The Scholarly Environment at the University of Chicago Library

Welcoming, Comfortable, Respectful to All

Welcome to the University of Chicago Library.  As the new academic year begins, we would like to greet all new and returning faculty, students, and staff.

The Library’s mission is to provide comprehensive resources and services in support of the research, teaching, and learning needs of the University community.  We hope that you will get to know some of the many librarians who are here to help you and to take full advantage of our offerings.

The University of Chicago Library is the heart of a University that seeks to enrich human life through the growth of knowledge. For the pursuit of knowledge to flourish, the Library is committed to maintaining an environment for users that is supportive of study, research, reflection, and scholarly collaboration; welcoming; safe; respectful of all; and comfortable, with spaces for quiet individual study, research, and reflection and designated areas for collaborative work.

In the past year, there has been graffiti found on Library walls that has been drawn to our attention and has disturbed some members of our community.  We ask that you join us in creating and sustaining a scholarly environment at the Library by notifying Library staff when you find such graffiti so that it can be removed and by reading and acting upon our complete statement of User Rights and Responsibilities for Creating and Sustaining a Scholarly Environment, and our policy on Maintaining a Scholarly Environment below.

Please contact us at scholarly-environment@lib.uchicago.edu if you have any questions about these policies or our scholarly environment.

Creating and Sustaining a Scholarly Environment

Library users and staff share responsibility for creating and sustaining an environment supportive of scholarship. To ensure this environment,

  • You have the responsibility to treat others with dignity and respect.
  • You have the responsibility to refrain from engaging in behavior that creates a disturbance, interferes with the right of others to use the Library for research and study, or otherwise detracts from a scholarly environment.
  • You have the responsibility to learn about and comply with Library policies for maintaining this environment.

These responsibilities come with the following rights:

  • You have a right to ask others to end conversations, lower their voices, or maintain an environment supportive of scholarship.
  • You have a right to request and receive assistance from a Library staff member in maintaining an environment supportive of scholarship.
  • You have a right to expect that in addressing problems, Library staff will take measured steps to restore a scholarly environment.

Maintaining a Scholarly Environment

All Library users and staff share in the responsibility for maintaining an environment supportive of scholarship. These responsibilities include the following:

  1. Exhibiting conduct appropriate to research and study by
    • maintaining quiet in all individual study areas and in the stacks
    • conducting group study and quiet conversations only in Library-designated areas
    • refraining from loud or boisterous behavior
    • silencing cell phones, laptops, and electronic devices when in Library spaces
    • restricting cell phone conversations, with care taken to avoid disturbing others, to Library designated spaces

2. Helping to preserve library collections by

    • following the Library’s Food & Drink Policy
    • not writing in, underlining, highlighting or otherwise damaging library materials

3. Helping to sustain the library’s physical spaces by

    • not smoking inside, or within 15 feet of entrances of, Library buildings (in accordance with University policy and City of Chicago ordinance); including not using electronic cigarettes or other such delivery systems
    • not bringing animals into the Library, except service animals assisting those with disabilities (in accordance with University policies for Service Animals and Assistance Animals)
    • securing bicycles only to official racks outside of the Library
    • not using scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, skates or other conveyances (except those assisting persons with disabilities), within the Library or near Library entrances
    • not posting signs, notices, or other material except in designated locations or with special permission, in accordance with the Library’s Policy on Promotional Activities

4. Creating a comfortable and supportive environment for other Library users and staff by

    • wearing clothing, including shirts and shoes
    • not exposing others to pornographic or obscene images
    • using Library spaces only for the purposes for which they are intended

5. Complying with Library and University policies, which ensure a safe and respectful community for all by

    • presenting appropriate identification when asked to do so by Library staff or University officials who have also identified themselves
    • leaving Library spaces at closing
    • not entering Library staff areas without permission
    • closely supervising children brought with you to the Library
    • not taking photographs of others for personal use without permission of the individual(s); not filming or taking photographs of Library spaces and users for publication or commercial purposes without permission of Library administration
    • not soliciting or conducting surveys without advance Library approval
    • not using Library space for political fundraising or any other partisan political campaign activities, in accordance with University policies regarding political activity

Prohibited actions that are illegal, endanger safety or are considered serious violations include:

  1. Engaging in criminal activity, including theft, battery, or assault
  2. Vandalizing or defacing of Library material, equipment, collections, furniture, or facilities (including creating graffiti)
  3. Stalking, harassing, or making unwanted sexual advances
  4. Engaging in sexual activities or indecently exposing oneself
  5. Violating the University’s Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct (including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking) or denigrating individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any protected classes under the law
  6. Bringing firearms of any kind, explosives, or other dangerous objects or materials into the Library
  7. Violating the University’s Drug and Alcohol Policies
  8. Violating the University’s Policy on Information Technology Use and Access or the Library’s Policy on Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources

The above lists of responsibilities and prohibited actions are not to be taken as exhaustive.

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