:   Any library staff member, security staff, or Tacoma Police Officer may intervene to stop prohibited activities and behaviors. 

Failure to comply with these rules may result in: 1) withdrawal of a person’s permission to remain on Library property; and/or 2) issuance of a Notice of Exclusion from Library property for a period of one day to one year, as provide in policies and procedures issued by the Director.

 A violation of law may also result in arrest and prosecution.  Violation of law and/or these rules may also result in the restriction of Library privileges, including the use of Library computers and other equipment.  Authorized personnel may base a Notice of Exclusion on personal observation or upon the sort of civilian reports that would ordinarily be relied upon by police officers in the determination of probable cause.

 Administrative Review of Notices of Exclusion:   An individual whose Library privileges have been denied for a period of time longer than 30 days may appeal that denial in writing to the Library Director by making a written request to the Library Director to appeal the decision to deny library privileges. 

The written request may be filed at any branch of the Tacoma Public Library or sent by certified or registered mail to the Library Director, within fourteen (14) days of the denial of Library privileges.  The written request shall identify the appellant’s name and current mailing address, the time and date of the denial of the privilege, and the basis for the appeal. 

The hearing shall be set for a time within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the notice and shall be before the Library Director or the Director’s designee as the Hearing Officer.  The appellant shall have the opportunity to offer evidence and testimony that may establish that the denial of privileges was in violation of policies, rules or regulations of the Tacoma Public Library.

 The Hearing Officer may consider any competent and reliable evidence including any written reports prepared by employees or security staff of the Library.  The Hearing Officer shall render a decision in writing within five (5) business days.

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Last Updated 18.07.2013
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