Approved by the Board of Trustees of the
St. Joseph Public Library on 11/12/02.
ST. JOSEPH PUBLIC LIBRARY
GUIDELINES FOR THE BEHAVIOR OF MINORS IN THE LIBRARY
In providing appropriate service to people of all ages within library facilities, it is the goal of the library to create an environment which protects the safety and welfare of library users and staff.
Children eight years old and younger must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or designated caregiver* while in any of the facilities of the St. Joseph Public Library. Parents, guardians, or designated caregivers of children nine years old and older are strongly encouraged to accompany these minor children to the library.
It is also the policy of the library to request that library users of all ages engage in appropriate behaviors which do not interfere with the use of library facilities by others.
If a child eight years old or younger is identified as unaccompanied, the staff will attempt to reach by telephone the parent or guardian for the purpose of explaining the library’s guidelines for the behavior of minors in the library and for public services to minors. Otherwise, a copy of these guidelines will be mailed to the parent or guardian if one can be identified.
Parents, guardians, or designated caregivers will be responsible for the behavior within library facilities of all minor children, regardless of their age or whether they have accompanied them to the library.
The following steps will be taken when disruptive behavior occurs: (“Disruptive behavior” is any noisy, boisterous, or acting-out activity which is inappropriate in the library environment. This behavior may present a physical danger to the minor or others or may interfere with the conduct of appropriate library business by other library users and/or staff.)
Attended Minors (An “attended” minor is one who has been accompanied to the library by a parent, guardian, or designated caregiver.)
- Staff will instruct minors to engage in more appropriate behaviors.
- If the disruptive behavior continues, staff will attempt to locate and so inform the parent, guardian, or designated caregiver.
- If the parent, guardian, or designated caregiver refuses to comply with this request or is unable to control the minor’s behavior, the family will be asked to leave for the rest of the day and invited to return later.
Unattended Minors (An “unattended” minor is one who has not been accompanied to the library by a parent, guardian, or designated caregiver.)
- Staff will instruct minors to engage in more appropriate behaviors, informing them that this is a warning, and that if the disruptive behaviors continue, they will be asked to leave.
- If the disruptive behavior continues, staff will tell minors to leave. Staff will accompany the minor to the door and inform other staff that the minor will not be permitted to return that day and will be invited to return later.
- (A “vulnerable” minor is one who is unattended and whose safety or well-being would be endangered by being sent out of a library facility. Examples of vulnerability might include the child’s age, the apparent lack of a safe environment outside the library facility, and the possibility of a minor’s being left alone at night outside a library facility after operating hours.) If the minor appears vulnerable, library staff will attempt to contact a parent or guardian about the minor’s disruptive behavior. After informing the parent or guardian of the library’s guidelines on the matter, staff will ask the parent or guardian to come to the library to pick up the minor.
- If a parent or guardian cannot be reached or does not respond to this request, under the supervision of the appropriate manager staff are authorized to call the police.
- If a minor is left unattended at a library facility at closing time and appears to be vulnerable, library staff will call the parent or guardian. If unsuccessful on the first attempt, staff will continue to try to reach the parent or guardian for up to 15 minutes. If the parent or guardian still cannot be reached, under the supervision of the appropriate manager staff are authorized to call the police.
- Whenever possible, after a library facility has closed, two staff members will remain with the minor inside the library facility until the parent or guardian or the police arrive.
- When the parent or the guardian arrives, staff will explain library guidelines on the situation and give a copy of them to the parent or guardian.
- Under no circumstances will library staff transport in a motor vehicle or otherwise remove the child from the library facility after library operating hours.
* A designated caregiver of a minor in this context is an individual who has been charged by the parent or guardian with the care of the minor during a visit to a library facility. Examples could include a teacher, a daycare provider, or a babysitter.