NEWSFLASH: Libraries across the country are suffering. People just don’t go to them very often anymore. Google and smartphones are crushing the desire for people to use library cards to take out actual paper books. Even libraries with computers aren’t faring much better, because computers are much more affordable today (if you are willing to put up with ones that can’t play the latest games.) So, to keep from becoming completely irrelevant and having to close their doors, many libraries are offering programming that may seem off the wall or over the top to some people. That means they’re going to offer programming that will make anyone with a Victorian attitude toward life faint – or want to scream.
Now that we understand this, it’s time to address a minor problem.
If you don’t like the programming that your local library is offering, the appropriate response does not include trying to disrupt it.
Some folks in Maryland didn’t like the fact that their library was offering sex-ed for kids – with parental permission. They made a website to complain about it. Good so far.
Unfortunately, on that website is information about how these people tried to stop the programming by breaking the rules set by the library for the safety of the kids who were enrolled in the program.
Also, there doesn’t seem to be any mention of this group trying to offer “acceptable” programming choices to the library. Remember, the library is trying to get people into the building, so theoretically they would be open to hearing suggestions from everyone.
Another option would have been to look into elected positions that have to do with library management. Is there a community member board position? A political office that has a permanent seat on the board? Although a little extreme, at least pushing for a member of your group to be in a position of power in the library is far better than forcing the police to stand guard outside the library like this group did.
I get it. Really, I do. Conservatives don’t like people talking about sex, especially not to kids (even if the parents are fine with the idea.) Sure, there are people who think that parents should sit in on sex talks with kids, because they believe that kids really want to talk about that stuff in front of their parents. (Not sure where these kids are, but who am I to question someone else’s logic?)
But, conservatives are also supposed to be big on law and order. They’re supposed to be upset with people who break laws, right?
So, why were they breaking laws against trespassing at the library? Libraries are community property, but when they put up clear restrictions on use of their facilities, failing to abide by those restrictions is trespassing (or a similar offense, depending on the local laws.) The library clearly stated that adults were not welcome to attend this program. Only kids could be there, and the kids had to have written permission from their parents to attend.
The argument that the library was doing something objectionable and should be forced to stop because it is a public facility doesn’t work here. Go back to the beginning on this. Libraries are trying to stay alive, and that means programming. It also means that a sex-ed class is probably going to hit the events calendar before a quilting bee. Getting kids into the library is a hard task, and it’s fair to guess that this conservative group isn’t going to come up with a single thing that will help to do that.
But, don’t worry. When the library has to close because of lack of interest, these folks will probably blame anyone but themselves.