SECTION THREE:  LIBRARY PATRONS

A. Confidential Patron Information

  1. Any information obtained as the result of employment or service with the Library, including any information regarding patrons, patron records or business information, will be treated as confidential and released only as authorized by this policy.  This policy covers information obtained through attendance at meetings, discussions with management, use of or access to patron records, or any other source of information accessed by virtue of employment or volunteer service with the Library.
  2. The following section of the Missouri Revised Statutes clearly defines the responsibility of the Library in safeguarding patron information.

    RSMo 182.817.  Disclosure of Library Records Not Required – Exceptions.  Notwithstanding the provision of any other law to the contrary, no Library or employee or agent of the Library shall be required to release or disclose a Library record or portion of a Library record to any person or persons except: 1) In response to a written request of the person identified in that record, according to procedures and forms giving written consent as determined by the Library; or, 2) In response to an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction upon a finding that the disclosure of such record is necessary to protect the public’s safety or to prosecute a crime.

  3. Presentation of a patron’s library barcode by someone other than the patron is acceptable as proof of the patron’s permission for the other individual to pay fines or renew items by telephone.
  4. The Library will resist the issuance or enforcement of any process, order, or subpoena involving the release of patron records until such time as a proper showing of good cause has been made in a court of competent jurisdiction.  Patron records may be released only by the Library Director or his/her official designee as provided for by law.

B. Parental Access to Children’s Records

A parent or legal guardian must sign the Library card application for children aged seventeen or younger.  With this signature, the parent or legal guardian assumes responsibility for all use made of the card.  The parent or legal guardian may be given access to information in the child’s record on presentation of the card.

C. Library Rules for Patrons

  1. The Library is a violence-free facility.  Library staff will report to the appropriate authority patron behavior which endangers or threatens another person.
  2. Smoking or other use of tobacco products is not allowed in the building.
  3. Patrons are not allowed to eat in the building.
  4. Children under six years of age must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
  5. Use of roller blades, skates, skateboards or scooters is not permitted on Library property.
  6. Bathing or doing laundry in the public restrooms is not permitted.
  7. Loitering and soliciting on Library property are not allowed.
  8. Patrons may not bring pets into the building or tie them up outside.  Guide dogs or other assistance animals are welcome.
  9. Sleeping in the building or on the grounds is not permitted.
  10. Patrons may not behave in a disruptive manner or allow their children to behave in a disruptive manner.
  11. Patrons may not harass Library personnel or other Library users.
  12. Patrons under the influence of drugs or alcohol are not permitted in the building.
  13. Shirts and shoes are required.
  14. Patrons may not enter the Library if they have neglected their bodily hygiene so that it gives offense and constitutes a nuisance to other patrons.
  15. Patrons are not permitted to place feet on tables or chairs.
  16. Knives, firearms, or other weapons are not permitted.
  17. The Library staff assumes no responsibility for unattended children at closing time.  The staff will not stay with unattended children or offer transportation home.  If an unattended child is in the Library at closing time, the police will be notified and asked to pick up the child.
  18. The following behavior may result in criminal prosecution:

a. Loud, abusive, aggressive, threatening or obscene language or behavior (Disorderly Conduct)

b. Destroying or damaging Library materials, furniture, or other property (Criminal Mischief)

c. Using or distributing drugs (Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance)

d. Circumventing or attempting to circumvent the Library security system (Petty or Grand Larceny)

e. Tampering with, altering, editing, or damaging computer hardware and/or software (Computer Related Offenses)

D. Patron Use of Personal Equipment and Electronic Devices

  1. Please silence your cell phone ring while in the building.
  2. Patrons may use personal laptop computers in the Library. Patrons may use the Library's public WiFi, but may not connect to the Library's network. 
  3. Patrons using other personal equipment, such as audio or video equipment, may not interfere with Library business or disturb other patrons.
  4. Cords for personal equipment may not present a hazard.

E. Patron Complaints

  1. Employees must give prompt courteous attention to all patrons who call or appear personally with a complaint or question.  If the employee cannot answer the question or handle the complaint, the employee should, when appropriate, transfer or refer the patron to someone who can, or the employee should take the patron’s name, phone number, and a written message regarding the complaint for a call back later.
  2. If the patron appears to be emotional to the point that the employee feels he/she is being abused, the incident should be reported to the Department Head who in turn will report immediately to the Library Director.

F. Response to Complaints

  1. Employees may refer patrons to the specific policy that applies to the complaint and explain that individual employees are obligated to enforce Library policy.  If the complaint is about a matter not covered by a specific policy, the employee should attempt to answer the complaint with courtesy and reason.
  2. The final authority in answering patron complaints about individual departmental policies rests with the Department Head.  Only those complaints dealing with general Library policies should be referred to the Library Director if the complaint cannot be answered satisfactorily by the Department Head.

G. Patron Problem Behavior

  1. If a patron’s behavior is abusive, causes problems for other patrons, threatens the safety or well being of patrons or staff, or threatens to cause damage to Library property, any Department Head or other employee may require the offending patron to leave Library property.  If a patron refuses to leave, the employee should call law enforcement authorities.
  2. If a patron’s behavior is such that confrontation with a Library employee might, in the employee’s best judgment, result in physical harm to any person or in damage to Library property, the employee should report the situation immediately to any Department Head, who should request assistance from law enforcement authorities.  If no Department Head is available, the employee should request assistance from law enforcement authorities.  Under no circumstances should employees offer resistance to a patron or attempt to physically restrain or apprehend a patron.
  3. Patrons who exhibit a pattern of offensive behavior may be denied access to the Library for a period of time to be determined by the Library Director or his/her designee. The Library reserves the right to deny a patron access to the Library at any time fro exhibiting particularly egregious behavior.
  4. An employee who observes a patron deliberately attempting to steal, deface, or damage Library property must immediately request police assistance and be prepared to cooperate with law enforcement authorities in pursuing legal action against the patron.