Libraries are NOT free playgroups!(111 Posts)
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.
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.
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.
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 about that...
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'.
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?
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!
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 .
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 (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
those were the days
i was told off by a librarian for Shushing dd1 when she was a toddler.
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.
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?
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).
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