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Vulnerable Adult Policy

Printable policy (PDF)


Durham County Library strives to provide a friendly, welcoming and safe environment for all community members. The Library is particularly concerned for the safety of vulnerable adults* in and around the library.

A vulnerable adult is an individual over the age of 18 who is mentally or physically challenged to a degree that significantly impairs the individual’s ability to provide adequately for his/her own care or manage his/her own behavior without assistance.


Vulnerable adults who are unable or unwilling to care for themselves must be attended to and have adequate supervision at all times. A parent/guardian or caregiver 18 years of age or older must be responsible for monitoring activities and managing the behavior of vulnerable adults during their library visits. The Library does not assume responsibility for vulnerable adults while they are in the building or on Library property.

Vulnerable adults who can understand and follow Durham County Library’s Courteous Conduct Policy, and can provide for their own needs, are welcome to remain in the library unattended. All library customers are expected to follow the rules of conduct outlined in Durham County Library’s Courteous Conduct Policy. Vulnerable adults left unattended should have contact information for a parent/guardian or caregiver in case of emergency and can contact them as needed. It is not the Library’s responsibility to retain this information.

Library staff are responsible for assisting all Library customers and cannot adequately monitor unattended vulnerable adults. Staff will attempt to contact a parent/guardian or caregiver when a vulnerable adult’s health or safety is in doubt, if their behavior disturbs other library customers, if their actions violate any of Durham County Library’s Courteous Conduct Policy or the parent/guardian or caregiver is not present at the time of the Library’s closing. Library staff are not responsible for preventing vulnerable adults from leaving Library grounds or monitoring or managing their behavior. If a vulnerable adult is left without a ride after closing, staff will contact the appropriate authorities to ensure the safety of the adult.


This policy applies to all library customers and/or persons on library property.


It is the responsibility of all public service 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 and the Community Engagement Administrator, with the advice of the Board of Trustees, to interpret, monitor and recommend updates to this policy. The Library Director is the final authority in regard to enforcing this policy.

Effective date: October 11, 2018