Fuse #8

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Rowdy Rowdy Rowdy

You might get the impression that as a New York Public librarian I face tough gangs of hard-bitten teens every day in the dirty aisles of my midtown workplace. Yet due to my cushy job (and the fact that teens only come to my floor to use the bathroom) nothing could be further from the truth. The cities have their problems, sure, but nothing too terrible. If, however, I am sent to librarian purgatory due to some unspeakable crime of an illicit nature (probably involving this blog), that purgatory would take the form of Maplewood, New Jersey. As the New York Times reports (and if this article disappears the author was Tina Kelley and it published on 1/2/07), in Lock the Library! Rowdy Students Are Taking Over, Memorial Library is closing weekdays from 2:45 to 5 p.m. because the teens and middle schoolers. It looks as if the kids who come in are too gross and violent. Here's the kicker: They're delightfully overprivileged.
This comfortable Essex County suburb of 23,000 residents, still proud of its 2002 mention in Money magazine on a list of “Best Places to Live,” is no seedy outpost of urban violence. But its library officials, like many across the country, have grown frustrated by middle schoolers’ mix of pent-up energy, hormones and nascent independence.
Three points for use of the word "nascent".
Obviously closing isn't the best solution. Still, it makes me love my NYC teens all the more.


At 2:13 PM , Anonymous elizabeth fama said...

Very interesting article (and dilemma). I laughed at the behavior guideline that prohibits "hairdressing or grooming of another person."

At 10:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have similar problems in our library, including Turf Wars (we hereby declare the library neutral ground) and have hired security guards to help keep the tulmult down to a low roar.

some of our rules are:
only one person to a chair -- and all four chairlegs on the ground. (we've had too many chairs broken by 200 pound kids leaning back on them, plus it's embarassing to the rest of us when teens grope each other in public.)

no food/ drink by the computers. We do have a supposed eating area elsewhere, but it hasn't stopped them partying at the computers.

The sound on the computers must be at a low level so as to not bother other patrons. ("It's not my fault that it's loud! It's the web page." yes it is, and I'll show you how to turn it down.)

No bad language and no fighting. (Which is a problem because the adults in their family yell worse things at them -- so much so that they think they are talking normally. And don't try to tell me that bitch is a complement.)

There's more, but I'm taking up too much room. All libraries across the US are having teen problems, especially because the administrators are insisting we do things to attract them. Okay, they came. Now we have to handle their insults and lack of manners.

Don't get me started on cell phones being used as two-way radios.

or the damage they do to our cars when we have had enough and kick them out.

-librarian and writer


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