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KU Libraries: Code of Conduct for Library Users


In the interest of protecting the rights of all users and in order to provide an environment suitable for pursuit of scholarly activities, the University of Kansas Libraries have enacted a Code of Conduct for Library Users. This Code of Conduct supplements existing University and other Library policies and provides guidance for all library users. Library users must ensure their use of library facilities, services, collections, electronic resources, and equipment does not infringe on or disrupt the work, research, and use by other library users. The Code of Conduct is designed to encourage maintenance of a positive and productive learning environment in which all persons treat each other with respect and courtesy.

Applies to: 

All users of the University of Kansas Libraries facilities, services, collections, electronic resources, and/or equipment on the Lawrence Campus including: 1) KU Undergraduate, Graduate, and Law students currently enrolled through the Lawrence and Edwards Campuses; 2) KU Faculty (including Lecturers), Unclassified Academic Staff, Unclassified Professional Staff, University Support Staff, and Affiliates (including Emeritus and Retirees) currently in active or leave status in Lawrence/Edwards Campus HR records; 3) KU Med Students, Faculty, and Staff; 4) Resident and Reciprocal library users; 5) Visiting Scholars; and 6) all other visitors. This policy applies to collections and services in Anschutz Library, Gorton Music & Dance Library, Library Annex, Murphy Art & Architecture Library, Spahr Engineering Library, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, and Watson Library.

