Sunday, December 19, 2010

What Is The Point of the Children's Library?

Today, a patron came and was really upset with me because I told him he could not use the computers in the Children's Library. This got me thinking about why there is a special area set up for the children's collection and I thought I should post about it for the benefit of all those adults who think there is no reason for the children's library except to keep them away from using computers and making their life difficult. (excuse the snark but I really am irritated at how entitled adults are)

In 1895, American libraries started building separate areas for their childrens books and media, later this innovation spread to Europe. The mission of these spaces were to provide a distinct area for children to use. It was to provide a space where children can learn about what the library has to offer, promote literacy, and provide other sources to enhance their interest in life-long learning. These spaces would be separate from the adult collection and also be distinct in their construction, layout, and decor. This mission has not changed, but I think, it's been forgotten by some of the people who come in to use the library, especially those people who do not have children.

So, this long established space now has dvd and cd collections and computers. Computers that are set up for children 14 and younger. There are reasons that kids have their own area with their own computers to use. And one of them is so that kids do not have to sit next to the older guy who decides he can look at porn on the library computers. It is set up so that kids can do their homework without interruption. It is also here so that kids do not have to battle adults for a library computer to use. You might laugh at that one but there are adults who use these computers all day long, steal other patrons card numbers and use them, and just are online for those 2 hours they have alotted under the library policy. It is also a "safe" area for kids to be.

So, I'm sorry if you think I'm being unreasonable because I won't let you use these computers. It's moments like these when I remember the father who came up to me and thanked me for enforcing the policy set up in this room. He said "My daughter would not be comfortable using a computer next to a man."


Derrick said...


Derrick said...
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SafeLibraries said...

Interesting. Thanks.