so where do we go from here

I am giving serious thought, as I think we all are at the library, about how to handle our crowd control problem. The thing is, it's not just one group of kids. If it were, that would be easier. These kids we threw out yesterday are never on the computers. I rarely throw the kids that are on the computers out of the library (off the computers, yes). But even still, they too are a problem. They're better behaved than the ones yesterday, but the sheer numbers of them make it difficult.

Of course, the obvious answer is more staff and more space, neither of which are possible.

The problem is, we have a lot of kids with nothing to do. The computer crowd, though basically well behaved, never has homework, it seems. And there are no afterschool programs, nothing going on at the Y... There's nothing for these kids to do. The library is convenient and right near several schools. So they come here.

Of course, a program for them would be good... They'd enjoy something involving computers, I'd think, but I don't know how much they'd enjoy it if it didn't involve sending pictures of their girlfriends to each other, or playing games. Perhaps I'm not giving them enough credit though.

We have six computers upstairs for training purposes. We have more than six kids. Way more. So that would require, again, more resources, more space, and more staff than we have.

It might be fun to teach them HTML or something. They're basically good kids... mostly from immigrant families, and I rather like some of them. Sometimes they bring in friends that aren't so well behaved, but that's a rarer occurrence.

I also have to figure out how I'm going to dole out the new PCs. Fact is, everyone's not getting PCs. I want to replace mine, and the other three IBMs that are downstairs with me. So that's four computers. Information needs a new one, indubitably. Five. It would be good to give one to the cataloger, as her computer seems to be choking under the weight of all the stuff she needs to run. Six. Children's might like a new one. Seven. That leaves me three to play with. I suppose I could replace one for the support staff... Eight.

One thing I do know, the new ones are not going out to the public. Boy howdy.

I will take some of the old IBMs and make them Word Processing terminals. I have to desperately look for all the drivers I'm going to need to set up these new computers (and reconfigure the old). I am going to be one busy chick.


Internet scavenger hunts!

These kids need the skills to find whatever (and I hate to ask what that is).

Here's one page of ideas and I'm sure there are plenty more.

Not only can you get the kids to learn somewhat complicated search strategies, but they'll have to learn (and you'll have to teach) how to evaluate content critically. Lifelong skills! Imagine that ;) Maybe the Friends of the Library can rustle up some prizes for groups who do the best in some "Twenty questions" contests.

What you need is to get the kids to feel a little "ownership" of the library. I'm not sure what's best, but if they valued your services or your computers and books -- or both -- maybe they'd stop being so ridiculous.

Good luck. It couldn't hurt for you to try to contact the school librarians and assistant principals (they're the ones who have to discipline these kids) of the area schools to ask about these kids and their interests, etc.

Re:Internet scavenger hunts!

Interesting... yeah, I'll have to check that out.

Cool! Thanks.

It might be fun to teach them HTML or something.

Teach them PERL and Slashcode! That'd be super useful around here!

Re:It might be fun to teach them HTML or something

Hey, there you go! My bosses would be flabbergasted if they were all coding for LISNews and /. We might even let them go more than one to a computer at that point.

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