As a result of rowdiness by middle school students, the public library in Maplewood, N.J., will lock its doors from 2:45 to 5 p.m., reports the New York Times. Officials say some of the youngsters fight, urinate on the bathroom floor, scrawl graffiti on the walls, talk back to librarians or refuse to leave when asked. One recently threatened to burn down the branch library. Librarians call the police, sometimes twice a day.
Library officials across the country, have grown frustrated by middle schoolers' mix of pent-up energy, hormones and nascent independence. The Wickliffe, Ohio, library banned children under 14 during after-school hours unless they were accompanied by adults. An Illinois library adopted a “three strikes, you're out” rule, suspending library privileges for repeat offenders. And many libraries are adding security guards specifically for the after-school hours.