West Springfield Public Library Patron Code of Conduct
The West Springfield Public Library is supported by the taxes of the people of West Springfield and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who expect our facility to be a clean, comfortable and safe place for selecting materials, reading, researching, studying, writing, and attending library or community sponsored programs and meetings.
To this end, the library is responsible for establishing rules of conduct to protect the rights and safety of library patrons, staff and Friends of the West Springfield Library volunteers, and for preserving and protecting the library’s materials, equipment, facilities, and grounds.
Enforcement of these rules will be conducted in a fair and reasonable manner. Library staff will intervene to stop prohibited activities and behaviors. Failure to comply with the Library's established Patron Code of Conduct may result in removal from the premises and expulsion from the library for a period of one day to one year; or in arrest or prosecution, to be determined by the Library Director.
Violations could also result in the restriction and/or termination of library privileges, including the use of Library computers and other equipment. Expulsion for more than one week may be appealed in writing to the Library Director and Board of Trustees.
II. Examples of Conduct Not Allowed on Library Property:
- Engaging in any activity in violation of Federal, State, local or other applicable law, or other library policy.
- Carrying firearms and dangerous weapons of any type (except by law enforcement officers).
- Being under the influence of alcohol/illegal drugs and selling, using, or possessing alcohol/illegal drugs.
- Verbally or physically threatening or harassing other patrons, Friends of the West Springfield library volunteers, or staff, including stalking, staring, lurking, or sexual misconduct including exposure, inappropriate touching, or any excessive public display of affection.
- Using abusive language or profanity
- Soliciting or conducting surveys not authorized by the library.
- Stealing, damaging, altering, or inappropriate use of library property in the building or on the grounds including computer hardware and software, printers, copiers, phones, and other equipment.
- Trespassing in non-public areas, being in the Library without permission of an authorized library employee before or after library operating hours, or camping on library grounds.
- Fighting or challenging to fight, running, pushing, shoving, or throwing things.
- Creating disruptive noises such as loud talking, screaming, or banging on computer keyboards.
- Using audio devices without headphones or with headphones set at a volume that disturbs others. Using cell phones, pagers, and other communication devices in a manner that disturbs others. Cell phone and pager audible ringers must be turned off.
- Gambling and group activities which are disruptive to the library environment.
- Using restrooms for bathing or shampooing, or doing laundry.
- Littering, in the building or on the library grounds.
- Smoking, chewing, vaping or use of synthetic or any other tobacco products in library facilities or on the grounds.
- Patrons shall wear clothing covering the upper and lower torso of their bodies. Shoes must be worn at all times.
- Patrons with hygiene conditions, including but not limited to, clothing odor, body odor, body or head lice, and overpowering perfume, cologne or aftershave that interfere with the use and enjoyment of the library by other library patrons or with the functioning of library staff and Friends of the West Springfield Library volunteers. This includes conditions preventing staff from doing their jobs or preventing patrons from full access to areas of the library and its materials.
- Soiling or otherwise damaging library furniture and finishes, including carpeting and upholstered furniture is prohibited and may result in removal from the premises and expulsion from the Library for a period of one day to one year, or in arrest or prosecution, to be determined by the Library director.
- Beverages in covered containers and wrapped food may be consumed in public areas of the library, excluding restrooms.
- For historic/preservation purposes, no food will be consumed in the Carnegie wing.
- A mother may breastfeed her child in the library. (See MGL: Ch. 111, Section 221, attached)
- Bringing in garbage, articles with a foul odor, or articles which alone or in their aggregate impede the use of the library by others.
- Using wheeled devices while in the library or on the grounds, including roller shoes, skateboards roller skates, bicycles, scooters, hover boards, and shopping carts. Exceptions are wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers
- Lying down or sleeping in the restrooms or on any floor, couch, table, or seat in the library. No blocking of aisles, exits, or entrances by sitting or lying down in them.
- Neglecting to provide proper supervision of children
- Bringing pets or animals, other than service animals necessary for disabilities, into the library, except as authorized by the library director. Service animals must be able to be identified as such. See attachment – Office of the Attorney General – "Information About Service Animals"
- Using false ID to obtain a library card or use of another person’s card without permission is prohibited by state law and can result in prosecution. (MGL, Ch 266, Sec. 99)
- Library staff is not responsible for personal belongings left unattended.
A. Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General: Information About Service Animals
B. MGL, Ch. 266, Sec. 99: Using false ID or using another person’s library card without permission.
C. MGL, Ch. 111, Sec. 221: Breastfeeding in public buildings
Adopted June 7, 2016 by the Board of Library Trustees
Amended April 24, 2019 by the Board of Library Trustees
The Official Website of the Attorney General of Massachusetts
Information About Service Animals
Q: What are the laws that apply to my business?
