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CHILD SAFETY POLICY

Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Lake County Public Library May 27, 2010

 The Board of Trustees of Lake County Public Library has adopted the following policy in order to provide for the safety, comfort and welfare of patrons of all ages, and to provide an atmosphere conducive to study and the appropriate use of the library’s services and facilities.

The primary purpose of the children’s area in the library is to provide a safe and comfortable place for children and their caregivers to enjoy the library together. The Library reserves the right to direct unaccompanied adults to other areas of the Library when their presence is not specifically tied to the use of materials in the youth areas.

  1. The library is not intended or licensed to be a daycare, after school care facility, summer camp or babysitting service. The library is not responsible for the care of unattended minors.

  2. Those unattended minors who do not abide by library rules and policies, or who exhibit unacceptable behavior, will be asked to leave, and/or call their parents for a ride home. If unable to reach their parents, or if a ride is unavailable, the children may be considered abandoned and the local police department will be called.

  3. Minors without a ride home at closing may be considered abandoned and the authorities called. Library staff are not authorized to provide transportation to children left at closing. The library is not responsible for minors without a ride home at closing.

  4. The library believes it is the right and responsibility of a parent or guardian to determine what is appropriate material in order to meet personal family standards and guidelines. Therefore, parents are encouraged to accompany their children and to select material with their children or review their children’s selections. The library is not responsible for a minor’s selection of library materials.

  5. All children under age 18 must have written permission from a parent or legal guardian, signed on the library permission form in the presence of a library employee, to check-out Digital Video Discs (DVDs). The library is not responsible for the content or appropriateness of any materials checked-out.

  6. All children under age 18 must have written permission from a parent or legal guardian, signed on the library permission form in the presence of a library employee, to access the Internet. The library is not responsible for the content or appropriateness of any materials accessed on the Internet.

  7. Adults who are using the Internet or other library services and programs must supervise or provide guidance and behavior control for minors accompanying them. The library reserves the right to prohibit Internet use, and/or ask the adults and minor children to leave if unacceptable behavior persists.

  8. Library policy requires the signature of a parent, legal guardian, or adult relative approving the application for a library card for anyone under the age of 18.

  9. The Library requires the parent or guardian of a minor child to be responsible for all overdue, lost or damaged materials and fines, fees and other debts accrued by a minor child.

  10. The Library will release circulation records of a minor child to a parent or guardian only upon presentation of the child’s library card or card number, or if the materials are lost, damaged or overdue. The reference questions of minor children will be considered privileged information as determined by state law and professional ethics.

    The Library is not responsible for any consequences of parents forfeiting their responsibilities.

General Public Library Child Safety Guidelines

Child Safety in Public Libraries

Lake County Public Library values children as evidenced in library materials, services and resources offered specifically for children.

Children and their safety are of great concern to Lake County Public Library.

We encourage families and their children to use our libraries, yet we also support parents’ or caregivers’ responsibility for their children’s safety and upbringing. Children, like all library patrons, are expected to behave appropriately. Parents and caregivers, not library staff, are responsible for the behavior and supervision of their children in the library. (see Library Rules of Conduct)

The following areas highlight public library safety for children:

  • Public Areas

    Anyone can enter and leave the building without supervision by the library staff. Parents and caregivers must be reminded that libraries are public places. In libraries, 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 appropriate caregivers.

    In any situation, parents or caregivers are influenced by various factors whether it is appropriate for a child to be alone in a library, unattended by a responsible caregiver. These factors include:

    • The child’s age, developmental level, social awareness and general health

    • The length of time the child is left unattended

    • How often the child is left alone

    • Whether the child knows how to contact a parent, neighbor, adult friend or relative, if necessary

    Library staff cannot verify the ages of children who come into the facility. If a well-behaved five-year-old plays quietly in a part of the library, staff may not notice that she is unattended. Also, depending on the circumstances, an eight-year-old may require less supervision than a 14-year-old or a disruptive adult.

