The Agnes Robinson Waterloo Public Library strives to provide a warm, welcoming and safe environment conductive to lifelong learning for patrons of all ages. Sharing this environment with others requires that everyone follow the Rules of Conduct listed in the Behavior Policy.
The safety of children left alone in a library building is a serious concern of the library staff.
Because the library is a public facility and used by a number of different people, a parent should never assume the library is a safe place for children to visit alone and unattended. They may be approached by strangers or become bored and restless and could disturb the enjoyment and work of others. When left alone a child may become anxious or frightened. They may encounter hazards such as stairs, doors, furniture or electrical equipment.
The care and behavior of minor children visiting the Agnes Robinson Waterloo Public Library are the responsibility of the parent, guardian or caregiver. The library does not act in loco parentis. Library staff welcomes minor children to enjoy the library and library materials, but cannot accept responsibility for their safety and supervision. The library has developed the following policy and procedures to guide staff in dealing with unattended minors.
Children in the library should be accompanied to the library by a responsible adult or caregiver who is age 14 or older. The Board suggests that no child under the age of eight be unattended at any time while in the library, but that the responsibility in determining the maturity of the child is left to the parent/guardian. The library in no way assumes any responsibility for any child left unattended in the library.
A child of appropriate maturity should clearly exhibit the following abilities:
- Understands and follows the rules of the library
- Makes his or her selections independently
- Demonstrates his or her comfort in being left alone
- Knows at least one family member’s telephone number in case of emergency
In any situation that requires calling a parent about a child’s behavior or that involves law enforcement, library staff will complete an Incident Report.
Unattended Children Under Eight Years Old:
If a child under the age of eight is found without a responsible adult or caregiver, and no prior arrangements have been made with the director or staff, it is the discretion of staff whether a parent or guardian shall be called. If the Library is about to close and the responsible party cannot be reached and fails to pick the child up, the Waterloo Police Department will be contacted to pick up the child and staff will follow the following procedure:
1. Complete an Incident Report.
2. Make a photocopy and enclose it in an envelope with the parent’s name boldly written on it.
3. Tape it to the Library’s front door so the parent is aware the child is with the local police.
Individual staff should at all times avoid being in a situation that would place them alone with a child.
Staff is not responsible for a child left unattended after hours and is not required to stay after closing with unattended children.
Under no circumstances will staff provide transportation for a child.
Youth in the Library:
It is recommended that unattended children between the ages of 8 and 12 be accompanied by an adult if their library stay exceeds one hour providing they are following the Library Rules of Conduct. If a library staff member observes any child violating the library rules, the staff member will dismiss the child from the library property after one warning. If the child refuses to leave the property after the warning, a parent of caregiver will be called. The library staff may use their discretion in involving the Waterloo Police Department to remove a patron of any age who is violating library rules.
Parents, Guardians and all caregivers are encouraged to share the library experience with their children and to supervise their selection of all types of materials. Parents who wish to place limits on access to certain library materials, services or facilities should discuss these limits with their children. This is not the library’s responsibility.
Approved by the Agnes Robinson Waterloo Public Library Board of Trustees on June 27, 2017.