Unattended Children Policy

Children are welcome in our twenty branch libraries.  We care about their safety and welfare.  However, the responsibility for the safety and behavior of children in the library rests with the parent or caregiver and not with the library staff.

  • Children under the age of 13 must have a parent/caregiver in the same area of the library as the child.  If taking the place of a parent, the caregiver must be at least 16 years of age and must be able to respond appropriately to an emergency situation and be in possession of appropriate emergency contact information.  If a child under thirteen is found unattended, or his/her behavior is disruptive to the other library users, the parent/caregiver will be informed.  If a second instance occurs, the family may be asked to leave the library.
  • Children ages 13 and up may use the library on their own. Parents, however, are still responsible for the actions and safety of their children.  Children are subject to the same rules of conduct and consequences as other library users, including being asked to leave the library.  Please note: it is sometimes necessary for libraries to close due to unusual /emergency situations or weather concerns.  All children should have the telephone number of someone to call in an emergency.

WHEN YOUR CHILD VISITS THE LIBRARY ALONE

  • Remember that the library is a public building.Librarians are busy and are not able to supervise children.
  • Teach your children how to take care of themselves in public places, including how to deal with strangers, what situations are dangerous, and what to do if they feel threatened.
  • Assess whether your children are comfortable being at the library for long periods of time.If going directly from school, do they need something to eat or some kind of physical or social outlet first?
  • Instruct your children on how to be considerate of others using the library.
  • Always pick up your children at least 30 minutes before closing time.In case you are delayed, give your children an alternative plan, such as calling a neighbor for a ride home.

All of these guidelines and polices are designed to protect children, not discourage them from visiting.  Kids are welcome.

All library users regardless of  their age are expected to conduct themselves in a manner which shows respect for others using the library.  Disruptive conduct which prevents others from enjoying the library or which endangers people or property is not allowed.

Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to: abusive language, threat of violence, engaging in unauthorized physically active games (tag, shouting, screaming), damaging library property (including books), harassment of another patron or staff.

IF IT IS UNSAFE FOR A CHILD TO LEAVE THE BUILDING WITHOUT AN ADULT, HE/SHE SHOULD NOT BE IN THE LIBRARY UNATTENDED.

ONCE AGAIN, PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS, NOT THE LIBRARY STAFF, ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS AND SAFETY OF CHILDREN VISITING THE LIBRARY.

Appropriate Library Behavior For All Ages

Central Mississippi Regional Libraries encourages the following:

  • asking for help
  • browsing
  • chatting quietly
  • doing research
  • gathering information
  • doing your homework
  • participating in programs
  • reading
  • writing
  • photocopying
  •  checking out books, tapes,and videos,
  • And so much more …

Inappropriate Library Behavior for All Ages:

  • damaging library materials or property
  • disrupting library use
  • eating, drinking or smoking
  • harming others

Procedure for Staff

If a child is being disruptive, is habitually left unattended for long periods of time, or is deemed to be at risk of coming to harm (as in the case of a child being left unattended when the library is ready to close), the library staff will immediately try to locate the responsible adult.  Two staff members will stay with the child until the adult is found.  If the adult cannot be found in one hour’s time or if the library is closing, the staff will contact the appropriate law enforcement or child protective authorities to take custody of the child.  The staff will under no circumstances take the child out of the building.  The two staff members will also stay with the unattended child or young adult until the adult or appropriate law enforcement agency has arrived.

Steps for closing the library in the event a child/young adult is left unattended:

  1. The child/young adult should call for transportation.
  2. The staff will stay with the child/young adult for no less than 15 minutes to wait for the parent/guardian.
  3. After no less than 15 minutes the staff member may call the police for assistance. The police may opt to take the child to the police station to wait for the adult to come.  If this occurs, the staff should place a note on the library door to indicate the location of the child.
  4. Staff should always check the outside of the library at closing time for unattended children/young adults.  If there is an unattended young person on our grounds the staff should be sure that they have called for transportation.  Staff should never leave a child or young adult unattended.  Be sure there is a responsible adult with the child/young adult before leaving for the night.  If at all possible more than one staff member should stay with the child.

We respect the privacy of all library patrons and will intervene only when, in the opinion of the library staff, the safety and well-being of a child is threatened.

 

POLICY APPROVED AND ADOPTED BY: The Library Board of CMRLS

DATE: May 26, 1998

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100 Tamberline Street
Brandon, MS 39042
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P.O. Box 1749
Brandon, MS 39043
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Phone: 601-825-0100
Fax: 601-825-0199
custsvc@cmrls.lib.ms.us
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