Child Safety Policy

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 services the library can provide.

The role of the staff at the Billerica Public Library is to assist children and parents in selecting materials, answering questions about library services and to 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 is not equipped, and it is not the Library’s role to provide long or short-term childcare.

In an effort to provide a safe and comfortable children’s area, the children’s department and the services provided are reserved for children, their caretakers, teachers, and those utilizing the collection. Adults not accompanied by a child who are not utilizing the collection will be asked to move upstairs. Extended browsing by an adult not accompanied by a child is not encouraged and the adult might be asked to take items to the adult/circulation area or the top reference floor for browsing. Adults unaccompanied by a child are not permitted to participate in children’s activities such as crafts, book talks, or any other program designated for children.

Definitions

For purposes of this policy the following definitions will be used:

Unattended Children:

Under 9 years old and unaccompanied by a parent, guardian, or other caregiver;

Under 9 years old and on a different floor of the Library from a parent, guardian, or other caregiver; or otherwise unsupervised by an adult/caregiver.

Under 9 years old and being “supervised” by someone under 15 years old.

Caregiver:

Any individual, at least 15 years of age who is responsible for a child.

Statement of Policy

Parents/attending caregivers are responsible for the child’s behavior at all times while in the building. Children under 9 years old must remain in the company of the parent, guardian or caregiver age 15 years or older unless the child is participating in storytime or any other library program, in which case, the parent, guardian or caregiver is expected to remain in the Children’s Room area and to join the child immediately at the end of the program.

For your safety, any child under 3 must be within hugging distance of their caretaker, and any child over age 3 (up to age 9) 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 problems, lack of adequate attention span, or incomplete social skills, that prevent the child from following the rules on their own.

Children age 9 and older may use the Library unattended providing 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.

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 but if an unattended child or a child being supervised by a child under 15 yrs old comes to the attention of staff, staff will attempt to locate the caregiver.

Revised and adopted by vote of the Board of Library Trustees September 2019

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