Children in the Library

The Palo Alto City Library welcomes children of all ages to use library resources and attend programs. This policy is intended to promote safety for children who use the library and enjoyment by all library patrons. However, parents should be aware that the library is a public building open to all individuals and it is not the library staff’s function or purpose to provide supervision or to care for children while parents or caregivers are outside the library. Parents, guardians, or caregivers are solely responsible for the behavior, safety, and supervision of their children at all times while children are in the library or on library premises.

In order to maintain a safe atmosphere where reading and studying are encouraged, the Palo Alto City Library has adopted the following policy:

  • Children under the age of eight may not be left alone in the Library for any reason and need to be closely supervised by a responsible caregiver at all times.
  • All children under the age of 18 must be able to reach a parent or caregiver
    immediately, either in person or by phone.
  • If it comes to the attention of library staff that a child under the age of eight has been
    left unattended at any time, or that any child under the age of 18 appears to be in
    distress, or that any child under the age of 18 is unattended at closing time, staff shall make a reasonable effort to locate the caregiver in the Library or by phone. If the caregiver cannot be located, the police may be called to escort the child to a safe
    location until parents can be reached. Library staff will not transport a child nor will a
    child be allowed to sit in a staff person's vehicle.
  • Situations may arise when, due to unusual or emergency circumstances, it may be
    necessary for the Library to close without prior notice. In this event or in case of other emergencies, unaccompanied children age under the age of 18 who cannot transport themselves must be able to reach a parent or responsible adult caregiver for immediate pick-up. As above, if the responsible caregiver cannot be located, within 15 minutes, police may be called to escort the child to a safe location until parents can be reached. Staff will not transport a child nor will a child be allowed to sit in a staff person's vehicle.
  • If it is unsafe for a child of any age to leave the building without an adult, that child
    should not be left unattended in the Library.
  • All children must adhere to the Library’s standards of conduct and may be asked to
    leave the Library if they cannot follow the Library’s guidelines for acceptable behavior.

PARENTS AND ADULT CAREGIVERS, NOT LIBRARY STAFF, ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BEHAVIOR AND SAFETY OF THEIR CHILDREN WHILE ON THE PREMISES OF THE PALO ALTO LIBRARY.

Approved by: Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne, Library Director (Date: August, 2014)
Approved as to form: Albert S. Yang, Deputy City Attorney

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