Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Free ranging and the library

I love to read.  When I met my husband, he was shocked at how many books I would fly through.  Since I'm frugal (and speedy) it doesn't make sense to buy books, unless I really like them, so I've developed a wonderful relationship with my library.  Since we live out in the boonies, we rarely get to the main branch of the library, and instead visit one of our local branches.  I love living in a small town and I believe in being a free-range parent.  As a child, my parents let me roam wild, ringing a large bell when it was time to come home.  I spent many happy hours in the woods behind our house exploring and letting my inner tomboy run free.  I want to allow my children the same freedom.  They know to be aware of the dangers around them, but I do not want to stifle their adventurous side.  Also, how will they become self-reliant with me hovering over them all the time?

I've shared my love for reading with my children.  When we visit the library, I barely have the truck in park and the kids are out and deep in the stacks, deciding which new book they want to bring home and playing educational games on the kid-sized computers.  The librarians are wonderful, not only do they know my children by name, they also know their interests.

Last night we visited the new $38 million main library for the first time since they opened it last July.  It is gorgeous, although the parking situation could be a lot better.  We didn't actually go to see the books or check out the new building, but we were attending an event, ironically for a caucus viewing party for the only candidate who is for liberty and freedom.  I was standing in the foyer, and my girls were eyeballing the inside of the library with hunger in their eyes.  It was just too pretty not to explore!  I told them to take a quick look and let them go.  They didn't get more than 10 feet from me when a security guard came flying out to yell at me that my children were not allowed to be in the library unless I was with them at all times!  What?  Really?  They have a whole floor dedicated to children and children's activities!  They cannot be there alone?  From their website:  The third floor is dedicated to children, with an innovative Early Learning Center and tween area in addition to the children's collection and program spaces. 

So I'm left not only feeling angry that the guard yelled at me in front of 20 people, but that my children weren't able to explore on their own.  I love hearing about their findings.  I also have to wonder why there were any security guards in the library in the first place?   I guess we truly are becoming a police state.


  1. The library is gorgeous. but, with a $38 million "investment" comes the security. Too bad for your kids. I'm with you about police probably won't get any better if we don't stand up for our liberties! Blessings from Wisconsin.

  2. I know that angry feeling you felt! I'm becoming more and more convinced that America hates children and prefers zombies. My kids can be running and laughing, just being kids and someone will yell at me to control them. What?! They have destroyed nothing, hurt nothing! I'm ready for a third world country where they'll have more freedom to run than they ever will here. Freedom to skin their knee, fall off their bike, explore around the next corner... (you mean my kids can't turn over rocks without me overseeing it?!) Each new safety law is another strand of barbwire keeping children from learning & experiencing life. Not only are the laws adding more wire, they are shrinking the pasture. Sure your kids can free-range, but just right here.

  3. This is Peter....

    Molly was sitting down here mad as hell and telling me about your post. After hearing about it I want to share an incident that happened in Bodega Bay. Molly and the kids were up by the marina office in the evening and the children were playing with the dock carts. One of the Security Guards came up and told Molly that the the kids playing with the carts was not an "authorized" use of them. I got see my 5'2" wife get in the face of the 6'+ guard, she asked him, "can you show me the list of authorized uses?" to which he muttered something about not having a list (she totally caught him off guard). Then she started explaining to him (in a very elevated voice), that if there is no list then how can the children playing with them be "unauthorized" and that he needed to stop making things up to make his personal objection sound like it had some sort of authority behind it. By the time she got done with him he was apologizing profusely and asking politely if the kids won't play with the carts as he didn't think it was a good idea. In Molly's defense he did catch her at the wrong time of the month; but never the less I think that guy is going to think twice before confronting a parent about their children being children again.

  4. GO MOLLY! I would have loved to have seen that!

  5. That is sad. What a waste of money to have a library that is so big that there have to be security guards and it can't truly be used the way that it should be.