discuss, please

Perhaps this belongs on my knitting blog, but I'm interested in the opinions of a wider audience. If you read The Yarn Harlot, then you've probably already heard about the libraries in Ontario banning arts and crafts from their branches. (Go read the article I just linked. It's short.)

In short, a group of girls age 6-10 are no longer allowed to have their weekly Itch and Stitch meetings at their library because the branches want to make more room for their literacy-centered programs. Now, as you may know, I'm an avid knitter myself (I have a whole blog for it, even), and I think a person can knit just about anywhere. Personally, I'd knit anywhere I can breastfeed, and that's pretty much anywhere: church, waiting rooms, public parks, Borders, and yes, the library. I think it's too bad that a library can't (or won't) host a quiet group of girls who want to knit and crochet together. BUT. Knitting isn't reading or literacy-oriented, and if the library space and staff are needed for activities more relevant to reading and literacy, they have the right to ask groups to take their arts and crafts elsewhere. It seems to me the library isn't anti-knitting (or anti-crafts in general), since the librarian interviewed suggested the girls start a book discussion group and knit during that. In fact, I think that's an excellent idea. I wouldn't mind being part of such a group myself, in fact. I admit I got a little hung up on the part of the article where the library is hosting a video game group to attract a younger crowd, but I'll reserve harsher judgement since I don't run the library or anything.

OK, now what do y'all think?


Anonymous said…
The library in our town (the town, Suze, where you grew up) as you know is a beautiful new structure and is open to many community events. The quilting guild that I am part of meets regularly once a month on a Saturday morning in the community room to "Sit and Sew." Of course it doesn't hurt that the head librarian is an active member of our guild. Our library sponsors various events that are cultural although not necessarily literary. Programs have included a demonstration on beading dresses and theater costumes, a guitar concert and a lecture on tea. The genealogical society meets regularly there and has a special section devoted to them. All these activities make the library a busy, inviting place to go to. We love our library for these things.
abcgirl said…
the article is unclear as to whether this is a random group of friends who want to get together to knit at the library, or it is a library sponsored event. if it's just an informal group of friends, then yes, i think it's ridiculous that they'd be "kicked out" but if the library is trying to re-do their programming line-up, well then that's their prerogative. if they feel that they'd rather reach more kids than just this regular handful of girls, then i sort of understand. although i have different opinions about how to run my programming line-up at my library and i would be UP IN ARMS if i was told there was a new policy to get rid of arts and crafts style programs....i think mostly that's because those are the programs that i enjoy and if i have a passion for something, that will translate to the kids and (i believe) bring in more people to the library.
katie said…
well, i just think it's silly. i was not allowed to have or advertise my music classes in the library, and that's understandable because my classes were for profit, and i admire them wanting to only support non-profits. one of the great things libraries do it provide a place for things like this -- literary or not.
Strangeite said…
While I do not know the librarians in Ontario, I do know many other librarians personally. I can not imagine any library purposefully standing in the way of these girls and their knitting. My guess is that this has more to do with budget constraints and maintaining the "letter of the law" from their board of directors. Hence the suggestion of one of the librarians to start a book club. Also, sometimes you have multiple municipal agencies providing duplicate services and choices are made to consolidate. There is a similar situation currently here.

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