Policy Statement: 
  1. Libraries' Commitment to Our Users.
    1. The University of Kansas Libraries are committed to providing the highest level of service, access, and instruction to all library users.
    2. The Libraries' primary mission is to serve the Students, Faculty, and Staff of the University of Kansas.
  2. Expectations for Users of Copyrighted Materials and Licensed and Other Electronic Resources.
    1. Protect the privacy of your KU Online ID and Password, and do not share this access with other individuals.
    2. Library users are expected to respect the rights of copyright owners and, when appropriate, to obtain permission from owners before using or copying protected material.
    3. Use electronic information resources for educational and research purposes only in an ethical and lawful manner. Electronic information resources are not available for commercial or other for-profit purposes.
    4. All patrons using online and Internet resources are expected to show common courtesy and respect for the privacy and sensibilities of others and to avoid accessing illegal forms of expression.
    5. The KU Libraries' collections and services are developed for an adult audience, and the libraries offer open access to a number of electronic resources as well as the Internet. Use of the resources is not monitored by library staff. In all cases in which non-KU students under the age of 18 are using these resources, parents, guardians, and other adult care providers are responsible for overseeing and supervising the minors' use of the Libraries. For the purposes of this policy, currently enrolled KU students are considered adults.
  3. Acceptable Use of the Internet on Public Workstations.
    1. For the purposes of this policy, public workstations include:
      1. Public Workstations requiring the KU Online ID and Password for login.
      2. Community Access Workstations that do not require the KU login.
    2. The KU Libraries provide open access to the Internet for authorized users for academic and educational purposes. Academic freedom in teaching and research and the right of freedom of speech are fundamental principles of the KU Libraries.
    3. Accessing and viewing controversial material is protected speech. Constitutionally protected speech is all speech not explicitly denied such protection, e.g., libel, child pornography, true threats, incitement to imminent violence, fighting words, unlawful, targeted harassment, etc.
    4. The Libraries support of the First Amendment also extends to the endorsement of the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights, which supports access to information and opposes censorship, and/or restricting access to information.
    5. This policy upholds the individual's right to privacy, and staff do not monitor content or censor access to materials that others may find offensive.
    6. Users should strive to be sensitive to the diverse population accessing University computers, and all should treat others with dignity and respect.
  4. Library Borrower Responsibilities.
    1. Library borrowers should familiarize themselves with access, circulation, and request services, policies, and procedures.
    2. Borrowing, Renewing, and Returning Library Materials.
      1. Come to the library prepared to present a valid KU Card or government issued photo identification, KU Proxy Borrower Card and photo identification, or a KU Library Borrower Card and photo identification. These forms of identification are not transferrable and should not be loaned to others.
      2. Follow appropriate procedures to check out library materials before removing them from the library.
        1. Borrowers are responsible for what they check out, for keeping track of due dates, for renewing and/or returning items on time in the same condition as when they were checked out, and for monitoring and responding to library notices.
        2. KU items are subject to recall at any time and will need to be returned within 14 days of the first recall notice date to avoid overdue charges.
      3. Do not re-shelve library materials, including items a borrower has checked out.
    3. Maintain Email and Postal Mailing Address Information.
      1. Keep your email and postal mailing addresses up to date in University and Library records. The KU Libraries assume no responsibility for undeliverable or misdirected notices.
      2. Library users must ensure that email from ku.edu email addresses is not diverted to junk or spam quarantine files.
      3. KU Students, Faculty, Staff, and Affiliates who do not use their KU email account must be certain to create appropriate forwarding settings from the KU account.
    4. Pay Library Fines, Fees, Lost Item, and Damage Charges.
      1. Timely payment of accrued library charges is expected.
        1. KU Students, Faculty, Staff, and Affiliates may pay charges due at the library online via myKU Portal.
        2. All library users may pay in person at the Watson Library Checkout Desk or by mail to the address provided in the Notice of Fine or Fee or the Statement of Fines and Fees.
      2. Payment of library charges is the responsibility of the borrower regardless of being away from campus or out of town, unread email, never received notices, etc.
    5. Report Lost or Stolen Cards.
      1. A borrower is financially responsible for all material checked out using the borrower's card.
      2. If your KU Card, KU Library Proxy Borrower Card, or KU Library Borrower Card has been lost or stolen, you must deactivate it immediately in order to prevent unauthorized use. See Lost or Stolen Cards for assistance in declaring your card lost or stolen.
  5. Care and Handling of Library Materials.
    1. All library users can help extend the life of the University of Kansas Libraries' collections by following these guidelines:
      1. Protect borrowed materials from rain, dampness, sun, heat, pets, and smoking and tobacco products.
      2. Handle books carefully, especially when photocopying.
      3. Mark your place with a bookmark; do not bend corners of pages or use tape, sticky notes, paper clips, or other objects.
      4. Take notes rather than using highlighters, underlining, or writing in the margins of the Libraries' books and periodicals.
      5. Avoid eating snacks and drinking beverages while handling or working around library materials.
    2. Please notify the library staff at any service desk if you discover a book that needs repair.
  6. Expectations for Library Users of Equipment and Facilities.
    1. The facilities of the University of Kansas Libraries are intended for research and study, to support the mission of the University, and to preserve and protect the collections and resources for future users.  Expectations of library users include, but are not limited to, the list provided here.
    2. Access to library facilities during overnight study facility hours (when library staff are not present) requires status as a current KU Student, Faculty, Staff, or Affiliate.  You may be asked to present your KU Card.  Individuals without an appropriate ID may be asked to leave the facility.
    3. Library patrons cannot enter staff work areas without permission or appointment.
    4. Follow all instructions provided for use of library equipment including computer workstations, scanners, laptops, printers, microform readers, and all other electronic devices.
    5. Food and drink policies vary by library location, and all library users should be aware of and adhere to the policies applicable in the library they are using. Library users are asked to help maintain a clean, pest-free environment, and to aid in the preservation of library collections and equipment.
    6. For your personal safety, please wear appropriate clothing and shoes while inside any library location.
    7. Do not leave personal items unattended.  The KU Libraries are not responsible for personal items.  Items left unattended for an extended period of time may be removed by library staff or the KU Department of Public Safety.
    8. All library users are expected to leave library buildings at closing time and when an evacuation alarm has sounded or is announced. In the case of a severe weather-related watch or warning, all users are expected to follow instructions provided.  Announcements and instructions will be provided by library staff, the KU Alert system, and/or by KU Public Safety personnel.
  7. Noise Policy.
    1. The University of Kansas Libraries are committed to providing a welcoming environment that is conducive to a variety of study needs. Noise should be kept to a minimum throughout the library, and the guidelines outlined here are strictly enforced.
    2. Quiet Study areas are designated in all of the libraries. Conversation and phone use are not permitted in these areas.
    3. Group Study is permitted in all places that are not designated Quiet Study areas. However, conversations should be kept at a low volume. Students may reserve group study rooms in Anschutz and Watson Libraries.
    4. Cell Zones: Cell phones and pagers must be turned off or set to silent mode in all of the libraries. If you must use your cell phone to make or receive calls, please go to one of the cell phone friendly areas, keep it brief, and at a low volume. Cell Zone areas are designed in Anschutz and Watson Libraries.
