Unattended Minors Policy
Replacement for C260-Parental Responsibility Unattended Minors
The library is a public place and, as such, is not inherently safe for unattended minors. The purpose of this policy is to encourage parents and legal guardians to exercise reasonable care, supervision, and control over their minor children in order to prevent juvenile victimization and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of children.
St. Charles City-County Library District welcomes children to use its facilities and services. The responsibility for the care, safety, and behavior of children using the library rests with the parent/guardian or caregiver. St. Charles City-County Library District shall not be liable for children left unattended in the libraries or on its property. Within the library a caregiver must be at least 12 years of age or older and must possess, on their person, emergency contact information for a parent/guardian. Parents remain responsible for the actions of their children on library premises whether or not they are present.
Library staff members have many duties and cannot supervise children nor act as a substitute for daycare. Children under the age of 12 must be directly supervised by a parent/guardian or caregiver unless they are participating in a library program. Direct supervision means that the child is within the sight range of the responsible caregiver at all times. Parents/guardians or caregivers of children under the age of 12 attending a library program must remain in the library building for the duration of the program.
The library staff cannot take responsibility for the care of any age child. All unattended children should have the telephone number of someone who can assist them in an emergency.
It is understood that all library customers must behave appropriately when using the library (see Policy C184), and unattended minors are no exception. Children of any age using inappropriate behavior will be informed of library rules. If inappropriate behavior continues, the child shall be asked to leave the library (see Policy C184).
If a child under the age of 12 is found without a parent/guardian or caregiver, or an older disruptive or distressed unaccompanied child is encountered, library staff will:
a) attempt to comfort the child, if necessary;
b) locate the parent/guardian or caregiver in the library and explain the Unattended Minors Policy (i.e., this policy) as well as the Inappropriate Customer Behavior policy (see Policy C184) in situations of misbehavior;
c) make every effort to contact the parent or caregiver who is not present to come and pick up the child; staff will express the library’s concern for the child’s safety and explain the Unattended Minors policy (i.e., this policy) as well as the Inappropriate Customer Behavior policy (see Policy C184). In situations of misbehavior, staff will file an Incident Report (see Policy C176).
d) call local police if the parent/guardian or caregiver cannot be located within 15 minutes or has not retrieved the child within 30 minutes of being contacted; staff should thoroughly explain to the police dispatcher the situation and steps that have made to contact the child’s parent or caregiver and also request that an officer be sent to the library to accompany the child and continue attempts to contact the child’s guardian until the child is retrieved; staff will file an Incident Report (see Policy C176);
e) encourage all unattended minors to contact their parent/guardian or caregiver at least 15 minutes before closing time;
f) follow the Abandoned Minors policy (see Policy C016) if the child is still unaccompanied at closing time;g) never transport any child from the library to another location.
g) never transport any child from the library to another location.
(Adopted 4/12/93, Revised 2/12/13)