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 272014

Adden­dum in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

In order to mit­i­gate pos­si­ble dis­ease trans­mis­sion and keep patrons and staff safe dur­ing library branch vis­its, the Library Board of Trustees has approved these addi­tion­al guidelines:

  1. All patrons over the age of 8 years old are required to wear face cov­er­ings through­out the dura­tion of their vis­it. Accom­mo­da­tions will be made for those who claim med­ical or reli­gious exemp­tion from wear­ing a face cov­er­ing. The accom­mo­da­tion will be ser­vice out­side the build­ing, over the phone or vir­tu­al­ly. This is in accor­dance with a DeKalb Coun­ty Gov­ern­ment ordi­nance adopt­ed by the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers on July 212020.
  2. All patrons will sub­mit to a tem­per­a­ture check when enter­ing a branch. Any­one reg­is­ter­ing a tem­per­a­ture of 100.4 F or high­er will not be allowed to enter the building.
  3. Patrons shall make use of hand san­i­tiz­er sta­tions in the building.
  4. Patrons exhibit­ing cold or flu-like symp­toms will not be allowed to enter the library.
  5. Patrons will not move fur­ni­ture, which has been arranged to sup­port social distancing.
  6. Patrons will observe build­ing occu­pan­cy lim­its and pro­ce­dures, which are based on pub­lic health con­di­tions and are sub­ject to change.
  7. Patrons will stay at least 6 feet away from oth­ers who are not part of their households.
  8. Chil­dren 13 and younger must be accom­pa­nied by a care­giv­er at least 17 years old while vis­it­ing the library.
  9. Patrons shall lim­it per­son­al belong­ings to 2 bags.
  10. Patrons who refuse to com­ply with these guide­lines will be asked to leave for the day. Two instances of non-com­pli­ance will result in the sus­pen­sion of library privileges.

Approved: DeKalb Coun­ty Pub­lic Library Board of Trustees — Jan­u­ary 112021

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. DeKalb Coun­ty Pub­lic Library does not charge fines for library mate­ri­als that are returned late with the excep­tion of items bor­rowed from oth­er library sys­tems through Inter­li­brary Loan.
  2. All card­hold­ers are respon­si­ble for items that are not returned or are returned dam­aged, as deter­mined by the Library’s replace­ment costs. DeKalb Coun­ty Pub­lic Library employs a col­lec­tion agency, Unique Man­age­ment, to han­dle the col­lec­tion of unpaid lost mate­ri­als, and dam­aged materials.
  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
Amend­ed: March 7, 2022 (pro­posed)

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 31988


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. 161280), child pornog­ra­phy as defined under fed­er­al or state law (18 U.S.C. 2256;O.C.G.A. 1612100), and mate­r­i­al that is harm­ful to minors” as defined under Geor­gia law (O.C.G.A. 1612102). 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 82003

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 252005

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 41985

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 41996

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.

Social Media

DeKalb Coun­ty Pub­lic Library (DCPL) believes social media is an impor­tant tool to pro­mote the Library’s col­lec­tions and pro­grams, share knowl­edge, and enhance com­mu­ni­ca­tion with patrons. The Library uses its social media chan­nels to inform, edu­cate, and engage our community. 

For the pur­pos­es of this pol­i­cy, social media refers to any free and/​or com­mer­cial plat­form, appli­ca­tion, or ser­vice, not includ­ing the Library’s web­site, ILS or oth­er paid resources. Exam­ples include but are not lim­it­ed to Face­book, Twit­ter, Insta­gram, YouTube, Pin­ter­est and TikTok.

Staff man­age­ment of social media
Social media chan­nels are mon­i­tored and man­aged by Library staff. They are respon­si­ble for both man­ag­ing con­tent and imple­ment­ing the social media pol­i­cy. Staff mem­bers will endeav­or to pro­vide the same lev­el of cus­tomer ser­vice and res­o­lu­tion of any prob­lems as they would in a branch setting. 

Patron engage­ment with library social media
The Library encour­ages patrons to inter­act with the Library and each oth­er through com­ments, posts, and mes­sages in a respect­ful man­ner. The Library rec­og­nizes and respects dif­fer­ences of opin­ion. The Library reserves the right to edit, delete and block posts if they are deemed inap­pro­pri­ate due to any of the following:

  • Com­ments that are pro­fane, abu­sive, vul­gar or obscene
  • Con­tent or com­ments that degrade, defame or dis­crim­i­nate against others
  • Com­ments that are threat­en­ing or harass­ing in nature
  • Com­mer­cial activ­i­ty or fundrais­ing efforts unre­lat­ed to the Library
  • Com­ments that are irrel­e­vant, con­tain false infor­ma­tion or are off topic
  • Any con­tent that vio­lates copyright

The Library is not respon­si­ble for the con­tent post­ed by patrons and fol­low­ers on its social media plat­forms. The Library may not have the resources to review and respond to every com­ment or post. 

DeKalb Coun­ty Pub­lic Library Board of Trustees
May 92022