Library Manners

Photo by ell brown

My daughter had the day off. I was working from home. Of course that would be the day that our phone and internet take a vacation.

After scurrying to make a repair call, I realized I had too much to get done to write the day off. So we both packed up our stuff and headed to the local branch of the library, which has free wifi internet access. We showed up just as the doors opened for the day.

The first hour went fine. I was able to connect, and the traffic was light, and there was little to disturb me.

But at 11:00, things got rough.

Four separate mothers with preschoolers walked through. Each child banged (hard) on the glass case containing a snow village. Each mother told her child at full voice not to hit the display.

Two mothers walked through the movie section (immediately to my right) and didn’t bother to interfere with their children when the children either talked at full volume or started pulling movies off the shelves and throwing them on the floor.

One baby was crying before the mother walked into the library (you could tell by the Doppler effect) and continued to cry at full volume as the mother wandered the stacks.

Even my noise-canceling headphones couldn’t deal with the levels of noise.

I was glad when the technician called to have me come home so he could repair the equipment.

My daughter was horrified. “I was never allowed to behave like that,” she told me as we walked out. “Why didn’t the moms do something?”

Why, indeed?

Is the push to make libraries more friendly such that we are now not enforcing the time-honored tradition of quiet? Seems like a poor tradeoff.


Photo by ell brown

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One thought on “Library Manners

  1. Libraries seem to have evolved more into community centers than places to find and read books. I miss the old days, but I’m grateful that libraries still exist. Much of the change has to do with the increasing difficulty of attracting funding.

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