Public Library denies 4 year old card


Hoboken411 reader David Dessel had some trouble at the Hoboken Public Library recently:


Young borrowers to have neat handwriting, or no card

“Earlier this week my wife and four and a half year old son went to the Hoboken Library to sign him up for his first card. The little guy was excited, as he loves books and couldn’t wait for the opportunity to start borrowing materials under his own name. Who would have thought that a public library, the bedrock institution that helps foster reading and passion for literature would turn down a new eager customer?

Well they did, not because of his age, but because of the quality and size of his handwriting. It seems that in order for a child, to be granted a library card from the Hoboken Public Library, that child must be able to print a first and last name on the tiny application. Well our son has been able to write his full name for quite some time, it just wasn’t neat enough for the high standards of the Hoboken Public Library. As he eagerly filled out the paperwork, the children’s librarian looked over his shoulder and said: “My boss in never going to accept that.”

Needless to say, my child was devastated. Thanks Hoboken.

My wife called several libraries in the area, including Millburn, Maplewood, Summit and Ridgewood, to find out what their policies are. Every librarian she spoke with was appalled by HPL’s policy. One went so far as to say that the story was heartbreaking, and the policy archaic, the kind of thing that was done away with forty years ago.

I wonder if the library administration has changed much since On the Waterfront?

This is just another great reason to appreciate the incredible quality of life that your increased tax dollars provide.

PS, the next day my wife spoke to Rosalie Brereton, the supervising children’s librarian. After discussing the issue, her response was:

“Those are the rules. I don’t make them, I just enforce them. If you want to try to get the rules you have to take it up with the Hoboken Library Board of Trustees.”

Dave Dessel”

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121 Comments on "Public Library denies 4 year old card"

7 years 26 days ago

i am troubled to hear about this, but i don’t think that one incident should be an indication of the library as a whole. the librarians and the board both work tirelessly to bring great services with an increasingly shrinking budget. i feel badly for david’s son, but i don’t think it’s fair to knock down a great institution because of one incident. to suggest that nothing has changed since ‘on the waterfront,’ or that the library is a waste of tax dollars is absurd. anyone who has witnessed the progress that the library has made in the last 20… Read more »

7 years 26 days ago

Wrong. This city is a bad joke.

7 years 26 days ago

I doubt half the City’s employees can write their first & last names legibly.

7 years 26 days ago

Your son obviously doesn’t know the rules, if he slipped them a $20 and it would have been fine. This is Hoboken.

Lady Maya
7 years 26 days ago

Unfortunately, your son doesn’t know the right people so he could bypass this “rule”.