Code of Conduct

Created August 2004
Approved by the Library Board on September 29, 2004
Latest revision by the Library Board on June 28, 2018

I. Introduction
II. Charge of the Library Staff
III. Code of Conduct Guidelines for Library Customers
IV. Youth in the Library
V. Unattended Children
VI. Specific Guidelines for Handling Unattended Children
VII. General Guidelines for Handling Disruptive Customers
VIII. Specific Guidelines for Handling Disruptive Customers
XI. Theft of Library Materials

I. Introduction

A. Under the provisions of Chapter 43 of the Wisconsin State Statutes, specifically section 43.52 (1), the Mount Horeb Public Library Board of Trustees may enact regulations that serve to insure the safety of all library staff and customers, protect the usefulness of the materials collection, and maintain order in the library.

B. The Board of Trustees and library staff are committed to providing an atmosphere where people of all ages may come to read, browse, do research, study, or participate in leisure activities such as book discussion groups, playing computer or board games, and engaging in other library sponsored activities. This policy does not prohibit quiet conversation between customers and/or staff members or conversations required to carry on library programs or business. It is designed to preserve a reasonably quiet atmosphere where library customers may use library services and materials without disturbance.

C. Inappropriate behavior includes any activity that disturbs others, interferes with library operations, damages the building or its furnishings, as well as rudeness, profanity, or any other behavior generally considered unacceptable in a public place.

D. This policy has been established for all customers. If a customer is not responsive to the needs of other library users or disregards the policies protecting customers, staff, and library property, the customer will be asked to leave the library if he or she does not comply.

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II. Charge of the Library Staff

A. Provide a welcoming environment and space for customers to work, read, browse, or contemplate quietly.

B. Help customers find the information they need for their work or pleasure - from books, periodicals, databases, the Internet, or other sources. (Please refer to our Reference Services Policy for an expanded list of services.)

C. Help customers use the library catalog or other on-line databases.

D. Assist customers in retrieving items from the higher and lower shelves of the stacks. Staff may aid customers in transferring heavy loads of materials to vehicles if staff is physically able to do so. Staff is encouraged to use proper lifting techniques and is encouraged to use book carts/dolly, etc.

E. Provide basic help in using library equipment.

F. Treat customers with courtesy.

G. Protect the privacy of the customers in their quest for information.

H. The library staff is responsible for ensuring that the rights of individuals who use the library are upheld. The staff is obligated to enforce the Code of Conduct guidelines so that the facility can be used to the fullest by all persons. Questions regarding the interpretation of these guidelines will be referred to the Library Director or other staff member in charge.

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III. Code of Conduct Guidelines for Library Customers

A. The rights of individuals to use the library should not be abridged or denied. To guarantee these rights for all persons, library customers will be responsible for following the guidelines for appropriate behaviors as listed below:

1. Be considerate of other library customers, library staff, and library neighbors:

  • Do not cross the neighbors' lawns to obtain access to the library's property. This is not polite or welcome behavior.
  • Keep noise to a minimum - respect the rights of others to work, play, and read quietly.
  • Avoid rude behavior. Uttering profane, obscene, or offensive language is grounds for removal from the library.
  • Customers are not welcome behind service counters, in staff work areas, or the staff break-room unless authorized and supervised by the library staff; this infringement of staff space interferes with library operations.

2. In most cases, electronic or other types of personal equipment may not be used in the library. Examples of such equipment include typewriters, computers, radios, televisions, and cellular telephones. The following are exceptions:

  • Cell phones. Ensure your cell/mobile phone is in silent mode or switched off when you enter the library. If you receive a call, please take the call to the foyer.
  • Personal stereos. Make sure your personal stereo cannot be heard by other people.
  • Laptop computers. Laptops may be used as long as keyboarding does not disturb others.

3. Smoking and/or vaping is prohibited in the library and within 20 feet of the building. (The foyer is considered the inside of the building.)

4. Please do not eat food (or candy) in the library unless the food is distributed as part of a library sponsored program.

5. Customers may bring a beverage into the library in a securely covered beverage container; however, they may not take any beverages into the computer lab.

