Rules of Conduct (4.101)


This policy applies to all visitors to all facilities and properties of the Bellingham Public Library. Parents or caregivers are responsible for the behavior of minor children in their charge.


Exclusion: a person is asked to leave the library and not return for a period of time more than one (1) day, but less than one (1) month. Library staff member in charge may make the decision to exclude immediately or after consultation with other staff. The police are not involved. An incident report is created.
Library property: at the Central Library, the property includes the entire block bordered by Central, Commercial, Lottie and Grand, not including the right of way (download the Central Library property map [PDF]). At the Fairhaven Branch, the property includes the entire parcel of land surrounding the library, not including the right of way. At the Barkley Branch, the property includes the area directly in front of the Branch, not including the right of way.
Minor: person under the age of eighteen (18).
Trespass: a person is legally barred from entering any library facility for a period of time ranging from one (1) month, three (3) months, six (6) months, one (1) year, or up to five (5) years. Under extraordinary circumstances, a person may be trespassed permanently. The person’s library card is deactivated for the same length of time as the trespass. Library staff determine the length of the trespass and the Police serve the trespass. Library staff member in charge may make the decision to trespass immediately or after consultation with other staff. An incident report is created.
Staff member in charge of incident: a Security Attendant. In their absence, a Reference Librarian on desk duty. If the incident originates in the Children’s Library, the Children’s Librarian is the Staff member in charge. In their absence, Children’s staff will consult a Reference Librarian on desk, and then may elect to take charge of the incident instead of handing it off to Reference Librarian. At the Fairhaven or Barkley Branch, the Staff member in charge is the staff member with the highest job classification.


  1. Library Board of Trustees defines acceptable library behavior by creating rules of conduct.
    • The Library exists to serve the community’s information needs. The community expects a safe and appropriate library environment so all visitors may access library resources and services.
    • Rules of conduct define acceptable behavior in the library and on library property and provide for personal safety as well as for the protection of materials, property and facilities.
  2. Library staff are responsible for controlling disruptive behavior by applying rules of conduct.
    • Library staff will apply all rules of conduct respectfully, fairly and consistently. Failure to comply with a reasonable staff request may result in a loss of library privileges. Willful or persistent violation of the rules will result in a loss of library privileges which may include exclusion or trespass from the use of all facilities of the Bellingham Public Library.
  3. Disruptive behavior that unreasonably interferes with use of the library by other users or inhibits staff from performing their duties may result in loss of library privileges.
    • These behaviors include but are not limited to:
      • Sleeping
      • Using audio equipment that disturbs others
      • Screaming, loud talking, and boisterous behavior
      • Inappropriate attire, including not wearing shirt or shoes
      • Loitering
      • Offensive bodily hygiene
      • Prolonged staring at others
      • Intoxicated behavior
      • Not following the Guidelines for Computer Use, including abusing Internet time limits.
      • Other behavior which unduly disturbs others
  4. Use of any Bellingham Public Library facilities, property or equipment for purposes not intended may result in the loss of library privileges.
    • Such uses include, but are not limited to:
      • Eating, except in authorized areas
      • Using scooters, skateboards, or any wheeled footwear in the building
      • Bringing into the library personal items that restrict movement, that may damage library property or that create a safety hazard
      • Leaving personal effects unattended
      • Using the restrooms for bathing, shaving, washing hair or clothing
      • Camping out in any area of the library, including restrooms
      • Distributing literature, gathering signatures, soliciting contributions or conducting surveys inside the library or on library property.
  5. Behavior that endangers library users or staff will result in immediate trespass.
    • These behaviors include but are not limited to:
      • Abuse of equipment
      • Destruction or defacement of property
      • Physical activity dangerous to others
      • Sexual misconduct such as exposure or sexual harassment
      • Stalking
      • Verbal or physical threats, harassment or intimidation
      • Illegal conduct
  6. A trespass will be issued for disobeying the direction of a library staff member and for remaining on library property when requested to leave for violations of law and/or library policies.
  7. Smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes, is not permitted in library facilities or on library property.
  8. Assistance animals are permitted in the library.
    • Owner or trainer must ensure appropriate behavior of the animal and remain with the animal while in the library
    • If it is not obvious to staff that the animal is an assistance animal, the owner will be asked to register the animal at the Welcome Desk
    • Library visitors may not bring other animals into the library
  9. A trespass may be appealed.
    • The Library Board of Trustees may approve, modify or reverse any staff actions.  The Board reviews all trespasses five years and over.
    • Persons trespassed from the library may appeal or contest their trespass.  Written trespass appeal procedures are available to the public.
  10. Library Board reviews this policy.
    • This policy is periodically reviewed, revised, or reaffirmed by the Library Board of Trustees.



Code: 4 Public Services
Chapter: 4.100 Conduct
Type of Policy: Departmental
Date Developed: 20 August 2002
Date(s) Revised:  18 September 2007, 26 August 2008, 23 February 2009, 18 June 2013, 17 June 2014
Revised by: Pam Kiesner
Developed by: Julie Carterson
Approved By: Library Board of Trustees
Cancels: Section VI, Public Services Policies, Rules of Conduct
See Also:
RCW 27.12.290 Violators may be excluded