Unattended Child Policy

UNATTENDED CHILD POLICY

The Trustees and staff of the Belmont Public Library strive to make the library a welcoming environment and take pride in creating a friendly, respectful atmosphere for all visitors and staff. The Jane Gray Dustan Children’s Room provides a special opportunity for children to explore their interests, complete assignments, and develop a love of reading.

The Belmont Public Library is a public space intended for use by Belmont residents as well as residents from surrounding towns, and the safety of children on library premises is a serious concern of the library staff. However, the responsibility for the safety and behavior of children on library premises rests with the parent or childcare provider and not with library staff. In an effort to ensure the safety and well-being of children, ensure use of the Children’s Room is consistent with its mission, and maintain an atmosphere of constructive library use, the following guidelines apply to children under 14 at the library.

  • Children under the age of 10 must be accompanied at all times by a parent or adult caregiver. An exception may be made for children attending library programs, with the parent’s and library’s permission.
  • Children age 10 and older may use the library without an adult in attendance, provided the child is able to use the library independently and without supervision. Children 10-13 years old should not be left alone for more than two hours.
  • The parent/caregiver is responsible for ensuring appropriate behavior of their children in the library. Disruptive behavior, including shouting, running, and climbing on furniture are not allowed.
  • Children are subject to the same Behavior Policy as adult patrons, and disruptive visitors of any age will be asked to leave the library after appropriate warning.
  • Children left unaccompanied at the library must be able to contact a parent or caregiver in case of emergency.
  • Unaccompanied children should know who is picking them up and when. A parent or caregiver should pick up unaccompanied children at least 15 minutes prior to the library’s scheduled closing time. If a child under age 10 is alone at closing, library staff will attempt to contact a parent or caregiver. If staff cannot reach a parent or caregiver on the first attempt, the Belmont Police will be contacted to assume responsibility for the child.
  • The library cannot assume responsibility for the behavior or safety of children of any age left unattended at the Library. Staff members are unable to watch children for parents or caregivers and cannot be responsible for an unattended child in case of a medical emergency.
  • Parents or caregivers are responsible for supervising the materials their child is allowed to borrow or use in the library and should make their rules clear to their own child.
  • The library does not monitor library materials children choose, nor does it limit children’s access to any materials available in the library.

Unattended Adults in Children / Teen Areas

Adults may visit the Teen Room / Programs or the Children’s Room / Programs only when accompanied by children or teens using those departments or retrieving materials for research or check out. Unaccompanied adults who are retrieving materials for research or check out may review the materials briefly in the Children’s / Teen spaces but may be asked to relocate to the adult areas of the library if they are not in the company of children. This reflects the library’s concern for the safety of children and minors using the Library.

Approved March 16, 2017.

Amended March 21st, 2019