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Rules of Conduct

The public must use the authorized entrances to and exits from the library. 

Loitering near, or the obstruction of, the public entrance or exit doorways or foyers, is not allowed.  Also, loitering in, or the obstruction of, aisles in the building is not allowed.  Long-time visiting or socializing on library premises disrupts the enjoyment of the Library for other patrons and is not permitted.

Cell phones must be turned off anywhere inside the library building except in the entrance foyer or the exit foyer.  The doors separating these areas from the library lobby cannot be held ajar during cell phone or pay-phone conversations in the foyer areas.

Only service animals are allowed in the library, in accordance with the applicable requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 272, Sec. 98A. Other animals are not allowed.
The following is a link to the ADA page related to service animals:

Creating a disturbance by making noise, talking loudly, yelling, or engaging in disruptive behavior is prohibited.  (Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 272, Sec. 41)

Running or jumping is not allowed in the library.

Throwing, bouncing, or playing with a ball or other game or sport object is not allowed.

Playing audio equipment so that others are able to hear it is not allowed on library premises.

No person shall threaten the safety or rights of another person, public or staff, or interfere with the library staff’s performance of their duties, while on the premises of the library, be it by violent, riotous, or disorderly behavior, by abusive, obscene, threatening, or profane language, or by the possession of weapons.  The harassment, intimidation or coercion of library patrons or staff shall not be tolerated.  (Massachusetts General Laws,, Ch. 272, Sec. 10)

Spitting is prohibited anywhere on library property. Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 270, Sec. 14)

Indecent exposure, as well as lewd, wanton and lascivious speech or behavior, shall not be allowed on library premises.  (Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 272, Sec. 53)

Theft, defacement, or damage of library materials – or property – is against state law. (Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 266, Sec. 99 and 100)  Parents can be held liable for damage done by a child under the age of 18. (Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 231, Sec. 85G)

The use of false identification to obtain a library card or to check out library materials, or the use of another person’s library card without his or her permission, is against state law. (Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 266, Sec. 99)

Parents are responsible for the behavior and supervision of their young children.  Leaving a child under the age of 7 unattended in the building is not allowed.  If a problem arises with children of any age, and we are unable to locate the parent(s)/older sibling (14 or older)/other guardian, or if the library is closing and the parent(s)/older sibling/other guardian cannot be located, the police will be called at the discretion of the staff.

Patrons may not enter areas designated Staff Only without authorization.

Appropriate clothing, including footwear and shirts, must be worn within the library.

Food and drink are permitted in public areas of the library, with the exception that no drinks are allowed while using a library computer.  Drinks must be in enclosed containers.  Patrons must clean up after themselves (ie: dispose of crumbs, wrappers, containers, etc. in wastebaskets.)

Smoking is not permitted in public areas of the library, including restrooms.  (Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 270, Sec. 22)

Gum chewing is not permitted anywhere on library premises.

Only one person at a time is allowed in the restrooms, with the exception of a person attending a young child or an infirm or disabled person.  Misuse of the restrooms (e.g., using them as a laundry, bathing facility, or other inappropriate purpose) is not allowed.

The wearing, use, and/or riding of bicycles, roller blades, scooters, skateboards, and other recreational wheeled devices are not allowed in the library or on library grounds.  These items may be carried on library premises, but at no time should they be left anywhere inside the library building.

In order to prevent theft and to enhance the security of the library, upon reasonable suspicion, the library and its staff reserve the right to check all backpacks, knapsacks, and other items that may be used for carrying or transporting items, including weapons, whether an alarm has been triggered or not.


Reviewed by City of Somerville Law Department, April 2003

Approved by Somerville Public Library Board of Trustees, May 7, 2003