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Unattended Children

Bortz Library is dedicated to providing a welcoming and safe environment for all patrons. Children are welcome to use the library facilities, provided that they are under the supervision of a parent, guardian, and/or caregiver at all times that they are in the library.  

Children under the age of 13 may not be left unattended and unsupervised while in Bortz Library.  

Safety Concerns:  

  • Bortz Library is open to the public. Leaving a child unattended may put the child at serious risk from strangers.  

  • Internet access in Bortz Library is unfiltered. It is not the responsibility of library staff to monitor the browsing activities of any patrons, and unfettered access to the Internet may not be in a child’s best interest.  

  • If an unattended child is injured or becomes ill while in the library, library staff does not know the appropriate parent or caregiver to contact in an emergency and cannot authorize medical care for the child.   

  • If a child wishes to leave the library, or leaves with a stranger, the library staff cannot legally detain the child, even if the parent or caregiver has told the child to remain within the library in their absence.  

Distraction Concerns:  

An integral part of Bortz Library’s mission is to “support learning and teaching in the liberal arts environment” and to “provide a facility appropriate for meeting the academic information and services needs of the College.” In support of this mission, Bortz Library selects resources for the adult researcher and maintains an environment conducive to study and research. Unattended children may become bored or restless, and may either injure themselves, harm expensive library equipment, or distract library users and staff.  

Responsibilities of Bortz Library Staff: 

  • If a child is accompanied by an adult but is not being actively supervised by the adult and is acting inappropriately, library staff will attempt to locate the adult and inform them that the child must be supervised. 

  • If the child is left in the library without any adult supervision, library staff will contact the Hampden-Sydney College Department of Public Safety and Police as appropriate.  

  • In the event that a child is ill or injured in the library, staff will attempt to notify the child’s parent or caregiver if possible. In an emergency, call 911 immediately.