Wednesday, March 10, 2004

The Wisdom of Good King Herod

I am officially an adult librarian, but when I float at other branches I often work in the children's room. After a really long shift, especially one that involves the after school rush, my nerves are shot and I have to go and get really drunk.

Oh, I exaggerate, but children can be trying under the best of circumstances, and many of our littlest patrons are unsupervised latchkey children who have been dumped off and do not want to be there at all. Children's internet computers have introduced a really unsavoury element and set of undesirable behaviors to the library, as well. I especially despise the hardcore game addicts who treat the library like their own personal arcade. Like all addicts, they will lie and cheat and do anything for their fix, and they treat me with maddening insolence when I call them on it. Sometimes these children will play games like Tetris for hours, and I fear that their hands will soon be crippled and gnarled from repetitive stress injuries because our computers are all ergonomic time bombs. I can count on one hand the times I've see a child use the internet computer for research or homework. Forget a porn filter, install game filters on these computers, please.

Home schooled children are a delightful exception, though. They are invariably the sweetest, most well mannered children I have ever encountered. They'll come skipping joyfully in, and without even glancing at the computers, head straight for books on Medieval castles or mummies or science experiments. They fill the room with their wonder and joyful enthusiasm to learn. They engage me in intelligent conversation, ask interesting questions, and are eager to impart and share some interesting fact about whatever topic they've been studying lately. When they visit the library they brighten my day and make me adore my job. I do worry, though, that their parents will tire of homeschooling or their circumstances will change somehow and the innocents will be sent off to public school, where they will be eaten alive.

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