Turning Librarians Into Babysitters
The Washington Post Reports on something you've already noticed. If there's snow on the ground and school is canceled, the phones at George Mason Regional Library are likely to begin ringing an hour before the doors open.
"The issue of unattended children is a huge one not only in Fairfax but across the country," said Kathryn L. Rzasa, branch manager at Fairfax County's Woodrow Wilson Library, which serves a large immigrant population and is host to many young children after school. "Child care is a big issue right now for a lot of families. They're working hard at lots of jobs and they don't have a lot of options. . . . We do what we can to help out, but we are not equipped to provide day care and the kind of supervision parents want for their children."
The same is true on teacher workdays and any other time children are out of class but their parents are due at work.
Debbie King, branch manager at the Annandale library, knows exactly what the callers are after. They ask whether the library is open, she said, but what they really want to know is whether "they can leave their children at the library while they're at work. That's when we know it's going to be a problem day."