I am a regular patron of the public libraries. There have been numerous occasions when parents take their children into the adult section, and it is not uncommon to see toddlers and young children making a lot of noise, hence disrupting the peace in the library.
Library staff, including those outsourced to the National Library Board (NLB), are inept at containing these situations. They are often very reluctant to approach the parents of the loud children.
They might have had unpleasant encounters with the parents before. Past experience probably taught them that it was not worth the effort to deal with some of these belligerent parents.
As a result, the children continue to indulge in their unruly behaviour by screaming, shouting and running all over the library premises.
Many of the staff seem to carry out their duties in a perfunctory manner. Instead of exhorting the parents to manage their children, a good number pretend to be oblivious to the noise and choose to perform other "easier duties", such as waking up patrons who fall asleep and advising adults to speak softly.
Such noisy occurrences happen almost on a daily basis. The situation is worse during school holidays.
Despite the library broadcasting messages exhorting the children to behave themselves, to date, there has been no perceptible improvement. I have given feedback to the NLB on many occasions, but to no avail.
Our libraries are meant for the quiet enjoyment of the public. The NLB ought to take a more serious view of this matter and be stricter in its enforcement against recalcitrant parents who disturb other readers with their children. I am sure many library patrons will share my sentiments.
Catherine Tai Siew Leng (Ms)