Unattended Children Policy

The Seattle Public Library welcomes library use by children. The Library is a public building with staff trained to provide public library services. Staff members are available to assist children with accessing library materials and services.

Policy Statement
The Library desires to provide a safe and appropriate environment for visitors of all ages. For the safety and comfort of children, a responsible parent or caregiver should accompany and supervise children who are using the Library. While in the Library, parents and caregivers are responsible for monitoring and regulating the behavior of their children. The Library is not equipped, nor is it the Library's role, to provide long- or short-term child care.

Library staff members will refer to this policy when necessary, including in response to the following situations:

  • An unattended child is found frightened or crying in the Library.
  • An unattended child is perceived to be endangering him or herself, or that another person in the Library poses a perceived threat to the unattended child.
  • An unattended child exhibits specific inappropriate behavior.
  • An unattended child has not been met by a responsible caregiver at closing time.

After evaluating the situation, Library staff members will attempt to contact the parent or guardian of the unattended child. In the event that the parent or guardian cannot be reached, the child will be placed in the care of the Seattle Police Department.

This policy applies to all children visiting the Central Library and all branch libraries.

Related Laws, Policies and Procedures
Administrative Procedure, Assisting Endangered or Unsafe Children.

Reviewed and wording clarified June 24, 2015. Supersedes Unattended Children adopted Nov. 27, 2001.

Date Adopted: Nov. 27, 2001
Wording Clarification: June 24, 2015
Supersedes Policy: Unattended Children adopted Nov. 27, 2001