Patron Behavior

The Amherst Town Library is intended to provide a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere where patrons can access library materials and services.

The Amherst Town Library supports the rights of all individuals to:

  • Use the library without discrimination
  • Receive friendly, respectful and professional service
  • Have free and equal access to information
  • Have a clean, comfortable and pleasant environment
  • Use the library undisturbed without threat of harm, invasion of property or interference.
  • Express their opinions and concerns regarding library materials and services to appropriate library staff.

In order for the library to be used and enjoyed by all patrons the following guidelines should be observed:

  1. This policy pertains to behavior in the library building, on library grounds, and in library virtual spaces (such as a program on zoom).
  2. Many patrons use the library as a place for quiet study. Patrons should respect the rights of others and not engage in loud conversations or noisy activities, including inconsiderate use of cell phones.
  3. Accompany and take responsibility for those in your care. Do not leave a child or vulnerable adult unattended. A vulnerable adult is one who cannot take care of him/herself, requires assistance to move about, and/or communicate with others. (See “Unattended Children Policy”)
  4. To ensure a clean, comfortable and pleasant environment for all patrons, proper use and care of the building and all materials is essential. Patrons may not deface or improperly remove library materials, equipment or furnishings, or prevent timely access to library resources through theft or deliberate misuse of materials.
  5. No one may interfere with another person’s right to use the library for any of its intended purposes free of disruption or with the library staff’s performance of their duties. Examples of disruptive behavior include (but are not limited to): use of loud, profane or obscene language, running, throwing objects, resting feet on furnishings or equipment, or any activity resulting in loud noise. The Library Staff are empowered to identify disruptive behavior. Refusal to comply with the reasonable request of staff members to cease such activities will be considered disruptive behavior.
  6. Poor personal hygiene that interferes with others’ ability to use the Library may be cause for eviction. Individuals with contagious illness should seek alternatives to in-person services, such as contact-free pickup.
  7. Threatening the safety or rights of another person, violent or disorderly behavior, threats of violence, use of abusive or sexually suggestive language, possession, display or use of a weapon, except as authorized by law, blocking entrances or interfering with people entering/ exiting the building are not acceptable.
  8. Use of alcohol, tobacco and vape/ e-cigarettes is not permitted anywhere in the library building or on library grounds.
  9. Solicitation, sales, and distribution of non-library materials, canvassing and campaigning are not permitted without the permission of the Library Director or designee.
  10. Personal photography and videography is permitted in the library provided that it does not interfere in any way with other patrons’ ability to enjoy the library for its intended purposes, or with library operations, privacy, and confidentiality. All commercial and media-related photography and videography requires the prior written approval of the Library Director or designee. 

Enforcement of these rules may take the form of any of the following actions, depending on the severity of the violation, which will be determined by the staff on duty at the time. 

  • Patrons who violate this policy will be given one verbal warning, will be advised of this policy and the actions which are violating it, and will be asked to behave in an appropriate manner. Patrons who do not modify their behavior after one warning may be asked to leave for the rest of the day. 
  • Patrons who violate this policy in a manner that staff judge is “extreme” may be ordered to leave the building immediately and may be requested not to return for the remainder of the day. “Extreme” violations may include activities that are harassing, threatening, dangerous, or destructive to persons or property at the library premises. 
  • If necessary, the staff may call the Amherst Police Department for assistance. 
  • Patrons whose behavior is significantly disruptive of the library’s mission, either because of repeated violations of this policy, or because of a single extreme event which is dangerous, threatening, harassing, or destructive to persons or property, may have their library privileges suspended, including a prohibition against entering the library, for a period of up to one year, to be determined by the Library Director or designee. The length of the suspension will depend on the nature of the violation, the extent of damage and disruption caused by policy infractions, and other relevant circumstances. In this case, the patron will be notified in writing specifying the violation and the penalty, as well as their right to appeal.
  • Patrons whose privileges are suspended may appeal to the Board of Library Trustees for reinstatement of library privileges. The appeal must be made in writing within 14 days after the written notice of suspension is issued and will be addressed as part of the next regularly scheduled Trustee meeting. The Trustees will review the appeal to determine whether the patron violated the library’s policies and whether the suspension and/or the length of suspension was appropriate under the circumstances.  If the appealing patron is not present at that Trustee meeting, they will be notified of the Trustees’ decision in writing.  The Trustees’ determination is final and an appeal may not be repeated.
  • During the suspension of a patron’s library privileges, the library will make reasonable efforts to provide that patron with alternative access to library materials.  Such efforts may include, but are not limited to, electronic access to materials, online requests for materials with curbside pickup, or the requirement to make an appointment to visit the library so that the patron can be monitored for compliance with this policy while present.