Patron Conduct and Library Security
Out of concern for the safety and well-being of its patrons and staff, and in an effort to enhance its ability to provide high-quality service to all, the St. Clairsville Public Library Board of Trustees has established certain library conduct policies.
General Code of Conduct
The St. Clairsville Public Library Board of Trustees is responsible for determining the rules for public behavior in the library that are necessary to:
- Protect the rights of individuals to use library property, materials, and services.
- Protect the rights of library employees and volunteers to conduct library business without interference.
- Ensure the use of the facilities, materials, and services by the greatest number of individuals.
- Preserve those materials and facilities from harm.
- Ensure the safety of library patrons, employees, and volunteers.
The rules for public behavior are listed below. Any individual who repeatedly violates the library rules and regulations shall be denied the privilege of access to the library by the Board of Trustees, on recommendation of the Library Director. In case of emergency, the Director may take immediate action and inform the Board as soon as possible afterward. Any individual whose privileges have been denied may have the decision reviewed by the Board. The Board authorizes the Library Director to bring to the attention of law enforcement authorities the identity of and circumstances involving those individuals who violate these rules. Library employees are authorized to bring to an individual's attention any act or omission which violates these rules and detracts from the decorum of the library. Such an individual will be asked to change the problem behavior to conform to the rules. If such change is not evident or forthcoming, that individual will be asked to leave the library property. Failure to leave if asked will result in the library contacting local law enforcement. A violation of section 2911.21 of the Ohio Revised Code (Criminal Trespass) will be considered if the individual does not leave of his/her own accord. Any misconduct that hinders the use of library materials or services, that disturbs the use of the library by other patrons or library staff, or endangers the safety of the patron in question or other patrons or library staff, is prohibited. Such misconduct might include but is not limited to:
- Illegal activities.
- Loud or boisterous behavior.
- Conversation that is disturbing to other individuals or employees.
- Profanity or other abusive language toward other library patrons or toward employees.
- Abusing library furniture, equipment, or materials.
- Running in the library.
- Harassing others, either verbally or through physical actions. Harassment may include but is not limited to initiating unwanted conversations; impeding access to the building; or other actions another individual reasonably perceives to be hostile, threatening or offensive.
- Taking photographs and/or recording Library staff or patrons without their permission
- Fighting on library property.
- Engaging in any form of sexual misconduct on library property, including but not limited to activity, exposure or harassment.
- Using tobacco in any form while on library property.
- Possession, sale, or use of alcoholic beverages, illegal substances, or weapons on library property.
- Eating and/or drinking in non-designated areas.
- Sleeping in the library.
- Buying, selling, or soliciting for personal or commercial gain.
- Using radios, audio players, or other personal listening equipment at a level that can be heard by other individuals.
- Bringing animals other than guide dogs and the like into the library.
- Entering the library barefoot, without a shirt, with offensive body odor or personal hygiene, or being otherwise attired as to be disruptive to the library environment.
- Using restrooms for personal grooming, such as shaving, bathing, haircuts, laundry, etc.
- Using the emergency exits at times other than during an emergency.
As per Ohio law, the library does not permit weapons of any kind, either concealed or in plain view, on its property or in its buildings, unless the owner of the weapon is a law enforcement officer. The library reserves the right to limit the number of individuals who may gather together where ingress and egress are blocked. The library reserves the right to inspect all bags, purses, briefcases, packs, personal listening equipment and overcoats for library materials. The above rules are based on powers granted to a public library Board of Trustees under the Ohio Revised Code, Section 3375.40(H).
Refusal to Leave the Library: Library staff may ask a patron who violates the policies regarding patron conduct to leave the library. Any patron refusing to leave the library at the request of library staff or after the hours of business set by the library Board for closing is considered in violation of Ohio Revised Code 2911.21 regarding trespass. Staff may ask local law enforcement to assist them if the situation warrants.
Food and Drink: The library allows patrons to bring food and beverages into the building as long as they are in closed containers. Food may not be consumed in the library. The library does not allow food or beverages near library computers or other electronic equipment. Library staff may require patrons to leave food or beverage items in a designated area while the patron uses library materials. The library may make exceptions to this policy during library programs, which may provide patrons with food or beverages.
Personal Transportation Items: For public safety, movement within the library by skateboard, scooter, roller blades, shoes with wheels, roller skates, bicycle, Segway or other similar devices is not permitted. The only wheeled vehicles that can be used in the library are baby buggies, strollers, or other similar devices, or wheelchairs and other assistive devices for the disabled.
Animals in the Library: Patrons may not bring animals, except for service or helper animals, into the library. A service or helper animal must stay with its owner while in the library. Service or helper animals that are disruptive may be removed from the building at the staff’s discretion.
Possession of Weapons: Weapons of any kind are prohibited in the library. A weapon is defined as a handgun, rifle, bow-and-arrow and/or any other object or dangerous ordnance whose purpose or use is to inflict physical harm to another individual.
