Unattended Children Policy
The Boca Raton Public Library (“Library”) encourages children and parents/caregivers to enjoy the Library and its various resources and desires that the children of Boca Raton find their Library experience to be a friendly and welcoming one. While the Library strives to provide an environment that is conducive to the safety and welfare of children visiting the Library, the Library Staff will not assume responsibility for the care and safety of any children on Library Premises. Accordingly, parents/caregivers should observe the following rules:
- Children who are 9 years old and older may visit the Library by themselves. The Library does not assume responsibility for unaccompanied children’s access to any available Library materials, including materials intended for adults.
- All children 8 years old and younger must be accompanied at all times by a Parent/Caregiver (age 12 or older) while on Library Premises. If a child 8 years old or younger is attending a Library program that does not require a Parent/Caregiver to be present during the program activities, the Parent/Caregiver must remain in the Youth Services Area of the Library until the conclusion of the program activities and accompany the child at all times thereafter.
- A Parent/Caregiver who brings a child(ren) 8 years old or younger to the Library while the Parent/Caregiver attends a meeting or class on Library Premises must continue to supervise the child(ren) at all times while on Library Premises.
All children visiting the Library must adhere to the Library Rules of Conduct. Children using inappropriate Level 1 behavior (as defined in the Library Rules of Conduct) will be informed of the Library Rules of Conduct and given a verbal warning. If the inappropriate behavior continues, or the behavior is a Level 2 or 3, the Parent/Caregiver will be notified if available, and the child may be excluded from the Library as set forth in the Library Rules. Library staff shall refer to Section 6 of the Library Rules of Conduct for enforcement procedures in connection with violations such Rules. Additionally, violation of this Unaccompanied Children Policy by a Parent/Caregiver constitutes a separate, stand-alone Level 1 offense pursuant to Section 3(p) of the Library Rules of Conduct.
Definition of Unaccompanied Child(ren)
The term “unaccompanied child(ren)” means a child/children who are 8 years old or younger who visit the Library without an accompanying Parent/Caregiver and/or the child’s Parent/Caregiver is not visibly present in the immediate area of the child. All capitalized terms not defined in this policy shall have the meanings set forth in the Library Rules of Conduct.
Unaccompanied Child Found
When a child 8 years old or younger appears to be unaccompanied, Library Staff will check to see if a Parent/Caregiver is nearby. Library Staff should note the time and date immediately. If a Parent/Caregiver is not found and accompanying the child within 15 minutes, Library Staff shall contact the Boca Raton Police Services Department.
Children Between Ages 9 and 15.
The Library assumes no responsibility for any child left unaccompanied at the Library during operating hours, before opening or after closing, or at any other time. Parents/Caregivers should plan to pick up children 15 minutes before the Library closes.
If a child 15 years old or younger is not picked up when the Library closes, the following procedures will be followed:
- If a child is not picked up at or before closing time, two Library Staff members will wait with the child for 15 minutes outside the Library building. If the Parent/Caregiver does not pick up the child, a Library Staff shall contact the Boca Raton Police Services Department to send a police officer to wait with and/or transport the child.
- No Library Staff member will transport any child (regardless of age) from the Library to any other location.
Adults in Youth Services Area
Entering designated Youth Services areas of the Library by an adult Library User constitutes a Level 1 offense pursuant to Section 3(p) of the Library Rules of Conduct unless: the adult is accompanying a child and the adult is the child's parent/caregiver; or the adult is briefly checking out Library books or materials from the designated Youth Services area. For the safety of children, adults not accompanied by a child (or not briefly selecting Library books or materials from the designated Youth Services area) will be asked to leave the Youth Services area. Library staff shall refer to Section 6 of the Library Rules for enforcement procedures in connection with this Policy. Please see the Rules of Conduct for more details.
Adoption and Effective Date
This policy was adopted by the City of Boca Raton on July 1, 2022. This policy shall be effective immediately and shall supersede any other Unaccompanied Children Policy.