Making Sure the Policy Meets Its Purpose
A friend of mine works in a library that is having trouble with a specific group of teens. They were coming in, getting on the computers and causing a ruckus (I love that word) by looking at inappropriate sites, shouting to each other and making the atmosphere uncomfortable for other patrons in general. This went on for about two weeks and showed no signs of slowing down. Obviously, something had to be done. The supervisors decided to take charge of the situation and put forth a policy which they felt would end teen shenanigans once and for all…
Any patrons under 18 must present a school ID or have a library card in order to use a computer.
And the result?
A local private school does not use photo IDs, therefore some of these students cannot use the computers. As with most communities, there is a group of children who are unable to get cards because of their parents accumulating large fines, they are now unable to use the computers. Teens who are “in transition”, have neglecting or abusive parents, homeless, or unable to get their parents signature for whatever are all banned from using the computers in the library as well.
So, does the policy meet its purpose? Even taking the most utilitarian positions on this policy would tell you that a lot more people are negatively affected than helped by its implementation. Ultimately, the result of this policy is simply less teens on the computers and the only way the policy could be considered successful from this is by assuming that all teens are the problem, not just the aforementioned troublemakers.
Speaking of which; if anyone is wondering how the unruly teens are dealing with this policy, not to worry… They all have school IDs and are still having a good time.