The Jefferson Davis Parish Library offers its excellent services to patrons of all ages.
In order to form a collaborative agreement with patrons, the assistance in making sure our younger patrons are safe in our library environment is needed on a daily basis.
The library is open daily to the public and is welcoming of all patrons, but special attention needs to be given to children. Safety and behavior of children in the library are the primary responsibility of the parent/caregiver. The library staff is often busy assisting library patrons and cannot be held responsible for children who are unattended. Responsible parents or caregivers should be with children at all times. Staff cannot possibly be aware of all the activities of unattended children. The library encourages all parents and caregivers to be involved in a child’s library experience to insure the kinds of written material, videos and Internet information being viewed and read.
Every staff member has the responsibility of keeping the Library as pleasant an environment for the public as possible. This includes discouraging disruptive behavior on the Library premises.
1. CHATTY PATRONS
We sometimes have lonely people or those whose mental faculties are lower than average, whose need for attention is great. We should be patient with these people, but at the same time, should not allow them to take up large amounts of our time. Politely, but firmly, discourage long and irrelevant conversations. If a patron persists, remind them politely that you have to return to work or to help another patron.
2. DISRUPTIVE CONDUCT
Disruptive conduct is any behavior that disrupts the normal functioning of the Library. This would include, but not be limited to, loud talking and laughing, fighting, throwing objects, and boisterous behavior.
A. LOUD TALKING AND LAUGHING
Since it is difficult to maintain a consistent noise or quiet level, and sensitivity to noise varies from one person or group to another, the focus will be on whether one person or group is heard above the general noise level in the library at a particular time. People conversing in louder tones than the general noise level should be requested to lower their voices. SECOND WARNING AND OUT FOR ONE WEEK.
Whether real or pretend, NO WARNING – OUT FOR ONE WEEK.
C. THROWING OBJECTS
This would include wadded up papers, paper airplanes, and other small objects. SECOND WARNING AND OUT FOR ONE WEEK.
D. BOISTEROUS BEHAVIOR
This would include running in and out, wandering from group to group making noises, horseplay and annoying other patrons. SECOND WARNING AND OUT FOR ONE WEEK.
3. USING OBSCENE LANGUAGE
This is a hard one to pin down because “obscene” is defined as anything “grossly repugnant to the generally accepted notions of what is appropriate.” A word may be obscene to one staff member and not to another. For purposes of our policy, obscenity may be defined as language or gestures which convey a sexually explicit message and describe intimate bodily functions in a course or crude manner. SECOND WARNING AND OUT FOR ONE WEEK.
No staff member should be subjected to verbal abuse, whether obscenity is involved or not. Interrupt the patron and say “Your language and behavior are inappropriate. You Director or Administrative Assistant in charge, who will ask the patron to leave the Library.
This includes selling anything, such as raffle tickets or candy, for personal gain or for a charitable cause and begging, panhandling or circulating petitions. SECOND WARNING AND OUT FOR ONE WEEK.
Smoking is prohibited in the Library. If you see anyone smoking, ask them to stop immediately or leave the library. SECOND WARNING AND OUT FOR ONE WEEK.
Sleeping is not allowed in the library. However, a patron may become drowsy and doze off momentarily while studying. This regulation pertains to the habitual sleepers or those who are noisy, sprawled out on the furniture, or generally disturbing other patrons. Awaken them by speaking to them; DO NOT TOUCH OR SHAKE THEM. They should be told to stay awake. SECOND WARNING AND OUT FOR ONE WEEK.
Loitering is defined as remaining or wandering in a public place without any apparent legitimate reason. Anyone who mills about or sits doing nothing for 10 or 15 minutes should be considered loitering. SECOND WARNING AND OUT FOR ONE WEEK.
8. RUNNING AND PLAYING
This is not only distracting to other patrons, but it can be hazardous since accidents are more likely to occur. Small children are the most apt to be running and playing, and their parent should be told. Older children who seem to view the Library as a playground should be reminded that running and playing are not allowed. SECOND WARNING AND OUT FOR ONE WEEK. A copy of the brochure entitled UNATTENDED CHILD POLICY should be given to the parent.
9. GUIDELINES FOR CHILDREN
An adult parent or a responsible care-giver should be with every child that is ten (10) years of age and younger. However, it is recommended that children age 10 and older be accompanied during their library use, either by an older sibling, or by a parent/caregiver
Employees are not responsible for children who are unattended or who do not follow appropriate behavior guidelines. Often when children are unattended, they become bored, restless and cause disturbance in the library.
