Conduct in Libraries

In order to ensure safety and security and provide a suitable environment for library use, the following guidelines for conduct have been approved by the Library Board of Trustees:

  1. All persons are welcome in the library. Parents or guardians are responsible for the conduct and safety of persons under their care.
  2. The Library is not responsible for personal belongings left unattended. Patrons must keep personal belongings with them at all times. Personal items left unattended are subject to disposal
  3. Library materials must be properly checked out at the circulation desk. Certain materials, such as reference books, periodicals and vertical file materials may not be removed from the library.
  4. Library furniture and equipment available for public use must be used for their intended purpose.
  5. Library staff reserves the right to inspect all bags, briefcases, backpacks, containers, books and any similar items.
  6. Pay telephones are provided for patron use in some branches. Library telephones are for library business only. In deference to other library users, library staff will not page patrons.
  7. Library materials not currently in use by patrons should be returned to staff or designated areas to be returned to their proper place. The Library staff is responsible for clearing materials not currently in use by patrons.

The following forms of conduct are not permitted:

  1. Behavior which may result in disturbing other library users, including, but not limited to: ringing pagers, loud talking, running, shoving, throwing things, physical or verbal harassment or threats.
  2. Unauthorized or unscheduled group meetings or activities.
  3. Food and beverages, except in approved areas by prior arrangement.
  4. Use of tobacco, alcohol or illegal substances. In addition, a DeKalb County Ordinance prohibits smoking within 20 feet of the entrance(s) of any county facility.
  5. Use of cellular telephones.
  6. Entering the library without proper attire, which conforms to the standard of the community for public places, including shoes and shirts. Patrons whose bodily hygiene is so offensive as to constitute a nuisance to other persons shall be required to leave the building.
  7. Damage, destruction, theft or improper use of library property or facilities.
  8. Loitering and sleeping.
  9. Carrying, displaying or drawing any weapon, unless permitted by law.
  10. Entering non-public areas such as staff work rooms, offices and storage areas.
  11. Animals, except service animals, unless authorized.
  12. Any form of sexual misconduct, including exposure, offensive touching, or sexual harassment of other patrons or staff.
  13. Selling, advertising, petitioning, or soliciting for contributions or support, except as authorized.
  14. Any illegal act or conduct in violation of federal, state, or local law, ordinance or regulation.

Approved: DeKalb County Library Board of Trustees -- December 1, 1997
Amended: March 6, 2001, March 9, 2004, September 21, 2004 and December 2, 2008 and June 27, 2014

Directory Service

The Main Library and selected branches have as part of reference collections various city, county, criss-cross and telephone directories. Patrons are free to use these directories in libraries. Because of demands on personnel and limited phone lines, telephone inquiries for directory information will be restricted to bonafide emergencies - such as requests from hospital or ambulance services.

Written requests for directory information should be directed to the Reference Department of the Decatur Library and will be answered as time permits.

Approved: DeKalb County Public Library -- February 1985

Fines and Fees


  1. Fines will be used by the DeKalb County Public Library as a means of safeguarding the materials in the collection and assuring some controls on the availability of books and information.
  2. Amounts assessed are determined by the Library Director (based upon the actual cost incurred for record keeping and replacement).The schedule of fines for overdue materials will be displayed prominently in each branch for user information.
  3. The Director, in consultation with the DeKalb County Public Library Board of Trustees and the County Attorney, may utilize legal recourses to retrieve overdue materials.


Fees may be assessed for special services that require additional costs to the library. Reimbursement for these services will be determined by the Library Director on the cost to provide the service.

Approved: DeKalb County Public Library Board of Trustees -- January 18, 1989
Amended: June 5, 1989

Collection Development

Click here to read the Collection Development Policy

Interlibrary Loan

It is the policy of the DeKalb County Public Library to provide access to printed information not owned by the Library through Interlibrary Loan service. An equally important aspect of this policy is the commitment to provide printed information to other libraries around the country when it is requested. This borrowing/lending relationship is a reciprocal one which benefits every participating institution.

