Pequannock Township Public Library
The Pequannock Township Public Library endeavors to provide a safe, quiet place for all who wish to read, study, research, write, select books to read, and consult with library staff. Those using the library are entitled to enjoy a library atmosphere – a calm, quiet space, free from distraction – and have an implicit obligation to contribute to the maintenance of that atmosphere. The Library Board of Trustees, in establishing this policy, endeavors to identify consequences for behaviors that are in opposition to the purposes for which the library is provided.
1. Anyone who enters the library is expected to pursue library-related activities quietly, with a minimum of disturbance to others.
2. Certain behaviors that may be appropriate outside of the library are not acceptable in the library setting. The behaviors and activities listed below have been determined, through tradition and experience, to be inappropriate and are prohibited. Attached to this policy is a copy of the established rules and regulations of the Pequannock Township Public Library.
The librarians and support personnel are employed to serve the legitimate reference, information and pleasure reading needs of the public; they are not social workers, police, or daycare providers. If a patron seems to be placing a staff member in the position of providing a non-library-related function, the staff member may bring the interaction to a prompt conclusion.
Staff Enforcement Procedure:
A staff member observing a violation of the library’s rules shall approach the patron observed violating the policy courteously, tell the patron that the behavior is unacceptable, and ask the patron to refrain from the behavior.
If the behavior continues, the staff member may approach the patron a second time, reiterate the relevant policy, and warn that he/she may be asked to leave the library. If the behavior is so disruptive or if the staff member believes a second warning is inappropriate under the circumstances, the staff person need not approach the patron a second time. In the event the patron does not cease the behavior, the staff member is to direct the patron to leave the library immediately. If the patron refuses to leave, the staff member may warn the patron that he/she has no choice but to call the police or may call the police without warning if deemed appropriate. The staff member shall meet the police officer at the door (or a second staff member shall be alerted to meet the police) to instruct the officer that an individual has been asked to leave the library and has refused to do so. Any adult library employee is empowered to enforce this behavior policy. Anyone ejected under enforcement of this policy may not re-enter the library that day and up to an additional seven (7) days. A suspension of longer than seven (7) days is covered under the “Suspension Policy and Procedure.”
The library welcomes children to use its facilities and services. However, the responsibility for the care, safety, and behavior of children using the library rests with the parent/guardian or caregiver and not with the library staff members. Public Libraries, by their nature, are subject to “stranger danger” and are not necessarily safe for unattended children.
Children 11 years of age and younger shall not be left unattended in the library under any circumstances. They must be accompanied by a parent/guardian or caregiver. Parents/guardians, if delegating their responsibilities to a caregiver, must ensure the caregiver is a responsible person of a suitable age.
A parent/guardian or caregiver must remain with the child during the entire time period in the library, and must directly supervise the child.
Library staff members may contact the Department of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) or other authorities, such as the Pequannock Police Department, in the event a child eleven (11) years of age or under is left unattended in the library, or the parent/guardian or caregiver fails to directly supervise the child; for example, by leaving the child alone in the Children’s Room.
In the case of children over eleven (11), parents may be notified, at the determination of the Library Director or a senior staff member, if an unaccompanied minor’s behavior in the library is a problem.
Children are subject to the same rules of conduct as other patrons and are subject to the same consequences, including being asked to leave the library.
DYFS, or other authorities, such as the Pequannock Police Department, may be contacted in the event of a minor left unaccompanied in the library for an extended period of time.
At library closing time, or in the event of an early closing due to inclement weather, etc., if unattended children are still in the building, the Pequannock Police Department will be called to take custody of the children. Two staff members must stay with the child until he/she is in the custody of an appropriate caretaker.
Suspension Policy and Procedure:
Any patron ejected through the procedure explained in the Staff Enforcement Procedure section may be subject to a longer suspension for habitual improper behavior.
Suspension from the library means that the patron may not enter the library for any reason or be present on outdoor library property. If the suspended patron enters the library or is on the property outside the library, the police will be called to remove the patron and the patron may be subject to criminal charges. In addition, other library privileges, such as the use of the Pequannock Twp. Public Library Card at the library, will be suspended.
The Library Director, Assistant Director, or next Person In Charge may suspend a violator’s library privileges, including the right to enter the library, for a period of time greater than (7) days for repeat offenders or egregious behavior.
The Monitor may suspend for one (1) day.
The offending patron must provide his/her name and address to the Library Director or other Person in Charge, including the Monitor. Written notice will be sent to the patron or, in the case of a minor, to the patron’s parents, with a date upon which the suspension will go into effect and a date upon which the suspension will end. In the case of a minor, a parent or guardian must meet with the Library Director or Assistant Director prior to the child being permitted to return to the library. The Library Director or Assistant Director may request the presence of a police officer during this meeting if he or she deems it necessary for safety and welfare. This re-admission to the library meeting shall take place at the library but may also be held in Town Hall or at the Police Station in the presence of a police officer when appropriate.
In the event of a suspension greater than seven (7) days, the patron may appeal the decision to the Library Board of Trustees or a Committee of the Library Board of Trustees designated by the Library Board.
The patron must provide written notice that he/she is requesting a suspension hearing. The written notice may be mailed or hand delivered to the main desk of the library. If written notice requesting a hearing is received, a suspension hearing before the Library Board of Trustees or a Committee of the Library Board of Trustees designated by the Library Board will be convened as soon as practicable.
If written notice requesting a hearing is not received, or is received after the effective date of the suspension, the suspension will automatically go into effect upon the date stated in the notice from the library.
Children After School:
Students are not to congregate in the front entrance porch, blocking access to the library by patrons.
No running, skateboarding, roller blading, playing, throwing, jumping, jostling or loitering. No bad language, harassing of other students and library patrons or restricting others’ access to the library.
Be considerate of all library patrons, especially senior citizens and parents with baby carriages.
No defacing or damaging library property, including the garden.
When using the library, bicycles should be parked in the bike rack.
Bikes may not be left in the entranceway, walkways, or vestibule. Bicycles are not to be left in the rack during the school day or overnight.
No queuing up adjacent to the entrance of the library for pick-ups. No stopping or standing. No blocking of entrance.
Please pick up children in the lot on the side nearest to the school and have children come to your car from the school.
Follow the arrows and cones when entering and exiting the parking lot.
Drive slowly and cautiously. Unfortunately, there have been incidents in the library parking lot due to careless driving or children running in the lot, so you need to be alert to what others are doing.