Are You Allowed to Sleep in a Library? Is It Illegal?

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Rules for sleeping in a library depends on the policies of the library. Some have sleeping policies while others don’t. If you’re one who frequents the library, sure, there are moments wherein you really can’t help but doze off. However, before you start making a habit of napping at your local library, the surest way to stay out of trouble is to know their policies.

Are you allowed to sleep in a library? You can take naps in the the library while studying or reading; however, avoid snoring, and disturbing others. You are not allowed to make the library your home or daily comfort zone if you have nowhere else to go is. Eventually you will be asked to leave.

Are You Allowed to Sleep in a Library? Is It Illegal?

Libraries are some of the warmest and most comforting places that we can hang around. Plus, most are free. They have electrical sockets, learning materials, and free internet, making libraries attractive not only to students but even homeless people too. However, are there any particular rules pertaining to sleeping inside a library?

As mentioned above, it would depend on the library. Some may allow it and others don’t. Most libraries have documented laws that warm against sleeping in the library past the study hours. The laws target people and students who take libraries as their sleeping quarters. However, there are fewer or no laws that discourage taking a nap in the library during the day.

There are also well-documented state laws that warn against sleeping in public places like libraries. When found sleeping in the library in the late hours, you may be in for a big legal surprise. Even if the laws and policies of your favorite library don’t prohibit sleeping in the library, you should be careful not to break state laws.

Should They Allow Sleeping in the Library?

Legalizing sleeping in the library is both good and bad. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of changing the harsh laws that prohibit sleeping in the library.


  1. Legalizing sleeping in the library can save lives. As it stands now, there are hundreds of thousands of homeless people in the United States. They always have nowhere to go when night comes around. If some such people can comfortably walk into a library, enjoy their night sleep, and leave peacefully in the morning, they’re more likely to survive.
  2. Making it legal to sleep in the library can reduce the increased deaths of homeless people. According to a study by the University College London, most homeless people die owing to treatable diseases, most of which are triggered by the harsh and unfriendly living conditions outside. Allowing people to sleep in the libraries can significantly help lower such deaths.
  3. It can help boost the quality of education. After many hours of study, some students have to walk or drive many kilometers back home. This makes them reach home tired, which makes it hard for them to engage in anything constructive. If they are allowed to at least take a nap in the library, they can save more time and even extend their studying hours.


  1. If libraries allow sleeping, the core purpose of their existence will be lost. Locals and students who struggle with homelessness will turn the libraries their sanctuaries. This makes it impossible for other students and locals to study in peace.
  2. Allowing sleeping could lower the comfort of studying in the libraries. Legalizing sleeping in libraries will likely make the library always crowded, hence making it difficult for people and students to study.

How Common is it for Students? Homeless?

Student Sleeping in a Library

It’s a regular habit among students to sleep in libraries. Most university libraries consider the sleeping needs of students when buying furniture and planning the library spacing. Some courses require students to be bundled with lots of homework on most days of the week. So, as a result, they will stay in the libraries for most hours of the week. Students who happen to be living far away will most likely sleep in the libraries.

Actually, while university libraries may not pronounce it legal to sleep inside, they encourage it as long as it benefits the learners. Most libraries have comfortable under tables and couches where students can take a nap when exhausted, provided a student doesn’t disturb other students by snoring extremely loud.

Homeless Sleeping in a Library

As for public libraries, most of them discourage sleeping. They don’t even have any facilities and materials where people can comfortably take a nap if they are tired. Some homeless people have found comfort and sanctuary in public libraries. However, this makes sleeping less comfortable.

You will rarely have any peaceful or comfortable sleep in these places. The security officers who man these areas will not hesitate to wake you up when they find you sleeping. They may even send you out if you try to lie. Therefore, while some homeless people still sleep in public libraries, it is never comfortable.

Is It Illegal?

The sleeping policies and laws in university libraries differ. While some university libraries allow study-initiated nap, others don’t and will force you out once you are found sleeping. So, it’s always a good idea to know what your local library’s laws are.

You have to understand that it’s illegal to sleep in public libraries past the study hours. It’s legally considered a type of trespassing. Under no circumstance should you ever sleep in a public library unless you are ready to deal with any possible legal troubles.

Some states have issued local curfews stating that nobody should ever sleep in any public place. These laws are made to limit access to certain public places past certain hours. One of such places is the public library. Sleeping in these places may end up causing you lots of legal problems.

The anti-homelessness laws actively, under operation in most cities around the world, prohibit you sleeping anywhere just because you are homeless. Such laws will likely be applied if you are reported having been found sleeping in a public library past the study hours.