The DeKalb County Public Library supports the National Interlibrary Loan Code of the American Library Association. In accordance with state regulations the Library will provide ILL Services to patrons at cost. Because of the limited size of the collection, Audio Visual materials of the DeKalb County Public Library are not available for loan through this service.

While acknowledging the fact that no single library or library system can acquire material which meets all the demands of its citizens, it is also acknowledged that an effective Interlibrary Loan service adds significantly to the level of information sources any one institution can provide. As patron satisfaction and awareness of the Interlibrary Loan service grows, so does the reputation of the Library.

The Library Director is instructed to implement this policy with procedures as required and to assess fees to cover costs.

Approved: DeKalb County Public Library Board of Trustees -- October 3, 1988


The DeKalb County Public Library offers Internet access to more effectively meet the educational, information, and recreational needs of Library patrons.  Use of the Internet for illegal purposes is expressly forbidden, in accordance with applicable legal statutes. The Library assumes responsibility only for the content of its own homepage and for accompanying Web pages.

Internet resources available through the Library are provided to all patrons, with the understanding that it is the individual patron's responsibility to demonstrate judgment, respect for others, and appropriate conduct while using Library resources and facilities. Internet use is managed in a manner consistent with the Conduct in Libraries Policy posted in each Library facility. Complete guidelines concerning Internet use are available. These include time limits for daily use, so as to allow equitable use of this resource by all patrons.

While using the Internet at the Library, patrons may not display or print images unsuitable for a general audience. This includes, but is not limited to, material that is obscene as defined under Georgia law  (O.C.G.A. 16-12-80), child pornography as defined under federal or state law (18 U.S.C. 2256;O.C.G.A. 16-12-100), and material that is “harmful to minors” as defined under Georgia law (O.C.G.A. 16-12-102). In compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act [Pub. L. No. 106-554 and 47 USC 254(h)], the Library employs a technology protection measure (filtering software) on all computers to block or filter access to inappropriate information. Subject to staff supervision, this technology protection measure may be disabled upon request only for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.

Patrons access the Internet at their own discretion. Although many valuable sources of information are available via the Internet, the Library can neither verify the accuracy nor control the content of material found. Although the Library uses a technology protection measure, patrons may find that some websites contain material they consider offensive, or inappropriate for children. While the Library makes every effort to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act, the Library does not warrant the effectiveness of the filtering software used. Parents and/or guardians are strongly encouraged to monitor their minor children's use of electronic resources, including electronic mail, and to establish guidelines consistent with personal and individual family values and boundaries.

Staff monitors use of Internet computers in an effort to prevent illegal or inappropriate activities, and takes appropriate actions if any user fails to comply with Library policies and procedures. To the extent practical, steps shall be taken to promote the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, and other forms of direct electronic communications. Specifically, as required by the Neighborhood Children's Internet Protection Act, prevention of inappropriate network usage includes: (a) unauthorized access, including so-called 'hacking', and other unlawful activities, and (b) unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors. Failure to follow the Library's guidelines for Internet use will result in suspension or revocation of a patron's right to use the Library and could result in criminal prosecution.

Library staff provides assistance to patrons using the Internet, within the limitations of available resources, and uses the Internet as appropriate to assist in answering reference questions. Further training and instruction by Library staff is offered periodically, as schedules permit, and the Library maintains a list of recommended links that may be useful to patrons. The Library also offers books, videos, and other materials that may assist patrons in enhancing their knowledge of Internet skills and resources.

Approved: DeKalb County Public Library Board of Trustees -- July 8, 2003

Meeting Space

DeKalb County Public Library provides meeting space for library-sponsored or co-sponsored programs. The meeting space may also be used by individuals or non-profit organizations for the purpose of non-profit activities supporting the Library's mission; however, the Library's meeting space is intended for use primarily by the Library, DeKalb County government, and city governments which provide continuing financial support to the Library. Priority for use will be given to Library-related programs.