A: Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Massachusetts General Law c. 272, § 98A, businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Among other things, these laws require businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed. Discrimination by a business against persons with disabilities is also a violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, G.L. c. 93A.
Service animals are also protected under state and federal fair housing and employment discrimination laws as well as rules that apply to entities that receive federal funds or federal contracts.
Q: What is a service animal?
A: The ADA defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. If the animal meets this definition, the animal is considered a service animal. The animal does not have to be licensed or certified as a service animal. Reasonable accommodation is required for miniature horses as well; however, a business is allowed to consider the horse’s size, and how well it is controlled. State law protects dogs being used, or in training to be used, for people who are blind, deaf or physically handicapped.
Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him or her. "Seeing eye dogs" for example, that assist individuals who are blind are a common type of service animal. But there are service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disabilities in their day-to-day activities. Some examples include:
- Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sound
- Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments
- Assisting persons with mobility impairments with balance
- Alerting a person with a epilepsy, diabetes or a psychiatric disability to health changes that need immediate attention
Other laws, including fair housing and employment discrimination laws, allow animals other than dogs and miniature horses and animals that do not have training, such as “emotional support animals” if it is a reasonable accommodation for a disability. If your business has a grant or contract funded by the federal government, you should check with your funding source for applicable rules.
It is important to remember that an individual may have a disability even if that disability is not open and obvious. For example, some service members and veterans are prescribed service animals to treat Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Q: How can I tell if an animal is really a service animal and not just a pet?
A: Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you are allowed to ask (1) if it is a service animal required because of a disability, or (2) what tasks the animal performs. You cannot ask for documentation or certification that it is a service animal. Currently, there is no state or national certification available for service animals so businesses are not permitted to inquire if the animal is licensed or certified or whether the animal has identification papers
Q: What must I do when an individual with a service animal comes to my business?
A: The service animal must be permitted to accompany the individual with a disability to all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. An individual with a service animal may not be segregated from other customers.
To differentiate between pets and service animals, businesses can ask the person with a disability if the animal is a service animal required because of a disability. They can also ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform. Once an individual answers these questions the business may not question them further or separate the animal from the individual except as noted above. Businesses may not inquire about the individual’s disability
Q: I always have had a clearly posted "no pets" policy at my establishment. Do I still have to allow service animals in?
A: Yes. A service animal is not a pet. The ADA requires you to modify your "no pets" policy to allow the use of a service animal by a person with a disability. This does not mean you must abandon your "no pets" policy altogether, but simply that you must make an exception to your general rule for service animals.
Q: My county health department has told me that only a seeing eye or guide dog has to be admitted but not dogs that help people with other disabilities. If I follow those regulations, am I violating the ADA?
A: Yes. Service dogs are not just seeing eye or guide dogs for people who are blind. They can include dogs for people with epilepsy or mobility impairments or other disabilities. Also, the ADA provides greater protection for individuals with disabilities and takes priority over local or state laws or regulations.
Q: Can I charge maintenance or cleaning fee for customers who bring service animals into my business?
A: No. Businesses cannot impose a deposit or surcharge on an individual with a disability as a condition for allowing a service animal to accompany the individual with a disability, even if deposits are routinely required for pets. However, businesses and other places of public accommodation may charge any customer who causes damage to property including any damage caused by a service animal. For example, a hotel may charge a guest with a disability for the cost of repairing or cleaning furniture by a service animal if it is the hotel's policy to charge when non-disabled guests cause such damage. However, a hotel cannot impose a general "pet fee" for service animals.
Q: I operate a private taxicab and I don't want animals in my taxi; they smell, shed hair and sometimes have "accidents." Am I violating the ADA if I refuse to pick up someone with a service animal?
A: Yes. Taxicab companies may not refuse to provide services to individuals with disabilities. Private taxicab companies are also prohibited from charging higher fares or fees for transporting individuals with disabilities and their service animals than they charge to other persons for the same or equivalent service.
Q: Am I responsible for the animal while the person with a disability is in my business?
A: No. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of his or her owner. You are not required to provide care, food or a special location for the animal. You may designate an area for owners to take their animal to relieve itself.
Q: What if a service animal barks or growls at other people or otherwise acts out of control?
A: You may exclude any animal, including a service animal, from your facility when that animal's behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, any service animal that displays vicious behavior towards other guests or customers may be excluded. You may not make assumptions, however, about how a particular animal is likely to behave based on your past experience with other animals. Each situation must be considered individually.
Although a public accommodation may exclude any service animal that is out of control, it should give the individual with a disability using the service animal the option of continuing to enjoy the public accommodation without the service animal on the premises.
Q: Can I exclude an animal that doesn't really seem dangerous, but is disruptive to my business?
