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Conduct Procedure

The Milwaukee Public Library Board of Trustees approved the following Code of Conduct Policy at its July 26, 2011 meeting:

The Board of Trustees of the Milwaukee Public Library and Staff are committed to providing the best possible customer service in an open and inviting atmosphere and the Library Code of Conduct is designed to ensure this atmosphere is maintained at all times. 

Violations of the Milwaukee Public Library Code of Conduct may result in the expulsion of individuals from library premises and/or criminal prosecution.

In keeping with the City’s commitment to customer service and the provision of a safe and inviting atmosphere, the following guidelines are set forth to define those activities that are inappropriate for our users and prohibited. Library staff will enforce these guidelines in a consistent and impartial manner.

The following behaviors, conduct and activities are expressly prohibited:

  • eating, drinking or smoking
  • sleeping or socializing
  • loitering or interfering with free passage
  • behaving in a disorderly, boisterous or loud manner
  • panhandling or soliciting
  • using cell phones in non-designated areas
  • using audio or personal equipment that disturbs others or interferes with library service
  • carrying, consuming, and/or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol 
  • damaging, defacing, destroying, or stealing library property
  • violating computer use policies
  • using library restroom facilities for inappropriate purposes such as loitering, bathing, etc.
  • skateboarding, rollerblading, etc.
  • harassing or threatening another person
  • poor hygiene that is offensive to other persons
  • entering with concealed or openly visible firearms or other dangerous weapons with the exception of those carried by authorized law enforcement. Anyone who disregards these regulations is subject to removal from the library and/or restriction of library privileges.
The procedure is as follows:

Library or security staff may request that a patron immediately discontinue any inappropriate conduct. Library staff may call 911 to seek police assistance in cases where the patron’s conduct poses an immediate threat to the peace, safety, health and welfare of library staff and patrons. Depending upon the nature of the conduct, the patron may be required to leave the library for the remainder of the day or a longer period of time. Library or security staff shall document and report the incident immediately to the supervisor or manager. Patrons who have stolen materials from the library may be restricted from entering library facilities, or more secure areas within the library such as non-public reference areas. In certain circumstances, patrons who have failed to return materials may also be restricted from entering library buildings or more secure areas. When an individual's inappropriate conduct is serious or repeated, the Library Director may, at his or her discretion, restrict that individual's access to any Milwaukee Public Library building at any time. Any of the following steps may be taken at any time to ensure a safe environment for patrons and staff.

Establishing and Implementing a Ban 

Violations of the Library’s Code of Conduct may lead to a banning for a period of time, based on the guidelines attached to this procedure. The guidelines provide a basis for the individual sanction, but the actual ban will take into consideration prior incidents and any other factors that may be relevant. The authority to ban a patron and the library manager to whom the patron may appeal is as follows. 

Authority Ban Appeal to Method
Librarian-in-Charge 1 day-1 week Manager by phone
Manager 2 week-1 month Area Manager by phone
Area Manager 2 months-3 months Deputy Director In writing within 15 days of date of letter
Deputy Director 4 months-5 months Library Director In writing within 15 days of date of letter
Library Director 6 months or more Library Board In writing within 15 days of date of letter









At the recommendation of the Library Deputy Director of Public Services, the Security Manager, or the Milwaukee Police Department, the Library Director may ban a patron from Milwaukee Public Libraries for more than one year or permanently if the patron's conduct is a threat to library patrons or staff. All permanent bans will be brought to the Milwaukee Public Library Board of Trustee’s Library Services and Programs Committee for approval, and to the full Milwaukee Public Library Board of Trustees for ratification. 

If a patron is banned from the Milwaukee Public Libraries for six months or more, he or she may request an appeal before the Milwaukee Public Library Board of Trustees. The request for an appeal must be in writing and mailed or delivered to the Library Director at: 814 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53233-2309 within 15 days of the date of the Library Director’s letter to the patron. The request for review shall state the ground or grounds upon which the person aggrieved contends that the decision should be modified or reversed. Thereafter, a patron who has been banned for more than one year from the Milwaukee Public Libraries may request an appeal before the Milwaukee Public Library Board of Trustees once a year, beginning one year after the ban. Subsequent appeals must follow the same format as the first. 

Appeals Process

Appeals by patrons banned for up to one month may be made by telephone. The appeal will by heard and responded to orally. Appeals greater than 1 month must be made in writing within the time frame indicated and after a review by the authority indicated, will be responded to in writing.

When the Library Director receives written notice of an appeal which is within the time frame noted in the banning letter for seeking an appeal, the appeal will be scheduled before the Library Services and Program Committee of the Milwaukee Public Library Board of Trustees. The notice of their meeting will include the information that the committee may meet in Executive Session. Written evidence and argument in support of the patron’s position may be sent to the committee via the Library Director and will be accepted up to 7 days in advance of the meeting. The committee will also hear oral presentations limited to 10 minutes each by the library administration and the person making the appeal. The rules of evidence may be relaxed by the Board as appropriate for the particulars of any such administrative appeal. The appeal hearing shall be tape recorded. The committee will make a recommendation on each appeal and present their findings to the Library Board in open session at their next monthly meeting or as soon as practical. The full board will then act on that recommendation. The decision of the Milwaukee Public Library Board of Trustees regarding an appeal shall be final and mailed to the patron within (7) days of the Board’s decision.