Library Policies
Patron Behavior Policy

Library Board Policy as of April 13, 2022. Updated July 6, 2023; May 9, 2024.

Policies > Patron Behavior Policy

The Berlin-Peck Memorial Library welcomes everyone to use its collections, services, and facilities. The Library is open to patrons of all ages and abilities.

In order to maintain a welcoming, safe, and comfortable environment that will allow the Library’s patrons to fully use and enjoy all of its resources, all visitors are required to behave in an orderly and respectful manner and cooperate with Library staff. Library staff are authorized to maintain order and safety within the building.

This policy applies to the entire Library premises, including outdoor areas. Certain restrictions on behavior that is unsafe or unsanitary indoors, like prohibitions against animals, bicycles, noise, or food and drink inside the Library, are waived in outdoor areas to the extent that they do not disrupt normal Library use or impede the Library’s entrance.

The Library is empowered to make these rules, and to exclude from the library any person who willfully violates these rules, under Connecticut State Statute Title 11, Sec. 11-32.



Library patrons of all ages must be fully and appropriately clothed, including shirts and shoes, inside the Library building. Patrons may not walk around inside the Library without wearing shoes.


Alcohol, Smoking, and Drugs

Use, sale, or distribution of alcohol, smoking products (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, vaping devices, or anything that gives off smoke, vapor, or fumes), chewing tobacco, and illegal and/or recreational drugs are prohibited inside the Library or within 50 feet of an entrance or window.

Individuals who are intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or any other substance are not allowed on the Library premises.



Animals are not permitted in the building, with the exception of service animals or during a program with prior approval of the Library. See the Library’s Service Animal Policy.


Children in the Library

The Library and its staff cannot, and expressly do not, assume any responsibility for the care, supervision, or entertainment of minors. Responsibility for the behavior of a minor, including their actions and safety as well as the materials they choose to read or view, belongs with the minor’s parent, guardian, or caregiver.

Compliance with US copyright law and the Library’s Internet Access and Computer Use Policy is the joint responsibility of the minor and their caregiver.

Parents, guardians, and other caregivers of minors are expected to follow the guidelines for acceptable and unacceptable supervision of children set out in the Unattended Children Policy.


Children’s Areas

Areas in the Children’s Department are designated for use by children and parents, guardians, or other caregivers accompanying their children. Adults who are not accompanying children are welcome to browse the Children’s Department collections, but should move to the Adult Department for seating, studying, and public computer use.


Damage, Theft, and Vandalism

Willfully damaging, vandalizing, or stealing Library property, including Library materials, furniture, furnishings, and computers, as well as the Library building and its restrooms, is prohibited and may lead to financial or criminal repercussions.

Intentionally taking Library materials out of the building without proper checkout will be regarded and handled as theft.


Dangerous and Disruptive Behaviors

Behavior that threatens the safety of patrons or staff, or that interferes with the use and enjoyment of the Library, is not permitted. The following behaviors are prohibited:

  • Carrying guns, pistols, or other weapons except as specifically permitted by law
  • Fighting, pushing, kicking, spitting, biting, using or brandishing weapons of any kind, or otherwise injuring or threatening to injure Library staff or other patrons
  • Yelling, running, climbing, or standing on furniture, including chairs and play structures
  • Throwing or kicking objects, or using any sort of sports equipment
  • Using bicycles, scooters, skateboards, roller blades, roller skates, wheeled footwear, hoverboards, or any other non-assistive transportation
  • Moving Library furniture without permission from Library staff
  • Using matches or lighters, or fire of any kind
  • Unsanitary activities, including defecating or urinating, outside of restroom facilities
  • Monopolizing Library spaces, blocking the Library entrance, blocking aisles or walkways with personal items, or otherwise interfering with others’ access to the Library
  • Entering staff areas or other non-public areas


Food and Drink

Covered non-alcoholic drinks are allowed throughout the Library, with the exception of the Local History Room.

Low-mess food is allowed in the Library, as long as it is well contained, does not leave crumbs, does not damage Library property, and no trash is left behind. Messy or odorous foods are not allowed. To prevent mess and distraction, food that might be considered a meal should be eaten in a Study Room. Food is not permitted in the Local History room or at the public computer stations.

In all circumstances, patrons must make every effort to avoid leaving a mess. Trash must be disposed of in designated trash containers or removed from the building. Patrons may be financially responsible for damage to computers, furniture, books, or other Library property, even accidental.

Patrons who have a history of leaving a mess or damaging Library property with food or drink may be prohibited from bringing food or drink anywhere in the Library.


Group Visits

The Library welcomes visits from local organizations including but not limited to schools, youth programs, and assisted living facilities.

Group visits should be prearranged to ensure there is availability of Library services including materials, computers, audiovisual resources, meeting space, information services, and circulation services. If no arrangement is made in advance, Library service will be the same for groups and members of the public, and groups will not receive special service or attention from Library staff.

Groups are responsible for providing adequate chaperones to monitor the behavior of minors in the group, or otherwise supervising their group as necessary.

Groups may not hold unapproved classes or presentations in the Library.


Hygiene and Odor

Patrons whose bodily hygiene constitutes a health hazard and/or extreme nuisance, or that has the potential to damage Library furniture or other property, may be asked to leave the building until the hygiene issue is resolved. An extreme nuisance is such that it interferes with the ability of other patrons to use the Library. This includes, but is not limited to, offensive body odors; unreasonably strong perfume, cologne, smoke, gasoline, or other scents; insects or pests; and unsanitary clothing or belongings.

Personal grooming is prohibited in the Library, including in public spaces, study rooms, and restrooms. This includes, but is not limited to, laundering, shaving, washing or cutting hair, bathing, and nail clipping.

