The Billerica Public Library welcomes children of all ages to utilize our materials and services. We encourage the use of the library by children and parents together, especially as children are introduced to the library’s services.
The role of the staff at the Billerica Public Library is to assist children and parents in selecting materials, answer questions about library services, and encourage the use of additional programs and services as they are developed. In addition, our goal is to provide a safe atmosphere where children and adults alike feel welcome in the library. The library does not offer long or short-term childcare.
The Children’s Room and the services provided are reserved for children from birth through age 10 or grade 5, their caretakers, teachers, and those using the collection. This restriction is intended to provide a safe and comfortable Children’s Room. Accordingly, adults not accompanied by a child and not using the children’s collection will be asked to move upstairs. Extended browsing by an adult not accompanied by a child is not encouraged, and at their discretion, library staff may ask the adult to take items to the main floor or second floor for browsing. Adults not accompanied by a child are not permitted to participate in children’s activities such as crafts, book talks, or any other program designated for children (see our Library Program Policy).
For purposes of this policy, the following definitions will be used:
Unattended Children: Children under ten years old and unaccompanied by a parent, guardian, or another caregiver; children under ten years old and on a library floor different from a parent, guardian, or another caregiver; children under ten years old being supervised by someone under fifteen years old; or children otherwise unsupervised by an adult or caregiver.
Caregiver: Any individual at least fifteen years old responsible for a child.
Statement of Policy
Parents/attending caregivers are responsible for the child’s behavior in the building. Children under ten years old must remain in the company of the parent, guardian, or caregiver age fifteen or older unless the child is participating in storytime or any other library program, in which case, the parent, guardian, or caregiver must remain in the Children’s Room area and to join the child immediately at the end of the program.
For children’s safety, any child three and under must be within the immediate reach of their caretaker, and any child over three (and up to age ten) must be within the caregivers’ line of sight. It may be necessary that a child must be supervised at all times by a parent or caregiver for the child to abide by the library rules, such as when a child has additional needs related to physical or mental ability, inconsistent behavior patterns, emotional difficulties, lack of adequate attention span, or incomplete social skills, that prevent the child from following the rules on their own.
Children ten and older may use the library unattended, provided they are mature enough to stay alone and observe proper conduct. Such children are subject to the same rules of conduct as other patrons and the same consequences, including being asked to leave the library. Library staff is not responsible for the care or supervision of unattended children left at the Library property, including outside the Library building. The supervision and care of children, including those ten and over left at the library by parents, guardians, and caretakers, is the sole decision and responsibility of said adults.
Any individual subject to disciplinary action, including but not limited to revocation or suspension of library privileges, may appeal the decision to the Library Trustees within 30 days of such decision. The Library Trustees require that all appeals be in writing.
Library staff will not seek out unattended children. Still, if an unaccompanied child or a child being supervised by an individual under fifteen years old comes to the staff’s attention, staff will attempt to locate the caregiver.
Rides at Closing Time
Parents, guardians, or caregivers are responsible for picking up children before the library’s posted closing time. The library is not responsible for children who do not have a ride at closing time, and staff are not permitted to provide children with transportation. A child under the age of fifteen that does not have a ride at closing will not be left unattended. Instead, two library staff members will contact the police department and stay with the child until the police arrive.
Revised and adopted by a vote of the Board of Library Trustees on April 4, 2016, as amended on September 9, 2019, and June 5, 2023