Scotch Plains Public Library Safe Child Policy
Exceptional service is of high priority to the Scotch Plains Public Library; the library is dedicated to providing a welcoming, exciting, and safe environment for its customers. While children of all ages are welcome and encouraged to use the library’s materials, programs, and services, parents and caregivers must be aware that the library is an open, public building and the well-being and safety of young children left alone or unsupervised is a serious concern. It is for the safety of each child that the library has adopted the Safe Child Policy.
An unattended child may be defined as a child unable to care for himself/herself when left in the Library without a parent or responsible adult within sight or sound range, any child left unattended for long periods of time, or any child not picked up at closing time.
Parents or guardians, not library staff, are responsible for the safety, care, and supervision of their children while at the library.
• Children aged 10 and younger must be supervised by, and remain in immediate proximity to, a parent or caregiver aged 16 or older at all times.
• Middle School and High School students (Grades 5-12) are welcome to use the library unattended provided they comply with the library’s Code of Conduct, which includes but is not limited to the prohibition of food and drink, foul language, disruptive cell phone usage, and horseplay. Students using the library unaccompanied are still the legal responsibility of their parent(s) or guardian(s).
• Parents or caregivers are responsible for being aware of the library’s hours of operation if leaving their child unaccompanied at the library.
• Library staff will not physically prevent a child from leaving the library, assume responsibility for a child, accompany, or transport an unrelated child off library premises.
• A staff member who discovers an unattended child younger than age 10 will attempt to contact the parent or guardian of the child. If a parent or guardian cannot be contacted, the library will notify the Scotch Plains Police Department.
• When the library closes, staff will attempt to contact the parent or guardian of any unattended child. If a parent or guardian cannot be located or contacted within 15 minutes, the Scotch Plains Police Department will be notified. Two library staff members will wait with the child until the police arrive.
The library may have sudden emergencies, such as lack of heat or electricity, that may necessitate the library closing without warning. Significant inclement weather may also necessitate the library closing. Children should know what to do if the library must close unexpectedly. If a child is left unattended during an emergency closing, then the same guidelines outlined above under regularly scheduled closings will apply.
Violation of the Safe Child Policy may result in suspension of library privileges for the family.
Adopted by the Board of Trustees, October 2018