In an effort to provide a library environment that allows all patrons to use library materials and resources in a safe, relaxed manner, the Board of Library Trustees of the Chelmsford Public Library has adopted a policy statement concerning unattended or disruptive children.

Children who are ten years of age and older may stay independently in the Main Library and/or MacKay. They may use the library unattended for a reasonable period of time provided they are able to maintain proper library behavior. Children must have the telephone numbers of their parent, guardian, or other designated adult so that a responsible person may be contacted to come and pick up the child in case of a health emergency, or other special circumstance such as:

  • Unexpected library closing, or a child unaccompanied at closing time. Every reasonable effort will be made by the staff to assist the child in contacting an appropriate adult. If no responsible adult is reached, or the child is not picked up within 15 minutes of library closing, library staff may notify the police to assume custody of the child. Two staff members will wait with the child until the parent/guardian/other designated adult, or the police pick him/her up.
  • Disruptive behavior. If an unattended child behaves in a disruptive manner, the child will be asked to correct her/his behavior. If the behavior persists, Library staff may, at their discretion, contact the parent/guardian/designated adult, or direct that the child leave the library. In addition, the library reserves the right to summon the police in order to preserve the library's operations and/or protect the interests of the child.

Children who are 8 and over may use the children’s room of the Main Library unattended if there is a responsible parent, legal guardian or a young adult or sibling of at least 14 years of age in the main part of the library who acknowledges responsibility for the child, during their entire stay. Exceptions to this rule may be discussed with the library director.

Children under the age of 8 years may not be left unattended in the children’s room, unless the child is participating in a library program and has the permission of library staff to be there unsupervised. Children under the age of 8 may use the children’s room of the Main Library as long as a young adult or sibling of at least 14 years of age is present with them in the children’s room.

Parents, whether present or not, are ultimately responsible for their children's behavior while in the library. Children and young adults who are disruptive in the library or on library property interfere with library service to all patrons. The Chelmsford Public Library is not a daycare institution and the staff members are not babysitters. It is a public institution where all patrons have an equal right to quality library service in a friendly and peaceful environment.

If a child under the age of 8 is left unattended in the library, the staff will inform the parents of library policy prohibiting this. If the child is repeatedly left unsupervised, parents will be notified that their child is no longer permitted to use the library unattended.

Even though a telephone is available for children to call parents for rides home, parents should be aware of the library's opening and closing hours. Parents should make arrangements for the child to be picked up at the appropriate time.

Approved by the Library Trustees, May 2002
Revised, September 2006, December 2008