Requests for use of the meeting rooms will be considered on a space-available basis. Meeting spaces are not available for purely social purposes, or for the benefit or self-promotion of individuals or commercial concerns. Permission to use a meeting space does not constitute endorsement of a group's policies or beliefs by the Library. The Library reserves the right to revoke permission for the use of any meeting space.

Organizations using the meeting space must observe the following regulations:

  1. All programs and meetings must be open to the public.
  2. Applications for use of the Library's meeting space must be submitted on a single-event basis.
  3. Admission fees, collections and donations are prohibited.
  4. Fundraising activities, other than those which benefit the Library, are prohibited.
  5. No products or services may be displayed, advertised, or sold on Library premises, except when the library is benefited.
  6. Noise, music, and other activities which interfere with the Library's operation are prohibited.
  7. The Library assumes no responsibility for security during meeting. The user is responsible for hiring security personnel or summoning the police if required.
  8. The Library may require that programs and meetings take place or begin during the Library's normal hours of operation.
  9. The Library reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule a meeting space reservation at any time.
  10. The Library Board of Trustees reserves the right to review any and all applications. The Board may reject applications that do not comply with this policy.
  11. Fees assessed to defray the cost of operating the meeting spaces are set by the Board of Trustees. These fees are non-refundable.
  12. Failure to comply with this policy and/or the procedures established by the Library may result in suspension of the privilege of using the meeting space.
  13. The Library Director is instructed to implement the foregoing policy with procedures as required.

Approved: DeKalb County Public Library Board of Trustees -- September 25, 1995.
Reaffirmed: July 9, 2002. Amended: October 25, 2005

Service to Schools

The Public Library serves patrons of all ages and should not be expected to fulfill every need of a given course of study, such as special curriculum assignments of students. Each patron is served as an individual and school classroom and curriculum research demands of an entire classroom, school, or particular course of study must be supplied primarily by the school library.

Approved: DeKalb County Library Board of Trustees -- March 4, 1985

Unattended Children in the Library

It is the policy of the DeKalb County Public Library to provide materials and services which meet the educational and recreational needs of all residents of DeKalb County. Library services do not include accepting responsibility for the care and safety of unattended children in the library. Parents or guardians are responsible for the conduct and safety of children under their care.
As a caring, community-minded organization, the library is concerned about the safety and well-being of people of all ages who use the library. In order to insure a safe, secure and suitable environment for library use, the Library Board of Trustees instructs the library director to implement this policy with procedures that delineate the library's responsibility regarding unattended children.

Approved -- DeKalb County Public Library Board of Trustees, November 4, 1996

Additional Information about Unattended Children in the Library

In accordance with the Unattended Children in the Library Policy and information from the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, the Library expects parents, caregivers, teens and children to follow these guidelines:

Children 8 and under

  • Should not be left alone in the Library. Parents and caregivers must remain within sight or sound of their children at all times to ensure safety and appropriate behaviors.
  • Caregivers must be 13 or older, be able to effectively supervise young children and be willing and able to provide contact information for a parent or guardian upon request.

Children age 9 through 12

  • May use the Library unattended based upon maturity and ability to act in accordance with the Conduct in Libraries Policy.  Children in this age range must be willing and able to provide contact information for a parent or guardian upon request.  If Library staff deems a child age 9 through 12 to be in need of supervision and no parent or caregiver can be located or contacted, Library staff will call the police.

Children age 13 through 17

  • May use the Library unattended based upon maturity and ability to act in accordance with the Conduct in Libraries Policy. Children in this age range, who cannot abide by the Conduct in Libraries Policy, may be asked by Library staff to leave the premises. The police may be called if warranted by the seriousness of Conduct in Libraries infraction. The Library does not assume responsibility or liability for children asked to leave the property.