Berkeley Public Library Policies

Board of Library Trustees Meeting Policy

The Board of Library Trustees (BOLT) Meeting Policy provides BOLT with rules to consistently and efficiently carry out the public comment process and to ensure that the meetings are run with a level of decorum that aids the Board of Library Trustees in carrying out its required business.

Board of Library Trustees Vacancies Policy

Pursuant to Section 30 of the Charter of the City of Berkeley (the “Charter”), “five Library Trustees shall be appointed and may be removed by a vote of five members of the Council and one of such trustees must be appointed by the Council from its own members.”

When a Board of Library Trustees (“BOLT”) vacancy has occurred or is planned to occur, the Board of Library Trustees can assist the City Council by facilitating a nomination process.  This policy enumerates that process.

Bulletin Board Policy

Circulation Policy (Loan limits, fees and fines)

Collection Management Policy

The Collection Management Policy communicates the purpose and broad scope of the Library’s collections and guides the work of staff in their collection management responsibilities.

Persons seeking the reconsideration of a title in the collection are asked to complete the "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form, also available in person.

Electronic Classroom Use Policy

The Berkeley Public Library provides an Electronic Classroom for the instructional and research needs of the Library, users of the Library and the local community. It is the policy of the Berkeley Public Library to allow the use of the Electronic Classroom by Berkeley based groups, organizations and businesses when the facility is not needed for activities sponsored in whole or in part by the Library.

Exhibit Spaces Policy

The purpose of this policy is to set forth rules governing the use by the Library of exhibit spaces and display areas in Berkeley Public Library facilities.  

Gift & Donation Policy

The Berkeley Public Library welcomes gifts of money to enhance library services through the provision of additional materials, equipment and services, as well as other types of gifts such as books.  The Library encourages gifts of cash, not earmarked for specific items (unrestricted) in order to permit the most flexible use of the donation for the enrichment of the library program.

Green Cleaning Policy

It is the intent of this policy to outline specific cleaning practices to be employed at all Berkeley Public Library facilities that will ensure and maintain good indoor air quality, protect the health and comfort of all building occupants; maintain clean buildings, and provide a safe working environment for maintenance staff and custodial personnel.

Internet Access/Computer Use

Free Internet access is available at all locations. The Berkeley Public Library does not filter Internet access. Use of the Library's workstations indicates consent to and knowledge of the Library's Internet use policy (see below). Please read the Use a Computer page for more information.

Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the Library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person's right to use a Library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

(Adopted June 18, 1948. Amended February 2, 1961, and January 23, 1980, inclusion of "age" reaffirmed January 23, 1996 by the ALA Council.)

Library Facilities Naming Policy

It has been the practice of the Board of Library Trustees (BOLT) for the Berkeley Public Library, and shall henceforth be the formal policy of the Board, to name libraries according to their geographic location in the City and/or to identify each branch facility with the neighborhood where it is located or the neighborhood it primarily serves. This policy enables patrons to easily ascertain the general location of a Library facility. When there are compelling reasons to add the name of a person to the geographic name of a specific branch library, it shall be the policy of the Berkeley Public Library not to recommend the naming of any library facility for any living person, or for any person deceased less than five years. This permits BOLT to evaluate the lifetime contributions and accomplishments of a proposed honoree.

Download the Library Facilities Naming Policy

Meeting Room Use Policy (Rules And Regulations For Use Of Library Grounds, Buildings, And Equipment For Meetings And Other Events)

The Berkeley Public Library has meeting rooms available for use by the public at all locations. Please read the Rules And Regulations For Use Of Library Grounds, Buildings, And Equipment For Meetings And Other Events and visit our Meeting Rooms page for more information.

Patron Suspension Policy

In order to provide and maintain a comfortable and safe environment for all patrons and library staff, the Board of Library Trustees has approved the Berkeley Public Library Rules of Conduct. Violation or repetitive violation of any of the rules of conduct may warrant a suspension of library privileges. Suspension of library privileges will result in removal from, and denial of access to, all Berkeley Public Library services and facilities for a designated period of time.

Photography and Filming Policy

It is the Berkeley Public Library’s most significant priority to provide library services to the community in accordance with the values described in the Library’s Mission Statement, and to enable Library users to use those services while having a safe experience at the Library.

Privacy Policy

The Library strives to protect the patron confidentiality in relation to items used in the Library or checked out, and to information sought through library systems or the Library’s reference services. In accordance with California state law, registration and circulation records are confidential, and disclosure of these records is limited to the patron him/herself or to that person’s designee as indicated in writing, and to Library staff in the performance of their duties.

California Gov’t Code § 6267. All registration and circulation records of any library which is in whole or in part supported by public funds shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person, local agency, or state agency except as follows: (a) By a person acting within the scope of his or her duties within the administration of the library. (b) By a person authorized, in writing, by the individual to whom the records pertain, to inspect the records. (c) By order of the appropriate superior court. As used in this section, the term *registration records* includes any information which a library requires a patron to provide in order to become eligible to borrow books and other materials, and the term *circulation records* includes any information which identifies the patrons borrowing particular books and other material. This section shall not apply to statistical reports of registration and circulation nor to records of fines collected by the library.

