Mercer County Public Library
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UNATTENDED CHILDREN POLICY

The Mercer County Public Library (MCPL) welcomes and encourages use of the library by children and their families. Staff will gladly assist them in use of library materials and services. It is important for parents to understand that the library only provides supervised child care for scheduled library programs. The library does not and cannot act as a baby-sitter, day care alternative, or protector of children. Responsibility for children at all times rests with the parent / guardian or caregiver, and not with Mercer County Public Library. Further, parents and guardians are legally responsible for the conduct of their children on library premises, and must provide reasonable supervision of their children as is appropriate to the age and responsibility level of each child.

MCPL is concerned about children's safety. The library will make reasonable effort to provide a safe environment for all patrons. All users must recognize that the library is a public place and unfortunate incidents could happen at the library, like any other public place. Again, it is important that parents/guardians or care givers understand that they are the first line of defense for their child's safety.

Children, like all other library users, are required to follow library rules and regulations for appropriate use of materials, equipment, and facilities. A complete explanation of personal conduct expected in and around the library is explained in the library's "Behavior and Conduct Policy", which is available for reading at the Circulation Desk.

The Mercer County Public Library will use the following policy in dealing with disruptive children and unattended children.

For disruptive behavior:

If library staff notices inappropriate behavior from a child attended by an adult, the adult will be notified of the child's behavior and/or library staff will ask the child to stop such behavior, ask the child to move, etc. If inappropriate behavior does not cease in a reasonable time, the child and parent will be asked to leave the main section of the library.

For unattended children, parents will be called in order that the behavior and library use can be discussed with the parent, child, and library director. Depending on the situation, the parent may be asked to come to the library to get the child.

Repeated incidents of disruptive behavior can result in a 30-day suspension from the library, with notification to the parent.

For unattended children using the library.

Should the library have to close earlier than usual due to weather problems, power outage, etc., parents will be notified and no child 12 or under will be left unattended at the library. Two staff members will remain with the child until reasonable arrangements can be made.

For unattended children at library closing:

The child and staff will make reasonable effort to contact the parent/guardian to pick up the child by 15 minutes after the library closes.

Library staff will not leave a child 12 or under unattended outside the building after closing.

If a parent/guardian or care giver fails to pick up a child within 15 minutes of closing, library staff will telephone police for assistance. (Failure to pick up children may result in the placement of civil or criminal charges.)

MERCER COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY HOURS

                                    SUNDAY 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM                    MONDAY 9:00 AM - 7:30 PM

                                    TUESDAY 9:00 AM - 7:30 PM                  WEDNESDAY 9:00 AM - 7:30 PM

                                    THURSDAY 9:00 AM - 7:30 PM               FRIDAY 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

SATURDAY 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Adopted 04/12/04