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Unattended Children Policy

Elsa Public Library 

UNATTENDED CHILDREN POLICY
The Elsa Public Library is a valuable community resource of materials, information services, and programs. As a public institution, its doors are open to all regardless of origin, age, background, and views. Since the Library is an open, public building and the well being and safety of young children left alone is a serious concern.

Staff members are concerned when parents leave their young children alone or
in the care of a slightly older sibling or friend. When young children are left unattended in the library, even for a few minutes, they can become frightened. A slightly older child left in charge can be easily burdened by this responsibility. Sometimes children stay at the library for many hours. Often they become bored and restless. This leads to disruptive behavior, which interferes with the legitimate library business of other patrons and staff.

Staff should not be placed in the position of supervising children who are too young to be unattended, or whose behavior indicates that they have stayed at the library for too
long a time. In order to avoid the disruption of normal Library operations and services to prevent the Library from serving as a temporary “babysitting service,“ and for the safety and protection of youth patrons, and for the benefit of all, the Elsa Public Library had developed the following rules:
“Unattended” means the parent is not in the building with the child.


1. ALL CHILDREN, AGED 9 AND UNDER, MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT OR
RESPONSIBLE ADOLESCENT.
The Library assumes no responsibility for an unattended child. The person-in-charge must stay
with the child, unless the child is participating in a story time or other program.


2. SELF-SUPERIVED YOUTH, AGED 10 AND UP, ARE WELCOME TO USE THE LIBRARY
AS LONG AS THEIR BEHAVIOR IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE BEHAVIOR RULES.
Parents should not view the library as an alternative to daycare. Unlike a daycare facility, the
library is not a closed environment. Staff cannot monitor everyone who enters, and all patrons
are free to use any public area within the Library. For safety’s sake, parents should make sure
that their children are sufficiently mature before allowing them to visit the library by themselves. Parents should be advised that if their children misbehave, they might be told to leave the library and the library grounds. Parents should further realize that, even in their absence, they are legally responsible for their children’s behavior.Youngsters left to wait outside for a ride after the library has closed are placed in a vulnerable position. Staffs are not responsible for the safety of a child once the library has closed. However, staff will attempt to contact parents. If they are unsuccessful, the police may be summoned to assist the youth.


3. IF A STAFF MEMBER FINDS AN UNATTENDED CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF 9 THE
FOLLOWING STEPS WILL BE TAKEN:
•The staff will determine if the parent is in the Library. If so, the staff member and child
will attempt to locate the parent.
• If the parent is not in the Library, the staff member will attempt to contact the parent at
home or work using information provided by the child, the parent will be told that their
child must be picked up immediately.
• If the parent cannot be located, or if a contacted parent has not picked up their child
within a half hour of being called, the staff member will contact the Police.


4. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE WILL A STAFF MEMBER EVER TAKE A CHILD OUT OF THE LIBRARY OR GIVE A CHILD A RIDE HOME.


5. THE LIBRARY IN NO WAY ASSUMES ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY CHILD LEFT UNATTENDED IN THE LIBRARY. 

6. THE ONLY TIME A CHILD CAN BE LEFT UNATTENDED IS IF THE CHILD IS PARTICIPATING IN THE LIBRARY SPONSORED PROGRAMS. 

The child must be picked up as soon as the programs have ended.

Revised and adopted by the City Council on June 19, 2001.