Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Death of Sush

So today was one of those days when I got shushed by a patron. I definitely get shushed more than I shush, and it's also definitely generational.

In fact, last night I was having a heated conversation with one of our, er, regulars, and he said, "No offense, but the library is like my hang-out place." And I explained in super-fast lecture mode that the library isn't a hang-out place, it's a learning and thinking place, and I would not hesitate to kick him out if he prevented other people from learning and thinking.*

This kid was about 12, and his "hang-out place" comment got me thinking that maybe young people's perception of the library is truly different from their parents' and grandparents'**, and that's a good thing.

My mom recently sent me an article from the Boston Globe that would seem to support my theory. The article reports that 18- to 29-year-olds are more likely to use the library to solve problems than any other age group. I believe the article was based on a Pew study that my roommate passed on to me. The study is, in a word, awesome. And the Globe article points out that "young adults are the ones likely to have visited libraries as teens and seen their transformation into electronic information hubs."

In other words, they love us for our computers.

Or in other words, they don't think of us as a book morgue.

So I'm crossing my fingers that, maybe, in a few years, people will be so used to the bustle and noise of their friendly neighborhood internet-cafe-cum-free-videostore-with-books-on-the-side that they'll stop shushing me. Which would be great. Really. Thanks.

*It's possible some of you now think I'm a heinous bitch, but you probably don't work in an urban library. Yes, I hung out in the library when I was a teen, but I was actually looking at books and reading and stuff. Not sexually harassing middle school girls.

**Or maybe their homelives suck more.

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