February 17, 2018

Florida Library System Bans Unaccompanied Adults from Loitering in Kids Areas

By LJ Staff

The Orange County Library System (OCLS), Orlando, FL has become one of a handful of libraries to ban adults unaccompanied by children from loitering in the children’s areas throughout its 14 branches. Marilyn Hoffman, OCLS’s community-relations coordinator told LJ "an adult can come in without a child and browse and take materials to another areas of the library. What we are addressing is people lingering in the children’s department for no particular purpose." She notes that libraries in California and Nevada already have similar policies in place. Although in August a minor claimed that an adult patron tried to molest her, Hoffman said that the policy is not a reaction to any one incident, instead asserting there are "lots of different reasons" for establishing it. "We looked at our community and looked at news in the world and thought about how we could best provide a positive and safe environment for children." The library recently also created a separate teen space in its Club Central area in answer to numerous teen patrons’ requests. "Then we started thinking about children too and it made sense to make it special for children and their families." Hoffman says the reaction from the community has been "great," and that staff have had parents, caregivers, and teachers "come up and thank us."