Standards For Patron Conduct Policy

Welcome to the Mercer County Library System

The Mercer County Library System is supported by a dedicated Library tax paid by the residents of seven municipalities within Mercer County. These include East Windsor, Ewing, Hightstown, Hopewell, Lawrence, Robbinsville and West Windsor. Our Library patrons expect each of our facilities to be clean, comfortable and safe places for selecting materials, reading, researching, studying, writing, and attending programs and meetings. To this end, the Library is responsible for establishing rules of conduct to protect the rights and safety of Library patrons, volunteers, and staff, and for preserving and protecting the Library’s materials, facilities, and grounds. In addition, the Library has a strong commitment to intellectual freedom and to freedom of access to information.

Through encouraging respect and civility, we hope to build community, while developing an incomparable Library experience for all.


The following behaviors are not permitted in the library and are set forth as reasonable rules and regulations for patron conduct, as accepted by the County Legal Department and the Library Commission.

  • Covered beverages and light, dry snacks are permitted in most areas of the library
    • Please note that noisy, messy and strong smelling foods are prohibited.
    • It is expected that patrons will throw away trash and leave an area clean.
    • Food and drink are not permitted near the PCs at any time.
  • Smoking (NJSA 2C:3D-38);
  • Improper attire, including bare feet or chests;
  • Consumption of alcohol or use of illegal substances;
  • Intoxication (NJSA 2C:33-2);
  • Carrying a weapon into the library unless otherwise authorized by law. Any patron authorized to carry a weapon must notify library staff upon entry that he/she is carrying a weapon into the library (NJSA 2C:39-5);
  • Bringing animals into the library unless they are being trained by a recognized companion-animal training agency or school or are accompanying a person with vision, hearing, or mobility impairment or unless they are part of an approved program being sponsored by the library;
  • Misuse of the restrooms (i.e. using as a laundry or washing facility, NJSA 2c:33-12 Maintaining a Nuisance);
  • Personal hygiene shall conform to the standard of the community for public places. This will include the repair or cleanliness of garments. Patrons whose bodily hygiene is offensive so as to cause a nuisance to others shall be required to leave the building. Patrons are expected to wear appropriate clothing while using the facilities, including shirts and shoes.
  • Leaving a child unattended in the library (NJSA 2C:53A-14,15);
  • Talking loudly, making noise or engaging in disruptive behavior, including the use of loud or offensively coarse or abusive language. This includes the use of cell phones that is disruptive to staff or other patrons;
  • Playing of audio equipment so that others can hear it;
  • Interfering with another person's use of the library or with the library personnel’s performance of their duties;
  • Running or standing on furniture. Skateboarding, jumping, throwing objects, playing on steps or in entrances;
  • Panhandling or soliciting;
  • Damaging library property, including damaging restrooms, defacing furniture and walls, removing pages from books, destroying landscaping or outdoor fixtures (NJSA 2C:1703);
  • Stealing library materials (NJSA 2C:20-12,13,14);
  • Threatening or physically harming staff or patrons;
  • Striking, kicking, shoving or other offensive touching or threats to do so (NJSA 2C:33-4);
  • Other behavior that is deemed inappropriate by the Library Staff.


Enforcement of Library rules will be conducted in a fair and reasonable manner. Library staff and/or law enforcement officials will intervene to stop prohibited activities and behaviors. Failure to comply with the Library’s established rules, regulations, and policies could result in removal from the premises and exclusion from the Library for a period of one day to one year, or in arrest or prosecution. Violations could also result in the restriction and/or termination of Library privileges, including the use of Library computers and other equipment.


Individual patrons have the right to request an administrative review of an exclusion order.

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