Friday, January 30, 2004

Library Latchkey Children. ERIC Digest. Last summer, my academic library had problems with a bunch of trouble making juveniles from the community. We learned that they had been banned from the public library. Further, we learned that their parents were dropping them off at our library and using us as a babysitting service! We clearly were not equipped to do this. The blogged article of the day has tips for public libraries to deal with the latchkey children issue.

From the article:

Based on the author's research, the following recommendations are offered for public librarians who wish to provide more effective service to latchkey children:

1. Interact with representatives from community agencies to develop alternatives concerning latchkey children.

2. Learn about latchkey children in library school and by attending in-service training.

3. Develop and publicize positively worded written policies and procedures for dealing with latchkey children.

4. Conduct research about library latchkey children in public library settings. For example, interview latchkey children to learn which activities they prefer libraries to provide for them. Then implement and evaluate those recommendations.

5. Consider library latchkey children as providing an opportunity to work cooperatively with the community, to turn a captive audience into program potential, and to recruit future library users who enjoy books.

6. Create a separate area where children involved in after-school activities will not disturb other patrons.

7. Use the mission statement as a guide to determining the library's appropriate role in serving latchkey children.

8. Use volunteers, and designate, if possible, a librarian to be solely responsible for after-school programs.

9. Provide arts and crafts supplies, learning games, and a wide selection of books for children to use independently.

Full article at

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