This policy informs parents, guardians, caregivers, staff and volunteers of their responsibilities regarding minors' use of the East Brunswick Public Library.
East Brunswick Public Library: All library facilities and grounds, as well as any off-site programs, hosted by the library.
Caregiver or guardian: Adult responsible for a minor child or youth.
Child/children: A person(s) under the age of 13.
Minor or youth: A person under the age of 18.
Teen: A person age 13 through 17.
Unaccompanied/unattended child: A child who is using the East Brunswick Public Library without the supervision of a parent, guardian, or caregiver.
Library staff: Any staff member of the East Brunswick Public Library.
Library volunteer: A member of the public that is cleared to work in a limited volunteer capacity at the East Brunswick Public Library.
Children's program: Program designed for children age birth through 12.
Teen program: Program designed for teens and/or young adults (ages 13 through 18).
Private communications: Communications between staff and a minor that do not happen in a public forum or space. Examples include, but are not limited to, phone calls, emails, text messages, and messages transmitted through apps or other means.
I. This policy applies to all parents, guardians, caregivers, staff, and volunteers of the East Brunswick Public Library.
II. The library strives to create a safe, welcoming environment for children and teens to attend programming, study, check out materials, attend meetings, or engage with any other library service.
III. Children 12 years and younger must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or caregiver above the age of 13 at all times while in the library or attending a library program. However, staff will call the parents or guardians of a teen if they are not abiding by the library's code of conduct or if staff determines any teens are not able to care for themselves. In some instances, staff may be required to call the East Brunswick Police Department.
IV. Children's programs will be monitored by library staff, but it is expected that parents, guardians, or caregivers stay within the direct vicinity of these programs at all times and remain responsible for the children in their care at all times for children below the age of 9. For children aged 9 through 12, parents, guardians, or caregivers must remain in the library building during a program at which their child attends. Teens aged 13 and above may attend library programs and events without a parent, caregiver, or guardian. For programs that require pre-registration, emergency contact information may be gathered for programs at which a teen will be attending without a parent or guardian.
V. Parents, guardians, or caregivers must be present with a child during any program that takes place outside of the library or off-site.
VI. Library staff and volunteers cannot be responsible for unattended children and, if children are found to be unattended, staff will attempt to contact the child's parents. If the library staff member or volunteer is unable to contact the parents, library staff will contact the East Brunswick Police Department.
VII. The Library is a public place and not all areas of the building can be monitored by Library Staff; therefore parents, guardians, and caregivers must be responsible for children in the library.
VIII. Library staff and volunteers must avoid any conduct and/or communications with minors that would lead any reasonable person to question their motivation and intentions. Library staff should not be alone with a minor in any non-public area without another adult present.
IX. Library staff and volunteers must never transport a minor in either their own personal vehicle or a library-owned vehicle, unless that minor is a member of their family.
X. Children should use the single-use bathrooms in the children's room either alone or, if unable to use the bathroom alone, accompanied by a parent, guardian, or caregiver. Staff should monitor who exits and enters the children's room bathrooms to ensure safety. Keys to the youth services bathrooms will be available at the youth services public service desk and a self-locking door handle must be in operation in the youth services bathrooms. To the extent possible and as staffing allows, Youth Services staff members will monitor who exits and enters the bathrooms, but may not be able to monitor the bathrooms at all times when assisting library patrons or hosting library programs.
XI. The children's room is reserved for children and their parents, guardians, or caregivers. Adults may use the room to select and check out materials, assist a child with homework or projects, or when attending a program with a child, but they cannot use the computers or study areas in the children's room.
XII. The teen area is reserved for teens and their parents, guardians, or caregivers. Adults may use the room to select and check out materials, assist a teen with homework or projects, or when attending a program with a teen, but they cannot use the computers or study areas in the teen room.
XIII. As a public agency, library staff are required by law (N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10) to notify the Police and/or the New Jersey Department of Children & Family Services if there is suspected abuse or neglect of any minor. This includes, but is not limited to: mistreatment of a child, lack of proper supervision or repeatedIy leaving a child unattended at the Library, predatory behavior on behalf of an adult toward a minor, or witnessing physical harm toward a minor.
XIV. Library staff must undergo a pre-employment background check, annual Sex Offender Registry checks, and any other precautionary procedures deemed appropriate by Library Administration or the Library Board of Trustees.
XV. Library volunteers 18 and above that will work with minors must undergo a background check, annual Sex Offender Registry checks, and any other precautionary procedures deemed appropriate by Library Administration, the Library Board of Trustees, or the Township of East Brunswick.
XVI. Library volunteers 17 and younger who will be working with children must have all work references checked, and library staff must acquire as much background information as needed to ensure the safety of minors, as well as obtain a copy of their driver's license, if applicable. Teen volunteers 17 and younger must also provide emergency contact information.
XVII. Once employed, Library staff and volunteers are required to notify the Library Administration of an arrest or conviction within 72 hours of knowledge of the arrest or conviction in order to ascertain the fitness of the staff member to interact with children.
XVIII. Library Staff, including volunteers, will be required to complete youth safety training from credible child abuse prevention sources prior to starting employment or volunteer service and on an annual basis.