Week 12 – Be Quiet, We Want To Learn!

Hello all! Considering the wave of Twitter posts regarding the topic of kids in the library, I figured that this wouldn’t be just an interesting topic, but also one that hopefully raises some points about kids in a library and what it means for not just librarygoers and librarians, but also parents and kids.

Personally, I am of the opinion that kids do have a place in libraries. Libraries are not just for teens and adults, they are also for children. Children are just as capable of being a great utiliser of libraries, as even if they can’t comprehend the more advanced non-fiction literature, they can still read stories as well as meet like-minded kids there. That being said, though, unattended kids in libraries are a major problem. There are a wealth of tweets in our latest Twitter chat that highlight what exactly the problem with leaving kids unattended in libraries are.

In the Storify archive, the first thing about the issue that jumps out at me is Lisa’s tweet. She mentioned a scene at the LCC library where kids were – get this – CLIMBING UP STRUCTURES. Really? Karen’s tweet is a bit simpler, but also raises another very good point – unattended kids being disruptive to librarygoers that just want peace and quiet while they read. The library is a place to learn and a place to expand one’s horizons. It is NOT a playground where kids can do whatever they like, especially if it begins interfering with the learning of others.

And what does that say about the parents themselves? Stephanie says it may be irresponsible for parents to leave their kids at the library instead of sending them to after-school care. I agree with this – not only are the parents pawning their own children off on librarins who did NOT sign up to babysit children, it sends a very cruel message to the children themselves – that theeir own parents can’t be bothered to do the right thing and place them in the care of people who actually know how to care for them, and might end up making the child feel that they aren’t as loved.Kaley states that it may be parents that need to be educated on the downsides of just tossing their kids at a local library for a few hours – I wholly agree!

Honestly, like I said, if the kids’ energies can be corralled towards more productive things, such as reading books in the libraries or participating in sanctioned activities, then by all means, they should be allowed to come to the library. Like I’ve said, though, unattended kids, especially when they get out of control, are not just a problem, but also a failure on the part of their parents, who need to be taught the folly of just abandoning their children for a few hours.

Comments 3

  • Hi Paul. Do you think times have changed this? I think a couple people posted in the Twitter chat that back in their day, it was perfectly normal for kids to go to the library and they would behave themselves. I can’t really comment personally, as I am a bit younger than most of the people taking this unit.

    Anyway, while I was reading your post, I wondered if any libraries have attached playgrounds (like the ones at McDonalds)? If so, what do you think of that idea as an alternative? I guess, I wouldn’t really like that idea, as libraries are supposed to be a place of quiteness, whereas McDonalds is more about play. I thought parents could take their kids to an actual playground, but not leave them unattended there (that’s just bad), so I thought that would not count as an answer here.

    But yes, I think I mostly suggested after-school care would be more appropriate, as it makes sense to leave your kids there. That would be the entire purpose of after-school care. Babysitters would also be a much more appropriate alternative to the library.

    If there’s no other option for the parent, what do you think of my idea from my post: that the appropriate age for a child to be left unattended at the library would be when a parent can trust him/her at home alone for a couple of hours?

  • Hey Paul,

    Great post!
    If I’m honest, all the kids I’ve probably ever seen are climbing something! I guess its because their young minds just want to see and touch everything, and technology eliminates that barrier between ‘no touch’ and ‘touch’. I agree that children should not be left unattended, even if in the presence of other adults and children.

  • Hi Paul
    What age group are you identifying as problematic in the library?

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