Child Supervision

The trustees and staff of the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library view service to children as an important part of their mission. We encourage children to use this facility for reading, study, research, and attending programs, and we welcome those who do so. However, parents, guardians, and caregivers should be mindful that the library is a public building open to all individuals, and that unattended children are vulnerable. This policy has been designed to communicate the concern of the trustees and staff for the safety and welfare of the children who use the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library.

• The library trustees and staff strongly recommend that children under the age of ten (10) be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or caregiver while using the library.
• The library staff is not responsible for providing supervision and care for children while their parents, guardians, or caregivers are outside the library or in another part of the building. The staff does not monitor children leaving the premises, nor is it their responsibility to know if a child is leaving with a parent, guardian, relative, friend, or stranger.
• Parents, guardians, and caregivers are responsible for the safety and conduct of their children while on library premises. These individuals must provide appropriate supervision based on the ages, abilities, and levels of responsibility of their children.
• Parents, guardians, and caregivers are expected to be aware of the opening and closing times of the library, and to make suitable arrangements to meet and/or transport their children. Inclement weather, power failures, and other unforeseen emergencies can and do occur, requiring the library to open late or to close early. Children left alone in the library or on library premises could be at risk of danger.
• If the library is closing and a child has been left unattended, the staff may assist him/her in calling home to arrange for transportation. However, if the child is not picked up within 15 minutes after closing, the police will be called to take responsibility. At least two (2) staff members must remain with the child after the library closes and until the situation is resolved. The library staff is not permitted to take a child out of the building or to transport him/her to another location.
• The library is not responsible for children who socialize on library premises after closing.
• Children are expected to adhere to the same standards of conduct as are adults.

All library users are required to respect library property and to act in a manner appropriate to the use and function of the library (see our Patron Behavior Policy and its related Patron Code of Conduct). A child who is not using the library appropriately, who is engaged in disruptive or other inappropriate behavior, or who requires excessive staff attention, may be asked to leave the library after proper warning.

Parents, guardians, and caregivers should be aware that the behavior of small children might at times be disturbing to others, especially those using the adult and/or quiet study areas of the library. In such instances, library staff may request that the caregiver remove the child from the building temporarily.

Parents, guardians, and caregivers are referred to Connecticut General Statute 53-21a, which describes the legal consequences that can result from leaving children under the age of twelve (12) unattended in a public place.

Adopted by the Library Board of Trustees, September 17, 2003