Rules of Behavior

Behavior Rules Governing the Use of the District of Columbia Public Library

Published: Title 19 DCMR §810 (August 7, 2017)
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Introduction

The District of Columbia Public Library's (DCPL) behavior rules have three primary purposes: (1) to protect the rights and safety of all library customers, (2) to protect the rights and safety of staff members and (3) to protect the library's materials, facilities and property.

The DCPL supports the right of all customers to free and equal access to information and use of the library without discrimination, intimidation, threat of harm or invasion of privacy. DCPL is dedicated to providing friendly, courteous and respectful service and an enjoyable, clean and comfortable environment for all customers.

DCPL reserves the right to inspect a customer's belongings including purses, backpacks, bags, parcels, shopping bags, briefcases and other items to prevent unauthorized removal of library materials and equipment or for the health and safety of library staff and customers.

Definitions and Scope

These behavior rules apply to all buildings and all grounds controlled and operated by DCPL (buildings and grounds are also known as “the premises") and to all customers entering in or on the premises. Listed below are the library's behavior rules. Customers who violate these rules may be removed from the premises and excluded from all library premises for the period of time listed below, by authority of the DC Public Library.

Enforcement

Library staff, Library Police, and/or Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers may intervene to stop prohibited activities and behaviors. A violation of law may result in arrest and prosecution. Failure to comply with these rules may result in issuance of a Notice of Barring from Library property for a period of one day to five years. If a Notice of Barring is issued, it applies to all DCPL locations and includes the suspension of DCPL privileges, including but not limited to the use of DCPL computers and other equipment. If barred, customers may have their photographs or video captured by DC Public Library staff to enforce the bar.

 Administrative Review of Notices of Barring

An individual who receives a Notice of Barring may request an administrative review if the bar is greater than seven (7) days. This request must be made within ten (10) business days of the date on the barring notice and submitted in writing to:

Director of Public Safety
Operations Center
1709 Third Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002 

The Executive Director or designee will issue a final decision on the administrative review of the bar within thirty (30) calendar days. The barred individual may appeal the final decision to the District of Columbia Superior Court's Civil Division within thirty (30) days of the date of the notice of final decision.

Reasonable Accommodation

Library customers who wish to request a reasonable modification of these Guidelines because of a disability or health problem may contact Library staff or may call the ADA Coordinator at 202-727-1101.
 

Behavior Rules

For the safety and comfort of the public and staff, and to create an environment that is favorable to library operations, the following rules and consequences apply. These activities are prohibited on library premises:

Category One Rules and Consequences

Any customer, aged 9 and older, who violates category one rules while on library premises will be restricted from the premises until the problem is corrected. Subsequent offenses by that customer will result in that person's immediate removal and restriction from all DCPL premises as follows:

Age

Initial

2nd Violation
(within 30 days)

3rd Violation
(within 30 days)

4th time
(within 30 days)

9+

Leave library until problem corrected

1 week

1 month

3 months

0-8

Warning and referral to caregiver.

  1. Being on DCPL premises with bare feet or a bare chest; shirts and footwear are required at all times.
  2. Being under the obvious influence of any controlled substance or intoxicating beverage.
  3. Bringing in bags in excess of 9" L x 14" W x 22" H. Customers are permitted to bring in two bags per person, but each bag must be smaller than 9" L x 14" W x 22" H. Items must fit easily into a measuring box of the above dimensions. Infested personal items are also prohibited.
  4. Any customer with an odor that can be detected by a reasonable person from six (6) feet away and/or disturbs other library users.
  5. Consuming food or drink that creates a nuisance or disrupts library use because of odor, garbage or spills. Non-alcoholic beverages in covered containers and food are only allowed in designated areas.
  6. Lying down, sleeping, or the appearance of sleeping on the premises. Sitting customers must use library-provided seating (chair, couch, etc.). Customers may not sit on the floor, sidewalk, etc. unless approved by a library staff member and may not block aisles, exits, pathways, or entrances.
  7. Using personal electronics without headphones or at a volume that disturbs others.

 

Category Two Rules and Consequences

Any customer who violates category two rules while on library premises will be given a warning that shall remain on the customer's record for six (6) months. Subsequent offenses within a six (6) month time frame by that customer will result in that person's immediate removal and barring from all DC Public Library premises as follows:

Age

Initial

2nd Violation
(Within 6 months)

3rd Violation
(Within 6 months)

4th Violation
(Within 6 months)

18+

warning

3 months

6 months

1 year

13-17

warning

1 month

3 months

6 months

9-12

warning

1 week

2 weeks

1 month

0-8

Warning, referral to caregiver and/or Library Police or MPD.

