Eugene library gets its rules clear, up to date

PORTLAND, Ore. — The first rule of any library is always “shhhh!” In Eugene, the public library is adding a few more to stay current, such as no e-cigarettes and putting “mobile devices” on the list of players whose volume must be kept low.

It’s also dropping some — mobile stereos are passe, so they don’t need to be specifically barred.

The new rules say coffee and other lidded beverages are OK, but biscuits, bagels and bananas are banned.

“We’re trying to be transparent and really clear that the language matches what we do,” library Director Connie Bennett told the Eugene Register-Guard.

The library has three locations and gets more than 3,000 visits a day — 1.2 million a year.

With that use comes problems. Last year, 208 users were restricted from the library for violating behavior policies in one way or another, such as disruptive behavior, being drunk or high, fighting, theft or inappropriate sexual conduct.

The library’s new rules give patrons more time to appeal restriction orders, seven days instead of 48 hours, in hopes that more will take advantage of what Bennett called an informal process.

Last year, 33 people scheduled hearings, but only 13 showed up. In nine of those cases, restrictions were rescinded or reduced.

“We’re really reluctant to issue restrictions because the whole purpose of being here is to be a public place,” she said.

But at the same time, she added, “The intent of the building is to provide library service. It’s not a place to live or sleep or eat.”

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