Cell phone use in Huntington Beach libraries could cost $1,000

Pictured is a girl on a cell phone at the exterior seating of Huntington Beach Central Library where cell phone use is prohibited inside the library building. Cell phone users can sit on the bench outdoors and talk. Also see Huntington Beach Main Street Library and history of Carnegie Library in Surf City.

Cell phone use in Huntington Beach libraries could cost $1,000

Associated Press  September 2004


Using a cellular telephone in a city library could cost incessant yakkers plenty - up to $1,000.

City leaders adopted an ordinance, which takes effect Sept. 15, that bans all cell phone use in libraries, including talking, text messaging and ringing tones of any kind.

First-time violators will be warned, then fined $250 if they don't comply. A second offense gets a $500 fine and a third offense gets a $1,000 fine.

Huntington Beach civic leaders believe those may be the nation's stiffest fines for cell use. The ordinance was prompted by complaints about annoying rings and people walking around or standing at computer terminals chatting loudly.

"People are really getting sick of these things with the screaming and yelling and these anguished conversations," said Carol "Miss Manners" Page, founder of CellManners.com, a site dedicated to promoting cell phone etiquette.

Some feel the ordinance is too rough.

"I loved it when they put out the signs for no cell phones. It's annoying," said Tom Supranovich, 35, who was at the Huntington Beach Central Library on Tuesday.

But a $250 fine'

"That's a little draconian," Supranovich said "A day's expulsion would get the message across."

The fines were reduced from an initial proposal of $500 or six months in jail for the first offense.