Bedford Public Library Policy

Subject: Children & students using the library Last Updated: 12/09/03
Category: Patron Conduct Policies Supercedes:

I. POLICY

The Bedford Public Library System (BPLS) welcomes children of all ages to use its facilities for leisure reading, research, homework, and at library programs.  For the safety and comfort of children, a responsible adult or caregiver should accompany children while they are using the library.  While in the library, parents and caregivers are responsible for monitoring and regulating the behavior of their children.  BPLS does not serve in place of the parent, and is unable to assume responsibility for minors.

II. APPLICABILITY

A child under the age of 12 is considered unattended unless accompanied at all times by a parent/caregiver.  Children over the age of 12 are considered unattended if they are deemed in a situation that requires judgment or actions greater than the child's level of maturity.

III. OBJECTIVE

While BPLS desires to provide a safe and appropriate environment for visitors of all ages, the library is an open, public building, and the well being of children left alone is a serious concern. Our staff has many duties to perform and cannot monitor the behavior or the whereabouts of each patron, including children.  For safety’s sake, parents should make sure that their children are sufficiently mature before allowing them to visit the library by themselves.  Parents should be advised that if their children misbehave, they may be told to leave the library and the library grounds.  Parents should further realize that, even in their absence, they are legally responsible for their children’s behavior.

IV. PROCEDURES

If an unattended child acts in a manner not in compliance with the library’s Standards of Conduct, staff members should:
If unattended children are in the library at closing, staff should:
If a parent or caregiver reports they have lost a child in the library, staff should:
BPLS has an Internet Policy that states, “Parents of minor children are responsible for their children’s use of the Internet through the library system’s connection.”

Library staff will not accept incoming telephone calls for children or students in the library.  If a caller asks for verification or to speak to someone in the library, staff will
V. EXCEPTIONS

Parents of preschool-age children attending library programs should remain in the building during the program.

Groups of children must be accompanied by an adult.  Teachers or group leaders are responsible for group discipline and must remain with the group the entire visit.  The behavior of the group should not disturb other library patrons. 

Staff, volunteers, official visitors or speakers may receive phone calls.