Youths blamed for vandalism at IL library

News Out Of Illinois where Officials say they want to stop a recent influx of middle school students who are turning the Edwardsville Public Library into a stomping ground rather than an after-school special.

Vandalism, smoking and profanity top the list of offenses library trustees started noticing this spring when groups of students would gather outside the library during after-school hours. Those incidents have slowed since schools let out for summer, but trustees say they want to be prepared for the future.


It beats a group of young people starting a homeless man on>

Or 16 year old girls beating one another to death and throwing the near lifeless body in a>

Or 21 year old mothers leaving their children inside locked cars in the 90 degree>

I'd rather have kids hanging outside the library smoking and cursing.

What the hell has this country come to? I am remarkably close to moving back to Ireland. Depending how the interviews go this week and the week after ALA I may pack up the (RFID chipped) cats and head back to Co. Cork.

It doesn't appear that these kids are using the library at all. The story mentions them being outside the library and doing things like smashing an outside water fountain that cost $3k to fix and vandalizing a bathroom at a park. If they were just loitering and blowing off teenage energy, that'd be one thing. We see a lot of the steam-blowing variety of kids. Mostly, they get a warned from library staff or security and settle down. If they become abusive to staff or other patrons, if they get caught stealing or vandalizing, parents are called to come pick them up, or they're booted out for 1 day up to one year, depending on their age and what they've done. It sounds like this particular group of Edwardsville kids is doing a bit more than testing limits.

Two of these occured within 10 miles of me. I'm not so sure that qualifies as national reporting. The starting the homeless guy on fire was in Texas so yes that was national reporting. When I was in college I worked for the medical examiner's office and I saw one or two children killed each year in the county in which I live. Now I hear of one or two a month. I wonder why we have devalued life so much that this does not shock us.

When I was in high school we hung around and smoked cigarettes and cursed, and I'm sure some of my peers vandalized things. But now 20 years later I'm in the "when I was younger stage". It was a 3 mile walk uphill both ways in the snow to school.

Maybe it just seems that there are fewer murders in Ireland, per capita or per square mile or by some other measure, but since Detroit has almost one a day and Ireland has had nine so far this year according to the Independent I'm not so sure. Yes kids in Ireland stand around and smoke and curse, I've seen it. They probably vandalize things too, but it seems they haven't made it to the point of devaluing life like we have. Not that we are the only ones, at least we aren't beheading people as a political statement.

Don't forget to write.

Feeling particularly sensitive today, eh, 'pchuck?

Yeah, I took my meds and I took a nice long nap; however, you are still an asshole.

Part of what's happened to this country--and every other developed country--is that what used to be local news is now reported nationally. This leads to an impression of escalating crime and general cultural disintegration even while the crime rate has, with some local exceptions, been falling for the last two decades.

Consider the story of the mother who left her child in the locked car. This wasn't a mother who intentionally tried to harm her child; she just screwed up real bad--and realized it and called 911. Her little girl came out of it just fine; twenty years ago, or even ten, no one outside of the St. Petersburg would ever have heard of it.

Or consider abusive relationships that end in murder-suicides. Well into the 1970s, they were reported as "suicide pacts" in stories that carried a tinge of tragic romanticism. Today, we recognize them as particularly nasty crimes, with nothing "romantic" about them at all. The crime itself was not any less brutal thirty years ago, but what the general public heard or read carried a completely different tone.

I'm not saying you shouldn't go back to Ireland; you'd be a much better judge than someone who's a total stranger to both you and Ireland of whether you'd be happier doing that. I'm just saying, don't be overly influenced by the "if it bleeds, it leads" news coverage that winds up grossly over-reporting crime, or negatively influenced by the fact that we now recognize as dangerous, irresponsible, or criminal behavior that we used to take for granted or even consider "romantic."

Good to see you're back, 'pchuck. We always enjoy your intelligent commentaries. Be sure to take your meds. A nap may help, too.

So acceptable behavior in your book is anything short of killing or maiming?

I have had my share of run-ins with rowdy teenagers when I worked for a large urban library system and honestly, the REALLY bad kids are not the ones coming to the library.

The nature of being a teenager is to push the envelope and sometimes older people forget that they used to be "pains in the butt" themselves. Teenagers are going to gather around the computer with their friends, just like my friends and I used to gather around the latest arcade game at the pizza shop. They are going to be loud and full of energy (sugar) after being cooped up in school all day and they need someplace to burn that energy off. Until we build and fund enough after school centers and skate parks for these kids to play in, I would rather see them around the library.

When it happens they kill someone and get sent to prison. Then we hear from the family that they are really just a good kid and the neighbor with a tooth : tattoo ratio of less than or equal to 2 gets on TV and tells everyone how they can't believe that the moron kid did that cuz he was always at the library n stuff n he liked NASCAR and he wanted to be a fighter pilot or work at the refuse to energy plant burning sh*t to make electricty from garbage.

7:20AM and I can tell it is going to be a wonderful day. I think I'll go kick the postman.

I think this problem plays out at libraries across the country. And it is a problem... Granted, not on the scale of setting someone on fire or genocide, but I've had kids come remarkably close to knocking over elderly patrons.

Moreover, other patrons complain... I'm not talking about the patrons that come in and complain about the kid's ethnic backgrounds or languages they speak (because, unfortunately, that happens too) I'm talking about the patrons that complain because they were pelted with snowballs. Nearly hit with rocks. Had their computer screens stared at by kids gathering around like locusts.

The fact of the matter is, problems tend to escalate. Sure, the kids are "just" defacing and breaking library property today. What happens when they start mugging patrons? Not saying it will happen. Most kids grow out of these things. But some don't.

You may prefer kids doing a little smoking and cursing as no big deal but when you have patrons trying to get into the library with these foul-mouthed creeps blocking the door, you get an idea of what it's like to run the gauntlet. Staff has been cursed out so many times, they flinch when they see the gathering group. When you call the cops, the kids scatter, only to re-group when Officer Friendly leaves. (In addition, our cops are part-time hot dogs who hate children and harass them every chance they get at the skate park but think we’re all nervous nellies when we complain.) There should be after school programs, but this problem is mostly caused by parents who leave their darlings at the library until they get off work in the deranged belief that the library is a safe place for them to be watched over by the benevolent staff.
Considering the homeless, drug addicted, alcoholic, and registered sex offenders that make up our regular patron family, your kid would be safer in Sodom.