  • Library Closings

    If the library is closing, at the regular time or in an emergency situation, and an unattended child is left at the library without transportation home, Library Staff will allow the child to call home to remind their parents to pick them up. If the child is unable to contact their parents, Library Staff will remain no longer than 15 minutes after closing. At that time, local law authorities will be contacted and the child will be placed in their care. Under no circumstances shall a staff member drive a child home.

    Exceptions to this policy occur when programming requires children to attend on their own. At these times, children should be brought to the meeting room door prior to the program and be met outside the door at its conclusion.

    Parents are responsible for the conduct of minor children (under 18 years of age) in the library or on library grounds, regardless of whether they accompany their children or not.

  • Library Materials

    In selecting books for children, the Library’s objective is to present a collection that satisfies the informational, recreational, and cultural reading needs and potentials of children from infancy through eighth grade. Books are included which meet the general demands of the majority of children along with books whose special qualities make them valuable to children with special needs, talents, problems, or interests. (see Selection Policy for Children’s Materials - Official Memos Available Upon Request)

    The library is not responsible for a minor’s selection of library materials. The library believes it is the right and responsibility of a parent or guardian to determine what is appropriate material in order to meet personal family standards and guidelines. Therefore, parents are encouraged to accompany their children and to select material with their children or review their children’s selections.

    Parents are encouraged to participate in their child’s choice of reading and in their literacy discovery adventures. Lake County Public Library endorses the Every Child Ready to Read program and offers programs and resources that are age appropriate for children.

  • Meeting Rooms

    Library meeting rooms are primarily used for library related activities and other events co-sponsored by the library.  These activities receive priority above other groups who wish to reserve a meeting room. In all cases, an adult Lake County Public Library cardholder in good standing must take responsibility for the group's use of the room, equipment and conduct of members by signing a reservation and use agreement.  He or she must be present at the library before staff will open the meeting room to the group, and he or she must be present throughout the scheduled meeting.

    Children and youth groups are required to use the meeting rooms under adult supervision. All meetings must be open to the public. Library programs will take precedence over all other activities.  (see Meeting Room Policy)

  • Private Tutoring

    Library premises are available for the use of members of the public to meet their needs in accessing information. As part of its educational mission, the library permits tutoring.

    Independent tutors are not sponsored by the library. All arrangements must be made between the tutor, student, and parents.

    It is preferred that the parent remain in the Library while the child is tutored. The Library assumes no responsibility for children left unattended.

    Use of Study Rooms: Photo Identification is required for Study Room registration.

    Tutors are asked to observe the following guidelines when tutoring in the Library:

    • Tutoring activities are to be confined to designated study areas.

    • Designated areas may not be available if needed for Library programs or activities.

    • Tutoring sessions must be kept as quiet as possible. The Library's policy regarding disruptive behavior applies. (see Library Rules of Conduct)

    • Group tutoring is discouraged.

    • Tutors are responsible for the behavior of the students.

    • Library staff will assist tutors and their students with available library resources.

    • Tutors and students must bring their own supplies. (see Private Tutoring Guidelines - Official Memo Available Upon Request)

  • Keeping Children Safe Online

    The responsibility for minors' use of computers and the Internet rests with their parents or guardians. The Library does not serve in loco parentis (in place of a parent) like public schools do. Library staff do not act in place of parents providing constant care and supervision of children using library computers.

    The Library provides training on computer basics and the Internet and recommends sites suitable for children, which are included on the Children's Department pages of the Library website.

    The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is a federal law enacted by Congress to address concerns about access to offensive content over the Internet on school and library computers. At Lake county Public Library we address these concerns using visual observation by staff to the extent practical, and the use of filtering software. Due to the filtering software some sites may end up being blocked even though they contain no objectionable material. The library has established procedures to request unblocking of individual sites.

    The Library recommends that parents discuss the following rules for online safety with their children before permitting them to use the Internet. Lake County Public Library recommends parents and caregivers adhere to www.netsmartz.org guidelines.

    Recommended by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:

    • I will not give out personal information such as my address, telephone number, parents' work address/telephone number, or the name and location of my school without my parents' permission.

    • I will tell my parents right away if I come across any information that makes me feel uncomfortable.

