Monday, September 26, 2011

Dan Schwartz's Freeze-Dried Library

Now, more than ever, we need our public libraries. (Buffalo News, 9/25/2011)

Excerpt:    Librarians used to shush or ask patrons to leave if they spoke above a whisper. I am not easily distracted, but in some recent visits to local public libraries, I’ve found it too noisy to read. Also, a lot of contemporary library furniture seems designed to encourage discomfort and taking materials out of the library to be enjoyed elsewhere.

Adults now think nothing of speaking loudly into cell phones in libraries, and children and many parents think nothing of their children running through libraries using their outdoor voices. In the past, folks who might have given dirty looks to any parent who brought a crying baby into a reading room would now be seen as the bad guy or gal if they showed any sign of disapproval. “How dare that person try to discourage that young parent and/or child from using the library? Doesn’t he or she know how difficult it is to be a parent or child?”

Anyone who has ever endured someone else’s child crying or kicking a chair back for an entire flight should be able to relate, but this behavior is a little more understandable on a flight because you can’t very well take a child outside the plane for a walk.

Perhaps we’re punting on first down when we don’t object to disruptive behavior. In religious services, even some clergy think nothing of allowing their ring tones or texting to disrupt services, even funerals. (“He won’t mind; he’s dead.”) People attempting to note the inappropriate nature of this behavior are usually met with, “I have to take this. It’s a very important call,” or worse, a look that condemns the accuser as a Luddite

Related posts:
Boorish library patrons: A real-time encounter or compressed experience? (7/8/2010)
The times they have always been changing'.  (7/21/2011)

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