I. INTRODUCTION
The Florence County Library provides an inviting, educational, and fun place for students and children who use our library facilities. Many entertaining and educational programs are planned for children in Florence County in the hopes that they will become life-long library users.

Children left unattended at the library may become bored and disruptive. Young children left alone become frightened and anxious. Older children and adolescents may become disruptive, disturbing others as well as interfering with the responsibilities of the staff.

The following policy is established to protect and provide for the well-being of children who use the library and to provide a written statement of the library’s responsibility and /or liability.

II. STATEMENT OF POLICY
Adults* are responsible for the behavior of their children while in the library. Children, age 10 and younger, must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Children, ages 11-17, will be held responsible for their behavior within the library. Parents will be notified of inappropriate behavior and library visitation may be restricted.

Children, ages 11-13 may not be left unattended for prolonged periods*.

Organizations bringing groups of children to the library must follow the ratio of adult to children listed below for chaperones. Groups must have an adult** chaperone with them at all times.

Birth to One Year:
One to Two Years:
Two to Three Years:
Three to Four Years:
Four to Five Years:
Five to Six Years:
Six to Twelve Years:

1 Chaperone for 5 Children
1 Chaperone for 6 Children
1 Chaperone for 9 Children
1 Chaperone for 13 Children
1 Chaperone for 18 Children
1 Chaperone for 21 Children
1 Chaperone for 23 Children

Adults* using the children’s section of the library either must have a child with them or be conducting research for children’s homework or working on a college degree working with children.
Adult** is defined as being 18 years or older.
Prolonged Periods* is defined as longer than three hours.

Children, ages 10 and under, attending a library sponsored program must be brought into the building by a parent or caregiver who must remain in the library until the conclusion of the program.

III. CODE OF CONDUCT
RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR CONDUCT IN THE FLORENCE COUNTY LIBRARY, ITS BRANCHES AND BOOKMOBILE.

IN ORDER THAT THE FLORENCE COUNTY LIBRARY MAY PROVIDE A SUITABLE ENVIRONMENT FOR ITS USERS, AND THUS BETTER SERVE ALL THE CITIZENS OF FLORENCE COUNTY, THIS CODE OF CONDUCT HAS BEEN ADOPTED TO INSURE THAT THE RIGHTS OF THOSE USING THE LIBRARY ARE NOT INFRINGED UPON. THE FOLLOWING FORMS OF BEHAVIOR ARE NOT PERMITTED IN LIBRARY FACILITIES OR ON LIBRARY PROPERTY:

  1. ANY ACTION OR BEHAVIOR WHICH IS DISRUPTIVE, DISTURBING, OR POTENTIALLY HARMFUL TO OTHERS.
  2. ENGAGING IN LOUD CONVERSATION OR ANY OTHER NOISE-PRODUCING ACTIVITY WHICH IS DISTURBING TO OTHER LIBRARY USERS; INCLUDING THE USE OF ANY ELECTRONIC OR MECHANICAL DEVICE WHICH PRODUCES NOISE OR OTHER EFFECT DISTURBING TO OTHER PERSONS. USING OBSCENE OR ABUSIVE LANGUAGE.
  3. ANY DISORDERLY CONDUCT, INCLUDING RUNNING, FIGHTING, CHALLENGING TO FIGHT, OR PROVOKING VIOLENCE.
  4. IMPROPER USE OF FURNITURE, EQUIPMENT OR MATERIALS.
  5. INTENTIONALLY DAMAGING, DESTROYING, OR STEALING ANY LIBRARY PROPERTY OR A PATRON’S OR EMPLOYEE’S PROPERTY.
  6. INTENTIONALLY TAKING LIBRARY PROPERTY OR MATERIALS OUTSIDE BUILDINGS WITHOUT GOING THROUGH ESTABLISHED LOAN PROCEDURES OR OTHER AUTHORIZATION; OR OTHER INTENTIONAL ACTS TO VIOLATE LIBRARY POLICIES OR PROCEDURES.
  7. LOITERING OR SLEEPING
  8. BLOCKING OR INTERFERING WITH THE FREE MOVEMENT (ACTUAL OR POTENTIAL) OF INDIVIDUALS. BRINGING IN ANY ITEMS, MATERIALS, OR OBJECTS WHICH TAKE UP AN EXCESS AMOUNT OF SPACE, RESTRICT THE MOVEMENT OF INDIVIDUALS OR PRESENT A POTENTIAL HARM, DANGER OR DISTRACTION. LUGGAGE AND BEDROLLS ARE PROHIBITED.
  9. ANY REPEATED OR EXCESSIVE HARASSMENT OR INVASION OF PRIVACY OF LIBRARY STAFF OR PATRONS.
  10. LOVE MAKING, SEXUAL ABUSE OF ANY KIND OF ANOTHER PERSON, SEXUAL HARRASSMENT, EXHIBITIONISM, OR INDECENT EXPOSURE.
  11. CONSUMPTION OR USE OF ANY FOOD, BEVERAGES, OR TOBACCO IN BUILDINGS; POSSESSION OF OPEN FOOD OR DRINK (EXCEPT FOR OFFICIAL LIBRARY FUNCTIONS IN DESIGNATED AREAS.)
  12. POSSESSION OR CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL OR ILLEGAL DRUGS.
  13. IMPROPER USE OF RESTROOMS, INCLUDING LOITERING, SOLICITATION, MEETINGS, OR BATHING.
  14. SOLICITING, SURVEYING, SELLING OF ANY KIND, POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING, DISTRIBUTION OR POSTING OF MATERIALS NOT SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE LIBRARY DIRECTOR.
  15. UNAUTHORIZED USE OF MEETING ROOM OR ANY NON-PUBLIC AREA.
  16. USE OF LIBRARY FOR CHILD-ATTENDING SERVICES; LEAVING A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF FIVE YEARS UNATTENDED BY A RESPONSIBLE PERSON FOR ANY AMOUNT OF TIME; LEAVING A CHILD ANY AGE AN EXCESSIVE PERIOD OF TIME OR BEYOND CLOSING.
  17. REFUSAL TO LEAVE LIBRARY AFTER DESIGNATED CLOSING TIME.
  18. UNAUTHORIZED, IMPROPER, OR UNSAFE USE OF ANY LIBRARY’S PARKING AREA. (VEHICLES ARE SUBJECT TO BEING TOWED AT OWNER’S EXPENSE.)
  19. ANIMALS IN THE BUILDING EXCEPT GUIDE DOGS OR LIBRARY PROGRAMS.
  20. ANY ACTIVITY OR BEHAVIOR THAT IS POTENTIALLY HARMFUL TO LIBRARY BUILDINGS, PROPERTY, PATRONS, OR STAFF (E.G., WEARING SKATES OR USING SKATEBOARDS.)
  21. UNAUTHORIZED USE OF LIBRARY TELEPHONES OR OF ANY OTHER EQUIPMENT.
  22. CARRYING ILLEGAL WEAPONS OF ANY TYPE.
  23. ANY ILLEGAL ACTS OR CONDUCT IN VIOLATION OF FEDERAL, STATE, OR LOCAL LAW, ORDINANCE OR REGULATION.
  24. PROPER ATTIRE IS REQUIRED IN THE LIBRARY. PATRONS NEED SHOES, SHIRT AND PANTS OR SKIRT OR DRESS ON AT ALL TIMES WHEN IN THE LIBRARY.
  25. A PERSON CONDUCTING ANY OF THE ABOVE ACTIONS WILL, AFTER WARNING BY LIBRARY PERSONNEL, BE ASKED TO LEAVE THE PREMISES. A PERSON WHO PERSISTS IN THE DISAPPROVED CONDUCT AND WHO REFUSES TO LEAVE THE BUILDING AND GROUNDS WHEN REQUESTED WILL BE SUBJECT TO THE REPORTING OF SUCH INCIDENT TO THE LOCAL POLICE. IN CASES WHERE THE ABOVE ACTION POSES AN IMMEDIATE AND SEVERE THREAT TO THE SAFETY OF PATRONS AND/OR STAFF THE LIBRARIAN-IN-CHARGE MAY ELECT TO CALL POLICE WITHOUT GIVING PRIOR WARNING.

