It’s true, some of the high school students that invade the library after school can be disruptive. They congregate in the Internet room and look at MySpace, or play games, or IM each other, and generally get noisy. If you are in the Internet room between 2:20 and 3:40 and are expecting solitude and quiet, you’re going to be unpleasntly surprised. There was talk of creating a teen space with computers for them – nothing ever happened with that. Instead, we got a new set of rules from our Assistant Director about what we’re going to be doing. Students must show an unexpired library card AND a picture ID before they are even allowed in the room. Students and nobody else. They must be signed in so we have a written record of them using the computer, too. This is insanity! In this time of opening up libraries and welcoming all community members, we are going backwards and getting more restrictive. These teens are the tax payers and library supporters of the future. What message are we sending? Could the message be any clearer – WE WANT YOU TO GO AWAY.
Instead of managing the few behavioral problems, we chose to discriminate and punish the many. I’m ashamed.