Library Behavior Policy

Library Behavior Policy

The four libraries of the Cheltenham Township Library System, East Cheltenham, Elkins Park, Glenside and La Mott are community-gathering places dedicated to providing public library services to a diverse population without regard to age, gender, racial or ethnic origin, religious background or economic status. Library users must respect the rights of others and may not harass or annoy others or behave in a manner that reasonably could be expected to disturb other persons. The following rules of conduct are intended to preserve the library as a safe and pleasant community-gathering place.

Library users may not engage in disruptive/destructive behavior that interferes with the use of the library by other persons or that interferes with a library employee’s performance of his or her duties. Prohibited behavior includes but is not limited to:

1. Noise

  • using cell phones outside designated areas
  • engaging in loud, noisy, profane, obscene or abusive speech, gestures and/or conduct
  • annoying other library users by humming, singing, talking to them or attempting to initiate unsolicited conversations
  • playing music or other media without headphones, or at a level with headphones that is disruptive to others
  • leaving or not attending to any disruptive child. Disruptive behavior includes but is not limited to running, screaming, crying, etc. Caregivers may be asked to soothe or settle a disruptive child outside of the library premises.

2. Threatening, Destructive or Illegal Behavior

  • being in possession of weapons, firearms or explosive devices on library property
  • fighting, gambling, smoking, being in possession of and/or under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances on library property
  • displaying obscene or sexually explicit materials or Internet sites in violation of federal, state or local laws and/or library policies (see Internet Safety Policy).
  • engaging in sexual conduct such as indecent exposure or touching
  • engaging in violent, harassing or threatening behavior such as but not limited to staring at, stalking, blocking or following staff or other library users, throwing objects, yelling, etc.
  • loitering at entrances, in lobbies, walkways, bookshelf areas, restrooms, parking lots or other non-study areas. For purposes of this policy, loitering is defined as staying in such an area for more than 15 minutes.

3. Non-compliance With Library Policies

  • defacing or in any way destroying, damaging or misusing library interior or exterior furnishings, walls, equipment, computers or other property. Behavior that is prohibited includes but is not limited to littering, spitting, relocating furniture, sleeping
  • violating library policies regarding use of the library and its resources. This includes but is not limited to refusing to relinquish library equipment or other resources after the scheduled time period for that use has expired.
  • stealing or improperly removing library-owned property
  • defacing, mutilating or marring books, magazines, newspapers, recordings or other items in the library collection
  • consuming food or beverages except in areas designated for that purpose
  • entering staff work areas without permission
  • campaigning, soliciting, surveying, panhandling, conducting sales on library property
  • distributing or posting literature on library property without prior approval
  • photographing, filming, recording or using television equipment on library property without prior permission from the Director or Director’s designee.
  • remaining in the library after its regular closing hours

4. Interfering With the Safety and/or Enjoyment of All Library Users

  • bringing large bedrolls, backpacks or other large bulky items into library buildings.
  • using roller skates, roller blades, scooters, skateboards, etc. on library property
  • entering or remaining in the library without appropriate street attire (i.e. a shirt and shoes).
  • neglecting personal hygiene so that it interferes with another’s enjoyment of the library. This includes but is not limited to excessive body odor, soiled diapers and unlaundered clothing.
  • bringing pets or animals onto library property or leaving them unattended on library grounds unless they are service animals for the disabled or for use in a library program.
  • Shaving or bathing or washing clothes in public restrooms
  • leaving children unattended under the age of 10.
  • leaving personal or valuable items unattended
  • blocking entranceways, vestibules, book returns, restrooms, staircases or other common areas or travelways

The library system reserves the right to:

  1. require users to furnish identification
  2. inspect all bookpacks, bookbags, handbags, etc.
  3. limit the number of persons who may sit together, gather at a table or computer workstation, etc.
  4. limit the number of persons attending library programs
  5. separate or relocate individuals
  6. impose time limitations on the use of library resources such as but not limited to reference materials, computer equipment or telephones.
  7. report criminal activity to law enforcement.


  1. Failure to comply with this policy and/or the library system’s established rules, regulations and procedures will result in a warning and may also result in exclusion from the library for a specified period of time or permanently and/or in arrest.
  2. Theft or damage of library materials is a serious offense and will result in permanent exclusion from the library system and/or in arrest.
  3. Communication of threats, physical violence or sexual offenses will result in permanent exclusion and/or in arrest.
  4. Trespassers will be arrested and prosecuted.
  5. Any person who is asked to leave a library facility as a result of the violation of these guidelines and refuses to do so shall be considered to be trespassing. The library staff will contact the Cheltenham Township Police Department in all such cases.
  6. The library staff will call the Cheltenham Township Police Department at times when staff deems this to be necessary and prudent.
  7. Parents or legal guardians will be held responsible as determined by law for the cost of damages caused by their minor children.
  8. Any person whose privileges have been denied by library staff may appeal the decision to the Board of Library Directors of Cheltenham Township within thirty (30) days of the decision.

Approved by the Board of Library Directors of Cheltenham Township, June 22, 2005. Revised May 24, 2006, January 28, 2009.


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