Public Behavior

A principal purpose of the Greenwich Library, including the Main Library and its branches in Cos Cob and Byram, is to provide open and convenient public access to all of the Library’s resources and services. The Library and its staff seek to provide a safe and congenial atmosphere in which to carry out this purpose.

The foregoing objectives can only be achieved if patrons of the Library respect the rights of all other patrons and the staff. Accordingly, it is the policy of the Greenwich Library to require, and to empower Library staff to ensure, that all Library patrons act in a manner that does not interfere with the functioning of the Library or disturb other Library patrons. This general policy underlies the more specific provisions of the Library’s Code of Conduct set forth below.

  1. No Library property may be misused, mutilated, damaged, or defaced, nor may any material be removed from the Library without being checked out appropriately.
  2. The Library staff may ask to examine patrons’ backpacks, briefcases, handbags, and other packages or belongings to help assure compliance with the Library’s check-out procedures.
  3. All materials borrowed from the Library must be returned or renewed in a timely manner.
  4. Use of the Library’s equipment available for public use (including the public telephone, computers, computer workstations, printers, tablets and other devices) is subject to reasonable limitation, at the discretion of the Library staff, particularly if others are waiting or if the Library is about to close.
  5. Personal items may not be left unattended on Library property (including computer workstations) for any reason, including to “reserve” Library space for a patron’s future use. Any such items may be removed by Library staff and relocated at the staff’s discretion. The Library is not responsible for any loss of personal items or information left on Library property, such as near computer workstations or printers, including unattended items moved by Library staff.
  6. For the benefit of all patrons, quiet must be maintained in the designated Library study areas.
  7. Disruptive behavior, such as shouting, loud talking, or the playing of music on portable devices without headphones, is not permitted anywhere in the Library. Cell phones must be silenced and may only be used in (a) main entrance vestibules at each building, (b) designated stairwells or the first floor Photocopy Room of the Main Library, or (c) other areas designated by Library staff.
  8. Because the Library is not designed to serve as a public shelter or lounge, sleeping, loitering, and misuse of the restrooms cannot be allowed. The Library staff may limit the use of the restrooms in the children’s area of the Main Library to young children and accompanying caregivers.
  9. Interference with, threats to, or the harassment or intimidation of other patrons, the Library staff, or Library volunteers is unacceptable behavior. This includes all threatening, unwanted or abusive attention by word, act, look, or gesture, as determined in the discretion of the Library staff.
  10. If an offensive or noxious odor associated with a Library patron interferes with the use of the Library by others, the Library staff may require such patron to relocate or leave the premises.
  11. The Library values the health and safety of its staff and patrons. Accordingly, Library patrons who are ill or exhibit symptoms of illness may be required by Library staff to relocate or leave the premises.
  12. Smoking, vaping and the use of tobacco products, alcohol, narcotics, or hallucinogens, is not permitted on Library premises.
  13. Except as otherwise designated by Library staff, food and beverages may not be consumed in the Library, except for (i) items purchased and consumed in the café of the Main Library or (ii) items offered and consumed at events sponsored or approved by the Library.
  14. Appropriate clothing and shoes must be worn at all times in the Library.
  15. Although serving children and families is an important part of the Library’s mission, it is not the Library’s function or purpose to supervise or care for minors. Accordingly, the Library and its staff cannot, and expressly do not, assume any responsibility to supervise or care for a minor on Library premises. Rather, a minor’s caregiver (such as a parent, guardian or other person having custody or control, or providing supervision, of a minor) is responsible for the supervision, conduct and safety of such minor at all times while on Library premises. Children under the age of seven, for their safety and well-being, must be accompanied by a responsible adult or teenager while on Library premises, although Library staff may in their discretion require any minor to be accompanied by a responsible adult or teenager while on Library premises.
  16. The Library staff may contact police and other governmental agencies if it is deemed necessary or advisable to protect a Library patron or staff member, administer the Public Behavior Policy or to comply with applicable law.
  17. Animals, other than those trained to assist disabled patrons, are not permitted in the Library.
  18. The Library’s parking lots are only for the use of Library staff and patrons while on Library premises, and the designated parking spaces for Library staff and handicapped patrons of the Library must be respected. If the Library staff determines in its sole discretion that a vehicle is parked in violation of the immediately preceding sentence, they may arrange for the vehicle to be towed or otherwise removed without notice to the owner and at the owner’s expense. The use of skateboards or rollerblades is not permitted on any Library property.
  19. Patrons may be asked to show staff members their Library cards or other appropriate identification.
  20. Without the prior approval of the Library, the following rules apply to photography, filming, audio recording and other forms of recording on Library premises:
    A) Tripods, stands and other equipment (including flash or other lighting equipment) that may obstruct passageways or interfere with the use of Library facilities may not be used.
    B) Photographing, filming and audio recording of Library patrons, Library staff and Library programs are prohibited.
    C) All photographs, video and other recordings shall be solely for personal use; and no photographs, videos or other recordings may be sold or otherwise reproduced or distributed for any commercial use.
    D) Photography, filming, audio recording and other forms of recording in the Flinn Gallery shall be subject to the rules of the Flinn Gallery.


The Greenwich Library staff has been authorized to administer the Public Behavior Policy and to interpret and apply the Code of Conduct. The Library staff may enforce the Code of Conduct, on an ad hoc basis, as it deems advisable to further the Public Behavior Policy. If aware that a patron’s behavior or conduct is subject to court or administrative order or ruling, the staff shall endeavor to ensure that such patron’s use of the Library is not inconsistent with such order or ruling. As to that patron, such a known order or ruling shall be deemed to be a part of the Library’s Code of Conduct. Patrons who do not comply with the Code of Conduct or any reasonable request of the staff may be asked to leave the Library premises. Serious or repeated violations of the Library’s Public Behavior Policy or Code of Conduct may result in action ranging from suspension or termination of Library privileges to prohibiting access to Library premises, in all cases as determined by Library staff. The Library staff may report any suspected illegal conduct or activity to the police.

Approved October 5, 2017

Replaces Public Behavior
Approved May 9, 2017

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