Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Don't Leave Any Child Behind!

As fall storytimes continue, we thought it was time for a reminder about our policies regarding leaving children alone in the Ridgefield Library.

For Mother Goose and Terrific Twos, the answer is easy- these programs are intended for the child and adult to participate together. However, we cannot accommodate siblings who don’t meet the age guidelines for any given program, so appropriate arrangements must be made for older or younger children.

Storytimes for 3 to 6 year olds are designed for the child alone, but we require that an adult remain in Children’s Services throughout the session. Youngsters often experience sudden problems requiring adult attention, from a need to use the restroom to a simple attack of shyness. Library staff cannot abandon a room full of children to attend to one who needs special care or has to leave the room. It is important for the safety and happiness of all concerned that an adult caregiver for each participating child be near at hand. Waiting adults may explore the handy parenting collection, use public computers in Children’s Services featuring the Internet, take advantage of our building-wide wireless access, chat with other parents or caregivers, or use this brief child-free period to consult with a librarian to find books about potty training, starting school, or the many other challenges of childhood.

Library policy prohibits leaving any child under 6 in the building unattended at any time. Library staff have many duties to perform and cannot be expected to watch out for a particular child. Responsibility for a child’s safety and well-being rests with the parent or caregiver. As a matter of fact, state regulation deems it a crime to “abandon” a child under age 12 in any public place. We hope that all parents and caregivers will exercise good judgment to ensure that the library experience remains a positive one for their children.

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