The NYT (again) on Maplewood Memorial Library (updated)

Update: Steven Cohen has the scoop, the library WON’T close in the afternoons because local government officials (rightly) came up with solutions.

The NYT has now published an editorial (registration required) on the Maplewood issue. Some highlights and why they annoyed me:

From the NYT Editorial:

In the meantime, there are things the library can do on its own to accommodate the students. Leslie Burger, the director of the Princeton, N.J. library and the president of the American Library Association, points out that youngsters started frequenting her library’s new facility shortly after it opened a couple of years ago. She then hired three retired persons with skills in handling young people to work part-time with the youngsters in a positive rather than just a disciplinary way.

What the writer of the NYT Editorial failed to note is that the library already hired additional staff:

We have hired after-school monitors to help with crowd control and behavior issues. We have reached out to students through TAG, our Teen Advisory Group. We have notified parents of the problem through Home and School Association publications. We have made public officials aware of the on-going issue. And we have worked closely with school officials and law enforcement. In spite of these efforts, the problem persists.

(my italics)

You’d think that the NYT editorial author might’ve…y’know…done a little research and reviewed the library’s statements on the issue.

Back to the NYT editorial

At a time when student reading scores are declining and young people are spending more and more time tethered to all manner of electronic screens — everything from text-messaging cell phones to video iPods to computers and, yes, TV’s — librarians have a responsibility to do almost anything to welcome students to their facilities.

The author of the editorial must not have been to a public library in some time. He/she seems to think that libraries AREN’T full of “all manner of electronic screens”! Does the author perhaps believe that the library’s role is to be a champion of the printed word?

Everything about the NYT coverage of this story seems to indicate that NYT writers don’t visit public libraries and have no idea what they’re like.

5 thoughts on “The NYT (again) on Maplewood Memorial Library (updated)

  1. Great detective work. I’m torn between disliking the NYT coverage and the fact that they saw the potential closing as important enough to cover.

    Either way, good news in the end.

  2. Hey Steven. 🙂

    It *is* good news, but I’m still annoyed that the NYT has the nerve to preach to public libraries about their social responsibilities without having any idea what public libraries are like nowadays.

  3. The New York Times

    “All the news we print that fits”


    A perfect example of what’s wrong with mainstream media. I don’t think there’s enough room in LaBrea for all these dinosaurs.

  4. I’m not sure I feel as strongly about it, Mr. Schad- but once again, you’ve cracked me up. Thanks. 🙂

    (Pointing at a newspaper)
    “Look! A DEAD TREE version of the internet!”
    – Ze Frank

  5. I’m going on fifty years on this planet, 40 of which were spent learning not to trust anything I hear and only half of what I see. It’s nefarious, I tell ya.
    I laughed at your quote, too 🙂