Children's Policies

Disruptive or Dangerous Behavior

Unattended Children

Unattended Children at Closing Time

Children Computer Usage Policy

Children’s Restroom’s Policy

Disruptive or Dangerous Behavior

Parents and guardians — not library staff — are responsible for children's behavior in the library.

Parents and guardians should be advised that if their children misbehave, the child may be requested to leave the library. Parents and guardians must also realize that, even in their absence, they are legally responsible for their children's actions.

Children will not be allowed to run, yell, fight, climb, use abusive language or engage in any other unacceptable behavior in the library or on the library grounds so far as it is possible for the staff to observe. Should it be determined that a child is engaging in disruptive or dangerous behavior, the following steps will be taken:

A staff member will advise the child to stop the behavior — once. If disruptive behavior continues, a staff member will ask the child to leave the library. The child may not return for the duration of that day.

Should the child require a parent/guardian for transportation, the staff member will allow the child to call for transportation.

The Westfield Police Department may be called to assist with disruptive children who do not adhere to disciplinary actions.

Approved by the Westfield Athenaeum Board of Trustees February 23, 2004

Unattended Children

See also Unattended Children at Closing Time

The Westfield Athenaeum seeks to provide a safe, educational, and enjoyable place for children to explore the world of books and information. Library personnel take their responsibility to provide safe access to the library very seriously. It is important that parents or guardians fulfill their responsibility for the individual child's safety and well-being. The Unattended Children's Policy has been adopted to ensure a safe and pleasant library experience for children of all ages.

POLICY STATEMENT: Children under the age of 10 may not be left unattended in the library. A responsible person who is 14 years of age or older must accompany children under the age of 10 at all times. This includes children participating in Library-sponsored programs. The responsible person must remain in the building during the program, and must immediately pick up the child when the program ends. If the responsible person in charge of a child wishes to go to another area of the library for materials or for meetings, the child must accompany that person.

Group leaders and parents/guardians meeting in the library are responsible for the actions of all children who participate in their activity.

School age children 10 through 18 years of age may use the library unattended as long as their conduct is acceptable in a library setting. Should it be determined that a child under the age of 10 has been left unattended in the library, the following steps will be taken during library hours of operation and after closing:

The staff member will attempt to locate or call the parent/guardian. If no parent/guardian can be located within one hour, or if the library is closing, the staff member will notify the police.

Under no circumstances will a staff member take a child out of the building or transport a child to another location.

Approved by the Westfield Athenaeum Board of Trustees February 23, 2004

Unattended Children at Closing Time

Parents and guardians must pick up children 10 minutes prior to library closing. Parents and guardians are expected to know the opening and closing times of the library, bearing in mind that the time can and does change in case of emergencies.

Should it be determined that a child has been left at the library without a ride or assistance home at closing time, the following steps will be taken:

Every attempt will be made to contact an adult or a family member via work, home and cellular phone.

If a parent/guardian does not arrive by the time the library closes, two staff members are authorized to stay with the child until someone arrives to pick him/her up.

If a parent/guardian has not arrived within 30 minutes, the Westfield Police Department will be called and alerted that a child has been left behind at the library.

The police will then try to locate the parent or guardian. Under no circumstance should a staff member give a ride home to a child left at the Library.

If the police have picked up the child, a staff member will post a note on the door advising the parent/guardian of the circumstances and stating where the parent/guardian can locate the child. The incident will be reported to the Director's Office.

Children Computer Use Policy

Children under the age of 13 may use the public access computers in the Boys and Girls Library. Children must have their own, valid library card in order to use the computers.

Computer privileges allow access to the Internet. Parents and guardians should know that the Westfield Athenaeum does not employ Internet filtering software on its public Internet access computers. Parents, who wish to accompany their child while the child uses the computer, may do so.

Children may use the computer for two hours per day in the Boys and Girls Library.

Acceptable Use
Internet resources are to be used in a responsible manner consistent with educational, informational and recreational purposes. Patrons of all ages are expected to use the computers in a responsible manner, respecting the rights of others.

Unacceptable Use
Computer privileges may be suspended or cancelled, at the discretion of the Reference Librarian, if a patron is found tampering with the computers, including any violations noted below:

Degrading or disrupting equipment or system performance

Vandalizing the data of other users

Gaining unlawful access, including "hacking" and other unlawful activities

Invading the privacy of others

Violating software license agreements and copyright laws

Violating other federal, state or local laws

Deliberately displaying obscene images

Providing minors with access to materials that are harmful to them

Violating the automated reservation procedures or using someone else's library card

Safe Computing
Parents/guardians are encouraged to provide guidance to their children for the safe usage of electronic mail (email), chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communication.

It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to ensure that their child does not access sites that may be inappropriate or potentially harmful to the child. The library prohibits such access. See our web page on Internet Safety for children.

Approved by the Westfield Athenaeum Board of Trustees December 13, 2004

Children's Restrooms Policy

The restrooms in the Boys and Girls Library are to be used ONLY by children and adults accompanied by children.

Adults without children must use the adult restrooms, which are located on the lower level of the library. Keys for the restrooms are located at the circulation desks.

Approved by the Westfield Athenaeum Board of Trustees February 23, 2004

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