Code of Conduct

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Norfolk Public Library Code of Conduct

1. Respect Library Rules

Patrons must follow rules and policies as requested by library staff or guard. This rule includes the abuse of the NPL Library Card Policy and Internet Card Policy.

2. No Disturbing Noise

Disturbing anyone by unreasonable noise (e.g., cell phones; videoconferencing applications such as Skype or Facetime); loud conversations; loud singing; radios; other electronic devices with headphones turned up at an unreasonable volume; etc.) is prohibited.

3. No Food or Drink

Eating and drinking in the library are prohibited, with the exception of bottled water, baby bottles, and toddler spill-proof cups. Hot foods or foods with an odor, drinks with straws, and visibly open packages of snack food are not permitted. Food and drink are allowed only in designated areas or for programs and meetings held in the meeting room area of the library as indicated in the Meeting Room Policy and Procedures.

4. No Sleeping

Sleeping is prohibited.

5. No Inappropriate Language

Inappropriate or abusive language is prohibited.

6. No Public Displays of Obscene Material

Public displays of obscene or visually disturbing material that interferes with the ability of others to use the library or as prohibited by law is prohibited.

7. No Loitering

Loitering in the library, on library steps, entryway or library property thereby creating a nuisance to those who are trying to enter or exit the building or to use library resources is prohibited. Patrons shall be engaged in activities associated with the use of a public library while in the building. Patrons not engaged in reading, studying, using library materials or attending meetings or library programming shall be required to leave the building.

8. No Selling, Soliciting, or Mass Distribution of Materials

Selling, soliciting, or mass distribution of unapproved materials is prohibited.

9. No Unsafe Behavior

Unsafe behavior such as roughhousing, climbing on furniture, running, skateboarding, or any other potentially injurious actions is prohibited.

10. Personal Belongings

Luggage, sleeping bags, bedrolls, and packages in bulk or quantity that cannot be stored entirely under the owner’s chair are prohibited. Personal belongings should not be left unattended anywhere on the library property.  With regard to animals in the library, only assistance animals are permitted.  

11. No Smoking

Smoking is prohibited inside the building, on library steps, or outside of any public entryway.

Electronic smoking devices or e-cigarettes are permitted to be used within all Norfolk Public Library locations as long as their use does not disrupt other library customers. Electronic cigarettes are defined as battery operated devices that provide inhaled doses of nicotine by way of a vaporized solution. Therefore, as stated by the Virginia Attorney General in 2010, the use of electronic cigarettes is not considered smoking and therefore Virginia smoking laws cannot dictate their use in public places.

12. No Offensive Odors

Anyone whose bodily hygiene is offensive so as to constitute a nuisance to other persons shall be required to leave the building. Because many people are sensitive to strong fragrances, patrons are asked to refrain from excessive use of perfumes.

13. Full Dress Required

Being fully clothed, including shirt, shoes, and pants, dress, or skirt, is a requirement of using the library.

14. Restroom Use

Using the public restrooms for shaving, bathing, or as laundry facilities is prohibited.

15. No Harassing Behavior

Harassing behavior is prohibited.
Harassing behavior may take many forms and includes, but is not limited to:

  • unwanted conversations, and advances of a personal or sexual nature that intimidate or make the other party uncomfortable,
  • harassing or obscene gestures or sounds,
  • offensive touching
  • staring at library staff or at other patrons so that performance of their duties or use of library resources is materially disrupted (staring must be corroborated by a supervisor, senior staff member, or guard),
  • intentionally monopolizing staff time so that performance of duties is materially disrupted even after the staff member has clearly indicated that a reference or customer service transaction has ended.

For the purposes of enforcing the Library's Code of Conduct, harassing behavior directed at a library employee by a library patron shall include behavior which occurs anywhere both on and off library property, or over the phone.

16. No Following/Stalking

Stalking others in the Library is prohibited.

Stalking is the willful, malicious, and repeated following and harassing of another person. For the purposes of enforcing the Library’s Code of Conduct for staff, following/stalking behavior directed at a library employee by a library patron shall include behavior which occurs anywhere both on and off of the library property.

17. No Abusive Behavior

Abusive behavior, such as threats or violent behavior, toward staff, customers, or security officers is prohibited.

18. No Trespassing

Trespassing is prohibited. To trespass includes entering any Library building during a period of suspension of Library privileges, entering any non-public areas of the Library, failing to leave the Library immediately upon closing, or being in the Library before or after public hours without express permission from authorized Library personnel.

19. No Unlawful Behavior

Unlawful behavior while in the library or on library property, including, but not limited to, carrying unlawful weapons, assault, indecent exposure or sex acts, use of drugs or alcohol, damage to library property, theft, attempted theft, brandishing a weapon, public drunkenness or intoxication, public urination and defecation, is prohibited.