No Kids Allowed.

So it looks like Maryland is about to waste $160,000 trying to get teens to visit the library. Sure, the library will spend the money on video games and manga and give away iPods as rewards for kids reading books, but when the money runs out, the teens will leave because libraries aren't cool.

You know what's cool for teens? Trouble. If you want kids to do something, tell them they can't do it. And if you think that doesn't work, ask Tom Sawyer.

Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world, after all. He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it--namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. [ -courtesy Project Gutenberg.]

Maryland, If you want kids to use your library, spend some of your $160K to put up a six-foot chain-link fence around the teen area. And secure the only gate with a heavy chain and lock. And hang a rusty sign that says, "Keep away. No Teens allowed." And the next time you look, the fenced-off area will be filled with with kids who've scaled the fence to violate the rule.

Trouble. "With a capital T that rhymes with B that stands for Books."

(So if this is such a great idea, how come I never get invited to discuss them at library meetings?)

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