Using the Library - The National Library of Jamaica

Rules Governing the Use of The National Library of Jamaica

As we try to accommodate the comfort and safety of all our readers; these are some general rules and regulations that we ask our clients to observe.

The reading rooms and research facilities are to be used only for quiet scholarly research or educational purposes requiring the use of the Library’s materials. Persons are asked to comply with the  instructions and/or directions of the staff in the foyer, on entry.

The library must not be used for meetings or teaching small groups. In order to use the facilities for research, only pencils and plain    paper or note books are allowed into the  reading rooms.

Exceptions may be requested for notes or other material  essential to research. These items must be approved by the   reference staff before being brought into the reading rooms. Pens may not be used.

No personal belongings, including briefcases, books, folders, envelopes, purses, or hats are allowed in the reading rooms.  Outer garments, including vests, sweaters with pockets, coats, suit coats, and sports jackets, are subject to search.

Bicycles, prams, strollers etc are not allowed in the reading rooms  unless special permission is  given to facilitate a special need.

A free locker with a key is provided to secure personal property while patrons use the facilities.  However, this is not for overnight use or storage. Locker keys must be returned after removing items from the locker.


Electronic communications devices, such as wireless phones and pagers, must be silenced. Laptop computers are allowed, but the use of any other electronic devices is subject to staff approval. Digital cameras and tripods are not allowed for making copies, and scanners are prohibited.
Using electronic gadgets for capturing images without permission of the CEO or her representative (including cameras, mobile phones, etc) is also strictly prohibited.


First-time users are required to complete a User Registration Form and present a valid photo ID and proof of current address. Persons with unverified information will be admitted for the day but will need to present the outstanding documents on the next visit. Refusing to be registered will result in denial of access to the reading rooms. Incomplete registration, that is, failure to provide a valid ID or proof of address, on return, will result in the person not being permitted to use the library.


Library users are expected to be properly clothed in clean attire. Bare feet are not allowed and there should be no indecent exposure of body parts or undergarments. Male patrons shall not be permitted to enter the building without a shirt or other covering of their upper bodies. The wearing of merinos only is not permitted.

For females, there should be no short shorts, short skirts, halter tops, spaghetti straps or skimpy tops, rollers or setters. Patrons whose bodily hygiene is offensive and constitutes a nuisance to other persons shall not be allowed entry or will be required to leave the building.


In addition to the general standards of conduct required for anyone on the premises, those using the Library’s facilities shall avoid disturbing others and refrain from various restricted behaviors, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • harassing or annoying others through noisy or boisterous activities, or staring at another person with the intent to annoy.
  • following another person about the building with the intent to annoy that person,
  • playing audio equipment in a manner that disturbs others
  • singing, humming or talking to others or to one’s self, or behaving in a manner which disturbs others.
  • eating, drinking, or smoking where these activities are prohibited;
  • soliciting or selling goods
  • speaking loudly or making disruptive noises; being a threat to members of staff or other patrons of the Library
  • fighting or confronting patrons or staff in an aggressive manner
  • using offensive language or profanities
  • using any musical instrument or other device for the production or reproduction of sound;
  • offensive personal hygiene and offensive behavior:
  • intentionally damaging any item from the Library’s collections or property
  • running, sliding down banisters, blocking crowd circulation, or otherwise causing disruption to operations and activities.
  • any act of vandalism or any theft of whole book/s; removing page/s; marking or defacing items (books, tables, chairs, walls etc)
  • taking in or attempting to take in the following items: contraband (goods that have been imported or exported illegally);
  • llegal drugs (any substance taken for its narcotic or stimulant effects, often illegally);
  • taking onto the property any weapons- knife, ice pick, scissors, sharpened metal, etc

If there is suspicion of theft of library property, a search of the person and/or his/her property will be done by the security personnel assigned to the Library.


In order to help save our collections, do not make marks on books, manuscripts, or any library material and do not write notes on top of manuscripts, books or any other item in the collection. Do not rest books or other objects on top of manuscripts. Handle loose sheets or bound pages by their edges; avoid touching the surface as much as possible. Exercise the greatest possible care in handling fragile items.

The staff will furnish gloves for handling photographs and other vulnerable items.

Non-compliance with Library Rules

Persons who fail to comply with the Library rules and standards of conduct shall be subjected to any of the following penalties:

  • Warned on committing a first offence in some instances
  • Asked to leave the premises
  • Banned /Suspended.
  • A report sent to the nearest Police station if deemed necessary

Patrons who consistently ignore/disobey library rules and standards of conduct will be banned from using the library for a period specified by the management after all corrective actions have failed to bring about the desired result.

Some offences such as theft and mutilation of items in the collection will warrant an immediate ban.

Any patron whose privileges have been denied may have the decision reviewed. In imposing bans, consideration is given to the persistent non-compliance, the effect on staff, patron and the Library’s mission.

Where staff identifies non-compliance to library rules they will alert the patron and outline the desired behavior. If behavior continues, a warning will be issued regarding the action to be taken. If action persists, a senior staff (i.e. HOD, Supervisor, Directors etc.) will be alerted .In some cases library staff may need to immediately alert security personnel and senior staff.