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.

Cortana Wed 14-Nov-12 15:17:18

How old are the children you refer to?

Mathsdidi Wed 14-Nov-12 15:17:48

I think your idea of a library is a bit outdated really though. Our library positively encourages people to come in for a chat while they look for books, and they have quite a variety of toys around in the childrens' section specifically for young children to play with.

If the library had to be a QUIET place then I couldn't possibly take my toddler because she just doesn't understand yet why she should be quiet in there (she's not badly behaved, just a toddler).

Tweasels Wed 14-Nov-12 15:20:20

Do the library staff agree with you?

Libraries are struggling to survive and are therefore adapting to changing demands. Our local library welcomes young children and whilst of course they shouldn't be running riot, they should be learning that books and reading are FUN.

ObiWan Wed 14-Nov-12 15:21:48

Our library encourages normal speaking voices, and hosts loads of childrens craft and homework groups. The childrens book clubs can be fairly raucous, and no one minds at all.

Parents are encouraged to make full use of the toys and garden, and noise is part and parcel of that.

An academic might be more your thing OP.

Flisspaps Wed 14-Nov-12 15:22:00

Our library is part of a secondary school (they use it as the school library and an open plan corridor upstairs leads to classrooms, mayhem at change of lessons). They do bounce and rhyme groups, toddler sessions, all sorts.

Attitudes like yours are the reason so many people don't use libraries which leads to them closing. I don't care how noisy my fellow library users are, I'm just bloody glad they're using it at all

ObiWan Wed 14-Nov-12 15:22:09

Academic library obvs.

ihavenofuckingclue Wed 14-Nov-12 15:22:14

I don't really use our local library much tbh, but when I have they have absolutely encouraged what you describe.

Less people use libraries for research and studying so they are going after new market. Can't blame them really, all businesses must move with the times or slowly die.

pictish Wed 14-Nov-12 15:23:46

I don't think libraries are the QUIET places they used to they now encourage people with kids in to have fun and use the facilities.
They are very welcoming of noisy toddlers.

JugsMcGee Wed 14-Nov-12 15:24:26

My local library has toys, cozy reading corners with beanbags and singing/group reading sessions, all of which are perfect for my toddler. He is 20m, he doesn't get being quiet yet. Of course I don't let him run riot but if we had to be silent the whole time we wouldn't be able to go there.

kim147 Wed 14-Nov-12 15:25:56

Our library has a cafe in it. Not exactly quiet.

Ephiny Wed 14-Nov-12 15:26:41

I think libraries have changed tbh. Though it's a shame there can't be some compromise between the stern librarian/strict silence of the old days, and kids running around yelling like it's a playground. The library can be a useful study space for homework etc for school-children who come from chaotic households aren't lucky enough to have a quiet calm space at home - so it's a shame if that's taken away from them as well.

We were always taken to the library (and to church) as small children, and expected to be quiet and taken outside if we weren't, so it can be done. It's not what most people want these days though, and libraries have to adapt to survive. Otherwise there will be no libraries at all (and we're heading that way already in some areas).

Tweasels Wed 14-Nov-12 15:26:53


I'm trying to read.

MontBlanc Wed 14-Nov-12 15:28:14

Yep our library has a lovely children's section which I take my 22 month old DS to. I was amazed when I found out as I would NEVER have taken him there before as my view of libraries was that of the OP, that they are quiet places to study.

They are actively encouraging children in there though these days and don't worry about the hushed quiet rule - and what a great idea to get kids interested in books with the frightening illiteracy figures.

PickledFanjoCat Wed 14-Nov-12 15:28:20

Stop whinging many libraries promote classes and book reading to get people reading at a young age.

HullyEastergully Wed 14-Nov-12 15:28:26

They are though

fuzzpig Wed 14-Nov-12 15:29:34

I work in a library, we don't do 'quiet' (apart from in the separate reference section). We like it lively!

Anything like moving furniture and clambering around is discouraged as they might hurt themselves.

I'm talking about children there obviously grin

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Wed 14-Nov-12 15:31:19

my library growing up was a two-storey one - the children's library was on a different floor.
It meant that kids could be a bit louder ( ie normal) and no adults would care.

YABU by the way, quiet libraries are boring. I want my bookchoosing to be fun

hiviolet Wed 14-Nov-12 15:32:00

I'm an academic librarian and believe me, academic libraries aren't havens of silence and serious study either, more like packed to the brim with shrieking, eating, littering undergrads hmm

MrsHoarder Wed 14-Nov-12 15:32:30

Or library is only open 14 hours a week and there's often only 1 or 2 other people there. So if encouraging people to use it as a community space for enjoying books keeps it fined then I'm very happy.

