The Stratford Library is a door to lifelong learning and welcomes children of all ages to use the library and its services. However, parents and caregivers should be mindful that the library is a public building open to all individuals, and that unattended children are vulnerable. In order to maintain the safety of minors and ensure a positive experience for all our patrons, we have set these guidelines, and ask your cooperation in adhering to them.
Code of Conduct
- Parents/caregivers are responsible for the conduct and safety of their children at all times. Children and teens, like all library patrons, are required to respect library property and act in a manner appropriate to the use and function of the library (see the Code of Conduct, above.)
- Children and teens who are not using the library appropriately, or who require excessive staff attention or intervention, may be asked to leave. The parents or guardians of these minors may be notified, and if necessary, the Stratford Police may be called. If negative behavior persists, patrons may lose library privileges.
- Children and teens outside the building must follow the posted Code of Conduct and avoid behavior that could endanger themselves or other people wanting to use the library.
The responsibility for the safety and behavior of children and teens while on library premises rests with the parent/caregiver and not the library staff. Staff members are responsible for assisting all library customers and cannot provide daycare for children.
The following policy has been designed to communicate the Stratford Library’s concern for the safety and welfare of the children and teens it serves.
- By Connecticut State Law, children under the age of 12 may not be left unsupervised in a place of public accommodation for a period of time that may represent substantial risk to the child’s health or safety (*Connecticut General Statutes, Section 53-21a). Exceptions may be made during scheduled library programs, at which time the person responsible for the child’s supervision need not be present for the duration of the program, but must remain in the building.
- If a child is found to be unattended, library staff will attempt to locate the parent/ caregiver in the library and inform him/her of the Unattended Minors Policy. If the parent/caregiver cannot be located in the library or reached by telephone, library staff will contact the Stratford Police Department to assist the child.
- Parents/caregivers must provide appropriate supervision based on the ages, the abilities and the levels of responsibility of their children.
- Parents/caregivers must be aware of where their children and teens are at all times. They are accountable for the conduct and safety of their children on library premises. Staff members are not responsible for monitoring children or teens leaving the library.
- Children under the age of 10 must be within sight of their parents/caretakers at all times while in the library.
- Parents/caregivers are expected to be aware of the opening and closing times of the Library. Children and teens still at the library at closing time will be directed to call their parents. The Stratford Police may be called if the parent/caregiver has not come for the child/teen by closing time.
- Sudden emergencies, such as power failures, may occur in the Library and require unexpected closing of the building. In such cases, the Library assumes no responsibility for unattended children. Parents/caregivers should be sure that their children/teens know what to do or where to go when the library closes. All children should have the telephone number of someone who can assist them in an emergency.
*Relevant section from Connecticut General Statutes Sec 53-21a Leaving child unsupervised in place of public accommodation or motor vehicle
- Any parent, guardian or person having custody or control, or providing supervision, of any child under the age of twelve years who knowingly leaves such child unsupervised in a place of public accommodation or a motor vehicle for a period of time that presents a substantial risk to the child’s health or safety, shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor (P A 97-298 )
- Parents and caregivers should make arrangements for minor children at Library closing time. If a child is left at the Library at closing time, the parent or a responsible adult will be called. If no one arrives after 10 minutes, the police will be called to take the child home.
- If the Library must close due to an emergency, Library staff will instruct children to contact their parents. Parents should not direct their children to the Library in the event of emergency school closings, since these same conditions may also affect Library operations.
Reviewed 7/03; revised 9/06, 1/14, 7/17