Thursday, January 11, 2007

After School in the Library

There have been several stories in the news lately about teens using libraries after school. First there was the Maplewood, NJ controversy reported in The New York Times. . Trustees decided to close the library in after school hours because students from a nearby middle school were being disruptive. (Whether that story prompted articles on the problems of middle schools or not is unclear, but the Times has had a couple of in-depth articles about schooling this age-group lately.)

Now the ACLU is challenging a long-standing policy in a suburban New Orleans community of requiring parental permission slips for students visiting the library after school. And even liberal Madison, Wisconsin is considering how to deal with the large numbers of sometimes rambunctious after-schoolers.

It seems that public libraries in communities are seen by working parents as safe places for their children after school - but it means libraries have to rise to the challenge. We'll need librarians interested in working with this age group. If you're considering it, check out the YALSA blog to see what's on the minds of librarians in the Young Adult Library Services Association. They have some good ideas!

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