  1. Soliciting, petitioning, or distributing written materials or canvassing for political, charitable or religious purposes on the premises.
  2. Using someone else's library card to obtain library services, including public computer use, is prohibited. Each customer must use their own library card and these cards are non-transferrable; loaning your library card to another person is prohibited. Library cards used in violation of this rule will be blocked after a warning.
  3. Placing items or personal belongings on or against buildings, furniture, equipment or fixtures in a manner that interferes with library staff or customer use of the library, or leaving personal belongings unattended.
  4. Bringing bicycles, or other similar items inside library buildings, including, but not limited to, vestibules or covered doorways. Operating bicycles or other similar items in a reckless or inattentive manner on library premises.
  5. Operating roller skates, skateboards, hoverboards, or other similar items in, or on, library premises.
  6. Bringing animals inside library buildings (with the exception of service animals), except as allowed at a library-approved event, or leaving an animal tethered and unattended on library premises.
  7. Improperly using library restrooms, including, but not limited to, bathing, shaving, washing hair, and exceeding more than one person in a restroom stall (unless accompanying children or adults in need of assistance). 
  8. Leaving one or more children eight (8) years old or under, who reasonably appear to be unsupervised or unattended, anywhere in or on library premises. [Please see Unattended Children Policy]
  9. Customers thirteen (13) years of age and older are prohibited from using the children's area, unless accompanying a child twelve (12) years old or younger or selecting an item from the collection.
  10. Customers twenty (20) years of age and older and children twelve (12) years of age and younger are prohibited from using the teen area unless accompanying a teen aged thirteen (13) to nineteen (19) or selecting an item from the collection.
  11. Customers thirteen (13) years of age and older are prohibited from using any restroom designated for children. Children's restrooms are for the sole use of children twelve (12) years old or younger, and their caregivers.
  12. Customers under the age of 18 who are on library property during regular school hours must provide verification of excused absence from school upon request from library staff.
  13. Leaving mess, garbage or spills or creating mess, garbage or spills that disrupts or interferes with library use.

 

Category Three Rules and Consequences

Any customer who violates category three rules while on library premises may first be informed of library rules. Subsequent offenses by that customer within one year will result in that person's immediate removal and restriction from all DCPL premises as follows:

Age

Initial

2nd Violation
(within one year)

3rd Violation

(within one year)

4th Violation

(within one year)

18+

1 month

3 months

1 year

2 years

13-17

1 week

1 month

6 months

1 year

9-12

rest of day

1 week

1 month

3 months

0-8

Warning, referral to caregiver and/or Library Police or MPD.

  1. Engaging in conduct that disrupts or interferes with the normal operation of the library, or disturbs library staff or customers, including but not limited to, the use of abusive or threatening language or gestures, conduct that creates unreasonable noise, or conduct that consists of loud or boisterous physical behavior or talking. This includes all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment. Some infractions may be moved to Category Four if deemed necessary.
  2. Engaging in bullying as defined by the Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012, effective September 14, 2012 (D.C. Law 19-167; 59 DCR 7820).
  3. Misuse of any library property in a destructive, abusive or potentially damaging manner; or in a manner likely to cause personal injury to themselves or others.
  4. Failure to comply with the reasonable direction of a library staff member or law enforcement officer.
  5. Smoking or other use of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, in the library or on library property.
  6. Violating the library's Computer Use Guidelines.
  7. Entering or attempting to enter DCPL premises while barred (i.e., trespassing). Customers or persons returning to DCPL premises during a period of barring may be arrested and prosecuted for unlawful entry pursuant to DC Official Code § 22-3302 (2001 ed. & 2012 Supp.).
  8. Possessing, selling, distributing, or consuming any alcoholic beverage, except as allowed at a library approved event.

 

Category Four Rules and Consequences

Any customer who violates category four rules while on library premises will be immediately removed and restricted from all DCPL premises as follows:

Age

Each Incident

18+

1-5 years, based on severity, and the incident will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency

13-17

3 months to 1 year, based on severity, and the incident will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency

9-12

1-6 months, based on severity, and the incident will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency

0-8

Warning, referral to caregiver and/or Library Police or MPD.

  1. Committing, or attempting to commit, any activity that would constitute a violation of any Federal or District of Columbia criminal statute, ordinance, code, or law.
  2. Directing a specific threat of physical harm against an individual, group of individuals, or property.
  3. Engaging in sexual conduct/activity, including, but not limited to, the physical manipulation or touching of sex organs through clothing in an act of apparent sexual stimulation or gratification.