Re: latchkey kids in academic libs

Virginia Chapman (
Wed, 4 Sep 1996 08:16:40 +0000

sadly, we have experienced the same problem here at Virginia Tech. One
professor who had his maybe 4 year old daughter visiting during
Christmas break, left her in the Media Center with instructions to walk
across campus to his office when the movie was finished. By the time her
movie was over, it was a dark wintery night....we had another parent
abusing the concept of home schooling who would park his two kids in front
of videos (usually inappropriate as in Dirty Harry for a 7 year old) while
he sat at the computer lab, shoes off, feet up, monopolizing 3 computers
with WWW backgammon.....the entire day! His daily visit usually began at
10AM and they didn't leave until we closed at midnight. Rumor has it the
little family then went to the local bar which has WWW access (for his
backgammon) until they closed at 2AM.

Anyway- we have a HUGE sign posted saying "Not Responsible for unattended
children in the Media Center". It gets lots of attention and most parents
don't violate this policy. When they do I give them a verbal warning (the
home-schooling father once left for home at 10PM and "forgot" his 7 year
old son figuring "the kid could find his way home") and let them know that
next time we find their child alone we'll call the police. That usually
works. If they do it again, I will call the police. I don't want my staff
to be held responsible should something happen to the child (what if he/she
gets molested in the bathroom or kidnapped?)

anyway- it is a sad commentary on the state of things....

-Virginia Chapman
> lately, we have been noticing that grad. students and staff
> have been setting their kids up in the media dept. armed with
> enough videos (ours and theirs) to last through a 3 hour class,
> or sadly, an 8 hour workday.
> do any of you ACADEMIC libraries have written policies about
> unattended children in the library? my boss is mostly concerned
> about the liability and risk involved and i am of course concerned
> with the kids working the equipment.
> any information will be appreciated - either on the list or to
> me directly. THANKS,
> rhonda rosen
> loyola marymount university


Virginia A. Chapman
Media Center, University Libraries
PO Box 90001, VPI & SU
Blacksburg, Va 24062-9001