Patron Behavior Policy

The Smyth County Public Library serves the residents of Smyth County by providing resources for lifelong learning, research, and entertainment in a clean and safe environment.  The purpose of this policy is to detail for staff and patrons the guidelines to be used in ensuring that SCPL can provide these experiences for all visitors.  The prohibited activities in the SCPL Patron Behavior Policy are not exhaustive, and employees of SCPL may prohibit activities which are not otherwise specified in this policy. 

In general, staff and patrons should use their best judgment and rely on respect and courtesy as the starting points for every interaction.  Library facilities are designed to be shared by the community.  Consideration for others and their needs enables everyone to have an enjoyable and productive experience at the library. 


  • The safety of all patrons and staff is of paramount importance.  Patrons must follow all directions from staff members.  Patrons must leave the library promptly at closing time and may not enter library facilities outside of regular operating hours.  Patrons may not enter areas marked “Staff Only.”  SCPL staff may restrict adult access to youth areas. 
  • Abusive behavior or harassment in any form will not be tolerated.  This includes verbally abusing, using profanity or other abusive language whether oral or written towards patrons or staff; intimidation; staring at another person with the effect of annoying a person of reasonable sensibilities; or following with the intent to disturb, lurking, sexual harassment or harassment on account of race, religion, ethnic or national background, gender, or sexual orientation. 
  • Smoking or the use of any chewing tobacco inside any library building or anywhere on the properties is prohibited. Vaping or the use of any kind of vape device is prohibited.  The use of candles, matches, lighters, or any other incendiary device is prohibited on library premises. 
  • Patrons may not engage in any illegal activity on library premises.  Patrons noticeably under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances may not enter SCPL facilities. 
  • Shoes, shirts, and pants are required at all times in all SCPL facilities.


  • SCPL materials, equipment, furniture, and fixtures should be treated with care to ensure their continued availability for the community.  Library materials must be checked out before being removed from any SCPL location. 
  • Patrons must comply with the SCPL Internet Public Use Policy while present at any SCPL facility. 
  • Do not interfere with the ability of other patrons to make use of library resources and spaces.  This includes loud talking, use of cellphones, online activity, invasion of privacy, physical proximity, or any other disturbance. 
  • Gambling is prohibited. 
  • Patrons may not photograph or film other library patrons or their activities.
  • Restrooms may not be used for bathing, laundry, or any other purpose that might reasonably be considered inappropriate.
  • Patrons whose bodily hygiene constitutes a nuisance to other patrons shall be required to leave the building.
  • Patrons shall wear appropriate apparel void of profanity.


  • Children may not be left unattended at library facilities.
  • Pets are not allowed in any SCPL facility. 
  • Soliciting, begging, or commercial activity are not permitted on library premises. 
  • Approaching library users for the purpose of obtaining signatures for petitions or conducting surveys or similar conduct is prohibited. 


Violation of any of these patron behavior policies may result in the temporary or permanent loss of library privileges including access to SCPL facilities.  The Library Director is responsible for ensuring that the patron behavior policy is observed and has sole authority to determine consequences for violations. 


This policy was adopted by the Smyth County Public Library Board of Trustees at their monthly meeting on June 16, 2022 and will be reviewed at least every four years or earlier as circumstances may require.

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