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Unattended Child Policy

Unattended Child Policy


The Winthrop Public Library and Museum provides welcoming environments for children of all ages in our Children’s Room and the Young Adult Room.  Children are welcome in other areas of the library when accompanied by a responsible adult, or library staff.     It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to ensure that their children behave appropriately when in the library, whether or not a parent/guardian is present.  The Library staff is very concerned for the well-being of visiting children, but cannot be held responsible for incidents, accidents or other events that may arise.

The Winthrop Public Library and Museum assumes no responsibility for the behavior or safety of children of any age who are left unattended in the library.  Parents assume all liability for damage done by their children to the library facility, equipment, furnishings, or materials.  The library also assumes no responsibility for any children outside of the library building who are awaiting transportation or socializing.

Children aged 9 and younger are required to be adequately supervised by a responsible adult, and not by library staff.  Adequate supervision means that parents are within sight of their child.  If a child in this age category is found alone, library staff will attempt to locate a parent or caregiver.  During children’s programs, adults who do not attend the program with their child must remain in the building and be visible to the child when the program ends.

Children aged 10 and up are welcome to use the library unattended, provided they are able to use the library independently and without supervision.  However, children ages 10 to 13 should not be left alone for more than two hours.  Children are subject to the same behavior policy as adults.  See Patron Behavior Policy.

Disruptive children interfere with normal library operations and consume excessive amounts of staff time.  Disruptive behavior is considered to be behavior that represents physical danger to the child or others, or behavior that interferes with other library users or staff.  Disruptive behavior that is inappropriate or unacceptable in a library setting may include the following.

  • Running, chasing, rough play
  • Screaming, shouting, yelling or other noise
  • Pushing, hitting, fighting, biting
  • Foul language
  • Bullying or bothering others
  • Throwing books or other items
  • Prolonged crying or temper tantrums
  • Jumping or climbing on furniture
  • Leaving trash or other messes
  • Damaging library property
  • Disobeying library rules
  • Any other behavior that the library deems inappropriate. The Library Director has discretion to determine what’s disruptive.

If a child, of any age, is disruptive they will be given one warning by library staff.  If they do not correct their behavior they will be asked to leave the library.  If a child refuses to leave, the Winthrop Police may be contacted.  Children who continue to be disruptive on multiple visits will be asked to discontinue library visits.  If the library knows the identity of the children, their parents may be called.  Further problems will result in calls to the school principal, school superintendent, and/or Winthrop Police Department.

Parents/guardians should pick up their children at least 10 minutes before the library closes.  Once the building is closed, children cannot wait inside and staff is unavailable to wait with them.  If a child is not picked up within 10 minutes of closing, and the parents are unavailable, library staff will contact the Winthrop Police Department to take the child.


December 6, 2018

Accepted by the Winthrop Public Library Board of Trustees