To keep out rowdy middle school students, Maplewood, New Jersey will lock the library from 2:45 to 5 pm on week days, reports the New York Times. Librarians complain some students “fight, urinate on the bathroom floor, scrawl graffiti on the walls, talk back to librarians or refuse to leave when asked.” On average, they call police twice a day to deal with students.
Increasingly, librarians are asking: What part of â€œShh!â€ donâ€™t you understand?
About a year ago, the Wickliffe, Ohio, library banned children under 14 during after-school hours unless they were accompanied by adults. An Illinois library adopted a â€œthree strikes, youâ€™re outâ€ rule, suspending library privileges for repeat offenders. And many libraries are adding security guards specifically for the after-school hours.
In Euclid, Ohio, the library pumps classical music into its lobby, bathrooms and front entry to calm patrons, including those from the nearby high school.
In Jefferson Parish, La., where middle-school students need a permission slip to use the public library after school, the American Civil Liberties Union is threatening to sue.
It’s hell-in-a-handbasket time. Are there no adults who can teach tweens to behave with respect for others? What are the consequences for kids who are kicked out — or escorted out by a police officer — for disrupting the library? Where are the parents?
Meanwhile, libraries are dumping classic books that haven’t been checked out in two years — the bell may toll in Fairfax County, Virginia for For Whom the Bell Tolls — to make room on the shelves for bestsellers. John J. Miller wonders why taxpayers should subsidize potboilers for the middle class.
Update: Ms. Cornelius, who links to a story that names the deshelved classics, says GAAAAH!