Note that as well as going to rhyme time and bfing ds there when convenient I use out to order books from across the consortium and do research. But if it closes through lack of use by the local community then I can't do that.

Mrsjay Wed 14-Nov-12 15:33:43

MY dds are teenagers and they loved the going the did toddler sessions and then preschool session and would go after school it was encouraged that children go in and loll about the big cushions and play and read , meh you sound like an old man who wants to have dusty books and leather chairs instead of children enjoying books and their surroundings,

anothercuppaplease Wed 14-Nov-12 15:33:48

I have to say... sorry but I agree with OP to a degree...

I went in there the other day with DS who is 6 and there was a group of mums and toddlers who were having a fantastic time taking all the books off the shelves and the mums were chatting as if they were in a pub. No understanding at all of the environment. DS tried to read me a couple of books, because at the end of the day, that's what books are for, reading, and we had to move to the adult section of the library because I oculdn't hear him. I was a bit confused but hey, if that's what people expect from a local library, so be it. I feel that we should still be able to read in a library. Maybe I am setting my expectations a bit too high.

MulledWineOnTheBusLady Wed 14-Nov-12 15:43:14

Why on earth are old men who like dusty books any less deserving than children? confused

A library is a community resource, that means they should do their best to serve the whole community. The best ones I've been to made provision for children AND for people who wanted to study quietly. This is very dependent on size and isn't always possible, but where it is possible I don't see what the point is in deliberately turning them into creches as a matter of principle. As if having young people in it will somehow magically revive the business model.

I've stopped using libraries that do this in the past - and I was a frequent borrower who ran up huge fines and didn't chew or scribble on the books, so they lost a valuable customer in me. grin

Ephiny Wed 14-Nov-12 15:47:31

Some children like quiet too - I did! And some old men are noisy. Not sure the ageist stereotypes are helpful here.

Mrsjay Wed 14-Nov-12 15:57:30

Why on earth are old men who like dusty books any less deserving than children?

I wasn't being literal confused but that is what the OP sounded like a grumpy fart who hated children of course people are entitled to use their libary and have a bit of peace and quiet but.....sigh

DilysPrice Wed 14-Nov-12 15:58:29

YABU and YANBU. Lots of libraries are horribly underused, and encouraging a love of books in toddlers is vitally important work.

OTOH students do need somewhere reasonably quiet to work - our local libraries are always full of conscientious teens doing their homework.

You need a balance between the couple of hours a week when it's a scheduled toddler free-for-all and the rest of the time when children can chatter but not scream or run around. I've always imposed a "shh, libraries are for reading" rule on my DCs, especially if there's no wall between the children's area and the study desks, and I've never been in a library (outside of specific toddler playtimes) that are too noisy to read.

An iPod with your own classical music and some heavy duty headphones may be the answer here.

RuleBritannia Wed 14-Nov-12 16:03:42

I like quiet in a library but our local library has a section (open plan) where toddlers singing groups with parents are (The Bus has Wheels sort of thing). My DH and I were trying to do a bit of unimportant work on the computers which were at the side of where the toddlers were and we would have been unable to do 'proper' work.

MulledWineOnTheBusLady Why do you think that older books are only for old men? Don't generalise because you haven't seen my bookshelves at home eg Walt Disney biography, Ditto Mary Pickford and Edith Cavell and don't ask who they are. I have Dumas, Orczy, Galsworthy, Cronin, others and, yes, there's an inch of dust on them but no no one will ever part me from them only my death.

I think libraries should be a place where kids like to go, get an interest in books and are made to feel welcome.

This children should be seen and not heard is outdated as is the belief that no one can speak in a library.

These children are our future generations, if they dont go to the library then then will all gradually close.....would you prefer that OP?

Personally I want my son to love books!

megandraper Wed 14-Nov-12 16:07:04

Our library has a separate children's floor in the dungeon basement. It actively encourages talking and playing, and has ride-on toys for toddlers. The children love it, it's always busy, and it doesn't disturb anyone else. The study areas are on the top floor.

It is a really big (and lovely) library though, and I appreciate not everywhere has the space for that.

