Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2006 in Review and a crazy new 2007...in New Jersey

So...the two stories that I sitll haven't been able to make myself close today. First from Resource Shelf came the A-Z from Answers.com. I'm pleased, I suppose, that I know the majority of them. A few seemed trivial (see letter "H" for Paris Hilton) and a few were sad reflections on people (X for Xenophobia, R for Riots, etc). It's been a tumultuous year and such a year of change.

For me it was an incredibly crazy year--I moved twice, gave up my good solid 9-6 job to move halfway across the country without a new job waiting, stayed with a bf who started graduate school, knitted a ton but never enough, and have tried to redefine myself in a new city that I find I still don't feel at home in.

And now I face a new year here. As I was getting Christmas gifts put away and going through the glut of info in my reader (it'd been probably 3 days since I gleaned, you can imagine the backload), I found this from the New York Times: Lock the Library! Rowdy Students Are Taking Over .
Before I managed a cup of coffee, this one went to two of the listservs I read. General reaction is a little bit of horror and skepticism, as well as pity. We don't know everything the library has tried, we don't know if it's being played up, we don't know if the police just won't help. That being said--I don't think it was the best of ideas to close the library. There seems as though there must be another option and perhaps the city will now be forced to come up with one.

One thing that the Library afternoon closing and the rowdy middle school students demonstrates is a lack of place for students to go to just "be." Adults have "third places" with Starbucks being one of the most readily leaping to mind. We think nothing of needing another place besides work but we don' t make one for our kids. I ran into the problem in my hometown--still do, actually. I used to go to the library occasionally, but usually with my mom. But there wasn't somewhere that my friends and I could walk after school except a pizza parlor on a busy enough road that it made my mom nervous. I did extra curricular stuff to stay busy and was normally at school until 6-7p.m. but most schools don't have funding for that and, I'd venture to say, many students are not the geek that I was.

Where are kids supposed to go and what are they supposed to do? It's considered unsafe for them to go home and yet we can't get the funding to make school a 9-5 proposition so that everyone would get home at the same time. Can you imagine!! Perhaps two study halls so no work was ever taken home? Teachers might actually get a "prep" period plus a "study hall" to monitor. It might cut down on problems or it might just make them worse.

It makes me glad I'm not a young teenager anymore.

1 comment:

K2.0 said...

Closing the library does seem to be a draconian solution, but as you say, we don't know how much was tried before that. I would hope an increased security prsence and zero-tolerance enforcement of the rules of conduct was at least tried before thids decision was made. It's hard to see it as anything but a failure.