Monday, January 12, 2009

Banning me from the library...section

I snuck into the forbidden section of the library this weekend.

I even brought Child with me (shameless!), and admitted to her that I was flouting the rules. That I was specifically banned, but I was darn well going in anyway. If anyone challenged me, I'd state my case and argue my right to be there.

Still, I felt furtive. I scanned the shelves quickly, with glances over my shoulder at the empty librarian's desk, at the other patrons who were allowed. Were they looking at me funny? Were they whispering about me, or planning to call in enforcement?

But the books...they were worth it. My favorites, the ones I'd seen on blogs for a year but hadn't had a chance to get, the ones my friends had been talking about...all there. I would've gotten a big pile, if I didn't still have Christmas books to read.

That's right, folks. It was the new YA section.

It was well-stocked. It had a manga section, new releases I was drooling over, and a ton of "classics", both the kind English teachers give you and the kind you run across for yourself. It is also "Limited to patrons 13-18 years old."

WHAT?

I sort of understand, on one level, that the librarians are trying to create a safe, teen-exclusive feel, like NO GROWN-UPS ALLOWED. There also might be some weird stalker issues they're worried about. But really? You think interest in YA books stops magically at age 18, and you should BAN anyone older than that from browsing the books? No, really? What about precocious kids under 13 who might want to take a peek?

I have a problem with this. To me it smacks of discrimination, not to mention pigeon-holing. And as a YA writer, I will absolutely argue why I should be there, why anyone who loves good books should be able to be there.

What do you think?

10 comments:

pseudosu said...

Oh! You MUST return, under cover of night if necessary, and replace their sign with one that says, "Pedophiles of any age, and people with the stick shoved too far up there strictly prohibited."

Otherwise I suppose you could pull out the, "No of course I have no I.D.-- I'm twelve dude!"

Linder said...

Careful. I hear those Library police can be nasty... {g}

Wulf said...

Banned? From the YA section?

I'm right there with ya' -- hell I'd probably pitch a tent. (*sigh* that probably lumps me in the group they want to keep out)

beckylevine said...

I'm with you. First of all, I love to read YA. Second, the YA section is the best place for my 12.5 year old son to find the fantasy/sci-fi stuff he likes. I JUST got him to start looking past all the pink in the YA section of the bookstore; now somebody is telling me to keep him out? I don't think so.

Joanne Levy said...

That's nuts. My library has a 'teen zone' but there are no restrictions. I generally order my books through the online catalogue so they get pulled and are ready for me at the front desk (I even get a call when they're ready) - it's SO much more convenient than browsing.

Kathy said...

Our library bans adults from the _bathrooms_ in the kids' (combo of children's and YA) section of the library. That I can see. But from the books? That's insane. Not only are there lots of adults who read YA novels, but children's/YA non-fiction can be great for learning the basics about just about anything.

Do they not realize their ban includes not only people who simply enjoy YA novels, but adults who struggle to read adult novels but can handle YA. My sister, who's 35 and dyslexic, reads a lot of YA.

Deniz Bevan said...

That is the creepiest thing I've ever heard of. Weirdos ruining it for everyone else. As for the age limits, I was reading YA starting at the age of 8 and it's still my favourite genre - this is ageism! (And struggling adults-ism!) I think the bathroom idea is a good one, but, seriously, how large is the section anyway - can't the librarian *see* if a strange adult comes in and hangs around too long? Or if older kids are bullying younger ones?
I would pitch a tent too, or circulate fliers or something... But I'd better keep my nose out of it :-)

Julie said...

Way to go, you rebel you! Take back YA for all those adult readers!!

Susan Adrian said...

Thanks all for your comments! Adults reading YA solidarity! *fist-bap*

I do think I'll go and talk to the librarians about my concerns. It just seems wrong.

Gerb said...

That's the most asinine thing I've ever heard of. And in a library, no less. Most of the librarians I know would cut off their right arms before they would start dictating who could read what.

Me, you couldn't keep me out of the YA section, ban or no.