DilysPrice Wed 14-Nov-12 16:09:52

My local, open plan, library had signs up saying "10-12 Tuesdays and Thursdays are toddler rhyme time - if you want to work then avoid these times or go to the library across town". Outside of those times they'd have been prepared to shh rowdy toddlers, which I think is a good compromise.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Wed 14-Nov-12 16:15:55

Libraries should be fun and the first 5 years are when you sow the seeds for children's love of books therefore they should be allowed to talk and play normally (although not run riot of course). However, some library users do need peace and quiet to study so maybe a quiet study area in most libraries would be a useful addition. Also maybe the librarians could have a stock of ear plugs for sale for a small fee in case someone is not getting the peace they need.

autumn99 Wed 14-Nov-12 16:20:26

This is nothing to do with being a grumpy old fart, I love children - and my grandchildren too! - but you know, there's nothing wrong with teaching children that there are times when the world doesn't revolve around them and there are rules to follow. I'm sitting in a library as I write - and some mums are actually playing Hide & Seek with their toddlers. Do me a favour! The idea that it encourages children to love books is completely specious!!! My kids had thousands of books and went to the library regularly - but now they regard books as completely meaningless and as for the people who read books - saddoes to be pitied! So anyone who thinks taking kids to libraries will teach them to love books is in for a nasty shock!

greenbananas Wed 14-Nov-12 16:21:23

Last time I told DS to keep his noise down in the children's library, a member of staff said "oh he's okay, we don't mind" smile Libraries are not hushed and forbidding places like they used to be. There is a circle of comfy seating for parents and children to use, and toys for the little ones.

Our local library even runs music sessions for toddlers - not very quiet at all! It's all very family friendly, and these days I do treat it as a free playgroup (e.g. if DS is good in town while I get the shopping done, we go to relax in the library for a bit). There are some computers and 'homework spaces' for adults and older children to use, but those are on a separate floor, so we are not disturbing anybody by reading aloud and laughing and playing with the toys.

OMG hiviolet same here.


valiumredhead Wed 14-Nov-12 16:22:21

I think your ideas of libraries are very outdated, the more kids that go into libraries the better imo!

HecatePropylaea Wed 14-Nov-12 16:24:19

tbh, Libraries need to evolve if they want to survive.

You can buy a book in a charity shop for 50p. You can download books onto your kindle or whatever.

The days of your fortnightly trip to a silent library to swap your books are gone (for most people)

Libraries are closing all over the place because they're not getting enough people through the doors.

They need to do more things in order to remain relevant. Many of them are. Coffee shops. Mum and toddler groups. Reading groups. Fun activities. Internet access. Photocopiers. Sessions of this, that and the other. etc etc.

There should ideally be a quiet room for people to research/read, yes. But the old libraries are on their way out.

butterfingerz Wed 14-Nov-12 16:25:36

I don't think libraries need to be that quiet tbh, its a public space. I don't think librarians would expect the childrens area to be that quiet, as kids generally aren't. Generally the study areas are in a separate area/room to the rest of the library so people can study in peace, I wouldn't expect noisy children/adults to be in this area.

That is my understanding of libraries, I don't see the problem.

Particularly in our library, in the childrens section, we have childrens toys, sofas, sensory play... surely thats not all there to be 'enjoyed' in silence?

Mrsjay Wed 14-Nov-12 16:26:01

I have never played hide and seek thats a new one on me, you are being very grumpy about it they are not letting their toddlers run riot they are playing with them and i do agree with you the world does not revolve round children but they just seem to be playing with their children and not letting them run wild while they chat, Libraries have changed if you are really disgruntled complain to the librarian they may ask them to sit down and shush, and i wasn't being agiest I was being sarcastic ,

pictish Wed 14-Nov-12 16:29:08

Mmm...just because YOUR kids are twits about books and reading, doesn't mean everyone's are. I'm not in for a shock at all. What a disgruntled attitude you have!!

Iggly Wed 14-Nov-12 16:30:11


I go there with my two. One is only 11 months so destroys the place. The other is 3 and we read a bit but mainly pick books then take them home to read. The kids section is not a quiet zone.

I think that it is lovely that libraries are evolving into a public space enjoyed by different generations.
I loved our local library when we lived in the UK and often went there with the dc, who loved going there as well.

However, I think that it is up to the parents to teach their children the appropriate behaviour for attending places like librairies or museums.

ihavenofuckingclue Wed 14-Nov-12 16:42:31

and there are rules to follow

This is where yabu, op.

Because the rules are changing. There are not enough people sitting quietly reading and researching. So they are encouraging a new market. That is families.

The library you want doesn't really exist anymore. this is what libraries are now.

