LIBRARY UNATTENDED CHILD POLICY
The Ames Free Library encourages children of all ages to visit the library and hopes they will find it a warm, inviting place to be. Programs and resources are offered to make the library enticing to children, to help children enjoy their visits, and to develop a love of books, reading and libraries.
The happiness and safety of children left alone at the library can be of serious concern. Young children left on their own in the library often become frightened or anxious. Children may be able to occupy their time for a short while, but when left unattended for any length of time when no library programs are being offered, they become bored, restless, and disruptive. Young children are not safe when left unattended in the library. The staff cannot know if the children are leaving the building with parents or with strangers. It is not the library's intention to seek out unattended children, but rather to have a reasoned response prepared when a problem presents itself. For the protection and well being of children who visit our library, the following policy has been established.
Unattended Child When the Library is Open
Children under 6
Children under the age of 6 may not be left unattended by an adult in any part of the Library. If children under the age of 6 are found without an adult, staff will attempt to locate the parent or other caregiver.
Programs - During story times or other programs, adults who do not attend the program with the child must remain in the building and must be visible when the program is over.
Children 6-8 must have a parent or caregiver in the building with them at all times during the library visit. If children 6-8 are found without an adult, staff will attempt to locate the parent or other caregiver.
These children are welcome to use the library unattended but should not be left alone for extended periods of time. No public place, including the library, can guarantee the safety of children. Parents are responsible for their behavior. If a child becomes anxious or disruptive the staff will attempt to find the parent or caregiver in the library. If they are not available the staff will call the child's home. It is the responsibility of the parent or caregiver to be accessible to pick up the child at any time.
Children 13 years and older
Children 13 and over are old enough to use the library responsibly. If problems arise, they may be asked to leave or parents may be contacted. It is the responsibility of the parent or caregiver to be accessible to pick up the child at any time. THE CHILD MUST HAVE A WAY FOR THE STAFF TO CONTACT THE PARENT OR CAREGIVER AT ALL TIMES WHEN THEY ARE LEFT UNATTENDED IN THE LIBRARY.
No Child 16 years or younger may be unattended in the library one half hour before library closing.
Unattended Youth During Emergency Closings
The Ames Free Library will close due to emergencies because of inclement weather, power outages, etc. If the Easton Schools close because of inclement weather the Library may also close. No child may be sent to the library if the schools close early due to emergencies.
When the library closes because of inclement weather or an emergency and school is still in session the schools will be notified and an announcement will be made.
If a parent or caregiver cannot be reached after trying for 15 minutes the police department will be asked if they can assist the staff in helping to get the child home safely.
STAFF WILL NOT DRIVE CHILDREN HOME.
STAFF WILL MAKE A WRITTEN REPORT CONCERNING THE INCIDENT.
For our children's safety we ask that adults refrain from using the children's room for personal use.
Approved by the Library Board of Directors.
revised August 2023