Unattended Child Policy

    The Daviess County Public Library welcomes all children to use our facilities and services.  However, responsibility for children using the library rests with the parent or guardian – not with library personnel.  The library is not an alternative to daycare. Unlike a daycare facility, the library is not a closed environment. Staff members can not monitor everyone who enters, and all adult patrons are free to use any public area within the library. Parents should be advised that if their children misbehave, they might be told to leave the library and the library grounds. Parents should further realize that, even in their absence, they are legally responsible for their children’s behavior.

    Staff members are concerned when parents leave their young children alone or in the care of an older sibling or friend. Young children left unattended, even for a few minutes, can become frightened. An older child left in charge can be easily burdened by this responsibility. Sometimes children stay at the library for many hours or wait here after school until a parent picks them up. Often they become bored and restless. This leads to disruptive behavior, which interferes with the legitimate library business of other patrons and staff. Staff members cannot be placed in a position of supervising children who are too young to be unattended or whose behavior indicates that they have stayed at the library for too long a time. For the safety and protection of youth and for the benefit of all, the Daviess County Public Library Board of Trustees has developed the following rules.

    • Children under age 10 should always be directly supervised by the adult responsible for their safety. Direct supervision implies that the child is within the sight or sound range of the responsible adult.
    • Children ages 10-13 may be unattended for short periods of time as long as they abide by the Rules of Conduct Policy. If a child under age 14 is in need of supervision and no parent or guardian can be located in the building or otherwise contacted, library staff will notify the police.
    • Children at least 14 years of age or in high school may be unattended as long as they abide by the Rules of Conduct Policy.
    • Caregivers must be at least 16, must be able to effectively supervise children, and must be willing and able to provide contact information for a parent or guardian upon request. Library staff will determine if caregivers are able to supervise children effectively.


    Children left to wait outside the building for a ride after the library has closed are placed in a vulnerable position. Staff members are not responsible for the safety of a child once the library has closed. Under no circumstances will a staff member provide a child a ride home. However, staff members will attempt to contact parents. If they are unsuccessful, the police will be summoned to assist the child.

    Library Staff will use their discretion and judgment when applying the policy.

    Approved by the Daviess County Public Library Board of Trustees

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