WilsonFrickett Wed 14-Nov-12 16:45:23

Hide and seek is a bit much, I think there's a balance to be struck between the needs of all the different users. But essentially libraries serve the very young and very old - certainly the ones here aren't used that much by any one over 20 and under 50 (unless they are bringing children with them). And that means a certain amount of noise from little ones.

McChristmasPants2012 Wed 14-Nov-12 16:55:00

this thread has inspired me to take the my DC to the library, that one place i never thought of going.

I didn't know library have changed so much, i hated going as a child as it was all ssshhhhhh.

Pozzled Wed 14-Nov-12 16:55:51

Last time I took my two under 5s to the library, a staff member told me off- because I was trying to get the kids to be quiet. I was told that they want children to enjoy visiting, so talking is fine. Both my local libraries certainly do a rather boisterous rhyme time session.

So I agree that libraries are changing, and shouldn't be all hushed voices and stern looks.

On the other hand, I do agree with the OP that running and screaming is not appropriate. There needs to be a happy medium, especially if the library is open plan.

Fakebook Wed 14-Nov-12 16:58:10

Oh shut up! Our children's libraries are for babies and children. There's nothing wrong with parents chatting in a children's library.

CajaDeLaMemoria Wed 14-Nov-12 17:00:29

Go to your nearest university library?

Most of those have four floors, one of which is for silent study, and the other three are for talking/group work/not working in silence.

Libraries want to be more involved in the community. Let's face it, if more people went there to read, they wouldn't need too. But most people don't, and so they've adapted to be a place where children can learn and play, and adults can socialise, all surrounded by books and literacy. Most public libraries are one floor, or open plan, so it can be hard to balance the people who want silence with the people who don't. There is no obvious way around that, so maybe university libraries are the answer?

mamij Wed 14-Nov-12 17:04:09

Hmmm. Not quite sure I agree with you there OP.

I take my two DCs to our local library, which has a Children's area. It has cushions, small chairs and a few wooden toys. I don't think they would have these things if they weren't trying to bring in children. They also have singing and story sessions, which in no way is quiet!

5Foot5 Wed 14-Nov-12 17:05:02

Our library has two floors. Downstairs, as well as the general fiction and other popular books, there is a children's section with comfy settees and bright displays and I don't suppose anyone minds a bit of lively chatter. Upstairs is where most of the reference books live and there are tables for people to study. This area tends to be a bit quieter, although there are no signs to request this. On the whole it is a compromise that seems to work quite well.

However, while I don't mind a bit of chatter from small children I think you have a point where older children are concerned. I was in there one lunchtime during the half term and a couple of boys who must have been around 10 or 11 (definitely old enough to know better) were racing around playing tag and generally being a nuisance to anyone just browsing. Their parent(s) didn't seem to be doing anything to intervene and in the end some other random adult spoke sternly to them.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 14-Nov-12 17:07:16

Our library is actually in a pub.

SundaeGirl Wed 14-Nov-12 17:08:25


Mrsjay Wed 14-Nov-12 17:08:58

Our library is actually in a pub.

NO way ! are you sure it isnt just a book shelf that you browse through while you drink grin

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 14-Nov-12 17:10:48

There is nothing wrong with quietly reading a story to a child and helping them choose books in the children's section. But libraries should have a quiet area for study, that's what I thought they were for!

If libraries turn into places where people can't concentrate on what they are reading, then they will disappear far quicker than they will if Mums can't use them as a free play group. Libraries should cater for all their users, not just young children, but if catering for young children means they become useless to everyone else, then they either need to make children stay quiet, leave, or give them a separate room.

Our big town library gets used a lot by students who don't have space or quiet to work at home, and they are a far greater priority than children who can go to the park, soft play and a whole heap of other places designed specifically for them.

Cortana Wed 14-Nov-12 17:12:11

YABU. Anything that gets a toddler into a room full of books is a good thing. Older children have the capacity to understand about quiet study there being a time and a place. Toddlers don't.

I doubt the library is aiming it's services at parents sitting on MN either but that's by the by. Libraries are for everyone. Everyone is different. Either live and let live or leave.

Viva, you and I have spoken about you library before (poss under an old name for me), I know it's not ideal for you, but when I win the lottery I shall have a library of my very own with a bar in it and my retirement will superb.

honeytea Wed 14-Nov-12 17:16:07

Yabu, are the noisy children playing hide and seek distracting you from your important mumsnetting op?

