Boston Public Library
Safe Child Policy

Policies & Procedures


The Boston Public Library provides an array of services to children from preschool age to middle school age. The library offers story hours, internet access, tours, homework help, and advice on books to read, along with other educational and entertaining programs. The children's collections at the Rey Children's Room at the Central Library in Copley Square and in the branch libraries hold a wide assortment of fiction, folktale, picture books, nonfiction, audiovisual materials, reference materials, and public computers. Library children's rooms are reserved for children, their parents, guardians, teachers, and caregivers, and people researching children's literature.

The library encourages frequent visits by children and their families. However, library staff cannot provide child care or assume responsibility for children's safety. Parents, guardians, teachers and caregivers, not library staff, are responsible for the behavior and safety of children visiting the library. Staff cannot be placed in the position of supervising unattended children.

Children are expected to behave in a manner conducive to maintaining an appropriate atmosphere in the building for all patrons. (Please refer to the Appropriate Library Use Policy.)

Children must know how to reach an adult in case of an emergency, and both children and adults need to be aware of library hours.

Unattended Children

An unattended child is a child of any age who is apparently unaccompanied by a responsible adult. Parent, guardians, teachers and caregivers may not leave children alone or in the care of other children who are unable or unwilling to provide adequate care. Supervising adults must be close at hand.

As in all public places, “stranger danger” is a real concern. Library staff cannot prevent children from interacting with or leaving with persons who are not the appropriate chaperone.

If the Library is closing, at a regular time or in an emergency situation, and a parent or guardian of a child cannot be located in the building, the Boston Police Department will be called to take the child.

The Library is not responsible for any consequences of parents forfeiting their responsibilities.

Date Approved: March 23, 2004