Safe Child Policy
Westerly Library and Wilcox Park is dedicated to providing a welcoming and safe environment for patrons of all ages. Sharing this environment with other people requires that everyone follow our Rules of Conduct Policy (link to) established by the Board of Trustees.
Westerly Library and Wilcox Park Library encourages visits by children and their families. However, Library and Park staff are not responsible for providing supervision and care for children or assume responsibility for children’s safety. Staff will not monitor children leaving the library. The library is not responsible for children outside the building who are socializing or awaiting transportation. Parents, guardians, teachers and caregivers, not staff, are responsible for the behavior and safety of children visiting the library and/or park. Therefore, children should always be accompanied by a parent/guardian or assigned caregiver. Parents are responsible for the behavior of their children in the library, whether or not the parent/guardian is present.
The safety of children left alone in a library building is a serious concern of Westerly Library and Wilcox Park. However, the responsibility for the safety and behavior of children in the library rests with the parent/guardian/caregiver and not with Westerly Library and Wilcox Park staff.
The following procedures will be followed concerning the safety, care, and behavior of young library and park users:
- Parents may not leave children under age 12 unattended in the library or park. Per Our Rules of Conduct policy: “Children under the age of 12 MUST be supervised by a parent, legal guardian, or responsible caregiver (18 years of age and over).
- Disruptive children, attended or unattended, age 12 or older may be asked to leave the library or park.
- Staff reserve the right to determine whether children between the ages of 12 and 17 require supervision while in the library or park. Teenagers are typically treated as adult users. However, they are still legally the responsibility of their parents/guardians and should have an emergency contact available.
- If a child is determined to require or need supervision, staff will attempt to find the parent/guardian in the building. If unsuccessful, staff will attempt to contact their parent/guardian by phone. If a parent/guardian has not been located within half an hour or if the library is closing, staff may call the police to ensure the child is safely brought to their parent or guardian.
- Parents and guardians should be aware of library opening and closing times and arrange pick up of their children by closing time. Children still at the library 30 minutes prior to closing time will be directed to confirm they have someone coming to pick them up. If a child is still at the library after closing time or as the result of an emergency closing, the police may be called to bring the child safely home.
Based on the age of the child, if a child is not picked up within 15 minutes past closing, library staff will call the Westerly Police Department so an officer can assure the child is brought home safely. During the 15 minutes, at least two staff members will stay with the child until the parent arrives. If the parent or guardian does not show, staff may call the police. Where possible, parents/guardians will be alerted to the fact that the police have been called to bring their child home safely.
Approved by the Board of Trustees April 18, 2023