MulledWineOnTheBusLady Wed 14-Nov-12 17:17:07

RuleBritannia. I don't. It was mrsjay who referred to old men who like dusty books, I was just picking up the comment

DoubleYew Wed 14-Nov-12 17:19:01

Surely you need a matric card to get into a uni library?

The point about getting children in is so they will use it the rest of their lives because they see it as a welcoming space, unlike the poster who said they hadn't been to theirs in years because of the Shhhh factor.

I think it is unfair to pile on the OP so much.

One thing is being a welcoming place for children, the other is actually forgetting the basic rules of politeness.
Otherwise it is just toddlers tyranny grin

VivaLeBeaver Wed 14-Nov-12 17:30:06

Nope, definitely a library not a bookshelf.

One day I will start a thread on my local parish council and the things they do.

Buying a pub that has no income and going bust, shutting the library and sacking the staff and then reopening an unstaffed library in the pub in a bid to increase takings in the shit hole pub about sums it up.

I'm so happy that my council tax on a 3 bed semi in rural midlands is more than Tony Blair pays on his £7million London mansion. hmm

It's spent on such good things.

Like the annual "free" fireworks night held, surprise, surprise at the pub. Free to go to but someone's paid for the 30 minute long, professional firework display. Oh that's right, that'll be me and the other villagers in the council tax. Concept of cut backs hasn't arrived here. Well apart from sacking the library staff I suppose.

CombustionEngine Wed 14-Nov-12 17:30:36

Our library makes sure to point out you don't have to be quiet anymore and that kids can make noise as long as it's not misbehaving.

I go in our local one to write and enjoy observing what a community space it is these days and what a loss it would be if it closed.

Adversecamber Wed 14-Nov-12 19:18:31

My local library was refurbished about 6 years ago. They made it open plan which was ridiculous. I liked it when they had a separate reference room which was useful if you wanted a quiet area to study or read the paper . They also had a children's area , it is now all lumped together and worse for people wanting peace and the Mums of dc who get stressed knowing their dc are disturbing others.

freddiefrog Wed 14-Nov-12 19:27:01

Our library has the best of all worlds

A children's area which is closed off, where they run groups, homework clubs, etc - noise is fine

General area which has areas for reading, where general chit chat is fine

Closed off study area where you are expected to be quiet (no mobiles, speaking quietly)

Dominodonkey Wed 14-Nov-12 19:32:23

Surely it's about levels of behaviour and compromise.

Book groups, reading aloud to parents, craft groups, toddlers singing etc fine.
Running around, playing hide and seek, chucking books around, shouting and screaming. Unacceptable. People doing this are learning nothing about books or reading and should go to the park.

If possible where there are noisy activities the library should also provide a quiet reading and study area.

Dominodonkey Wed 14-Nov-12 19:33:41

Cross pay with Freddie. Your one sounds fab.

AppleOgies Wed 14-Nov-12 19:36:14

My library is wonderful... I take DS every week, he's well behaved but not silent. My library actively encourages talking normally and children having freedom to enjoy their section.

IMO YABU! Libraries are no longer silent, stuffy places. Silence is pretty much only expected in libraries for study nowadays. Stop being so grumpy. wink

Flisspaps Wed 14-Nov-12 19:39:39

If you want to read a book quietly, take the bloody thing out and read it at home!

We went to the library this afternoon. As soon as we walked in, DD turned to me and said 'Shh, Mummy, shh! Have to be quiet!" - I'd not said a word!

dontcallmehon Wed 14-Nov-12 19:49:48

My ds, 3, has picked up on this notion of a quiet library for some reason and always does a big comical 'shush' when we go. I don't know why, because we go for storytime and to see the toys in the toy library. Children are expected and invited to play, read and make noise. If you want silence, take a book out and read it at home.

dontcallmehon Wed 14-Nov-12 19:51:59

I hadn't read your post Flisspaps - how funny! ds is exactly the same. Plus we're supposed to be encouraging parents to take their dcs to libraries. I love reading, but ds is v active and a bit boisterous. I wouldn't take him to the library if it had to be totally silent, as ds is incapable of that. And that would be a great shame, don't you think?

skateboarder Wed 14-Nov-12 20:12:20

We go to quite a few libraries. One we have been to today after school had a few children in. The mums were gossiping and leaving the children to run around or climb on railings, chairs and even a pile of books hmm
Im all for encouraging children and more people generally to use libraries but have some respect people.

dontcallmehon Wed 14-Nov-12 20:15:26

I wouldn't allow ds to climb on furniture etc. I did see a little girl doing that during rhyme time once and mum didn't intervene at all - so the lovely librarian had to ask her to get down. I would've been mortified. There is a middle ground between that and reverential silence, however.

