Berkeley Public Library Policies

Borrowing Materials

Bulletin Board Policy

Collection Development Policy

The purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to define the criteria and principles by which library selectors make decisions about the selection and retention of resources and materials for the collection of the Berkeley Public Library.

Persons seeking the reconsideration of a title in the collection are asked to complete a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form, available online or 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.

Laptop / iPad Lending Policy

Checkout a Laptop/iPad for in-library use at all locations with a valid library card. Laptops/iPads only work on the Library’s wireless system.

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 p<ttrons 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

The Berkeley Public Library has meeting rooms available for use by the public at all locations. Please read the Meeting Room Rules 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.

Requesting Library Materials

The Berkeley Public Library will provide a service whereby patrons can request materials currently checked out to another borrower or on the shelves.

Rules of Conduct

These rules of conduct are for the comfort, safety and protection of all library patrons and library staff. Library staff and library security guards will firmly and courteously enforce these rules. We ask your cooperation in maintaining an environment conducive to enjoyable use of the Library for all.

Dangerous, destructive or illegal conduct, including but not limited to the following, will not be tolerated:

  • Physical abuse or assault;
  • Fighting or challenging to fight;
  • Making violent or threatening statements;
  • Engaging in or soliciting any sexual act; and
  • Damaging,destroying, or theft of library property.

Any patron displaying any of these behaviors will be instructed to leave the library immediately. Police will be called and appropriate legal action will follow. In addition, based on the severity of the situation, a suspension of library privileges for up to one year will be applied without advanced warning or prior suspension.

The following behaviors are also prohibited:

  • Using harassing or insulting language.
  • Leaving children under the age of eight (8) unattended by a parent or authorized adult.
  • Blocking library entrances, exits, or walkways with bicycles, strollers, power cords, etc., or leaving animals or personal belongings unattended on Library property.
  • Participating in any activity in the library or at public entrances/exits which interferes with any person’s comfort or safety.
  • Entering library with animals other than service animals authorized by law.
  • Entering library with items inappropriate to library use, including but not limited to bicycles, shopping carts, large trash bags, bedrolls, and strollers without children..
  • Entering library with containers or packages which singly or collectively exceed 16”x18”x24”.
  • Riding skates, roller shoes, scooters, skateboards, or other similar devices.
  • Smoking, eating, or drinking except for a nonalcoholic beverage in a bottle with a secure top.
  • Possessing, consuming, or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Lying on the floor or sleeping.
  • Unreasonable use of rest rooms, including laundering, bathing, and shaving.
  • Inappropriate use of electrical outlets, including charging vehicles, wheelchairs or appliances.
  • Leaving personal belongings unattended.
  • Exuding offensive, pervasive odors, including pervasive fragrances caused by perfume or other scented products, which constitute a nuisance to other patrons or staff.
  • Failing to wear shirt/top, pants/skirt, and shoes.
  • Disturbing or annoying anyone with loud and/or unreasonable noise, including but not limited to using electronic equipment or mobile telephones at a volume that disturbs others.
  • Carrying weapons of any type.
  • Petitioning, soliciting or selling merchandise or services without written permission from the Director of Library Services.
  • Personally monopolizing Library space, seating, tables, or equipment to the exclusion of other patrons or staff.
  • Fraudulent use of another’s Library card and/or number for any purpose, including using another’s Library card to reserve or use Library computers.
  • Refusal to follow reasonable direction from Library staff, including but not limited to leaving the Library during normal closing procedures or during an emergency evacuation.

Any patrons displaying these behaviors will be addressed in the following manner: 

  • FIRST VIOLATION: Initial warning, given copy of Library Rules of Conduct. 
  • SECOND VIOLATION: Library privileges suspended for one day. 
  • THIRD VIOLATION: Library privileges suspended for seven days. 
  • FOURTH VIOLATION: Library privileges suspended for up to one year.

If you observe anyone violating any of these rules of conduct, please inform either a security guard or a library staff member. Circumstances including the seriousness or continuing nature of the conduct may warrant immediate suspension of Library privileges. See the Patron Suspension Policy  for further information.

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.