Search
Appropriate use of the Library

The St. Louis Public Library will provide resources and information services that support and improve individual, family, and community life.

INTRODUCTION

The Revised Missouri Statutes [RsMo.] 182.230 (1986) provides that every library and reading room:

…shall be forever free to the use of the inhabitants of the city where located, always subject to such reasonable rules and regulations as a library board may adopt in order to render the use of the library and reading room of the greatest benefit to the greatest number. The board may exclude from the use of the library and reading room any and all persons who willfully violate such rules.

The Board of Directors of the St. Louis Public Library welcomes visitors and encourages visitors to use the resources of the public library to meet their informational and recreational reading needs. The Board acknowledges that there are several appropriate uses for library facilities and that behavior suitable for some occasions and spaces within the Library is not appropriate for others. The rules listed below, governing patron use of the St. Louis Public Library, attempt to assure a reasonably safe and pleasant environment for staff and patrons; to protect the right of the public to use library services and materials and to protect library resources and facilities. These rules are intended to guide patrons and staff so that they may conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the purposes and functions of the Library and avoid affecting the appropriate use of the Library by fellow patrons. The Board of Directors encourages children to use the Library. The safety and responsibility for the well being of those children, however, lies solely with the parent/guardian or assigned chaperon of those children, not with Library personnel. These rules are intended to be illustrative rather than all inclusive.

RULES GOVERNING PATRON USE OF THE ST. LOUIS PUBLIC LIBRARY

I. Violation of Federal or State Statute or Local Ordinances

The violation of any federal or state statutes or local ordinances on the premises of the St. Louis Public Library (SLPL) will also be regarded as a violation of SLPL rules. The laws and ordinances that follow are cited only as examples:

  1. The Missouri Statutes on Arson (569.040 .050), Assault (565.050 .070), Robbery (569.020 and .030), Stealing (570.030), Library Theft (570.210), Indecent Exposure.(566.130), Violation of the Missouri Controlled Substances Laws (195.202), Tampering and Endangerment of Property (569. 080- 090 ), Tampering with Intellectual Property (569.095), Unlawful Use of Weapons (571.030), and Peace Disturbance (574.010), Harassment (565.090), Felonious Restraint (565.120), False Imprisonment (565.130), Child Abduction (565.156), Stalking (565.225) Child Abuse (568.060), Promoting Obscenity (573.020), and Child Pornography (575.025 and .035-040) apply to behavior in the Library.   Public libraries must comply with the requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), RSMo 182.825 and RSMo 182.827.

  2. The City of St. Louis Ordinances prohibiting Drinking in Public (14. 05.010), Spitting (15.38.010), Bathing or Urinating in Public Indecent and Lewd Conduct (15.30.010), Trespass (15.74), Taking Books/Library Property (15.72.010), Mutilating and Marking in Books (15.72.020), Failure to Return Books (15.72.030) and Begging (15.44.010) Unlawful Assemblies (15.52.010), Loitering (15.48.010), and Vagrancy (15.58.010) apply to behavior in the Library.

On SLPL premises, no person shall:

  1. Commit an assault or battery upon any person.

  2. Engage in a fight.

  3. Steal or take property not his own.

  4. Deface, destroy, damage or remove any property not authorized by SLPL.

  5. Engage in any indecent or obscene conduct or make any indecent exposure of his or her body.

  6. Use, give away or sell any controlled substance.

  7. Possess a weapon unless authorized by state law or by the director of SLPL security.

  8. Smoke or carry ignited material (effective January 1, 2008)

  9. Remain in the building after regular closing hours, except by the invitation of SLPL.

  10. Break any federal or state statute, or local ordinances that disrupt library operations.

Persons who violate the statutes, ordinances and rules listed above are subject to the withholding of SLPL privileges as follows:

FIRST OFFENSE: SLPL privileges will be revoked for one year.

SECOND OFFENSE: SLPL privileges will be revoked for three years.

The Executive Director of the SLPL or his designate will notify patrons whose library privileges have been revoked by means of written correspondence via certified mail to the involved patron's last known address.

Also in accordance with Revised Missouri Statutes and City of St. Louis Ordinances and the rules of SLPL, no person on SLPL premises shall:

  1. Be intoxicated.

  2. Carry beverage bottles holding alcoholic beverages and consume alcoholic beverages at unauthorized times and places.

  3. Summon or cause a false report to be made to the police, fire department or any other official agency

  4. Persist in disturbing the public peace by loud or aggressive conduct.

  5. Solicit or accost any person for the purpose of inducing him or her to participate in an act of prostitution.

  6. Harass any other person or cause alarm to another person or persons on the premises.

  7. Promote or conduct gambling activity on SLPL properties.

Persons who violate the statutes, ordinances and rules listed above are subject to the withholding of SLPL privileges as follows:

FIRST OFFENSE: SLPL privileges will be revoked for one month.

