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Timothy C. Hauenstein Reynolds Township Library

Unattended Child Policy

Timothy C. Hauenstein Reynolds Township Library

Unattended Child Policy

Adopted: 5/12/2016

Revised: 12/15/2022

The Timothy C. Hauenstein Reynolds Township Library (TCHRTL) encourages children of all ages to visit the library and hopes they will find it a warm, inviting place to be. Programs and resources are offered to make the library enticing to children, to help children enjoy their visits, and to develop a love of books, reading and libraries.

The happiness and safety of children left alone at the library can be of serious concern. Young children left on their own in the library often become frightened or anxious. Children may be able to occupy their time for a short while, but when left unattended for any length of time when no library programs are being offered, they become bored, restless, and disruptive. Young children are not safe when left unattended in the library. The staff cannot know if the children are leaving the building with parents or with strangers. It is not the library's intention to seek out unattended children, but rather to have a reasoned response prepared when a problem presents itself. For the protection and wellbeing of children who visit our library, the following policy has been established.

Children age 8 or under must be accompanied in the library. (Accompanied is defined as "within sight".) It is strongly recommended that all children are accompanied by someone who can take responsibility should an emergency occur.

If a child in this age group becomes disruptive, the child and the parent/caregiver will be informed of the rules. If inappropriate behavior continues, the family may be asked to leave the library.

If a child in this age group is found unattended, library staff will attempt to locate the parent/caregiver in the library and inform him/her of the rules. If the parent/caregiver cannot be found, the police will be called for assistance to locate the child’s parent/caregiver.

Children age 9 and older may use the library on their own. However, parents are still responsible for the actions and the wellbeing of their child or children. Children using inappropriate behavior may be asked to leave the library.

Responsibility for the welfare and the behavior of children using the library rests with the parent/guardian or an assigned chaperone. Though staff will always respond with care and concern, they cannot assume responsibility for children’s safety and comfort when they are unattended. Staff may need to contact authorities such as the police either to assist with the enforcement of discipline in the library or to ensure the safety of an unattended child.

Parents should not use the library as an alternative to daycare. 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 also realize that, even in their absence, they are legally responsible for their children’s behavior.

TCHRTL is not responsible for the care and supervision of unaccompanied children prior to opening or after closing. TCHRTL is also not responsible for children outside the building who await transportation or who are socializing. Adults responsible for unattended school-age children using the library should be aware of the library’s hours and make arrangements to meet the children on time.