Unattended Children Policy- Library


Definition: Any child under the age of twelve who does not have a parent/care giver or an older mature sibling aged sixteen or older present in the library.

Guidelines: Manatee County Public Library System welcomes library use by children and we seek to provide a safe, welcoming and appropriate environment.  Professionally trained staff is available to help with research for homework and projects as well as to help as a reader’s advisor.  Manatee County Public Library staff do not provide long or short-term childcare/babysitting.  The responsibility for the safety and behavior of children in the library rests with the parent/care giver and not the library personnel.  Therefore the Manatee County Public Library has adopted this Unattended Children Policy.


Children eleven and younger must be under the direct supervision of a parent/care giver in the immediate vicinity of and in visual contact with the child.  If the parent is not with the child, the assigned care giver must be at least sixteen years of age and must carry emergency contact information.  An exception would be children attending a library program without a parent/care giver present in the room.  However, the parent/care giver is expected to remain in the library building and immediately join the child at the end of the program.  Parents/ caregivers may be asked to remove disruptive children until they have settled down.  Parents/caregivers are responsible for the behavior of their children, whether or not the parent is present. Local law enforcement will be notified of children left unattended for any extended length of time (in excess of 20 minutes).

Children under the age of twelve requiring assistance with books or information, who do not have a parent or guardian to accompany them, may call the library at 941-748-5555 or email reference@mymanatee.org.

When a child in this age group is found unattended, a staff member, will attempt to locate the parent/care giver in the library or contact the parent/care giver by phone and inform him/her of the rules.  If no parent/care giver is located, the staff member will do the following:

  1. Notify the supervisory staff of the problem.
  2. Determine the child’s name, length of time they have been unattended and when a parent/care giver is expected, if known.
  3. Contact the parent if possible and request they pick up the child. Library staff will make every attempt to reassure the child that their parent/caregiver will be arriving soon to pick them up. Staff will monitor the child until a parent/caregiver arrives.
  4. If a parent cannot be reached 15 minutes before closing or if a child is left repeatedly, staff will call local law enforcement.


If a parent/caregiver has been notified either in person or by phone for failing to follow the policy, library staff will review the Unattended Children Policy with them in order to obtain a signature indicating an understanding of the policy.  A copy of the signed document will be given to the parent/caregiver and the original will be kept on file at the library as proof that the parent has been made aware of the issue.