POLICY FOR CHILDREN VISITING THE LIBRARY
Service to children is an important goal at the Santa Clara City Library. Children of all ages are welcomed and encouraged to use the library materials, programs and services. The City of Santa Clara Libraries are public buildings and are open to all, regardless of origin, age, background and views.
Library staff strive to ensure that all buildings are operated in a safe manner. However, because the buildings are open to all, libraries cannot be considered safe places for unattended children. The responsibility for the safety and behavior of children in the Library rests with the parents, legal guardians, or other responsible adult caregivers (hereinafter "parent or responsible adult caregiver"). Library staff are not responsible for the care and safety of unattended children in the library.
In order to maintain a safe atmosphere where reading and study are encouraged, the following policy has been adopted by the Board of Library Trustees:
• Children age 9 and younger must be accompanied continually by a parent or responsible adult caregiver. A parent or responsible adult caregiver must remain with the children at all times and in the case of an adult caregiver, have emergency contact information with them or available to them.
• If a child age 9 or younger is found to be unaccompanied in the Library, staff will try to locate the parent or responsible adult caregiver to remedy the situation. If a parent or responsible adult caregiver is unavailable, the Police, Santa Clara County Child Protective Services, or other appropriate government agency will be called.
• Children age 10 and older may use the Library without a parent or responsible adult caregiver present, but must be able to reach a parent or responsible adult caregiver immediately, either in person or by phone. All children in the Library must follow the posted Policy for Public Conduct in the Library and are expected to use the Library appropriately. Children who do not follow these rules are subject to the same consequences as other library users, including being required to leave the Library or losing library privileges.
• Situations may arise when, due to unusual or emergency circumstances, it may be necessary for the Library to close without prior notice. In this event or in case of other emergencies, unaccompanied children age 18 years or younger who cannot transport themselves must be able to reach a parent or responsible adult caregiver for immediate pick-up.
• The Library does not observe the same schedule every day. Parents or responsible adult caregivers should be aware of library closing times. If a child remains at the Library after hours, staff may make an attempt to contact a parent or responsible adult caregiver, but also may, immediately and without recourse, contact the Police, Santa Clara County Child Protective Services, or other appropriate government agency. Staff will not transport a child nor will a child be allowed to sit in a staff person's vehicle.
• The children's area of the Library is reserved for children, their parents or responsible adult caregivers, and adults interested in children's literature, such as teachers and college students taking children's literature classes. Out of concern for the safety of young patrons, adults who are unaccompanied by a child or children in the children's area of the Library may be questioned by staff, and may be asked to move to another area of the Library.
• If it is unsafe for a child to leave the building without an adult, that child should never be left unattended in the Library.
PARENTS AND ADULT CAREGIVERS, NOT LIBRARY STAFF, ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BEHAVIOR AND SAFETY OF THEIR CHILDREN WHILE ON THE PREMISES OF THE SANTA CLARA CITY LIBRARY.
Questions related to this policy should be directed to the City Librarian or designee,
Monday – Friday during regular business hours, (408) 615-2930
Approved by the Board of Library Trustees,
Revised and approved by the Board of Library Trustees,