Aiken County, S.C. -
Public libraries are known as a place of quiet study and reading. Now, lawmakers in South Carolina are working on a bill to ensure people are utilizing the areas properly.
When it comes to a safe and peaceful environment for three-year old Addison, her father, Doug Lovely, is on board for whatever it takes.
“I bring my daughter here to the park and the library quite often, and I think having a misdemeanor for disruptive behavior at the library, I think it’s quite acceptable if you want to say, so I agree with it,” said Lovely.
Like Lovely, A.B.B.E Regional Library Director Mary Jo Dawson is in favor of a new bill that would enforce library behavior.
“I think the importance of it, is that it’s going to create a tool that will be used by library management in coordination with law enforcement to put some teeth into our code of conducts or behaviors policies across the state.”
Dawson said the library systems codes of conduct vary across the state, and this bill would help unify them.
“Prior to this Senate Bill 813, we could ask someone to leave the library, but there was nothing in state law to prevent them from coming back the next day,” said Dawson.
If the bill was passed, a person who is asked to leave more than once after causing a disturbance could face a misdemeanor and fines.
“If we were to ask someone to leave, we would need to have something in writing explaining what part of the code of conduct they have violated, and we would have to do it in the presence of law enforcement,” said Dawson.
Avid-library patron Janelle Snader believes staff should be able to enforce library standards.
“It makes sense that if someone is coming into the library that’s disrupting or anyone who is not obeying the library rules, there is no reason why if you’re not respecting the library that you should be allowed back in,” said Snader.
The bill has been approved by the Senate and now it’s moving through the house. Whether the bill is passed or not, the decision should come by June before the end of the legislative session.