IV. STAFF PROCEDURES

UNATTENDED CHILDREN
Staff should comfort frightened or crying unattended children. The staff should try to locate the parents.

  1. Walk through the library with child and look for his/her parent or responsible adult.
  2. If the parent/responsible adult is not found, verbally announce the child’s name or that of the parent, if known. If no name can be obtained, describe the child’s physical appearance.
  3. If the parent/responsible adult is not in the library, a staff member shall stay with the child until the parent is located.
  4. When the parent/responsible adult is located, the staff person shall notify the parents of the Library’s policy concerning children, and give a copy of the policy and attachments to the parent.
  5. If the child’s parent/responsible adult cannot be located, or the child becomes increasingly anxious, the Florence City Police Department (669-3911) will be called to take the child into custody. The Police Department will decide when to contact the Department of Social Services if a parent/responsible adult cannot be located.
DISRUPTIVE ATTENDED CHILDREN
  1. Library staff will ask the children causing the disturbance to behave.
  2. If the disruptive behavior continues, staff will inform the parent/responsible adult that their child or children are disturbing others.
  3. If parent/responsible adult refuses or is unable to control his/her children, they will be asked to leave the library.
DISRUPTIVE STUDENTS AND UNATTENDED CHILDREN
  1. Library staff will ask the students causing the disturbance to behave. At this time, the library staff will also inform the students that if the disruptive behavior continues, they will have to leave the library.
  2. If the disruptive behavior continues, students will be given permission to use a library phone to call their parents to pick them up.
  3. If the disturbing behavior still continues, the staff will ask the students to gather their belongings and leave the library. A letter will be mailed to the parents about the behavior with a copy of the library’s policy. If the particular child or student cannot behave accordingly in the future, library use will be restricted. The Director, Children’s Librarian and parent (s) will confer and decide what restrictions will be placed upon the student’s use of the library.
  4. If at any time a student becomes excessively belligerent or refuses to leave the library when asked, library staff will call the Florence City Police Department (669-3911).
STUDENTS AND UNATTENDED CHILDREN AT CLOSING TIME
  1. As closing time nears, any child or student will be allowed to use a library phone to call parents to pick them up. If a child or student has trouble locating a parent and appears anxious, he or she will be allowed to use the phone to contact a responsible adult for transportation.
  2. If a child or student under the age of 10 is left at the library at closing time, TWO staff members will wait 30 minutes with the child. While waiting, the child or student will be allowed to use the phone to contact a family member. If the child/student is unable to reach anyone, after 30 minutes, the staff members will contact the Florence City Police Department (669-3911) and will wait at the library with the child/student until the police arrive. The staff members will leave a note on the front doors of the library notifying parents of the student’s whereabouts.
  3. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL A LIBRARY STAFF MEMBER TRANSPORT A CHILD TO ANOTHER LOCATION OR TAKE THE CHILD OUT OF THE BUILDING.