As many in our community know, the library has been dealing with a noise issue for several years, primarily related to junior high students coming to the library after school. The library maintains a clear policy on Patron Behavior. It is posted physically in several locations at the library and available for download below. This applies to patrons of all ages.  

Recently, in order to deal with this noise and behavior issue, we were going to institute a procedure whereby junior high students would sign in and show identification (such as a school ID) when entering the library to establish more accountability on the part of those students. If a student did not have an ID or refused to produce an ID, they would still be able to use the library. Access was never denied. Our library’s mission is to allow access for everyone as long as standards of behavior are upheld.  

Logistically, the sign in procedure was too burdensome for staff and was not undertaken. We decided to use the Helen Wilson room in the basement as an alternative venue for the junior high students. While downstairs in the Helen Wilson room, the students (under supervision by a staff member and a roving library monitor) would be permitted to listen to music, play board games, eat snacks, and participate in library programs. This is a procedure that another Chicagoland library in Lansing, IL had instituted with great success. The effect in that library was that noise and disorder were greatly diminished in the other open areas of their library.  

Our after-school students will still be able to use the actual Teen area upstairs to do homework, make use of the computers, and utilize tutors if they so choose. They are now being offered an alternative if they do not wish to quietly work, study, or use the computers. However, I want to convey to all our patrons that our library Patron Behavior Policy remains in place, and will be strictly enforced throughout the library outside of the Helen Wilson room. Staff will follow the “three strikes” procedure that has been in place since the beginning of the school year. If the behavior continues, upon the third strike, the person will be asked to leave. If a person of any age does not follow our Patron Behavior Policy, staff will ask for an ID. The identification will be utilized in preparing an incident report and documenting the behavior.

We want our library to be a welcoming place for all of our patrons. We believe that the enforcement of our current policy regarding patron behavior, along with providing an alternative space for the junior high age patrons, will result in a great library environment for everyone.  

In closing, I am thankful for the discussion our community has engaged in because it continues to give us opportunities to work together for the betterment of all involved. Please know that I'm always willing to listen and am very appreciative of the passion for the library in our community! Please don’t hesitate to contact me with ideas or questions you might have. Thank you so much.


Aaron A. Carlin
Library Director
Flossmoor Public Library



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