Unattended Children Policy
The Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield encourages the youth of all ages to visit the library in hopes they find it to be fun, inviting, and exciting. The library has programs and resources to entice our youth. Through our resources, the library wants to spread the joy of reading and learning for our children.
Even though the goal is to spread joy to the youth, safety is also our concern. Young children that are left in the library are scared or even frightened. Some children can occupy their time for a short time, but left alone for a long time will become bored, restless, or even disruptive. Leaving children alone at the library is unsafe. Staff is not equipped to know if children are leaving the facility with their parents or with a stranger. Library staff has many duties to perform to serve the citizens of Johnston County and babysitting is not part of the library’s duties. Children’s caregivers are responsible for their children’s behavior and safety while on library premises. For the protection and well-being of our youth, the library has created this policy.
Children 7 Years Old and Younger
Children under the age of 7 may not be left unattended by an adult in any part of this facility. If a child under this age is found without an adult, the staff will attempt to find the caregiver. If the caregiver is not located, the police will be called. The child will be placed in police custody. Children attending library programs supervised by staff do not have to remain with caregivers during the programs unless directed by staff. Caregivers must remain in the library building during the program.
Children 8 to 11 Years Old
These children must have a caregiver in the building with them at all times during the library visit. If a child in this age group is found without an adult, the staff will attempt to locate the caregiver.
Children 12 to 16
These children are welcome to use the library unattended but should not be left alone for a long period. No place in the library is completely safe. Caregivers are responsible for their behavior. If a child becomes anxious or disruptive the staff will try to locate the caregiver. Children whose conduct is disruptive may have their privileges restricted or denied for a certain period. It is the caregiver’s responsibility to be available to pick-up their child at any time.
A child must have a way to contact his/her caregiver at all times while he/she is left in the library. No child should be left in the library 15 minutes before the library is closing. If a child is left after closing, two staff members will remain and attempt to reach a caregiver. After 15 minutes, if the caregiver cannot be reached, the staff will call the Smithfield Police Department. The child will be placed in police custody.
Approved by Library Board of Trustees September 30, 2019