Due to an emergency Centre Branch will be closed indefinitely.
Downtown and Pittsville branches are open by appointment only to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
We will continue to accept your returns at book drops at Downtown and Pittsville branches.
Books To Go will continue Tuesday - Saturday.
Unfortunately we are unable to accept book donations at this time.
Click here for more information & resources.
Click here for Phase 3 FAQ.
Customer Ban & Bar Policy
Customer Ban & Bar Policy
Wicomico Public Libraries’ Rules of Conduct & Unattended Children Policies help to ensure the safety and security of the staff and visitors as well as a comfortable and enjoyable library experience for all. Use of the Library’s facilities and resources implies acceptance of the Customer Rules of Conduct, and visitors who violate these Rules may have their Library privileges revoked and be banned and/or barred from the Library’s facilities.
Enforcement: Staff members may ask a visitor who is in violation of the Rules to leave Library property, and may call local law enforcement for assistance if necessary. the Executive Director or a designee may use judgment when determining the length of a ban depending upon the severity of the offense. Following each incident, staff will create a security report with all available identifying information.
Length of Ban: Based on the severity of the misconduct, an offender is subject to a ban for one day, one week, one month, one year or permanently with the possibility of appeal.
Staff will operate under the underlying philosophy of a forgiveness policy. For example, if a person who was previously disruptive is in the Library and exhibits appropriate behavior, staff will not confront the individual. Nevertheless, visitors who return to Library property while their ban is still in effect are subject to arrest for trespass.
Phase one: The Librarian in Charge (LIC) may bar an individual for the day. Upon informing them of their ban, the LIC should hand them a copy of the Rules of Conduct and a letter detailing the ban, and warn them that further violations of the Rules could lead to imposition of a longer ban. Staff shall explain the reasons for the ban. Staff will document the ban with a security report. A signed copy of the letter presented to the customer should be e-mailed to the Executive Director.
Phase two: The Librarian in Charge may ban repeat or severe offenders for one week from the date of the first or repeat incident. Offenders will be handed a copy of the Rules of Conduct, receive a letter from the LIC explaining the week- long ban and its consequences, and be warned by the LIC that further violations of the Rules could lead to imposition of a longer ban. The LIC will document the ban with a security report and e-mail a signed copy of the letter to the Executive Director.
Phase three is a month-long ban from the date of the third incident. This is for repeat or severe offenders of the Customer Rules of Conduct who have already been banned for a week. The LIC should ask the customer to leave for the day and inform the customer that the Executive Director will follow up via certified mail. The violator will be handed a copy of the Rules of Conduct. The Executive Director will send a letter via certified mail detailing the month long ban and when the customer may return to the Library. The LIC will collect available identifying information and file an incident report.
Phase four is a 1 year ban from the time of the incident. An individual who interrupts the work of Library employees by continuously violating the Rules of Conduct and who has been barred from the library for a month may be banned for 1 year by the Executive Director. The LIC should ask the customer to leave for the day and inform the customer that the Executive Director will follow up via certified mail. The violator will be handed a copy of the Rules of Conduct. The Executive Director will send a letter via certified mail detailing the year long ban and when the customer may return to the Library. The LIC will collect available identifying information and file an incident report.
Phase Five is a permanent ban. The LIC should ask the customer to leave for the day and inform the customer that the Executive Director will follow up via certified mail. The Executive Director will send a letter via certified mail to the customer’s home address detailing the permanent ban. Staff will file an incident report indicating that this is a final ban. Individuals incurring a permanent ban have recourse via the appeal process. Customers should be directed to the Executive Director regarding the appeal process.
Special Considerations for Minors under 12 years of age:
While children between the ages of 8 and 12 may be present in and use the Library without direct supervision of parents or caregivers (children under the age of 8 must be accompanied by an adult), they are accountable for their behavior and may be subject to the same progressive bans as adults or minors 13 and older.
The following procedure modifications may apply with minors between 8 and 13:
Staff will make reasonable effort to contact parents, caregivers, or adult person of record (e.g., on library card registrations) about the problem behavior of child. These caregivers should be in the building.
Staff will not call local law enforcement to remove a child under 14 from the building and property unless the problem behavior poses a threat to the health or well- being of the child or surrounding visitors, or is a significant disturbance to visitors and staff, or if there is no other recourse.
Staff will call the parent, caregiver, or adult person of record of a child who is an ongoing behavior problem (multiple bans without correction of behavior) and/or send a letter from Library Administration explaining reason(s) for child’s ban, duration of ban, terms of ban, and terms of required meeting with Library Administration before return of Library privileges for child will be considered.
Juvenile offenders: A juvenile is defined as any individual under the age of 18. If a juvenile has violated the Rules of Conduct, the juvenile will be verbally warned by staff that the misconduct was unacceptable. If the juvenile does not accept the warning, they will be barred from the Library for the rest of the day and an attempt will be made to notify a custodial parent or guardian.
Request for Reinstatement: Individuals with a permanent ban may request reinstatement of library privileges in writing to the Executive Director within ten working days of the ban notification. The Executive Director will respond in writing within ten working days. If the individual is not satisfied with the Executive Director’s response, they may appeal in writing within an additional ten working days to the Library Board of Trustees for a final determination. The Board will consider the written appeal at its next regular meeting and the individual will receive written notification of the Board’s decision within ten working days.
Those seeking a removal of a permanent ban can do so after 1 year from the initial ban date. Individuals seeking a repeal of a permanent ban should begin by addressing a letter to the Library’s Executive Director. This letter should contain the name of the individual in question and an explanation as to why the ban should be repealed. The Executive Director will reply via mail within 10 working days after the receipt of such a letter.
The Executive Director may refuse to lift the ban, may choose to allow the individual to use the library with conditional status or may lift the ban completely and restore full library privileges. A conditional status would allow for full use of the library with the condition that if the individual’s behavior violates the Rules of Conduct, their permanent ban would be immediately restored. Individuals not satisfied with the Executive Director’s response may appeal in writing within ten working to the Library’s Board of Trustees. The Board will consider the appeal at is next regular meeting. The individual will receive written notification of the Board’s decision within ten working days. Only one appeal is permitted.
Approved by Library Board of Trustees on February 10, 2015
Amended and Approved by Board of Trustees, April 9, 2019