Policies pertaining to children

Information for Parents and Guardians Regarding After School Use of the Scarborough Public Library

Dear Families,

Students are visiting the Library after school in record numbers. We are pleased so many are choosing to come to the Library for a quiet place to read or to work on homework, but the number of students often exceeds the capacity of our Youth Services area. We appreciate the cooperation of students and families as we continue to work on strategies to accommodate this demand, while also ensuring access and safety for all our Library users. Please remember, a child under the age of 10 cannot be in the Library unattended.

We offer the following reminders and suggestions and encourage you to share this information with your child. 

  • The Library is not an afterschool care facility. Please be sure that your child has appropriate work to do, such as homework, research, or reading. We want to emphasize that our Youth Services team is here to assist your child in finding library resources in support of their studies and/or interests. We expect that students will be respectful of appropriate use of the Library, and that they have a plan for getting home when their work is finished.
  • The Library’s free wireless Internet. Our hope is that this service will assist students in their studies. Groups of students gathered around laptops are often disruptive and will be discouraged. Please be aware that the Library staff is not responsible for monitoring what your child may choose to access on his/her computer. Internet safety is a family matter and we encourage you to review your expectations with your student.
  • The comings and goings of students visiting the Library are not monitored. Please review your preferences with your child regarding leaving the Library grounds. Students must take any personal belongings with them should they leave the building.
  • Backpacks and laptop bags often spill into aisles and common areas, creating safety hazards for all our users – particularly those with mobility difficulties. Students will be asked to tuck their belongings under tables when possible, but we recommend that large bags and sports equipment not be brought to the Library.    
  • We expect that students will be respectful of appropriate use of the Library. We will ask a child to leave the Library should he/she exhibit inappropriate behavior. Keep in mind that if your child has been asked to leave the Library, that means they must leave Library grounds as well. In addition, loitering is not permitted on Library grounds.
  • Finally, we encourage parents and guardians picking up students to familiarize themselves with closing times as there is no staff coverage in the building after hours, and no protected area outside for students to wait on cold, snowy, or rainy days. Hours are posted on our website at www.scarboroughlibrary.org.

The Scarborough Public Library appreciates the many parents and guardians who encourage their children to use the Library in support of their studies and personal interests. We are committed to working closely with school administrators and other community partners to create a safe, nurturing environment for your child. We thank you in advance for your help and cooperation in making this possible. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Louise Capizzo, Youth Services Librarian, at 883-4723 option 3 or lcapizzo [at] scarboroughlibrary.org or Nancy Crowell, Library Director, at 883-4723 option 6 or ncrowell [at] scarboroughlibrary.org

Policy of Service To Children

Every child should have available a free public library which provides materials, resources, and reader guidance to meet informational, educational, and recreational needs.

The Scarborough Public Library is committed to library service which will:

  • promote the lifelong enjoyment of reading and literature;
  • develop capable and critical users of information and technology;
  • contribute to the continuing intellectual and creative development of the community's children; and, thereby, establish the Library as a vital community resource.

The Library will allocate sufficient funding to provide for:

  • qualified professional staff with direct responsibility for the planning,
  • management, and evaluation of services to children;
  • children's services staff possessing a broad knowledge of children's literature and information resources; a knowledge of children's physical and intellectual growth; and a genuine caring and respect for children;
  • diverse collections in various formats and interest levels that capture the interest and imagination of children; meet high standards of quality and attractiveness; and reflect the changing interests of young people, parents, adults who work with children, and society in general.
  • programs which promote library use and excite children about literature,
  • information, and technology;
  • cooperative efforts with schools and other community organizations serving children, particularly to identify underserved children and to develop appropriate services for them;

The Scarborough Public Library values a free and inquiring society, and affirms its support of the Library Bill of Rights, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, the Freedom to Read, and the Maine Revised Statutes Chapter 4-A :Library Records. The Library acknowledges and supports the rights of parents to guide their own child's viewing and reading. Parents or legal guardians are encouraged to help their children make selections of those materials which reflect  family values and beliefs.

passed 1/16/97

Policy on Unattended Children

The Scarborough Public Library has as one of its goals to operate as a facility to assist children enjoy their visits to the library and to develop, through their visits, a love of books, reading and libraries.

However, children left unattended in the library are not safe. The staff cannot know if children are leaving the building or the grounds with parents or strangers. Unattended children often become anxious which may lead to behavior problems. The following policy has been adopted to clarify for parents, children, and the staff, the concern of the library for the well being of its patrons:

  1. Scarborough Public Library welcomes children to use the library services and encourages parents to enjoy the library with their child(ren).
  2. Children and young people are welcome at the library for any period during which they engage in appropriate activities which include: doing homework, reading, browsing for books or other library materials, researching, writing, thinking.
  3. The responsibility for the safety and behavior of children visiting the library rests with the parent / guardian or assigned chaperone, not with library personnel.
  4. Children under the age of ten may not be left in the library unattended nor may they be left at the library or on its grounds at closing time.
  5. Children under the age of ten are expected to be in the immediate presence of and under the control of the parent / guardian / chaperone who is responsible for supervising the safety and behavior of their child(ren) while in the library or on library grounds.
  6. Library staff has been charged by the Board of Trustees with the responsibility to enforce this policy. Use of the library may be denied for due cause.

Amended 2/20/98