Library Patron Rights and Responsibilities

Policy No. 98-15

Effective Date: September 13, 2016

Publicly supported library service is based upon the First Amendment right of free expression. Leon County maintains a library environment that is conducive to all users' exercise of their constitutionally protected right to receive information. In order to protect all library users’ rights of access to library facilities, to ensure the safety of users and staff, and to protect library resources and facilities from damage, the Board of County Commissioners imposes the following reasonable restrictions on the manner of library access and behavior.

  1. Children under the age of 10 must have a parent/caregiver in the immediate vicinity of and in visual contact with the child. The assigned caregiver must be a responsible person and must carry emergency contact information. An exception would be children attending a library program without a parent/caregiver in the room. However, the parent/caregiver is expected to remain in the library building and immediately join the child at the end of the program. If a child in this age group is found unattended, library staff will attempt to locate the parent/caregiver in the library and inform him/her of the rules. If the parent/caregiver cannot be found, or if the child is found unattended again, the law enforcement will be called for assistance.
  2. During school hours children 17 and under must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library System will do its best to uphold Florida State laws on truancy, including Section 984.13, Florida Statutes which states:

    'A child may be taken into custody by a law enforcement officer when the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the child has run away from home or is absent from school without authorization or is suspended or expelled and is not in the presence of his or her parent or legal guardian during school hours. The officer may deliver a truant to an approved attendance center. A suspended or expelled student may be delivered to an approved alternative to suspension or expulsion program or to the parent or legal guardian.'

    If the child is truant, he/she will be informed of this law before law enforcement officers are called and will have the opportunity to use the phone to call a parent/guardian for a ride if needed.
  3. In order to use the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library System unattended during school hours, those children who are the ages of 10 to 17 and who are enrolled in either home-school, the Florida Virtual School or other online schools will be required to have on their person a completed and duly executed Parental Permission Form from their parent/guardian. (a photo of same on a cellular device will be accepted) The parent/guardian may be called by staff to confirm the home school status. The school district may also be contacted to confirm home school status. If the child has a Virtual School, or other online school ID, they may log into their account as proof of home school status.
  4. Parents are responsible for the actions and well-being of their child(ren). In accordance with LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library System’s Policies, customers, including children, using inappropriate behavior may be asked to leave the library. If a child 10 and older is not able to leave the library on his/her own then he/she should not be in the library without a parent/caregiver.
  5. Eating and drinking are allowed only in designated areas of the library.
  6. Unacceptable Behaviors in the Library
    To ensure everyone’s comfort, safety, and access to library resources and facilities, the following behaviors are not considered acceptable in the library:
    • noise or talking which disturbs others;
    • repetitive breaking of library rules for the use of library spaces, materials, resources, services, facilities or equipment;
    • intoxication resulting from the use of alcohol or drugs;
    • use of wrong restrooms, or restrooms for bathing;
    • soliciting, peddling, or vending, whether in the library or on library grounds, parking areas, or curtilage;
    • fighting;
    • harassment; and verbal, visual, or physical abuse of other library patrons or library staff;
    • using audible devices without headphone or with headphones set at a volume that disturbs others;
    • improper use, destruction or theft of property;
    • running and noisy playing;
    • having offensive body odor or personal hygiene so as to unreasonably interfere with other patrons’ ability to use the Library and its facilities;
    • campaigning and petitioning in the library and upon the library entryways.
    • sleeping.
  7. Patrons who exhibit any of the stated unacceptable behaviors will be asked to stop and may be asked to leave the library if the behavior continues. Failure to leave the library when asked to do so will subject the person to possible arrest under Ch. 810.08, Florida Statutes, 'Trespass in Structure or Conveyance.' Persons whose behavior is disruptive or dangerous may be placed on 'Trespass after Warning' notification with the police.
    Library administrative staff may suspend or withdraw library privileges from anyone exhibiting the above behaviors.
  8. Patrons engaging in criminal activity as defined by Florida Statutes are reported immediately to law enforcement authorities.
  9. Attached to this policy and incorporated herein are 'Procedures for Implementing Patron Rights and Responsibilities Policy,' as revised and adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on April 8, 2014.

Procedures for Implementing Patron Rights and Responsibilities Policy

  1. Library staff members are responsible for notifying a patron that his or her behavior is unacceptable. Staff at the main library can call the Deputy Sheriff to talk with the patron if that level of intervention is warranted. Branch library staff may call for the Deputy Sheriff if that level of intervention is warranted.
  2. If, after a first warning, the patron does not cease the unacceptable behavior, he or she may be asked to leave the library for the day. Decisions to ask a patron to leave the library are made by a library supervisor in consultation with a Deputy Sheriff, when a Deputy Sheriff is available. Library supervisors are members of the library management team or designated staff.
    The Tallahassee Police Department (for facilities within the city limits) or Leon County Sheriff=s Department (for facilities outside the city limits) is called if a patron refuses to leave the library when asked by staff or Security Guard.
  3. The Supervisor of the Day and the Deputy Sheriff are called immediately at the main library when staff or patrons witness a patron committing an unlawful or dangerous act or threatening such act. At the branches, staff calls the appropriate law enforcement agency immediately.
  4. The library supervisor completes a Security Report following incidents in the library. Copies of the report are sent to the Library Director. The Director reviews the report, initials it or adds comments or a report of her own, and gives it to the library administrative assistant for copying to the management team.
  5. Persons who are given a law enforcement 'Trespass after Warning' at any library location should have his or her picture taken for future reference. The picture, copy of the trespass notice, and identifying information are to be maintained at the main library and all branches for use by library staff for purposes of identifying such persons.
  6. Persons who do not follow policy and procedure when using library services but who are not committing acts which warrant Trespass After Warning as the final activity may be suspended from one or all library services either permanently or for a period of time determined by Library Administration.