Library patron's chapter of frustration with unsupervised kids
Tensions have boiled over at a small Taranaki library after a regular user complained about noisy, unsupervised kids being "dumped" there after school and disturbing the peace.
Kaponga resident Elizabeth Williams said she ended up with a visit from the police after one of the "yahooing" kids was rude to her and she spoke back.
Williams said she can talk quite loud if she doesn't have her hearing aid in, and someone reported her.
"I didn't threaten him. I think the police realised that."
Williams said the story began on Tuesday when she received a call from a librarian telling her that some books had come in.
She said the librarian had to tell the kids to be quiet during the call.
"When I went up there it was bedlam."
Williams said she had counted 20 kids left unattended at the Kaponga War Memorial Hall, which houses the library in its supper room.
Some kids were being very good, sitting on the sofa or on computers, she said, but others "yahoo all about the place".
She said she was not blaming them because children can be noisy, but the library was not the place.
"When the school finishes the kids get dumped there.
"It's not a creche and it's not a playcentre."
Williams said people had told her 'it's the library', and she had replied: "Yes, library being the operative word."
She had also been told to go before school finishes, but the library only opens at 1pm.
"Why should I?"
She claimed the parents were either "too lazy to look after their own children" or too greedy to pay for a babysitter and she was actually looking out for the youngsters' interests.
The problem had only started after the library moved from its old location last August because of earthquake risk.
"It was a lot smaller, and the problem didn't seem to be there."
A visit to the library on Thursday afternoon found eight children without parents around, although they were not overly loud.
South Taranaki District Council group manager of community services, Fiona Greenhill, said they had no problem with the kids in the library.
"Our libraries, particularly in our smaller towns, are vital community hubs and it's great that the children are there. They are safe, well-behaved and are using our libraries in an entirely legitimate manner, which should be celebrated."
She said they encouraged children to use the libraries.
"That is what they are there for. Many children use our libraries after school and occasionally there may be some younger children who accompany their older siblings.
"I believe having our young people using and enjoying our libraries, in a safe environment, where their parents know where they are and where there is at least adult oversight, is a good thing.
"If behaviour is an issue, whether young or old, supervised or unsupervised, then it is dealt with appropriately as it arises."