Now that library renovations are underway, it is even more evident that the needs for children of varying ages has not been taken into account. My last few visits to the library have been frustrating since the upper level has become the main computer room. It is a large area with several computer "stations" that allow you to select where you wish to sit. Some stations have four computers with work spaces linked together by low placed separation walls. Other work stations are larger with eight computers (four computers on each side facing another table with four computers) and no separation walls. This is where the "tweens" usually sit to play computer games and converse with each other. Anyone who has observed children playing computer games is well aware that they communicate in animated voices as they share their gaming adventures. This large room is clearly not conducive to this type of interaction. HOWEVER.... These children have no other designated place within the library to go. As I have written previously, the library has a place that is quiet and designated as "adults 18 and over only." The library has a "children's" section that is not designed for "tweens." Where, then, should these kiddos go to use the computers when the only place they are allowed to go involves a large room with poor acoustics? I am tired of grown ups "shushing" these kids even though I understand that the excess noise can be annoying. (There is no yelling going on...just animated discussions.) Instead of the library staff telling these kids to be quiet, how about someone advising the powers that be of an appropriate solution? Make a space for the kiddos who have been banned from the learning lab, are no longer comfortable in the children's section, and who are constantly shushed by adults who have no idea that there are no other options. Libraries need to be inclusive and realize how important a role they play in making sure children have adequate areas to interact. I for one prefer to see these young people in a library versus causing trouble on the streets or home alone without anyone with whom to interact. My requests that someone call me to discuss this issue have gone unanswered. This is the third post I have written and given to a library employee. I hope that someone will listen and make some adaptations so children can have areas that accommodate their needs as well as the adults.
|Graphic Attributed to :http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/03/23/nyregion/24videogames.cityroom.1.jpg|