1113 GAR Highway | Swansea, MA 02777 | (508) 674-9609

Behavior Policy

Behavior Policy

Swansea Free Public Library
Behavior Policy

Policy Statement:
The Swansea Free Public Library is designed to be a safe and comfortable place for all members of the public to use.  Patrons are expected to observe the rights of other patrons and staff members.  The Swansea Free Public Library’s Behavior Policy is intended to protect the rights and safety of library patrons, to protect the rights and safety of staff members, and to preserve and protect the library’s materials, facilities, and property.

Definition and Scope:
Patrons who exhibit disruptive behavior in the library will be asked to follow the rules listed in the behavior policy.  Patrons who continue to cause disruptive behavior will be asked to leave the library premises.
Disruptive Behavior is generally defined as “any patron behavior that interferes with the normal operation of the library or which interferes with another patron’s ability to use the library.” 
The Library Director and other staff members to whom the Director delegates the authority (and who are on duty at the time) shall have the responsibility for enforcing the Behavior Policy and determining when behavior in the library is inappropriate.

The following types of disruptive behavior will not be tolerated in the library:

  1. Any behavior that endangers the safety or health of others
  2. Violation of any local, state, or federal law
  3. Carrying firearms or dangerous weapons of any type (except by law enforcement officers)
  4. Use of abusive or intimidating language or gestures to patrons or staff members
  5. Behavior that is willfully annoying, threatening, or harassing* to another person
  6. Any sexual behavior or conduct, either consensual or non-consensual
  7. Touching, moving , or damaging the library security cameras
  8. Being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, or use of alcohol, cigarettes, vapor products, marijuana, or illegal substances in the library
  9. Vandalism or deliberate destruction of library materials or property
  10. Theft of library materials or the personal property of other patrons and staff
  11. Taking library materials into the restrooms
  12. Poor hygiene that constitutes a nuisance
  13. Soliciting of any kind
  14. Running, or riding skateboards or bicycles
  15. Use of the library telephone for personal business, unless in an emergency or a request for transportation
  16. Loud talking, laughing, or using audio equipment or cell phones that disturbs or could disturb other patrons
  17. Inappropriate dress, such bathing suits and wet clothing or not wearing a shirt or shoes in the library
  18. Other kinds of behavior deemed inappropriate in the opinion of the Director or designated staff members

*Harassment is defined as any action taken or situation created intentionally to produce psychological or physical discomfort, embarrassment, or ridicule.  Harassment is characterized by requests for sexual contact, unwelcome physical advances, or conduct (verbal or physical) of a nature that is intimidating, demeaning, hostile, offensive, or potentially dangerous to self or others.
The library staff reserves the right to ask a patron to leave the library for any of the reasons listed above.

Enforcement of these regulations may take the form of any of the following, depending on the severity of the misconduct, which will be determined by the staff on duty at the time. These disciplinary procedures are guidelines. The library may implement any procedure listed, including an immediate ban from the library premises at any time.

Minor Disruption:  In the case of a minor disruption, the library patron will receive two warnings.  If the behavior continues, the patron may be asked to leave the library for a stated period of suspension.

Extreme Misconduct:  In the case of any misconduct that, in the judgment of a staff member, is extreme, the offender may be given only one warning, may be ordered to leave the library immediately for a stated period of suspension, or the police may be called.
In cases where a policy violation occurs involving a child under the age of 17, the staff will give the child two warnings. If the behavior continues, the library director will call and inform the parents that their child was asked to leave the library for a stated period of suspension and explain the circumstances.  Parents of minor children may be held responsible for any damages caused to library materials or computers by their child.  
If the child continues to cause disruptive behavior in the library, the child and parents or guardian must meet with the Library Director to review policy rules before the child can return to use the library.
Permanent Ban from the Library:
Patrons who engage in repeated disruptive behaviors that interfere with others’ use of the library or the general operation of the library or engage in behaviors that violate the law may be permanently banned from the Swansea Free Public Library premises by the Director. A written notice of permanent ban may be given to the patron.  A written appeal of the Library Director’s decision may be made to the Library Board within 30 days.
Exceptions to the above may be authorized by the Library Director and/or other designee.
Neither the Director nor any other member of the library staff is a professional medical or legal expert.  All actions taken shall be subject to the best opinion of the Director and library staff.
The Swansea Free Public Library staff will be consistent with enforcing this Behavior Policy to ensure the safety of patrons and staff and create an environment that is enjoyable to our patrons.  This policy also ensures that the quality of library materials is maintained.


Approved by the Swansea Free Public Library Board of Trustees, October 18, 2018