Saturday, February 04, 2012

This Is a Library, Not a Playground




Do you have a phrase that you overuse in your library? I definitely do and it's "This is a library, not a playground." I've been thinking for a long time that I need to come up with a better way of expressing what behaviors are expected of the kids in our department. I want kids to enjoy their visits, but sometimes what they are doing makes it less enjoyable for other people using their small space. And, yes, sometimes making it less enjoyable for other people is code for "you are driving the librarian crazy." 

So, I was thrilled to discover Sara's post about child management. It is full of really practical ideas for communicating your expectations that she learned through her training and experience in education. Those of you who are former teachers or are school librarians probably already know those, but for those of us who come from other backgrounds, I think it is tremendously helpful to read this whole post. And I am so grateful my library doesn't have a toy boat! 

Thanks Marge for linking to your very wise coworker's blog. I'm glad to have another to add to my Reader! 

I'm curious to know what everyone thinks about this topic. How do you handle mischief in your school or public library? Do you have a phrase that you overuse? My other one is "The elevator is not a toy!" 
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6 comments:

Children rarely cause problems in our library, but it's a different story with the tweens. I found myself frequently saying, "This is a library, not a lunch room!"

I try to keep my requests positive, and it helps that my manager is okay with being the Bad Cop. I'll tell the kids that I think they're only a little loud, but if they continue, my boss will get angry and ask them to leave. Usually it works, and since we've implemented "Good Cop, Bad Cop" we have had fewer problems.

Oh, I should have been more specific! I was really thinking more of tweens than kids, 6th-8th graders mainly.

This isn't a day care center. It's the response to the kids that argue I can't kick them out for acting like wild animals because "my mom is picking me up here in three hours".

One of my rules is "use a one foot voice" meaning to talk softly as to only be heard by people within one foot of yourself. I hardly ever use it, but others use it frequently!

Ugh. We have a toy boat in our department. THANKFULLY, my new director sees that it's not only a pain, but a liability, so I'm expecting it'll be gone sometime this year. :D

The phrase I used to use a lot was, "no horsing around" I even made a sign with a picture of a horse, with a bar sinister (circle x'd out) saying, "No horseplay!" since a lot of our teens liked to give each other noogies or whatnot, and when confronted about it would reply, "Aw, it's okay! He's my cousin." (like that somehow made it right)