Children and Dependent Persons Safety Policy
Coastal Plain Regional Library Children and Dependent Persons Safety Policy
(Adopted 7-16-09 CPRL Board of Trustees)
Statement of Philosophy
The Coastal Plain Regional Library System is dedicated to providing a customer-friendly atmosphere for everyone who visits Berrien, Cook, Irwin, Tift, or Turner Counties. Much of the responsibility for a welcoming library experience falls upon the library staff, management, and Boards; however, we must also ask that those with children or other dependent persons take special care in order to make sure that libraries are a productive AND SAFE place for everyone.
When children or dependent persons are left unattended, they may cause a disruption for other library patrons, and there is also a risk of harm to the unattended person or to others. Library staff are not legally allowed to provide care and supervision for children or dependent persons of any age.
Definition of Terms
A child is defined as a person aged 11 or under.
A dependent person is a person who needs a caregiver for safety and/or other reasons. Dependent persons may include, for example, persons incapacitated due to physical and/or mental disabilities or other conditions and who are dependent on others for their safety and well-being.
A guardian is an individual at least 16 years of age who acknowledges the responsibility of care for a child or dependent person.
A youth/minor is a person aged 12 through 17.
Statement of Policy
While on library premises (building and grounds), a child (aged 11 or under) or dependent person must always remain in the company and immediate vicinity of the guardian.
If a person in this group (either a child or a dependent person) is left unattended in the library or on its premises during operating hours, Library staff will attempt to identify and located the guardian in the following order of operation:
- Staff will search the library and/or premises to locate the responsible party
- If they cannot be located, a staff member will monitor the person until the guardian returns or until police arrive
- When the guardian is located, a copy of this policy will be given and explained with a duplicate copy signed by the appropriate adult in charge and/or a notation made in the patrons’ library card record.
- Staff will record the guardian’s name, address, and phone number and the name of the unattended person and refer any additional incidents directly to law enforcement.
- If necessary at any time, staff will contact the appropriate law enforcement or social services authorities to assume responsibility for the child or dependent person in need of attention, since library personnel are not legally able to be caretakers of any dependent person or child.
A youth aged 12 through 17 may be in the library without a guardian, but the guardian is still legally responsible for the youth’s actions. The youth should have emergency contact information available for the guardian. Youth engaging in inappropriate behavior may be asked to leave the library. The library may require accompaniment of a guardian for youths who have previously been asked to leave.
All adults, youths, and guardians are responsible for being aware of Library operating hours. Library staff must exercise appropriate procedures to ensure the safety of unattended persons, either persons under 12 or dependent persons of any age, especially when the library is closing.
- One half hour prior to closing time, staff will make an effort to ascertain that any minors or dependent persons of any age have arrangements for transportation from the library.
- If no ride has arrived by closing time, staff will call the Police Department and two staff members will wait with the person or persons left unattended until the Police arrive. If the transportation arrives prior to the Police, the person transporting the dependent person must also await the arrival of the Police.
- Staff will record the guardian’s name, address, and phone number and the name of the unattended person.
- Staff will refer any additional incidents to law enforcement.
- Under no circumstances will library staff members provide transportation to unaccompanied minors or dependent persons, or leave them alone in the building or on the library premises. No single staff member may wait alone with the minor/s or dependent person/s in question without accompaniment by another staff member and/or volunteer.