I know it’s a kids book, but I truly believe that if everyone had to read, and then write a comprehensive exam on this paper, it would cut down on at least 30% of the asshole population. As children we might pick up this book, and love it, perhaps even comprehend the depth of out actions, but as adults those words can fade and become forgotten. It is important for people to remember that if you continue to take selfishly from something, that there is a damn good possibility that you will kill what you previously coveted. Children must be taught to respect their surroundings, and then have that principle reinforced in their adulthood.
Let me give you a prime example, and this is a bit of a library rant so be forewarned. I was working in the children’s section the other day, and had spent my entire shift organizing the collection. Why do we do this? So that patrons can find what they are looking for. We spend an ungodly amount of time each day making sure that the books are in order and flush with the shelves, because it increases the chances of locating an item within a batch of hundreds of thousands of books. Sure, it looks pretty, but there is a purpose behind it. Also, just incase you didn’t know, it is better for the books. When they are stacked on a shelf, flush with one another, it keeps the books from becoming warped or damaged during their time spent there. My point? Don’t, for the love of God, smush the shelves, or (since I’m laying it out there) re-shelf books yourself. Chances are you don’t you what you are doing, and I would rather you set the book aside nicely, than just ram it into the shelf. *Pant Pant* OK, having said that…
So there I was, knee deep in kids books with all their tiny ass call numbers that wrap half way around the book (Megan, my co-worker can tell you just how annoyed I get with those), slaving away to ensure that your chubby little booger-eater can get their Fancy Nancy book. I walk away for ten seconds. Ten. I return and ALL HELL HATH BROKEN LOOSE. Books: EVERYWHERE, pulled off the shelf and cast to the floor like a pile of little literature corpses, and THERE, yes THERE rests a pair of tiny, purple, glittered flip flops. >.< I instantly go on the hunt for a barefooted booger-eater. She is sitting at a table (on the other side of children’s) with another little girl coloring, and of course cute and looking completely harmless. I turn to two mothers who are chatting near the children.
Me: Ladies? Are those your daughters?
Mom 1: Yes.
Me: One of them left their flip flops over in the isle, I wouldn’t want her to loose them… (in other words, this is my nice way of motivating you to see what a catastrophe your child has created and an indication that you need to teach her some fucking library manners)
M1: … Oh, I’ll pick them up in a minute (and through body language dismisses me)
Twenty mins later, the books are still all over the floor (I left them there so she would see), the mother is still chatting, and the kids dirty ass shoes are still all over the isle. Fucking REALLY? I picked up the shoes and brought them to the little girl, and told her I didn’t want her to loose her shoes, so here you go, and exacted all my will not to curb stomp the mom.
The reason this infuriates me so much is not because of the child, but because of the mother. If parents do not teach their children to respect things, like the library, then they grow up to be adults who do not respect anything but their own needs. News flash, people: Libraries are one of the few institutions that freely protect your constitutional rights to information, education, and protection from being mindless fools whose intellectual level raises no higher than Sesame Street. Think for a minute if you lost your job, and your phone, putting you without internet access and a telephone. You’re fucked. How are you going to look up the majority of your job listings? Call employers? Write a resume and send it to them? Where are you going to go for help? Some might go to friends and family, but there are a lot of people who come to the library for help. They learn computer and job hunting skills, and they are provided a haven in which to better themselves if they so choose to. I want you to think long and hard about whether there are other places that offer that kind of help every day, no string attached, for free. Sure you can go to the unemployment office, but how much are they going to help you there? You might find something that will get you through, but where is the opportunity to excel? That comes with knowledge.
Libraries are also the one major institution that protects the rights of people to not be censored or fall victim to prejudice. It is our responsibility as librarians to ensure that everyone, culturally, politically, religiously, or otherwise is represented in our collection. For the teen who has recently come out of the closet? There are books to help them through it, and others that they can relate to. For the person interested in Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Scientology, or even just Science, there are books for them. Communists or Democratic, Fiction fluff or serious doses of information can all be found any time, at any library, and there are people working day and night to ensure that YOU always have the right to know whatever it is your heart desires. Libraries are the information Giving Trees of our society. Pick an apple as much as you need to, but remember that they also need care and support to survive, and that without it, they will wither and die.