In Orlando PL, No Over 18s Allowed in YA Department

Blogger Sarah N. Fisk, an author of young adult novels, questions the Orlando Public Library's policy on keeping adults out of the YA section of the library.

She wrote a letter to the library expressing her unhappiness with the policy, and received this response in return.

What are your thoughts and what is your library's policy on this issue?

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we have similar policy

but it's not for the whole "teen" area, just the teen computers.. meaning only kids age 12-16 can use the teen computers... adults complain when those computers are empty during the day, but so far none of them have been authors who tweet.

but we add this to allow: "those whose research requires the use of materials located exclusively in the children’s collection." but if you seem to be an adult just hanging around and watching teens, we move you out.

"I can't support a policy that strips me of privileges when I have done nothing to warrant it."

um, you got old.

We let the adults use the

We let the adults use the teen computers when the adult computers are full but ONLY before 2PM when the teens in this area get out of school. After that, until closing, the Teen Center is off limits for adults unless they are strictly browsing the book collection. From 2-6 (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays) or 2-7 (Mondays, Wednesdays) they can't use Teen Center computers, sit at the Teen Center tables to read or do research or sit in the sofa chairs in the Teen Center for lounging purposes.

We've had too many adults who come into the Teen area just to harass teens or male adults propositioning the teen girls and making them feel uncomfortable. That's why our library put our rules in place. Adults can look for books but that's pretty much it.

Profoundy absurd.

This is absolutely ridiculous. While restriction of teen computers is reasonable (after all, it's a limited resource and teens need them for school work on occasion at least), keeping adults out of the teen and children's sections unless they are there with a kid is just beyond the pall. Certainly a mind should be paid to adults who are looming around these areas, not looking at the books but rather looking at or interacting with the children, but speaking as someone who really enjoys a lot of YA fiction (it's where some of the best fantasy is coming out these days) this is a plain case of over reaction to an overblown problem.

Freedom if speech

>>We've had too many adults who come into the Teen area just to harass teens or male adults propositioning the teen girls and making them feel uncomfortable.

So is the current limit of freedom of speech any speech that makes a teen girl uncomfortable? If a girl is old enough to consent who is the library to say that someone cannot "hit" on them?

dude, knock yourself out...

"So is the current limit of freedom of speech any speech that makes a teen girl uncomfortable? If a girl is old enough to consent who is the library to say that someone cannot "hit" on them?"

hmmm, sexual predator, much? I guess I can find your photo on the state's predator website. and if not, prolly by next year. so leave the teen girls alone. you do understand that there are many many many laws against that.

Not computers, books

Some of you have stated that you reserve computers for the teens, but that is not what happened here. The BOOKS were being withheld from the general public. I don't think there's anything wrong with teens only areas in the library, but having books off limits becuase you don't happen to be in a specified age group is absurd. What if a bold 11 year old wants to read YA, or a 19 year old? Or what about teachers who want to make a summer reading list? Or parents whose teen is home sick? None of these people would be allowed under the standing rule, to browse the shelves of the YA section.

>>So is the current limit of

>>So is the current limit of freedom of speech any speech that makes a teen girl uncomfortable? If a girl is old enough to consent who is the library to say that someone cannot "hit" on them?<<

So making unwanted sexual advances on a teen or pre-teen girl is okay with you? Got it, good to know, can we have your name so we can put you on some type of watch list? I feel sorry for any daughters you have or might have because she's in for a rough life with someone like you as a parent.

>So making unwanted sexual

>So making unwanted sexual advances on a teen or pre-teen girl is okay with you?

No, but being okay with me is different than something being against the law. If a 50 year old ask a 17 year old out for a date do we throw him in jail? We may use social enforcement of norms and say "buzz off creepy old man" but you don't put the person in jail. And if the activity is legal wgo is the library to stop it? There are a pile of librarians that will fall on their sword to defend your right to view porn in the library. Why do they fold in other areas.

>So making unwanted sexual advances on a teen or pre-teen girl is okay with you?

I go to the library with my daughters. I don't use library policy to look out for them. I do that myself.

>>Some of you have stated

>>Some of you have stated that you reserve computers for the teens, but that is not what happened here. The BOOKS were being withheld from the general public. I don't think there's anything wrong with teens only areas in the library, but having books off limits becuase you don't happen to be in a specified age group is absurd. What if a bold 11 year old wants to read YA, or a 19 year old? Or what about teachers who want to make a summer reading list? Or parents whose teen is home sick? None of these people would be allowed under the standing rule, to browse the shelves of the YA section.<<

I agree with you. I have no problems with putting limits on teen computers or sitting areas but everyone should be allowed to browse the book collection. Where I work there is always a teen librarian or teen counselor/worker in the library so if any adult does something out of line there is someone there to ask him or her to leave.

let's go back to the policy...

"For the safety of all children, Adults (18 and over) who are not accompanied by children, are to use the Children’s Areas only for the purpose of retrieving materials for check out or to make arrangements to pull materials for research to be used in other areas of the library.

Club Central
Club Central is a place on the first floor of the Main Library designed and reserved for use by teens from 13 through 18. It is a comfortable, inviting place created for teens to study, socialize, and have fun. The use of the facility and resources, including the seating, computers and AV equipment, is limited to those from 13 through 18 years of age. Other library users wanting to use Young Adult materials will be assisted in retrieving materials by staff."

so yes, the policy restricts library use, something most of you reject. but, boy, there are also lots of adults around who seem to want to date teen girls... so I guess that justifies the policy.

annoying but...

I think the real solution would be to have two copies of every YA book - one in the section and one in one where adults could browse - because I know a TON of adults who mostly read YA fiction...

Austin Public Library is

Austin Public Library is about to employ a similar policy. Several staff raised objections, but were overruled. The policy has a slightly more relaxed interpretation, in that Library students and authors, and others with a justifiable research need, can browse in the youth sections... I don't like the restriction at all... but I don't think we were heard by policy-makers. The signs will be going up soon. So sad :(

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