Welcome to the Billerica Public Library. The Library aims to provide all with a safe and pleasant experience by maintaining a positive atmosphere for connecting, studying, creating, and learning. This aim necessitates the willingness of all library users to be considerate of the rights of others to work safely and undisturbed. To ensure that such an environment exists, the Library has established guidelines for behavior in Library facilities. These guidelines are established to promote equal access to and enjoyment of library services.
The library staff reserves the right to ask any person to leave the Library when, in the staff’s judgment, that person is exhibiting unlawful, abusive, harassing, threatening or inappropriate behavior or creating a disturbance that interferes with other patrons. Library users who violate this Policy may also be subject to the suspension or revocation of their library privileges, exclusion from the Library, and/or legal action.
Those visiting or using the Library are expected to follow the Library’s Code of Conduct, which is available on the Library’s website and at any service desk, as well as all federal, state, and local laws, rules, regulations, and ordinances.
Library Behavior Guidelines
For the comfort and safety of patrons, volunteers, and staff, and the protection of library property, disruptive behavior will not be allowed.
The list below is not meant to be exhaustive. Library staff reserves the right to address any behaviors, including those not listed, that disrupt or prevent others’ ability to use the Library for its intended purposes.
- Patrons should always be aware that they are in a shared, public space. This means that conversations, including cell phone conversations, should be carried on at a level that does not disturb or interfere with other patrons. This especially applies to the quiet zone(s) of the Library and on the second floor, where cell phone use is limited to the Study Rooms and Conference Room.
- Patrons are solely responsible for their personal possessions and are encouraged to keep personal possessions with them at all times.
- Patrons may only take photographs or video recordings in public areas of the building. Taking pictures or video recordings in restrooms or staff-only areas is prohibited.
- Parents and caregivers are responsible for the supervision of their children. Please see the Child Safety Policy for additional information.
- The Library allows the collection of signatures for nomination papers, petitions, etc., in the library building, subject to conditions set by the Library Director or her/his designee, as long as the collectors do not violate Mass. General Law, Chapter 272, Section 41, which prohibits disturbing people in a public library “by making noise or in any other manner.” To this end, the Library Director designates the lobby and walkways as areas in which signatures may be collected and requires that the person(s) collecting signatures neither interfere with the ongoing activities of the Library nor prevent library users from freely entering or leaving the building. Nomination papers should not be left unattended in any public building as it could be construed as using public funds (such as a table or town-owned pens) to support a candidate. No nomination papers may be left unattended at the Library.
- Only service animals and animals associated with library programs are allowed in the building.
- Patrons are expected to comply with reasonable directives from library staff.
- Computer and Internet use are subject to the Library’s Internet Policy.
- The following activities are inappropriate to the library setting and are prohibited in the Library or on its grounds:
a. Possessing or consuming alcohol or illegal drugs or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs (see G.L. Chapter 270).
b. Smoking or other tobacco use within the Library or on Library grounds (see G.L. Chapter 270). This includes, but is not limited to, electronic cigarettes or electronic vaping devices.
c. Creating a disturbance by making noise, talking loudly, or engaging in other disruptive conduct.
d. Interfering with another person’s right to use the Library or the library staff’s performance of their duties.
e. Verbally or physically threatening or harassing other visitors, library staff or volunteers, including stalking, staring, touching, or using offensive language, including, but not limited to, violence, threats of violence, and possession of weapons.
f. Utilizing personal electronic equipment (laptops, personal music players, etc.) in a way that interferes with other patrons’ use of the Library, including the use of earphones at an unreasonable sound level.
g. Commercial solicitation or canvassing of any kind unless with the written permission of the Library Director.
h. Entering areas posted “Staff Only” without permission.
i. Leaving a child under the age of ten unattended in the Library, including neglecting to provide proper supervision of a minor or minors. Parents or guardians are requested to supervise their minors and to curtail excess noise, running and other behavior that disturbs other patrons or puts those minors at risk. The Library is not childproof, and minors’ supervision is necessary to prevent accidents.
j. Defacing library materials or property. Those who damage or deface library materials or property may be prosecuted. Parents may be held liable for damage done by a child under 18.
k. Food and drink consumption, unless in the designated hallway area by the Concord Road entrance or during approved meetings in the Conference Room or Meeting Room.
l. Use of or carrying in bicycles, roller blades, skateboards, scooters or similar types of equipment, except those used by persons with disabilities.
m. Using the restroom facilities in any way that prohibits others from accessing them, including bathing, shampooing, or doing laundry.
n. Playing in or on the elevator or with the elevator telephone is prohibited and may violate the law.
o. Moving furniture and/or using furniture in a way other than intended.
p. Lying down or appearing to be sleeping in the Library; having feet on furniture; blocking aisles, exits, or entrances.
q. Entering the Library barefooted, without a shirt, with offensive body odor or personal hygiene, or being otherwise attired so as to be disruptive to the Library environment.
r. Bringing in garbage, articles with a foul odor, or articles which, alone or in their aggregate, impede the use of the Library by other users.
s. Littering is prohibited. All trash and recycling must be properly disposed of in receptacles provided throughout the Library and on library grounds.
Children’s Room Guidelines
The Children’s Room and the services provided are reserved for children from birth through age 10 or grade 5, their caretakers, teachers, and those using the collection. This restriction is intended to provide a safe and comfortable Children’s Room. Accordingly, adults not accompanied by a child and not using the children’s collection will be asked to move upstairs. Extended browsing by an adult not accompanied by a child is not encouraged, and at their discretion, library staff may ask the adult to take items to the main floor or second floor for browsing. Adults not accompanied by a child are not permitted to participate in children’s activities such as crafts, book talks, or any other program designated for children (see our Library Program Policy).
Children’s Room computers are intended for children through age 10 or grade 5 and their caregivers. Children aged 11, teens, and adults seeking access to the Internet or other computer services may use computers available in other library areas, subject to the Library’s Internet Policy.
Please make sure your young children under the age of 10 are properly supervised and never left unattended. The Library cannot assume responsibility for the care or supervision of children. (See Child Safety Policy).
Staff will handle occasional misbehavior informally.
Authorized Library staff and/or law enforcement officers may intervene to stop prohibited activities and behaviors. Failure to comply with these rules may result in: 1) withdrawal of a person’s permission to remain on Library property and/or 2) issuance of a Notice of Trespass from Library property for a period of one day to indefinitely.
A criminal law violation may also result in arrest and prosecution. Violations of law and/or these rules may also result in the restriction and/or termination of Library privileges, including the use of Library computers and other equipment. Authorized personnel may base a Notice of Trespass on personal observation or upon the sort of civilian reports that would ordinarily be relied upon by police officers in the determination of probable cause.
Individuals with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation by calling or emailing the Library Director.
An individual who has received a Notice of Trespass may, within 30 days, request an administrative review of a trespass order. An administrative review must be made in writing and through the Library Director.
Any patron violating any of the above rules may be denied access to the Library by the Library Director or Director’s designee. Patrons whose privileges have been revoked may apply in writing to have the decision reviewed by the Board of Trustees within 30 days.
The Rules of Conduct apply to all Library patrons. The enforcement aspects of this Policy apply to all authorized Library staff, contractors, and/or law enforcement officers.
Revised and adopted by a vote of the Board of Library Trustees on January 4, 2016, as amended on April 4, 2016, September 13, 2021, and June 5, 2023