Rules of Conduct


The Board of Trustees of the Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library have adopted these Rules of Conduct to promote a safe and orderly atmosphere in the Library, to provide reasonable access to the facility for all persons, and to insure that all individuals will have fair and equal opportunities to use the Library’s resources.

The Library reserves the right to evict from and/or refuse further admission to the Library any individuals and/or groups who infringe upon the rights of Library staff or patrons in their proper use of Library facilities, or who create disorder on the premises of the Library so as to interfere with the functions for which the Library was designed. Patrons should behave in a courteous manner so that all may use the library without interference or disruption. Such behaviors include, but are not limited to:

• Maintain orderly and safe entry/exit of the library by not loitering or placing objects in high traffic areas such as the lobby, doorways, aisles, and stairways.

• Comply with Library Noise Zones:

o Social Zones – areas near the front half of the building, circulation desks, children’s area, and meeting rooms:  Moderate to louder conversation and noise levels are allowed. 

o Quieter Zones – areas near the rear half of the building upstairs, including the computer area, magazine reading area, Solarium, and Gallery:  Lower tones of voice and noise levels should be utilized.  Headphones should be utilized with electronic devices.

o If noise levels rise above the general level of conversation in a particular area, persons may be asked to relocate to another area of the building, to adjust their noise level, or may be told to exit the building if unwilling to comply.


• Wear appropriate clothing, including shoes and shirts, at all times.

• Limited consumption of food and drink are allowed though patrons may be liable for any resulting damage to library property.  Drinks should have a secure cover at all times.  Library users may be directed to a designated space within the Library for eating food.  No food is to be ordered to be delivered to the library by library users unless previously approved by the Director. No food or drinks will be permitted in the computer use areas at any time. 

• Adhere to the policies and procedures for use of computers and the Internet

• We request that all unattended minors be picked up at least 10 minutes before closing time.  If a minor of any age is left after closing time or if a child under the age of 10 is left unattended at the library at any time, the police may be called in the interest of the child’s safety.  Under no circumstance will a library staff member transport a minor to another location.

• Service animals are welcome as are animals participating in controlled library programs. According to the ADA, service dogs must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless the devices interfere with the service dog’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

• Authorities may be notified if pets are left unattended on library grounds or in cars.

• Photographs or videos may be taken in the public areas of the library.  Photographers must respect people’s wishes to not be photographed.  If a child or children will be in the photo a parent’s permission must be obtained before the photo is taken.

• Patrons are expected to follow all copyright and intellectual property laws. Patrons may not copy or publish licensed software, media or other intellectual property that infringes upon the copyright or other property rights of other persons or entities in violation of the copyright laws, trademark laws, or other intellectual property laws of the United States.  Responsibility for any consequences of copyright infringement or violation of any other intellectual property rights lies with the user and the library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility resulting from such use.

• Campaigning or petitioning are allowed on Library premises subject to the following guidelines:

o As a limited public forum, the library reserves the right to regulate the time, place, and manner for petitioning or campaigning on library grounds

o Persons or groups wishing to petition or campaign are requested to contact the Director to set a date and time and then notify staff upon their arrival the day of the event

o Use of the library property by petitioners or campaigners does not indicate the library’s endorsement of or opposition to a candidate or topic of a petition; library staff will not assist the petitioners in the solicitation of signatures at the library.

o Permitted areas for campaigning or petition will be limited to areas assigned by staff. Campaigners/petitioners may only sit at a table with a sign indicating their cause and may not approach patrons. They may only interact with patrons if the patron approaches them.

o Permitted areas for campaigning or petition will be limited to areas at least 6 feet from all entrances and overhangs; no person shall block ingress or egress from the building.

o Permitted times will be limited to the operating hours of the Library.


• Sales and/or solicitations of any kind are prohibited unless incidental to library programming.  Community non-profit organizations may place containers in the library or on library property to collect non-monetary donations in areas designated by the library, as space allows.  Advance approval by the Library Director is required prior to any sales or solicitations.


The following behaviors are strictly prohibited:

• Any act or conduct in violation of federal, state, or local law, ordinance or regulations or library rules or policies.

• Begging, sleeping, bathing, laundering, cutting hair, engaging in sexual activity, or loitering on library property (loitering is defined as remaining in the Library without being engaged in Library-related activities).

• Harassment, including but not limited to staring, following, stalking, verbal insults, etc.

• Damage to library property.

• Possession, consumption, or being under the influence of intoxicants or controlled substances (except as may be authorized by prescription).

• Use of tobacco products or vaporizers in the library and on library property.  


Failure to comply with the Library’s established rules and policies could result in removal from the premises and/or termination of Library privileges, or, when appropriate, violators could be subject to arrest if the St. Joseph Police are needed to intervene.  Whenever possible, the following disciplinary action steps will be utilized with the understanding that, depending upon the severity of the violation, some steps may be skipped:


1. Staff will provide the library user a copy of this Code of Conduct policy and ask the patron to cease the offending behavior.

2. Should the behavior continue, Library staff may instruct the violator of the Library’s policies to leave the premises for the remainder of the day. This is termed a suspension.  Persons who have been suspended from the Library may return no earlier than the following day.  The staff member involved in the suspension will submit an incident report to the Director documenting what occurred.

3. Depending on the severity of the infraction and/or the repetition of disruptive behavior on subsequent visits, Library staff members may also ban library users. 

a. A banned patron may not return to the library without the Library Director’s permission.  If the patron returns to the Library without permission the police will be contacted to remove that person from the building.

b. If it is a staff member other than the Library Director who has banned a patron from the library, it is up to the banned person to contact the Library Director to set up a meeting to discuss the situation and the length of the ban, which is at the discretion of the Library Director.  Banned persons under the age of 18 must be accompanied to the meeting with the Library Director by a parent or legal guardian.  After that meeting, the banned person must leave library premises until the date the ban is lifted. 

c. It is possible, depending on the seriousness of the behavior in question, that someone may be banned in perpetuity

d. The Library Director’s decision may be appealed to the Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library Board of Trustees in writing.  Written appeals must be received within 10 calendar days of the meeting with the Library Director.  The Library Board will hear the appeal at their next regularly scheduled meeting or within 30 days, whichever is sooner. Failure to appear on the day of the hearing, without prior notification to the Library Board will result in denial of the appeal.  The Board shall issue a written decision stating their determination.  The Board has the power to affirm or modify the Library Director’s decision; the decision of the Board shall be final.


Approved by the Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library Board at their regular meeting on February 27, 2018

Revised by the Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library Board at their regular meeting on January 24, 2023