Public Behavior in the Library Policy

Policy Statement

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) public behavior rules are intended to protect the rights and safety of library users, protect the rights and safety of staff members, and preserve and protect the library's materials, facilities and property. 

Library users who violate the Rules of Conduct may be subject to the suspension of their Library privileges, be excluded from the Library and/or face legal action. 


In situations where BPL staff members feel that the health, safety or security of library users or staff members are threatened, they may take any and all appropriate action including, but not limited to, calling the police for assistance. 

Library staff members may ask a Library user to leave the premises with or without prior warning, depending upon the seriousness of the violation.  Library staff members may also exclude a patron or visitor from BPL facilities. 

The BPL Department of Safety and Security may impose a further suspension of Library privileges.  If the Department decides to impose such a suspension, the patron or visitor will be so advised by registered mail.  Any patron whose Library privileges are suspended under these rules has a right to appeal.  


Library users must adhere to these Rules of Conduct and NOT engage in the following prohibited behavior.

Illegal Activities, including but not limited to:

  • Committing or attempting to commit any activity that constitutes a violation of any federal, state or local statute or ordinance.
  • Engaging in sexual conduct or lewd behavior on Library premises, as defined under New York Penal Law.  (New York State Penal Code, Section 245 Public lewdness)
  • Use of controlled substances on Library premises.  (New York State Penal Code, Section 220)
  • Smoking or other use of tobacco inside Library buildings.  (New York State Public Health Code, Section 1399)
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages on Library premises.

Harmful, Disruptive, or Destructive behavior, including but not limited to:

  • Engaging in conduct that disrupts or interferes with the normal operation of the Library, or disturbs staff and Library users.  Such conduct includes:
    • The use of abusive or threatening language or gestures.
    • Creation of unreasonable noise.
    • Loud or boisterous behavior or talking, on a cell phone or otherwise.
    • Photographing, filming, or recording other patrons without their consent.
  • Using Library materials, equipment, furniture, fixtures or buildings in a destructive, abusive or potentially damaging manner, in a manner likely to cause personal injury to any person or in any other manner inconsistent with the customary use thereof.
  • Disobeying the reasonable direction of Library staff members.
  • Soliciting, petitioning or distributing written materials or canvassing on BPL premises for any purpose without express permission of the Library staff.  Such conduct extends to any soliciting, petitioning, distributing or canvassing outside of Library premises in such a manner as to impede access to or egress from a BPL facility.
  • Interfering with the free passage of BPL staff members or users in or onto Library premises including, but not limited to, placing objects such as bicycles, strollers, shopping carts or bags in such a manner as to impede free passage in or onto the premises. The Library also reserves the right to limit the size and number of items brought into the Library.
  • Bringing bicycles and other means of transportation inside BPL buildings, including, but not limited to, vestibules or covered doorways, where no bicycle rack is provided.
  • Use of scooters, roller-skates, or similar wheeled devices.
  • Use of open flame or any burning/heating elements.
  • Parking vehicles on Library premises for purposes other than official library use. Vehicles parked in violation of this rule may be towed at the owner's expense.

Other inappropriate behavior:

  • Bringing animals other than service animals inside library buildings without the prior permission of Library staff.
  • Consuming food in the Library, except in the designated café area at Central or at special events sanctioned by BPL. Drinking from lidded beverages, away from BPL computers, is allowed.
  • Violating the Library's Technology Use Policy.
  • Sleeping on BPL premises.
  • Use of BPL restrooms for bathing, shaving, washing hair, or changing clothes.
  • Use of any communication or entertainment devices at a volume that disturbs others, with or without headphones.
  • Entering Library buildings with bare feet or bare chest.
  • Disturbing others because of offensive body odor.
  • Unhygienic behavior such as spitting, clipping nails, or changing diapers in public areas.

Approved by Brooklyn Public Library Board of Trustees: June 27, 2013