Posted by: glundeen | January 5, 2008

If you value these things…


Kevin Luttery’s editorial from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “A Childish Misplacement of Vigilance at the Library”  talks about Atlanta Fulton County Public Library’s policy of not allowing adults in the children’s section if they’re not with a child. While it’s true that the word “public” implies that anyone can use the library, pedophiles and sickos included (and we have a few at my library), the real danger isn’t adults without kids, it’s kids without adults.


True story: a few weeks ago a woman comes to the Reference desk and asks if she can leave her kids at the library for a few hours while she leaves and goes shopping. I asked her “would you leave your kids alone anywhere for a few hours?,” which suitably shamed her into pretending she cared about her progeny. The idea that she couldn’t just use the library as a babysitter didn’t even dawn on her. I see this kind of behavior all the time. What differentiates the library from the playground, where parents watch their small children carefully? Even Wal-Mart posts signs for parents not to leave their kids unattended. What makes people think it’s any safer in the library, especially a library like the one where I work, in a not-so-wonderful neighborhood.

Luttery says it best:

Once again, the library is a publicly funded and visited facility. It is not a day care or afterschool program. That the central branch would treat it as such is a gross misplacement of responsibility. No one should have a more vested interest in a child’s well-being than that child’s own parent. Yet in today’s society, so many parents shift that responsibility to other institutions. Schools and churches can’t raise kids, nor can community centers or psychologists.  

While I would be the last person to argue that such outside sources are not invaluable to the healthy development of a child, it is still ultimately the responsibility of parents to ensure their children receive proper guidance, nurturing and protection.”



  1. It boggles the mind, doesn’t it.

  2. Truly. Personal responsibility, people!

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