Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Library Behavior – Is Running and Screaming Now Acceptable?

Our guest blogger is Lori Verni-Fogarsi author of several books including Unexpecting (4.8 stars, 24 reviews). It is on sale for $1.99 from 5/14-5/2013.

Library Behavior – Is Running and Screaming Now Acceptable?

Times have changed so that it is now acceptable to run and scream in the library. Also to make and receive phone calls, shout across to others, and utilize the public computers to chat on Facebook for hours while people who need to do actual research wait in line. Either that, or I’m getting old and crotchety. Probably both.
As a lifelong library lover, I openly admit that while I do love being surrounded by (free!) books, I don’t enjoy visiting libraries as much as I used to.
For example, when my kids were babies (they are twelve and fifteen now), I used to take them to a story time program. All of the mommies and toddlers would respectfully walk to the children’s area, where we would use our quiet voices. Even after the story when we would sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider, it was done in hushed tones. After all, it was still a library.
Of course, there were plenty of times when my kids or others started crying or trying to run around. However, we mommies did our best to stop them and I can recall more than one occasion when I carried them out… with them kicking and screaming, and me apologizing.
Not so today. Nowadays (see, I told you I’m getting old) the story time songs are belted out at top volume, regardless of the fact that the other 80% of the library patrons are adults trying to concentrate. Afterward, the kids are literally running everywhere, while their parents either ignore them altogether, chatting as if in a coffee klatch, or roll their eyes and shrug as if there isn’t a thing they could do about it.
This phenomenon carries through to other times of the day too, and not only with little kids: Adults having phone conversations via Bluetooth headsets, complete with the significant verbal projection required to effectively use such a device; big kids loudly sassing their parents about the book report they don’t want to do. You get the picture.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned. Okay, clearly I’m old-fashioned. Yet I can’t seem to accept the fact that one of the last quiet places on Earth has now morphed into a place where the volume could nearly compete with an amusement park!
Have you noticed this at your library too? What’s your opinion?

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