Public Libraries: Children

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 13th December 2018.

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure the safeguarding of children in unstaffed libraries.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The Department encourages local authorities to consider a range of approaches to support and enhance the delivery of their library services, such as making appropriate use of available technology. A number of library services are using technology to enable access for library users to library buildings outside staffed hours on a self service basis. The systems often include controlled access technology involving CCTV and communication systems. Good practice guidance, from the Libraries Taskforce, encourages library services to undertake a risk assessment before implementing such a service and also advises that it is important that staffed hours meet the requirements of children and young adults who wish to visit the library unaccompanied. In managing the safeguarding of children, library services that use these systems do not allow children under a specified age to access the library at unstaffed times unless accompanied by an adult.

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