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Patron Behavior Policy

The Library Board of Trustees has adopted the Patron Behavior Policy to provide a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment for everyone, including patrons and staff. This policy applies to the use of Library facilities, resources and services in any form, including but not limited to in-person, phone and virtual, as well as the participation in Library-sponsored activities on or away from Library property. 

As a community for the sharing of information to all persons, Library users are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is courteous, respectful and cooperative at all times.  Any Library user whose behavior, in the opinion of Library staff, is disrespectful to others, disruptive, inhibits access to or the delivery of services or resources to others, or otherwise violates this policy or local, state or federal laws may be asked to immediately discontinue such behavior, to leave Library property, have Library privileges suspended, be subject to legal action, and/or be subject to reporting to the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Department with or without warning or notice. 

Examples of unacceptable activities and behaviors include, but are not limited to: 

Lack of respect for others  

  • Demonstrating disruptive, disturbing or potentially unsafe behavior or actions, including but not limited to: 
  • Talking or laughing loudly, yelling, screaming or engaging in other noisy or boisterous activities 
  • Running, jumping or throwing things 
  • Hitting, pushing, shoving, challenging to fight or provoking violence  
  • Interfering with the free movement of and use of the Library by others, or with Library staff members’ performance of their duties   
  • Harassing any person in the Library, including but not limited to: 
  • Staring, following, stalking or lurking 
  • Initiating repeated unwanted personal and/or embarrassing questions or communication 
  • Threatening, taunting or inflicting physical, verbal or written abuse 
  • Engaging in public displays of physical affection or in lewd behavior including, but not limited to, petting, indecent exposure or sexual acts 
  • Refusing to vacate the building at closing time or upon Library staff request 
  • Using obscene, derogatory, abusive, insulting, threatening, humiliating or otherwise offensive language, gestures or acts toward others 
  • Using personal or Library devices for entertainment, conversation or other activities at a volume that disturbs other patrons 
  • Soliciting, surveying, petitioning, campaigning, selling of any kind, distributing materials, posting flyers or otherwise engaging in activities for promotion or profit without specific authorization from Library staff 
  • Displaying material which is inconsistent with the Library’s Internet Access and Use Policy or otherwise inappropriate for the surroundings, including potential passersby 
  • Entering a Library facility without footwear and a covering of the upper and lower body, such as shoes, shirt and pants 
  • Offensive odor of the body or personal property to a degree that constitutes a nuisance to others  
  • Obstructing or blocking access to the Library or any part of the Library facility or grounds, including bringing oversized items that may be a hazard, take up an excessive amount of space, or impede Library use 
  • Using a Library facility for childcare purposes, leaving children under the age of 13 unaccompanied or unsupervised by a responsible adult age 18 or older, or otherwise violating the Library’s Unattended Children Policy 
  • Smoking, chewing or otherwise using tobacco products or e-cigarettes  
  • Using photographic, video, audio or other recording devices without prior authorization 

Misuse of property 

  • Entering or attempting to enter non-public areas  
  • Consuming food and/or beverages outside of designated areas  
  • Monopolizing Library furniture, equipment, materials or other property that prevents others from using them for an unreasonably extended period of time  
  • Sleeping, loitering or remaining on Library property in a manner inconsistent with the Library’s intended use  
  • Unauthorized use of another person’s Library card for any purpose  
  • Carrying or displaying a weapon or other item of a type or in a manner deemed by Library staff to be threatening or potentially dangerous to others  
  • Using sports equipment, including but not limited to skateboards, roller skates, scooters or bicycles on Library property except as appropriately used for transportation to a Library facility  
  • Misusing public restrooms, including shaving, bathing, washing clothes, soliciting, meeting, loitering, using drugs or engaging in sexual acts 
  • Bringing animals into Library facilities, with the exceptions of service animals or animals which are part of a Library-sponsored activity 
  • Damaging, destroying, relocating, stealing, altering or attempting to alter, or otherwise improperly using any property of the Library, patrons or staff 
  • Taking Library materials or other property outside Library facilities without following established loan procedures or other authorization  
  • Leaving personal property unattended on Library property  
  • Defecating and/or urinating on Library property, other than a toilet in a restroom  


  • Any acts or conduct in violation of federal, state, or local laws, ordinances or regulations, including but not limited to littering, theft, vandalism, sexual misconduct or possession of illegal weapons or substances 
  • Possessing, consuming or exhibiting signs of being under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances  
  • Failure to follow Library policies and/or procedures 
  • Failure to follow the reasonable direction of Library staff regarding potential policy violations, emergency situations or other Library business 

Exceptions to the policy may be made at the discretion of the Library Director, a Branch Manager or their representative.  

Notwithstanding the foregoing or any other policy or provision of policy, Library employees may report to appropriate management, law enforcement, public health or other authority any circumstance, behavior or conduct that, in their reasonable judgment, may constitute a threat, danger or risk to themselves, the public, any individual on Library property or to property. 

Appeals Process 

Patrons receiving a written notice of suspension of Library privileges due to a violation of the Patron Behavioral Policy may within ten (10) days appeal the ruling by written petition to the Library Director. If not satisfied by the Library Director’s response to the appeal, the patron may appeal the decision by a written petition to the Library Board of Trustees within ten (10) days of receiving the Library Director’s response.  

Adopted by Botetourt County Library Board of Trustees    

February 8, 2016 

Revised October 21, 2020 

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