SPL encourages children of all ages to use its facilities, services, and resources. While the library staff is concerned about the safety and wellbeing of children visiting the library, they do not act in loco parentis. Parents and guardians are ultimately responsible for the safety, behavior, and supervision of their children at all times in the library, on library property, or at any library-sponsored function. The library is a public building, open to all. In order to create an environment of safety and maintain an atmosphere where reading and study can be encouraged, the following policy has been established.
When visiting the library, children through age nine (9) must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or responsible caregiver age thirteen (13) or older.
Older children and teens are welcome to use the library unattended and have the same expectations of behavior as adult patrons. Children exhibiting inappropriate behavior will be informed of the library’s Patron Code of Conduct. If inappropriate behavior continues, the child will be asked to leave the library.
If a child is left unattended in the library, staff will proceed as follows:
- Attempt to calm the child, if necessary.
- Locate the parent/guardian/caregiver in the library and explain the Unattended Children Policy.
- If the parent/guardian/caregiver is not available in the building, the staff will make every effort to contact the responsible person by phone.
- If the library is closing and the parent or caregiver cannot be reached or does not arrive within 15 minutes after closing, staff will call local law enforcement to pick up the child.
- Staff members will remain with the child until the parent, caregiver, or law enforcement arrive.
- Leave a note on the library door and a message on a home answering machine, if possible, to inform the parent or caregiver that the law enforcement have been called and will have custody of the child.
- Under no circumstances should a staff member drive the child home or anywhere away from the library site.
- Notify the Director, if possible, that the police have been called.
SPL strives to ensure a comfortable place of learning and enjoyment for patrons of all ages.