Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Waits Till I Gets Me Spinach

There's a panic in Maplewood, New Jersey. The latchkey kids have taken over the library, and there's no controlling them. Some kids are okay, apparently. But not all:

Others, library officials say, fight, urinate on the bathroom floor, scrawl graffiti on the walls, talk back to librarians or refuse to leave when asked. One recently threatened to burn down the branch library. Librarians call the police, sometimes twice a day.

What's a town to do? Well, this one has decided to close its libraries from 2:45 to 5:00 PM. That seems kind of drastic. If I were sending my kid to the library to do homework or research, it would be hugely inconvenient.

Who's to blame? Is it the parents who rely on the library for babysitting? Is it the town, which apparently has no place else for the kids to go? Is it completely the fault of the kids for behaving like they do? Personally, it's hard for me to blame the librarians, who are neither trained nor paid to control this sort of thing. They don't have the authority we do, and I've never heard of kids going to summer school for misbehaving in the library.

What would you do if you were mayor of Maplewood?

Extra Credit: Check out the 100th Carnival of Education over at Teaching in the 21st Century.
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