Patron Behavior Policy
The Belgrade Community Library encourages people of all ages to visit the Library. Those using the Library and its resources have the right to expect a safe, comfortable environment that supports appropriate Library services.
People demonstrating disruptive behavior will be required to leave the Library after a maximum of two warnings from Library staff. Disruptive behavior includes, but is not limited to: noisy, boisterous actions; inappropriate behavior; carelessness with food and drinks; smoking; vaping; running; loud talking; misuse of Library property; uncooperative attitude; or actions that deliberately annoy others or prevent the legitimate use of the Library and its resources. Abusive language or behavior will not be tolerated. Depending on the nature of the situation, Library staff will follow the Disruptive Behavior Procedures.
Personal electronics, such as laptops and cell phones, may be used if the noise level is low and use does not interfere with others. Cell phones are permitted in the Library but should be turned off or switched to vibrate or low volume as a courtesy to others. Telephone conversations should be held at volumes which do not disturb others. Library staff may ask patrons to lower the volume of their cell phone conversations should they become distracting or disruptive to others.
Unattended & Disruptive Children or Vulnerable Adults
The Belgrade Community Library is a public facility that offers services to a wide range of patrons, and children are welcome. The Library makes a reasonable effort to provide an environment that is safe and comfortable for every patron who is appropriately using its services and facilities. Children, young people, and individuals of any age who are unable to maintain their own health and well-being due to permanent or temporary physical or mental disruption or disability are expected to adhere to the same standards of patron conduct expected of adults. Parents, guardians, or assigned chaperones or caregivers are responsible for ensuring the appropriate behavior of these individuals while in the Library.
Young children are not safe when left unattended in the Library. Staff cannot know if children are leaving with a parent, a friend, or a stranger. Staff will not deliberately seek out unattended children. Children under the age of seven must never be left unsupervised in any area of the Library. If a guardian or caregiver cannot be located, staff will attempt to call a guardian. If a guardian cannot be reached or come to the Library within a reasonable time, staff will call the police to report an abandoned child.
If a Library program or event is designed to allow a child under the age of seven to participate without their guardian or other responsible adult, that fact will be advertised.
If children are disruptive, they will be asked to leave the Library. If a child cannot safely leave the Library to return home on their own, staff will permit the child to call a guardian or caregiver. If no guardian or caregiver can be contacted, staff will either allow the child to remain at the Library until a guardian can be contacted or contact the police, depending upon the severity of the situation.
If a person of any age is determined to be unable to maintain their own health and well-being, Library staff will attempt to locate an appropriate caregiver. If a caregiver cannot be located or contacted, the staff will notify the police. Library staff will not assume responsibility for an individual’s health and well-being beyond locating or contacting the appropriate individuals or notifying the police. The Belgrade Community Library reserves the right to require that these individuals be accompanied to the Library by a responsible adult in the future.
Children who have not been picked up at closing time will be given the opportunity to call a guardian or caregiver. Children who have not been picked up within fifteen minutes after closing will be left in the care of the police. Under no circumstances will Library staff take children out of the building, transport children in a vehicle, or accompany them home.
In any of the above cases, an incident report will be completed and given to the Director.
According to Belgrade Administrative Code 4-6-1: An animal “at large” is “An animal off of the owner’s property, unless on a leash and under the strict control of a competent human. An animal at large can be with or without the owner’s consent or knowledge.” According to 4-6-5: Dog at Large: “It is unlawful for a dog to be at large in the city. An owner of a dog that is found at large in the city commits a violation of this section.... While a dog is in the city, its owner is strictly liable for any damages caused by such dog and any costs incurred by the city in the control, impoundment, disposition, or destruction of such dog.”
According to Belgrade Administrative Code 4-6-1, a “Nuisance Animal” is “An animal that damages any property other than the owner’s property, or frequently or habitually howls, yelps, barks, screeches, vocalizes, or otherwise causes serious annoyance or disturbance to a person or persons in the vicinity of the animal.” According to 4-6-11: “It is unlawful for an animal to be a nuisance animal in the city.” If an animal on Library grounds becomes a nuisance due to barking, intimidation, defecation, etc., staff will announce to Library patrons that animals causing disturbance to other Library patrons need to be removed. At the end of fifteen minutes, the Belgrade Police will be called to remove the animal. In case of injury to a person by an animal, the police will be called immediately.
No animals other than service animals (or service animals in training) are allowed in the Library. According to 2021 Montana Code Annotated (MCA) 49-4-203, “‘Service animal’ means a dog or miniature horse individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. The term does not include an emotional support animal.”
According to MCA 49-4-214, the Library will post conspicuous public notice that the Library does not allow animals other than service animals and reserves the right to file complaints alleging the misrepresentation of service animals. The notice will also indicate that a person may be accompanied by a service animal.
