Unaccompanied Child and Youth Guidelines

Unaccompanied children in the library - Information for caregivers

Dunedin Public Libraries welcomes and encourages all children to use the library, its resources, and to participate in programmes.

Our library staff are here to assist children in their use of the library and to support their reading and information needs. Our staff cannot supervise children in the library and have no childcare training.

Situations can occur which distress children when left alone such as; feeling unwell, or being injured, or through unexpected events such as a fire drill and building evacuation. Children left without supervision can become unsettled and behave in an unacceptable or unsafe manner. All library customers including children must treat other customers, staff, and property with respect and care. Failing to do so may be result in being asked to leave the library.

For these reasons children 0-10 years must be actively supervised and have a caregiver with them in the library at all times. This means that the caregiver must be able to see the child and provide immediate assistance.

Older children must have a caregiver within the library building that can be located quickly if required.

The library acknowledges that older confident children may be able to use the library alone for a short period of time, but each situation will be judged on its own merits. Library staff reserve the right to contact the caregiver and ask that they be present or for the child be collected if problems arise. Older children must have the contact details of a caregiver with them and the caregiver must be able to be contacted.

If a caregiver cannot be contacted or located, library staff may contact the police for assistance.

No person under the age of 14 may act as a caregiver for a younger child in accordance with Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 Children’s and Young People’s Well-being Act 1989.

During school hours children between the ages of 14-16 using the library must either produce a school absence permission note from the school, or a copy of their Certificate of Exemption from Enrolment at a Registered School if home schooled. Library staff may contact the school or caregiver if this is not provided, or supervision is required.

Children attending library programmes that do not require a caregiver to be present must be picked up at the specified end time.

No child under the age of 14 should be left in the library for an extended period. It is an offence under the Summary Offences Act 1981 10B, to leave a child without reasonable supervision and care.

Thank you for your cooperation in complying with this policy and helping us to ensure that all children have a safe and enjoyable experience at Dunedin Public Libraries.