Children & Young Adult Policy

Children’s Area Policy

The Val Verde County Library strives to create a warm, inviting, fun and safe environment for children. The Library is a public building, and the safety of every child is a serious concern of the library staff and administration. The responsibility for the safety and behavior of children in the Library and on Library property rests with the parent or caregiver and not with Library personnel. Library staff has many duties to perform and cannot be responsible for children who are unattended or demonstrating inappropriate behavior. 

Unaccompanied Children

Supervised means that a parent, adult guardian, or responsible caregiver is attentive to the child and not distracted. 

Children ages 10 and younger must be in the immediate vicinity of and supervised by a parent, adult guardian, or responsible caregiver. During Library events, such as Story Time, children ages 10 and younger must be in the company of their parent or guardian. Children that are 11 and older may use the library on their own; however, parents are still responsible for the actions of their children.

For children attending events under the supervision of the Children’s Librarian, children ages 11 or older may be dropped off for the event. The Library asks that parents or guardians pick up their children immediately after the event. The child must have or know their parent or guardians phone number. In the event of an emergency, Library staff will contact the parent and the proper authorities. 

If a child is identified as unattended, the staff will search for the parent while the child waits at the Circulation Desk with staff. If the parent is in another part of the Library, staff will make contact with the parent, explain the policy, and ask them to meet their child at the Circulation Desk. If a child is identified as unattended and the parent cannot be found inside of the Library, staff will attempt to contact the parent, explain the policy, and ask the parent to come to the Library immediately. If the parent is unavailable, staff will contact the police.

Disruptive Children

The Children’s area may be a little more lenient as far as talking, reading aloud, and laughing within certain limits. However, if any disruptive behavior that violates/restricts the rights of others to use the library, prevents library staff from doing their jobs, or jeopardizes the safety of library patrons/staff and/or property they will be asked to leave the Children’s area. 

Disruptive behavior of the following will not be tolerated:

  • Violence of any kind
  • Running, pushing, jumping on furniture
  • Abusing library property 
  • Screaming/excessive crying

Procedure for disruptive children:

  1. Disruptive children will receive one warning by staff and an explanation of the rules of behavior.
  2. If disruptive behavior continues after two verbal warnings by staff, the child/family will be asked to leave the Children’s area. 
  3. In severe situations, the child/family can be banned from using the Children’s area/services.

Procedure for unattended children 15 minutes prior to closing:

If the parent/guardian is not found in the building at/during 15 minutes prior to closing, two staff members should stay with the child until a parent/guardian can be located through searching the library database, phone book, etc. Staff will make every reasonable effort to contact a parent or guardian, and attempt to have the child picked up within a reasonable time. If no contact is made with the parent or guardian, and staff believes that further contact will not be successful, then staff will contact the police. Two staff members will remain with the child until he/she is met by the police. Under no circumstances will a Library staff member transport a child home. 

Procedure for unattended children at closing:

If a child, at any age, is not picked up at the closing time of the Library, staff will make one final call to the parent or guardian. Fifteen minutes past closing time, staff will contact the Val Verde County Sheriff’s Dept. /Del Rio Police Dept. Staff members will remain after hours with an unattended child until the parent, guardian, or police arrive. Staff members should fill out an incident report when the police are called. The library policy will be explained to the responsible parent or guardian and given a copy of this policy. Under no circumstances will a Library staff member transport a child home.

Story Time Policy

Story Time at the Val Verde County Library is a program to promote early childhood literacy. Presenters are professional staff librarians trained in early literacy concepts. Rarely do we invite others such as Community leaders to participate and only if their participation fits in with our particular theme. We do not use Story Time to host authors. 

Young Adults (YA)

The Library considers children ages 12 and older to be Young Adults. 

Young Adults are allowed to use the Library on their own, but their parents are still responsible for them. Young Adults should know or have their parent’s phone number readily available. In the event of an emergency, the Library will contact the Young Adult’s parent and the proper authorities. 

Young Adults are expected to maintain the same level of respect asked of all patrons. If a Young Adult is disruptive, acts violently towards other patrons or staff, damages property, or abuses Library property, the Library will attempt to contact the parent. If contact is unsuccessful, the Young Adult may be asked to leave for the day. If a child under fifteen is told to leave, the parent will be contacted first. If the Young Adult is not able to contact a parent or guardian the child will be considered unattended regardless of his/her age, and the police will be contacted. Patrons sixteen and older who are displaying disruptive behavior will be asked to leave the Library for the day. If a Young Adult is asked to leave the Library for longer than a day, a copy of the incident report and this policy will be sent to the parent.