Customer Conduct Policy


Statement of Policy & Text

No one may engage in conduct that interferes with anyone else’s ability or right to use and benefit from the Library facilities. (See Guidelines below for types of unacceptable conduct.)

Customers/users who engage in such conduct may receive a warning from the Library staff and/or an opportunity to cease the violation or leave the Library.

Illegal activity, or any willful or repeated violations of conduct or other posted Library regulations (e.g. computer use rules), may result in removal from the facility and/or suspension of Library privileges. Where authorized by Federal, State, or local law, conduct violations may also result in arrest. Enforcement will be by Library staff and/or Library Security and, if necessary, San José Police Department and/or University Police Department as appropriate.

State law permits library staff to search purses, bags, parcels, briefcases, and other packages. To prevent the theft of books and library materials, state law authorizes the detention for a reasonable period of any person using these facilities who is suspected of committing library theft (California Penal Code section 490.5).

Need for the Policy

The library serves all customers/users in an equal manner, and so is open to everyone. The Library's goal is to make information and literature available to every person in a secure, relaxing, and pleasing environment that supports education, reading, research, and learning.

To enable the library to fulfill its mandate to allow all customers to enjoy the Library facility and participate in Library programs in peace and safety, regulations must be set to govern Library conduct. (See References.) These regulations also cover penalties for infractions and, when appropriate, removal from and denial of access to the Library.

Requirements & Guidelines

SJPL and SJSU Libraries strive to provide an environment for customers that:

  • Is free of disruptive activity.
  • Has confidential access to library materials.
  • Has library materials that are complete and not defaced.
  • Has surroundings free from any kind of smoke and carelessly discarded waste materials.
  • Has quiet areas for individuals to study and to engage in research.

Customer/user conduct is unacceptable if it:

  • Impedes other persons from a timely use of facilities or materials.
  • Excludes others from using the library for its intended purpose.
  • Results in injury to oneself or others.
  • Results or may result in damage to library materials, building, or equipment.

Examples of unacceptable conduct include, but are not limited to, the following:

Behaviors that disturb the normal functioning of the Library:

  • Consuming food or uncovered drinks during computer use.
  • Leaving food and drink residue or otherwise creating a custodial workload on library property.
  • Interferring with or disrupting service of computer networks, library services, or equipment.
  • Failing to wear shoes or clothing that covers the upper and lower body.
  • Creating loud noises that are disruptive to other customers is not allowed.
  • Causing strong pervasive odors that constitute a nuisance to others is not permitted.
  • Smoking, including the use of electronic or vapor cigarettes, inside library facilities or within twenty five feet of the library entrance.
  • Engaging in illegal activities.
  • Being in possession of or under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while in the library.
  • Wearing gang-related apparel or using gang-related gestures. The library is a gang-free facility.

Creating a disruptive or unsafe environment:

  • Illegal behaviors such as acting in a lewd or lascivious manner; voyeurism; or sexual conduct.
  • Harassing, threatening, assaulting, fighting, challenging to fight, or intimidating staff or other customers, including physical, sexual, racial, or verbal abuse.
  • Bringing weapons into the library.
  • Vandalizing library facilities, equipment, or materials.
  • Soliciting, petitioning, panhandling, or gambling.
  • Removing library materials without checkout.
  • Behaviors prohibited by other library policies.

Inappropriate use of facilities or equipment:

  • Using restrooms inappropriately, such as for shaving, bathing, laundering, or loitering.
  • Blocking aisles or any other passages in such a way as to prohibit free flow of pedestrians, strollers, or wheelchairs.
  • Using furniture or building facilities in ways which may cause damage or excessive or unreasonable wear, e.g. lying down, putting feet on the chairs/walls, etc.
  • Using more than one seat per person.
  • Using library furniture or collections in a manner other than its intended purpose.
  • Using electronic devices or any other noisemakers that interfere with other library users, except when authorized by library staff.
  • Leaving young children unattended anywhere in the library, including the children’s areas. A parent, guardian, or other responsible adult must accompany any children who do not know their first and last names, their phone number, and the first and last name of the person who brought them to the library.
  • Bringing any animals except service animals, or animals authorized by library staff, onto library property.
  • Running, riding skateboards, scooters, roller shoes, roller skates, roller blades, or similar devices inside library facilities or on library premises. Such items are permitted inside library facilities provided that they are carried, not ridden, and are stowed away from the public right of way.
  • Bringing bicycles, unicycles, tricycles, or other similar conveyances into library facilities, or leaving such conveyances at the entry or exit areas in a manner that blocks ingress or egress. This regulation does not apply to wheelchairs, other medical devices, strollers, or other similar devices, provided they are utilized and stored in a manner that does not restrict public access.
  • Camping in library facilities or on library grounds. “Camping” refers to the use of library property for lying down, sleeping in a reclined position, living or accommodation purposes.
  • Leaving personal items unattended may result in items being removed.
  • Misusing library spaces that are designated for particular customers or purpose. Such spaces vary by location, and include, but are not limited to:
    • Children’s Rooms are reserved for children under 18 and their caregivers, or customers using the children’s collections at the discretion of library staff.
    • Teen Rooms are reserved for customers between the ages of 12 and 18, or customers using the teen collections at the discretion of library staff.
    • Certain computers, study rooms, and areas of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Library are designated for customers working individually and quietly, and other uses of these spaces are not permitted.
    • SJPL Works, at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Library, is reserved for those utilizing the space for career or business related needs.
  • Using the Internet in ways that interfere with a safe, welcoming and comfortable environment for the public and staff.

In order to preserve the peace and provide public access to library facilities, the library may suspend access to the library for persons who fail to follow the Library's established behavior guidelines. The Library reserves the right at all times to immediately discharge a customer who is dangerous or in any way threatening library staff or other customers. (See Customer Conduct Policy Enforcement for suspension guidelines.)

Applicable Personnel/Departments

All Library Staff




Reviewed and approved by: Signature/Name Date of Approval
KMT   7/7/03
King Management Team and Assistant City Librarian, SJPL   9/16/03











Ruth Kifer, John Wenzler, Mary Nino, Luann Budd, Anne Cain, Neil Rufino, Sandra Stewart, Katie DuPraw


KMT Ruth Kifer, Rae Ann Stahl, Mary Nino, Luann Budd, Jill Bourne, Neil Rufino, Katie DuPraw, Angie Miralor, Jon Worona


KMT Tracy Elliott, Rae Ann Stahl, Colleen Cuddy, Marie Chack, Jill Bourne, Jean Herriges, Jenny Choi, Vidya Kilambi, Chaunacey Dunklee, Michelle Amores


History & Dates

Category of Policy: Administrative/Operations, User Services
Author(s): SJPL Supervising Librarian:
SJSU Associate Dean:
Authors of revision: Mary Nacu and Daisy Porter (1/30/08); Carol Frost (2/17/11); Sandra Stewart (9/15/12), Luann Budd (12/7/12)
Authorized by: Core Team, 7/7/03
Date Written: 6/21/03
Date Effective: 8/22/03
Date(s) of Revision(s): 9/16/03, 2/28/05, 5/13/08, 2/24/11gd, 9/15/12, 6/10/13, 3/25/15, 1/23/17


A. Teen Center Policy
B. Children - Unattended Policy
C. Suspension Policy, King Library
D. Suspension Policy - San Jose Public Library
E. Computers - Internet Access and Use Policy
F. Customer Conduct Policy Enforement