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Board Policy 515: Disruptive Behavior in the Library
Purpose

The Monterey Public Library provides a welcoming environment for customers of all ages and backgrounds, and for a wide variety of services and activities. To protect the safety of customers and staff, promote equitable and comfortable Library use by all customers, and protect Library facilities, furniture, equipment, and materials, the Board of Library Trustees has established standards of acceptable behavior on Library premises and when using Library services.

Definition and examples
Disruptive behavior is prohibited on Library premises and when using Library services. Disruptive behavior includes any activity which:
  1. Interferes with other customers’ use of the Library
  2. Interferes with the normal operations of the Library
  3. Is likely to result in harm to customers or staff
  4. Is likely to damage Library facilities, furniture, equipment, or materials
  5. Violates any federal, state, or local law or ordinance
  6. Violates policies established by the Library Board

Specific examples of disruptive behavior include but are not limited to:

  1. Talking loudly, using electronic devices at audible volumes, or producing other noises that can reasonably be expected to disturb Library customers.
  2. Interfering with the safe and free passage of staff or customers by sitting, reclining, placing personal possessions, or moving Library property to block hallways, aisles, or other public areas.
  3. Running, climbing, or jumping on Library fixtures, furniture, or equipment not designated for this purpose, using skates or skateboards, or other activities that can reasonably be expected to disturb Library customers, threaten the safety of customers or staff, or damage property.
  4. Selling, petitioning, distributing unauthorized materials, or requesting gifts or donations.
  5. Intentionally or negligently damaging or defacing Library property or materials (see Policy 180: Theft and Vandalism of Library Materials).
  6. Any physical or verbal threat of imminent or future violence, physically threatening or intimidating behavior, assault, actual or pretended fighting, or other acts of violence.
  7. Deliberate and/or repeated behavior which a reasonable person would find harassing, intimidating, or threatening to a customer or staff member or which creates a hostile environment, including stalking, following, or staring, and unwelcome personal advances.
  8. Abusive, obscene, or discriminatory language or gestures.
  9. Possessing, selling, distributing, consuming, or appearing to be under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or controlled substance.
  10. Smoking in the Library building and bookmobile or near entrances, exits, and windows as specified by law.
  11. Bringing any animal into Library facilities, except for service animals or as authorized for approved Library programs.
  12. Bringing bicycles into Library facilities.
  13. Eating, except in designated areas.
  14. Refusing to follow the reasonable directions of library staff, including directions to evacuate the premises or take cover during an emergency.
  15. Trespassing by entering or remaining on Library premises after having been notified by an authorized individual not to do so.

Library premises include the Library building, terrace, back patio, parking lot, driveway, and Bookmobile. Staff members may apply this policy differently to behavior in different locations depending on the disruption caused by the behavior. When disruptive behavior occurs on the public sidewalk or street in front of the Library, staff members should ask that individuals discontinue the disruptive behavior and/or request police assistance to enforce applicable laws and ordinances as appropriate.

Enforcement

The Library reserves the right to:

  1. Require customers who engage in disruptive behavior to leave the premises.
  2. Restrict customers who engage in disruptive behavior from using specific Library facilities or services, such as public computers.
  3. Exclude customers who engage in disruptive behavior from Library property for a specified period of time.

This policy will be applied fairly and equally to all customers. Customers of all ages are expected to follow this policy. Parents or caregivers are responsible for ensuring that children meet this expectation as needed. Library staff enforcing this policy will not hold children to a different standard than adults. However, as children may be learning rules of social conduct, staff will make an effort to be certain that the rules are understood, and will suggest alternative activities and ideas for self-discipline.

Library staff will notify police immediately of any illegal behavior or threat to the safety of customers or staff.

Depending on the nature and severity of the disruption, and whether or not the incident is part of a pattern of repeated disruptive behavior, authorized Library staff members may:

  1. Positively and courteously inform customers of Library policy and provide one or more verbal warnings.
  2. Follow the guidelines in Policy 520: Unattended Children in the Library in response to children’s disruptive behavior.
  3. Request police evaluation of customers who may be a danger to themselves or others, or who may need medical or other assistance.
  4. Restrict customers who engage in disruptive behavior from using designated Library facilities or services for the remainder of the day, or for a longer period as authorized by established procedures.
  5. Require customers who engage in disruptive behavior to leave Library premises for the remainder of the day.
  6. Request police assistance when customers refuse to comply with the instructions of authorized Library staff.
  7. Notify public service and management staff and document each incident as required.

In cases of severe or repeated disruptive behavior, the Library Director may restrict customers from using designated Library facilities or services, or exclude customers from Library property for a specified period of time.

The Library Director will make a reasonable effort to provide the customer with written notification of such restriction or exclusion, including the reason for the action, the time period, and the appeal process. It is not necessary that this notification be accepted or received for the restriction or exclusion to take effect.

The Library Director will establish procedures to implement this policy and to communicate it to staff and customers in a positive and understandable manner.

Appeal
  1. Actions of all Library staff members under this policy may be appealed by appointment or in writing to the Library Director.
  2. Following an appeal to the Library Director, the Director’s decision may be appealed in writing to the Library Board. The restriction or exclusion will remain in effect until the Board’s determination.
  3. The Library Board shall conduct a hearing within 45 days after the appeal is received. The appellant shall be notified at least 10 days prior to the hearing. Failure to appear on the scheduled day of the hearing without prior notification to the Library will result in denial of the appeal. The Chair of the Library Board shall conduct the hearing. The appellant may be represented by counsel, may present evidence, and may call and examine witnesses and cross-examine witnesses of the other party. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, and principles of due process will be applied. Provisions of the Ralph M. Brown Act shall apply to all such hearings.
  4. Within 30 days of the completion of the hearing, the Board shall issue a written decision. This decision shall be a final determination for purposes of judicial review.
Approved: July 31, 1991
Revised: March 26, 2003
Revised: February 25, 2009