Library Policies

Patron Policies | Building Policies | Collection and Donation Policies

Behavior Policy | Bag Policy | Bulletin Board Policy | Cell Phone Policy | Computer Policy | Exhibit Space Policy
Financial Donations Policy | Fines and Fees Policy | Five Year Plan | Giving Books Policy | Material Selection Policy
Meeting Room Policy | Registration (Library Card) Policy | Safe Child Policy

Patron Policies

  • Behavior

  • Bag Policy

  • Cell Phone

  • Computer

  • Fines and Fees

  • Registration

  • Safe Child

* * NEW * * Behavior and Conduct Policy

Approved 01/23/2018 by the Burke County Public Library Board of Trustees.

It is the policy of the Burke County Public Library (BCPL) to offer the full range of library services to all customers, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, racial or ethnic origin, religion, or economic status. It is the intent of the library to provide its programs, collections, and services with a minimum of regulations, adopting only those which are essential to the successful operation of the Burke County Public Library.

BCPL recognizes that library customers are in fact the owners of the library. As user-owners, the public has certain expectations of its public library. These include a collection of relevant and current materials, pleasant and attractive surroundings, engaging and informative programs, and courteous and effective staff members.

Customers have a right to assume that visits to the library will be free from harassment, free from physical discomfort and danger, and free from psychological and emotional stress.

The rights of both the public and the staff are sometimes violated by the attitudes and behavior of a very small number of persons.

It is expected that patrons shall engage in activities typically associated with use of a public library such as reading, studying, researching, participating in a library program or activity, or using library materials. Patrons not engaged in such activities may be required to leave the premises.

It shall be the policy of the Burke County Public Library to maintain in the library an environment conducive to study as well as casual use. To assure the successful implementation of this policy statement, the library considers the following descriptions to be representative, albeit not exhaustive, of behavior patterns unacceptable for the BCPL (BCPL includes the buildings and grounds of the Morganton, Valdese, and C.B. Hildebrand Public Libraries):

  • Sleeping.
  • Obscene or abusive language.
  • Use of tobacco products on library property.
  • Playing of audio or video such that sound is audible to others.
  • Blocking or in any way interfering with the free movement of any person or persons on library property.
  • Bringing animals other than service animals as covered by the ADA into BCPL buildings.
  • Use or consumption of illicit drugs or alcoholic beverages in BCPL buildings or on BCPL grounds.
  • Being in an intoxicated state in BCPL buildings or on BCPL grounds.
  • Removal of any BCPL property from the building or grounds without authorization through established lending procedures.
  • Soliciting or selling of any kind.
  • Panhandling.
  • Loitering.
  • Distribution of leaflets or posting notices without authorization through established BCPL policies and procedures.
  • Use of library telephones unless approved by BCPL personnel.
  • Consumption of food or beverages in non-designated areas in BCPL buildings.
  • Following staff or customers around BCPL buildings and/or BCPL grounds, or other harassing behavior such as staring or other intimidating acts.
  • Rearranging of any furniture in BCPL buildings or rearranging equipment in BCPL buildings without prior authorization by BCPL staff.
  • Engaging in disorderly conduct, committing a nuisance, or unreasonably disturbing and offending BCPL customers.
  • Carrying weapons of any sort.
  • Entering facilities of BCPL without footwear and/or shirt.
  • Purposely circumventing computer security or timing software or otherwise tampering with library computers or the library network.
  • Having body odor or personal hygiene that interferes with other patrons’ and/or staffs’ ability to use library facilities.
  • Making unreasonable use of restrooms including laundering items and bathing.
  • Sexual activity of any kind.
  • Unauthorized use of outside power outlets located on the library building or library premises.

North Carolina General Statutes Concerning Disruptive Customer Behavior

G.S. 14-33 Misdemeanor assaults, batteries, and affrays.

G.S. 14-76 Larceny, mutilation, or destruction of public records and papers.

G.S. 14-127 Willful and wanton injury to real property.

G.S. 14-132 Disorderly conduct in and injuries to public buildings and facilities.

G.S. 14-134 Trespass on land after being forbidden.

G.S. 14-159-13 Second degree trespass.

G.S. 14-190.9 Indecent exposure.

G.S. 14-204.1 Loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution offense.

G.S. 14-277.1 Communicating threats.

G.S. 14-398 Theft or destruction of property of public libraries, museums, etc.

G.S. 153A-266 Powers and duties of trustees.

Library staff shall address disruptive behavior/s as below. Preference will be given to management and supervisory staff to address patrons. In any case, especially where they may not feel safe, staff may contact law enforcement regarding disruptive behaviors by patrons and request their assistance.

General Procedures

  1. Oral or written warning.
  2. Immediate Dismissal for the remainder of the day.
  3. Banning from the Library for a period of time defined by the library director.


Immediate Banning from BCPL Buildings or BCPL Grounds

  1. Threatening staff and/or other BCPL customers.
  2. Carrying a weapon on BCPL grounds or in BCPL buildings.
  3. Destruction or theft of BCPL property.
  4. Using abusive language toward staff and/or other BCPL customers (including but not limited to profanity)
  5. Fighting (all parties).
  6. Dispensing chemicals or noxious substances including but not limited to pepper spray, stink bombs, and tear gas.
  7. When it has been determined that the customer is a chronic behavior problem.

