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

The Burke County Public Library is providing access to the Internet and other electronic resources. Library customers are encouraged to use electronic resources for educational, informational and recreational purposes. The Burke County Public Library expects that all use of electronic resources will be in a responsible and ethical manner.

Since the Internet is an unregulated medium, the Burke County Public Library has no control over and is not responsible for information available through the Internet. Provision of access does not imply sponsorship or endorsement. Questions or comments concerning the content of Internet resources should be directed to the originator of the information and not the Burke County Public Library.

While the Internet allows access to a wealth of materials that is personally, professionally, and culturally enriching, it also enables access to some material that may be offensive, disturbing and/or illegal. Furthermore, 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. The library staff is not in a position to monitor or supervise children’s use of the Internet. As with other library materials, 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 microcomputers are responsible for the correct operation of the equipment. Staff cannot provide in-depth Internet training, NC LIVE training or microcomputer training/instruction for individual customers. Staff will provide limited assistance with the Internet and simple word processing as time permits.

Use of public access microcomputers will be monitored in accordance with the Burke County Public Library Disruptive Behavior Policy adopted in January 2002.

Access to microcomputers designated as available for public access by BCPL will be provided readily and equitably to customers regardless of race, sex or socioeconomic status.

In order to use electronic resources, users must:

  • Pay a $3.00 Technology Fee per fiscal year (Visitors will pay $1.00 per day for using electronic resources at BCPL)
  • Read and sign the Acceptable Use Policy and Agreement before using BCPL computers or receiving the NC LIVE password
  • Respect copyright laws and software licensing agreements
  • Not damage the microcomputers 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 microcomputers.
  • Recognize that electronic transactions are not secure
  • Hold the Burke County Public Library harmless to any and all claims, losses, damages, obligations and liabilities directly or indirectly related to the use of the Internet and NC LIVE
  • 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 microcomputer and NC LIVE privileges.

The first documented violation will result in loss of microcomputer and NC LIVE privileges for a six-month period to begin on the date of the documented violation.

The second documented violation will result in permanent loss of microcomputer and NC LIVE privileges at the Burke County Public Library.

The Burke County Public Library includes microcomputers at the Morganton Public Library, Valdese Public Library and C.B. Hildebrand Public Library.

The Acceptable Use Policy for Electronic Resources is subject to revision by the Burke County Public Library Board of Trustees.

Acceptable Use Policy last revised September 2003

Acceptable Use Agreement For Electronic Resources

All microcomputer users must follow the BCPL Acceptable Use Policy for Electronic Resources.

All microcomputer users must have a Burke County Public Library card.

A $3.00 annual Technology Fee, (July – June), must be paid in order to have Internet Access (applies to those age 16 and over). Visitors will pay $1.00 per day for computer use.

Sessions on the public access microcomputers 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 microcomputer up to 2 hours per day consecutively if no one else is waiting.

One person is allowed at each microcomputer. Exceptions may be made for special circumstances.

Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult when they are using public access microcomputers. Parental consent for unsupervised use of Internet resources is required for children 12-15 years old.

Customers are responsible for paying 20 cents per page for all copies printed except for printouts from the OPAC.

Public access microcomputer users must complete their work at least five 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 microcomputer user’s disks. Microcomputer users may download information to a floppy disk, but not to the hard drive. Disks may be purchased at the circulation desk for $1.00.

Microcomputer users are responsible for the correct operation of the equipment. Staff cannot provide microcomputer training/instruction although they will provide limited assistance with the Internet and with simple word processing tasks as time permits.

If a microcomputer 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.

To obtain the NC LIVE password, the registered public library customer must present a valid ID, be a current North Carolina resident and sign below. Passwords may be issued immediately at the circulation desk or by telephone after the AUP is signed. Passwords are valid for 3-6 months. The user is responsible for obtaining the new password from the Burke County Public Library.

After the customer signs the AUP, the library staff will check the Dynix database to confirm that the individual is a current registered public library customer. The staff of the Burke County Public Library will not instruct patrons in the use or configuration of their personal computer or instruct patrons in the use of NC LIVE over the telephone. On-site assistance with NC LIVE will be provided at the Information Services help desk.

Patrons are not to distribute the password or make it publicly known in any way. Violations will result in the loss of computer and NC LIVE privileges.

Forms are Available at the Circulation Desks

Fines and Fees Policy

(effective July 1, 2014)

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

Fines for Overdue Items

  • Books 25¢ per day, up to a maximum of $20.00 per item
  • Audiocassettes 25¢ per day, up to a maximum of $20.00 per item
  • Magazine Issues 25¢ per day, up to a maximum of $20.00 per item
  • Videocassettes/DVDs 25¢ per day, up to a maximum of $20.00 per item
  • CD's 25¢ per day, up to a maximum of $20.00 per item
  • Story Kits $1.00 per day up to a maximum of $20.00 per kit
  • Theme Boxes $1.00 per day up to a maximum of $20.00 per box
  • Interlibrary Loans 50¢ per day
  • There is a $200.00 limit for overdue fines for materials on any one library card on any one day.

Copier, Printer, Wordprocesser, & Fax Fees

  • Copier, printer, & wordprocesser fees 25¢ per page
  • To transmit fax $1.00 per page
  • To receive fax $1.00 per page

Item Fees

  • Reserve Item No charge
  • Interlibrary Loan Item Amount of postage up to 5 requests per month; $1.00 nonrefundable fee per item for each additional ILL request plus postage. 50¢ per day overdue fee.
  • Lost Item Charge varies; see staff
  • Deposit Items (items for which a refundable deposit must be paid before available for check out) Charge varies; ask librarian

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.

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.