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 may be 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, we encourage all patrons to contribute to a positive and respectful environment. Please be mindful of prohibited behaviors that may impact others' ability to fully enjoy the library. This includes, but is 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, smoking or vaping, 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
  • Blocking access to entrances, aisles, or walkways
  • Bringing bicycles, mopeds, or scooters, other than mobility devices, into the library
  • Bringing pets or animals, other than service animals, into the library
  • Disregarding or disobeying the direction of staff as it relates to safety and the operation of the library

Suspension of Library Privileges
Persons who are observed violating Library policies 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.

See related Child Safety Policy

Approved by the JPA Governing Board on February 5, 2024

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