LineRunner Wed 14-Nov-12 20:16:58

Sorry, OP, but your attitude is the quickest way to get your local library closed down that I can think of.

Co-locating libraries and community cafes, drop-ins, youth centres, children's centres, to save them from closure, is smart thinking.

Dominodonkey Wed 14-Nov-12 20:47:15

linerunner so do you think children running around, climbing up shelves and shouting is ok or do you mean different activities happening, book groups etc? they are very different things.
I am not sure that the OP has specifically said she disapproves Of the latter.

LineRunner Thu 15-Nov-12 08:29:33

I think it was OP's stress on libraries as 'QUIET places' [OP's capitalisation] that struck me as unrealistic.

lljkk Thu 15-Nov-12 08:33:54

My kids had thousands of books and went to the library regularly - but now they regard books as completely meaningless and as for the people who read books - saddoes to be pitied!

Is that because the model they saw for people who were keen on books was one step away from deaths' door, morbid & lifeless as you'd like the library to be?

Just a thought.

MulledWineOnTheBusLady Thu 15-Nov-12 09:06:52

How is a quiet place where people are reading "morbid and lifeless"? confused

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

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

Yes but EATING. In a fucking LIBRARY.

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!)

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



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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IronyFreeAnnie Thu 15-Nov-12 10:41:26

In my library it's not the kids who make the noise, but our older customers.

Yes we do have kids playing and talking and we have all sorts of fun sessions on for them when things can get a bit lively but we also have alarge number of retired regulars who come in with those fecking coffee cups, grab all the papers, take over the seating and sit their all day very loudly discussing every little thing in the papers.

These are the same people who have no qualms about shouting at staff when asked to keep the noise down, who will moan at the top of their voice about having to queue and are generally anti social and rude.

Give me a noisy little toddler anyday smile.

Wallison Thu 15-Nov-12 10:42:57

A drinks machine is one thing, but it's sheer barbarism to get rid of books in order to put a cafe in place. As though the three cafes directly opposite the library weren't enough to choose from.

Franca, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks like this. I have always told my son to behave himself in the library and it hasn't put him off reading one jot. Just as teaching him how to behave in restaurants hasn't put him off eating!

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 15-Nov-12 10:53:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wallison Thu 15-Nov-12 11:03:57

Ok I can see that that's reasonable but at least what you would do with the noisy toddler stops her from being noisy. What a lot of people on here seem to be saying is that libraries, by pandering to parents who let their children run riot, are meeting a need and it is therefore a good thing. What about the needs of other library users- children, teenagers and adults - who like them to be quiet (not stern, not forbidding) places where they can look through books in peace?

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 15-Nov-12 11:08:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wallison Thu 15-Nov-12 11:13:43

Why not? What is wrong with just asking people to be quiet? Shop-keepers expect it, museums expect it, restaurants expect it, so why not libraries? Even if people are not sitting at a desk studying, even if they are browsing, it is still nice to be able to concentrate on what you are doing, read little bits of books etc without some tiresome Jocasta running around under your feet and smearing fucking chocolate all over the place while her mother smiles indulgently about her 'high spirits'.

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 15-Nov-12 11:21:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MulledWineOnTheBusLady Thu 15-Nov-12 11:28:43

What about the needs of other library users- children, teenagers and adults - who like them to be quiet (not stern, not forbidding) places where they can look through books in peace?

Well, you see, if a person is being quiet then it means they're morbid and lifeless, apparently. Still confused about that...

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 15-Nov-12 11:33:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WineGoggles Thu 15-Nov-12 11:34:57

YANBU. Although I agree that libraries need to change to accommodate the changing tastes of their clientele, and that we should encourage children to enjoy them, I also think that they should be reasonably relaxing places to visit. I don't want to hear shrieking kids or have them racing past me when I'm reading or online, and I think children need to understand that there's a time and a place for everything; a park, garden or playground is for energetic noisy play, but libraries are for more quiet fun. I'm not saying they should be silent by any means, just that there should be no running around or shrieking.

MulledWineOnTheBusLady Thu 15-Nov-12 11:37:49

No, museums I don't think have ever needed to be silent, or even necessarily that quiet. I can't say the level of noise makes any difference to my museum experience (usual disclaimers about actual screaming/running etc). Reading does require a bit more peace though.

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