A. Departmental Goals and Principles of Service

  1. The objectives of the Children’s Department are: to introduce as many children as possible to the public library environment in order to create lifetime readers and library users; to provide children with access to current information and quality literature; and to provide complete and accurate answers to reference questions to all patrons of the Department.
  2. The Children’s Department is open during all library hours with competent reference and reader advisory services available at all times.
  3. Library staff who work primarily or exclusively in the Children’s Department should have a genuine interest in children and children’s services.
  4. The Children’s Librarian should be a qualified professional with a broad knowledge of children’s literature.
  5. In all news releases and promotional materials, the Cchildren’s Library should be identified as The Rosemary Titus Reynolds Children’s Library in the Joplin Public Library.

B. General Rules

  1. Children not yet six years of age must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
  2. Children eight years of age or younger may not be left in the building without a responsible caregiver under any circumstances.
  3. Children who cannot read are not allowed to use the catalog terminals but are encouraged to use the children’s public use computers under adult supervision.
  4. Use of the computers in the Children’s Department is limited to children age 12 and younger.  All children using the computers must sign in at the children’s service desk.

C. Unattended Children

  1. Children not yet six years of age must be accompanied by an adult at all times. This includes children left in the care of an older child. Children eight years of age or younger may not be left in the building without a responsible caregiver under any circumstance. The Library is not responsible for the supervision and safety of unattended children.
  2. Staff should try to locate the parent or responsible party for unattended children and inform them of the Library policy. If staff is unable to locate the parent or responsible party in the Library within a reasonable amount of time, the police may be called. The Children’s Department should be notified before calling the police and all public service desk staff should be notified after the police have been called.

D. Abandoned Children

  1. The Library assumes no responsibility for children left alone at closing time.
  2. Ten minutes before closing an employee will inform child of closing time and ask if s/he needs to use the phone to call for a ride. The child will be allowed to use the public desk phones.
  3. In the event that a child is left after closing get as much information as possible: name, age, phone number and parent’s name. The police will be called.
  4. Two staff members will stay with the child in the lobby until the police arrive. Under no circumstances will a staff member stay alone with a child or take a child from the premises.
  5. If police are called, an incident report should be filled out.

E. Children’s Materials

  1. The Library acquisitions budget includes a designated amount for children’s print and non-print materials.  The Hager Trust also provides the Children’s Department with an annual allocation for the purchase of all juvenile award and honor books as well as for other high quality juvenile print materials.  This allocation may vary according to the amount of interest generated annually by the invested principal of the Hager Trust.
  2. The Children’s Department provides juvenile materials suitable for children age 13 and under in a variety of formats and in sufficient number to meet the current and anticipated needs of the community.
  3. All Joplin Public Library District collection development and collection management policies apply to materials in the Children’s Department.
  4. The Children’s Librarian is primarily responsible for the selection of materials for the Department using appropriate professional review media and bibliographic selection tools.  The Collection Development Librarian and the Library Director may also participate in the selection of materials for the Children’s Department.  All collection development and management activities, including selection, replacement, duplication and discarding of juvenile materials, are directed by the Children’s Librarian under the supervision of the Library Director and with the assistance of the Collection Development Librarian.
  5. Materials specifically for children and all other materials in the Library are available to all children at all times the Library is open.  Parents or legal guardians are solely responsible for supervising or limiting their children’s access to Library materials. Parents or legal guardians may request a limited access Library card which permits children to check out materials only from the Children’s Department collections.
  6. Cataloging information about children’s materials is available at every catalog terminal in the Library.  Children’s materials receive full MARC cataloging.
  7. Children’s materials not available locally are accessible through interlibrary loan.

F. Storytimes for the General Public

  1. Storytime sessions are regularly scheduled for the general public.
  2. Storytime sessions are developed for pre-school children of different ages.
  3. An adult must accompany and remain with children attending storytime.  If a child engages in disruptive behavior during the storytime, the adult must remove the child from the storytime session and must also remove any other children in his or her care from the session.  Unaccompanied children may not stay in a storytime session.

G. Storytimes for Daycare and Head Start Groups

  1. Storytimes may be provided for daycare and Head Start groups either on- or off-site.  Procedures for enrollment are set by the Children’s Department.
  2. Groups should be limited to twenty or fewer children at a time.
  3. At least one adult must stay with the group during storytime sessions.  At least two adults must stay with the group if there are sixteen or more children attending the session.

H. Children’s Storytime Room

At the discretion of the Children’s Librarian, the storytime room may be used by outside groups if there is no conflict with Library programs.  Such use of the room by outside groups is recorded and reported as the reservation of a meeting room.

I. Tours and Children’s Groups

  1. All tours of the Department must be scheduled in advance.  Children’s group tours should be scheduled as far in advance as possible, especially if programming is required.
  2. Children’s groups visiting the Library in study or reading groups should call ahead if possible.
  3. The Children’s Department reserves the right to refuse a tour because of inadequate notification or the unavailability of a time slot for a tour.
  4. All children’s groups in the Library must be attended by an adult, whether the group is attending a scheduled program or engaged in a reading or study session.

J. Programs Outside the Library

The Children’s Department conducts programs outside the Library for schools, daycares, nursing homes, clubs, and not-for-profit organizations when it is possible to do so at the Library’s convenience.

K. Bulletin Board and Display Case

The bulletin board and the display cases serve as display areas for the Children’s Department and may be used by other groups at the discretion of the Children’s Librarian.