During the August 16, 2023, Botetourt Library Board of Trustees Meeting, Trustees unanimously decided to maintain the library's current policy requiring children under the age of 13 to be supervised by a responsible adult aged 18 or older.
Trustees noted that they had received substantial citizen feedback requesting to maintain the Library’s current Unattended Minor Policy. They observed that Botetourt parents have full access to and control of minors’ library accounts until they turn 18, ensuring high transparency into their children’s use of library materials. Read the Botetourt County Libraries’ current unattended children policy here.
Botetourt County Library’s policy is already one of the most conservative policies in the Commonwealth, as many other public libraries in Virginia allow unaccompanied children as young as 8 or 10 years old.
Library Board of Trustees Chair, Dr. Marlene Preston said, “We appreciate community input about teen use of the library. Our libraries always welcome teens! Current policies already reflect the rights and responsibilities of parents, and the policies allow teens to access library materials while they are still using a card controlled by their parents. Botetourt teens are learning to make good choices as they use the library for information and entertainment. They manage their homework, receive tutoring services, select books for leisure reading, and chat with friends while they enjoy the resources and comfort of the library environment. Overall, we protect the rights of parents and minors--all patrons--to access the professionally chosen materials in the library as they choose.”
During their public meeting on July 31, the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution in support of the protection of citizens’ First Amendment and Parental Rights in Botetourt County Libraries, affirming current Library policies. During the discussion, the Library Board of Trustees unanimously expressed their support for the Board of Supervisors resolution.
At the same Board of Supervisors Meeting, Chairman, Dr. Mac Scothorn shared a personal request that the Botetourt County Library Board of Trustees consider prohibiting minors (under age 18) from visiting County libraries unaccompanied except for 16 and 17-year-olds who have been granted written permission by a parent to do so. Dr. Scothorn had been asked by citizens to have the current age of 13 reviewed to see if there was merit in having it changed.
“I appreciate the Library Board of Trustees looking into the age matter and I fully respect their decision of keeping the current Unattended Minor Policy in place. I know they weighed all the options and found the Botetourt policy to be appropriate,” Dr. Scothorn stated. He went on to say, “It is my true desire that parents praise the efforts of their children’s learning and ask parents to join them in the process to build not only knowledge but also a better community”.