This ain’t my childhood library

When I was a kid, my local library did not look like this: image image image image

Since when did libraries become equipped with germ-laden toys for children to fight over while their parents nervously attempt to negotiate the delicate balance between encouraging sharing and allowing an ill-mannered ruffian to run roughshod over their kids’ rights to the plastic waffle maker?

I’m not complaining. As you can see, my daughter loves the place. I’m just wondering when and why this decision was made.

Did some big picture guy say, “Hey, let’s get kids thinking that this is a great place at an early age, so as they get older, the library will feel like home.”

I hope this is not the reason. This rationale never works. It’s a nice thought until the toddlers become surely, cynical, anti establishment, opinionated, highly discriminating teenagers.

Then all those times spent playing with the Little People castle and cooking in the Fisher Price microwave will mean nothing.

A good rule of thumb: If you cannot appeal to your customer’s actual age group and must instead rely upon nostalgia to keep them coming back, you’re in trouble.

But whatever the reason for the toys and games and puppet stage, Clara loves the place, and I’m glad. It’s much more attractive than the library of my youth, a dimly-lit, one room library in the basement of the Town Hall containing (if memory serves me) a total of six long library shelves of books.

Compared to that place, the West Hartford Public Library is Disney World on steroids.

And eventually my daughter will realize that the building is filled with books, too. My books, even.