One of the Library’s top priorities is creating a safe environment for all children. However, Library staff cannot take responsibility for the care of children of any age. The public library, unlike schools, does not serve in loco parentis (in place of a parents), nor can they act as a substitute for daycare in providing constant care and supervision. Though staff will always respond with care and concern, they cannot assume responsibility for children's safety and comfort when children are unattended.
Responsibility for the care, safety, and behavior of children using the library rests with the parent, guardian or caregiver who is a responsible person of at least twelve years of age.
Children under the age of eight years old cannot be in the library unattended, and they must be adequately supervised by a parent, guardian, or caregiver.
Library staff will use reasonable judgement when estimating the age of children they suspect are unattended, and they will take action if they are aware that a child appears to be at risk of harm, lacks appropriate supervision, appears upset, or engages in disruptive behavior. Staff may need to contact authorities such as the police either to assist with the enforcement of discipline in the library or to ensure the safety of an unattended child.
Children, 9 years of age or older, may use the Library unattended provided they are able to maintain proper Library behavior. Children are subject to the general rules and regulations outlined in the Library Rules of Conduct Policy.
Young Children in the Library after Closing
Children 9 years of age or older who depend on adults for transportation to return home must be picked up before the Whitefish Bay Public Library closes. The Library is also not responsible for children outside the building who await transportation or who are socializing, nor for children who choose to walk home.
Adults responsible for these children using the Library should be aware of the Library’s operating hours and make arrangements to meet children in a timely fashion. Staff will make every attempt to make these children aware of when the library is closing and give the children the option of using the Library’s phone to call their adult.
If a child is found unattended at closing and awaiting pick-up:
1) Two library staff members will remain after closing time with the child.
2) Upon closing, library staff will have the child immediately call a Responsible Adult for transportation and the staff member will inform the adult that the Whitefish Bay Police Department will be called at 15 minutes passed closing time.
3) If the Responsible Adult has not arrived after 5 minutes, a library staff member will call to reiterate that the child needs to be picked up immediately and that the Whitefish Bay Police Department will be called at 15 minutes passed closing time.
4) If a Responsible Adult cannot be reached or does not come to transport the child within 15 minutes, Library staff will contact the Whitefish Bay Police Department to have the child safely transported to the police department.
Adults in the Youth Services Area
Use of the Youth Services Department is intended for:
1) Patrons through age 18 and their parents/caregivers;
2) Adults interested in using the collections in the children’s area.
Out of concern for the safety of young patrons, adults who are unaccompanied by a minor patron in the children’s area of the Library may be questioned by staff and may be asked to move to another area of the Library.
Approved by the Whitefish Bay Public Library Board April 23, 2019
Unattended Children Policy (2006)
Adults in the Youth Services Department Policy (2013)
Young Children in the Library Section of Library Rules of Conduct Policy (2014)