Appropriate Behavior Policy

The Paul Pratt Memorial Library (Library) strives to provide the community with a pleasant, comfortable, and safe place for selecting materials, reading, researching, studying, writing, and attending Library or community-sponsored programs and meetings. This necessitates a willingness of all library users to be considerate of the rights of others to use the Library safely and undisturbed. To ensure that such an environment exists, the Board of Library Trustees establishes rules of conduct to protect the rights and safety of Library patrons, volunteers, and staff and to preserve and protect the Library's materials, equipment, facilities, and grounds. This Policy was established to promote equal access to and enjoyment of library services.  


The Children's Room is reserved for children, their parents or guardians, and patrons accessing materials located in the Children's Room. Parents and caregivers are responsible for the supervision of their children. Please see the Safe Child Policy for additional information.


While all library patrons may access materials housed in the Young Adult Room, seating in this room is reserved for young adult patrons or adults accompanied by young adult patrons.


The list below is partial. Library staff reserves the right to address any behaviors, including those not listed, that disrupt or prevent others' ability to use the Library for its intended purposes. For the comfort and safety of patrons, volunteers, and staff, and the protection of library property, the following guidelines should be followed:


Engaging in any activity that violates Federal, State, local, or other applicable law or Library policy is prohibited.


Boisterous behavior. Running, horseplay, misusing Library spaces and property, or behaving in any other way that is disrespectful or disturbing to Library patrons or staff is prohibited. 


Breastfeeding. We welcome young families at the Library and celebrate the birth of a new baby. Therefore, we welcome breastfeeding. A mother may breastfeed her child in any public place or establishment or place which is open to and accepts or solicits the patronage of the general public and where the mother and her child may otherwise lawfully be present. (MGL, Ch 111, Sec 221)


Cell Phones. Patrons are asked to turn their cell phones to vibrate. Brief cell phone use in the Library is allowed as long as the noise level of the conversation is not disturbing other patrons. 


Dogs and pets. No pets or animals other than service dogs, other service support animals, or animals associated with library programs are allowed in the Library.


Drugs and Alcohol. Visitors may not be intoxicated by alcohol or illegal drugs or selling, using, or possessing alcohol/illegal drugs.


Food and Drink. The ability to have a light snack in the Library is a courtesy to our patrons; please be considerate of the staff and other patrons while enjoying a snack. Please come to the Library with covered beverage cups. 


Harassment. Visitors may not threaten or disturb another person by stalking, staring, touching, or using offensive language, including, but not limited to, violence, threats of violence, and possession of weapons.


Improper Attire. Shoes, shirts. or cover-ups must be worn in the Library. As we live near the ocean, we ask that patrons not wear wet or sandy bathing suits or shoes into the Library.


Photographing or videotaping. Patrons may only take photographs or video recordings in public areas of the building. Taking pictures or video recordings in restrooms or staff-only areas is prohibited.


Poor Hygiene. A person may be asked to leave the Library if their hygiene interferes with the orderly operation of the Library or the ability of patrons to use and enjoy the facility. 


Restrooms. Visitors of the Library may not use the restrooms for bathing, shampooing, doing laundry, or using restroom facilities in any way that prohibits others from accessing them.


Sleeping. With concern for an undetected health emergency, lying down or sleeping in the Library, having feet on furniture, or blocking aisles, exits, or entrances is prohibited.


Smoking. Smoking or other use of marijuana or tobacco within the Library or on Library grounds is unwelcome. This includes, but is not limited to, electronic cigarettes and electronic vaping devices.


Soliciting. All canvassing, soliciting, petitioning, leafleting, posting, or distributing informational fliers, unless done with the permission of the Library Director; see Bulletin Board Policy is prohibited. The Library allows the collection of signatures for nomination papers, petitions, etc. in the l building, except under conditions set by the Library Director or their designee. To this end, the Library Director designates the lobby and walkways as areas in which signatures may be collected and requires that the person(s) collecting signatures neither interfere with the ongoing activities of the Library nor prevent library users from freely entering or leaving the building. Nomination papers should not be left unattended in any public building as it could be construed as using public funds (such as a table or town-owned pens) to support a candidate. 


Trespassing. Entering non-public areas, being in the Library outside of regular operating hours without permission from the Library Director, or camping on library grounds is prohibited.


Unattended Personal Belongings. Visitors of the Library are solely responsible for maintaining the security of their own personal possessions, and the Library assumes no responsibility for the loss, theft, or disappearance of such property. Visitors are encouraged to keep personal possessions with them at all times. Unattended items are subject to immediate confiscation and inspection.


Wheeled devices. All wheeled recreational devices need to be left outside the Library. Strollers are allowed in the Library, along with all other assistive devices. 

Please cooperate with the library staff, who must interpret and apply this Policy. Your cooperation will help promote excellence in library service for everyone.

Enforcement of this Policy will be conducted promptly, consistently, and equitably. Library staff will intervene to stop prohibited behaviors. 


Any patron violating the above rules may be denied access to the Library for some amount of time by the Library Director or Director's designee, which could result in law enforcement involvement. Patrons whose privileges have been revoked may apply in writing to have the decision reviewed by the Library Director or the Board of Trustees.


Patrons are reminded that Massachusetts Law makes theft or mutilation of library materials or property a crime punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $25,000 and a requirement to make full restitution. (M.G.L. Chapter 61, Acts of 1990; M.G.L. Chapter 266, Sections 99 and 100)




Adopted by the Paul Pratt Memorial Library's Board of Trustees, September 13, 2023