Mano a mano with Cafe Mom
The link to the following blog post came over the transom courtesy of ISLMA (the Illinois School Library Media Association) listserv:
10 Things I Hate About the Library
And being a school librarian who works with young children every day, I of course felt the need to reply, measure for measure, ala Liz Phair to the Rolling Stones, Exile in Guyville to Exile on Main Street:
1. The Stress: Oh please. With free access to books and CDs, and minimal (if any) fees on DVDs, the library is a bargain that is worth the time, effort and stress to help children keep track of their borrowings. Try using a designated book bag; teach children to keep their library books in a special place (nightstand, corner of the bedroom, chair) when they are not reading them. This is an organizational skill they will need early on in school and use 4-EVER!
2. Late and Replacement Fees: a small price to pay. See above suggestions. Always get a checkout receipt and post it somewhere prominent -- refrigerator, calendar, front door, garage door.
3. The Grossness: exposure to germs can be a good thing -- builds the immune system. And, believe it or not, librarians do wipe down books and/or pull them out of circulation as necessary. Your little darling will not catch the flu or dysentery checking out a library book.
4. Keeping Kids Quiet: Again, oh please. Stereotype! The majority of libraries have designated children's areas and I have never seen a posted "Quiet Zone" in any of them.
5. Keeping Kids Still: Children's librarians expect some noise and exuberance. We have been known to dance in the aisles ourselves upon finishing a particularly excellent book -- Scaredy Squirrel or a classic Dr. Seuss, anyone? As long as the children are not hurting themselves or putting others in danger, I think you are okay with movement. Sorry, but we do draw the line at bungee-jumping off the top of the shelving units.
6. The Books My Kids Choose: Well, kids are generally receptive to guidance in this area. But the deaths of pets and divorce are facts of life and reading about these sad circumstances allow children to experience the emotions surrounding these events safely and/or find comfort and confirmation in a fictional character's response.
As for farting, well, it is a natural process and two absolute favorites on this topic are Walter, the Farting Dog and the based-on-a-true-story Fartiste. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And
have you seen what's playing at the multiplex lately? The gross-out, "adult" humor in the movie of Judd Apatow should be so entertaining as these children's books!
7. The Smell: This blogger must be going to a really old library. Well, sorry. Would she prefer the formaldehyde-laced scent of a Glade Plug-In?
8. The Scowling Librarian: Oh PLEASE! STEREOTYPE!! CLICHE!!! I could say "nuff said," but I shall continue.
Librarian --- NOT!
Children's librarians are some of the most patient and friendly people you'll ever meet. It is a requirement of employment that you be cheerful, kind, patient, helpful ... sort of like Mary Poppins without the spoonful of sugar and the flying umbrella.
9. The Lack of a Starbucks: So while she's off sipping her coffee at Barnes and Noble, where are the kiddies? Tearing up the picture book aisle? Knocking over the New Nonfiction displays?
10. Reading. Hmmmmmm... I guess I will tackle this "other post" later... for "tomorrow is another day!"
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