The Helper Library encourages children to use its facilities and services. However, children in the library are the responsibility of their parents. The library has neither the staff nor the legal authority to supervise children in the library.
Therefore, parents and guardians should be aware of their responsibility to discipline and supervise their children while they are in the library. A child left unattended in the library may become disruptive or frightened, ill, injured, or worse.
If a child is found to be unattended in the library (that is, if the responsible adult is not on the library premises) at closing time, or if an unattended child becomes disruptive at any time, the library may take action necessary to resolve the situation. If necessary, the library may ask the police to take the child into custody for the child’s protection.
Disruptive behavior is any behavior within the library that infringes on the rights of others using the library.
Guidelines for Staff Members
Disruptive Attended Children
If a young child is being disruptive (prolonged noise making; running up and down aisles; damaging library property; or bothering other library patrons), library staff may remind the child that they should be quiet (should not run around, etc.) in a library. Staff members are to use their discretion is such situations. If the behavior continues, library staff will attempt to locate the child’s parent or caregiver. If the parent or caregiver is located in the library, staff will explain that the child’s behavior is disturbing other patrons, and will ask the parent or caregiver to deal with the problem. If the parent or caregiver refuses or is unable to control the child, they may be asked to remove the child from the library until the problem is resolved.
Disruptive Unattended Children
If the child is unattended (parent or caregiver cannot be located within the library), law enforcement personnel may be contacted to pick up the child for the child’s protection and safety.
Children twelve years of age or older.
Older minors who become disruptive.
If an older child is disruptive, the child should be informed that he/she is behaving inappropriately and asked to behave in a more appropriate manner. If the disruptive behavior continues, library staff will:
Ask the child to leave the library. Library staff members are to use their discretion in such situation. (Is the child old enough to leave on his/her own; does he/she live within walking distance; is it light or dark out; etc.)
Attempt to locate a parent/caregiver to deal with the problem. If a parent/caregiver cannot be located within the library and the disruption is sufficiently severe, the police may be called to deal with the situation.
Unattended Children at Closing
Library staff will not remain after hours with an unattended child and are not permitted, under any circumstances, to give him/her a ride home. If a child’s transportation is not available within 15 minutes after closing, the police may be called to escort the child home or keep the child until parents can be reached.
The library is not responsible for children outside the building who await transportation or who are socializing.