Articles Tagged with Children

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Pro se (aka pro per or self-represented) law library patrons have a tough time of it. If you didn’t learn in high school or college how to learn, how to study, or how to develop a research strategy, then the legal research process will be a very steep uphill battle. Some of our law library non-attorney patrons learn very quickly that Willy-Nilly is not a research strategy. Others never figure it out and public law librarians hear a lot of “I just need a yes or no answer to my question.”

We, public law librarians, are not the only ones with this problem. I just came across another group of people who are recipients of these types of questions and the answer to one person’s situation pretty much sums up what we in law libraries have had to figure out how to say tactfully (forgive the garbled syntax – it’s Friday and you know what I mean! :-):

The January 4, 2008, Library Link of the Day post on a January 1st, 2008, article in the Boston Globe, by Candice Choi, about self-publishing, “Got a Manuscript? Publishing Now a Snap.” The story sent me off on a winding road that ended up at a blog site where I found this excerpt:

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See recent updates (e.g. 2/10/11), but also click on the Home Alone label in the sidebar or the bottom of this post.

Some of the most frequently asked questions by parents (of librarians!) are.

When can I leave my children home alone?
How old do my children need to be before I can leave them alone?
How old does my oldest child need to be before I can leave him/her alone with a younger sibling?

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1) My 15 year old has debts. Can his creditors get money from me?
2) How do I seal my juvenile crime record?
3) My 18 year old is dating a 15 year old. Help!
4) What do I have to tell the cops when they stop me at school or while I’m driving?
Public librarians get lots of legal questions from teens and their parents. As is true for many legal questions, some of the answers should come only from attorneys and all should come from trusted legal resources so be prepared to do some reading and maybe some research.

In past posts I’ve blogged about babysitting (including the frequently asked “when can I leave my kids alone?” question) and related legal issues. Today I’ll post about some resources available specifically for teens and their parents. (See recent updates (e.g. 6/15/09), but also click on the Home Alone label in the sidebar.)

As is also true for most legal questions, the specific question and answer at hand is only part of the picture so the research process itself is part of the solution and a learning occasion or teachable moment, whichever side of the reference desk you are on. Parents may think they just want to know what their 15-year old should know before dating that 19-year old, but in the course of finding the legal answer, they can learn an awful lot about parenting, teens, and life in general.

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** Please see the June 2009 update (or click on the Babysitting label). **

This is the time of year when the babysitting questions appear with increasing frequency. I’ve compiled a few sources of information to help answer some of the questions, but don’t expect the answers to be black and white. Little in life is.

The question we get most often is about what age a child must be before he or she can be left home alone. I refer people with that question to this Clackamas County web site because it explains it well. You may very well want to contact your own county’s Information or Sheriff’s office.

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