Unattended Child Policy

The Bell / Whittington Library is dedicated to providing a welcoming and safe environment for customers of all ages. Sharing this environment with other people requires that everyone follow the Library Code of Conduct posted in the library building and on the library website.

The Bell / Whittington Library wants children to use its facilities and services. Children in the library should always be accompanied by a parent / guardian or assigned caregiver. When children are left alone they may become frightened or anxious. If they wander through the building they may encounter hazards such as stairs, doors, furniture or electrical equipment. They may also become bored and restless and could disturb the enjoyment and work of others.

Parent / Caregiver Responsibility

The safety of children left alone in the library is a serious concern of the library staff. The responsibility for the safety and behavior of children in the library rests with the parent / caregiver and not with the library personnel. Library employees cannot be responsible for children who are unattended or demonstrating inappropriate behavior. The following guidelines will be followed concerning the care and behavior of young library users.

Children Up to Age 10

Children up to age 10 must have a parent / caregiver in the immediate vicinity of and in visual contact with the child. The assigned caregiver must be a responsible person and must carry emergency contact information. An exception would be children attending a library program without a parent/caregiver in the room. However, the parent/caregiver is expected to remain in the library building and immediately join the child at the end of the program.

  • If a child in this age group is found unattended, library staff will attempt to locate the parent/caregiver in the library and inform him/her of the rules. If the parent/caregiver cannot be found, or if the child is found unattended again, the Portland Police Department will be called for assistance.
  • If a child in this age group violates the Library Code of Conduct, the child and the parent/caregiver will be informed of the rules. If inappropriate behavior continues, the family may be asked to leave the library.

Children Age 10 & Older

Children age 10 and older may use the library on their own except during regular school hours. However, parents are still responsible for actions and the well-being of their children. Children using inappropriate behavior may be asked to leave the library. If a child in this age group is not able to leave the library without an adult, they should not be in the library alone. This is a particular concern in inclement weather and after dark. All children should have the telephone number of someone who can assist them in an emergency.

Teenagers are treated as adult users. However, they are still legally the responsibility of their parents and should have an emergency contact available.