Appealing an Action Based on the Library Behavior and Conduct Policy

If a patron or their parent, guardian, or caregiver wishes to appeal an action taken by the library regarding a violation of the Library Behavior and Conduct Policy, they must contact the library director to arrange for an appeal.

Approved 01/23/2018 by the Burke County Public Library Board of Trustees.

Download the Behavior and Conduct Policy.

* * NEW * * Bags and Personal Items Policy

(Approved 01/23/2018 by the Burke County Public Library Board of Trustees.

For the safety, health, and comfort of the patrons and staff of the library, and to ensure unimpeded access to the library and its collections, the Burke County Public Library (BCPL *) establishes the following limits on bags and personal items that may be brought into the library.

Personal belongings brought on to library premises should not be left unattended. The library assumes no responsibility for unattended items. Unattended items will be removed from library premises. Law enforcement will be involved as necessary.

Personal belongings should not block or impede any exits, hallways, or walkways.

Patrons may only bring one bag into the library unless an exception has been made by the library. Such bags may include purses, briefcases, small backpacks/bookbags, laptop bags, musical instrument cases, or plastic/paper store bags not containing food or contraband.

Large backpacks, suitcases, and wheeled storage devices (excluding wheelchairs, walkers, and similar devices along with strollers for children) are prohibited from library premises unless an exception has been made by the library.

Patrons wishing an exception to this policy should request such through the library director, the library assistant director, or the senior staff person on-site. Failure to comply with the policy may result in dismissal or banning from library premises.

* BCPL includes the buildings and grounds of the Morganton, Valdese, and C.B. Hildebrand Public Libraries.

Approved 01/23/2018 by the Burke County Public Library Board of Trustees.

Download the Bags and Personal Items Policy.


The use of cell phones in the library can often prove disruptive to customers and staff. In order to preserve the library’s mission and goals, the following restrictions apply to the use of cell phones at all locations of the Burke County Public Library:

  • Cell phones should be turned off or set to vibrate when entering the library.
  • People making calls on a cell phone shall leave the building to make the call.
  • People receiving calls on a cell phone shall immediately leave the building to continue their conversation.
  • Library staff may require that people engaged in cell phone conversations move to the designated areas.
  • Refusal to comply with this policy or its intent may result in the offending party being required to leave the library.

Adopted by the Burke County Public Library Board of Trustees 12/07/2004

Download the Cell Phone Policy.

Acceptable Use Policy for Electronic Resources

There is no fee for use of the library’s wireless Internet or public access computers. Users must abide by library policies regarding Internet use and content. Clicking Accept on this screen indicates that you have read and accepted the library’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), which is below. Print copies are available at the circulation desk upon request.

The Burke County Public Library (BCPL) provides access to the Internet and other electronic resources. BCPL expects electronic resources will be used appropriately.

BCPL is not responsible for information available through the Internet. Provision of access does not imply sponsorship or endorsement. Concerns about the content of Internet resources should be directed to the originator of the information and not BCPL. Users should recognize that information accessed on the Internet may not be accurate, complete or current.

The Internet may contain material that is inappropriate for viewing by children. Restriction of a child’s access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent/legal guardian. Parental consent for unsupervised use of Internet resources is required for children 12-15 years old. Onsite parental supervision is required for children under 12 years old.

Customers using the public access computers are responsible for the correct operation of the equipment. Staff cannot provide in-depth Internet, NC LIVE. Overdrive, or computer training/instruction for individual customers.

In order to use electronic resources, users must:

  • All computer users must have a Burke County Public Library card, or have a visitors day pass (available from the circulation desk).
  • Read and agree to the Acceptable Use Policy and Agreement before using BCPL computers.
  • Respect copyright laws and software licensing agreements.
  • Not damage the computers in any way by installing software or programs or otherwise changing hardware and/or software. Users will be held responsible for malicious damage to the computers.
  • Recognize that electronic transactions are not secure.
  • Hold BCPL harmless to any and all claims, losses, damages, obligations and liabilities directly or indirectly related to the use of the Internet.
  • Not engage in any activity that is a violation of local, state and/or federal law.
  • Not receive or display illegal materials.
  • Not send or display obscene messages, files or images

Transmission of any material or communications in violations of any U.S. or state regulation is prohibited, including but not limited to: copyrighted material, threatening or obscene material or material protected as trade secrets.

Violations of the Burke County Public Library Acceptable Use Policy for Electronic Resources will result in loss of computer and Internet use.
The first documented violation will result in loss of computer and Internet use for a six-month period to begin on the date of the documented violation.
The second documented violation will result in permanent loss of computer and Internet privileges at the BCPL.

BCPL includes Morganton, Valdese, and C.B. Hildebrand Public Libraries.

