Saturdays are a double edged sword.

In a way, I like working Saturdays. It's busy, but it's a spread out busy, not a "the library is full of bored kids from 2-5:30" busy. However, you run into the same problem you run into on Fridays in that when the children's room closes at five, you get a wave of bored children coming downstairs.

This will get me death threats I'm sure: I'm not a big fan of kids. I mean, some kids are fine, but I choose not to have them myself. I'm not overly fond of the neighbor's kids. I don't like to go to restaurants have a cranky six year old screaming in my ear (a cranky one year old I have a higher tolerance level of. I can understand that. It's age appropriate.)

But my distaste for children isn't particularly why I don't want them downstairs. They bang on keyboards, sure, and sometimes, when they get real bored, they whip all the paperbacks off the shelves. That's annoying. That ticks me off.

But I worry about my responsibility to them. I can't babysit them. I mean, technically the poor children's librarians shouldn't be doing that either (though I know they are). But at least they were hired to specifically deal with the children. I was hired for all ages, but primarily above twelve. Usually, from five to six, I am helping people over twelve. I can't be watching a five year old left by mom and dad. Or by their "very mature and responsible" eight year old brother (happens-- a lot.)

I wish the library were a safer place, at least, as safe as parents seem to think it is. I wish that I could throw these children out when they're really misbehaving (as they sometimes do), without guilt that I now have a six year old wandering the streets. But I can't in good conscience do that. I'm not a big fan of children -- but I care enough not to put them in harm's way.

Which I think, sometimes, is more than some parents do.

Okay... comment away. I know librarians as babysitters is not a new phenomenon and in many ways I am preaching to the choir. And I know that my not too fond of children stance ticks many off... Go easy on me. I'm fragile.

Comments

Memories

"Okay... comment away. I know librarians as babysitters is not a new phenomenon and in many ways I am preaching to the choir"

Ah, the memories--being about 13 and all of us heading for the town library after choir practice to meet our boyfriends. The librarian did her best to shush us. It was our "mall," our "youth center," our "haven" from the ever vigilant parents. The library board has planted trees in honor of all those patient souls who put up with us 50 years ago.

Know thyself

Hey - nothing wrong with being "not fond of kids"! If only more people would be honest and perceptive enough to recognize and claim that stance BEFORE reproducing! This might alleviate a lot of misery (on the part of both the misfit parents and their unfortunate offspring).I understand you probably feel a little defensive, because I'm sure you constantly have to field obnoxious questions about WHEN you're going to "start a family" (HATE that phrase!), as well as smarmy assurances that OF COURSE you want children, you'll change your mind, etc., etc., ad nauseum.For purposes of coping with children on the job, maybe it would help if you try to adjust your view of them, from manifestations of a future you reject, to manifestations of a younger you. They really are just people ("amateurs," my sister calls them), and if you can try to remember just a little what it's like to be that energetic, that uninhibited, and that clueless, maybe interacting with them on the job will become somewhat easier.DISCLAIMER: I myself am the parent of one teenager, and happy to be ... but I didn't always feel this way. There were whole years during his early childhood when I thought I had made the biggest mistake ever, and that I might not survive it. I have never been, and never will be, a gung-ho cheerleader for parenthood.

Re:Know thyself

My 10 year old daughter--a lovely, kind, intelligent child--loathes babies and has no patience for the toddler set--never has. People tell her, "oh, you'll change your mind some day and have babies of your own," like she's deficient. I tell her not to listen to anyone and not to worry about it. Lately she's been making comments like "I don't know why people need to keep having babies. Aren't there enough people here already?" I suppose if I want grandkids, I'll have to have them myself....

Re:Know thyself

Actually, my husband and I both agree that your daughter sounds infinitely cool. :)

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