Previous by DateNext by Date Date Index
Previous by ThreadNext by Thread Thread Index
LM_NET Archive

I thought the article was very interesting, and, yes, sad.  Having  
worked for a time in the public library I had occasion to see some of  
the disruptive behavior and talk with the director a bit about how it  
was handled.  WHile in the children's room, I saw very little  
"disruptive behavior."  The biggest issue during my time there was  
that of small children being left unattended.  The library had a  
policy based on age and children who were unaccompanied were asked  
where their parents were and we would discuss the policy with parents  
if they left their children unattended.  I don't remember the length  
of time that was listed, but the primary issue was safety of the  
children and, of course, liability.  Apparently there had been  
problems with parents leaving the library facility, assuming their  
children would be cared for for several hours--and I'm not talking  
about middle schoolers--I'm talking about young elementary school-age  
children.  (Note, these were not cases of the parent walking over to  
the adult section for a few minutes.)  In the "adult and young adult"  
section of the library, the biggest issue seemed to occur over after- 
school behavior around the Internet terminals.   Because our city has  
a school "short day" on Wednesdays, Wednesday afternoons are the  
times that are the craziest.  The policy, which seemed to work fairly  
well, was that anyone using the library is expected to follow the  
basic library guidelines and be respectful of other patrons-- 
regardless of age.  When too many students gather around one internet  
terminal, it tends to get very loud and students would be reminded to  
break into smaller groups and to watch the noise levels.  Students  
violating library rules are warned and, as our library is part of a  
larger Civic Center complex, if they are banned from the library for  
a specific time, they are also banned from the Civic Center and the  
rec facilities there (and vice versa). In extreme cases, the parents  
of students banned from the facilities are notified and, if students  
come to the library and make an apology to the staff members  
involved, they are then given back their privileges.  Fortunately,  
the extreme cases don't happen that often.  There are not a lot of  
places for teens to go after school in our city, but having the Civic  
Center right beside the library is probably a big help.  I'm sure  
that anyone who has worked in the public library, particularly on  
circ or in reference, can tell some patron behavior horror stories.   
It's something that, unfortunately, seems to be part of working with  
the public.  However, if the library has a good and clear policy  
regarding expected library behavior that is made clear to all  
patrons, AND there is a good policy in place for dealing with  
"disruptive situations" (regardless of age--I personally saw far more  
issues with adults than with teens), AND if the library staff has a  
good support system and is backed up by the Library Admin and the  
City, the situations can be resolved without resorting to drastic  
measures.  (My English professors will be sending me nastygrams about  
that last sentence construction!)  Hopefully the library in this  
article will find support within the city structure to help them  
resolve the issue without having to close down for those hours, which  
punishes everyone for the actions of a few.

Ronda Y. Foust
School Media Specialist in Training, UTK
Oak Ridge, TN

Please note: All LM_NET postings are protected by copyright law.
  You can prevent most e-mail filters from deleting LM_NET postings
  by adding LM_NET@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU to your e-mail address book.
To change your LM_NET status, e-mail to:
In the message write EITHER: 1) SIGNOFF LM_NET  2) SET LM_NET NOMAIL
3) SET LM_NET MAIL  4) SET LM_NET DIGEST  * Allow for confirmation.
 * LM_NET Help & Information:
 * LM_NET Archive:
 * EL-Announce with LM_NET Select:
 * LM_NET Supporters:

LM_NET Mailing List Home