Ontario Library Bans children's knitting group
Hopefully the above link works (I am notorious for not getting links lined right) if not google it and I'm sure you'll find an article. But anyway in a re-structuring, re-examining the budget type thing, the Ontario library is eliminating it's children's knitting group along with other crafting groups. Obviously, people are upset. Not just the kids, but judging from some Ravelry discussion threads a lot of knitters are taking this as a personal attack. Now, I know that the Yarn Harlot discussed the issue yesterday. I know I am no where in her league. But:
1. It's not the Brownies or Cub scouts or whatever Canada's version of such activities is.
2. The articles do not make it clear who is providing yarn/needles etc. If it is the library I can understand how this really isn't a "book" expenditure.
3. The library did say that if the girls wanted to turn it into a book group, where they discuss a book weekly while knitting, they would re-instate it. Seems reasonable that a LIBRARY would host a book club over a knitting club and doing both seems reasonable to me.
4. If the parents in question are so upset about loosing the group, that is so important to their kids, why can't they fnd another venue? After school at a school maybe. Also there is the cost and time of the library personnel involved. My daughter volunteers at our public library for the summer reading program. There is a lot of work that goes into it. There are not that many library personnel to do everything. Maybe if one of the parents volunteered to co-ordinate and supervise the group, they would still be able to use the library's facilities. (Our library has a fibercraft knit, crochet, needlepoint etc that meets in the conference room bi-weekly or monthly - I get off work about an hour too late to make it as it is at 1pm) Or do the parents see it as an hour of free babysitting weekly??
5. I can understand the library needing to spend it's budget on activities that will draw larger groups into their facilities, and it seems like only a handful of girls are part of this group.
Yes, I know this sounds harsh, but there is a reality here. People can't afford taxes increasing every time they turn around. A lot of people want the "government" to give them everything. Who do they think pays for all that? Municipalities can't run billions in the red like nations seem to think they can. So funding is limited. So priorities have to be met. As much as I really love that kids are being introduced to a great activity, libraries are literacy centers. many have become community centers, but at heart it's still all about the reading. I'm really sure if these parents were told they have to pay for the group they would be in an equal uproar. but they are fine with the rest of the community paying for it.
Bottom line. Libraries promote reading. The knitting group is only in the vaguest way promoting reading ( ok, maybe the kids check out a book while in the library and you have to read knitting patterns but it's a stretch) Someone, a librarian ( or media scientist as they like to call themselves) or activity director or someone who is getting paid must run this. I think the parents should have the kids turn it into a book club. The kids still get to meet, the kids will definitely be reading, the kids still get to knit, maybe non-knitting kids will come to discuss the book and be curious about the knitting and give it a try. parents still get free babysitting.
I'm sure parents can find another venue or possibly unoccupied time at the library. volunteer to supervise the group. kids still get to knit, kids still get to meet, maybe talk about abook in school who knows. Oh yeah, at least one of the parents loses free babysitting. hmmmm. guess that isn't going to happen.
my friend Carmen at work has an 8 year old and a 4 year old. The eight year old is heading into his 3rd year of rec-league sports. He is still amazed at the parents who will drop a little kid of in the parking lot and take off. he's always asking - what if something happens, what if it rains etc etc. Then he is freaked out because on the first day of a sport, parents do the same thing. Don't meet the coach, don't even stick around to make sure their kid is at the right field, right time. In the spring, the farm league coach stood out in the parking lot to stop all these parents, meet them and at least get their cell numbers. How crazy is that? Carmen's actually starting to respect the little gossip group, that drink coffee and talk in the bleachers completely oblivious to what their kids are doing because at least they are there! So sad as it may sound, a lot of parents treat these type of things as free (or in rec-league's case, they consider the rec fee) babysitting.