Halifax Public Libraries welcomes youth to enjoy its programs, services and spaces. Staff work to engage youth in positive ways, and provide support and guidance while they are in the library. Like other library users, youth are expected to comply with library policies, taking into account their age and maturity. Parents and caregivers are responsible for the conduct and safety of their youth in the library.
Purpose of the Policy
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for library staff and volunteers in working with youth, as well as to outline parent/guardian responsibilities for the conduct and safety of their children in the library.
For the purposes of this policy:
- a "youth” is a person under nineteen years of age (a minor) unless otherwise specified.
- a “parent” is a person who is either the natural, adoptive, or foster parent of the youth.
- a “guardian” is a person with legal responsibility for the care and custody of a youth.
- a "caregiver" is anyone age 12 years or older to whom the parent/guardian has given responsibility for the care of the younger child.
Parent/Guardian Responsibility for Youth Conduct and Safety
Library staff cannot accept responsibility for the safety and supervision of youth outside of library programs.
Parents/guardians are responsible for the conduct and safety of their youth in the library as outlined below:
- Parents/guardians must ensure that children requiring supervision are brought to the library with a responsible caregiver.
Children under age 8 must have a parent, guardian or caregiver in the immediate vicinity unless they are participating in a library program.
- Parents, guardians or caregivers who do not attend a program with a child who is under age 8 must remain on the premises.
- Youth age 8 and over may use the library unattended for an amount of time appropriate to their age and maturity.
- Parents, guardians and caregivers must inform themselves of scheduled library closing times, and be aware that youth may sometimes need to leave the library unexpectedly – e.g. due to emergencies. It is the responsibility of parents, guardians and caregivers to let their youth know what they should do if they must leave the library.
Guidelines for Staff and Library Volunteers Working with Youth
Staff and library volunteers are responsible for their actions and behavior when interacting with children and teens and should avoid any conduct that would lead any reasonable person to question their motivation and intentions. For the protection of youth, and themselves, staff and volunteers will follow Youth Conduct & Safety Procedures (2000-00-08) when working with youth.
Addressing Conduct and Safety Concerns with Unattended Youth in the Library
Library staff will follow the Youth Conduct and Safety Procedure when parents/guardians or caregivers are not present to:
- supervise children under age 8
- assist a youth who requires help or intervention from a parent/guardian/caregiver
- assist a youth who cannot leave the library independently
- address issues with youth behavior resulting in a youth being asked to leave or barred
Staff address behavioural issues with youth using positive behavioural strategies. There are times when youth may be asked to leave the library for a period of time, however the library encourages youth to come back, taking a “fresh-start” approach to return visits.
Requests for Information Regarding Youth
Library staff will follow the Customer Confidentiality Policy when handling requests for, and/or sharing, information about youth, their library use or records.
Revised: April 2015.