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Unattended Child Policy

A. PURPOSE

The purpose of the Unattended Child Policy is to ensure the safety of children using the library.

B. POLICY STATEMENT

The Durham County Library welcomes children of all ages to use materials and services. The library staff nurtures children to develop a love of reading and learning, but is not responsible for their care, their supervision or for accidents or other incidents that happen to them or that result from their actions.

Responsibility

  • The responsibility for the care, safety and behavior of children lies with the parent, guardian, or designated caregiver. This includes times when the parent, guardian or designated caregiver is not present within the library building or on library grounds. Library staff and/or security staff will determine whether a child’s behavior is inappropriate and will respond to such situations in the manner deemed appropriate based on the Library’s Courteous Conduct Policy.
  • Parents, guardians and/or designated caregivers are responsible at all times for any actions including, but not limited, to monetary responsibility for property damage or loss caused by their children under the age of 18.
  • Library staff will report suspected abuse or neglect to the Durham County Department of Social Services at (919) 560-8424, or by calling 1-800-CHILDREN (Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina).

Supervision

  • Children age 10 and under are to be supervised and must remain in the physical presence of the parent, guardian or caregiver age 18 or over during the child’s entire visit to the library.
  • If a parent, guardian, or designated caregiver cannot be located when needed, or if staff suspects child neglect or abuse, staff will contact appropriate authorities.
  • If a child age 15 or under is left unattended at closing, staff will notify Durham Police.

Behavior

The Library’s Courteous Conduct Policy applies to all patrons, regardless of age.

C. APPLICABILITY

This policy applies to all children using the library, their parents/guardians designated by parents.

D. LEGAL REFERENCE

G.S. 7B 301: Duty to report abuse, neglect, dependency, or death due to maltreatment.

E. DEFINITIONS

Neglected child: A child who does not receive proper care, supervision or discipline from his or her parent/guardian.

Supervision of children: Children age 10 and under are to be supervised and must remain in the physical presence of the parent/guardian or caregiver age 18 or over designated by the parent/guardian during the child’s entire visit to the library.

F. RESPONSIBILITY

It is the responsibility of all public service library staff and facility supervisors to understand this policy fully so as to ensure fair and equitable application. It is the responsibility of the Deputy Director, with the advice of the Board of Trustees, to interpret, monitor and recommend updates to the policy. The Library Director is the final authority in regards to enforcing this policy.

Review Date: May 2017
Effective Date: July 1, 2017