Rules of Conduct
To maintain an environment that is safe, secure, and pleasant for all Library staff, volunteers, and patrons.
The Library aims to be an inviting, comfortable, clean, and safe place for browsing Library collections, reading, studying, writing, using computers, and attending programs and meetings. Library users should conduct themselves in a manner that respects other users and Library staff. Behavior that infringes on the rights of Library users and staff are prohibited.
The following rules are established to provide everyone with an equal opportunity to use the Library facilities. Enforcement of these rules will be conducted in a fair and reasonable manner by Library staff and/or law enforcement officers. Failure to comply with the Library’s established rules and policies could result in removal from the premises and exclusion from the Library for a period between one day to one year. Violations may also result in the restriction and/or termination of Library privileges, including the use of Library computers and other equipment.
Individual users have the right to request an administrative review of an exclusion that is for a period greater than two weeks.
The following behaviors are examples, but not a complete list, of conduct not allowed on Library property:
Failing to comply with a reasonable staff request
Possessing, using, or being under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances
Using tobacco or vapor products
Verbally, physically, or sexually threatening or harassing other users, volunteers, or staff, including stalking, staring, lurking, bullying, obscene language, offensive touching, and obscene acts such as indecent exposure
Stealing, damaging, altering, or inappropriate use of property, furniture, or equipment
Fighting or challenging to fight, running, roughhousing, pushing, showing, or throwing things
Creating disruptive noise and/or disturbances which interfere with others’ use of the Library
Participating in group activities which are disruptive to the Library environment
Lying down or sleeping
Blocking aisles, exits, or entrances
Harassing or discriminating against user, volunteers, or staff based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ancestry, or any other protected class
Selling and/or soliciting for money/items/services, except as authorized by the Library Director
Trespassing in non-public areas or being in the Library without permission of an authorized Library employee before or after Library operation hours
Using restroom facilities for purposes other than which they are intended
Entering or being in the Library with inadequate clothing and/or hygiene, or being otherwise attired so as to be disruptive to the Library environment
Carrying firearms and weapons of any type, unless authorized by law
Leaving packages, backpacks, luggage, or any other personal items unattended. Library staff will not store items for Library users, and unattended items are subject to immediate confiscation
Using wheeled devices in the Library except as authorized by law
Bringing pets or animals, other than service animals, into the Library, except as authorized by the Library Director
Engaging in any activity in violation of federal, state, local, or other applicable law or Library policy.
Food and beverages in containers with lids are permitted in the Library, except in areas that are posted as being prohibited.
Children using the Library must follow the Rules of Conduct. Children behaving inappropriately may be required to leave. Supervision of children is the responsibility of parents and/or guardians. See the Safe Child Policy.
Children’s areas are intended for use by children, their parents or caregivers, and other adults accessing materials in the Children's Collection. Children’s areas may not be used by adults as a general reading area. Adults unaccompanied by children and not actively using children’s library materials may be asked to use other areas of the library or leave.
Adopted by the Madison Public Library Board of Trustees, November 2021
1. Library staff will monitor public behavior.
2. Inappropriate behavior will be addressed with a response proportionate to the severity of the behavior.
3. Enforcement of this policy is the responsibility of all Library staff.
a. All staff members will deal with problems they encounter.
b. Any staff member has the right to ask other staff for assistance and should provide assistance when requested.
c. Any staff member may contact the Madison Police Department at any time to preserve their own safety, the safety of Library users, or for assistance in enforcing policy and preserving the Library environment.
d. Library staff members who have acted in their best judgement while confronting a person(s) in violation of policies and/or rules will be supported by the Library Director and the Board of Trustees.
