Unattended Minors

 

OHOOPEE REGIONAL LIBRARY SYSTEM

Policy regarding Minors, Vulnerable Adults and Group Visits

Approved by Regional Board of Trustees, (03/10/2009)

 

 

The Board of Trustees of the Ohoopee Regional Library System in order to assist library personnel to complete their duties, and provide an atmosphere conducive to study, the appropriate use and enjoyment of the library’s services and facilities, and the safety, comfort and welfare of patrons of all ages, has adopted the following policy:

 

The library is not responsible for the care of unattended Minors or Vulnerable Adults. The library is not intended to be a daycare, after school or other care facility, summer camp or babysitting service.  The following rules provide an outline of reasonable guidelines, but are not inclusive.   

           

Definitions:

 

Minor: youth under the age of 18.

 

Vulnerable Adult: adult who due to age and/or a physical, mental, or emotional dysfunction that impairs the individual’s abilities is unable to adequately provide for his/her own care. A Vulnerable Adult, depending upon the type and severity of disability, may be able to use the library on a limited basis on his/her own, or may need an attendant or caregiver present.

 

Unacceptable behavior: any behavior that adversely affects the ability of other patrons to enjoy the library, is disruptive to other patrons’ library use, causes health or safety concerns to people or property, and/or adversely affects or disrupts the normal operations and functions of the library and library staff.

 

General Safety Policy: If at any time library staff believes that the safety and health of a minor or vulnerable adult is in danger, or that the behavior of a minor or vulnerable adult is causing danger to the safety and health of another patron, staff member, or property, the staff member will call the police and/or fire (911) immediately.

 

 

Minors

 

1. Children under the age of 8 (eight) may not be left unattended in the library.

Care providers for children under the age of 8 (eight) must be at least 16 (sixteen) years of age.  Care providers must supervise and provide guidance and control for their charges at all times.

 

2. Children under the age of 6 (six), using the children’s computers, must have the care provider present at the computer terminal at all times.

 

3. Children between the ages of 8 (eight) and 15 (fifteen) should not be left unattended in the library for extended periods of time.

Attendance at library programs, browsing for recreational reading, and after school use of the library for homework and study are encouraged and considered appropriate. Library staff will provide minimal supervision, reference and research assistance.  After extended periods of time, or in case of a problem, the Branch Manager, or other library staff, (after consultation with the Director or Assistant Director), and/or the Librarian-on-Duty may determine what is a reasonable length of time for the minors to be left unattended.  Parents will be notified and asked to pick up and/or provide supervision for their child.

In general, the library considers more than 2-3 (two – three) hours (depending upon the age and conduct of the child) to be excessive and inappropriate.

 

4. Those unattended minors who do not abide by library rules and policies, or who exhibit unacceptable behavior, will be asked to leave, and/or the parents will be called.  If the library is unable to reach the parents, or if a ride does not come, they may be considered abandoned and the authorities (police and/or DHS/DFACS) called. The library is not responsible for providing minors with access to a telephone.

 

5.  The library is not responsible for minors without a ride home at library closing.  Minors without a ride home at closing may be considered abandoned and the authorities (police and/or DHS/DFACS) called.

 

6. Youth between the ages of 16-18 (sixteen-eighteen) using the library independently are assumed to be able to conduct themselves in the library in an appropriate manner without constant supervision or guidance. They are also assumed to have their own means of transportation. If they fail to abide by library rules and policies, or exhibit unacceptable behavior, they will be asked to leave.  Continued inappropriate behavior will result in the requirement that they be attended by a parent or legal guardian.

 

7. The library is not responsible for a minor’s selection of library materials. The library believes it is the right and responsibility of a parent or guardian to determine what is appropriate material in order to meet personal family standards and guidelines. Therefore, parents are encouraged to accompany their children and to select material with their children or review their children’s selections.  

 

8.  All children under age 18 (eighteen) must have written permission from a parent or legal guardian, signed on the library permission form in the presence of a library employee, to access the Internet.  Children under 17 (seventeen) must have a parent or legal guardian present at the computer terminal at all times. Children between the ages of 17-18 (seventeen – eighteen), with written parental permission as above, may access the Internet without parental supervision. Children between the ages of 11 and 17, (eleven and seventeen) with written parental permission as above, may use those computers set up solely for GALILEO (Georgia Library Learning Online, the online reference resource of the University System of Georgia) access without parental supervision.

