unattended children

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, the challenge libraries face daily with unattended children has been receiving press lately. (See Libraries struggle with child overload and Lock the Library! Rowdy Students Are Taking Over.) It seems that reporters are just catching up with what the industry has known for years… decades: parents are using libraries as if they were daycare centers. And librarians are having trouble keeping kids in line.

LibraryLawBlog points us to the best unattended children’s policies: San Marino (CA), Virginia Beach (VA), and Jacksonville Public Library (FL) .

If you have other good policies to share, or any comments, please click comment link. More info at California Library Association and New Jersey Library Association (by attorney Grayson Barber), and LibraryLaw.com sites.

The blog also points us to Virginia Beach Public Library’s unattended children policy.

Locally, I couldn’t find Harris County‘s policy online. However, Houston Public Library‘s is easily accessible:

Your children are important and we want them to have a rewarding library experience. Please be advised of our library policy, which states that children under the age of seven may not be left unattended at any time and children between the ages of seven and fourteen should not be left unattended for extended periods of time or at closing time. The library is not equipped to serve as a daycare facility and cannot provide supervision for unattended children.

If you leave your children at the library to do homework, attend a program or check out books, please be aware that proper behavior is important. Children are not allowed to run, become loud and disruptive, use vulgar and inappropriate language, damage library property, become insulting to library staff or interfere with the use of the library by other customers. Should this happen, we will call you. If we are unable to reach you, appropriate law enforcement or child protective authorities will be notified to take custody of the child. In accordance with our policy, children aged 15 or older will be asked to leave the building.

You can help us by explaining and expecting good behavior from your children whether you are present or not. Make sure your child knows how to reach you and give them an emergency number as well. Children are our future and we want them to grow to be responsible adults. You play a key role and we need your support. Together, we will make sure that your child’s library experience is a positive one with many good memories.

Does your library have an unatended children’s policy? How is it communicated to the parents?

Author: Paloma Cruz

Find out more about Paloma Cruz through the About page. Connect with her on Twitter (www.twitter.com/palomacruz) and (Facebook).

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