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Library News Release

Release Date: 05/21/2009

Library proposes changes to Rules of Conduct

The Seattle Public Library regularly reviews its Rules of Conduct to ensure they reflect the Library's needs for effectively managing behavior in its facilities to ensure they are safe, welcoming and clean for all customers and staff.

Changes being proposed include:


  • Organizing the list of rules into categories of severity, from behavior that results in a first-time warning (sleeping, being barefoot, unattended items, etc.) to those that result in a one-year exclusion (alleged criminal behavior).
  • Clarifying the rule against distributing literature, gathering signatures, soliciting contribution or conducting surveys without Library authorization to specifically include plazas outside library entrances.
  • Clarifying the size restrictions for items brought into the library to prohibit bringing in items that occupy floor space in excess of 14"W x17" H x 20." Items are measured in totality. Personal items (purses, laptops, briefcases) are excluded. This change supports the Library's ability to manage crowded spaces and safely evacuate buildings.
  • Clarifying the rule related to wheeled devices to allow wheeled luggage that conforms to the size rule for items brought into the Library.
  • Clarifying the rule that prohibits entering or being in the Library barefoot, or without a shirt to specify, "or removing one's footwear or shirt while in the Library."
  • Clarifying the rule related to sleeping in the library to prohibit "appearing to be sleeping." Initial contact for this rule would be educational.
  • Clarifying the rule related to failure to comply with a reasonable staff request with the following wording: Failing to comply with a reasonable staff request to cease behavior that interferes with the effective functioning of the Library.
  • Adding a rule prohibiting verbally intimidating staff, volunteers or other patrons.
  • Extending the maximum exclusion period from one year to two years. The maximum length of exclusion for a single incident will remain one year; this change allows the Library to issue a consecutive exclusion to patrons who do not comply during an existing exclusion period.


The Library Board will be considering these proposed policy changes to the Rules of Conduct at its 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 27 at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 4. The public is welcome to provide comments at the meeting. Comments may also be submitted by email to Marilynne.gardner@spl.org until 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 26. For more information, visit the Library Web site at www.spl.org and select "About the Library," which includes a section on Library policies, or call Marilynne Gardner, chief financial and administrative officer, at 206-233-5109.

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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