BCL behavioral policy nearing completion as problem starts to calm

March 07, 2007
Santa Paula News

As a behavioral policy for library patrons is nearing completion the problem is showing signs of abating, according to a Blanchard Community Library official.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesAs a behavioral policy for library patrons is nearing completion the problem is showing signs of abating, according to a Blanchard Community Library official.Last year the library became the scene of increasing misbehavior by children and youths, leading the creation of a new tougher and more detailed behavioral policy. The BCL Board of Trustees also considered hiring a part-time monitor to keep an eye on the behavior of unruly library users, a position that was not filled due to other staffing issues. Librarian Dan Robles said that the draft document - prepared by BCL Trustee Suzi Skutley - will be considered at the March 20 board meeting.“Actually, ever since we moved the homework center into a side meeting room it’s pretty much calmed down,” noted Robles. “I don’t know what that means,” other than perhaps the smaller, less visible area does not encourage as much misbehavior.Some troublemakers have “learned to calm down” after Rafael Ramirez, an Isbell Middle School outreach counselor, visited the library several months ago and spoke to several chronic troublemakers. “...Rafael talked to them one time and told them he knows who they are and he knows me, and if they give the library any trouble” Ramirez will become involved, noted Robles. “It helped to have someone from the school come out and talk to them.”
Robles said that parents dropping off their children at the library still create problems in some instances, and that “Although we have asked people in our literacy program not to bring their kids, they continue to do so. The kids run amuck and we have to ride herd on them. Other than that, we try to tell the literacy program students and tutors that if they are here they want to learn,” but that they cannot bring children unless they will be doing homework “or use the library appropriately. If not, they must keep the kids home or we wind up just watching them for the parents.”Another source of problems has been the social services program offering free income tax preparation. “It’s every Monday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and people are bringing their kids” and turning them loose while their taxes are prepared by one of several volunteers.“Last night we had one young boy about 9 watching his 3- or 4-year old sister pulling books off the shelves and putting them elsewhere,” disrupting the library’s filing system. “At least I’m the one working Monday nights, and I’ve been trying to control it,” said Robles, who was able to put the books back in the proper place.But overall Robles said the “problems have gotten a lot better since the winter break and we moved the homework center.... That worked out really well.”

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