Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.



[Sophie and Liz B. had planned a post that discussed DOPA and unattended children in the library. Upon reflection, it was the sort of snark that worked well as an off the cuff discussion, but failed on paper.]

What we want to say in a nutshell about DOPA:

We believe that parents and the public continue to operate under the misunderstanding that the library is a safe place to send children to spend endless hours.

We believe that DOPA came about because of fear and concern about children and the Internet; and was drafted by people who are honestly concerned but who do not understand the nature of today's technology, especially the positives to be found in Web 2.0.

We would like to remind parents and the public that DOPA or no DOPA, that when you send your child to the library for the day, your child is spending hours in a public place; that any member of the public can and does spend hours at the library; and that no one in the library is a licensed, degreed, or trained child care provider. DOPA or no DOPA, your child isn't being supervised.


  • At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very true. It's possible that the fact that libraries are staffed primarily by women (and often the sort of women who are perceived - rightly or wrongly - as mother- or grandmother-like) helps reinforce the idea that libraries are safe places. Or the blurring of boundaries between the ideas of books and reading = quiet = safe.

    Libraries aren't safe places anyway, any more than the great wizards of fantasy are "safe" people to hang out with - spend any reasonable amount of time with one, and you're likely to encounter ideas that'll destroy your ignorance on some subject or another. Maybe there's a distinction that's not fully being made on this issue between "comfortable", "reliable", "well-organized", etc and "safe" places.

  • At 8:13 PM, Blogger Liz B said…

    When I first started working in the public library, my mother commented to me, "but you care about people, of course you'll keep an eye on a child who needs it."

    She was a bit taken aback -- and didn't "get it" until I'd ranted -- that it's not just one child; and even if it was just one, I cannot "keep an eye" on that child while doing my work.

    I think you're very right that staff is perceived as "safe", even tho we don't have background checks; and I also think there's a belief, as voiced years ago by my Mom (who now knows better) that our "work" includes keeping an eye (ie babysitting) children.


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