Public Conduct

Washington County Library and staff value and promote libraries that exemplify respectful treatment of everyone. Library customers have the right to expect friendly and competent library service provided in a safe and inviting atmosphere. Library staff have the right to provide library services without fear of abuse or threatening behavior. Washington County Library abides by state and local laws defining and restricting disorderly conduct and nuisance behavior.

Library customers are expected to respect library property, library staff, and other visitors. Library staff will determine if behavior is causing a nuisance or is disorderly

Library staff can ask customers to leave for the day, a specific time period, or trespass them from the property for up to one year. If needed, local law enforcement or the county sheriff's department can help deliver a trespass order.

Library staff use the following steps while enforcing the public conduct policy. The goal is to allow a patron to continue to use the library and take full advantage of library services:

  • Remind – Staff will remind customers about expectations. This step assumes the customer does not know they have violated our policy.
  • Warn – If a customer continues to behave inappropriately, staff will warn them that we will ask them to leave if they continue to engage in inappropriate behavior.
  • Ask – If the behavior continues beyond the reminder and warning, staff will ask the customer to leave the library and return when they can follow our guidelines.
  • Call – If a customer continues to engage in disrespectful conduct and refuses to leave, library staff can call law enforcement for support.

Especially for Children

Children are an important part of the Washington County Library community. The library encourages children of all ages to visit the library, enjoy programs and services, borrow materials, learn together, play together, and become lifelong library users.

The following rules are intended to facilitate respectful use of the library:

  • Children must be picked up before the library closes.
  • Children who are being disruptive will be asked by staff to follow the rules following the remind, warn, ask, leave steps. If the disruptive behavior continues staff will inform the parent/guardian that their child is disturbing others. If the parent/guardian refuses to cooperate or is unable to control the child, they and the child will be asked to leave for the day.
  • If the child is below age 8 and unsupervised, staff will attempt to connect with the parent/guardian through multiple means before notifying law enforcement about an unattended child.
  • If the child is above age 8 and unsupervised, they will be asked to follow the rules. If the disruptive behavior continues, the child may be asked to leave for the day.
  • A child under age 11 should not have the responsibility to supervise other children. Children 11 and older may have responsibility for other children if they have the skills.
  • If disruptive, children may be suspended for a period of time or trespassed from the property for up to one year.
  • A letter may be sent to the parent/guardian of all disruptive or unsupervised children explaining the rules and requesting a conference to reinstate library privileges.