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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 parents or designated caregiver. This includes when the parent or 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 Courtesy Conduct Policy.
  • Parents, guardians, and/or 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 (ten) and under are to be supervised by the parent or caregiver age 18 (eighteen) and over designated by the parent during the child’s entire visit to the library.
  • If a parent or caregiver cannot be located when needed, or if staff suspects child neglect or abuse, staff will contact appropriate authorities.
  • If a child age 15 (fifteen) and under is left unattended at closing, staff will call appropriate authorities.

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, and/or caregivers 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 or caregiver.

Supervision of children: A child 10 (ten) and under must remain in the physical presence of the parent or caregiver age 18 (eighteen) or over designated by the parent.

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.

Revised: August 2016