6. Please wear shirts and shoes (and other clothing!) into the library.

7. Good hygiene is important. Poor hygiene interferes with others' use and enjoyment of the library.

8. The perception of scents and fragrances is very subjective. Library staff members cannot be responsible for monitoring scents and fragrances, particularly with the public.

9. Service animals trained to assist differently-abled customers are welcome; however, all other pets are prohibited from the library unless part of a library sponsored program. (Pets may be tied up outside.)

10. Respect library materials. Theft of, or mutilating, defacing, underlining, highlighting, removing pages or portions, or otherwise damaging library materials is not respectful of the community's property and will not be tolerated.

11. Respect library property. Vandalizing or defacing the library building, furniture, or equipment is not respectful of the community's property and will not be tolerated.

12. Skateboarding on library property is prohibited. This includes the parking lot, sidewalks, and all curbing.

13. Rollerblades (inline skates) and skateboards are allowed in the library only if they are picked up and carried into the building and remain with their owner - no skating in the library.

14. Bikes have their own parking spot - in the bike rack next to the flag pole - please secure your bike there.

15. Customers are responsible for their personal items while in the library. The library is not responsible for lost/stolen items.

16. Sleeping in the library for an extended period of time (more than 15 minutes) is not encouraged.

17. Only persons on library business will be allowed to solicit for the sale of goods and services in the library. Salespersons may meet with authorized library personnel only. Exceptions may be made for library-sponsored activities and organizations affiliated with the library.

18. Surveying of groups or individuals may only be done in conjunction with output measures or other similar surveys designed to quantify library use or satisfaction with library services.

19. Please respect the guidelines for the computer lab. Please refer to our Computer and Gaming Equipment Use Policy for more information.

20. Children are precious. Leaving them unattended is not safe. Please refer to section V. Unattended Children of this policy for more information.

21. Parents (guardians or designated caregivers) of a Library Kid, assist your child(ren) in following the library's Code of Conduct by helping them Be a Library Kid. You may pick up a copy of this brochure in the Children's Area or online.

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IV. Youth in the Library

A. One of the primary missions of the library is to provide a variety of services for children of all ages. The library encourages visits by young children, and it is our desire to make these visits both memorable and enjoyable for the child.

B. Children of all ages are encouraged to use the library for homework, pleasure reading, and attending programs. The staff realizes that the library will be noisier at busy times and that children by nature can cause more commotion.

C. The library staff has many duties and cannot supervise children nor act as a substitute for daycare. The librarians cannot accept responsibility for the safety and welfare of your unattended child(ren).

D. All children seven (7) years of age and under must be in the company of a parent, legal guardian, or caregiver while in the library. Even if the young person is attending a program, it is required that the parent, legal guardian, or caregiver must remain in the library throughout the program.

E. Children age eight (8) and above may use the library unattended for an amount of time appropriate to their age and maturity. (This will quickly become evident in the behaviors they choose. Parents, guardians or caregivers may review the brochure Be a Library Kid with their child(ren).)

F. Whether they are with their parents, legal guardians, or caregivers or not, youth who are continually disruptive will be dealt with firmly. The child will be given a warning that he/she must settle down or will be asked to leave the library. If the child continues to be disruptive, at the discretion of the library staff, the child will be asked to leave the library. If the child needs to contact a parent, legal guardian, or caregiver, he/she may do so and then wait in the foyer until the responsible individual arrives.

G. Examples of disruptive behavior include: choosing to not follow the guidelines set forth in the Computer and Gaming Equipment Use policy, running up and down the bookstack aisles, shooting rubber bands at others, unsupervised use of library equipment, creating excessive noise, or pulling books from the sleeves -- any behavior that interferes with other people's use of the library or that may damage library property.

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V. Unattended Children

A. "Unattended" means that the parent, legal guardian, or caregiver is not in close proximity to the child. Library staff cannot be expected to assume responsibility for the care or welfare of unsupervised children in the library. Parents, legal guardians or caregivers are responsible for their children's behavior while in the library.

B. Therefore, it is the policy of the library that all children seven (7) years of age and under must be in the company of a parent, guardian, or caregiver while in the library. Even if the young person is attending a program, it is required that the parent, guardian, or caregiver remain in the library and in proximity throughout the program.

