Safe Child Policy
The Centerville-Center Township Public Library (the Library) is dedicated to providing a welcoming environment that encourages children and families to visit the Library, to use the Library’s collections and computers, and to attend programs designed to encourage reading and life-long learning. The Library encourages frequent visits by children and maintains the belief that visits should be a positive and enjoyable experience. While the health, safety and well-being of children visiting the Library is of utmost importance, the Library staff does not act in loco parentis (in place of parents). For the purposes of this policy, unless otherwise specified, children are those between birth through 17 years old or dependent adults.
Parents, guardians, and/or caregivers are responsible for monitoring the safety, behavior, and activities of children at all times in the Library and on library property regardless of whether they are accompanying their children or not. The Library is not able, or equipped, to provide short or long- term childcare and is not a substitute for supervised after-school or daycare programs. Staff cannot be placed in a position of supervising unattended children. While staff is committed to assisting children with activities related to the Library, it is not their duty to serve as baby-sitters or disciplinarians. It is their duty to assist and support children using the Library.
In an effort to ensure the safety and well-being of children within a public facility and to maintain an atmosphere of appropriate library use, the following policy has been adopted.
- Responsibility for the welfare and behavior of children using the Library ultimately rests with the parent/guardian or an assigned caregiver.
- Children under the age of ten (10) must be accompanied and adequately supervised at all times by a parent, guardian, or responsible adult caregiver eighteen (18) years of age or older. Children under the age of six (6) must be in the immediate vicinity of that caregiver at all times.
- In the event that a child under the age of 10 is found unsupervised during normal library hours, a library staff member will make every effort to locate a parent or caregiver. If a parent or caregiver cannot be found within a reasonable amount of time, the local police department will be contacted.
- Children between the ages of 10-17 may use the Library unattended for an amount of time appropriate for their age and maturity, provided that they comply with all library rules and the Courteous Conduct Policy. An unattended child will be expected to actively use library services during their visit.
- Parents/caregivers are responsible for the behavior of their unattended children. If children do not comply with library rules and the Courteous Conduct Policy, library staff may ask them to leave the Library. If a child of this age group is not able to leave the Library without an adult, they should not be in the Library alone.
- In the event that an unattended child is asked to leave the Library and is unable to do so on their own, a library staff member will make every effort to locate a parent or caregiver. If a parent or caregiver cannot be found within a reasonable amount of time, the local police department will be contacted.
- Children (or dependent adults) of any age with mental, physical, or emotional concerns which require supervision must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or responsible adult caregiver at all times.
- All unattended children must be able to provide the telephone number of a parent/guardian or someone who can assist them in an emergency or other special circumstance. If a child is found to be unattended during a medical emergency, library staff will first call 911 and then attempt to locate the parent/caregiver. If the parent/caregiver cannot be located, library staff will contact the local authorities. Charges for ambulance services will be the responsibility of the parent/guardian.
- Children participating in library programs are not considered to be supervised or “attended” by library staff. During scheduled programs that are designed and suitable for attendance by children age 6-9, the parent or caregiver must remain in the building so they are available if needed. Children under the age of six (6) must always be within sight of the adult/guardian responsible for their safety, including during scheduled programs. Children 10-17 may attend programming without supervision.
- Parents/caregivers are responsible for being aware of the Library’s hours of operation and must also keep in mind that the Library may close unexpectedly due to inclement weather, power outages, or other emergencies. Parents/caregivers must pick up children before closing time, and children must know how to contact parents/caregivers in case of emergency.
- In the event that a child, who cannot travel alone, is left at the Library at the time of closing, a library staff member will make every effort to locate a parent/caregiver. If a parent/caregiver has not arrived after 15 minutes, the police will be notified. Two staff members will remain with the child at the Library until authorities arrive. Library staff will not transport or escort a child to another location under any circumstance.
- School aged children who are home schooled must document their status. Staff may call the parent/guardian to confirm home school status, or online school ID may be used as proof of home school or Virtual School status. Children who fail to provide proper identification will be reported as truant.
- Parents/guardians are responsible for supervising the materials their child is allowed to borrow or use in the Library and should make their rules clear to their own child. The Library does not monitor library materials children choose.
Effective: September 9, 2015
Edits: July 2022