The Central Library seeks to create a welcoming, comfortable, and safe environment for our users. The library is a place for learning and reflection, and our staff supports these activities by providing helpful, responsive, and knowledgeable service. Mutual courtesy and respect among users and staff are essential to promoting the educational mission of the library.
One of our highest goals is to create a setting where our users feel free to pursue research and study without compromising their privacy or safety. Equally important is protecting the physical integrity of our books, journals, and other resources. These materials form the intellectual core of the library, and we endeavor to assure that users have access to sources of information that are in serviceable condition. Computing equipment is another vital resource that we must protect.
We prohibit the following behaviors because they are destructive of a productive and helpful library environment.
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Abuse of Property
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- Mutilating library materials. Marking, highlighting, or underlining text and writing upon or folding pages may seem harmless, but these actions deface books or journals and interfere with other users' ability to read and enjoy them. Removing pages, portions of pages, or bindings are selfish acts of vandalism that deny effective use of the materials to others. Removing electronic theft devices decreases our ability to protect university property and may be considered an act of preparation for theft. Users wishing to mark or keep pages should photocopy them at one of our public photocopiers located throughout the library.
- Removing materials from the library without checking them out.
- Concealing library materials for the exclusive use of an individual or group.
- Failing to pay fees charged by the library to replace items borrowed and not returned.
- Failing to return recalled items.
- Stealing library property or the personal property of users or staff. Our users can help us protect against thefts by attending to their property at all times.
- Tampering with computer software. This includes altering, deleting, damaging, or destroying any computer system, computer program, or data. We also prohibit installing software not approved by library staff. These actions are comparable to mutilating print materials in that they limit other users' ability to use the resources effectively.
- Vandalizing or defacing the library building, furniture, or equipment.
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- Carrying weapons in the library.
- Causing a disturbance or engaging in other behavior that impedes others' safe and comfortable use of the library. Proscribed behavior includes (but is not limited to) verbal abuse, threats of violence, sexual harassment, or stalking another person (following them around the library building). Also prohibited is harassment on account of race, religion, ethnic background, gender, or sexual orientation.
- Making excessive noise. The Central Library strives to provide a place for its users that is conducive to study and research. Please be considerate of your fellow library users by keeping noise to a minimum. We have designated some locations as appropriate for group study, where you can converse without disturbing others. These locations are marked by "Group Study" signs. Although normal conversational levels are necessary and appropriate for personal interaction with library staff or other library users, courtesy is a primary consideration. Conversations should not be loud enough to disturb those engaged in reading, research, and study. Sound from headphones should not be audible to others.
- Cell phones should be set to no-ring (vibrate) mode upon entering the library. We permit cell phone use in stairwells, the second floor lobby, and the photocopier room on level four. Use of cell phones in other locations can be disruptive. If you need to use a cell phone in the library, please do so in our stairwells or in other areas marked with "Cell Phone Zone" signs.
- Consuming alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs in the library.
- Eating food in the library. We permit nonalcoholic drinks in closed containers, but food residue attracts insects that often eat paper and make everyone's library experience unpleasant.
- Smoking or using smokeless tobacco in the library. Our breezeway off the second level is a covered outdoor location where smoking is permitted.
- Entering unauthorized areas of the library or remaining in the library after closing or when requested to leave during emergency situations or drills.
- Opening emergency exits except in emergency situations.
- Misusing university identification cards. ID cards are not transferable, and it is a violation of university policy to give them to others for entrance to the library or other uses.
- Bringing animals into the library (except those required for personal assistance).
- Soliciting for business, political, religious, or social organizations, either in person or through the distribution of promotional materials. University-affiliated organizations may post flyers on library bulletin boards upon consultation with our administration office.
Misuse of Computers
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- Downloading, printing, transmitting, or disseminating sexually explicit images of children. This activity is not protected by the First Amendment and is a violation of federal law.
- Systematically downloading, printing, or disseminating content from our licensed electronic resources. Usage of most of the databases and ejournals on the library homepage is governed by licenses that prohibit these behaviors. These activities also violate copyright law and could result in revocation of our ability to provide electronic resources. Both copyright law and our licenses permit users to download, email, or print small portions of databases or occasional articles in ejournals.
Children in the Library
Allowing children under the age of 14 to enter the library unaccompanied by an adult. As an academic library the Central Library is not organized, like public libraries, to provide services for children. We do not censor print resources, and our computers provide unfiltered access to the Internet. We welcome children accompanied by a responsible adult, but we are not equipped to care for unsupervised children.
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The library reserves the right to sanction those engaging in any of the above behaviors. Among the sanctions are: asking the offending person(s) to leave the library; suspension and/or cessation of library access or borrowing privileges; referring them (if they are Vanderbilt students) to Student Conduct and Academic Integrity for disciplinary action; reporting them to University or Nashville-Davidson County Police; or pursuing legal prosecution.
We welcome comments on this policy from our users. Please send your comments to our Tell Us service.
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