The Neptune Library exists to serve all residents. The purpose of the recommended policy is to guarantee that responsible caregivers accompany vulnerable children in the library. Restrictions on unaccompanied minors are necessary only to protect the health and safety of the children and protect them from exploitation and other dangers. The library is not responsible for the care of unattended minors.
An unattended child is a child of any age who is apparently unaccompanied by an adult. Parents, guardians, teachers and caregivers may not leave children alone or in the care of other children who are unable or unwilling to provide adequate care. Supervising adults must be close at hand.
As in all public places, “stranger danger” is a real concern. Library staff cannot prevent children from interacting with or leaving the library with persons who are not the appropriate chaperone.
- If the Library is closing, at a regular time or in an emergency situation, and a parent or guardian of a child cannot be located in the building, the Neptune Police Department will be called. The library is not responsible for any consequences of parents forfeiting their responsibilities.
- Children ages thirteen (13) and under must be accompanied and directly supervised by an adult at all times, in all areas of the library.
- Unattended children between ages fourteen (14) and seventeen (17) are free to utilize the library as long as needed, provided their behavior is not disruptive to other patrons or staff members.
- Parents are responsible for their children’s behavior on library premises.
- The library is not intended to be a daycare, after school care facility, summer camp or babysitting service.
- The Neptune Public Library Code of Conduct Policy will be adhered to. Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. If disruptive behavior occurs, library staff is given the options of requesting the child leave, calling the parents, or calling the police to escort the child home.
- Staff are authorized to call police when the library closes if unattended children have not been picked up.
- Staff may refer those children who are left unattended in the Library and whose basic needs for food, rest, parental supervision or attention are not being fulfilled, to the NJ Division of Family and Youth Services.
Patrons who violate this policy will be addressed in accordance with disciplinary actions of the Code of Conduct Policy.
- If a child is thirteen or under and is left unattended, the staff shall try to identify and locate a parent or responsible caregiver.
- If a parent is not found in the library, a staff member shall stay with the child until the parent can be located. Staff may use library records to identify addresses and phone numbers in the event a parent is not in the library.
- If a parent or caregiver is located, the person shall be informed of the library’s policy and asked to come to the library to attend to the child. Caregivers shall be told to remain in the same section of the Library if they leave a child less than seven years old alone while they use another section of the library.
- If a parent has not been located within a reasonable amount of time or if the library is closing, the police shall be notified and at least two staff members shall remain with the child.
- Staff shall inspect the lobby and immediate vicinity at closing time to ensure that no vulnerable children are left alone outside when the library is closed.
- Under no circumstances shall a staff member:
- take a child out of the building or transport the child to another location,
- escort a child across the street,
- attempt to give a child food, due to possible allergic reactions.
In the event an unaccompanied child less than fourteen (14) years old violates the Library’s Code of Conduct in a manner that requires exclusion from the library, the parent or caregiver shall be summoned to the library to take the child home.
Adopted by the Board of Trustees
20 September 2011
Amended October 17 2017