Libraries are NOT free playgroups!

(111 Posts)
autumn99 Wed 14-Nov-12 15:14:04

When are mums going to stop using libraries as free playgroups stroke chat sessions at the expense of those hwo wnat to use libraries for their proper purpose, No one objects to children being introduced to books - but hand in hand should go the condition that libraries are QUIET places where people go to read and relax. So many mums I see just aren't laying down the behaviour rules to their children, so are not introducing a new generation to the joys of reading but just nurturing a generation that doesn't give a hoot about the purpose of libraries and the respect for quiet that should prevail.

My 14 yo believes that books are for "saddoes" grin, hoping he'll grow out of it. If we Do manage to convince him to buy a book he won't carry the bag as it makes him look like a "geek". Took me years of percevereing but his older brother loves reading, and spends hours downloading books and reading them in his room. Now my 4 yo daughter loves going to the library, her Saturday morning "treat with Daddy" is to cycle to town, go to the library, read lots of books, choose a few to take home, then go to the cafe for some toast and fruit juice followed by a fruit buying spree in the local greengrocers! grin. She does sit quietly and read but it doesn't bother me that other children play as long as they are not excesively noisy. I do think there is a line over noise and boisterous behaviour, in the same way I expect certain behavior in a supermarket etc. If you want to play tag then got to a park/ playarea. If you want to read books and enjoy them together then go to a library.

lljkk Thu 15-Nov-12 09:13:50

Some churches are morbid & lifeless, too. And plenty of people like them that way.

Weird how religion is on the decline, too, eh?

Oh come on,we allhave witnessed children behaving inappropriately in libraries!
And it is not nice, because as much as we like libraries to be a friendly place for everyon, there are still behaviours that are not ok in such public places!

Never been to a morbid or lifeless library. Actually I have always loved themistique of libraries.

PinkPepper Thu 15-Nov-12 09:20:30

Our new library is supposed to get quieter as you go up. Children's libraries on ground floor. Then adult library, then work spaces, then a small silent area.
I love it. My sons only 6 months but I'm going to start taking him regularly soon, there's loads of comfy snug spots

Teenagers disamour towards reading is a fact, and has nothing to do with libraries.

Yamyoid Thu 15-Nov-12 09:25:44

Yabu. My local library also has a lovely children's area and various activities for kids, including weekly singing. Anyway, most play groups ARE free, or only cost £1, the library is just another place to take young children which happens to be very good. The days of shushing librarians are long gone IMO.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Thu 15-Nov-12 09:34:31

The idea that it encourages children to love books is completely specious This may not be your personal experience but there is a strong causal link between books being present in the home and academic achievement in children. See Downey (1994),Teachman (1987) and Magnusson (2007). Encouraging children to use libraries is a natural extension of this.

Bad behaviour in any public space = not to be tolerated.

Lively interaction in a library = fine.

TBH I'm more worried about the homeless alcoholics who congregate in our library in bad weather as they absolutely reek, meaning no one else goes in (I am not unsympathetic to their plight BTW before I get jumped on for lack of compassion...)

PS Universities often have an external reader membership - mine charges £35 per year.

lljkk Thu 15-Nov-12 09:38:26

Teens read tonnes on screens, though.
Give a teenage boy a comic or a soft porn novel & he'll read it, alright (sigh).

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 15-Nov-12 09:39:19

Libraries have changed and developed to become more welcoming. The children today are our next generation of customers. If we stick to the old Quiet and Forbidding nature of libraries then they aren't going to bother coming in when they are older. Library services will be cut even further.

Wallison Thu 15-Nov-12 09:41:12

Encouraging children to use libraries is a good thing. Encouraging them to run amuck as though they were in a playpark is not. It disturbs other people, it's rude and poor parenting.

Wallison Thu 15-Nov-12 09:42:43

I'm getting a bit sick of the 'Children are the future and oh I just can't control my toddler anyway' posts on here. I was expected to be quiet in libraries when I was younger; it didn't scar me for life, I love reading and love libraries and so does my son (who I don't let run around like some kind of feral beast while he's in there).

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 15-Nov-12 09:46:37

Children are the future of libraries, Wallinson. They have to demonstrate that they fulfil the needs of the community they serve, so their remit has widened considerably since you or I were young.

If that remit includes tolerating behaviour that would have been frowned upon before then so be it. We can't be precious about library space (the general space, not dedicated Ref or Study areas).

Wallison Thu 15-Nov-12 09:51:09

Actually, I think we should be precious about library space, since it is a public space. And it is perfectly possible to introduce your child to reading and inculcate a love of libraries and books without letting her/him run around as though s/he were at the park. I've even seen kids in our library eating (presumably they can't survive for half an hour without shoving something in their gobs) and then handling books with sticky fingers - how on earth is that appropriate?

lljkk Thu 15-Nov-12 09:51:51

Is your home not quiet enough to read in?

