Children and Young Adults Services Policy

Policy Statement

This policy confirms the general principle that children and young adults should be afforded the same rights and privileges as adults in the library as well clarifying services and situations unique to younger library patrons. This policy does not deal with all possible situations concerning children or young adults. The needs of specific patron groups may be included within a broad policy such as the Internet Services Policy or The Circulation Policy.

Definitions

  • A Child is a library patron under 16 years of age.
  • A Young Adult is a library patron between 16-18 years of age. Due to the wide range of development between the ages of 0 and 18, age may be only an approximate indicator of a young library patron’s abilities, interests or maturity. A library patron aged 13 -19 may be considered a teen or young adult for the informal purposes of collection or program development. However certain legislation uses other age benchmarks that impact the relationship between Child or Young Adult patrons and the Library. These will be clarified in the text, in the appropriate policy section.
  • OLA (Ontario Library Association)
    CLA (Canadian Library Association)
  • IFLA International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
  • YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association)
  • MFIPPA (Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act)

Responsibility for Implementation

The responsibility for the implementation of this policy lies with the County Librarian, acting according to the general policy established by the Board. This authority may be delegated to other staff by the County Librarian.

Regulations

  1. General Principles
    The unique needs of children and young adults will be taken into account in all areas of library service including, but not necessarily limited to, furniture, shelving, materials, programs, design of library space, access to collections, rules, procedures and policies, staff training and interlibrary loan.The Huron County Library adopts the principles included in the OLA Children’s Rights in the Public Library Statement. (Appendix A); and the OLA Teens’ Rights in the Public Library. (Appendix B).
  2. Privacy
    1. Children have the same privacy and access rights as adults, except that section 54(c) of MFIPPA provides that a person who has lawful custody of the individual may exercise the rights of access of an individual less than 16 years of age. Accordingly, if a child under 16 would be entitled to access, so would his or her custodial parent. Therefore a parent may request a list of their child’s overdue materials, amount of overdue fines or lost items or have mail or email notifications sent in care of the parent.
    2. Young adults, 16 and older, have the same rights of privacy and access as an adult.
    3. Access
      1. Children from birth may have a library card. Children, aged 12 and up, are encouraged to have their own library card to allow them to visit the library alone or as part of a school class. Children 16 and older should have a library card to allow them the same privacy and access as an adult to library services and collections.
      2. Special polices, such as reduced overdue fines, may be established for children (under 16) to encourage literacy and acknowledge the unique needs of children. Parents are ultimately responsible for the fines (overdue, lost or damaged items) of their children (under 16 years of age).
      3. Library staff will provide reader’s advisory, and use professional knowledge to develop collections and programs for children and young adults; but only a parent has the right to use their own cultural, religious or other views and beliefs to shape or censor the reading, viewing or listening choices of their children.
      4. If possible within available library space and resources, children and young adults will each have separate areas within the library with shelving, furniture and collection formats that meet their needs. This may include such items as lower shelving to allow children to reach materials; child-sized chairs and tables or formats specifically designed for children or young adults.
      5. Access to the collection is not limited by age or by a specific patron profile or card type.
    4. Collections
      Separate collections, in multiple formats, will be available for children and young adults to acknowledge that their interests, needs and reading abilities are not the same as those of adults. Collections will contain materials suitable for babies to young adult; for all stages of their growth and development.
    5. Programs
      Separate programming for children and young adults will be developed based on community needs and available library resources. This programming will consider the interests, as well as the developmental stages and literacy needs of children and young adults. The scheduling of programming will be at a convenient time for the target age group; for example March Break or summer programs for school-aged children.
    6. Partnerships
      To assist with the Library’s role, in providing services to young patrons, library staff may partner and cooperate with other community organizations that provide or promote services for children and young adults. This may include (but is not limited to) local elementary and secondary schools, Municipal Day Cares and other Municipal or County of Huron departments or agencies.
    7. Supervision
      1. Parents and caregivers are responsible for the supervision and behavior of their children while on library property.
      2. It is the prerogative of a custodial parent to limit access to library collections or equipment or censor the reading, viewing or listening of their children under 16 years of age. This is not the role of library staff. Library staff will never undertake this parental role, even if requested to do so by the parent.See also the Huron County Library Safe Child Policy.
    8. Internet Policy
      1. Children under 12 years of age should have a parent/guardian/adult/caregiver/teacher (16 years of age or older) present when using library public access computers. It is expected that children aged 12 years and up will have a library card, may visit the library alone, and may use library equipment.
      2. The Library does not filter or restrict legal internet access. Exceptions may be made for a children’s computer, if it is in an area that is difficult to supervise. Computers designed for very young children may be restricted to safe sites or not connected to the Internet.See also the Huron County Library Internet Services Policy, Section 3 (Use by Children).
    9. Employment and Volunteering
      The Library has been a traditional source for summer or part-time employment and volunteer hours for young adults.The position of Library Page provides employment for young people aged 14 years until graduation from Secondary School.The Library may be a source of volunteer or cooperative education hours for local secondary or post secondary students. The Library strives to provide a positive, educational experience for these young employees and volunteers.In addition, library staff may provide tours, work placements or other forms of mentoring and/or work experience for college or university students in library or other appropriate fields.
    10. Distance Education
      Library staff may invigilate exams for distance education students of any age if suitable space and eligibility requirements can be met.See also the Huron County Library Proctoring Policy.

Citations

  • Huron County Library Internet Services Policy
  • Huron County Library Safe Child Policy
  • Huron County Library Proctoring Policy
  • OLA Children’s Rights in the Public Library Statement. (Appendix A)
  • OLA Teens’ Rights in the Public Library. (Appendix B)
  • Ontario. Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.56.

