The Board of the Maplewood, NJ Public Library recently decided to close the library’s doors from 2:45 to 5:00 PM every weekday. Why? Because parents were sending their middle school children to the library after school and the teens were not behaving in a way the library feels is appropriate. (Socializing instead of working on homework, etc.)
The letter from the library Board of Trustees on the library web site states that this has been a problem for about ten years. Other than reading the letter I don’t really know anything about the situation but I have been thinking about:
- The message sent to teens with the library being closed when they are most available to be there.
- The message parents send to teens about the library as a child care service.
- The messages the library sends to teens if socializing isn’t as well accepted as research.
- What the teens will think of the library once this is over.
- The messages sent to teens by adults all around them on a regular basis. Messages about how teens are and are not accepted by those within their community.
As I said, my only knowledge of this is what I read on the web site. But, are the teens ultimately being punished for a situation the adults around them created?