Rules of Behavior
The St. Mary’s County Library staff is responsible for providing a safe and pleasant library for all of our customers. All library users are expected to abide by the following:
- Respect fellow Library users, Library staff, and Library property. If your behavior is disruptive, unsafe, or a nuisance preventing others from using the Library comfortably, we’ll ask you to stop.
- Obscenity, abusive language, harassment, violence, or threat of violence are not allowed. Library users must wear clothing and shoes and may not have bodily hygiene that is offensive so as to be a nuisance to other persons.
- Comply with requests from Library staff. We reserve the right to suspend privileges and/or access to the Library and services if you do not comply.
- Comply with local, state, and federal laws. If you break the law, you will be banned and we may prosecute.
- Comply with all other St. Mary’s County Library policies.
- Only service animals supporting a person with a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act or as under Maryland Code, Human Svc 7-705, are permitted.
- Out of concern for the safety of young customers, adults who are unaccompanied by a child or children in the children’s or teen areas of the Library may be questioned by staff and may be asked to move to another area of the Library.
- Parents, guardians, and caregivers are responsible for their children’s use of the Library. This includes seeing that their children follow Library rules.
- Library staff are not responsible for unattended children and will enforce the Library’s rules. If a child under 8 years of age is left in the Library unattended or with a guardian who is under 13 years of age, the Sheriff’s Department will be called to locate the parent/guardian. If a child under 16 years of age is left unattended when the Library closes, the Sheriff’s Department will be called.
- The Library is not responsible for the loss of theft of unattended items.
If you feel that something or someone is making your experience here uncomfortable or unsafe, please let Library staff know as soon as possible.
St. Mary’s County Library Behavior Consequences
Category One Rules and Consequences
Any customer, aged 9 and older, who violates category one rules while visiting the Library will be asked to correct the problem or to leave until the problem is corrected. Noncompliance with staff requests to remedy any violation will be considered a category two violation.
- Inadequate clothing or hygiene
- Unattended children
- Non-service animals
- Display of a weapon, including toys or replicas (employees should implement safety protocols rather than confront armed individuals as the situation requires
- Not following Library policies, including Food/Drink (Non-alcoholic beverages in covered containers and food are only allowed in designated areas)
- Soliciting, petitioning, or distributing written materials or canvassing for political, charitable or religious purposes on the premises.
- Smoking, vaping, tobacco products
Category Two Rules and Consequences
Any customer who violates category two rules while visiting the Library will be informed of library rules and given a documented warning. Subsequent offenses within a 3-month timeframe by that customer will result in that person’s immediate removal and barring from all St. Mary’s County Library premises as follows:
|Age||Initial||2nd Violation (within 1 week)||3rd Violation (within 1 month)||4th Violation (within 3 months)|
|18+||Warning||1 Week||1 Month||3 Months|
|13-17||Warning||1 Day||1 Week||2 Weeks|
|9-12||Warning||1 Day||3 Days||1 Week|
Customers 0-8 years of age will receive a warning, followed by referral to caregiver and/or St. Mary’s County Sheriff.
- Failure to comply with the reasonable direction of Library staff.
- Failure to comply with the Internet Safety Policy.
- Intoxication or drug impairment (call for a wellness check from the Sheriff)
- Leaving mess, garbage or spills or creating mess, garbage or spills that disrupts or interferes with library use.
- Engaging in conduct that disrupts or interferes with the normal operation of the Library, or disturbs Library staff or customers, including but not limited to, the use of abusive or threatening language or gestures or conduct that consists of loud or boisterous physical behavior or talking, or asking for money or rides. This includes all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment. Some infractions may be moved to Category Three if deemed necessary.
- Misuse of any Library property in a destructive, abusive or potentially damaging manner; or in a manner likely to cause personal injury to themselves or others.
Category Three Rules and Consequences
Any customer who violates category three rules while on library premises will be immediately removed and restricted from all SMCL premises as follows:
|18+||1+ years, based on severity, the incident will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency, with the possibility of a no-trespass order or peace order|
|13-17||3 months to 1 year, based on severity, and the incident will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency|
|9-12||1-6 months, based on severity, and the incident will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency|
|0-8||Warning, referral to caregiver and/or Library security staff or St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office.|
- Vandalism/property damage. All significant property damage must get a police report and be reported to County Building Services.
- The threat or use of weapons, including toys or replicas
- Entering or attempting to enter St. Mary’s County Library premises while barred (i.e., trespassing).
- Possessing, selling, distributing, or consuming any alcoholic beverages or illegal substance
- Committing, or attempting to commit, any activity that would constitute a violation of any federal, state or local ordinance, code, or law.
- Directing a specific threat of physical harm against an individual, group of individuals, or property.
- Engaging in sexual conduct/activity, including, but not limited to, solicitation, indecent exposure, or the physical manipulation or touching of sex organs through clothing in an act of apparent sexual stimulation or gratification.
Any customer whose library privileges are suspended has a right to appeal to the Branch Manager of the branch where the suspension occurred. Minor children (under the age of 18) must appeal suspension with a parent or guardian. A parent or guardian must also speak with the Branch Manager or designated staff member before a minor child returns from suspension. Failure to do so will cause the suspension to continue until an arrangement for return is made between the Branch Manager and parent or guardian.