Opinion: The Book of Respect

Being stalked in the library isn’t the greatest feeling. But it’s probably even a worse feeling when you’re being stalked by the staff at the library. People allocated to help you.

Maybe even stalking is a harsh word, but that’s what it felt like.

Because I’ve had way too many experiences where the staff at the library has stalked my friends and I. Way too many for it to be considered normal or appropriate.
The most prominent case of this came last year.

During the Covid season, my sisters and I went to the library after school so I could get a few books. They went off on their own while I went upstairs. About a half an hour later they came up to me saying that a librarian was stalking them since they were downstairs. I decided that we should leave but I just wanted to get a quick book while we were heading out. Just for that librarian to come up to us and tell us to be six feet apart.

And of course, let’s not forget her admitting to my sisters that she was watching them in a short “I’ve been watching you since downstairs and if you’re not going to get a book, then you need to leave.” Which is completely false, you definitely can be in the library without any intention of getting a book.

Well, first, we’re sisters, we told her, wearing masks, and had been vaccinated. Then told her that I was getting a book.

She still asserted her point on us being six feet apart and quickly getting a book and leaving but hastily walked away.

All that for ANOTHER librarian to come up to us a few moments later asking us to do the same thing. To which we told her the same thing we told the other librarian.

It was just an extremely uncomfortable situation. Especially considering that they still didn’t care despite us telling them our reasoning for being close together or in the library in general.

But the whole entire point of that interaction was the fact that we hadn’t done anything wrong, yet they still tried to bother us about whatever they thought was wrong.

Security guards have stalked us as well.

I don’t know why we are such a magnet for such mistreatment, especially since no one I know or have been with in the library has roughhoused, been loud, or destroyed any property.

Yet, for some reason it seems the library staff still targets people who have done nothing wrong.

And it goes into a bigger issue. Eventually, I stopped going to the library because I didn’t want to deal with an uncomfortable situation again. And even during the time when I was most active in the library, it made me afraid to ask the library staff for help.


There is a big however, though.

While the staff does mistreat the students there, it doesn’t make what the staff has to deal with any better.

They seriously have to deal with a lot I’m sure. Things that I don’t see because I’m not there on a daily basis.

Inside the library, I’ve never seen any disrespect towards the staff, but outside is a different story. With loud, rowdy, mostly middle schoolers, it’s a pure headache. People running everywhere, climbing trees, screaming. I’m sure the library staff has dealt with a plethora personally.

And it’s easy to say that the librarian staff should just deal with it, they took the job didn’t they? Despite the fact that they don’t. They don’t get paid to babysit kids, they get paid to maintain the library. You’re not going on a library salary to deal with the hoard of kids who come to the library just for a lot of them to be extraordinarily immature.

On top of that, while my bad experiences will unfortunately stick out amongst the good ones, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had them. I remember one time having trouble checking out my book and a librarian noticed and went over to help. She was extremely nice and was able to fix the problem immediately, even complimenting me along the way.


But, where does this all bring us? It just brings us to the fact that the staff of Broward County Library and the students of Coral Springs Charter have conflicts. Yet, it’s not enough to recognize these conflicts and not suggest anything in order to make them better.

I believe, in any sort of relationship, communication is the most important thing.
You can’t expect students to respect the staff at the library when they’ve been harrassed for doing nothing, yet you can’t expect the library staff to be courteous at all times to immature kids.

Personally, it would be a lot less tense to go to the library if I hadn’t had terrible experiences with the staff there. So, having regulations on your staff to make sure things like that don’t happen might be a nice first step to have. It’s in order to make sure that kids who don’t misbehave in the library, keep coming back and are able to be a good experience to the staff.

Second, I feel like the school should do more to help this problem. But it isn’t enough to tell kids to “not misbehave” because unfortunately, when you tell someone not to do something, they want to do it more. But it is important to try to translate the harm that some kids are doing. It’s important for them to know that the librarian staff are just trying to do their jobs and that there are more people at the library than just yourselves.

And at the end of the day, there will always be disrespectful people, on both sides. It’s just life unfortunately. But let’s think about it for a second. Coral Springs Charter and Broward County Library are next door neighbors. I would even say they have a mutualistic relationship. The library provides a safe place for kids to go so they can wait till their parents pick them up, and our school provides more people to the library who otherwise, might not even think about going.

So, it’s important to get along with our neighbors, or we’ll all have a bad time. Because whether we like it or not, we’re right next to each other. Instead of fighting each other, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to compromise with each other. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t respect each other.