An animal’s handler may be asked by a Library representative whether the animal is a service animal required because of a disability and to describe the work or task the animal is trained to perform. Service animals in training must be identifiable by written identification from a distance of at least 20 feet.
A service animal must be under the handler’s control. If the animal is not under the handler’s control and the handler has not taken effective action to control the animal or the animal is not housebroken, the handler may be asked to remove the animal from the Library. If the Library asks that an animal be removed, the Library will give the handler the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.
If a person knowingly and willfully represents that an animal is a trained service animal by identification or claims verbally or in writing that an animal is a service animal, and it is found that the animal is not properly trained to provide services required of a service animal, the person may be asked to remove the animal from the Library and local law enforcement may be called to investigate. An animal may be determined to lack the proper training if it is not housebroken or is not under the handler’s control and the handler does not take effective action to control the animal. A complaint to the police by a Library representative must be written and state the particulars of the alleged misrepresentation.
For more information, please see 2021 MCA 49-4-203, 214, 221, and 222.
Harassment & Lewd Behavior
Patrons and staff have the right to enjoy an environment free from harassment or lewd conduct. Anyone, including patrons, who harasses staff or another patron will be asked to leave the Library, and an incident report will be filed with the Director. Repeated acts of harassment or acts that may escalate into violent or illegal actions will be reported to the police.
Lewd acts or sexual misconduct are not appropriate in the Library. One warning may be given. Serious acts and acts involving minors will be reported to the police. All acts of a serious nature will be reported to the Director and documented in an incident report.
All patrons are permitted to wear any forms of footwear or outerwear that they choose so long as they provide appropriate coverage to meet basic hygiene standards and avoid disruption of Library use. Color, style, or other social considerations beyond appropriate coverage are not covered by this policy.
Footwear includes shoes, sandals, boots, or any other commonly sold or crafted article that is designed to be worn on the feet and provides a barrier between the foot and the ground. Socks on their own are not considered appropriate footwear. Exceptions to this policy may be made for babies at or below the crawling stage and for programs (e.g., yoga, dance class, etc.).
Outerwear includes shirts, pants, shorts, skirts, dresses, dry swimwear, and any other article of clothing that provides appropriate coverage of the genitals, buttocks, and torso to meet basic hygiene standards and avoid disruption of typical Library use. Diapers and any genital coverings sold as underwear or lingerie are not considered to be outerwear.
If a female patron exposes her torso for the purpose of breastfeeding her child, this will not be considered a violation of this policy.
Outerwear that is saturated or covered by water or any other substance to the extent that it would cause damage to Library property is not considered appropriate.
If a patron is determined to be lacking appropriate footwear or outerwear, they will be notified by staff that they need to put on appropriate attire. If the patron is unable to or chooses not to put on appropriate attire, they will be asked to leave the Library. This will be reported to the Director and documented in an incident report.
Words, symbols, and images that appear on a patron’s clothing, belongings, or skin are considered speech and may fall under consideration of other standards within the Patron Behavior Policy.
Theft & Tampering
If staff believes that theft has taken place, the police will be immediately notified. Vandalism of Library materials will also be reported to the police. The Library is not responsible for any items damaged or stored while patrons are utilizing the Library.
Tampering with the arrangement of permanent Library materials, attempting to remove or actually removing any Library property from the premises, and damaging or mutilating any Library materials or facilities is prohibited. If this occurs, the police will be notified immediately.
Other Prohibited Activities
- Chasing and running in the Library building; using bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, roller skates, scooters, or similar wheeled devices anywhere in the building and on the grounds where prohibited by a posted sign
- Eating or drinking near Library computers
- Smoking, vaping, chewing, rolling cigarettes, or using any other tobacco-related, marijuana-related, or other illicit-products in the Library and outside the Library within 30 feet of the entrances and open windows
- Using, possessing, or selling alcohol; or displaying signs of inebriation from drugs or alcohol that may reasonably be believed to create a risk to the person in question or to others
- Soliciting or selling non-Library materials (except as provided in the Meeting Room Policy)
- Entering private or non-public areas of the Library without Director or staff permission.
- Littering, leaving refuse, or leaving any belongings behind after leaving the Library.
Denial of Library Privileges
Anyone violating the policies of the Library may, at the discretion of Library staff or the Director, be asked to leave the premises or denied borrowing privileges. According to 2021 Montana Code Annotated 22-1-311, “The board may exclude from the use of the Library any and all persons who shall willfully violate the rules of the Library.”
If the above occurs, an incident report will be filled out and given to the Director.
Each Library Trustee shares with the Library Director, the staff, and Foundation board members in the responsibility of forming the public “image” of the Library. The staff, because of their daily contact with patrons, sets the culture of the Library.
Approved by Board of Trustees: September 2019
Reviewed by Library Staff: August 2019