Rules of Behavior
Behavior Rules Governing the Use of the District of Columbia Public Library
Published: 19 DCMR § 810 (July 26, 2013)
The DC Public Library’s behavior rules have a threefold purpose: to protect the rights and safety of library customers, to protect the rights and safety of staff members and to preserve the library’s materials, facilities and property.
The DC Public Library supports the right of all individuals to free and equal access to information and use of the library without discrimination, intimidation, threat of harm or invasion of privacy. The DC Public Library is dedicated to providing friendly, courteous and respectful service, and an enjoyable, clean and comfortable environment for all Library users.
For everyone’s safety and protection, the DC Public Library reserves the right to inspect an individual’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 staff and other customers.
Definitions and Scope
These behavior rules shall apply to all buildings, interior and exterior, and all grounds controlled and operated by the DC Public Library (such buildings and grounds are hereafter referred to as the “premises”) and to all persons entering in or on the premises.
Listed below are the library’s behavior rules. Persons 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.
Authorized library staff, Library Police, security guards and/or the Metropolitan Police Department officers may intervene to stop prohibited activities and behaviors. Failure to comply with these rules may result in:
- Withdrawal of a person’s permission to remain on Library premises; and/or
- Issuance of a Notice of Barring from Library property for a period of one day to five (5) years, as provided in policies and procedures issued by the Chief Librarian.
A violation of law may also result in arrest and prosecution. Violations of law and/or these rules may also result in the restriction and/or termination of Library privileges, including the use of Library computers and other equipment, and facilities. Authorized personnel may base a Notice of Barring on personal observation or investigation. Barred parties 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 of a barring that is greater than seven (7) days. This request must be made within ten (10) business days of the date on the barring notice. A request for review should be submitted in writing to:
Director of Public Safety
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
901 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
For the safety and comfort of the public and staff, and to create an environment conducive for library business the following activities are prohibited on library property and facilities:
a) Category One Infractions:
Any person(s) who violates rules 1-5 while in or on library premises will be immediately removed and excluded from all DC Public Library premises. Any person so excluded shall lose all library privileges from one (1) to five (5) years and the incident will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
- Committing or attempting to commit any activity that would constitute a violation of any Federal or District criminal statue or ordinance.
- Directing a specific threat of physical harm against an individual, group of individuals or property.
- Engaging in sexual conduct/activity, including, but not limited to, the physical manipulation or touching of a person’s sex organs through a person’s clothing in an act of apparent sexual stimulation or gratification.
- Being under the influence of any controlled substance or intoxicating liquor or beverage.
- Possessing, selling, distributing, or consuming any alcoholic beverage, except as allowed at a library approved event.
b) Category Two Infractions:
Any person(s) who violates rules 6-13 while in or on library premises may first be given a warning at the discretion of library staff. Subsequent offenses by that person will result in that person’s immediate removal and exclusion from all DC Public Library premises. Any person so excluded shall lose all library privileges from six (6) months to one (1) year. Repeated violations of category two infractions may lead to category one barring periods (1 year to 5 years).
- 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, conduct that involves 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.
- Engaging in conduct that can be considered bullying as defined by the Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012, effective September 14, 2012 (D.C. Law 19-167; 59 DCR 7820).
- Using library material, 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 themselves or others.
- Failure to comply with the reasonable direction of a library staff member.
- Soliciting, petitioning, or distributing written materials or canvassing for political, charitable or religious purposes inside a library building, including the entrances or grounds in a manner on the library premises that unreasonably interferes with or impedes access to the library.
- Smoking or other use of tobacco in the library or within 25 feet of any library building (including electronic-cigarettes).
- Violating the library’s rules for Acceptable Use of the Internet and Library Public Computers.
- Entering or attempting to enter a Library building while barred (i.e., trespassing). Any customer who trespasses is prohibited from use of all DC Public Library facilities and services. Customers or persons returning to a DC Public Library facility during a period of barring may be arrested and prosecuted for unlawful entry pursuant to DC Official Code § 22-3302 (2001 ed. & 2012 Supp.).
c) Category Three Infractions:
Any person(s) who violates rules 14-30 while in or on library premises may be given a warning at the discretion of library staff. Offenses by that person will result in that person’s immediate removal and exclusion from all DC Public Library premises. Any person so excluded shall lose all library privileges for seven (7) days. Repeated violations of category three infractions may lead to category two barring periods (6 months to 1 year).
- Interfering with the free passage of library staff or customers in or on library premises, including, but not limited to, placing objects such as bicycles, skateboards, backpacks or other items in a manner that interferes with free passage.
- Placing personal belongings on or against buildings, furniture, equipment or fixtures in a manner that interferes with library staff or customer use of the library facility, or leaving personal belongings unattended.
- Bringing bicycles or other similar devices inside library buildings, including, but not limited to, vestibules or covered doorways if no bicycle rack is provided within that area.
- Operating roller skates, skateboards or other similar devices in or on library premises.
- Parking vehicles on library premises for purposes other than library use. Vehicles parked in violation of this rule may be towed at the owner’s expense.
- 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.
- 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.
- Taking library materials into restrooms if the materials have not been checked out.
- Bringing in items excluding personal items (purse, laptop, and briefcase) that occupy floor space in excess of 9” L x 14” W x 22” H. Items are measured in totality and must fit easily into a measuring box of the above dimensions. Bedrolls, blankets (except for use by babies and infants), and frame backpacks are prohibited. Brining large duffel bags and plastic bags measuring over 12’ x 36’ and bringing infested personal items into the library.
- Lying down or sleeping, to include the appearance of sleeping in the restrooms or on any floor, couch, table, or seat in the Library and on the premises, and by blocking aisles, exits, or entrances by sitting or lying down in them.
- Improperly using library restrooms, including, but not limited to, bathing, shaving, washing hair and changing clothes.
- Using personal electronic equipment at a volume that disturbs others, including, but not limited to, pagers, stereos, televisions, cellular telephones, computers and tablets.
- 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]
- Adults and teens are prohibited from using the children’s area, unless accompanying a child twelve (12) years old or younger.
- Adults and children are prohibited from using the teen area unless accompanying a teen age thirteen (13) – nineteen (19).
- Adults and teens 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.
- Children and teens eighteen (18) and younger who are not accompanied by an adult during regular school hours are considered truant. Students must provide written proof from school authorities excusing the students from school in order to enter the library or be on library premises on school days between 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
d) Category Four Infractions
Any person(s) who violates rules 31 and 32 while in or on library premises will be excluded from the premises until the problem is corrected. Repeated violations of category four infractions may lead to category two barring periods (6 months to 1 year).
- Entering library buildings with bare feet or a bare chest.
- Any person creating or emanating an odor that can be detected by a reasonable person, from six (6) feet away and/or constitutes a public nuisance for other customers, will be asked to leave the library until the situation can be corrected.
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.