Statement of Purpose
It is the intention of this policy to enlist the cooperation of parents and other adults responsible for children to ensure that the Duluth Public Library provides a safe and pleasant experience for all who use it. This policy is to be implemented when children are lost, frightened, stranded or otherwise need assistance because they are alone.
Children age seven and under may not be left alone in the Library. Parents/caregivers are responsible for children's behavior.
Child Left Unattended During Open Hours
If it is determined that a child is lost or left unattended, a staff member should try to identify and locate the parent/caregiver, according to the following procedure:
1. Children left unattended are often frightened and crying and should be reassured by the staff.
2. Walk around the area with the child, looking for the parent/caregiver and informally asking for assistance. Often other people in the area can provide information.
3. Page the child's parent/caregiver, using his/her name, if known, or the child's name, if known. If no name is available, describe the child's physical appearance. Repeat the page as needed. A sample page is: "May I have your attention please. Will Johnny's mother please come to the Children's Area? Johnny is wearing red overalls and a Power Rangers turtleneck."
4. When an adult is located, gently remind him/her about the Library policy on unattended children. For example, "Your child was scared. The Library thinks it's important that an adult stay with a child under age 8."
5. If the parent/caregiver is not found in the building, a staff member should stay with the child until someone can be located, through searching the computer database, phone book, city directory, etc.
6. If, after making an attempt, the parent/caregiver has not been located, the staff member will call the police (9-911). Explain to the child that no-one is in trouble but that we want to make sure the child gets home safely.
7. Under no circumstances will a staff member take the child out of the building.
Child Left Unattended at Closing
1. Check through the building and page the child's parent/caregiver. Repeat the page as needed.
2. If the parent/caregiver is not in the building, two staff members should stay with the child until someone can be located. Normal efforts to locate parents, relatives, neighbors/family friends, etc. should be made, using information from the child. The computer database, phone book and city directory may be used if necessary.
3. If, after making an attempt, the parent or another responsible adult has not been located, call the police (9-911). Explain to the child that no-one is in trouble but that we want to make sure the child gets home safely.
4. Under no circumstances will a staff member take the child out of the building.
Child Reported Lost or Missing
If a parent/caregiver reports a child missing, staff will follow this procedure:
1. Obtain name, age and description of the child.
2. Page staff to request their assistance in locating the child, or page the child, depending on his/her age. Provide a name and/or description of the child. Watch exits.
3. Check all areas thoroughly, including bathrooms, offices and the elevator.
4. Check outside the Library.
5. Call the police (9-911) if unable to locate the child.
6. If the child is found and the staff was paged, make an announcement that the child has been found.
Timelines and actions may vary with the maturity of the child, the time of year, the weather and staff availability. The goal is to be helpful and to keep library patrons safe.
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Adopted May 8, 1996
Duluth Public Library Board