General

The Cattaraugus Free Library (The Library) welcomes children to use its facilities and services. The responsibility for the care, safety and behavior of children using the Library rests with the parent/guardian or caregiver. As with any patron, a child’s behavior is unacceptable if it disrupts the normal use of the Library by other patrons or interferes with the staff or volunteers in the performance of their duties. Library staff and volunteers are not responsible for supervising children. The Library is not a day care or child care center, and should not be treated as such.

This policy is intended to inform the public and to guide Library staff and volunteers when they are confronted by children who are misbehaving or who are unattended. The Library recognizes that such circumstances may have widely varying facts and conditions, and this policy does not take the place of the exercise of sound judgment in addressing particular circumstances. In circumstances addressed by this policy, the Library staff or volunteer on duty will follow the guidance provided herein and will exercise sound judgment considering all relevant facts. Library staff and volunteers will not physically prevent a child from leaving the Library, assume responsibility for a child or accompany an unrelated child off Library premises.

Children through age 7 must have a parent or caregiver present in the Library with them at all times, except while they are in attendance at a supervised, age appropriate library program. Children left at such a program must be picked up by a parent or guardian within 10 minutes of the program’s end.

Children 8 – 14 may use the Library on their own for a reasonable period of time provided they are able to maintain proper library behavior. Parents are still, however, responsible for the actions of their children. Children using what is deemed inappropriate behavior by Library staff may be asked to leave the Library. If a child of this age group is not able to leave the Library without an adult, he/she should not be in the Library alone. In this age group the Library must have a phone number of a parent or caregiver that may be contacted in an emergency.

Children of any age are not welcome in the Library if they are idle, unwell or disruptive.

Library staff and volunteers on duty who observe unacceptable behavior will inform the child and the parent or caregiver, if present, of this policy. If inappropriate behavior continues, the child will be asked to leave the Library. If the child is unaccompanied by a parent or caregiver, the staff or volunteer will follow the policy for unattended children.