Unattended Children Policy

Approved 8/12/19 by the East Central Regional Library Board

East Central Regional Library Unattended Children Policy

Purpose: East Central Regional Library (ECRL) welcomes children of all ages to use its facilities and services and strives to provide for the general welfare of all persons in the Library and for the safety and well-being of children using the library. However, ECRL reminds the public that the ultimate responsibility for the behavior and well-being of children using the library rests with the parent/guardian or designated caregiver and not with ECRL personnel.

The ECRL Board has adopted the following policy regarding unattended children and vulnerable adults.

For the purposes of this policy the following definitions apply:

Unattended child: any young person using the library facility unaccompanied by a responsible adult or left alone in one part of the library while the adult is in another.

Vulnerable child: an unattended child whose safety or well-being could be endangered either in the building, or if they were to leave the library.

Vulnerable adult: Vulnerable adults are those individuals who because of physical or mental disability are dependent on others for care.

Children under 8 Years of Age:
Parents and caregivers must be aware that libraries are public buildings and that it is not in the best interest of children to be left unattended. No public place, including the library, can guarantee the safety of children. It is required that children under eight years of age be accompanied by an adult or caregiver at least 11 years of age when visiting the library. This parent or caregiver should be in the immediate vicinity of and in visual contact with the child.

Children 8 years and older:

Children 8 years and older may use the library on their own. Due to differences in child development, the library recognizes that some children over 8 years old may not be able to cope with being unattended and therefore recommends that children between 8 and 10 years old be accompanied by an adult or responsible caregiver while using the library.
Children using inappropriate behavior may be asked to leave the library. If a child in this age group is not able to leave the library without an adult or responsible caregiver, they should not be left unattended in the library.

Behavior of children:

Parents and legal guardians are responsible for the behavior of their minor children in the library or on library grounds whether they accompany them or not. The ECRL Acceptable Behavior Policy governs acceptable behavior of all library users.

Contacting Law Enforcement:

ECRL staff will make a good faith attempt to contact the children’s parent or guardian if a child is identified as unattended and vulnerable. If a parent or guardian cannot be reached, local law enforcement will be contacted to assist.

ECRL staff will make a good faith attempt to locate a caregiver for an unattended vulnerable adult before calling local law enforcement to assist.

Parents or guardians are expected to make arrangements to pick up children before the posted library closing. ECRL staff will make a good faith attempt to contact a minor’s parent or guardian if a minor is unattended nearing closing time without means to leave on their own. If a parent or guardian cannot be reached and the minor remains at the library past the posted closing time, local law enforcement may be called to assist.