I am fairly sure that it was rather abnormal to take under 5s into libraries at all when I was small (1970s). Precisely because of the quiet expectation. And people had more housemates at home, so they really did need to go to the library to get a quiet place to think. You couldn't do much research at home, either.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Thu 15-Nov-12 09:53:49

i was told off by a librarian for Shushing dd1 when she was a toddler.

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 15-Nov-12 09:58:32

Books can be cleaned. Lose a customer at 5 because you're clinging onto an outdated view of what libraries should be like and you're looking at even more library closures in 10-15 years time.

Bad behaviour is commented on in my library, parent present or not. We're looking at a generation of parents now who may have been disenfranchised when they were little because a book got sticky, lost or broken. We can't afford to lose any more customers and our approach has to reflect the community we are in.

I've seen children come in white with fear because a book has been lost and they expect a bollocking. Their parents too! That's no way to run a business, which is, after all, paid for by everyone. We need to balance the needs of all our customers and provide a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

Wallison Thu 15-Nov-12 10:03:20

Yes but EATING. In a fucking LIBRARY.

unexpecteditem
The idea that it encourages children to love books is completely specious This may not be your personal experience but there is a strong causal link between books being present in the home and academic achievement in children. See Downey (1994),Teachman (1987) and Magnusson (2007). Encouraging children to use libraries is a natural extension of this.
It's certainly NOt my experience, my house is bursting at the seams with books but my DS1 did not achieve anything like his full potential at school wondering just how low his achievements would have been if I had no books grin (I don't really dispute your claim!)

lljkk
I was born in 1971 and I well remember going to the library frequently with my parents, loving the quiet atmosphere, the huge dark wood shelving, the "flappy" hinged desk by the door, the turnstile to get in, the tiny little chairs for toddlers, the little cardboard folded over tickets which had the card slipped inside for the book you were going to borrow - none of this "technology" stuff grin those were the days

Wallison Thu 15-Nov-12 10:11:57

And I'm sure that books can be cleaned but realistically unless you are going to clean every book every night then some that need cleaning won't get done.

I get the need for libraries to appeal to everyone, I really do. But what I don't get is that this translates into needing to appeal to badly-behaved children and over-indulgent parents. There are plenty of us out here who teach our children how to behave in public and don't just shrug our shoulders and say 'oh well it's kids, isn't it, what can you do?' when they are running around out of control.

Mind, I am still pissed off with our main library in town. They spent millions on a re-vamp which involved getting rid of loads of books in order to put a fucking cafe in (in a town swimming in cafes already), moved the children's room to an open-plan section (thereby making sure that spoilt and noisy little darlings were free to disrupt other library users instead of being contained) and brought in those self-service points for booking books in and out so you no longer have a stamp on the book telling you when to bring it back. So I can get myself a mocha and cake or whatever but half the time if I want to borrow a book I have to request it on a waiting list because they don't carry the stock any more, I'm constantly forgetting when books have to go back and when I am browsing amongst the depleted selection of books available I am surrounded by feral toddlers while their mothers sit and sip coffee in the goddamn cafe. I used to really like going to the library as well - now, not so much.

I agree with wallison.
I am happy for my children to enjoy the libray experience, and equally hapoy that they learn that each context requires an appropriate behaviour. And that libraries have rules. Because the collectivity also pay for books that get damaged or lost.

dawntigga Thu 15-Nov-12 10:18:15

YABU

CheckYourBackForFeathersTiggaxx

My pet hate in libraries is taking out a book for my DD and finding that the flaps have all been ripped off or the little bit are missing etc. I'm sure some people would take far better care of the books if they had paid for them. I do know that accidents happen, but ripping ALL the tabs off a book is not an accident. I also hate pointing it out when I return the book because i always feel like they think it my DC me that did it. blush

I have to admit that I have sent my DC's into the library to wait for me while I am at the doctors surgery (but they were old enough to behave just not to be left alone at home).

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 15-Nov-12 10:37:28

I'm with you on the depletion of stock and the introduction of self-service machines (each filling half a library assistant's role. without a fraction of the knowledge or charm), Wallinson.
Maybe your main library had to implement those changes, in order to stay open. We had to install a drinks machine and a public toilet. Despite our misgivings neither has led to much disruption or ruined stock.

Justforlaughs, as long as you realise that the staff have absolutely no responsibility for your DC. And I know it's not universal, but we always give the benefit of the doubt for damaged items. Lift-the-flap books aren't ever going to have a long shelflife!

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