BRIDGETON FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY
UNATTENDED CHILD POLICY
The Bridgeton Free Public Library seeks to be a community center that provides its citizens with materials and services to enrich their diverse personal, educational and professional lives. The library has a special mission to provide programs for the youth of the community that will encourage and foster a love of reading and life-long learning.
Parents and guardians, not Library staff, are responsible for the care, behavior and supervision of their children while using the Bridgeton Free Public Library and on its property. The Library does not provide care or supervision of children, except to the extent needed to uphold Library rules of conduct and use. The Library does not accept responsibility for care or supervision of children who are not accompanied by an adult or designated caregiver. The Library is not able to provide short- or long-term childcare and is not a substitute for supervised after-school or daycare programs. Parents or designated caregivers are solely responsible for their children’s supervision and behavior while using the Library.
As the Bridgeton Free Library is a public place, the Bridgeton Free Public Library Board of Trustees has adopted the following policies:
Children 9 years old or younger, who are using the Library’s resources or who are participating in a Library program shall at all times be accompanied and adequately supervised by a responsible adult. A responsible adult is defined as a parent, guardian, teacher, or assigned caregiver over the age of 18, who must remain with the child in the Library for the duration of the visit.
The designated caregiver must stay with children at all times. If children are participating in a storytime or other Library program, the designated caregiver must remain on Library premises and must be in the building and aware of the location and behavior of his/her child. If a child age 9 or under is found to be unattended in the library they may be allowed to use the library phone to contact their parent or guardian to arrange to be picked up. If contact with a parent or guardian cannot be made, Library staff will contact the Bridgeton Police Department. In cases where children age 9 or younger are left unattended in the Library on more than one occasion, library staff may refer the matter to the Bridgeton Police Department or other appropriate social service authorities.
Children the age of 10 years or older may use the Library unattended for a reasonable period of time provided they are able to maintain proper Library behavior. Children must have the telephone numbers of their parent, guardian, or other responsible adult, who may be contacted to come and pick up the child in case of a health emergency, or other special circumstances.
Parents are advised that, even in their absence, they are legally responsible for their child’s behavior. The Library is not responsible for an unattended child while in the building or if they leave the Library premises.
If a child behaves in a disruptive manner (whether or not accompanied by a responsible adult), they will be given a warning that they must correct their behavior or leave the Library. If the child continues to be disruptive after this warning, then the Library staff, may, at their discretion, contact the responsible adult and ask the child to leave the Library. A staff member will remain with the child until the adult arrives. If a responsible adult cannot be contacted within 15 minutes, the Library reserves the right to contact the Bridgeton Police Department for assistance in order to preserve the Library’s operations and/or protect the interests of the child.
Regularly scheduled closings.
Parents must be aware of the Library’s hours and must arrange to pick up their children by closing time. We ask each parent to make advance arrangements to pick up or have their child picked up by a responsible adult by closing and to inform their children what action they are to take in the event of an unexpected closure of the Bridgeton Free Public Library.
If an unattended child is still in the Library at closing time, then the Library staff will act according to the following guidelines:
Library personnel will not transport or escort the child to any location off the premises under any circumstances.
Every reasonable effort will be made by the staff to assist the child in contacting an appropriate adult 15 minutes prior to Library closing.
At least two staff members will remain with the child up to 15 minutes after closing and continue to contact the parent or responsible adult during that time.
If no responsible adult is reached, the Library reserves the right to contact the Bridgeton Police Department to request assistance.
Two staff members will wait with the child until the parent or responsible adult, or a Bridgeton Police Officer comes into the Library to pick up the child.
Children ages 16 and under will not be left on the Library property unattended after Library hours. If the child leaves the building prior to the arrival of the responsible adult, the Bridgeton Police Department may be contacted to protect the interests of the child.
The Library may have sudden emergencies such as lack of heat or electricity. This may necessitate the Library closing without warning. Significant inclement weather may also necessitate a Library closing. Children should know what to do if the Library must close unexpectedly. If a child is left unattended during an emergency closing, then the same guidelines outlined above under regularly scheduled closings will apply.
Children and Use of Library Resources
Bridgeton Free Public Library offers materials that reflect the diversity of its user population. It is not the responsibility of the Library or its staff to exercise a supervisory or restrictive role in determining which Library resources young people may use or access. It is the responsibility of a child’s parents and/or designated caregiver to monitor the child’s selection and use of all Library resources. This includes the monitoring of the child’s access to the Internet. The Library encourages parents to set their own family rules, in consultation with their child, regarding use of Library resources and services.
(Adopted by the Bridgeton Free Public Library Board of Trustees 8/27/13)