A: There may be a few circumstances when a public accommodation is not required to accommodate a service animal—for example, when doing so would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the business. Generally, this is not likely to occur in restaurants, hotels, retail stores, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities. However a dog that barks in a movie theater can be excluded because the barking fundamentally alters the nature of other customers' movie-going experience.
Q: What are the protections for service animals in Massachusetts? Can I exclude an animal that doesn't really seem dangerous, but is disruptive to my business?
A: Service animals are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Massachusetts General Law c. 272, § 98A, among other laws. These laws require businesses to allow individuals accompanied by service animals into places of public accommodation like restaurants, hotels, and stores, regardless of sanitary or health codes.
The individual and the service animal must be permitted in all areas of the facility normally open to members of the public. Businesses should not seek to separate individuals with disabilities from their service animal. However, businesses can exclude service animals if the animal misbehaves and the owner is unable to bring the animal under control. In those rare cases, the person with disability must then be admitted without the service animal.
Q: I heard that business no longer has to accept animals other than dogs and miniature horses. Am I required to allow tenants in my apartment building to have animals other than dogs and miniature horses?
A: There are broader protections for service animals under state and federal fair housing laws. Service animals can include many types of animals beyond dogs, including for example, cats, birds and rabbits. Tenants with disabilities who live or seek to live in an apartment, multi-family house, condo, or townhouse with three or more units for rent or sale, may be allowed to live there with their service animal if they can show with sufficient documentation that the animal mitigates the disability. Residents cannot be charged a pet fee for their service animal.
For more information about service animals or accommodating individuals with disabilities, call the Civil Rights Division at (617) 963-2939. You can also review the service animal advisory published by the United States Department of Justice.
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The 189th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
PART IV CRIMES, PUNISHMENTS AND PROCEEDINGS IN CRIMINAL CASES
TITLE I CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS
CHAPTER 266 CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY
Section 99A Libraries; theft of materials or property; destruction of records
Section 99A. Whoever willfully conceals on his person or among his belongings any library materials or property and removes said library materials or property, if the value of the property stolen exceeds two hundred and fifty dollars, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years, or by a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than twenty-five thousand dollars, or both; or, if the value of the property stolen does not exceed two hundred and fifty dollars, shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not less than one hundred nor more than one thousand dollars, or both, and ordered to pay the replacement value of such library materials or property, including all reasonable processing costs, as determined by the governing board of said library.
Any person who has properly charged out any library materials or property, and who, upon neglect to return the same within the time required and specified in the by-laws, rules or regulations of the library owning the property, after receiving notice from the librarian or other proper custodian of the property that the same is overdue, shall willfully fail to return the same within thirty days from the date of such notice shall pay a fine of not less than one hundred nor more than five hundred dollars and shall pay the replacement value of such library materials or property, including all reasonable processing costs, as determined by said governing board. Each piece of library property shall be considered a separate offense.
The giving of a false identification or fictitious name, address or place of employment with the intent to deceive, or borrowing or attempting to borrow any library material or property by: the use of a library card issued to another without the other's consent; the use of a library card knowing that it is revoked, canceled or expired; or, the use of a library card knowing that it is falsely made, counterfeit or materially altered shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars.
The willful alteration or destruction of library ownership records, electronic or catalog records retained apart from or applied directly to the library materials or property shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or by a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than twenty-five thousand dollars, or both, and shall pay the replacement value of such library materials or property, including all reasonable processing costs, as determined by the governing board having jurisdiction.
Copyright © 2016 The General Court, All Rights Reserved
The 189th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
TITLE XVI PUBLIC HEALTH
CHAPTER 111 PUBLIC HEALTH
Section 221 Breastfeeding in a public place
Section 221. (a) A mother may breastfeed her child in any public place or establishment or place which is open to and accepts or solicits the patronage of the general public and where the mother and her child may otherwise lawfully be present.
(b) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the act of a mother breastfeeding her child, and any exposure of a breast incidental thereto that is solely for the purpose of nursing such child, shall not be considered lewd, indecent, immoral, or unlawful conduct.
(c) No person or entity, including a governmental entity, shall, with the intent to violate a mother's right under subsection (a), restrict, harass or penalize a mother who is breastfeeding her child.
(d) The attorney general may bring a civil action for equitable relief to restrain or prevent a violation of subsection (c).
(e) A civil action may be brought under this section by a mother subjected to a violation of subsection (c). In any such action, the court may: (i) award actual damages in an amount not to exceed $500; (ii) enter an order to restrain such unlawful conduct; and (iii) award reasonable attorney fees.
(f) A place of religious instruction or worship shall not be subject to this section.
Copyright © 2016 The General Court, All Rights Reserved