Teach Your Children Well

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. 


Print is Dead

Taking a cue from Jeff’s blog, I wanted to scream out those words at a Recorded Books function I went to on Saturday.  I started out the day at Book Expo in NYC with a “breakfast” hosted by Steven Colbert, and featuring Lisa See, Ken Burns, and Khaled Hosseini.  Fun, even though everyone pitched their latest book as if the audience was totally comprised of retailers instead addressing the large group of librarians attending.  Wandering around the huge exhibit hall I saw lots of the symbiotic relationship between the big fat publishers and the big fat sellers like Amazon, but desperation in the eyes of the little guys.  No more shops around the corner.   During her cigarette break a map distributor told me how they were being eaten alive by the Internet and GPS devices.  I finished the day at a small party thrown by Recorded Books, and after some nice hors d’oeuvres they sat us in a freezing auditorium and filmed the speakers: Jane Smiley and Michael Dirda.  At least these guys had the good grace to acknowledge the audience of librarians, and each included a passing reference to audiobooks to be polite to their hosts, I suppose.  It was during Dirda’s presentation that I had the urge to misbehave.  He told us he was a “book guy” and didn’t feel too kindly towards blogs.  I guess he’s feeling the pinch of the Internet too, like my map distributor friend.    I wish I had the energy at the time to ask what he plans to do once newspapers die.  Maybe he needs to get on board with blogs for job security reasons, and realize that books as the medium of all things IMPORTANT is changing.

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Woodstock Nation

A few days have passed since the Long Island Library Conference.  This year was different for me because I was part of the behind-the-scenes action at the Exhibits table, which translates into Ellen has to sit and answer questions instead of Ellen gets to roam around gathering up free pens.  And yet, another bonding experience.  Since I had to skip the programs (except Communicating Electronically for obvious reasons) my fun time was limited.  I did have a few precious conversations with like-minded librarians (hello Emily :-))) and experienced that wonderful connection of professional friendships.   Despite our differences, we’re all in this together, siblings in Library Land.  Group hug!