Library Policies

This webpage outlines a portion of BPL's Policy Manual, with a focus on the most common situations that arise in general library operations and services. The policy manual for Bentonville Public Library is prepared by the Library Director and professional Librarians; it is approved by the Library Advisory Board and City Administration.

Library User Code of Conduct

For the safety and comfort of all Bentonville Public Library users, staff respectfully request your cooperation with our User Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is taken from the Bentonville Public Library's Policy Manual regarding Patron Responsibility & Customer Conduct, City of Bentonville Resolution #03-10-09F and #9-23-14C. 

A Non-Smoking & Tobacco-Free Campus

Smoking or using tobacco products (including simulated tobacco products) in the building, on exterior porches or on surrounding grounds is prohibited. 

Policy goals include all programmatic spaces, in order to:

  1. Promote cleanliness of the library grounds
  2. Maintain a healthy and safe environment for all patrons
  3. Model non-smoking behavior for children and teens. 

This policy was approved by the Library Advisory Board and the Bentonville City Council Resolution #9-23-14C (effective 9/23/2014).

Food & Drink

All outside catering must be approved by library staff.  Light snacks and drinks with lids are permitted in the library.


 Cell Phone Etiquette

Portable telephones should be switched to a non-audible signal and answered discreetly in designated areas of the Library.

Procedure dictates the library’s designated areas, but if patrons demonstrate quiet courtesy in other areas of the library, staff may determine such incidental use to be acceptable. Options for designated cell phone use areas in the library include, but are not limited to:

  • Front porch, café and foyer
  • Copy/Print room and Fireplace area
  • Teen Zone and adjacent spaces for teenage patrons
  • Private study rooms and group meeting rooms throughout the library
  • Public computers throughout the library, as necessitated by work being performed at PCs
  • Front desk, as necessitated by library business
  • Anywhere in the Children's Department, unless programs or storytimes are occurring; if there are programs in the children's department, the fish tank area is an acceptable space for cell phone use.

Pets & Animals

Only service animals are permitted in the Library.  Service animals must have proper identification.

Prohibited User Behavior

  • Theft, attempted theft or destruction of library materials or property.
  • All library materials must be properly checked out.  Intentional concealment of any library materials or any attempt to remove materials intentionally by circumventing established checkout or security procedures is a violation of library policy. 
  • If staff have reasonable cause to suspect theft or other violations of library policy, staff may exercise reasonable detention by requesting to search the person and any bags, briefcases, handbags or other similar containers.
  • Sleeping is not permitted in the library.
  • Weapons on library property are prohibited, including, but not limited to, guns, knives, stun-guns, pepper spray, clubs or other weapons.
  • Trespassing and/or loitering on Library property.
  • Loud talking, laughter or conversation that is clearly audible by any person 10 feet away. 
  • Disruptive behaviors such as cursing, abrasive or abusive language will not be tolerated in the library.
  • Use of any personal appliances, viewing or listening devices, or personal computers, when the volume may be heard by any person 3 feet away.
  • Loitering in library facilities without reading, studying, using or visible intent to use library materials is prohibited.
  • Lack of shoes and/or appropriate/socially decent attire by any persons.
  • Littering in library or on library property.
  • Entry into any staff work areas not open to the public.  Users are restricted to the public use areas of the library.
  • Skateboarding, rollerblading, bicycling, shoe skates, or transportation on any other human-powered wheeled conveyance in library building or on library property.
  • Interference with library staff's performance of their duties.
  • Entry into the library under conditions of body hygiene, such as the odor of bodily waste or other unpleasant odors, that impair the clean and sanitary environment intended for users' enjoyment of the facilities.
  • Personal belongings must be kept with user at all times and must not take up excess space or interfere with access to library services and materials.  Unattended personal belongings will be taken and effort will be made to identify and contact owner.  If not claimed within a reasonable amount of time, items will be disposed of.

Please note, regarding illegal activities that may occur on library premises, staff's first course of action is to notify the Bentonville Police Department. The Library Director, acting on behalf of the Library Advisory Board, may suspend the library privileges of any person who willfully violates regulations.

Children's Use of the Library

Libraries allow for discovery, growth and learning in children.  It is important, however, to remember that the Library is a public facility. 

Children under the age of 10 years old should not be left unsupervised in any area of the library.

  • As parents/guardians, you are responsible for your child's use of the Library and its resources. 
  • The Library does not have a specific responsibility to care for, or to watch out for children left unattended in its facilities.
  • Young children cannot be left in the Children's department while the parent or guardian uses other areas of the Library.
  • Children utilizing the library independently, or accompanied by parent or guardian, are expected to use good library behavior. 
  • If an unattended youth behaves in a disruptive manner, the young patron may be warned, and if behavior continues, asked to leave the Library.
  • Children who have not been picked up at closing time will be given the opportunity to call a parent.  Children not picked up within fifteen minutes after closing will be left in the care of the Bentonville Police Department.

We want to maintain the youth space for children's exclusive enjoyment.  For the safety and comfort of our youth, only adults accompanied by children should read and lounge in the Children's Library.

For more policies regarding Children's Library Etiquette, please visit our Parents page.

Teens in the Library

Teens using the library are expected to behave in accordance with our Code of Conduct. 

We want to maintain the young adult space for teen's exclusive enjoyment.  For the safety and comfort of our youth, only adults accompanied by teenagers should read and lounge in the Teen Zone.  

Library Monitored by Security Cameras

  • Several closed circuit video cameras, recording non-audible motion video, are located throughout the library facility and on the property as a security measure for library users, staff, facility and materials.
  • If illegal situations occur in the library, or on library property, the footage from the cameras may be used as evidence, and released to the police department as required by law.
  • Recordings from security cameras are viewable by library staff, but are not continually monitored; therefore, the presence of video cameras should not be considered security during emergency situations.

 Intellectual Freedom & Confidentiality

Inclement Weather 

The Mayor of Bentonville decides if City offices are open or closed during inclement weather and the Library will follow City policies accordingly.  If the Library is closed, the City posts on the local media TV/internet channels (KNWA, 40/29, Channel 5) and will be listed as Government / City of Bentonville Offices. As long as electricity and internet work, closures will also be posted on the library's website.

Children's programming is cancelled when Bentonville Public Schools are closed due to inclement weather.

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