Customer Behavior Policy

All persons have free and equal access to the Des Moines Public Library (DMPL), its facilities and services during its regular business hours. The DMPL’s Customer Behavior Policy has a threefold purpose: to protect the rights and safety of library customers and volunteers, to protect the rights and safety of staff members, and to preserve the library’s materials, facilities, property, and grounds

We expect our customers to:

  • Act legally and ethically by demonstrating respect to library staff and fellow users.
  • Use library cards appropriately. An individual may only use his/her own library card to access library computers or to check out or download materials.
  • Use all collections, equipment, facilities and furniture on the premises for their intended purposes.
  • Limit noise including loud conversations and use of audible devices. Cell phone ringers should be set to silent or vibrate.
  • Provide proper supervision of children. A parent or caregiver is responsible for the safety, behavior and well-being of their children on Library property. See DMPL Unattended Child Policy.
  • Dress appropriately including always wearing shirts and shoes./li>
  • Maintain proper personal hygiene so as not to offend others with strong, pervasive odors including body odor and odors caused by perfume, cologne or alcohol.
  • Share library equipment and furniture so that no one person monopolizes library property or prevents others from using them.
  • Cooperate with staff and allow belongings to be searched in order to prevent unauthorized removal of library materials and equipment.

Library customers may not:

  • Interfere with another person’s enjoyment of library service and facilities.
  • Use seating in the youth area of the library if they are an adult and unaccompanied by a minor. They may use seating available in all other locations of the library.
  • Bring animals into the library except for service animals necessary for those with disabilities. Service animals are defined as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability” (28 CFR 35.104) and also as any animal which is under control and specially trained to assist a person with a disability (Iowa Code Section 216C.11).
  • Consume food or beverages except for those non-alcoholic beverages in lidded containers.
  • Sleep on library premises or exhibit the appearance of sleep.
  • Use bathrooms for unreasonable or unintended purposes including bathing and laundering.
  • Deposit litter anywhere other than in garbage receptacles provided. .
  • Engage in sexual activity of any kind or cause sexual harassment or indecent exposure.
  • Smoke or use tobacco products on Library premises and within 25 (twenty-five) feet of the Library entrances.
  • Consume, possess, or be under the influence of illicit or intoxicating substances on library property.
  • Harass, intimidate, or discriminate against any member of the library staff or any customer, including cursing, campaigning, unwanted recruiting of any type, or sexual or physical threats.
  • View sexually explicit images on the Internet or violate the Library’s Internet Acceptable Use Policy.
  • Leave packages, backpacks, luggage, or any other personal items unattended. Personal property must be within sight of the owner.
  • Congregate on Library premises in a manner which obstructs access or interferes with use of Library facilities or services or where such activity is likely to result in an unsafe or intimidating environment. This includes solicitation and panhandling as well as distribution of leaflets or un-authorized notices.
  • Carry firearms or weapons of any type on Library premises, except for peace officers. Weapons shall mean any gun, device or instrument as defined in Iowa Code Sections 724.1 and 724.7 and those regulated or prohibited in Des Moines Municipal Code Chapter 70, Article III.
  • Conduct media or commercial photography or filming, without prior permission from Library staff.
  • Use skateboards on Library property.
  • Bring luggage, bedrolls, or large bags into the library.


Inappropriate behavior as outlined above or the commission of any crime on library property will have consequences. Customers may be asked to leave the library premises immediately. In addition, a customer may be barred from library premises temporarily or permanently depending on the severity of the offense. To enforce these policies, library staff are authorized to call for police assistance, a security guard or to take any other measures reasonably appropriate and necessary.

Approved by the Des Moines Public Library Board of Trustees
August 26, 2014
March 21, 2017.