A real story in which I have a conversation with another librarian in front of the group during a discussion period. I did not make this exchange up.
Librarian 1: We can not let students monitor their own behavior in the library because it would be loud and they would be having babies.
Me, ignoring the whole â€œmaking babiesâ€ comment: What is wrong with students being loud in the library?
Librarian 1 and 2 (someone else piped in): Some people want it to be quiet.
Me: But some people like it loud. Why canâ€™t you have places for both?
Librarian 1: We do not have enough room for that.
At this point the instructor stops the back and forth and I am left thinking the following: But why canâ€™t there be room for both? Because one group wants it quiet everyone has to be that way? What about the people who learn amid noise? If there is room for people to be â€œhaving babies,â€ which I take to mean making out, why is there not room for two areas of the library? Unless they are having sex in the middle of the computer lab or reference section, which I doubt, there have to be some nooks and crannies in the building that could be converted to group study areas.
After the session, one of my colleagues points out to me that the other problem with this statement is that it reduces our students to nothing more than animals. Animals whose purpose it to make noise and babies. If you really view your students this way, you need to find a different job to do. As Parker Palmer says, you have to check the violence you do to others.
This librarian has missed the cluetrain. (At the time of this post publication, the website is down, but it should be back up soon.)
–Jane, left feeling very frustrated with her fellow learners