Children who attend the Toddler Story Time should NEVER be dropped off at the library. A parent or other responsible party should bring them into the library and be available if needed. Responsible parties should have parental emergency information.
Children should also have the telephone number of an adult who can assist them in times of emergency
No child under school age should go to the afternoon Story Time without a responsible person in case they need the restroom, water, start crying, or want their parent.
No parent is to utilize the computer and neglect their children while doing so. A warning will be given. A second warning will result is asking the parent to leave the library.
No parent is to drop off children for extended periods of time. All patrons have a time limit of 30 minutes per day to utilize the computer. After the thirty minutes is over, books may be checked out and then the children should be picked up. Please note that all children that are dropped off must be able to care for themselves and be ten (10) years of age or older. If a child in this age group is not able to leave the library without an adult, he/she should not be in the library alone. This is a strong concern when it is dark outside or with the effects of bad weather and no adult becomes available for pick-up. Parents who drop children off at the library should be able to be reached.
It is a difficult position when staff members are forced to function as baby-sitters. It can also be a serious situation, as a child may be injured or become ill. Any unattended child should be taken to the Director or Administrative Assistant in charge.
If unattended children are causing problems, the Director or Administrative Assistant in charge should try to locate the parents within the building. If they are located, parents will be warned by the staff member and given a copy of the Unattended Children Policy.
If parents cannot be located, the Director or Administrative Assistant in charge should first make an effort to contact the parent. If the parent cannot be reached, the police should be notified. A staff member should remain with the child until the authorities arrive. Under no circumstances should a staff member drive the child home.
Children left unattended at library closing time will be turned over to law enforcement authorities. Unattended children in Louisiana are defined as persons under the age of 18 years.
Children who consistently exhibit inappropriate behavior after being warned several times will be allowed to visit the library only when an adult brings them.
For school tours or other field trips, it is recommended that there is one chaperone per fifteen children. Chaperones are to accompany children at all times.
10. NO SHOES OR SHIRT
Patrons are not permitted in the building without shoes or shirts. No swimsuits are allowed. Remind the patron of the rule. Of course, if they don’t have shoes or shirt with them to put on, they will have to leave at once. SECOND WARNING AND OUT FOR ONE WEEK.
11. FEET ON TABLES AND CHAIRS
Placing feet whether bare or with shoes, on tables and chairs, is prohibited. A staff member should remind the patron of the rule. SECOND WARNING AND OUT FOR ONE WEEK.
12. CELL PHONE USE PROHIBITED
Cell phones are to be put on silent or vibrate while in the library. If a patron receives a call, he or she is to exit the building to take the call. Patrons are not to talk on the phone while using computers since this is distracting to other patrons and to the people working or reading in the library. SECOND WARNING AND OUT FOR ONE WEEK.
13. ILLEGAL BEHAVIOR
Some behavior is illegal and would be handled in a different manner. Examples of illegal behavior follow:
ASSAULT – Intentionally or by reckless conduct causes injury to another person
CRIMINAL MISCHIEF – Intentionally damages the property of another (includes vandalism and mutilating library materials)
DRUNK AND/OR DISORDERLY CONDUCT – Causes public inconvenience by fighting, unreasonable noises, abusive or obscene language/gesture, threatening behavior, hazardous or physically offensive condition
HARASSMENT – Threatens or annoys another person by physical contact or abusive or obscene language, or follows a person in or about a public place
PUBLIC LEWDNESS – Intentionally exposes the private or intimate parts of the body in a lewd manner in a public place
THEFT (LARCENY) – Wrongfully takes, obtains, or withholds the property of another
TRESPASS – Knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises
If you witness illegal behavior, report it immediately to the Director or Administrative Assistant in charge, who will notify the police
UNATTENDED CHILD POLICY GUIDELINES
To insure a safe and productive environment, Jefferson Davis Parish Library patrons are asked to be familiar with the library’s PATRON CONDUCT GUIDELINES available on the website and as a handout at each check-out desk.
An adult parent or a responsible care-giver should be with every child that is ten (10) years of age and younger. However, it is recommended that children age 10 and older be accompanied during their library use, either by an older sibling, or by a parent/caregiver.