4. Response to problems
a. Any staff member observing serious criminal behavior (such as assault, robbery, child pornography, child endangerment, etc.) should contact the police immediately, then contact the Library Director.
b. Evictions from the Library are covered under 5.c.:
The Library Board delegates the authority to ban people from the Madison Public Library for an extended period of time to the Library Director. Individuals may be banned for a limited time, indefinitely pending some specified legal condition, or permanently. The length of the ban will depend on the following factors as applicable:
i. Severity of offense(s)
ii. Repetition of offense(s)
iii. Likelihood of possible continued offense(s)
iv. Safety of staff and patrons
c. When an individual is banned, the individual, the police, and all library staff will be notified. Should an individual return to the library in violation of the ban, the police should be notified.
d. Any staff member may stop someone from using equipment if the use violates rules or policy, or may contact the Library Director if the situation warrants. The Library Director may bar patrons from using equipment for a period of time or permanently.
e. Any staff member may issue a verbal warning or refer a problem to the Library Director.
f. Any staff member may evict a patron for violation of Library rules or policies. Eviction will be from the Library as a whole and is generally for the remainder of the day. In the case of juvenile patrons, parents or guardians may be contacted first.
g. Any staff member is authorized to request identification from library users as necessary and appropriate for safety and security, or when Library rules or policies have been violated. Refusal to identify oneself under these circumstances may be grounds for contacting the police. Staff have the right to take photographs of patrons as needed to identify them for security purposes.
5. Classes of behavior and responses:
a. Class I—overt criminal behavior presenting serious danger, including but not limited to:
i. Fighting or combative behavior
ii. Alcohol or drug intoxication
iii. Possession of weapons
v. Inappropriate, overt, and/or unwelcome sexual behavior
vii. Refusal to leave when asked to do so
viii. Physical abuse
x. Possession of alcohol or tobacco
xi. Possession of illegal drugs
xii. Child pornography
xiii. Theft, including theft of library materials
Staff response to any of the above behaviors may include calling the police and/or banning the individual from the premises.
b. Class II—potentially serious, including but not limited to:
i. Verbal abuse of staff or patrons
ii. Loitering in a way that interferes with others
iii. Excessive emotional, hostile, threatening, or uncontrolled behavior
iv. Use of loud profanity, obscenity, or obscene gestures
v. Intentional entry into restricted areas of the building
vii. Intrusive behavior, including
1. Staring at or following staff or patrons with intent to annoy or harass them
2. Intentionally violating privacy of staff or patrons
3. Interfering with staff performance of duties or patron use of the library
Staff response will vary according to the severity of the disruption or threat, ranging from a verbal warning to a call to the police and eviction or ban from library premises.
c. Class III—annoying or disruptive behavior, including but not limited to:
i. Bodily hygiene which is so offensive that it is a nuisance to others
ii. Loudness and/or talking in monologues
iii. Monopolizing the time of library staff
iv. Inappropriate public displays of affection
v. Blocking the library entry or sidewalk in front of the building
vi. Loud profanity of obscenity in front of the building
vii. Other violations of the Rules of Conduct policy
d. Staff response will vary according to the severity of the disruption, ranging from tolerance to verbal warning. In severe or repeated cases, eviction, banning, or calling the police, may follow.
6. The library staff will communicate disciplinary actions with one another. Disciplinary actions beyond verbal warnings will be documented.
Adopted by the Madison Public Library Board of Trustees, Month, Year
Safe Child Policy
Safe Child Mission
The Madison Public Library strives to be a safe environment for visitors of all ages. To ensure the safety and well-being of children, it is expected that children under the age of 7 will be accompanied by a responsible adult or caregiver over the age of 12 while they are in the Library.
Though Library staff will respond to all situations with care and concern, they are not childcare providers and cannot assume responsibility for children who are left unattended at the Library. Should a child be unattended, Library staff will attempt to contact the child’s parent or guardian.
Furthermore, Library staff will remind young people of all ages to contact a parent or guardian for a ride home 20 minutes before closing. If a parent/guardian cannot be reached or does not arrive until after 15 minutes past closing, the police may be called to escort the child home or wait with the child until parents can be reached. Two staff members are required to wait with the child until that time. The Library staff is not permitted to give an unattended child a ride home.
Under no circumstances will a child be taken out of the building by a staff person, nor will a child remain in the building with fewer than two staff members.
Adopted by the Madison Public Library Board of Trustees, November, 2021