Monday, October 24, 2011

The Library is Now For Running and Screaming

Times have changed so that it is now acceptable to run and scream in the library. Also, make and receive phone calls, shout across to others, and utilize the public computers to chat on Facebook for hours while people who need to do actual research wait in line.

Either that, or I’m getting old and crochety. Probably both.

I do love my library, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t enjoy actually being inside it as much as I used to.

For example, when my kids were babies (they are only 10 and 13 now), I used to take them to Story Time at the library. All of the mommies and toddlers would respectfully walk to the children’s area, where we would use our quiet voices. Even after the story, when we would sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider, it was done in hushed tones.

Of course, there were plenty of times when my kids or others started crying, screaming, or trying to run around. However, we mommies did our best to stop them and I can recall more than one occasion when I carried them out… with them kicking and screaming, and me apologizing.

Not so today. Nowadays (see, I told you I’m getting old) the Story Time songs are sung at top volume, regardless of the fact that the other 4/5 of the library contains adults trying to concentrate. Afterward, the kids are literally running everywhere, while their parents either ignore them altogether, chatting as if in a coffee clatch, or roll their eyes and shrug as if there’s not a thing they could do about it.

This phenomenon carries through to other times of the day too. Loud conversations on cell phones, toddlers having screaming tantrums while the mom decides this would be the perfect time to chat with the librarian for twenty minutes, etc.

While the library is an extreme example, I have also noticed this in other places, such as restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Which makes me wonder, Was I too strict when my kids were babies? Or are people just letting them run haywire now?

Do you notice this too? I’d be curious to know what you think!

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