Rules of Conduct

Scotch Plains Public Library Code of Conduct:

The Scotch Plains Library believes all persons have the right to use library services and materials safely and freely. The library strives to provide an atmosphere conducive to the safe and orderly use of the facility and requests the cooperation of library customers in refraining from behavior that interferes with the use of the library by others, creates a risk of injury to themselves or to others, inhibits the work of library staff, or creates a risk of damage to library, personal, or staff property. Parents or guardians, not library staff, are responsible for the safety, care, and supervision of their children while at the library.

This policy is intended to provide a clear and reasonable guide to customer behavior while in the library and on library grounds.

Unacceptable behavior includes but is not limited to:

• Any activity that constitutes a violation of federal, state, or local statues or ordinances
• Damage, defacement, misuse, or theft of any library property or material
• Eating or drinking except in designated areas or at authorized library functions
• Possession and/or use of alcohol, controlled substances, tobacco products, or e-cigarettes. This is prohibited on library premises – both inside and outside of the library building
• Possession of a weapon, unless by law enforcement officers
• Obstructing the entrance, aisles and passageways of the library, either inside or outside
• Bringing animals into the library except those certified to assist persons with a disability
• Leaving a child younger than the age of ten unattended in the library without supervision of a caregiver aged 16 or older (see the Safe Child Policy)
• Wearing improper attire including but not limited to being without shoes or shirts
• Unreasonable noise levels including shouting, talking loudly, disruptive conversation, repeated ringing of cell phones, cell phone conversations, or use of personal electronic equipment without earphones.
• Engaging in any activity that is reasonably construed as offensive or creates an intimidating or hostile environment for library staff and customers, including bullying and cyberbullying
• Verbally, physically, or sexually harassing or assaulting library customers or staff
• Selling, solicitation of donations, distribution of petitions, or canvassing in the library or on library grounds
• Photography or filming in the library or library grounds without permission of the Library Director and any individuals or groups being photographed
• Rollerblading, roller skating, skateboarding, or wheeled shoe use in the library or on library grounds
• Use of the library restrooms for anything other than their ordinarily intended purpose, it being understood that such purposes do not include bathing, shaving, hair washing, or laundry.
• Lack of personal hygiene that is offensive as to constitute a nuisance to other persons.
• Engaging in any other illegal or unsafe activity not otherwise listed

The library reserves the right to:

• Inspect all pocketbooks, backpacks, book bags, satchels, briefcases, and other similar personal bags
• Limit the number of persons who may sit together
• Impose time limits on the continuous use of library resources including computer equipment, reference materials, study areas, and staff assistance time.

Persons will be asked to leave immediately for reasons including but not limited to:

• Fighting or attempting to engage in a physical altercation
• Unsafe behavior including horseplay or use of hazardous substances
• Loud, abusive, inflammatory, or derogatory language against any person or persons
• Damage or abuse of library materials or furnishings, including misuse of the restrooms
• Intoxication and/or use of alcohol or controlled substances
• Promotion of an unsanitary condition upon oneself, other person(s), or library property

Enforcement:

Persistent or severe violations of the library’s code of conduct may result in suspension of library privileges, including the right to enter or use the facility and/or borrow materials. The Board of Trustees authorizes the Library Director to suspend library privileges for those whose behavior prevents or interferes with the effective use of the library by others. Notice of suspension will be given to the customer.

Library privileges will be automatically revoked for persons who have had disciplinary interventions with police at the library. This includes the right to enter the building, use its facilities, and/or borrow materials.

Anyone whose privileges have been revoked may have the decision reviewed by the Library Board of Trustees upon written request.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees, October 2018

Scotch Plains Public Library Safe Child Policy

Exceptional service is of high priority to the Scotch Plains Public Library; the library is dedicated to providing a welcoming, exciting, and safe environment for its customers. While children of all ages are welcome and encouraged to use the library’s materials, programs, and services, parents and caregivers must be aware that the library is an open, public building and the well-being and safety of young children left alone or unsupervised is a serious concern. It is for the safety of each child that the library has adopted the Safe Child Policy.

An unattended child may be defined as a child unable to care for himself/herself when left in the Library without a parent or responsible adult within sight or sound range, any child left unattended for long periods of time, or any child not picked up at closing time.

Parents or guardians, not library staff, are responsible for the safety, care, and supervision of their children while at the library.

Policy

• Children aged 10 and younger must be supervised by, and remain in immediate proximity to, a parent or caregiver aged 16 or older at all times.
• Middle School and High School students (Grades 5-12) are welcome to use the library unattended provided they comply with the library’s Code of Conduct, which includes but is not limited to the prohibition of food and drink, foul language, disruptive cell phone usage, and horseplay. Students using the library unaccompanied are still the legal responsibility of their parent(s) or guardian(s).
• Parents or caregivers are responsible for being aware of the library’s hours of operation if leaving their child unaccompanied at the library.
• Library staff will not physically prevent a child from leaving the library, assume responsibility for a child, accompany, or transport an unrelated child off library premises.
• A staff member who discovers an unattended child younger than age 10 will attempt to contact the parent or guardian of the child. If a parent or guardian cannot be contacted, the library will notify the Scotch Plains Police Department.
• When the library closes, staff will attempt to contact the parent or guardian of any unattended child. If a parent or guardian cannot be located or contacted within 15 minutes, the Scotch Plains Police Department will be notified. Two library staff members will wait with the child until the police arrive.

Emergency Closings

The library may have sudden emergencies, such as lack of heat or electricity, that may necessitate the library closing without warning. Significant inclement weather may also necessitate the library closing. Children should know what to do if the library must close unexpectedly. If a child is left unattended during an emergency closing, then the same guidelines outlined above under regularly scheduled closings will apply.

Violation of the Safe Child Policy may result in suspension of library privileges for the family.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees, October 2018