Safety Policy

Safety Policy

I. Introduction

  1. The Black Earth Public Library Board may enact regulations that serve to insure the safety of all Library staff and patrons.  “Every public Library shall be free for the use of the inhabitants of the municipality by which it is established and maintained, subject to such reasonable regulations as the Library Board prescribes in order to render its use most beneficial to the greatest number.  The Library Board may exclude from the use of the public Library all persons who willfully violate such regulations” [Wisconsin State Statute Chapter 43.52(2)].
  2. The Library Board is committed to providing an atmosphere where everyone is comfortable using the Library facility (as well as to furnish a safe employment place [Wisconsin State Statute Chapter 101.11(2)(a)] ).
  3. Inappropriate behavior includes any activity that interferes with Library operations, damages the building or its furnishings, rudeness, profanity, or any other behavior generally deemed inappropriate or unacceptable.
  4. Library staff is to take appropriate action regarding violations of this policy up to and including contacting Law Enforcement personnel.


II. Definitions

Harassment, according to Wisconsin State Statues 813.125, is defined the following way:

  • “Striking, shoving, kicking or otherwise subjecting another person to physical contact or attempting or threatening to do the same.”
  • “Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts which harass or intimidate another person and which serve no legitimate purpose.”


III. Prohibited Behavior

The following are examples of prohibited behavior.  The Library Board and staff reserve the right to regulate behavior within the facility.

  • Threatening behavior-such as shaking fists, destroying property or throwing objects.
  • Verbal or written threats-any expression of intent to inflict harm.
  • Behavior that causes a public disturbance.
  • Verbal abuse-swearing, insults or condescending language.
  • Physical attacks-hitting, shoving, pushing or kicking.
  • Harassment-any behavior that demeans, embarrasses, humiliates, alarms or verbally abuses a person and that is known or would be expected to be unwelcome. This includes words, gestures, intimidation, bullying, or other inappropriate activities.
  • Children that are behaving inappropriately are the responsibility of their parents or caregivers.  Child safety is the responsibility of the caregiver, not the library.  (See VI. Information Technology Policy for policy specific to children’s use of computers, as well as Unattended Child Policy in appendix.)
  • Refusal to wear a mask or to practice hand-washing when asked in order to receive assistance from library staff during a government-recognized pandemic.


IV. General Guidelines for Handling Problem Patrons

  1. Immediate action for staff to take when an incident occurs:
    • Assess the situation
    • Empathize with the individual so as not to escalate the situation
    • Ask the person to leave.  If they do not and you are able to delegate the situation to the Library Director, do so. If the Library Director is not available and you feel uncomfortable in any way call Law Enforcement
    • If someone is present in the building, and you do not want to say what is going on, but you would like another person to be there, use the code word “Gaila,” such as in a sentence: “Do you know where Gaila is tonight?” The Law Enforcement, Library Board Members, and staff as well as your families should all be aware of the code word; they can then notify the Law Enforcement for you and come to the Library so you are not alone.


  1. Action staff should take after the incident occurs:
    • Document immediately in Incident Report Book using provided incident report sheets and report any incident to the Library Director
    • Report incident to the Law Enforcement if deemed necessary
    • Inappropriate actions or prohibited behavior by any patron may result in immediate suspension or expulsion from the Library as deemed necessary by the Library Director, Library Board and Law Enforcement according Wisconsin State Statue 101.11(2)(a), 43.52(2), and 813.125.
    • After an individual has been suspended or expelled from the Library they are not to visit the Library (if expelled—ever, if suspended—until their suspension is up).  If they violate the expulsion/suspension, Law Enforcement is to be notified immediately.
    • The individual whose Library privileges are suspended/expelled shall be advised in writing of the reason(s) for such action.  The offending individual shall also be informed that any appeal may be brought forward at the next regularly scheduled Library Board meeting.


  1. Contacts for Reporting any Incidents:
    • Emergency 911
    • Village Police 608-767-4904
    • Village Police Cell Phone 608-255-4209
    • Dane County Sheriff’s Office 608-284-6153
    • Bailey Anderson – number found in library by phones



Amended 6-16-2020

Amended 4-18-2023