Behavior Policy

The mission of the San Mateo County Libraries is to strengthen our community by creating an inclusive sense of place and an environment for learning. All San Mateo County Libraries are open and available to everyone. The purpose of this policy is to establish standards for and responsibilities regarding behavior in San Mateo County Libraries. This policy is intended to preserve access to library services and to protect library and city property.

Equal Access
Everyone is welcome to use library services and facilities. While everyone has an equal right to access library services and facilities, no person has the right to interfere with the ability of others to use and enjoy library resources, services, and facilities.

Many people use the library to find a quiet place, while others use it to work collaboratively, to learn and play with children and to connect with others in the community. To respond to these needs, zones within the buildings are defined as quieter and louder spaces. Library staff may ask patrons to move in order to accommodate these different needs.

Food and Drink
Food and drink policies vary by location. Please check with library staff if you are unsure if your library allows eating and/or drinking.

Disruptive Behaviors
When visiting the library, please refrain from disruptive behaviors that impinge on other’s ability to use the library, including but not limited to:

  • Any activity in violation of local, federal or state law (soliciting or panhandling, being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, etc.)
  • Harassment of any kind
  • Disruptive, obscene, or abusive voices, language, gestures, or activities
  • Disruptive use of cellular phones
  • Accessing and/or displaying pornography on library computer terminals
  • Misuse of furniture, equipment or materials
  • Presenting strong pervasive odors, including odors caused by perfume or cologne
  • Leaving personal items unattended
  • Bringing pets or animals, other than service animals, into the library
  • Disobeying the reasonable direction of library staff

Suspension of Library Privileges
Persons who are observed acting inappropriately will be told to stop. Depending on the frequency and severity of violations, individuals may be suspended from using the library. Severe violations may result in immediate suspension of library privileges for up to one year. Any suspension from the Library for more than a day will require a meeting with the Library Manager and a commitment to adhere to these behavior guidelines before an individual’s library privileges are restored. Appeals may be made in writing to Library Administration. Library staff may call local law enforcement to provide assistance in enforcing the Behavior Policy.

Approved by the Library JPA Governing Board on November 7, 2016.

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