Monday, February 9, 2009

No Kids Allowed.

So it looks like Maryland is about to waste $160,000 trying to get teens to visit the library. Sure, the library will spend the money on video games and manga and give away iPods as rewards for kids reading books, but when the money runs out, the teens will leave because libraries aren't cool.

You know what's cool for teens? Trouble. If you want kids to do something, tell them they can't do it. And if you think that doesn't work, ask Tom Sawyer.
Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world, after all. He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it--namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. [ -courtesy Project Gutenberg.]
Maryland, If you want kids to use your library, spend some of your $160K to put up a six-foot chain-link fence around the teen area. And secure the only gate with a heavy chain and lock. And hang a rusty sign that says, "Keep away. No Teens allowed." And the next time you look, the fenced-off area will be filled with with kids who've scaled the fence to violate the rule.

Trouble. "With a capital T that rhymes with B that stands for Books."

And another thing, as I've said before: hire some good-looking kids to work in your library. Not every kid needs to be smart enough to shelve books correctly. People don't want to admit it, but beauty is good quality. But beauty and hotness will get kids into your library better than ten Xbox 360s.

Hire a cute guy and girl to greet people who visit the library. Make them visible. Put them in your ads and on your posters. All they have to do is walk around. If they are so attractive that they keep bumping into things, have them wear elbow and knee pads. Beautiful people aren't always the brightest.

And when old or ugly people come into the library, make them wear a Mardi Gras mask to disguise their hideousness: tell them its to protect them from the fumes from all the lead ink in the books. Keep your library beautiful.

So if these are such great ideas, how come I never get invited to discuss them at library meetings?