This week I was one of the twitter champions for the topic of kids & teens in libraries. I am gong to focus on two elements of the chat that I found most interesting. Firstly, question one “What’s the problem with unattended kids in the library? And what do we do about it?” brought up interesting responses from participants. The question presented the presupposition that there is a problem with unattended kids in the library. Unattended kids are catered for by libraries as many use the library space to work on homework after school. As @karysrhiann mentioned in a post the library she works at has “a dedicated Homework Help club hat helps with this after school in the lib, kids are aware of rules and expectations”.
Some kids may be disruptive occasionally so a library needs to have set rules and guidelines for staff to follow. As Peck (2014) states “no matter what age patrons are, misbehaving ones should be dealt with because they are a barrier to access for others.” A good rule is that if someone is sitting a a table they need to be using library resources otherwise they should free up the space.
Another factor that needs to be considered is the age of children at a library. For example In Queensland you can’t leave children under 12 years of age legally alone/unattended whether that is at a library or at home. So the age of kids unattended is as important as whether they are disruptive or not. As @myleejoseph states “Child protection legislation varies in each state, procedures and community expectations vary btwn” This is an important consideration when setting policies as what age may be appropriate/legal in one state, may not be legal in another.
The second interesting topic of the twitter chat was on privacy and kids. Australia has little to no policy on children privacy as compared to the USA which has detailed laws. In the USA the Children’s Internet Protection Act requires schools to use filters for internet access as a condition of federal funding. It does however permit the filters to be switched off by adults when needed for research. Also, in the USA there is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act that forces websites to require children under 13 years of age to receive parental approval before using such services. Such privacy protections are not found in Australian law and therefore there is a greater emphasis for libraries to set policies and procedures when dealing with children’s privacy. As @georgeenbambeen said “libraries should have written policies regarding this especially in the internet age”
Ontario Libraries guideline states that libraries need to respect the rights of young adults to select materials appropriate to their needs without censorship. This is a great guideline for teens however internet filters still may be necessary for younger children which means there needs to be a balance between how filters are controlled for different age groups.
In reviewing the chat history I realised I missed a couple of questions:
I’m assuming this was a reply to my quote: “They explained that as preteens or teens they had stopped using public libraries because their parents or guardians had stopped taking them, they had less free time, or both.” Teens, Technology, and Libraries. I think this is a good example when a library is not easily accessible and once teens are in secondary school there is less emphasis potentially by parents in not thinking there is a need to take kids to libraries. Not all kids will have the ability or time to get to a library even with encouragement.
The guide was adapted from IFLA Guidelines which uses the age group of 12-18. However, in the USA the age of 13 is very important as that is when young adults can legally sign up to websites without needing parental permission.
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