Soliciting, Surveying and Signature-gathering: Neither soliciting nor pan-handling is permitted in the library. Solicitation is defined as asking for money, votes, petition signatures, support for issues, and the selling of goods or services. The only exceptions will be surveys performed by the library or its designees. Surveying and signature-gathering is not prohibited on library grounds, but persons gathering signatures may not obstruct traffic into the library, create a hazard in the parking lot, harass library patrons or disrupt library operations. A limit of two persons or group members may petition at any one time. Fund raising or selling goods and services on Library property is prohibited. Library staff or volunteers participating in approved library, Friends of the St. Clairsville Public Library, and the St. Clairsville Public Library Foundation activities are exceptions to this policy.
Eviction and Suspension of Library Privileges: A patron who has violated the library’s Patron Conduct Policy may be evicted from the library and refused further admission to the library for a set time. The library recognizes the patron’s right to contest the eviction and present his or her side of the story. The patron may request to speak to the Director or his or her designee in order to hear the reasons for eviction and to present any counter-arguments. If possible, such a discussion may take place prior to the patron’s eviction or denial of service. However, the library reserves the right to take immediate action if necessary to answer an ongoing threat to the operation of the library, or a continuing danger to the health or safety of patrons or staff; in these circumstances, the patron may schedule a discussion at a later date. The Director, or his or her designee, may, when possible, send written confirmation stating the period during which the patron may not enter library property. This letter may also include the reasons for the patron’s barring and any conditions under which the patron will be re-admitted to the library. Notices regarding the barring of a minor patron from the library will be sent to the minor patron’s parent or legal guardian.
Reinstatement of Library Privileges: A patron who has been evicted from the library and permanently refused admission may request both a re-evaluation of the banning and the reinstatement of his or her library privileges. Requests must be submitted in writing to the Director and should include a statement demonstrating that the patron understands why the conduct that resulted in the loss of privileges is unacceptable in the library or on library grounds, and a statement from the patron that he or she understands the library’s Code of Conduct. The Director may consider any of several factors when deciding to reinstate library privileges including: the details of the incident that led to the suspension; the length of time since the initial eviction and suspension; the patron’s completion of any requirements imposed by the court as a result of the incident; and any other information provided by the patron that suggests that he or she is unlikely to engage in the conduct that led to the suspensions of privileges. The Director will make decisions about reinstatement of privileges in all cases except those based upon threats or physical harm to another person or possession of a weapon within the library or on its grounds. Decisions of the Director may be appealed to the Board. Decisions to reinstate privileges of customers banned for possession of a weapon or because of threats or physical harm to another person will be made by the Board.
Unattended Minors: The library welcomes and encourages patrons of all ages to visit the library and take advantage of the programs, services and resources that it offers. Responsibility for the safety and behavior of minors always rests with the parent, guardian, or assigned adult caregiver, and not with library staff. Staff cannot act in loco parentis, nor can library staff supervise unattended youth. Children under age ten should be closely supervised by a parent or responsible caregiver. Parents or guardians will be held responsible for damage to items or equipment caused by their minor child. It is important for staff to take note of disruptions caused by children who are apparently unaccompanied. Children displaying inappropriate or destructive behavior will be informed of the rules. If inappropriate behavior continues, the child may be asked to leave the library. If a child is unaccompanied by an adult or appropriate-aged caregiver, and, in the judgment of the staff, is too young to travel the streets alone, the staff will attempt to contact a parent, guardian, or assigned caregiver. Staff is not permitted to give an unaccompanied child a ride home. Local law enforcement may be asked to intervene if the situation warrants.
Unattended Minors at Closing Time: No stranded child shall be ejected from the library at closing time. At least two library staff members will remain at the library with the child. Staff is not permitted to give an unaccompanied child a ride home. The library staff will attempt to a contact a parent or guardian or assigned caregiver up to 10 minutes after closing. After that time, staff will contact local law enforcement and ask them to assume responsibility for the unattended child.
Personal Property Disclaimer: Patrons should be attentive to their property while in the library or on library grounds. The library is not responsible for a patron’s lost, damaged, or stolen property.
Public Record Requests: Each request for public records should be evaluated for a response using the following guidelines:
- The requester must at least identify the records requested with sufficient clarity to allow the public office to identify, retrieve, and review the records.
- The requester does not have to put a records request in writing, and does not have to provide his or her identity or the intended use of the requested public record.
- Requested public records are to be available for inspection during regular business hours, with the exception of published holidays. These public records must be made available for inspection promptly. Copies of public records must be made available within a reasonable period of time. “Prompt” and “reasonable” take into account the volume of records requested; the proximity of the location where the records are stored; and the necessity for any legal review of the records requested.
- Each request should be evaluated for an estimated length of time required to gather the records.
- If portions of a record are public and portions are exempt, the exempt portions are to be redacted and the rest released.