Related Documents

  • Kids Need Libraries, Libraries Need Kids: Companion Document to the Children’s Rights in the Public Library Statement.
  • The OLA’s Statement of Intellectual Freedom and the CLA’s Statement of Intellectual Freedom.
  • Ontario Human Rights Code (1986); and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1991).
  • What are the privacy responsibilities of public libraries? Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. 2002.

Appendix A

Children’s Rights in the Public Library

Ontario Library Association Statement passed November 1998

Children in Public Libraries have the right to:

  1. Intellectual Freedom.
  2. Equal access to the full range of services and materials available to other users.
  3. A full range of materials, services and programs specifically designed and developed to meet their needs.
  4. Adequate funding for collections and services related to population, use and local community needs.
  5. A library environment that complements their physical and developmental stages.
  6. Trained and knowledgeable staff specializing in children’s services.
    Welcoming, respectful, supportive service from birth through the transition to adult user.
  7. An advocate who will speak on their behalf to the library administration, library board, municipal council and community to make people aware of the goals of children’s services.
  8. Library policies written to include the needs of the child.

Ontario Library Association Statement passed November 1998. Adopted by the Huron County Library Board, 1999. Reaffirmed May 2013)

Appendix B

Teens’ Rights in the Public Library

Goals for Library Services for Teens:

Young people are valuable members of our library community who deserve the same respect, dignity and human rights as all library members. This document provides a framework for developing library services to teens that meet the educational, informational, and cultural and leisure needs of young people in ways that are developmentally appropriate. Each public library has a different community to serve and therefore different priorities and needs.
Although specific services for teens have not been well established in all libraries, these goals are created in the belief that young adulthood is a unique life stage and that young adults are entitled to the same quality of library services offered to other age groups in the population. (Adapted from the IFLA Guidelines for Library Services for Young Adults, 2006 and the YALSA Guidelines for Library Services to Teens, Ages 12-18, 2006.)

The goal of library services for teens is to assist with the transition from children’s services to adult services and to provide access to both resources and an environment that meets the needs of young people for intellectual, emotional and social development. Specifically these needs are based on the unique seven developmental needs of adolescents and the five core values of quality service to teens:

7 Developmental Needs of Teens5 Core Values of Service to Teens
  •  Physical Activity
  • Competence and achievement
  • Self Definition
  • Creative Expression
  • Positive social interaction with peers and adults
  • Structure and clear limits
  • Meaningful participation
  • Respecting and responding to unique YA needs
  • Providing equal access
  • Empowering youth through participation
  • Engaging teens in active collaboration
  • Supporting healthy youth development
 Excerpted from: Dorman, G. (1981). The Middle Grades Assessment Program: User’s Manual. Carrboro, NC: Center for Early Adolescence. Core Values excerpted from Jones, P. (2002). New directions for library service to young adults. Chicago: American Library Association.

Teens in Ontario Public Libraries have the right to:

    1. Intellectual Freedom.
      The Library establishes clear policy statements concerning the right to free access by young adults to library resources and information sources; and respect for the rights of young adults to select materials appropriate to their needs without censorship, The Library’s teen collection, policies and services should be consistent with the concepts of intellectual freedom defined by the CLA, OLA and the Ontario Human Rights code.
    2. Equal access to the full range of materials, services, and programs specifically designed and developed to meet their unique needs.
      The Library integrates library service to teens into the overall plan, budget and service program for the library. Library service to teens is integrated with those offered to other user groups.
    3. Adequate funding for collections and services related to population, use and local community needs.
      The Library incorporates funding for materials and services for teens in the library operating budget and ensures there is equitable distribution of resources to support programs and services for young adults.
    4. Collections that specifically meet the needs of teens.
      The Library provides a wide spectrum of current materials of interest to young adults to encourage lifelong learning, literacy, reading motivation, and reader development. The library endeavours to develop collections that encourage leisure reading, support homework and school success and responds to gender and cultural diversity. The Library provides unfettered access to technology including social networking, licensed databases, and other online library resources for teens.
    5. A library environment that complements their physical and developmental stages.
      The Library provides identifiable spaces for teens that are separate from children’s spaces where possible, reflects their lifestyle and allows for teens to use this library space for leisure or study, either independently or in groups.
    6. Welcoming, respectful, supportive service at every service point.
      The Library promotes friendly, positive, non-biased customer interactions with teens, providing staff development and training and ensures that services for teens embrace cultural and gender diversity and economic differences. Library staff will endeavour to respect the teen’s need for privacy and nonjudgmental service and assist young adults in acquiring the skills to effectively access all library resources and become information literate.
    7. Library Programs and Services appropriate for Teens.
      The Library fosters youth development by providing programs for teens that contribute to literacy, life-long learning and healthy youth development. The library endeavours to provide volunteer opportunities for helping others through community service hours including participating on Library Advisory Boards, and other projects that help develop a sense of responsibility and community involvement. The Library’s teen services initiatives are effectively managed according to best practices in the field of Youth Services.
    8. Trained and knowledgeable staff specializing in teen services.
      Library staff is knowledgeable about adolescent development and age appropriate resources for young adults inclusive of those with special needs. The Library provides services by teen specialists as well as by others who are trained to serve teens.).
    9. An advocate who will speak on their behalf to the library administration, library board, municipal council and community to make people aware of the goals of teen services.
      The Library works in partnership with other community agencies and organizations to support all aspects of healthy, successful youth development.
    10. Library policies are written to include the needs of the youth.

(Adopted at the Ontario Library Association General Meeting, June 2010.) Adopted by the Huron County Library Board, May 2013.