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Library User Rights and Responsibilities

The facilities and collections of the University of Maryland Libraries are shared resources, serving thousands of students, faculty, staff, and community members every day. This library policy intends to serve and protect all users, with the understanding that current constituents of the university have first priority for services and materials.

As members of an academic community, library users, as well as library employees, are responsible for sustaining a scholarly environment, which the University Libraries define as an environment supportive of learning, research, scholarship, creative production, and collaboration. In the case of disagreement over whether any use of library space is scholarly, University Libraries employees will rely on policy and context in making a reasonable determination.

As a library user, you have the right to:

  • Access a scholarly environment free from discrimination, intimidation, and harassment.
  • Respectfully ask others to lower their voices or end conversations in designated quiet areas.
  • Request and receive assistance from library employees in maintaining a scholarly environment.
  • Expect library employees to take your concerns seriously and make an effort to preserve or restore a scholarly environment.
  • Enjoy privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received, or resources consulted, borrowed, acquired, or transmitted, as outlined in the University Libraries’ Privacy Policy.
  • Appeal decisions about library policies to the Associate Dean of Research & Academic Services.

As a library user, you have the responsibility to:

  • Comply with library and university policies, and with employee directions and requests related to those policies.
  • Maintain a scholarly environment free from discrimination, intimidation, and harassment. This includes but is not limited to:
  • Use library spaces in a way that does not disrupt the scholarly environment. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Respecting the designated use of library spaces.
    • Avoiding disruptive noises, odors, and behaviors (including smoking or vaping).
    • Overseeing and maintaining control of your personal belongings.
    • Taking of photographs and videotaping only in accordance with the University Libraries’ Photography and Recording Policy.
  • Help preserve library spaces. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Not bringing pets into any library. Only assistance and emotional support animals are welcome.
    • Securing recreational vehicles, such as bicycles and scooters, in designated locations outside of the library.
    • Vending and soliciting in library space only with prior approval from the Libraries’ Communications Office.
    • Posting signs, notices, and flyers only in accordance with the University Libraries Posting Announcements Policy.
    • Entering non-public areas only with library employee permission.
    • Maintaining library spaces free from hazards and returning furniture and equipment to standard or original configurations.
  • Help preserve library collections. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Checking out library materials before removing them from the library.
    • Following any special usage instructions indicated on the material or given by library employees.
    • Refraining from concealing or relocating library materials for the exclusive use of an individual or group.
    • Returning library materials in a timely manner and in the same condition you found them.
    • Paying the University Libraries for lost or damaged materials.
  • Help preserve library computers and equipment. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Requesting assistance at library services desks if not sure how to use particular equipment or item.
    • Returning items borrowed through the equipment loan program in a timely manner and in the same condition you found them.
    • Paying the University Libraries for lost or damaged equipment.

Procedures for maintaining a scholarly environment

Policies and expectations may vary among library spaces. University Libraries employees will identify themselves when asking that users comply with library and university policy. If users do not comply with an initial request or if they violate the policy repeatedly, library employees may take additional measures. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Asking to see a photo ID.
  • Issuing a verbal or written warning.
  • Requesting assistance from university police and, if necessary, asking the user to leave library spaces.
  • Reporting problems to the appropriate university office or official.

In all cases, library employees will be respectful of the rights of all users in working to maintain a scholarly environment. Users who engage in serious violations may lose the privilege of using the University Libraries, be subject to university-imposed discipline, charged for damage to materials or equipment, and/or be subject to arrest and criminal prosecution. The University Libraries follows all relevant and applicable University of Maryland policies.


Text adapted with permission of the University of Oregon Libraries.  Approved by the University Libraries Library Management Group January 2020.