    • I will never agree to get together with someone I "meet" online without first checking with my parents. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will be sure that it is in a public place and bring my mother or father along.

    • I will never send a person my picture or anything else without first checking with my parents.

    • I will not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make me feel uncomfortable. It is not my fault if I get a message like that. If I do I will tell my parents right away so that they can contact the online service.

    • I will talk with my parents so that we can set up rules for going online. We will decide upon the time of day that I can be online, the length of time I can be online, and appropriate areas for me to visit. I will not access other areas or break these rules without their permission.

  • Computer Use Policy

Upcoming Events
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Children's Programming Room
Wed, Mar 27, 10:30am - 11:00am
This half hour lap-sit program for kids from birth to 23 months old uses songs, rhymes and finger plays to encourage interaction and... more
This half hour lap-sit program for kids from birth to 23 months old uses songs, rhymes and finger plays to encourage interaction and foster language development.

St. John - Children's Program Room
Wed, Mar 27, 10:30am - 11:00am
This half hour lap-sit program uses songs and rhymes to foster language development.

Munster - Children's Program Room
Wed, Mar 27, 10:30am - 11:00am
Learn new ways to play with your baby (birth to 23 months), while stimulating mental growth. Please register all attendees so we may... more
Learn new ways to play with your baby (birth to 23 months), while stimulating mental growth. Please register all attendees so we may be able to count you in our attendance.

Dyer-Schererville - Meeting Room Whole (A & B)
Wed, Mar 27, 10:30am - 11:30am
Kids ages 6 months through 3 years old and their caregivers will enjoy interacting at various play stations. Playing helps children... more
Kids ages 6 months through 3 years old and their caregivers will enjoy interacting at various play stations. Playing helps children learn language, literacy, social, and other skills.

Highland - Children's Programming Room
Wed, Mar 27, 10:30am - 11:30am
Storytime featuring stories, fingerplays, music and a craft that teach pre-reading skills for kids 4-6.

Lake Station-New Chicago - Children's Program Room
Wed, Mar 27, 11:00am - 11:30am
This special storytime is designed for children ages 0-23 months and a caregiver. We will sing songs, read short stories, do lap... more
This special storytime is designed for children ages 0-23 months and a caregiver. We will sing songs, read short stories, do lap bounces, and play!

St. John - Large Meeting Room
Wed, Mar 27, 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Bring your favorite yarn or thread project and enjoy some great company while you create! All crafters are welcome, no matter what craft... more
Bring your favorite yarn or thread project and enjoy some great company while you create! All crafters are welcome, no matter what craft you enjoy!

Cedar Lake - Meeting Room A
Wed, Mar 27, 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Homeschoolers in grades K-6th will make an art project with supplies provided by the library. Sign-ups are required and space is... more
Homeschoolers in grades K-6th will make an art project with supplies provided by the library. Sign-ups are required and space is limited. Please notify the library if you cannot attend.
This event is full

Griffith-Calumet Twp - Meeting Room
Wed, Mar 27, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
The hills-covered with emerald green grass are full of mystical stone buildings from prehistoric times, Celtic monuments, medieval forts... more
The hills-covered with emerald green grass are full of mystical stone buildings from prehistoric times, Celtic monuments, medieval forts & monasteries- the island is home to music, poetry and dance.

Cedar Lake - Meeting Room A
Wed, Mar 27, 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Play Wii games, jam out on Guitar Hero or many other games!

St. John - Large Meeting Room
Wed, Mar 27, 6:00pm - 7:45pm
Join us for this month's Classic Film Series selection: Darby O'Gill and the Little People! Rated G. Runtime: 93 minutes. Refreshments... more
Join us for this month's Classic Film Series selection: Darby O'Gill and the Little People! Rated G. Runtime: 93 minutes. Refreshments will be served. Registration Required.

Dyer-Schererville - Meeting Room Whole (A & B)
Wed, Mar 27, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
The Between the Lines Book Club reads "The Obituary Writer" by Ann Hood. Books for this discussion can be picked up at the circulation... more
The Between the Lines Book Club reads "The Obituary Writer" by Ann Hood. Books for this discussion can be picked up at the circulation desk a month prior to the event.