  8. Prohibited Behaviors in the University of Kansas Libraries.
    1. Prohibited behaviors include, but are not limited to, the list provided here.
    2. Acting as if under the influence or the consumption of alcoholic beverages or drugs of any type is prohibited in all facilities of the University of Kansas Libraries.
    3. No pets are allowed in all facilities of the University of Kansas Libraries. An owner-accompanied service animal is permitted in all library buildings as a reasonable accommodation to assist the owner.
    4. Smoking, and use of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and similar devices, are not permitted in any library or within a 20-foot radius of all library entrances, doors and windows, and air intakes.
    5. Behavior that interferes with normal use of the libraries is not allowed. Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to:
      1. Excessive noise from loud voices, cell phones, and personal listening devices.
      2. Rowdiness.
      3. Inappropriate use of equipment and computers.
    6. Behaviors that are inappropriate in library facilities are not allowed.  Examples of inappropriate behavior include, but are not limited to:
      1. Exhibit of any threatening or intimidating behaviors, e.g., abusive language, staring, threats of violence, or any other type of unlawful, targeted harassment.
      2. Use of library space for prolonged or habitual sleeping or as living quarters.
      3. Use of restroom facilities for purposes other than which they are intended.
      4. Posing a sanitary, health, or safety risk to self or others, including offensive body odor.
      5. Engaging in sexual harassment or overt sexual behavior.
    7. Misuse, misappropriation, or damage to library collections, resources, furniture, buildings, or equipment is not allowed.
  9. Weapons Policy in KU Libraries.
    1. The KU Libraries comply with all policies outlined in University policies on weapons, including firearms:
      1. University of Kansas Policy on Weapons, including Firearms - Effective July 1, 2017.
      2. Lawrence Campus Implementation Procedures for the University-Wide Weapons Policy and the Kansas Board of Regents Weapons Possession Policy.  Types of weapons are identified in the Definitions section of the aforementioned policy.
    2. All library staff interactions with library patrons will be conducted in compliance with Kansas law, Kansas Board of Regents policy, and University policies and procedures.  Library patrons should be aware that:
      1. If library staff see a weapon, KU Public Safety will be notified.
      2. KU does not provide publicly-available secure storage for concealed handguns.  Lockers located in multiple library locations do not provide secure storage for weapons of any type.
  10. Consequences of Failure to Comply with Code of Conduct for Library Users.
    1. Library users who fail to meet the expectations outlined in this code, who fail to use copyrighted materials and electronic resources in appropriate ways, or who engage in prohibited behaviors, will face disciplinary or legal action to be taken in accordance with the laws of the State of Kansas and University and Library policies.
    2. Users engaged in activities that are illegal or that disrupt the work of other library users will be asked to cease that activity and may be reported to the KU Department of Public Safety.
    3. Library users found to be in violation of the Code of Conduct for Library Users may be asked to present identification.  Individuals whose behavior causes complaint, either from library users or from library staff, will be asked to refrain from the inappropriate behavior and may be asked to leave the library premises if they refuse to comply.  If necessary, the KU Department of Public Safety will be called to assist.  If the offense is determined to be of a serious enough nature, or where a user repeatedly engages in inappropriate behavior, the user may be banned from all sites of the University of Kansas Libraries.
    4. The responsibility for appropriate use of copyrighted, licensed, and other electronic resources lies with the user.  The University may suspend delivery of services to any individual found to be in violation of its policies.
    5. Suspension of access to checkout and request privileges.
      1. Library borrowing and request privileges, including checkout of circulating collections, and use of request services (when requestor is eligible) including Recalls, Retrieve from Shelf, TripSaver, Home Loan Delivery, and WebRetrieve (interlibrary loan) are suspended if the library user:
        1. Accumulates a total of $80 or more in unpaid library charges.
        2. Is no longer enrolled at or employed with the University.
        3. No longer has a valid KU Library Borrower Card.
      2. Proxy borrower and request privileges will be suspended if the combined total due from the sponsor and all proxies equals $80 or more, or if the sponsor is no longer enrolled at or employed with the University.
    6. Unpaid charges are turned over to Student Account Services for collection.  Failure to pay will result in the placement of holds on transcripts and enrollment, referral of unpaid charges to collection agencies, and/or garnishment of paychecks, state income tax refunds, etc.
    7. Enforcement of the KU Libraries Code of Conduct for Library Users will be conducted in a fair and reasonable manner.  Concerns regarding the implementation and enforcement of the Code may be directed to the Assistant Dean of Libraries for Content and Access Services (University of Kansas Libraries, Watson Library, Room 502, 1425 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS; 785-864-3601).
  11. Theft and/or Intentional Mutilation or Damage to Library Collections, Equipment, and/or Facilities.
    1. As a deterrent to theft and intentional mutilation of library collections, equipment, and/or facilities, and as a means to recover the cost of resulting loss and damage, the University of Kansas Libraries will prosecute persons who:
      1. Willfully damage library collections, equipment, and/or facilities.
      2. Intentionally misplace library collections, equipment, and/or items located in library facilities so as to deprive others of their use.
      3. Willfully and without authorization take or attempt to take library collections, equipment, and/or items belonging to the library facility from the library.
      4. Fail to return checked out library collections or equipment with the result of depriving others of their use.
    2. To provide appropriate application of penalties against individuals charged with these offenses and to ensure protection of rights in such cases, the University of Kansas Libraries will evaluate all circumstances and determine whether to pursue discipline under KU's Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities (Student Code), or criminal, and/or civil charges.
  12. Food and Drink Policy for Anschutz and Watson Libraries.
    1. Note: Other locations of the KU Libraries system may set more restrictive policies for users and staff.
    2. Library staff members are responsible for maintaining collections, equipment, and furnishings for both current and future users. We also strive to provide a neat and comfortable research and study environment. This policy attempts to achieve a balance between these needs.
    3. Avoid consuming food and drinks or exposure to smoke and tobacco products and your pets while using library collections (books, journals, microforms, laptops, etc.) that you check out from the library.
    4. Food and drinks purchased in a library location or brought into the library may be consumed away from library collections, computers, and equipment.
    5. Dispose of all trash in appropriate containers so that a clean environment can be maintained. Report any spills you cannot effectively clean up to library staff so that appropriate action can be taken.
  13. Kenneth Spencer Research Library.
    1. All of the above policy statements apply to Kenneth Spencer Research Library. In addition, the policies outlined here also apply.
    2. The library's procedures are designed to ensure the safety and preservation of the collections for future generations.
    3. Materials from the Kenneth Spencer Research Library collections must be used on-site in the library's reading room.
    4. Leave all food and beverages outside the library.
    5. Place personal items in a locker.
    6. All researchers must first check in at the reception desk. First-time users will be asked to show photo identification and to create a user account.
    7. Handle all materials with care. If the materials requested require special handling, library staff will assist you.
    8. Use a pencil or a computer to take notes.
    9. Library staff will review your requests for photocopies, self-service scanning or digital photography; some materials may not be safely copied.
    10. Any materials the user takes into the reading room will be examined by library staff when the user leaves.
Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

