Child & Dependent Safety Policy
The Okefenokee Regional Library System is committed to providing an environment conducive to the most effective use of Library facilities for all patrons. Part of this commitment is a concern for the safety and welfare of everyone who visits the library. Library facilities are public buildings, and as such, have special security concerns. Children or dependent persons left unattended may be at risk.
Children are defined as any person under the legal age of 18 (eighteen). Dependent persons may include, for example, persons incapacitated due to physical and/or mental disabilities or other conditions who are dependent on others for their safety and well-being.
Responsibility for the safety, care, and behavior of minor children and dependent persons in the Library rests solely with the parent, guardian, and/or caregiver. Library staff will not be expected to provide care and/or supervision for children and dependent persons.
For the protection of children and dependent persons who visit the Library, the following policy has been instituted:
- Children under the age of nine (9) years of age and dependent persons must be accompanied by a responsible person who is thirteen (13) years of age or older while in the Library.
- Parents, legal guardians, and caregivers are responsible for the safety, care, and behavior of all juveniles and dependent persons while on Library grounds.
- All patrons, including children and dependent adults, are subject to the Library’s Code of Conduct set forth in the Library Patron Conduct Policy.
- If necessary at any time, staff will contact the appropriate authorities to assume responsibility for the welfare of a child or dependent person in need of attention.
When Library staff recognize that a child or dependent person has been left unattended in the library or on its premises, they will:
- Attempt to locate parent, guardian or caregiver by searching the library building and/or grounds;
- Ensure that at least two (2) staff members remain with the unattended child or dependent person until either the responsible party is located or the appropriate authorities assume responsibility;
- When the responsible party is located, they will explain the Child and Dependent Person Policy and provide a copy;
- If the responsible party cannot be located, staff will contact the appropriate authorities;
- Staff will complete an incident report, including the contact information for all related parties.
Under no circumstances will library staff members provide transportation to unattended minors or dependent persons, or leave them alone in the building or on the library premises.