Patron Conduct

Welcome to the Worcester County Library. We want your experience with your library, whether in person, by telephone, or online to be pleasant and successful and we encourage you to use your library often. Following this policy will help create a positive and productive library environment.

We invite you to:

  • Ask library staff members if you have questions or need assistance. We are here to help.
  • Use our materials and equipment respectfully and responsibly.
  • Speak in conversational tones and use cell phones in designated areas, with ringers silenced.
  • Wear appropriate clothing, including shirts and shoes, while in the library.
  • Supervise children in your care; do not leave unattended any child who is under 8 years old.
  • Restrict your use of food and beverages to areas outside the library unless a branch has a location where food and beverages are permitted.
  • Keep your personal belongings with you at all times.
  • Use your personal computers and other digital devices in a manner that will not disturb others or interfere with their enjoyment of the library. The library is not responsible for any theft, damage, or loss of data associated with use of your equipment in or near a library facility.
  • Be aware of the closing time of the library (listed on signs and at the library’s web site).
  • Comply with the policies and guidelines of the library and reasonable requests by library staff.

The following are prohibited in all branches of the Worcester County Library:

  • Any activity prohibited by law.
  • Use of loud, abusive, profane, or insulting language.
  • Verbally or physically threatening or harassing other patrons, volunteers, or staff.
  • Actions that may result in damage to library property.
  • Soliciting or selling merchandise or services.
  • Fundraising for organizations other than the Library Foundation or Friends of the Library is not permitted in library buildings or on library grounds.
  • Use of any tobacco product.
  • Sleeping and offensive personal hygiene.
  • Bringing animals into the library except those trained and used as service animals.
  • Violation of the library’s Internet use guidelines.
  • Skating, including in-line skating and skateboarding on library property and grounds.
  • Being in and around library property with no apparent lawful business to pursue at the library.
  • Posting or distributing materials without library approval.
  • Videotaping or taking photos without authorization from the Branch Manager or Library Director.

Worcester County Library employees have the right to require adherence to this policy. If you fail to comply with an employee’s request to cease or modify a prohibited behavior, we may require you to leave the library; we may call the local law enforcement agency, or take other legal action.

Petitioning, Soliciting, and Canvassing: 
Within the library buildings: Petitioning, solicitating, or canvassing are not allowed in the libraries. Rare exceptions may be made for specific library or County projects only with the express approval of the Library Director. 
On library grounds: Groups or individuals may petition, solicit, canvas or distribute literature on library parking lots, sidewalks, or grounds, so long as they do not impede access to the building or interfere with its use through excessive noise or other disturbance. 

Suspension of Library Privileges

  • The Worcester County Library Board of Trustees authorizes library staff and law enforcement officers to enforce the library’s published Patron Conduct Policy, up to and including long-term suspension of library privileges, permanent banning from the library, or prosecution.
  • Depending on the nature and frequency of the behavior, consequences may include suspension of library privileges or permanent banning. The Library Director has the authority to ban from the library premises any individual whose behavior is a sufficient threat to the ability of the library to operate in a safe manner or individuals who repeatedly violate the Patron Conduct Policy. If the individual facing exclusion is under the age of eighteen (18), then banning will not occur until the minor’s parent or guardian is notified in writing.
  • Banning from library premises denies the patron access to the building, grounds and services of one or more of any branch within the Worcester County Library system as well as from all telephone reference. The individual will receive the suspension notice in writing by mail and a copy will be kept at all applicable library locations. The notice will include the length of the ban, a description of the actions which led to the ban, and a copy of the Patron Conduct Policy. The patron may still access from an offsite computer the library’s webpage and any databases available through that site.
  • If any individual named in a banning notice enters a Worcester County Library Branch before the return date listed on the notice, it will be considered criminal trespass and the individual will be asked to leave. If the individual does not leave when asked, staff will contact local law enforcement.
  • Individuals who have had their library privileges suspended may appeal the suspension by writing to the Library Director within ten working days. The Director will respond in writing within ten working days. If the individual is not satisfied with the Director’s response, the individual may appeal in writing within ten working days to the Library Board of Trustees for a final determination. The Board will consider the written appeal at its next regular meeting and the individual will receive written notification of the Board’s decision within ten working days.

If you have any questions or concerns about this policy, or any library policy or issue, please talk with a branch manager or library administrator. We appreciate your cooperation.

Approved by the Worcester County Library Board of Trustees, January 12, 2016; Revised March 10, 2020; Revised September 13, 2022