Merrillville - Children's Programming Room
Thu, Mar 28, 10:00am - 11:00am
Storytime featuring stories, fingerplays, music and a craft that teach pre-reading skills for kids 4-5.
This event is full

Dyer-Schererville - Meeting Room Whole (A & B)
Thu, Mar 28, 10:15am - 11:30am
The Between the Lines Book Club reads "The Obituary Writer" by Ann Hood. Books for this discussion can be picked up at the circulation... more
The Between the Lines Book Club reads "The Obituary Writer" by Ann Hood. Books for this discussion can be picked up at the circulation desk a month prior to the event.

Cedar Lake - Children's Programming Room
Thu, Mar 28, 10:30am - 11:15am
Toddlers 2 and 3 years of age accompanied by a caregiver will participate in stories, finger plays, music activities, crafts, and more.... more
Toddlers 2 and 3 years of age accompanied by a caregiver will participate in stories, finger plays, music activities, crafts, and more. Activities will help to develop important pre-literacy skills.

Munster - Large Meeting Room
Thu, Mar 28, 10:30am - 12:00pm
The Brain Fitness Camp engages aging adults in fun and interactive activities that challenge thinking and help participants stay... more
The Brain Fitness Camp engages aging adults in fun and interactive activities that challenge thinking and help participants stay mentally active.

Griffith-Calumet Twp - Meeting Room
Thu, Mar 28, 10:30am - 12:30pm
Like to cross-stitch, knit, crochet, or do any other craft? Every Thursday, bring and work on your own project while enjoying the... more
Like to cross-stitch, knit, crochet, or do any other craft? Every Thursday, bring and work on your own project while enjoying the company of others.

St. John - Large Meeting Room
Thu, Mar 28, 10:30am - 12:30pm
Join us for this month's Classic Film Series selection: Darby O'Gill and the Little People! Rated G. Runtime: 93 minutes. Refreshments... more
Join us for this month's Classic Film Series selection: Darby O'Gill and the Little People! Rated G. Runtime: 93 minutes. Refreshments will be served. Registration Required.

Munster - Large Meeting Room
Thu, Mar 28, 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Join us for a relaxed, informal discussion of "Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance. Copies are available at the Munster Branch.

Dyer-Schererville - Meeting Room Whole (A & B)
Thu, Mar 28, 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Teens, come hang out with your friends and play board games! Bring you favorite game or play one we already have!

Canceled
Highland
Thu, Mar 28, 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Play tabletop games with other gamers!

St. John - Large Meeting Room
Thu, Mar 28, 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Disguises! Secret messages! A mystery to solve! Children from kindergarten through 5th grade can come hone their spy skills.

Community Room - Community Room
Thu, Mar 28, 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Cadets from the Lake Station Civil Air Patrol will teach a workshop promoting education, leadership, and the importance of a drug-free... more
Cadets from the Lake Station Civil Air Patrol will teach a workshop promoting education, leadership, and the importance of a drug-free lifestyle. All ages are welcome to attend.

Griffith-Calumet Twp - Meeting Room
Thu, Mar 28, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Learn to play this cooperative board game! Ages 12 to 18. Please register to save your seat.

Lake Station-New Chicago - Children's Program Room
Thu, Mar 28, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Children ages K-6th are invited to join us for one hour of LEGO® building. Bring your friends, but please leave your own LEGOS® at home.

Merrillville - Meeting Room A
Thu, Mar 28, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Learn to mix concrete and use a mold to make a planter. Pots will need several days to set. Come back Thursday, April 4 at 6PM to pick... more
Learn to mix concrete and use a mold to make a planter. Pots will need several days to set. Come back Thursday, April 4 at 6PM to pick up and finish your concrete creation. Class size is limited.
This event is full

Highland - Meeting Room A
Thu, Mar 28, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Enjoy our mystery book discussion, Once Upon a Crime. Pick up a copy of the book at the Highland Branch.