Librarian Wants Police to Crack Down on Unruly Tweens

A NYC Upper West Side librarian says unruly tweens have become such a threatening menace to her and her staff that she needs police protection.

"They're 12 and they have no respect for us," said Bloomingdale Library manager Rebecca Donsky at a recent 24th Precinct Community Council meeting, her voice shaking with emotion as she pleaded for help controlling the youngsters.

Donsky said she asked her husband to get her pepper spray because she's worried the pre-teens might jump her one night as she's locking up at the end of a shift.

She's regularly forced to kick out rude tweens, who have called her "b--ch" more times than she can count, Donsky said.

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I hope the use of the indulgent phrase "threatening menace" isn't supposed to imply that I'm meant to think this is uncalled for.

Until you've had a large 12 year old tell you he was going to "f**ing end you, you clearly cannot grasp what a threatening menace is. I work at an inner city low-income branch that has been attacked more than once (rocks through windows, other less serious vandalism) and have been called a B*** more times than I can count over the years. The police informed us there is a tween gang that has started up in our neighborhood. They have been responsible for at least one mugging and tons of vandalism as well as being threatening menaces.

Maybe if we jailed the parents and the kids together?

I'm sorry if I'm dense, but so long as you continue to kick these children, they will continue to be unruly.

I also refuse to believe that the librarian does not have any basic math comprehension, not being able to count how many times a child calls her, but if she can't count, something she freely admits, she should be given instruction, or some sort of counting device.

Children are meant to be loved... until they are old enough to serve in the military, when they should be drafted into the armed forces and sent overseas.

What these disruptive kids need is a good stiff smack across the face. Sorry I used to be "soft and squishy" but the only way these kids will respect you is if you stand up to them and beat the crap out of them. That's why I left the public library profession, too many rotten apples and too many kids who behaved like animals and whose parents could have cared less.

Future convicts in action. Just think our tax dollars will be supporting these kids in a few years when they are in prison.

Guess who should do the job of parenting a child?

We had serious problems with teens -- mostly 12-15 -- running wild in the library. We lost a lot of regular patrons to branches further away before we got it under control. It needs to be a collaboration between the Library (Administration, too!) and the Police. Library Admin. has to be willing to protect their staff, or be held accountable for enabling a hostile work environment.

If the children cannot behave in library-appropriate ways; kick them out. Take names and/or remember faces; use a camera & take 'mug shots' if necessary. When someone has been kicked out 3 times in a 1-month period, file a 'No Trespass' order with the police. For 6 months the offender is not allowed to enter the library without a parent or legal guardian in attendance. If they do enter, don't talk to them about it, call the police and let law enforcement enforce the law.

Use the buddy system to enter and leave the library after dark. Pepper spray isn't a bad idea if you fear attack.

Be consistent, be firm, and don't play favorites. Use language like "That is not appropriate behavior (language, whatever) for the library; you'll need to leave now. You can come back tomorrow and try again. The rules for behavior will be the same as they were today." Yes, it's a lot like parenting... sorry, that's the reality. We are part of the village trying to raise the kids. Can't say it's my favorite part of the job, but I'm not going to give my library up to be an unbridled teen community center.

If the kids are mostly from one neighborhood/apartment complex/school you might try meeting with that community to talk about the problem. Some of the parents DO care and may be willing to help monitor the after-school hours.

It took us an entire school year to get the problem under control. We had to file No Trespass orders on 3 kids, and enforce them, before the rest of the kids realized we were serious. And I pretty much had to threaten Administration to get them to buy in (they had to sign off on the No Trespass orders).

Have it in your policy what is and what is not considered disruptive behavior. Don't allow asshats back in until mom or dad shows up. Ban for a month, then a year, then forever.
They'll learn that if their behavior won't be tolerated, then they won't either. It's not a negotiation. You act like an animal, you leave!
They come back, arrest for trespassing, boom done!

At my former small branch there was often no guard. The 14 year old boys used to tell me they owned guns and planned to come back to shoot me; that's just the way they like to talk. I knew that the middle school had metal detectors and screening.
Apart from some car vandalizatoin there was no real violence. The Chicago Police would not come when we phoned 911 because their shift changed at 4pm (when after-school pressures were highest); police would sometimes come the next day.
Each of us has similar experiences; welcome to the club.

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