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Code of Conduct Policy Updated

Warsaw Public Library Code of Conduct Policy

The affairs of the Warsaw Public Library are conducted by a Library Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees is empowered to provide an environment ensuring the safety, security and availability of library space, equipment and resources for all library visitors and staff and has established rules and regulations for this purpose. The Library Director and designee(s) are authorized and directed by the Board of Trustees to interpret and enforce these rules and regulations. 

Library patrons, visitors and staff are expected to follow the Code of Conduct, which is posted on the library’s website and available at the reference desk.  Entering the library implies agreement to abide by these rules while on library property. Failure to do so may result in expulsion from the library and/or loss of library privileges. 

While in the library, visitors, patrons and staff will respect the rights of others to use and enjoy the library’s resources by:

  • Keeping noise to a moderate level
  • Following staff guidance
  • Leaving animals at home (other than service animals)
  • Treating the library building, furnishings, and collections with care
  • Being fully clothed, including a shirt and shoes, during your visit
  • Taking care of personal hygiene so that personal scent does not interfere with others’ experience

Some behaviors are not allowed in the library, including, but not limited to:

Illegal Activities, such as:

  • Committing or attempting to commit any activity that constitutes a violation of any federal, state, or local statute or ordinance.
  • Engaging in sexual conduct or lewd behavior on Library premises (New York Penal Law, Section 245: Offenses Against Public Sensibilities)
  • Use of controlled substances on Library premises. (New York State Penal Law, Section 220: Controlled Substances Offenses)
  • Smoking or vaping on Library premises within 100 feet of a library entrance. (New York State Public Health code, Section 1399-O)
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages on Library premises.

Harmful, Disruptive, or Destructive behavior, such as:

  • The use of abusive or threatening language or gestures
  • Excessively loud or boisterous behavior
  • Recording patrons or patron service areas during normal hours of operation
  • Soliciting, petitioning, or distributing written materials or canvassing on library premises for any purpose without express permission of Library employees
  • Using library materials, equipment, furniture, fixtures, or building in a destructive, abusive, or potentially damaging manner, likely to cause personal injury to any person, or in any other manner inconsistent with the customary use thereof.
  • Interfering with the free passage of library employees or patrons in or onto library premises
  • Disobeying the reasonable direction of employees
  • Use of any communication or entertainment devices at a volume that disturbs others, with or without headphones.
  • Inebriation or being under the influence of illegal substances.

Children in the Library

Library employees are committed to:

  • Helping children find materials for educational and recreational pursuits;
  • Providing an environment that encourages study, exploration, and play;
  • Planning programs that inform and enrich

Library staff cannot supervise each individual child.

Therefore, parents or guardians should ensure that children visiting the library:

  • Understand appropriate behavior as described in the Patron Code of Conduct.
  • Understand basic personal safety. The library is an open facility and cannot monitor children’s interactions with other patrons.
  • Understand parental/guardian expectations regarding which materials in the library are appropriate. Library staff cannot monitor or restrict access to information.
  • Have emergency contact information of a responsible adult, including address and phone number
  • Are in good health and have appropriate hygiene.

The library is not responsible if children leave library property unattended.

            Library staff will attempt to contact a parent, guardian, and/or caregiver in circumstances such as the following:

  • An unattended child is engaging in behavior that is disruptive to other library users, staff, or the normal operations of library business.
  • An unattended child is involved in a situation that is potentially harmful to the health or safety of the child and/or others.
  • An unattended child is left alone in the Library at closing time.

            Such situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis. If parents, guardians, and/or caregivers cannot be reached, or are unresponsive, the library will work with other agencies as needed. Under no circumstance will a library staff person transport a child home. A detailed incident report will be filed with the Director should a situation arise when a minor is left unattended at the time of closing of the library. If a lateness pattern is observed, suspension of library privileges may be imposed.

Alternative Actions for Code Violations

Library employees are authorized to suspend library privileges for up to a week for violations of this policy, including banning patrons from entering the library. The Director, or designee is authorized to suspend library privileges of patrons for periods of time longer than a week based on the severity of the violation(s).

Employees must submit a written Incident Report to the Director no later than the next business day whenever a patron’s privileges have been suspended under this policy. The report will, at the least, include the name of the patron, the name of the parent/guardian if the patron is under 18 years of age, the description and date of the incident, and the length of time the patron’s library privileges have been suspended. In the event that the name of the patron cannot be obtained, the library may use a photograph of the patron to note and enforce the ban. In such instances, an effort will be made to obtain the name of the patron to update the records related to the incident and banning.

Employees may verbally give notice for suspension of privileges up to a week in length. In the case of any suspensions, a letter noting the cause and length of the ban will be kept on file with the incident report and any other applicable documents. If possible, based on the availability of a mailing address or email account, suspension of a patron’s privileges longer than a week will be communicated to the patron in writing by the Director or designee. For patrons under the age of 18, written notice shall be sent to the patron’s parent or guardian. 

At the completion of the suspension, the patron may be required to meet with the Director or designee before being allowed access to the library again. 

If the patron repeats a violation after a suspension, it may be considered grounds for a permanent ban. The Director and Library Board will review the incident report(s) at the next Library Board meeting after the incident. The Director will provide a written decision regarding the ban as soon as possible. The written decision will state that the patron is permanently banned from the library and will specify the reasons for the determination. The patron may appeal the decision in writing, addressed to the President of the Library Board.

The patron and all staff will be notified in writing of the permanent ban. A copy will also be sent to the village of Warsaw Police Department and the Library Board President.

Library employees may ask a patron to leave the premises with or without prior warning, depending on the seriousness of the violation. 

Criminal violations may result in prosecution under state and/or federal law.

Violations of the code of conduct and attendant policies by Library employees are subject to discipline, up to and including termination. 

Suspension of Borrowing Privileges for Health/Safety Reasons

It is the responsibility of the Library to maintain a healthy, clean and safe environment and to protect library collections, equipment and property. In order to fulfill this responsibility, the library may restrict a patron’s ability to borrow materials and/or to visit library facilities when such use may jeopardize the health and cleanliness of library facilities, collections and other patrons.

Examples of situations where borrowing of materials may be suspended include, but are not limited to:

  • Evidence that items on loan to a patron may have been returned with insects that are known to be damaging to library materials, e.g. roaches, termites, silverfish and some types of beetles;
  • Evidence that items on loan to a patron may have been returned with insects that can result in pest infestations in library facilities, e.g. bed bugs, ants, fleas or roaches;
  • Evidence that items on loan to patrons may have been returned with fungi that can be damaging to library materials, e.g. black mold.

Reinstatement of borrowing privileges relating to suspensions due to pest infestation will be made in response to written requests.  Decisions will be made by the Director or designee based upon evidence showing that the address in question has been inspected with no sign of infestation or that the residence has been treated. Confirming information may include copies of receipts for treatment, a letter from a licensed pest control company, or a written statement from the owner or property manager of a multi-family rental residence. In some circumstances, proof of a change of residential address may also be accepted.

Board Approved 2/13/2024