The library meets federal and state laws for internet filtering, however no filtering system is foolproof, and the Internet is an unregulated medium. The library is not responsible for the content or appropriateness of any materials accessed or viewed on the Internet.

 

9. Adults who are using the Internet or other library services and programs must supervise or provide guidance and behavior control for minors accompanying them. The library reserves the right to prohibit Internet use, and/or ask the adults and minor children to leave if unacceptable behavior, (including continual crying or other infant activities), that disturbs other patrons, persists.

 

10. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia considers a library card application a legal, binding contract. Georgia Library PINES policy requires the signature of a parent or legal guardian approving the application for a library card for anyone under the age of 18.  The parent or legal guardian must sign in front of the library employee, and if deemed necessary by library staff, provide reasonable proof of parentage or guardianship.

 

11. The Ohoopee Regional Library System requires the parent or guardian of a minor child to be responsible for all overdue, lost or damaged materials, fines, fees and other debts accrued by a minor child. The library uses the services of a debt collection agency, as well as other legal means as stated in Georgia law, for the collection of nonreturned materials and fines. Debts accrued by a minor child remain attached to the parent/guardian record even after the child reaches age 18.

 

12. The Ohoopee Regional Library System will release circulation records of a minor child to a parent or guardian upon presentation of the child’s library card or card number, or if the materials are lost, damaged or overdue. The reference questions of minor children shall be considered privileged information as determined by state law and professional ethics.

 

13. The Ohoopee Regional Library System will accept appropriate legal proof, including but not limited to, marriage license or other court document, for patrons under 18 who claim emancipated minor status.

           

Vulnerable Adults

 

1. Those Vulnerable Adults needing supervision may not be left unattended in the library.

Care providers for vulnerable adults must be an adult.  Care providers must supervise and provide guidance and control for their charges at all times.

 

2. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia considers a library card application a legal, binding contract. If a reasonable assumption of independence can be made (given the level of interaction, need for assistance in filling out and understanding the card application, and use of the library), the Ohoopee Regional Library System will issue a vulnerable adult a library card, with the assumption that they are living independently and are in charge of their obligations.

 

3. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia considers a library card application a legal, binding contract. For those vulnerable adults who come into the library, where there is a reasonable assumption, (given their residence address [group home, nursing home, etc.] and/or their level of interaction, need for assistance in filling out and understanding the card application, and use of the library), that they cannot or do not live independently and must have a legal guardian for oversight and care, library staff can, and under most circumstances, has a responsibility to ask the person or the caregiver/attendant, if a legal guardian is needed or exists.  If the vulnerable adult does have a legal guardian, that guardian must sign the library card application. The library requires proof of guardianship. A guardian of a vulnerable adult is responsible for all overdue, lost or damaged materials, fines, fees and other accrued debts. The library uses the services of a debt collection agency, as well as other legal means as stated in Georgia law, for the collection of nonreturned materials and fines.

 

4. If the library becomes concerned about the unacceptable behavior and/or the health and safety of vulnerable adults previously able to use the library on a limited basis with some independence, the library will ask them to leave, contact proper authorities and/or request that they have a guardian or caregiver with them for future library use.

 

GROUP VISITS

 

1. Minor children and youth in a group, including, but not limited to, a school, church or other agency, under the care of attendants (supervisors, teachers, counselors, advisors, etc.) who are in charge of the group but not the legal guardians, may use the library according to their ages and other library policies.  Those attendants must be adults, and are required to provide active supervision of the group at all times. 

 

2. Vulnerable adults in a group, including, but not limited to, a school, church or other agency, under the care of attendants (supervisors, teachers, counselors, advisors, etc.) who are in charge of the group but not the legal guardians, may use the library according to library policies.  Those attendants must be adults and are required to provide active supervision of the group at all times.

 

Active supervision means constant, undivided attention and includes, but is not limited to, not reading, browsing or talking with other patrons or adults but remaining inside the building with the group at all times, continually moving about the library in order to maintain voice and visual contact with all the group members, and reinforcing good and reasonable behavior.  The library reserves the right to ask a supervisor to deal with unacceptable behavior and to ask the group to leave the library if there is lack of supervision or continued unacceptable behavior.