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Policy 3.4

Library Use Policy

Adopted Date: July 2010
Reviewed Date: October 2020
Review Date: June 2023

Purpose of the Policy

The West Lincoln Public Library strives to maintain a welcoming environment for all who enter its buildings. The Library Use Policy has been established to prevent disruptions to library services, ensure the safety of the public and staff, and maintain the security of library property. The Board and Staff will apply these rules with fairness and consistency to any situation that compromises the safe use and enjoyment of the library’s services and facilities by all.

Rules of Conduct

  • Harassing patrons or library personnel by noisy, disorderly conduct, insulting or abusive and threatening language, or taking unauthorized photography or video, is prohibited.
  • Damage, misuse, or theft of library materials, equipment and property is prohibited.
  • Disruptive behaviour is prohibited.
  • Smoking and vaping is prohibited anywhere in the Library, or on Library property, in accordance with the Niagara Regional Policy.
  • Consumption of alcohol is not permitted. Intoxicated individuals are not permitted in the Library.
  • Posting notices, distributing circulars, canvassing, selling, soliciting or engaging in other commercial activity is prohibited unless authorized by the Library Staff.
  • Members of the public are not allowed to use “staff only” exits or obstruct any public access points.
  • Parents and Guardians are responsible for the supervision of their children; see ‘Children in the Library’, below.
  • Members of the public must wear shoes, shirts and other appropriate attire.
  • The use of sports equipment in the Library is not allowed.
  • West Lincoln Public Library is not liable for photography, filming or video recording which may take place on Library premises.
  • Children under the age of 12 years must be accompanied by a parent or guardian while using the Library.

Children in the Library

Library staff are trained to assist children in using the Library but cannot assume responsibility for the safety and well-being of children. Library policies and services are designed to provide a safe and welcoming environment for library users of all ages but parents need to use the same caution with their children at the library as they would in any other public setting.

Responsibility for the welfare and the behaviour of children using the library ultimately rests with the parent/legal guardian or an assigned caregiver. The Library recognizes the following terms as stipulated in the Ontario Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) with regard to the supervision of children:

  • Section 79(3) “No person having charge of a child less than 16 years of age shall leave the child without making provision for his or her supervision and care that is reasonable in the circumstances.”
  • Section 79(4) “Where a person is charged with contravening Subsection (3) and the child is less than 10 years of age, the onus of establishing that the person made provision for the child’s supervision and care that was reasonable in the circumstances rests with the person.”

Library staff are obligated by the Ontario Child and Family Services Act to call the Police or Family and Children’s Services Niagara if they have any concerns about the safety and well being of a child.

Unattended Children in the Library

If a child is left at the library at closing time or in the event of an emergency situation or closure, the staff person in charge will attempt to contact the parents or caregivers. If the parent or adult caregivers cannot be contacted within 10 minutes after closing, staff will notify the police.

Parents must ensure that any children requiring supervision, and all children under the age of 12 years, are brought to the library with a responsible caregiver. Parents or caregivers are responsible for supervising their child’s access to all library resources including library materials, programs, and the Internet.

In most circumstances, the health and safety of children is not an issue. However, Library staff may intervene when they become aware that a child in the Library is in these, or similar, situations:

  • A child is alone, visibly upset or ill;
  • A child under the age of 12 is left alone with younger siblings for an extended period of time;
  • A child is alone and doing something dangerous, or another person in the library seems to be a danger to the child;
  • A child is alone, and is not following library rules after reasonable warnings;
  • A child is left alone at the library at closing time.

In any of these, or similar situations, the staff person in charge will attempt to contact the parents or caregivers. If they cannot be contacted, the Police or Family and Children’s Services Niagara will be contacted.

Requests for Information regarding Truant Children

As a public facility, the library does not monitor the activities of its users unless there is a problem with conduct or a child is inappropriately left alone as outlined above. If a school age child is noticed to be spending considerable time in the library during the school day, staff may check with the child and ask that a parent confirm with the library that he/she is aware of the child's whereabouts.

Requests for Information regarding Missing Children/Runaways

Staff will not give information to any person over the telephone as to whether a child is currently in the library or has been in the library recently. In the case of a missing child, Library staff will share information with the law enforcement agency requesting specific personal information.

Any violation of the Library’s Rules of Conduct may result in exclusion from the Library, suspension of library privileges, cost recovery, and/or prosecution. Appeals of any decision made under these rules may be made in writing to the CEO.

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