C. If it is determined that a child is lost or left unattended, a staff member shall bring the child to the Youth Services Librarian or other staff member in charge. He/she will then attempt to identify and locate the parent/responsible person. If a parent, guardian, or caregiver cannot be located, then a report will be filed with the Mount Horeb Police Department.

VI. Specific Guidelines for Handling Unattended Children

A. The staff will make every effort to locate parent, guardian, or caregiver and will express their concern for the child's safety and explain the library's policy regarding Unattended Children.

B. At closing, library staff will wait up to 30 minutes with an unattended child, under 18 years of age, until the parent or caregiver arrive. Two staff members must be present with the child. (This is compensated staff time.) (In the event that two staff can not be present, staff is to call the Director/Assistant Director/another staff member who lives in town to locate additional staff coverage.) However, if the parents, legal guardians, or caregivers do not arrive within 30 minutes of closing, the child will be remanded into the care of the Mount Horeb Police Department.

C. Staff will call the Mount Horeb police and alert them to the situation: A child(ren) under the age of 18, is either waiting for a ride and/or the potential of an abandonment situation. Staff will wait until the police arrive to assess the situation. Staff will notify Director the police have been called. Staff will utilize the non-emergency police numbers: 437-5522 (day time); 437-5523 (after 5 p.m.)

Approved by the Library Board, 1/2016

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VII. General Guidelines for Handling Disruptive Customers

A. It is the customer's responsibility to maintain necessary and proper behavior standards in order to protect his/her individual rights and the rights and privileges of other customers.

B. Occasionally, staff members may have to deal with customers who violate the rights of others or who create a disturbance in the library. If a customer creates a public nuisance, that customer may be restricted from the library and from the use of the use of library facilities. Those who are unwilling to leave or do not leave within a reasonable amount of time, after being instructed to do so by staff, will be subject to the law.

C. A brief written report of any incident involving theft, vandalism, illegal activity, or major disruptive behavior will be filed with the Director as soon as possible after its occurrence. (A sample copy of the "Incident Report" follows.)

D. The Library Director, acting on behalf of the Board of Trustees, may suspend the library privileges of any individual who willfully violates library regulations when the severity or continued reoccurrence warrants such action. [Wisconsin State Statutes 43.52 (2).] The Library Director will inform the Library Board of any such action taken.

E. The person whose library privileges are suspended shall be advised in writing of the suspension and the reason(s) for such action. The offending person shall also be informed that the suspension may be appealed at the next regularly scheduled Library Board meeting.

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VIII. Specific Guidelines for Handling Disruptive Customers:

A. The nature and seriousness of the offense will shape the consequences.

B. The following actions may be taken:

  • Warnings - discussion of Code of Conduct and other applicable policies.
  • Suspension of some aspect of library service (Internet, PlayStation, checkout of materials, etc.) for any length of time from 1 day to 3 months.
  • Removal from the library's property for any length of time from 1 day to 3 months.
  • Parents, legal guardian, or caregivers of children under the age of 18 will receive a letter notifying them of the conduct violation and length of suspension of service or removal from the library property if suspension of library service exceeds 24 hours.
  • Report to the authorities (Library Board and/or Police Department).
  • Payment for damages to library materials and/or property, including cost to fix or replace.
  • Banning from the library property for a period of up to a year or longer as per the discretion of the Library Director and the authorities.

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XI. Theft of Library Materials

A. According to section 943.61 (3) of the Wisconsin State Statutes, the concealment of library material beyond the circulation desk is evidence of intent to deprive the library of possession of the material. (Materials may not be taken into the foyer unless they are checked out.) The discovery of library material which has not been checked out in accordance with established library procedures and which is concealed upon the person or among the belongings of the person or concealed by a person upon the person or belongings of another is theft.

B. According to section 943.61 (4) of the Wisconsin State Statutes, an employee of the library who has probable cause for believing that a person has committed a theft in his or her presence may detain the person in a reasonable manner for a reasonable length of time in order to turn the person over to the police, or to the person's parent or guardian in the case of a minor.

C. The detained person shall be promptly informed of the purpose for the detention, but shall not be interrogated or searched against his or her will before the arrival of the police, who may conduct a lawful interrogation of the accused person.

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