The Rowdy Young People at the Library
by Marsha Lynn
the Library Director
the Library Director
Once upon a time in a not-very-exciting little town in a not-very-exciting state in the middle of the country, far from exciting things like big cities and mountains and beaches, there was a library with some pretty exciting stuff inside. At least the people who worked in the library thought so. There were magazines to tell the people in the not-very-exciting town about what was happening in more exciting parts of the world. There were newspapers that excitedly reported the most interesting happenings in the not-very-exciting town. There were computers that connected the people of the not-very-exciting town to the whole wide wonderful world. There were videos that showed pictures of the whole wide wonderful world and told stories about it. Best of all ...
... there were books in the little library in the not-very-exciting town.
The people who worked in the library thought the books were the best part. Not only did books connect people to the whole wide wonderful world; books took people to worlds that used to exist or could exist or maybe could not exist but are fun to think about. With no batteries required. Only imagination.
Unlike big libraries in big exciting cities with lots of money and lots of workers . . . the little library in the not-very-exciting town had only a little money and a few workers. Yet, the library was sometimes a busy place. It was right on Main Street and was a warm, friendly place. In the afternoons and evenings when school was out and work was done and most of the stores were closed, people would come to the library ...
... and make copies of important papers or take tests for classes at far-away universities. They would look at magazines telling what was happening in the wide wonderful world and look around at the world using the computers. Or they would play quiet computer games. Or they would borrow books or videos to take home.
Most of the people who came to the library were quiet and polite. But not all of them. Some of the people were children, too young to know about being quiet and polite at libraries. Others were people who should have known about such things but didn’t.
There were young people in the not-very-exciting town – too old for the children’s story hour at the library; too young to be busy with grown-up tasks. What they wanted was excitement! But it’s hard to find excitement in a not-very-exciting town. So they learned to make their own excitement. Sometimes they took their excitement to the library. They talked and laughed with loud voices. They said words that shouldn’t be said at the library. They did things that shouldn’t be done at the library. In short, they were rowdy!*
*rowdy: rough, disorderly, quarrelsome.
The quiet and polite people in the library said to the library workers, “Oh, those rowdy young people! Something must be done!”
The library workers said to the library director, “Oh, those rowdy young people and those complaining people in the library! Something must be done!”
The library director had no one to tell. Sighing a deep sigh, she added “Do something about the rowdy young people” to her library to-do list. Then she thought and thought and thought about what to do. She even prayed about what to do.
The library director remembered that her husband had told her she should write a book about the library. So she wrote a book about the rowdy young people at the library. But like many people who start to write a story, she didn’t know how her story would end. Which ending should she choose from among all of the possible endings?
Possible ending #1:
The library director left her family behind each evening that the library was open so she could go to the library and say, “Be quiet!” “Don’t use those words!” “Quit bothering him!” and “No skateboarding in the library!” to the rowdy young people. While the library director was at the library, her husband ate pizza with friends without her. He went to the movies without her. When her grown-up children came home for their Christmas vacation, they went shopping without her. The library was still full of loud and impolite people, including the library director who didn’t want to be there and yelled at the rowdy young people. The library director did not like this ending.
Possible ending #2:
The library director put a sign on the door of the library. It said, “No rowdy young people allowed!” This made the library director and all the workers at the friendly little library sad. Where would the rowdy young people go? Where would they take all the excitement they made if they were no longer allowed to bring it to the library? The library director did not like this ending.
Possible ending #3
AKA, the real ending to this real story:
The library director went to the rowdy young people and said, “Hi, there. I am the library director. I have been hearing about you and need your help. We need to work together to make the library a nice place for people to come. "
Then the library director talked to the rowdy young people whenever they came into the library for a few days. She took her laptop and sat with the rowdy young people. She even signed up for Facebook so she could be friends with the rowdy young people.
The library was not quite so exciting when the library director was around. But it was still warm and friendly in the library on cold winter afternoons. So the no-longer-quite-so-rowdy young people kept coming back. Even when the library director went to the movies with her husband and grown-up children, the library was still a warm and friendly place with only a little rowdiness. The quiet and polite people in the library were happier. The library staff was happier. And the library director had new Facebook friends. This made her very happy.