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Safe Child Policy

The Orange County Library System welcomes children of all ages. Our youngest customers are very important to us, and our goal is to provide a safe and positive experience for them when they visit the library.

The safety of children in the library is a serious concern. The library is a public building and as such, anyone can enter it. Library staff have multiple duties to perform in order to serve all library patrons. Therefore, they cannot monitor the behavior or whereabouts of each child visiting the library. Staff does not assume parental responsibility for children who visit the library. Parents/Caretakers are expected to provide supervision for children in the library.

If children are left unattended in the library, they may become anxious or frightened. An unattended child may encounter hazards in the building such as stairs, electrical equipment, elevators, furniture, or strangers. An unattended child may be tempted to leave with a stranger, get mixed in with a group visiting the library, become ill, or panic if they are separated from their grown-up.

It is for the safety of each child, that the Orange County Public Library has adopted this Safe Child policy. We invite parents and caregivers to partner with us to keep the library a safe and pleasant place for children and adults.

Therefore…

  • For the purpose of this policy, a responsible caregiver is the grownup who brings the child to the library, whether it be parent, caregiver, teacher, tutor, or other relative (who must be at least 16 years of age). All children under 12 must be accompanied by a responsible caregiver who has contact information for the child’s legal guardian, in case an emergency arises.
  • We expect that children under 12 years of age will be accompanied by a responsible caregiver when visiting the library. If library staff is aware of an unattended child, they will attempt to contact a parent or legal guardian or appropriate authorities. If unable to locate a parent or guardian, on duty staff will contact the appropriate authorities.
  • We expect parents and caregivers to keep children in sight and hearing range at all times when visiting the library.
  • We expect parents and caregivers to supervise their children and ensure their behavior is not disturbing to other library customers. If a child’s behavior becomes disruptive a library staff member may approach the child, parent or caregiver to address the behavior. If the disruptive behavior continues, the child/parent may be asked to leave the library.
  • We expect parents and caregivers to model appropriate behavior by monitoring their own noise level, activities and conversations and those of their children. Appropriate library activities include choosing materials, sitting at tables to read or work on projects and working on appropriate computers. Talking is fine but should not be louder than the general noise level.
  • In order for a child to have a positive experience, we expect parents and caregivers to set age appropriate time limits for children’s library visits. If a child is hungry, tired, or ill they will not have a positive experience. We encourage parents and caregivers to keep time limits in mind, as attention spans can be short.
  • We encourage parents and caregivers to bring their children to age appropriate library programs. We expect parents and caregivers to remain on the premises (in the library where the parent/caregiver is accessible to the child) until the program has ended, in case an emergency should arise.
  • We expect parents and caregivers to accompany your child while they are using an Internet workstation. Children under 12 are not allowed to use an Internet workstation without adult supervision.
  • We expect parents and caregivers who are using an Internet work station to keep their children with them. Children are not to be left unattended in the Children’s area while their parents and caregivers are using an Internet workstation in the Information Services area.

Your cooperation and adherence to these policies will help us to maintain a pleasant and safe environment in your public library.

Thank you.

Policy presented January 2012 to the Hyconeechee Library Board and approved 1/11/12