Thursday, October 25, 2012

We're so cool we're in cartoon

Libraries, especially public libraries, take a lot of flak for pandering to the lowest common denomiator of the public. In my experience, this is mostly deserved, especially when that 'pandering' is done in massively clueless ways. Take my own library as a stelar example:

Teen participation is the holy grail of public libraries. For some reason, even though teenagers tend to be loud, to curse, and to take up a disproporitionate amount of the bandwidth on libraries' free internet, library management really, really wants them to come to the library. To this end, our branch recently got a videogame system to lure in teenagers and installed it in the teen area along with a T.V. purchased specifically for gaming. We wanted teenagers to play so badly that we even instituted a policy that an 8-12 year old can be kicked off the system if an older kid wants to play (seriously.).

The idea was that we'd leave the T.V. on as a regular T.V. when no one was using the game system. One problem:

Absolutely no policy has been formed about what channel to put the T.V. on. Also, administrators are afraid of offending any of the nutty conservative patrons, so the T.V. is currently being left on...the Cartoon Network. Yes, that Cartoon Network. Known for Scooby Doo, Dexter's Laboratory, and Johnny Bravo.

Not surprisingly, this encourages kids to hang out in the teen area. Again not surprisingly, the few teenagers that previously hung out there (mostly nerdy types) don't want to hang aroudn with a bunch of eight-year-olds watching Annoying Orange and shout at each other about Mariokart. So, in summary, the expensive television and viedogame system actually discourage teens from hanging out in the library.

I think more teenagers watcg Dexter than watch Dexter's Laboratory.

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