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July 10, 2007
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LIVE FROM THE LIBRARY

Around noon on a summer weekday. The library is packed with shouting, cell-phone-dialing teenagers, screaming children, and parents who apparently have never learned to speak below a bellow. Now that the teen section has been transformed into a lounge, it’s a magnet for the loud, rude, and uninvolved. I am sitting at the computer furthest from the area, and can hear clearly the “converstions” (if you can call them that=asinine remarks, guffaws, etc.) and blaring recorded music. Unless the reference librarians are stone deaf, I assume they can hear this too; however, since they created an environment which actively promotes this behavior, rather than redirecting it, I assume they are quite happy.

Another nice touch: the only clock visible to patrons (and clearly visible to staff, as it’s posted in front of the desk) is ten minutes slow, so patrons who, like myself, make reservations and patiently watch the clock till their appointed time are set up to miss the appointment they arrived early for, as I almost did. They know it’s wrong, as the librarian just mentioned it, as an afterthought, to someone at the station next to me. As with everything else, they just don’t care.

Currently, three teen boys at the “one-person” computer across from me, streaming profanity and leering at the screen– eighteen inches away from an elementary aged girl and her mom, trying to use the adjoining catalog computer…

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