Crack Down On Bad Behavior in W. Bridgewater Library

Chaos is being 'nipped in the bud' in this library in a suburb of Boston, where rude behavior had previously been the norm (check out the "Code of Behavior" about half-way down this page). Youngsters visiting the library have been out of control, and librarians are cracking down.

Librarian Beth Smith wore her hardhat to work Wednesday, saying it's a symbol of her "Get Tough" attitude. She wants youngsters in the library, but not the disruption. Library staff is forced to referee inside and outside the building, and they're now asking for parents to help. Story from The Boston Channel .


The cover story for the Feb 2005 is "Silence is Olden," and talks about how some libraries are rejecting the whole libraries=quiet model. I'll confess to booting out some loud/rowdy youths just this week. I guess that makes me olden. The kids I kicked out had some different descriptors, though.

This incident and its aftermath seem to present some resolution. The problem is that libraries and librarians live each day with stereotype images. The librarian in the article shouldn't have to become "Sheriff of Dodge City" in order to run the library. It is very easy to link the hard hat (forceful) with the sterotype librarian keeping people quiet, tapping pencils to silence noise, etc. These shows of force and removal of library privilages will not solve the problem. Once again our profession needs to demonstrate more clearly our mission and role in educating society. Apparently the city fathers of that town didn't think that the trouble needed some police intervention. I am sure that the average citizen of that town could not tell you what a library does and provides. I have mentioned many times that libraries have an image as free babysitting, home for the homeless, link to the porno world. The "tough Librarian" can bring to mind Mr. Bookman on the Seinfeld episode. Remember the library detective spent 25 years looking for a lost book. I assure you that the teens will return, disruption will occur, and the problem will not be solved. That town needs to be educated about the library and how the law needs to protect citizens inside and outside the library. The librarian needs to monitor in the library and should not become a policemen. Watch out for the new series Librarian Police Stories.