SECOND OFFENSE: SLPL privileges will be revoked for six months.

REPEAT OFFENSES: SLPL privileges will be revoked for one year.

The Executive Director of the SLPL or his designate will notify patrons whose library privileges have been revoked by means of written correspondence via certified mail to the involved patron's last known address.

Persons in apparent violation of federal, state or local law are to be reported to the police by the SLPL public safety officer on duty at the site at the time, or in his/her absence by the highest ranking staff member present. Legal action may be taken by the Library through the filing of a criminal complaint.

II. Prohibitions By Library Policy

In addition, it is the policy of the St. Louis Public Library:

  1. To prohibit conduct that disrupts or interferes with the normal operation of the Library, or disturbs library patrons and staff, including, but not limited to, conduct that includes the use of abusive or threatening language or gestures, conduct that creates unreasonable noise, or conduct that consists of loud or boisterous behavior or talking.

This policy does not prohibit quiet conversation between patrons or staff or conversation and sounds required to carry on SLPL programs or business.

  1. To prohibit using Library materials, equipment, furniture, fixtures or buildings in a manner inconsistent with the customary use thereof, or in a destructive, abusive or potentially damaging manner; or in a manner likely to cause personal injury to the actor or others.

  2. To require patrons be engaged in activities associated with the use of a public library while in the building. Patrons not engaged in reading, studying, or using library materials shall be required to leave the building.

  3. Cardholders must use their own personal St. Louis Public Library card and PIN number when using or booking Library computers.

  4. To prohibit the access/presence by non staff to any non public areas, unless accompanied by a staff member.

  5. To prohibit the consumption of food and alcoholic beverages except as authorized by the Library for specified occasions, or in specified areas of the Library. Non-alcoholic beverages may only be allowed in non-breakable, lidded containers in specified areas of the Library.

  6. To ban animals from the Library except for assist animals and as authorized for special events by SLPL Administration.

  7. To prohibit all campaigning, petitioning, canvassing, interviewing, survey taking, distribution of materials, photography or video taping, soliciting or sales in library buildings and on library property without written permission from library administration.

  8. To require that patrons wear shirts and shoes at all times in the Library.

  9. To prohibit sleeping, bathing, doing laundry or other inappropriate behavior in SLPL facilities.

  10. To require patrons whose bodily hygiene is offensive so as to constitute a nuisance to other patrons to leave the building.

  11. To prohibit interfering with the free passage of library patrons or staff in or on Library premises, including, but not limited to, blocking entrances, exits, stairways, aisles, and sidewalks, or placing objects such as bicycles, skateboards, backpacks or other items in a manner that interferes with free passage.

  12. To prohibit placing personal belongings on or against Library buildings, equipment, furniture or fixtures in a manner that interferes with Library patron or staff use of the Library facility, or leaving personal belongings unattended.

  13. To prohibit patrons from bringing in articles that are too large to fit underneath or behind one library chair so as to block aisles or otherwise interfere with patron access. Patrons may not use wheeled devices in Library property, including skateboards, roller skates, scooters, and shopping carts (except for wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers).

  14. To prohibit littering on all SLPL properties.

  15. To prohibit begging or soliciting.

Persons who violate the statutes, ordinances and rules listed above are subject to the withholding of SLPL privileges as follows:

FIRST OFFENSE: Patron will be evicted from SLPL and prohibited from returning for the remainder of the day.

SECOND OFFENSE: Patron will be evicted from SLPL and SLPL privileges will be revoked for a period of one week.

REPEAT OFFENSES: SLPL privileges will be revoked for a period of six months.

SLPL privileges for one day or for one week may be rescinded by the Library Operation or subordinate staff through the level of Unit Manager for offenses illustrated by items #18 through #33. for periods specified. Patrons will be notified verbally, and in the case of minors, parent or guardian will also be notified verbally. Public Safety officers may also advise patrons of loss of library privileges incidental to any criminal arrest or detention. Staff will notify the Public Safety Department of any attempt to use the Library by a patron whose privileges have been revoked or rescinded. The police will also be notified of any such episodes as the presence of such patrons shall be considered as a trespassing offense.

The Executive Director of the SLPL or his designate will notify patrons whose library privileges have been revoked for a six month period by means of written correspondence via certified mail to the involved patron's last known address. Patrons who have this action pending against them will be given an opportunity to argue their cases, in writing or in person to the Executive Director or his designate.

If a patron has library privileges revoked or rescinded, staff should document the incident by using the incident report form.

 

Adopted by the Board of Directors: June 26, 2000
Revised September 10, 2007