All other disclosure of these records is permitted only by court order. Protection of confidentiality does not extend to records of outstanding fines or fees; payments for the use of Library premises or equipment; or communications directed to the Library regarding Library services. Please read the full policy for details of the type of data that the Library collects and how the Library manages this data.

Users should read and understand the privacy policies of any third party sites to which they provide any personally identifiable information. The Library is not responsible for the data users submit to third party sites.

Rules of Use Policy

Berkeley Public Library seeks to create a welcoming and safe environment for Library patrons. The Rules of Use are designed to ensure the safety and comfort of all Library patrons and staff. All Berkeley Public Library facilities are City of Berkeley property regulated by City of Berkeley Administrative Regulation 1.15 (Posting and Enforcing Rules for Visitors to All City Buildings). There are two types of violations of the Library’s Rules of Use:

  • Disruptive behavior that will result in an immediate warning by staff to change behavior.
  • Significant violations that will result in immediate suspension of Library privileges

Disruptive Behavior
Any behavior that interferes with the reasonable use and operations of the Library is not permitted. Violators will be made aware of the violation and will be asked to change behavior. Failure to heed staff’s warning may result in the immediate suspension of Library privileges. Continued disruptive behavior violations may result in longer suspensions. Examples of disruptive behavior include the following:

  • Refusal to follow reasonable direction from Library staff or security guards.
  • Unreasonable or excessive noise that disrupts other patrons or staff.
  • Use of the Library computers in a way that interferes with a safe, welcoming, comfortable environment for other patrons & staff.
  • Monopolization or blocking of Library space, aisles, ingress, egress, resources, equipment, or furniture. Examples include lying on floors or other surfaces, bringing in excessive personal materials (greater than 16”x18”x24”), or leaving personal items unattended.
  • Sleeping. As a safety check, Library staff will attempt to wake patrons who appear to be unconscious or asleep.
  • Exuding offensive, pervasive odors.  This includes any odor that creates a nuisance to other patrons or staff, such as food odors or pervasive fragrances caused by perfume or other scented products.
  • Riding skates, scooters, skateboards, or other similar devices on Library property; bicycles are not permitted inside the library.
  • Inappropriate use of restrooms, including washing clothes or bathing.
  • Smoking in the Library or within 25 feet of doors and windows.
  • Failing to wear shoes, shirt/top, and skirt/pants.
  • Failing to abide by posted notices regarding reserved seating or other reserved spaces.
  • Leaving a child (7 and under) unattended by a parent or other responsible caregiver.
  • Fraudulent use of another’s Library card.
  • Bringing animals into the Library unless they are service animals authorized by law.
  • Petitioning or soliciting.
  • Possessing, consuming, or being under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or illegal drugs.
  • Food consumption is restricted to special events and/or designated spaces. Beverages with secured lids are permitted.

Significant Violations
Significant violations may result in the immediate suspension of Library privileges for a week or longer. Examples include:

  • Engaging in any illegal activity.
  • Harassing, fighting, assaulting, or threatening people.
  • Engaging in or soliciting any sexual act.
  • Theft, damage, or destruction of Library property or the property of others.
  • Carrying weapons of any type.
  • Entering into staff areas for the purpose of burglary or intimidation, or without staff approval or knowledge.

Patrons who are suspended are not permitted to use Library services or enter onto Library property. Please see the Library’s Suspension Policy for details.

Download the Rules of Use Policy

Social Forum Policy

The purpose of this policy is to set forth rules governing User-generated content within various Social fora managed and administered by the Library or on its behalf pursuant to contract.

Download the Social Forum Policy

Study Room Policy

The Purpose of this policy is to set forth rules governing the use of small study rooms in  Berkeley Public Library facilities. 

Unattended Children Policy

The Berkeley Public Library welcomes children of all ages.  Library staff strive to provide a safe and appropriate environment for all Library users.  Our libraries, however, are public buildings, and any public place may be dangerous or frightening for a child who is left unattended even for brief periods of time. Library facilities are neither designed for nor licensed to provide childcare.  
Parents and caregivers are solely responsible for the welfare and the behavior of children using the Library.  Children aged seven or younger must be supervised by a responsible caregiver at all times while they are in the Library.  

Unclaimed Property/Lost & Found Policy

The purpose of this Administrative Regulation is to establish policies and procedures for the retention and disposal of unclaimed lost and found items in the Library.

Video Monitoring Equipment Policy

The Berkeley Public Library is committed to establishing and maintaining an environment that is secure and safe for both employees and library visitors, and maintaining the security of its property and facilities. This can be accomplished by establishing rules of conduct and following best security practices. The purpose of this policy is to regulate the use of security cameras and video monitors to observe and / or record activities in Library facilities to enhance security, deter crime and to aid in protecting the safety of individuals and the property of the library.

Volunteer Policy

In order to achieve the mission of the Berkeley Public Library, the Berkeley Public Library encourages the active participation of citizens, of a variety of ages, as a valuable resource to the Library. The Berkeley Public Library Volunteer Program is designed to expand and enhance public service to the community. Volunteers are valued by the library as an important support for paid staff and as a demonstration that residents appreciate the positive impact of the library on the quality of life in Berkeley.