Safe Child Procedure
The Central Arkansas Library System welcomes and encourages children to visit the Library, use library resources and services, and attend library programs. Children ages 11 and older are welcome to be at the library without a caregiver if their behavior complies with the Rules of Conduct. The responsibility for the care, safety, and behavior of children using the Library rests solely with the parent, legal guardian, or designated caregiver. Caregivers should be at least sixteen years of age and must be able to monitor the behavior of the child and be responsive to their needs. Caregivers should be able to contact someone who is responsible for the child in the event of an incident or emergency. The Library is not licensed or equipped, nor is it the Library’s role, to provide long- or short-term child care. Children who are unable or unwilling to care for themselves must have adequate supervision and may not be left alone in the Library. Such children will be considered unattended children. The Library is not responsible if children leave Library property unattended.
Caregivers should be aware of the Library’s hours and keep in mind that those hours may change due to holiday schedules, inclement weather, or other unforeseen circumstances. Children at the library should have the ability to contact a parent or guardian or assist a staff member in contacting a parent or guardian at all times.
The Library desires to provide a safe and appropriate environment for visitors of all ages. We are very supportive of children visiting the library and strive to consider both the safety of children and the use of the library by all patrons in making decisions. Sharing this environment with others requires that everyone, including children, follow the Rules of Conduct established by the Library Board of Trustees and posted in each library building and on the Library website. Librarians are authorized to use their discretion to enforce Rules and Policies and address disruptive situations on library property.
Library staff will refer to this procedure when necessary, including in response to the following situations:
- An unattended child is below the age of eleven and in the library without a caregiver.
- An unattended child is found frightened or crying in the Library.
- An unattended child cannot perform basic self-care functions such as using the restroom unassisted.
- An unattended child is perceived to be endangering themselves or others, or another person in the Library poses a perceived threat to the child.
- An unattended child breaks a Library rule.
- An unattended child has not been met by a responsible caregiver at closing time.
After evaluating the situation, Library staff will attempt to contact the parent or guardian of the unattended child. In the event that a parent or guardian cannot be reached within 15 minutes, the child may be asked to leave the Library premises or, if under 12 years of age, may be placed in the care of local law enforcement.
If an unattended child is injured or becomes ill while in the library, the library staff will evaluate the situation and attempt to contact the parent or guardian. If the parent or guardian cannot be reached, Library staff will call 911.