Unattended Child Policy

The Harrington Park Public Library desires to provide a safe and appropriate environment for patrons of all ages.  The library, as a public building, has staff trained to provide public library services.  The staff is not equipped to provide long or short term child care.  A responsible adult or caregiver must accompany children under the age of eight (8) years for their safety and comfort while using the library.  Children, like all library patrons, are expected to behave appropriately.  Parents and caregivers, not library staff, are responsible for the behavior and supervision of their children in the library.  Library staff cannot assume responsibility for unattended children under eight years old.

It is not the library's intention to seek out unattended children, but rather to have a response prepared when a problem presents itself. For the protection and well-being of children who visit the library the following policy has been established:

  • Children under the age of eight may not be left unattended in the building. During story times or other library programs, the parent or caregiver who does not attend the program with the child must remain in the building and must be visible when their child returns from the program. Community groups who utilize the library's Community Room for scheduled meetings/programs are the responsible caregivers for the children participating in the activity.

  • Staff will immediately try to locate the parent or caregiver of any child under the age of 8 left alone in the building. Borough Police may be notified when parents or caregivers of unattended children cannot be contacted or located within a reasonable amount of time (15 minutes or less).

  • Children, age eight and over, are welcome to use the library unattended but should not be left alone for extended periods of time. They will be expected to act in accordance with all of the directives regarding proper behavior in the library (see Patron Behavior Policy). The library is not a child care center and cannot legally function as such (NJSA 30:5B-1-15) (ii). It is the responsibility of the parent or caregiver to be accessible, at any time, to pick up the child who has become anxious or disruptive in the library. If a parent cannot be located the police will be notified as that child will be considered to be abandoned (NJSA 9:6-8.21(iii).

  • Ten minutes before closing time, staff will approach all children who are in the building to ascertain that they are aware of the library's closing time and that they have transportation home. Those needing rides may use library telephones to call home.

  • A staff member will wait with any child who has not been picked up by closing time. If, after 15 minutes, the child is still left unattended, the Borough Police may be called to assist.

The Harrington Park Public Library is committed to providing materials, information, services and programs to inform, educate, and enrich the lives of our residents.  We strive to do this in a welcoming environment as we embrace technology and other means of delivering our services within our budgetary constraints.

Director Judy Heldman  heldman@harringtonpark.bccls.org

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