When did libraries become indoor playgrounds for children?
Look, some of the most formative experiences of my childhood took place in libraries. I wouldn't be the reader or writer that I am today if it weren't for libraries, so I thank god my parents took me there almost every weekend.
But we checked out books QUIETLY, and then we took them home to read. We didn't hang out in the library for hours to play. (I don't remember people doing this back then, though they probably did, and I was just oblivious.)
I'm doing a lot of work in the library these days, along with a lot of other people, and we're all siting silently, reading or writing on our computers. Not 100 feet away, there is a collection of children running around, screaming at the top of their lungs, crying, etc. (you know, being kids), but it's all happening in a place where you're supposed to be quiet. It's a rule. It says so all over the building. But these families (and it's just a few), they're treating it like a play space.
Believe me, I actually really love kids. I love that people bring them to the library to pick out new books, or listen to the story time reading (which takes place in a different room). I just think that treating the library like a playground is an inappropriate use of a public space, and that a few parents are really pushing the bounds of what's acceptable behavior. I'm sure the librarians have given up trying to enforce the rules. No one wins when you try to correct someone else's child.
I remember my parents being very clear with me about being quiet in the library, and so I learned how to behave there. And you know what? I see plenty of other parents doing that right now, even as I'm typing this. They whisper to their children, help them find a book, and then they check it out and leave. Their kids totally mimic them too. They're learning their "library voices," and that's important.
Meanwhile, I think there are some parents on the opposite side of the room that are just dumping their kids into an open space and hoping they'll get some energy out - BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT THE LIBRARY'S FOR.
Sorry, rant over. I love kids. I'm actively considering trying to have one in the next year or so. But I still think we need to be respectful of other people's comfort even after we have children (within reason of course, meltdowns happen, I get that).
What do you think? Am I expecting too much that the library be quiet?
Writer, editor, scientist.