Patron Rights and Responsibilities
Privacy of Library Accounts & Records
East Lake Community Library staff members respect and promote the individual's right to privacy concerning use of library resources and materials. Library accounts are maintained with the highest degree of security. Information within library accounts may be used only for the purpose of providing library services. This information is not shared with any other individual, including family members. Library staff will not reveal the identity of patrons or materials checked out, except as required by law (Florida Statute Section 257.261).
Your Rights of Privacy & Confidentiality
The Rights of Privacy and Confidentiality include but are not limited to these services:
• Materials checked out at the Circulation and Reserves Desk
• Interlibrary Loan and Intercampus Loan
• Reference questions, interviews, and consultations
• Database search records
• Use of library facilities, equipment, or services
• Discussions with library staff concerning your account, fines, and money owed
Florida Statute 257.261 reads in part:
All registration and circulation records of every public library, except statistical reports of registration and circulation, are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s.119.07(1) and from s.24(a) of Article I of the State Constitution.
Except in accordance with proper judicial order, a person may not make known in any manner any information contained in such records, except as provided in this section. As used in the section, the term "registration records" includes any information that the library requires a patron to provide in order to become eligible to borrow books and other materials, and the term "circulation records" includes all information that identifies the patrons who borrow particular books, and other materials...In the case of a public library patron under the age of 16, a public library may only release confidential information relating to the parent or guardian of the person under 16. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Patron Code of Conduct
This code of conduct is intended to encourage behavior, which supports the Library mission - strengthening our community through inspiration, enrichment, and education. Behavior becomes unacceptable when it interferes with this mission, impinges on the rights of others, causes damage to buildings or equipment, or causes injury to oneself or others. Those willing to modify unacceptable behavior are always welcome to stay. However, those unable to comply will be asked to leave. If necessary, the authorities will be called.
II. Principles of Conduct
The Library serves various functions for library members, including that of a community information center, a place to study, and a place to find cultural and recreational materials and activities. All of these require traffic, movement, and discourse. In balancing these various roles and functions, a reasonable noise level is expected and generally believed to be acoustically unavoidable. When in the Library, patrons must observe the following principles of conduct:
• Speak in normal or quiet tones of voice
• Respect others, including their rights and personal property
• Respect Library property and staff
• Maintain responsibility for the safety, well-being, and conduct of children in their charge
• Refrain from actions that are disruptive to other library members
• Place cell phones and pagers on vibrate feature; hold conversations outside the building
III. Library Member Prohibited Activities
The following are examples of behaviors (but not limited to) that seriously interfere with the activities normally associated with the use of a public library and are prohibited in the East Lake Community Library:
• Eating, drinking, or displaying food in open containers
• Disturbing or annoying anyone by loud/unreasonable noise or movement, including, but not limited to, using audible devices without headphones, or with headphones set at a volume that disturbs others
• Use of abusive, threatening, harassing, or insulting language
• Animals (except trained assistance animals)
• Improper acts which are subject to prosecution under criminal or civil codes of law
• Vehicles and other objects which constitute potential safety hazards to patrons
• Objects placed adjacent to any exit or entrance on the inside or outside of the facility which pose a safety hazard to persons entering or exiting the facility
• Lack of shirt or footwear
• Personally monopolizing library space, seating, tables, or equipment to the exclusion of other patrons or staff
• Soliciting, selling, or begging
• Unattended children under the age of 10
• Bathing, shaving, washing clothes or other misuse of restrooms
• Distribution or posting of printed materials not approved by ELCL administration
• Loitering, including refusal to leave at closing or emergency evacuation
• Possessing, consuming or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
• Unruly/offensive behavior such as viewing pornography
V. Violations of Library Member Principles of Conduct
Library Staff have the authority to deal firmly but courteously with library members who are violating the Library Member Principles of Conduct and Library Member Prohibited Activities. Actions taken by staff may include making the library member aware that the behavior violates the principles of conduct or is a prohibited activity, warning the library member that he/she will have to leave if the behavior does not change, and telling the library member to leave the library. In some cases, the library member may be escorted from the building by staff or the police. Anyone known to have violated the principles of conduct and prohibited activities of the Library may be excluded from the Library and its programs as a matter of administrative policy. If the behavior involves illegal activity, such as child molestation, indecent exposure, or destruction of Library property such as computer equipment, library staff has full authority to call the police. Based upon the severity of the situation, a suspension of library privileges may be applied without advance warning or prior suspension.
The suspension shall remain in effect pending periodic administrative review. The library administrator's decision shall be final.
Unattended Child Policy
The East Lake Community Library welcomes the use of its services and facilities by children. Staff members are committed to the well-being and safety of children. However, library facilities are not designed or licensed to provide basic childcare needs or emergency care if the child becomes upset or ill.
Any public place may be dangerous for a child who is left unattended. Arrangements should be made ahead of time for children to be picked up after programs.
The Library reminds parents to consider the safety and well-being of their children and the needs of other library users of all ages. Children should be supervised at all times and reminded that the materials in the library are to be respected and treated with care.
Children under the age of 10 may not be left unattended in the library or on library property. They must be directly supervised by a responsible adult or caregiver 16 years or older, with no exceptions. This does not apply to children in library-sponsored programs.
Children age 10 and over may use the library unattended provided that their behavior is not disruptive. Parents are responsible for the actions of their children in the library and on library grounds whether or not the parent is present. Parents will also be responsible for any disturbance or damage done to the library by their child. Disruptive children, older than nine years of age may be asked to leave the library after one warning. In such instances, parents will be contacted or, if the parent is unavailable, police custody will be utilized.
The library must not be used as a childcare service. Any child unaccompanied by a responsible adult or a caregiver for an extended period of time may be approached for information concerning his/her parent’s availability. The parents will be notified of library policy. If the situation continues, proper authorities will be notified.
If a minor under the age of 16 is left unattended at the time of closing and attempts to reach the parents have failed, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office may be called to take responsibility for the child.
Service Animals in Public Buildings
Other than animals that serve as a service animal, as defined below, and animals that are participating in a library event, no animals are allowed in the East Lake Community Library nor are they allowed to be unattended within 25 feet of the entrances to the library building.
The definition of a "service animal" means an animal that is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Added to that definition is alerting an individual to the presence of allergens, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to an individual with a mobility disability, helping an individual with a psychiatric or neurological disability by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors, reminding an individual with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming an individual with posttraumatic stress disorder during an anxiety attack, or doing other specific work.
All facilities open to the public must permit service animals for individuals with a disability. Please note that the service animal must be under the control of its handler and must have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler's control by means of voice control, signals, or other effective means.
To distinguish between a service animal and a pet, an individual may not be asked about their disability. The only questions that may be asked are: I) if the animal is a service animal required because of a disability; and 2) what work or tasks the animal is trained to perform.
A service animal may be excluded from a public facility if the animal is out of control and the animal's handler does not take effective action to control it, or if the animal is not housebroken or otherwise poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.