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Unattended Children in the Library Policy

The Tinley Park Public Library welcomes the use of its facilities and services by children. Library staff members are committed to the well-being and safety of children and are committed to the following:

  • Helping children find educational and recreational materials
  • Providing an environment that encourages study and intellectual curiosity
  • Providing programs that inform and enrich

Library facilities, however, are not licensed or designed to provide basic care needs such as physical exercise, nutrition, or emergency care, nor are they to be used as an alternative shelter for children. Any public place may be dangerous for a child who is left unattended. It is impossible for the library staff to guarantee a safe environment.

Children aged nine or under must be accompanied and attended to by a parent or other responsible person high school age or older who is taking an active role in attending to the children. The library encourages parents and caregivers to consider the safety and well-being of their children and the needs of other library users of all ages. (Parents and caregivers are responsible for the behavior of their children in the library, whether or not the parent is present.)

Procedures

If it is determined that a child is lost or unattended:

  • Staff will ask the child where the parent or caregiver is and use the in-house intercom system to attempt to locate the child’s parent or caregiver.
  • If there is no response to the announcement, staff will walk around both levels of the library with the child to try to find the parent.
  • If a parent or caregiver is not found in the building, staff will call the parent or caregiver and request that they pick up their child. Staff will obtain the phone number from the child or through the circulation database if necessary.
  • If a parent or caregiver cannot be reached within 30 minutes, or if they do not respond in 30 minutes, the police will be asked to assume responsibility.

If it is determined that a child is left unattended at closing time:

  • Staff will call a parent or adult caregiver. If the parents do not arrive within 15 minutes, or if they do not respond within 15 minutes, the police will be asked to resume responsibility.
  • If the child is under age 14, at least two staff members will wait with the child until a parent of caregiver arrives.
  • If, after 15 minutes, a parent or caregiver does not arrive, staff members are to call the police and wait with the child until the police arrive. Staff that must wait will be paid for their time.
  • Staff members are not allowed to drive the child home.

Adopted 5/02
Revised 7/07, 3/11, 9/20
Reviewed 10/14