You obviously don’t want a situation where your enjoyable nap will turn into a legal nightmare that could cost you hefty fines. So, it’s always best to watch your steps when opting to sleep in certain public places.

How to Sleep in a Library

If you’ve been caught sleeping in the library, no matter how you try to justify your actions, it’s never a good idea to argue. Again, each library has its own rules, so if they caught you sleeping, and they don’t allow it, it’s best that you move out.

If, however, you’re certain that your local library is fine with short naps, here are some ways that you can make your naptime much more enjoyable:

  1. Prepare Yourself First – most libraries will state that you should keep an eye on your belongings. This means that the librarians aren’t responsible for anything you lose while taking a nap. Get all your things in order and keep all of your stuff safely before you take a nap. If you don’t want to wake up without your laptop or smartphone with you, always secure them before dozing off.
  2. Don’t Use Library Materials and Supplies as a Pillow—even if a library doesn’t prohibit sleeping, librarians won’t hesitate to wake you up if they find you using books, archival documents, book cradles, magazines, book pillows, and any other material as a pillow. Instead, use a small, easy to carry travel pillow. Check out the MLVOC Travel Pillow (view on Amazon), which is machine washable and comes with a 3D contoured eye mask, ear plugs, and luxury bag. (view on Amazon).
  3. Give Out all Materials Before You Take a Nap—don’t ever take a nap while sitting on materials and supplies which other patrons may want to use when you are asleep. Give out such materials to the librarians, and you surely won’t be interrupted while enjoying a nap.
  4. Choose Where to Sleep—not everywhere in the library is safe for taking a nap. Sleeping in some areas will obviously disturb other library users. They may end up forcing the librarian to wake you up immediately. Here are some of the best places to enjoy a good sleep experience in the library;
    • The soft chairs in the reading rooms—the reading room is one of the quietest places in the library and the chairs here are cozy. You are sure to enjoy a comfortable and safe nap here.
    • The study carrels—the study carrels in libraries are customized to limit glares. Nobody will know and stare at you when you are taking a nap in the carrels.
    • The comfy couches installed along the wall—these are usually found in the open area on the second floor and always provide a cozy space for naps.

Can You Take a Nap in a Library?

Students in a Library

Of course, you can always take a nap in the library. But the circumstances surrounding your sleep will determine whether the librarians will wake you up or will let you enjoy your nap. You cannot just walk into the library, find a comfortable place, and immediately snore and expect that those manning the library will not to take an action to reprimand you.

Librarians are humans so they understand. Even if the laws and policies of a library don’t encourage taking a nap, they may not wake you up depending on the circumstances surrounding your sleep. If you have been around for long reading different books, they will likely let you enjoy your nap. However, if you just entered a few minutes ago, and you started snoring like with no regard to other people, they won’t hesitate to wake you up.

It’s good to know that sleeping in the library is not allowed. If the only thing you do best when you come to the library is to sleep, you can be sure that the librarians won’t hesitate to wake you up and throw you out. However, you act professionally and always come to the library purposely to read and study, you will rarely be disturbed when you decide to sleep for a few minutes.

Public vs. University Libraries

Public libraries are extremely limiting when to comes to taking a nap. You may have heard about stories of homeless people who lived in a public library for months, and they never got thrown out. However, these are rare happenings, and only a few people can be lucky. So many factors depend whether you can enjoy a favorable sleep in a public library and never get thrown out. Among these includes:

  • The mood and character of the librarian in charge during the hours you visit the library.
  • The number of people in the library. If the library is packed and there are more people outside, chances are you won’t be allowed to take a nap even just for a minute.
  • The kind of books and learning materials you want to read and their demand around the library at the moment you visit the institution.

As for university libraries, there isn’t a big deal when it comes to taking a nap. You can almost always take one whenever you feel like it, whether during the day or at night. Most libraries have designated sleeping areas where students can take a nap when tired. Homeless students can as well sleep in these areas. That simply means that university libraries aren’t so limiting when it comes to taking a nap.

Conclusion – Are You Allowed to Sleep in a Library? Is It Illegal?

Quality sleep is important in anyone’s life regardless of their lifestyle and status. Not getting enough sleep can pave the way for a whole lot of health problems. That’s why planning your sleeping hours and schedules is the best way to enjoy high-quality sleep every time and all the time. As for students and homeless locals, a library can provide a good sleeping place as long as you obey all the set rules.

All you need to do is understand the state rules and the library policies regarding taking a nap. By so doing, you will be able to sleep in these places more safely and comfortably without exposing yourself to any legal nightmares.

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