Monday, July 25, 2005

Kids these Days...

I've mentioned before that my library has trouble with large groups of free-roaming kids. They seem to think we're a playground. Here's what we've had to reprimand them about:

1. Creating noise in the computer lab causing patrons to complain
2. Creating noise in the stacks causing patrons to complain
3. Running and yelling in the stairwell/elevator
4. Continuously riding up and down the elevator
5. Going up to patrons and asking for money for the vending machines
6. Cursing/rudeness towards staff (a specific incident with a student assistant last Friday night)

They have really become a nuisance. We speak to them about their behavior to no effect. As the last item says, they abuse us and disregard anything we say. We finally resorted to calling the police to deal with them, and now, if they are being disruptive, we do not have to speak to them but simply call the police. The police then speak to them and call their parents to come pick them up. It's a shame we have to resort to such drastic measures.

Not all kids are bad. I know this. I'm met with examples everyday. My university works with several programs involving high school and middle school aged kids. They come to the library to use our resources and are typically well behaved. They have a good time while here and not at the expense of other patrons.

These bad apples are another story. The fact that they're allowed to gallivant all over town after dark without an adult really upsets me. Crime is still a reality, and these guys are still just kids. How can their parents let them go off like they do?

In a perfect world, we would work with these kids and find ways to constructively fill their time, but we're an academic library. We have no YA section or YA librarian. All we can manage is damage control. I suspect one reason the kids come here is because the public libraries have had trouble with these guys as well and have revoked their public library privileges. It's a shame that these kids are just being shrugged off by one institution to another. And unfortunately, when these kids finally provoke us enough, my library will ban them as well and call the police if the kids visit our library again.

I'm having a hard time after writing that last paragraph feeling too upset about the thought that these kids will be banned. I mean wanting to help is one thing, refusing help is another. We told these kids how they should behave, and they refused to listen to us. In the end, can't it be said that these kids are bringing this upon themselves? I know no one wants to be hard on children, and we think of them as these innocents that should be protected and cared for, but on the other hand, you've got to face reality. It's one thing to be locked out of the house and go to the library for shelter, it is quite another to go to the library and cause mayhem, locked out of the house or not.

I wonder if part of the problem is a group/mob mentality. All the problems are being caused by one group of children. We know them on sight. I think if they were to come in individually, they would be tamer, but instead, they band together and proceed with the mischief.

The hard line is finally what I'm going to settle for. We are an academic library, and it is the public's privilege to use our resources not their right. If they abuse their privileges, then their privileges will be taken away. We do not offer storytime, or activities to occupy our students, so I should not feel guilty that we don't for these kids. If they can't understand that you do not scream at the top of your lungs in an elevator, and you do not play tag among the bookcases, and will not respect library staff's authority, then they need to be shown the door and told they can no longer come back, and if they try to come back, call UPD to come and explain to them and their parents why they are not allowed on university grounds anymore.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I'm Back

I had a good vacation. It was nice, relaxing, and fun. That's all I'm telling.

But I'm back, and this was sitting in my email inbox. I think the final decision was that it was just a tasteless joke/prank.

Library Incident Reporting Form Submission
Incident date: 11 JUL 2005
Incident time: Before 0620hrs 07/11/2005
Exact location: X LIBRARY, main floor
Reported to housekeeping Supervisor, UPD, Library administrator.

Nature of offense: At approx 0620hrs on Monday 07/11/2005, housekeeping staff noticed writing on back table in IT lab on the main floor of X Library. The message made reference to "Blowing Up Y Hall", there were also two phone numbers included. Housekeeping staff notified her Supervisor and Supervisor called University Police (UPD). UPD officers later took pictures of message and later informed housekeeping staff she could clean up area. Later other detectives arrived and asked where incident occurred, library administrator took them back to area and informed them area had been cleaned up at request of Officers.

This just makes me really wonder about people. Are they that sick to find it funny or that stupid not to know how awful what they're doing is?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

On Vacation

Sorry for no new posts. It has been dreadfully quiet here. It's so quiet in fact that two of my co-workers have volunteered to do work over in cataloging for a few hours each day. It's been that quiet.

All the excitement will happen next week I'm sure since I'll be on vacation. Last time I was on vacation, a patron threw a newspaper rod at one of my co-workers, and there was a mini-skirmish between a group of adolescents and some of the homeless.

If the place gets set on fire, I won't be surprised.

I'll be gone for ten days. I'll be online some, but there won't be any new posts, unless something really noteworthy happens on vacation. I doubt it, but you never know.



I just came across a blog of an old college chum which is highly interesting and terribly well written.

The Convent Files is a peek into the life of Sister Joy, a novice Handmaid. I remember Joy from college and remember her talking about becoming a nun. I was amazed by her contemplation of the option, considering she was not raised Catholic, and because I'm agnostic, so the whole idea is kind of incomprehensible to me, but she's firmly on her way, and I wish her nothing but goodwill and love. I can tell that this has improved her life tremendously and that makes me happy.

Of course, I've also placed her in my list of interesting blogs.