Saturday, September 13, 2008


Most good libraries keep statistics. We have counters at the door to count the number of people in and out. We count the number of books checked out. And, in every library I've worked in, we've counted the questions we're asked. There are usually different types of questions: directional (where's the bathroom/where are the audio books), computer (how do I print), ready reference (What's the capital of Hungary), title (do you have Skippyjon Jones) and reference (I need information about asthma).

I'm proposing a new category. I'm going to call it "Yelling" or perhaps "Chastising" but let's be honest, mostly I yell. All summer long the library was packed with kids, and well we did have the occasional behavioral problem, it was mostly great. Now that school is back in session, it is pretty quiet during the day...but after school hours are a DISASTER. The little monsters are everywhere, tearing down displays, running (literally) rampant through the stacks and knocking over senior citizens, destroying my toddler toys, STEALING things out of the youth desk when there isn't anyone there (we're short handed, this month).

I am going crazy. I've been getting ready to do some redecorating and put in some cool (and cheap) literacy activiities, some new toy type things, etc. But I can't because they will destroy them!

The next time I have to tell a child more than ten times "No running in the library" I'm going to make them sit next to me and cut out stickers.

No, there are no parents with these children. After all, the library is merely a source of free after school child care.


liberal army wife said...

that drives me NUTS! We stopped going to the library in the afternoons.


Tressa said...

That is one part about homeschooling I am going to miss. Visting the library while the kids are in school. I was just at the library yesterday and the poor librarian had to speak to some obnoxious teenagers. I felt bad for her because they just kept right on going.

New Girl on Post said...

Oh my! Your post reminded me so much of my experience of working at my public library. I was a reference desk assistant there and also the unofficial public computer police and I had so many problems after school with the middle school students that came in there. I'm pretty sure they grew to despise me because I was constantly telling them not to fight, run, cuss, hit, etc. They drove me nuts!