This policy does not apply to Wheat Law Library on the Lawrence campus or to the KU Medical Center libraries (Clendening, Dykes, and Farha).


Consequences are outlined in sections IX and X of this policy.  If disciplinary action is pursued through the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities (Student Code), that process will determine consequences.  If legal proceedings become necessary, the consequences will be determined by the criminal and/or civil processes and proceedings.

Approved by: 
Assistant Dean of Libraries for Content and Access Services
Approved on: 
Monday, August 1, 2005
Effective on: 
Monday, August 1, 2005
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
expectations, behavior, consequences
Change History: 

05/16/2022: Updated to align with KBOR's Statement on Free Expression.
10/27/2017: Policy update reviewed and approved by the Assistant Dean of Libraries for Content and Access Services.  Added section IX - Weapons Policy in KU Libraries. Updated and added links to KU Policy Library documents and to library website content.
07/03/2017: Updated link to weapons policy.
07/11/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
09/28/2015: Fixed links in Related Other so they will open in a new window.
09/25/2015: Updated content following review with KU General Counsel.
03/12/2015: Updated content following review with KU Public Safety.
02/20/2015: Updated content regarding access to and use of library facilities.
01/06/2015: Added original policy approval and effective dates to the Contacts and Dates section.
12/15/2014: Added links to Related Policies.
11/26/2014: Published in the Policy Library.
11/12/2014: Reviewed and approved for inclusion in KU Policy Library.
11/12/2014: Revised.
03/15/2014: Revised.
03/18/2010: Revised.
09/30/2009: Revised.
08/01/2005: Policy effective.

Information Access & Technology Categories: 
Information Access
Privacy & Security
Libraries Categories: 
Code of Conduct
Library User Responsibilities
Privacy and Confidentiality

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