Friday, October 18, 2013

Activist Librarians and Public Space

I love librarians.  I really love librarians who use jobs to intervene in destructive social practices.

The 'teen' space in our downtown library is often out of control.  I go in there regularly to fetch books for my kids (I love picking out books!) and am continually amazed at the interactions I witness.  They verbally and physically push each other around.  I've picked a boy up off the floor after a scuffle.  I've heard bragging over non-consensual sexual conquests.  "Nigger" is bandied about without bravado as these kids claim their space and drive others away while the librarians cower behind their desk on the "kids" side of the basement.
My kids were horrified when I asked the librarians what expectations had been set for the space.  To them, this was just another example of an adult undermining the social life of non-adults.  To me, however, I was thinking that we should talk about how the teens could use the space without driving others away or imposing their use on the whole base level of the library.

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