Tuesday, November 29, 2016
A loud group of teens has taken to ordering in pizza for themselves at the library. One might find them sitting down (sort of) to impromptu feasts at any hour of the day. Because we are still apparently haunted by a 1950s vision of ourselves as a stuffy, hushed, undynamic library where all people can do is sit quietly reading, we try to compensate endlessly with carnivals, gang wars, mentally ill people acting out, and lots of technology. We also try to compensate with an extra smidgen of licentiousness. No shushing. No cell phone limits. No hygiene standards. No one to tell you you can't order in pizza to the kids' room.
But even though we strive to give this mob of youths a free reign in the library it turns out they are not sensitive to our rare requests. "We only ask that you clean up after yourself." is met with a great scattering of greasy paper products and a lot of olives ground into the carpet.
So finally there was an uprising among a small, obviously reactionary cabal of old school librarians.
"We must have some kind of rules regarding food in the library!" They cried.
So the reference librarians gathered for six brutal hours to work out a rule they can live with. Unfortunately the reference librarians around here don't have that common practicality one finds so readily among the circulation staff. Their solution came down to this frankly bizarre dictum:
Cold food is allowed, hot food is not.
This new rule was announced without even the barest suggestion of enforcement. I think the basic idea was that all we need to do is come up with the rule. That will be enough to get people to obey it.
I picture the gang of teens ordering in their pizzas, undeterred by any "rules". Perhaps, if all the stars are aligned correctly, some fierce librarian, probably our fiercest, emboldened by our new rule, will firmly inform the kids that they are not allowed to eat hot food of any kind in our library. They will have to take it outside.
But it is hard to break with our culture. And despite herself this librarian will relent and inform the youths of how to legitimately circumvent our rules:
Winter is here. A couple of minutes outside should be enough to make any pizza acceptable for library use.