I loved our city library. We could walk to both the main library and a branch, there was a new children's area separate from the adults (smart design) and they seemed to truly love having children there.
Now I don't want to dis-my new suburban library because it has made leaps and bounds since we moved here and I know one of the librarians personally but I have some issues with it....
For one, I feel like they subscribe to the mantra that children should be seen and not heard. well my children wouldn't have survived the Victorian age without sever punishment because they do not know how to not be heard. There are also signs everywhere that say you have to stay with your child. now this is not a very big children's area, I can see them from across the way isn't that good enough. Why do I need to watch them do puzzles, I came to get books! Anyways, we get scolded a lot, and dirty looks even more.
Second, they are hardcore serious about dates, fines, etc. Seriously. I was in the city for 7 years, had fines over $10 and never, ever, ever had my card suspended. We have been here for one year (on October 30) and have had my card blocked 3 (THREE!) times. Why? Well once it was for fines. I didn't realize they cut you off at $5. But they only take cash, I never carry cash (it's a spending hazard, I have it, I spend it!) so really its there fault that I didn't pay it. Then I was blocked for checking out too many books. really. the library said I was using it too much! We were going on vacation up north, it was a five hour ride in the car and 8 days in the woods we all needed entertainment, it was only 50 books! divided by 4 people that's only 12 books each and since I only had 4 that's 15 books per kid? More I don't remember and math is not my best subject but come on!
Finally, apparently some of the librarians are like police wardens on how the books are returned. I mean making sure they are still in "one piece". Now I don't know about your kids, but even when my kids are not using books as stepping stones, blocks, tunnels for their trains, etc they still sometimes love their books too much. Toddlers have fat uncoordinated fingers and sometimes pages get ripped. It happens. Usually I tape it up before I return it. However one of the first times we were returning books the librarian (a total stereotypical hard ass librarian) and she tells me my account is blocked (again) because one of the books we returned was ruined and couldn't be fixed.
Oh that one, that one stayed in the library bag for the last two weeks, we never opened it.
Well it missing half a page, so we can't even fix it.
Well we DIDN"T READ IT. We DIDN"T OPEN IT.
(snotty gruff sigh) Well you should have looked at it before you checked it out.
Anyone with children knows, many books come home from the library because little fingers grab them and you don't get to read them. It took all my mommy power and calming breathes to not jump over the counter and beat her with a board book. She agreed to override it this time with an emphasis on this time like I go around destroying books for fun. So now when I return books I litter it with post-it notes: this page ripped at checkout, this page colored at check out, this book seems to be missing a page, WAS LIKE THIS AT CHECK OUT. Passive aggressive and snotty but it makes life bearable.
So we are heading there this morning because I have (shock! gasp! surprise!) an overdue book and the kids must be done with our books since yesterday they used them to build a tower to climb up the bookshelves and get big heavy parenting books off them. Hmmm...maybe that's what they should be reading so they would know how to behave at a library!