In theory, the library is a great place (although possibly on its way to becoming obsolete). It encourages reading in that you get books for free. Totally free, no strings attached!
But if you think about it, who do we want to encourage to read most of all? Kids, right? Except libraries, in my opinion, are incredibly kid-unfriendly.
There was a time when I used to bring my preschooler to the library to read to her and spark a love of books. But I eventually stopped because I intensely disliked being shushed and yelled at the entire time I was there.
Did we deserve to be shushed? Yes, probably. I'm sorry, sir, that my child was a little loud while we were waiting on line to use the restroom. I was already telling her to quiet down though, so I'm not sure what you hoped to accomplish with your angry shush.
The moment that made me angriest was when I dared to take my child with me to pick out my own book. Now it is difficult for a small child to sit quietly while her mother is spending five minutes looking for a book, so I was relieved when she found quiet enjoyment by pushing the books into the rack. (You know how all the books are protruding out a bit? I used to like pushing them in too when I was a kid.)
Anyway, a woman who didn't even work at the library snapped at me for letting her do this. She said, "Now someone has to pull them all out again!" I was upset because:
1) Why was this any of her business?
2) If I had just looked at a couple of books in each of those rows, I would have done an equal amount of "damage."
3) Someone gets paid to fix this. We're stimulating the economy!
4) My kid was being quiet and had no idea she was doing anything wrong.
5) Why was this any of her business?
In summary, I really don't feel the libraries nurture children's love of books.
Ugh, horrible. I hope the former preschooler found a love for books anyway. I remember spending most of my childhood in our local library, and the staff was incredibly accepting of a six year old, having to read every book there was. And let me tell you, I was not quiet in my pursuits.ReplyDelete
That's basically been my experience with libraries too.ReplyDelete
As a person without kids, I have my moments like the woman in the library where I will look at something that a kid is doing and get irrationally annoyed by it. I think that not being exposed to kids on a regular basis can make one very sensitive to the things that kids do, even if they aren't particularly annoying or disruptive things. Unlike the woman in the library, though, I usually get over myself and refrain from complaining to the parent(s) about the mild disruption to my "precious" happiness.ReplyDelete
I really hope that libraries won't go the way of the dinosaurs, as I love the smell and feel of libraries. I should really make better use of my local library in the hope of helping it survive.
As a librarian, I really dislike librarians who treat people badly. Shushing is my pet peeve. The books getting messed up is annoying becausevomeone does have to fix them, and libraries are always undertaffed due to funding issues. She could have asked nicely, though.ReplyDelete
Libraries are not becoming obsolete - just evolving.
Admittedly, she was "messing up" the books a little, but she wasn't throwing them on the floor or even disrupting the order. As I said, if I had just been browsing the books in those shelves, I would have done more "damage". So I don't think what she was doing was that awful. And it was keeping her from making noise and getting shushed.Delete
Try the local Barnes & Noble. My retirement job was working in the kid's department there. We are very child and family friendly. We encourage reading and even playing around books. Generally we only interfere when some one is being destructive or hurtful.ReplyDelete
That said, I don't mind if you leave a few books or toys out for me to put away, but people who leave a big mess get added to My List and talked about in the break room.
Our local library has an entire children's wing, full of toys and big chairs, and even a house built out of damaged books. And it is definitely not super quiet. I think more libraries are attempting to create areas for children. We go to the library about once a week and allow our children free range on what they check out. It has definitely helped getting our children to love books. Maybe there is a library with a children's section in your area.ReplyDelete
Yes! I loved to read as a kid (and still do), but I was actually scared of libraries because people were always mean to me in them! It wasn't even necessarily that I was making noise or doing anything, people would glare at me because of my very existence. I have so many memories of being 6/7/8 and my parents taking me to the library to get books and people giving me dirty looks or whispering loudly to whomever they were with that they shouldn't let kids in here. And don't even get me started about the librarian at my first elementary school. She was terrifying.ReplyDelete
Exactly anon -- When I was little, I went to a local library with a kids wing, and it was great as long as I stayed in that one room. When I got to be 8 or so, my mom would leave me in there, and go find books of her own in the adult section. God forbid I had to go find her there. Even if I made no noise whatsoever, some librarian would invariably come yell at me. I'm sure nice / helpful librarians exist, I just haven't met any.Delete
Here in my Canadian city, there is always a Kid's section in the library. I never recall a librarian asking anyone to be quiet or anything (maybe they asked teenagers on computers to be a bit quieter).ReplyDelete
I guess it has a lot to do where you live. Even when I was a kid, the librarians were always very helpful and friendly.
My problem was that I was interested in delving deeper into topics than the books in the children's section after the age of six or so, and had to make often intimidating forays into the adult non-fiction sections. If one of my parents was with me, there was no issue, but sometimes librarians would just assume that I was lost or looking to get into trouble. Fortunately, I learned that if I wrote down the call number of a book that I wanted, there was always added legitimacy to my search.ReplyDelete
Please tell me you said something to those people. If someone said something like that to me or my kid I would have went off on them.ReplyDelete
When people say things like that, I'm generally too shocked to respond until they're already gone.Delete
My kids LOVE the library! Granted they are 7 and 10 now, but they feel totally at home there, the staff knows us by name, and I'm thrilled to be getting books for free since it takes my 7 year old 15-30 minutes to read most chapter books. She has often finished a book before we pull in the driveway. I hope libraries are around for a very long time (ours is actually expanding right now!).ReplyDelete
People are generally not "friendly". When I had cough in allergy season and was trying to study in the library for my boards a man next to me ordered that I change seat, so as to not annoy him.ReplyDelete
It is not worth responding to abrasive comments as they are meant to hurt you. They really want your reaction. Ignoring them is best. It often puts stop to more ranting.ReplyDelete
I'm typing this from a library right now. People in the vestibule are making noise, the people next to me are clicking keys, and I can hear the librarian transacting business. But thre kids section?ReplyDelete