These guidelines outline the British Library’s policies and procedures with regard to breaches of its Reading Room Conditions of Use. They are to ensure consistency in the actions taken in response to such breaches and to define the appropriate roles and responsibilities in the process.
Each case will be considered on its own merits and the Library will use its discretion and judgment in implementing the policies and procedures set out in this document. The Library reserves the right to depart from these policies and procedures where it considers this to be appropriate.
- The Library grants access to its Reading Rooms subject to acceptance by the applicant of the associated Reading Room Conditions of Use (“Conditions”). It reserves the right to suspend or withdraw access should a reader breach or persistently fail to comply with the Conditions.
- The purpose of imposing a sanction is to make clear to the Reader that breach of the Conditions is unacceptable. The offences set out in Appendix 1 form the basis for establishing the appropriate sanction in each case.
- All incidents known to the Library where a Reader contravenes the Conditions will be acted upon. In most circumstances, where the infringement is considered to be minor, Reading Room staff will resolve the issue on an informal basis. All such incidents will be recorded to allow management analysis of trends and patterns of behaviour. This record will relate solely to the incident itself and will not contain any personal details which could identify the Reader.
- All staff have a responsibility to ensure that Readers abide by the Conditions and, where necessary, to report incidents to the appropriate Reading Room Manager (or manager at an equivalent grade or above). The manager will make every reasonable effort to resolve the matter directly with the Reader, who will be given the opportunity to state their case. All such incidents will be recorded as above. However, where a verbal warning is deemed to be appropriate the Reader’s name and Reader Pass will be recorded along with details of the incident.
Further investigation and escalation of Incidents
- Where the Reading Room Manager considers the incident to be sufficiently serious to warrant further investigation and possible suspension, the Reader’s pass will be retained and they will be required to leave the Reading Room. The reader will be informed of the following:
- Next steps in the process (What happens next leaflet)
- Likely timescales to undertake investigation (normally 10 working days)
- How to appeal against the removal of pass
- How to provide additional relevant information for consideration as part of the investigation
- How notification of the outcome will be received.
- Misinterpretation, misrepresentation or mismanagement of information
- Inaccuracy of information
- Unfair or discriminatory treatment
- Unreasonable severity of sanction
- Failure to follow proper procedure.
All appeals should, wherever practicable, be considered within 10 working days of receipt.
A summary of the key process steps can be seen in Appendix 2.