Hygiene is a sensitive subject and Library staff should handle the issue with appropriate tact. Library staff may also contact the town’s Social Services department for assistance.


Illegal Behavior

Any activity that violates federal, state, or local law, statute, or ordinance, including US copyright laws, is prohibited and may be reported to the appropriate authorities.

Any person engaged in illegal activity may lose all Library privileges for up to life and may be reported to law enforcement.


Interpersonal Behavior

The following behaviors are prohibited on the Library premises, including behavior directed towards other patrons as well as Library staff.

  • Verbal harassment, abuse, and intimidation
  • Physical harassment, assault, abuse, and intimidation
  • Sexual harassment, assault, and intimidation, including physical contact, verbal comments, indecent exposure, flashing, and obscene gestures
  • Stalking behavior
  • Engaging in sexual activity of any kind, including physical contact with self or others
  • Viewing or displaying images that are obscene, pornographic, or harmful to minors, either in print or on a computer screen
  • Monopolizing Library staff time such that it interferes with their ability to perform their duties and/or assist other patrons


Library Hours

Patrons are expected to respect the Library’s hours of operation.

Patrons should not attempt to enter the Library building before opening time unless explicitly allowed by Library staff at the time of entrance.

Closing time signifies the point at which the Library is considered closed to the public, the doors are locked, and no patrons should remain in the Library building. Patrons should exit the Library building promptly before the Library’s closing time. This includes ensuring that all personal belongings are gathered, trash is disposed of, and restroom breaks are finished in time to exit the building before closing time.

In the event that a patron refuses to exit the Library building promptly at closing time, Library staff’s sole responsibility is to issue a reminder. If patrons fail to comply after the reminder, staff may then call the police for assistance. Non-compliance may result in a temporary ban and/or legal consequences.



Noise should be kept at a level that does not disturb others or interfere with the quiet enjoyment of the Library by other Library patrons. Loud talking (alone, on a phone, or in conversation) should be kept to a minimum or relocated to an area that will not disturb other patrons.

The following activities are prohibited inside the Library except in areas like the study rooms where the noise is contained and does not bother other patrons:

  • Shouting or yelling
  • Playing any audio (music, television, movies, etc.) on speakers or headphones that are loud enough to be heard by other patrons
  • Speaking on a cell phone via speakerphone
  • Video calling (like FaceTime) on a phone or laptop
  • Any other unreasonably loud noise

Adults are responsible for regulating their minor child’s the noise levels.



Patrons should not create or leave a mess when using the Library. This includes, but is not limited to, garbage, food or food packaging, dirt, unwanted papers, and glitter or other crafting supplies.


Personal Belongings

The Library is not responsible for the loss or theft of personal belongings or documents left unattended on the Library premises.

Although a patron may choose to leave their belongings unattended for brief periods of time, items may not be left unattended for long periods of time to “reserve” Library spaces for a patron’s future use.

Items that are left unattended for long periods of time may be moved to a lost and found area or, if appropriate, disposed of. Library staff will use their best judgement in dealing with lost items found in the Library:

  • Items that are hazardous or perishable will be discarded immediately
  • Items of obvious value will be dated and held in a secure location
  • Items that contain contact information (driver’s licenses, credit cards documents, or cell phones, etc.) may be read or accessed in a reasonable attempt to contact the owner
  • Items that are suspicious, illegal, or dangerous may be reported to the authorities

After thirty days, unclaimed items become Library property and may be disposed of, turned over to the police, donated to charity, or otherwise discarded as appropriate.



The Library recognizes that sleeping in public is not an inherently disruptive act; however, it is imperative to acknowledge that medical distress can be mistaken for sleep. In order to promptly identify and address any potential medical emergencies, lying down and/or sleeping are not allowed in the Library building.

If a patron is found sleeping in the Library, staff will make a reasonable effort to wake the patron. Staff may assume an unresponsive patron in medical distress and contact emergency services.

In the case of sleeping children, Library staff will defer to the child’s parent or caregiver.



The following behaviors are prohibited on the Library premises, including outside the Library entrance and in the courtyard, except with special permission from the Library Director.

  • Panhandling or soliciting Library staff or patrons for money, products, or services
  • Requesting donations, including placing receptacles for donations on Library premises
  • Selling, offers to sell, or other activities related to the sale of goods or services
  • Hanging posters or flyers without the permission of Library staff
  • Placing collection boxes without the permission of Library staff
  • Campaigning, petitioning, interviewing, canvassing, or conducting surveys of any kind
  • Distributing leaflets, flyers, literature, brochures, product samples, or other materials to patrons or staff, or throughout the Library


Violations of the Behavior Policy

Enforcement of this policy will be conducted in a fair and reasonable manner.



Patrons who violate the Patron Behavior Policy will be given no more than two verbal warnings by Library staff. The Library reserves the right to immediately exclude patrons who violate our patron behavior policy without warning at the discretion of Library staff.


Temporary Bans

Patrons who violate the Patron Behavior Policy may be asked to leave for the day and, at the discretion of the Library Director, may be banned from the Library premises for up to one year. Consequences for repeated behavior infractions of the same or similar nature may have cumulative exclusions.

Library staff may contact law enforcement to issue a ban on behalf of the Library.

For bans of any length, Library staff should fill out an Incident Report documenting the names of all individuals involved (staff and patrons) as well as the date, time, and reason for the ban.


Police Involvement

Any behavior that threatens the safety and security of staff or patrons may result in the police being called to intervene.

Patrons who have been banned from the Library, and who disobey the ban by entering the Library building or accessing Library premises, are considered to be trespassing. Library staff will contact emergency or non-emergency police dispatch, depending on the situation, and the individual will be escorted from premises and/or arrested.

Any person engaged in illegal activity may lose all library privileges for up to life and may be reported to law enforcement.