#3 - Library as a safe place for kids and teens. Developing Success Factors For Illinois public libraries Researching Communities to Prepare for the Future Created by: Mary Wilkins Jordan, [email protected] Agenda. 1. Introduction. 2. Goals for the session. 3. Case studies.
2. Goals for the session
3. Case studies
In Developing Success Factors, we look at the attributes that people across Illinois said were most important to them for their library.
Library as a safe place for kids and teens may seem basic, but it was the third most popular response in the Researching Communities to Prepare for the Future study.
Discussing these attributes within your library helps hone your own skills and keep yourself at peak efficiency.
Developing some plans to help in case of some basic disasters which might occur in a library.
Some advance planning will make everything easier for you.
Libraries are not the safe, trouble-free places people still
seem to think they are.
Let’s talk about a few ideas for keeping kids
peaceful and organized in the library.
Media reports blow this issue out of proportion.
But take some basic steps to keep kids and computer safe – and to help people learn
to keep safe on their own.
Library staff know the popular image of libraries as perfectly safe places is not accurate – but the public does not know that!
Check out this resource: Kidpower on safety issues http://www.kidpower.org/ARTICLES/
Staff need to be concerned about several areas of physical safety for young patrons:
Kids are generally going to be safe in the library, but bad things can happen in any public place.
Having a written child safety policy directs staff behavior and gives guidance if you need to take action in a situation.
Sample library policies concerning safety:
Kids are increasingly in danger from other kids, in the library and outside of it:http://articles.latimes.com/2007/apr/26/local/me-library26
Resources on bullying:
Library staff may be in a position to notice kids in danger from their guardians or parents.
Developing a written policy for handling a situation of suspected abuse will help to make a very difficult situation easier for the library.
Unattended kids are also potentially in danger from other people or even from library staff
Information for parents about dangers for unattended kids:
The internet and online resources are fantastic, filled with information and opportunities for learning.
Like any other information source, there is a potential for kids to learn things parents and librarians would prefer they avoid.
Check out this PDF document from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: Keeping Kids Safer on the Internet:
Although these websites are not just for kids, they may not be thinking through some basic steps for their own online safety.
But the sites are taking active steps to help parents and other adults keep kids safe!
Information for librarians and parents to learn online safety for children
Printable bookmarks with information on online safety:
These Web sites will give you ideas to implement at your own library:
People always seem to think disasters will never happen to them, even when there are things that can be foreseen. But – disasters happen, and not just to other people, and not in directions that might be expected! Hail breaks windows, water pipes burst, children vomit, sewers back up. Disasters happen.
Some disasters which have occurred in my workplaces:
Evaluate the library’s own risks and dangers.
Review the library’s disaster plan as completed in 2007.
Collect supplies you will need later (including first aid kits); store them, but do not forget about them.
Develop a staff & board phone tree for quick contact.
Remind everyone where to meet after evaluating the library, so everyone goes to the same place to be counted.
Develop a plan for getting people who have mobility problems safely down the stairs.
This is not just for wheelchairs; find out if people have heart conditions and can not walk far, or other problems that will make dealing with a disaster more complex.
Some examples of disaster plans from a variety of organizations http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/bytopic/disasters/plans/
Click around Harvard’s plans; notice the check lists they have assembled – very handy! http://preserve.harvard.edu/emergencies/plan.html
Other library-related examples:
A couple of case studies are presented next. These are common issues in the library world, but should inspire some discussion.
You can answer these individually, but there may be more value in sharing your ideas with a larger group – your department or with the library as a whole.
Even if a situation is presented that is not currently a problem in your library, it is helpful to think through a solution – maybe something different that you are trying now, or something which may help you in the future.
As you are getting ready to close the library, you discover a six year old boy in the children’s room. He says he is waiting for his mom to pick him up. Consulting with others, you realize he has been here all afternoon – causing no trouble but totally alone. What do you do?
Has this happened in your library? How have you handled it in the past?
Does your library have a written policy on this?
What would you suggest as the best way to deal with it?
What are some strategies to prevent this issue in the future?
Your library has a large number of “latch-key” kids hanging around after school, waiting for parents to retrieve them. They are making noise, running around the library, disturbing other patrons, and generally causing levels of chaos in the library every Monday through Friday afternoon.
Does this happen in your library? How to you change this situation into a positive?
Does the library have any formal policies to handle this situation?
What programs has the library developed?
Who has been consulted outside the library: teachers? parents? park service?
What would be an ideal solution, from your perspective?
A staff member reports smelling smoke from the magazine room. When investigated, a fire is spotted in the trash can.
What do you do?
What is the library’s disaster plan direct staff to do?
Who determines whether to evaluate the building?
Who calls the fire department?
Libraries are not the perfectly safe utopia some people believe them to be for kids and young adults.
WebJunction Illinois has a variety of training courses within the Illinois Course Catalog (il.webjunction.org/catalog). The on-line courses are self-paced for individual use or to foster group discussion. Try these WebJunction Illinois courses:
Library disaster preparedness handbook by John Morris
Library's crisis communications planner : a PR guide for handling every emergency by Jan Thenell
Black belt librarians: every librarian's real world guide to a safer workplace by Warren Davis Graham, Jr.
Cyber rules : what you really need to know about the Internet by Joanie Farley Gillispie and Jayne Gackenbach
E-parenting : keeping up with your tech-savvy kids by Sharon Miller Cindrich