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Patron Code of Conduct

To guarantee the rights of patrons to a proper atmosphere in their use of the library by establishing basic conduct rules.

The Washington County Free Library welcomes everyone to use its facilities. In order to provide a friendly and safe place in which to read, study or work the Library has established the following rules:

  1. Respect for the rights and needs of all Library users shall be maintained at all times. Use of the Library’s materials shall be supervised so that the broadest number of people can be served.
  2. All members of the public will conduct themselves so that they will not interfere, by their actions or speech, with the legitimate rights of other Library users.
  3. Conduct considered improper in the Library includes, but is not limited to:
    • Public disturbances
    • Physical abuse, assault
    • Offensive or abusive language, talking in loud tones or other loud noises
    • Using, possessing or being under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs
    • Loitering
    • Vagrancy
    • Abusive use of library facilities or equipment (including all outside areas)
    • Tobacco use and smoking (including e-cigarettes and vaping) is not allowed on any library premises
    • Food; coveraged beverages and reasonable snack foods allowed in library except in public computing center, computer lab, children's department computer center and Western Maryland Room
    • Offensive personal hygiene
    • Staring, following or photographing staff or customers
    • Harassment of others
    • Panhandling or Soliciting
    • Indecent exposure, sexual acts and excessive displays of affection
    • Sleeping in the Library
    • Engaging in extended conversation or behavior that engages or forces the staff for an inappropriate period of time, inappropriate personal comments, sexual advances, or physcial and/or verbal harassment.
  4. Patrons using the Library are requested to wear shoes and shirts.
  5. Patrons are prohibited from bringing animals into the library other than service animals.
  6. In order to maintain a safe and pleasant environment for children and parents in the children’s area, adult customers who are not engaged in Library activity which requires materials from the children’s area will be asked to relocate to other areas of the library.
  7. In order to maintain a safe environment for teens in the young adult area, adult customers who are not engaged in library activity which requires materials from the young adult area will be asked to relocate to other areas of the library.
  8. Library furnishings and materials are not to be rearranged or disarranged by patrons without permission of library staff.
  9. Packages, briefcases and any other container may be examined at any time. All Library materials shall be properly checked out before they may be borrowed. It is strongly suggested that customers not leave bags and other personal items unattended. Unattended items are subject to confiscation. The Library is not responsible for personal items that are lost, stolen or damaged in or on the grounds of the Library. The Library has a policy on the size and number of bags which may be brought into the library. The maximum combined size of items may not exceed 16”x 18”x 24” per patron.
  10. Blocking aisles, entrances, or exits or in any manner impeding access to public areas is forbidden.
  11. Unreasonable use of the restrooms, including laundering, shaving, hair cutting or trimming, and bathing is prohibited.
  12. A security system protects the Library collection against unauthorized removals. All patrons and staff shall obey reasonable requests to determine what materials have activated the alarm when passing through the system.
  13. All patrons shall obey all reasonable requests of the Library staff.

Individuals failing to follow this policy will be asked to leave until the problem is corrected. There is also the possibility of suspension of Library privileges for failure to comply with these rules. The appropriate law enforcement agency will be called if necessary.

Board of Trustees of the Washington County Free Library; Annotated Code of Maryland Article 21 Section 577A