Home » About BPL » Library Policies » Rules of Conduct (4.101)

Rules of Conduct (4.101)


This policy applies to all visitors to all facilities and properties of the Bellingham Public Library. Parents or caregivers are responsible for the behavior of minor children in their charge.


Exclusion: a person is asked to leave the library and not return for a period of time less than one (1) month. Library staff person in charge may make the decision to exclude immediately or after consultation with other staff. The police are not involved in determining exclusions. An incident report is created.
Library property: at the Central Library, the property includes the entire block bordered by Central, Commercial, Lottie and Grand, not including the right of way. At the Fairhaven Branch the property includes the entire parcel of land surrounding the library, not including the right of way. At the Barkley Branch, the property includes the area directly in front of the Branch, not including the right of way.
Minor: person under the age of eighteen (18).
Trespass: a person is legally barred from entering any library property for a period of time ranging from one (1) month, three (3) months, six (6) months, one (1) year, or up to five (5) years. Under extraordinary circumstances, a person may be trespassed permanently. The person’s library card is deactivated for the same length of time as the trespass.
Person in Charge (PIC): If the incident originates at the Central Library: The Security and Information Attendant on duty is the Person in Charge. In their absence the Person in Charge (PIC) at the Help Desk is responsible. For incidents at the Barkley, Belllis Fair or Fairhaven Branch: the PIC is the staff member with the highest classification.


  1. Library Board of Trustees defines acceptable library behavior by creating rules of conduct.
    • The Library exists to serve the community’s information needs. The community expects a safe and appropriate library environment so all visitors may access library resources and services.
    • Rules of conduct define acceptable behavior in the library and on library property and provide for personal safety as well as for the protection of materials, property and facilities.
    • Rules of conduct will be applied respectfully, fairly and consistently.
    • Exceptions must be authorized by the Library Director or designee.
  2. Library staff are responsible for applying Rules of Conduct.
    • Failure to comply with a reasonable staff request may result in a loss of library privileges. Willful or persistent violation of the rules will result in a loss of library privileges, which may include service limits or exclusion or trespass from the use of all facilities of the Bellingham Public Library.
  3. Disruptive behavior that unreasonably interferes with use of the library by other users or inhibits staff or volunteers from performing their duties may result in loss of library privileges.
    • This behavior includes but is not limited to:
      • Sleeping
      • Using audio equipment that disturbs others
      • Screaming, loud talking, and boisterous behavior
      • Inappropriate attire, including not wearing shirt or shoes
      • Loitering
      • Offensive bodily hygiene
      • Prolonged staring at others
      • Intoxicated behavior
      • Not following the Guidelines for Computer Use, including abusing Internet time limits.
      • Not following Meeting Room Use Rules or failing to follow other established library requirements.
      • Accessing identified staff only areas of the library without authorization.
      • Other behavior which unduly disturbs others.
  4. Use of any Bellingham Public Library facilities, property or equipment for purposes not intended may result in the loss of library privileges.
    • Such uses include, but are not limited to:
      • Using scooters, skateboards, roller skates, bicycles or any wheeled footwear in the building.
      • Bringing into the library personal items that restrict movement and access, exceed more than a reasonable amount of individual personal space, such as will fit safely under the table or chair that is occupied.
      • Bringing in personal belongings that may damage library property or that create a safety hazard.
      • Leaving personal effects unattended.
      • Using the restrooms for bathing, shaving, washing hair or clothing
      • Camping on library property, indoors or outdoors.
      • Distributing literature, gathering signatures, soliciting contributions or conducting surveys inside the library or on library property.
  5. Behavior that endangers library users or staff will result in immediate trespass.
    • These behaviors include but are not limited to:
      • Abuse of equipment
      • Destruction or defacement of property
      • Physical activity dangerous to others
      • Sexual misconduct such as exposure or sexual harassment
      • Stalking
      • Verbal or physical threats, harassment or intimidation
      • Illegal conduct
  6. Small, discreet packaged snacks and covered drinks may be consumed in the library, except near Library computers/electronics and during storytime programs.
  • In accordance with Meeting Room Use Rules, food and drink are allowed in the Lecture Room, Conference Room, Fireplace Room and Northwest Room.
  • The Auditorium at Fairhaven Branch Library is managed by the Parks Department and is subject to their user agreement rules.

7. A trespass may be issued for disobeying the direction of a library staff member and for remaining on library property when requested to leave for violations of law and/or library policies.

  • Library staff determine the length of the trespass and the Police serve the trespass. Library staff member in charge may make the decision to trespass immediately or after consultation with other staff. An incident report is created.

8. Smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes, is not permitted in library facilities or on library property.

9. Service animals are permitted in the library, so long as the handler ensures appropriate behavior of the animal and remains with the animal while in the library. No other animals are permitted in library facilities.

10. A trespass may be appealed.

  • A person trespassed from the library may appeal the trespass. Written trespass appeal procedures are available to the public, and online here (PDF). The Library Board of Trustees may approve, modify or reverse any staff actions. The Board reviews all trespasses that are issued for five years and over.

11. Library Board reviews this policy.

  • This policy is periodically reviewed, revised, or reaffirmed by the Library Board of Trustees.


Code: 4 Public Services
Chapter: 4.100 Conduct
Type of Policy: Departmental
Date Developed: 20 August 2002
Date(s) Revised:  18 September 2007, 26 August 2008, 23 February 2009, 18 June 2013, 17 June 2014, 19 June 2018, November 16, 2018, December 19 2023
Revised by: Pam Kiesner, Beth Farley, Rebecca Judd
Developed by: Julie Carterson
Approved By: Library Board of Trustees
Cancels: Section VI, Public Services Policies, Rules of Conduct
See Also:
RCW 27.12.290 Violators may be excluded