Boston University Libraries Code of Conduct

Effective fall 2020

Disruptions and Other Prohibited Behavior

The Libraries has designated certain spaces as spaces for quiet study. In those spaces, patrons must not make excessive noise or otherwise disrupt the quiet.

Further, in the Libraries, patrons must not do any of the following:

  • Block access to or otherwise interfere with other patrons’ use of the Libraries;
  • Prevent or attempt to force the cancellation of any event or activity sponsored by the University or by any persons authorized to use University facilities;
  • Incite imminent lawless action;
  • Harass, physically abuse, intimidate, or threaten another person or persons; and
  • Act in a manner that is otherwise directly incompatible with the safety of the community or the functioning of the University.

Patrons must comply with the directions of any Libraries’ official acting in the performance of their duty.

Food and Drink

Food and beverage spills can damage Libraries’ facilities, collections, and equipment. In addition, food may attract rodents and other unwanted pests. For these reasons, the Libraries strictly prohibits eating in or bringing food into any Libraries’ location, and Libraries’ staff members are authorized to reject any food delivery service from entering a Libraries’ facility. Nonalcoholic beverages that are in secure and covered containers are permitted.

Illegal Drugs and Alcohol

Boston University prohibits the unlawful use, possession, sale, distribution, or manufacture of controlled substances or alcohol on University property, including in the Libraries.

Smoking and Vaping

The Libraries prohibits use of electronic cigarettes, tobacco products (including chewing tobacco), or any and all vaping or tobacco accessories in any Libraries’ location or entranceway.


Possession, display, or use of weapons of any kind in the Libraries is prohibited. This prohibition also extends to replicas, models, facsimiles, or realistic approximations of any of the banned items.


Except as permitted by BU’s Service and Emotional Support Animals Policies & Procedures, animals are not permitted in any Libraries’ facilities.

Wheeled Vehicles

Except for wheelchairs and other medical devices, operation or use of wheeled vehicles of any sort is prohibited in the Libraries. Skateboards, skates, and scooters may be brought into the Libraries but not ridden and must be hand-carried.

All cycles are prohibited in the Libraries. There are racks for wheeled vehicles outside of Mugar Memorial Library and at other locations throughout BU’s campus.

Filming and Photography

In order to protect the privacy of users and staff, all photography, filming, and audio or visual recording—including such activities that are related to class assignments—is prohibited without written permission. Patrons may inquire about receiving permission to photograph or record within the Libraries by emailing


Soliciting donations, approaching other Libraries’ users for the purpose of obtaining petition signatures, or conducting surveys for research purposes is not allowed either within the Libraries or at Libraries’ entranceways without prior written permission of the Libraries’ administration.


Posting of non-Libraries’ notices and advertisements anywhere within the Libraries requires express written permission of the Libraries’ administration.

Cell Phone Use

In order to maintain a quiet and respectful atmosphere, patrons must turn off or silence all cell phones while inside or in the entranceway to Libraries’ facilities. If patrons must use their cell phone, they should avoid all quiet study and service areas. These areas vary in each Libraries’ location. Patrons should check with a staff member if unsure where they can use their cell phone.

Building Access and Identification

All persons entering the Libraries will be required to provide their Terrier Card or another form of identification to a Libraries’ staff or security member to enter Libraries’ facilities or as a condition of receiving Libraries’ services, such as checking out books and accessing printers.

Shared Space

All Libraries’ spaces are shared spaces. Patrons must refrain from using personal belongings, Libraries’ materials, or other items to save space in the Libraries for extended periods of time. Patrons may not use Libraries’ space for sleeping or living quarters.

Libraries’ furniture and equipment must be treated with care and respect and should not be vandalized, damaged, tampered with, removed, or used inconsistently with its stated or evident purpose. Patrons should ask Libraries’ staff for assistance if unsure how to operate furniture or equipment. Patrons should report any damage to Libraries’ staff.

While Libraries’ security staff endeavor to provide a safe and secure environment in the building, the Libraries cannot take responsibility for the loss of or damage to personal belongings left unattended. If a patron believes that any of their possessions has been taken without their permission, they are encouraged to report the incident immediately to Libraries’ security staff.

At times of peak Libraries’ use, bathrooms are in great demand, requiring responsible and sanitary behavior. Patrons should report backups, leaks, or other associated maintenance issues to Libraries’ staff as soon as possible.

The Libraries has a number of study rooms for general and reserved use that provide quiet spaces in which to study, research, and collaborate. Patrons are expected to follow all Libraries’ policies while using these rooms—including the prohibition against having food in all Libraries’ spaces—and must ensure all belongings and trash are removed when finished, as a courtesy to the next users.

Collection Use

All Libraries’ collections are assets of the Trustees of Boston University and managed by the Libraries for use by patrons. These collections are common pool resources. Therefore, concealing Libraries’ material for the purpose of exclusive use, including failure to return Libraries’ materials upon request, is not permitted. Any material kept in locked study carrels must be checked out to the occupant of that carrel. Patrons must check out or return material retrieved from the stacks to designated reshelving carts before leaving the building. Patrons should not reshelve books they have removed from the stacks.

Libraries’ material must never be defaced with underlining, highlighting, or other markings; removal of pages; tearing of bindings; or removal of barcodes or security strips. Defacing Libraries’ collections, including removing or obscuring Libraries’ identifying or security markings, may subject the violator to losing Libraries’ privileges, disqualification from receiving other Libraries’ services, or other sanctions.

Attempts to remove material from the Libraries that has not been checked out may result in revocation of Libraries privileges, disqualification from receiving other Libraries’ services, or other sanctions.


Libraries’ patrons are required to follow the instructions of Libraries’ staff, the Boston University Police Department, emergency staff, or law enforcement authorities during alarms or other emergencies, including safety or emergency preparedness drills.

Licensed Electronic Resource Use

The Libraries makes a substantial portion of its electronic resources available under licenses that restrict access to students, faculty, and staff of the University. Most licenses permit access to nonaffiliates of the University who visit physical Libraries’ locations. The Libraries also maintains a limited number of resources that are licensed to allow alumni of the University remote access (see Alumni Resources page).

Use of the Libraries’ electronic resources is subject to US Copyright Law and is restricted to noncommercial, educational, and scholarly research purposes. Prohibited activities include:

  • Sharing of passwords;
  • Substantial and systematic downloading of electronic resource content, either by manual means or through the use of robots, spiders, or other scripted methods;
  • Posting of copyrighted material on publicly available websites; and
  • Use, resale, or sharing of licensed information for commercial purposes.

The University does not share patron identification information with the Libraries’ electronic resource providers. These providers, however, do monitor usage and may block access for the entire University community if they detect excessive or illegal use originating with a patron. The University may investigate the source of any excessive or illegal use. A patron found to have violated the terms of use for an electronic resource may be blocked from further use of all of the Libraries’ electronic resources for a period of time. If the violation is also a violation of other University policies, the Libraries will refer the violation to the relevant University authorities. Depending on the type of violation, the University may also be required to report the incident to law enforcement.