Purpose: To ensure that all people who use and work at the Westfield Memorial Library can do so in a comfortable, welcoming, appropriate, and safe environment. The Library Director and Board of Trustees have established these Rules of Conduct to maintain an acceptable standard of conduct on the library premises and to ensure that the library facilities provide equitable access to materials and services for all users. Appropriate library conduct includes activities such as reading, studying, properly using library materials or computers and other similar conduct normally associated with a public library. Violations of these Rules of Conduct may result in the limiting of library privileges.
Overview and Definitions: No individual may engage in inappropriate conduct on the premises of the Westfield Memorial Library, or when using library facilities, or when participating in library programs. Patrons shall be engaged in normal activities associated with the use of a public library while on its premises. When possible, library personnel will educate individuals about the applicable Rules of Conduct before taking stronger measures.
Inappropriate conduct that may result in limiting library privileges shall include, without limitation, the following:
• Engaging in any behavior or gestures that a reasonable person would find to be intimidating, profane, obscene, abusive, disruptive, harassing, or threatening in nature to library patrons or personnel including, but not limited to, stalking, prolonged staring or leering, following another with the intent to annoy or disturb, intentionally behaving in a manner that could reasonably be expected to annoy or disturb other patrons, or initiating unwanted conversations.
• Interfering with the library personnel’s performance of their duties.
• Selling merchandise or services, soliciting, petitioning, surveying, distributing written materials, panhandling or canvassing for any political, charitable or religious purposes on library premises without prior written authorization of the Library Director. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no prior written approval is required to individuals providing bona fide tutoring or instructional services on either a paid or volunteer basis.
• Smoking, vaping, or other use of tobacco products.
• Consumption of food, except in designated areas or at authorized library functions is prohibited. Anyone eating food in an approved manner is required to clean the area promptly after eating. Non-alcoholic beverages may be consumed in the library if they are in closed containers.
• Sleeping, napping, or dozing in the library for more than 15 minutes.
• Running, skipping, jumping, pushing, shoving, roller skating, roller blading, bicycling, skateboarding or cycling.
• Unreasonable noise levels including shouting, loud talking, or disruptive conversation, uncontrolled or repeated ringing of cell phones, and loud cell phone conversations.
• Not wearing shoes, shirts, pants or skirts in the library.
• Entering or remaining in the library with a bodily hygiene so offensive that it constitutes a nuisance to others.
• Moving furniture or equipment without the express consent of library personnel or use of furniture or equipment in any manner inconsistent with the customary use thereof and that may result in damage.
• Blocking of aisles with personal items or leaving such items unattended in the library at any time. Items may be removed from the library if they reasonably appear to be abandoned or have been left unattended for 30 minutes or more.
• Interfering with the safe and free passage of library personnel or patrons in the library, including but not limited to the placement of objects in hallways, aisles, flooring, or the parking lot in a manner that impedes the free passage of such persons about the library.
• Bringing animals into the library except those needed to assist a patron with a disability authorized under the law, or other purpose approved by the Library Director.
• Using the library’s computer network in an unauthorized manner or displaying offensive or profane materials from the computer network to other patrons.
• Misusing the restrooms, including, but not limited to, using the restroom for purposes such as laundry, bathing, or shaving.
• Leaving a child aged ten (10) and under unattended by a parent, guardian or caregiver on library premises including the Youth Services Department (see Addendum concerning the conduct and supervision of minors).
• Loitering in or around the Youth Services Department without being a parent, guardian or caregiver of a child using the Youth Services Department.
• Engaging in any other activities that are inconsistent with those activities normally associated with the use of public library including reading, studying and using library materials or computers.
Westfield Memorial Library welcomes children. Parents, guardians and caregivers are responsible for children’s safety and behavior while in the library whether the parent, guardian or caregiver is present or not. Library personnel are not equipped, and it is not the library’s role, to provide long- or short-term childcare. The library assumes neither responsibility nor liability for the actions, care, supervision or safety of children. For the safety and comfort of children, a responsible adult or an older responsible individual must accompany children aged ten (10) and under when they are in the library including the Youth Services Department. This responsible individual must supervise, guide, and control the behavior of children under their care at all times.
Library personnel will attempt to contact the parent, guardian or caregiver when a child is unattended, neglected or ignored, and (1) the child’s behavior is disruptive or inappropriate; (2) the child appears to be a danger to herself or himself or others; (3) the child appears to be threatened by others; or (4) the child appears to be ill or upset. In the event the parent, guardian or caregiver cannot be located, library personnel will contact the Westfield Police Department. In the event of an emergency, library personnel will call 911.
Library personnel will attempt to contact the parent, guardian or caregiver of any unattended children aged ten (10) and under when the library closes. If a parent, guardian or caregiver cannot be located within 15 minutes, the Westfield Police Department will be contacted. Two library personnel will wait with the child until the police arrive.
Violation of these Rules of Conduct is misconduct that can result in expulsion from the library and forfeiture of library privileges. Minor violations will first result in library personnel attempting to educate or warn individuals about the Rules of Conduct before enforcing them. If an individual continues to violate these Rules of Conduct, library personnel may order that individual to leave the library for the remainder of the day.
However, any conduct that threatens the life or safety of any person or that is damaging to library property, equipment or facilities may result in immediate expulsion from the library. Library personnel are authorized to contact the Westfield Police Department to respond to such situations. Repeated misconduct or severe offenses (even if a single isolated event) may result in individuals being banned from the library from a week to a year. Library personnel will follow the established procedures below and will call the Westfield Police Department for severe or illegal behavior or when individuals refuse to leave when told by library personnel to do so.
Banning Procedure: After library personnel determine that a person has engaged in severe or repeat misconduct and has determined that the individual involved should be banned:
• The Library Director or Acting Director will issue, or cause to be issued, a written banning letter to the individual involved notifying the individual that they are banned from the Westfield Memorial Library. The letter shall indicate the reasons for the ban and the specific time period of the ban.
• The Library Director will note a description of the underlying behavior and the name and description of the banned individual. The Library Director will officially inform all library personnel about the reasons for the ban and the length of the ban. The Library Director shall also notify the banned individual of the process for appealing the ban.
• If a banned individual enters the Westfield Memorial Library before the return date listed in the banning letter, library personnel shall contact the Westfield Police Department and the individual may be arrested for trespassing pursuant to N.J.S.A. 20:18-3.
• As an alternative to banning a juvenile, library personnel may restrict a juvenile from independent use of the library for a period of 30 days for the first violation, or 90 days for the second violation. The juvenile whose library use is restricted may use the library during the specified period only when the juvenile is accompanied by a responsible parent, guardian, or caregiver. The juvenile’s parent, guardian or caregiver must receive notification of the restriction via certified mail.
• Any banned individual may submit a written appeal of the ban, in writing, to the Library Board of Trustees, who will render a decision at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting.
Adopted by the Westfield Memorial Library Board of Trustees, June 22, 2022