Patron Rights and Responsibilities

The Great Barrington Libraries support the rights of all individuals to:

  • Receive friendly, courteous, and respectful service;
  • Have free and equal access to information;
  • Have a clean, comfortable, and pleasant environment; and
  • Use the library undisturbed without threat of harm, invasion of property, interference, or discrimination.

The library is for everyone’s enjoyment. The following guidelines for patron conduct are essential to ensure respect for individuals who use this public facility.

To ensure a clean, comfortable, and pleasant environment, the proper use and care of all library materials and buildings is essential.

  • Patrons shall not deface library buildings or property or improperly remove library materials, equipment, or furniture. 
  • Drinks must be in covered containers and shall be kept away from computers and other electronic equipment.
  • Smoking is not allowed on library property.
  • Restroom sinks shall not be used for washing clothes or bathing.
  • To maintain a sanitary environment and prevent the spread of disease, caregivers shall change diapers on the changing stations located in the public restrooms.
  • Patrons whose bodily hygiene is offensive so as to constitute a nuisance to other persons shall be required to leave the building.

To allow for the safety of all patrons:

  • Sidewalks outside and passageways indoors shall remain obstacle-free.
  • Bicycles or shopping carts are not allowed in the building. (Mobility devices and occupied baby strollers/carriages are welcome.) Library patrons shall park bicycles and other vehicles only in authorized areas.
  • Use of skateboards, rollerblades, roller-skates, or scooters is not allowed in the library, or on library premises.
  • Large backpacks, briefcases, parcels or other large bulky items may not block aisles and should not collectively exceed  27” x 14” x 12”. The library is not responsible for unattended items.
  • Library patrons shall not bring animals into the library, except as required by persons with disabilities.
  • Fighting, challenging to fight, running, pushing, shoving, and throwing things are not allowed.
  • Verbally or physically threatening or harassing other patrons, volunteers or staff, including stalking, staring, lurking, offensive touching, and obscene acts such as sex acts and indecent exposure are conducts that are not allowed on library property.
  • Weapons shall not be brought into the library. Any object judged potentially dangerous by staff will be considered a weapon.
  • Patrons shall promptly leave the library areas as they are cleared during closing procedures, and leave the Library at closing time.

To ensure the safety of children, boys and girls under the age of 9 must be accompanied by a parent/caregiver who is responsible for their safety and behavior in the library. Responsibility for all children using the library rests at all times with the parent or assigned caregiver. Library staff cannot assume responsibility for unattended children. All children using the library must know how to reach a responsible adult in case of an emergency. Library staff will call the Great Barrington Police Department to escort children who have been left in the building after closing.

To allow for uninterrupted public service, library telephones are for staff use only.

To ensure individuals’ rights to use the library free of disruption, library patrons shall be engaged in activities associated with the use of a public library while in the building. Patrons not engaged in reading, studying, using library materials or services, attending programs or classes, or viewing exhibits may be asked to leave the building.

To ensure individuals’ rights to use the library free of disruption, library patrons shall refrain from:

  • Disturbing others with loud or boisterous conduct;
  • Lying down or reclining on the floor, or sleeping on the floor or furniture;
  • Soliciting or panhandling inside the library;
  • Using profane, obscene, or injurious language;
  • Using or being obviously under the influence of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs;
  • Chaining or tying a dog outside the library for a period of time. Dogs shall not be left unleashed on library property.
  • Misusing restroom facilities in any way that prohibits others from accessing them;
  • Participating in behavior that poses a personal risk or risk to others.

The following also guide patron behavior to ensure minimal disruption of others:

  • Cell phone use is not allowed. Throughout the building, noise and talking are expected to be kept at low levels out of consideration for other patrons. Staff will remind patrons to be quieter if noise levels could be disturbing to others.
  • Patrons shall abide by established computer time limitations and Great Barrington Computer Access and Services  Policy. The policy can be found here and at each Internet station before beginning each Internet session.
  • Shirt and shoes are required.
  • Patrons shall COOPERATE WITH LIBRARY STAFF who must interpret and apply these guidelines.


Any violation of these Library rules or violation of local, state or federal law in the Library may be addressed in the following manner:

  • Verbal Warning (e.g. Notification of violation and reference to Rules of Conduct)
  • Instruction to leave the Library immediately and not to return for the rest of the day.
  • Suspension of borrowing privileges
  • Suspension of Library privileges including removal from, and denial of access to, all Library services and facilities for up to one year.
  • Criminal sanctions

The above remedies may be cumulatively applied.

Approved by the Board of Trustees January 12, 2012