Missing Mrs. Jones

I’ve just returned from my public library and my blood is boiling… again.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the concept of the public library, and I make frequent use of its wonderful books and DVDs, both for personal enjoyment, and for research when I’m working on a new story idea. In addition, I homeschooled my sons and my local library saved me hundreds—nay, thousands—of dollars in that endeavor, keeping me from having to purchase stacks and stacks of required reading.

But I’m noticing a new trend, and it’s NOT for the better. Libraries aren’t quiet anymore… at least not in my county’s libraries. Even the librarians are guilty. Gone are the days of stern-faced, bespectacled librarians enforcing silence with the dreaded, “SHHHHHH!” Back then, any talking was done in a whisper, and if you happened to get too loud after you’d been warned, you were in danger of being ejected from the premises.

Mrs. Jones was just such a librarian. She ruled her domain with the proverbial iron-fist. Rowdiness was not tolerated. Whispers had to remain nearly non-audible. I compare it those special whistles that that only dogs can hear.

The results? A blessedly quiet library.

A place where you could go to study, or read, or do research without having to listen to ten different conversations going on around you. Nowadays—at least in my library—people treat it more like it’s a coffee shop. Even in the genealogical room (a place I’ve begun to use as an escape from all the noise) two old men settled into the upholstered chairs and proceeded to have a long, LOUD discussion that didn’t even have anything to do with genealogy. “What’s wrong with you people?” I wanted to shout. “You’re a heck of a lot older than I am. If I was raised to have proper library etiquette, then I KNOW you were.”

Listen up, people. Please let there be ONE PLACE where individuals can go and be assured of a quiet environment. If you’ve got to talk, find a coffee shop, or at least, go outside!

I vote to bring back Mrs. Jones!

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