Thursday, October 08, 2009

Livid with the Library

Apparently our libraries don't want small children to enjoy books. Apparently we want to delay them being read to as long as possible, like perhaps until they reach school age. That's the message the Santa Rosa County Library is sending me, anyways.

I have been waiting for the weekly story time to start back up so I could take Bradley. Our library system does story time in Navarre on Tuedays, and Gulf Breeze on Thursdays, and we live in between the 2 libraries, so I opted for the Thursday one today. I tried to take Bradley back in the summertime, but when I showed up I was informed that they were done for the summer and that it would resume in the fall. I went some time after Brian had left, so August, and it just now started back this week, October. There had been no information on the library's website that they were done for the summer, so I was a little disappointed when we made the special trip over there only to find out it wasn't happening, but no big deal right? Since then I have diligently been checking the website ever since to find out when it would be starting back up.

You can imagine my shock when, after the nice librarian asked the children to follow her away from the library's kid section, and down a hall into a meeting room where they were to sit on a brightly colored carpet, I was informed that parents were not allowed in the room. Parents are a distraction to the kids, she told me. So a little hesitantly, I sat Bradley down on the carpet and started to leave the room, reasoning that I could watch from the window outside the door, and make sure Bradley was okay. As I started to leave however, the sweet librarian asked me an obvious question. Is he 3? Well no, he's not. I'm sorry, she said every bit as sweetly, preschool story time is only for 3-5 year olds. I asked about sitting in the back of the room with Bradley and again was shot down. He loves books, I pleaded with her. We made a special trip out here for this, I said, but there was nothing to be done. I was steaming mad. I was being told that I could not bring my child into a public library and listen to someone read a story? Isn't that against some law or something for discrimination in a goverment funded building and program??

Upon speaking with the library's manager, I was told again that story time was just for 3-5 year olds. And there is no "toddler" story time. And in the state of Florida, 4 year olds go to pre-K, and 5 year olds are in kindergarten. Since the story time is not held during the summer, why do you have a program for kids, most of whom are in school at this time, I asked her. The manager informed me that they take the month of July off- which is a lie, because I went in August and have been checking the calendar ever since, but I couldn't think quick enough to make this argument. I still questioned why I was not allowed to bring my son into that room and sit with him, and got no answer I was satisfied with, other than that's how the programming was set up by the main children's librarian. Thanks for nothing, I said as I left in a huff. I know. Not the nicest way to handle it, but come on, this is America for goodness sakes! Every parenting magazine or child-rearing website you see will suggest taking your kids to story time at your local library! I wasn't showing up with my newborn and a pacifier in some lame attempt to get out of the house. I was genuinely trying to encourage my child to grow up learning to love books.

My next stop is to email the children's librarian and find out what can be done about this. There's also a library advisory board meeting that's coming up that is open to the public. I am not going down without a fight.

4 comments:

Mary Anna said...

Whoa. I'm a "Robert's Rules of Order" kind of gal, but this shocks me. It sounds like someone at the library got on a power-trip and made up this stupid rule to serve themselves. Also, I have never heard of a library banning a parent from being with their child...this isn't the school system, it's the public library. Seriously.

Oh, and word verification: "furgate"

-Beth- said...

Well, if it makes you feel any better Ryder does not do well in the "toddler" story time now. Once he moved up in the age group it's just not the same. It is 12-36 months (fyi - that's what you should ask for), but people always break the rule and bring their bigger kids too. But his attention span is just not quite there yet for what they do.

Katie said...

Oh man, Amanda that boiled my blood just reading about their offense. Redden loved and loves listening to stories and I can't help but think that the reason he is reading on a third grade level in the first grade is because of the time I put in with him on it. And learning to sit quietly amongst other kids while listening is a good thing! Keep after them girlie!

Your said...

Take 'em down, Divalicious!