Sessions on the public access computers are as follows: 1 hour sessions for use of the Internet and applications (i.e. word processing) with a total 2 hour limit per day. Users may continue to use the computer up to 2 hours per day consecutively if no one else is waiting.
One person is allowed at each computer. Exceptions may be made for special circumstances.
Customers are responsible for paying for all copies printed except for printouts from the OPAC.
Public access computer users must complete their work at least 15 minutes before the library closes. A staff member may remind the customer of this procedure.
The Burke County Public Library is not responsible for loss of data or damage to computer user’s data storage. Computer users may download information but not to the hard drive.
If a computer user allows someone else to use his/her library card number to access computer resources, the customer allowing the access will be banned following the procedures for violation of the AUPER policy.


NC LIVE (North Carolina Libraries for Virtual Education) is the state’s electronic library, created to give access to magazine articles, national and local newspapers, business and professional journals, reference sources and research material - all electronically. NC LIVE is available through a partnership of public, academic and community college libraries and is funded by the North Carolina General Assembly and the state’s independent colleges and universities.

Access to Internet-based resources such as NC LIVE is provided through the Burke County Public Library. The license agreements between NC LIVE and its database vendors authorize public libraries to provide remote access to registered public library customers only.

Forms are Available at the Circulation Desks

Fines and Fees Policy

(effective July 1, 2022)

Note - Items that are marked with "DO NOT PLACE IN BOOK BOX" will be assessed if found damaged in book box.

Library Card Fees

  • Replace a lost card - $5.00

Copier, Printer, and Fax Fees

  • Copier and printer fees - 25¢ per page
  • To transmit fax $1.00 - per page
  • To receive fax $1.00 - per page

Item Fees

  • Lost Item Charge varies - see staff
  • Damaged Item Charge varies – see staff
  • Deposit Item (Items for which a refundable deposit must be paid before item can be checked out) - Charge varies – see staff

Patrons with 2 or more overdue items and/or more than $5 in fines cannot check out more items.

Patrons owing more than $5.00 to the library may not use public computers with the exception of the library catalog.

Materials checked out on or after July 1, 2022, will no longer accrue overdue fines. Overdue fines accrued for items checked out prior to July 1, 2022, will remain owed. Patrons should plan to pay those. For fines questions, please see staff.

Adopted by the Burke County Commission (June 21, 2022)

Registration Policy

If you are:

  • A permanent resident of Burke County
  • Employed in Burke County
  • Enrolled in a school in Burke County
  • An owner of real property in Burke County (paying property taxes)
  • A resident (& library card holder) of a county contiguous to Burke County which does not charge a fee to Burke County residents for library borrowing privileges (Catawba and Caldwell)

You can be issued a Burke County Public Library System library card without fee.

Library cards can be issued for an annual fee of $15 to all other individuals.

Individuals with a new library card can only check out 4 items per library card when using the card for the first time.

Individuals 16 years and older will be registered as adult customers.
Individuals less than15 years old will be registered as juvenile customers.

To be issued a library card from Burke County Public Library System, a customer must establish a current mailing address.

The current mailing address can be established by either one of the following:

Customer’s photographic identification with current address OR
Customer’s photographic identification AND Customer’s checkbook with current mailing address OR Customer’s mail (with current address listed)

Please note that parents or guardians that sign to establish library borrowing privileges for juveniles must establish a current mailing address.Customers that cannot establish a current mailing address will not be issued library cards by the Burke County Public Library System.

An application form must be completed when applying for a library card. The form includes a request for the name and address or phone number of a reference. This reference should be someone in Burke County who knows you, but cannot be a family member. Applicants under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

No new library cards are issued ten minutes before closing.

Patrons must present their library card to check out materials.

Download the Registration Policy

Safe Child Policy

Effective 1/2003

Policy Statement


Parents or legal guardians are responsible for the care, safety and behavior of their children under the age of 18, both within the library building and on library grounds, regardless of whether or not they accompany their child(ren). It is the responsibility of the library staff to determine whether a child’s behavior is problematic and to report suspected abuse or neglect. (Legal Reference G.S. 7B-301: Duty to report abuse, neglect, dependency, or death due to maltreatment.)

Supervisory Guidelines for Child Safety

For reasons of safety, children under the age of 7 should be under supervision (parent, legal guardian or caregiver over the age of 16) while in the library.

Children ages 7 to 12 need not be in the immediate presence of a parent, caregiver or legal guardian provided they abide by all aspects of the Disruptive Behavior Policy, but the aforementioned should be somewhere in the library building.

NOTE: Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult when they are using the Internet.

Unattended Children at Closing

It is strongly advised that children requiring transportation be picked up 10 minutes before closing time. If a child under age 16 is left unattended at closing time:

  • The Department of Public Safety will be notified to come and pick up the child. The library staff will wait inside the library with the child until the Public Safety Officer arrives.
  • It is the decision of the responding officer to remain at the library with the child or take the child to the Public Safety Headquarters.

Disruptive Behavior

The Library’s Disruptive Behavior Policy applies to all patrons, regardless of age.

This policy and guidelines apply to all children using the library and their parents, legal guardians and caregivers.