Thursday, January 04, 2007

To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!

Which is why Maplewood Public Library has instituted a lock down between 2:30pm and 5.00pm. Apparently, the hordes of well off Maplewood students rampaging through the Maplewood library is too much for the librarians and they have had to close the library. I bet I know the Maplewood kids in the middle of this...

Naturally, the local news channels jumped on this one and the images of the students coming out of the public school across the street and pouring in to the library were almost comical. You would be forgiven for thinking reading was the new cool thing because it seemed like every student at school wanted a piece. Hidden among the silliness however, is a very serious issue that in many localities the public library is a defacto day care center. Librarians are wet-nursing the students who for whatever reason are unable to or can't go home.

From the New York Times:
Some study quietly, others, library officials say, fight, urinate on the bathroom floor, scrawl graffiti on the walls, talk back to librarians or refuse to leave when asked. One recently threatened to burn down the branch library. Librarians call the police, sometimes twice a day.
Obviously, it is unfair to expect librarians (or anyone - other patrons) to put up with this type of behavior and personally I think shutting the doors is a perfectly reasonable approach. Putting the librarians in the position of having to administer punishment and deterrents is beyond the call. The article goes on to mention other local libraries that have similar issues and have reacted in the same way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

First of all - I really appreciate this blog. Thanks.

As to the problem of unruly patrons and librarians acting as baby-sitters: this is something that we were dealing with back in the 80s with latch-key kids and homeless patrons using the library in ways we never dreamed of...the old is always new.