Selected California State Laws of Interest in Drafting Patron Behavior Rules in Libraries

 

Mary Minow http://www.librarylaw.com

Sample policy that cites library mission, state laws, and  university policy in its library rules

Meriam Library, California State University, Chico. Library Code of Conduct at http://www.csuchico.edu/library/libadmin/coc.htm

Other sample policies at http://www.librarylaw.com

 

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See  http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html for current laws

 

Selected California Laws:

Destruction and Defacing of Library Property

California Education Code § 19910 Any person who maliciously cuts, tears, defaces, breaks, or injures any book, map, chart, picture, engraving, statue, coin, model, apparatus, or other work of literature, art, mechanics, or object of curiosity, deposited in any public library, gallery, museum, collection, fair, or exhibition, is guilty of a misdemeanor. The parent or guardian of a minor who willfully and maliciously commits any act within the scope of this section shall be liable for all damages so caused by the minor. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/edc/19910-19911.html

Failure to Return Library Materials

California Education Code § 19911 Any person who willfully detains any book, newspaper, magazine, pamphlet, manuscript, or other property belonging to any public or incorporated library, reading room, museum, or other educational institution, for 30 days after notice in writing to return the article or property, given after the expiration of the time for which by the rules of the institution the article or property may be kept, is guilty of a misdemeanor. The parent or guardian of a minor who willfully and maliciously commits any act within the scope of this section shall be liable for all damages so caused by the minor. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/edc/19910-19911.html

 

Theft of library materials, Searches, and Reasonable Detention of Patrons by Library Personnel

California Penal Code § 490.5(a) Upon a first conviction for petty theft involving merchandise taken from a merchant’s premises or a book or other library materials taken from a library facility, a person shall be punished by a mandatory fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50) and not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each such violation; and may also be punished by imprisonment in the county jail, not exceeding six months, or both such fine and imprisonment.

… continues in detail defining library materials, describing guardian responsibility for minor’s behavior, and allows library to detain a patron for a reasonable time for the purpose of conducting an investigation in a reasonable manner if there is probable cause to believe the patron is attempting to unlawfully take or has unlawfully taken merchandise from the merchant’s premises…

(h) Any library facility shall post at its entrance and exit a conspicuous sign to read as follows: “IN ORDER TO PREVENT THE THEFT OF BOOKS AND LIBRARY MATERIALS, STATE LAW AUTHORIZES THE DETENTION FOR A REASONABLE PERIOD OF ANY PERSON USING THESE FACILITIES SUSPECTED OF COMMITTING “LIBRARY THEFT” (PENAL CODE SECTION 490.5).”  http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/pen/484-502.9.html

Fights, Loud and Unreasonable noise, Fighting Words

California Penal Code § 415 Any of the following persons shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than 90 days, a fine of not more than four hundred dollars ($400), or both such imprisonment and fine: (1) Any person who unlawfully fights in a public place or challenges another person in a public place to fight. (2) Any person who maliciously and willfully disturbs another person by loud and unreasonable noise. (3) Any person who uses offensive words in a public place which are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/pen/403-420.1.html

Vandalism

California Penal Code §594. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/pen/594-625c.html

(lengthy)

Trespass: Refusing to Leave Public Building when Closed

California Penal Code § 602(p) Refusing or failing to leave a public building of a public agency during those hours of the day or night when the building is regularly closed to the public upon being requested to do so by a regularly employed guard, watchman, or custodian of the public agency owning or maintaining the building or property, if the surrounding circumstances are such as to indicate to a reasonable person that the person has no apparent lawful business to pursue. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/pen/594-625c.html

Intentional Interference with the Public or Public Employees

California Penal Code § 602.1. (a) Any person who intentionally interferes with any lawful business or occupation carried on by the owner or agent of a business establishment open to the public, by obstructing or intimidating those attempting to carry on business, or their customers, and who refuses to leave the premises of the business establishment after being requested to leave by the owner or the owner’s agent, or by a peace officer acting at the request of the owner or owner’s agent, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for up to 90 days, or by a fine of up to four hundred dollars ($400), or by both that imprisonment and fine. (b) Any person who intentionally interferes with any lawful business carried on by the employees of a public agency open to the public, by obstructing or intimidating those attempting to carry on business, or those persons there to transact business with the public agency, and who refuses to leave the premises of the public agency after being requested to leave by the office manager or a supervisor of the public agency, or by a peace officer acting at the request of the office manager or a supervisor of the public agency, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for up to 90 days, or by a fine of up to four hundred dollars ($400), or by both that imprisonment and fine. (c) This section shall not apply to any of the following persons: (1) Any person engaged in lawful labor union activities that are permitted to be carried out on the property by state or federal law. (2) Any person on the premises who is engaging in activities protected by the California Constitution or the United States Constitution. (d) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to supersede the application of any other law. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/pen/594-625c.html

Credible Threat

California Penal Code § 646.9. (a) Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family, is guilty of the crime of stalking, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the state prison. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/pen/639-653.1.html

Disorderly Conduct, Lewd Behavior, Upskirting, Loitering, Under the Influence

California Penal Code § 647. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/pen/639-653.1.html Excerpts: Every person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor: (a) Who solicits anyone to engage in or who engages in lewd or dissolute conduct in any public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view... (c) Who accosts other persons in any public place or in any place open to the public for the purpose of begging or soliciting alms. (d) Who loiters in or about any toilet open to the public for the purpose of engaging in or soliciting any lewd or lascivious or any unlawful act. (e) Who loiters or wanders upon the streets or from place to place without apparent reason or business and who refuses to identify himself or herself and to account for his or her presence when requested by any peace officer so to do, if the surrounding circumstances would indicate to a reasonable person that the public safety demands this identification (f) Who is found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance … interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way.

In addition, see California Penal Code 653g. Every person who loiters about any school or public place at or near which children attend or normally congregate and who remains at any school or public place at or near which children attend or normally congregate …  As used in this section, "loiter" means to delay, to linger, or to idle about a school or public place without lawful business for being present.

Nuisance Law

California Civil Code § 3479 Anything which is injurious to health, including, but not limited to, the illegal sale of controlled substances, or is indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property, or unlawfully obstructs the free passage or use, in the customary manner, of any navigable lake, or river, bay, stream, canal, or basin, or any public park, square, street, or highway, is a nuisance.

§3480 A public nuisance is one which affects at the same time an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons, although the extent of the annoyance or damage inflicted upon individuals may be unequal.

Note: The California Supreme Court recently provided a rather exhaustive discussion of public nuisance law in People ex rel. Gallo v. Acuna (1997) 14 Cal.4th 1090, 1102, 60 Cal.Rptr.2d 277.

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate?WAISdocID=80472816453+0+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve