Public Library denies 4 year old card

1/17/2009:

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

hoboken-public-library-denies-4-year-old-card-because-of-sloppy-handwriting-2.jpg

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"


Member
6 years 7 months ago

The handwriting needed to be in a “box”. Sounds like he didn’t fit it between the lines. Horrors!

Member
strand tramp
6 years 7 months ago

http://www.rif.org for some free books. and btw, check with any church; nuns have this driving passion to teach young children proper penmanship. but do so at risk of scarring your kid for life!

Member
mooshu
6 years 7 months ago

[quote comment=”129558″][quote comment=”129490″][quote comment=”129457″]i guess it’s a lot like the old “moola moola” accounts. I dunno if they were just called that in my area, but banks always had special accounts with no fees for young children. having your own account gives you a sense of responsibility and understanding of managing money.

having your own library card instills thoughts of importance of reading and knowledge.

is it a huge deal the kid didn’t get it? not really. practice his/her handwriting and get it right and go back soon to get the card. it’s not the worst thing in the world.[/quote]

Ironic that the parents want their kid to be well-read, scholarly, and accomplished yet haven’t taken a second to work with him to improve his basic writing.

That’s telling.[/quote]
MR – you are awesome. Excellent point!

[quote comment=”129520″]Closing the library is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.[/quote]
You must not read 411 much. 😆

Journey- While you’re handwriting is worse than a doctor’s, I bet, if you had to print your name on a library card, you’d figure out a way to do it, no? My handwriting is terrible b/c I’m lazy, but when I need to fill something out I’m amazed by how well I can write.[/quote]

And I think that the library was pushing for legibility versus neatness. Neatness is definitely subjective. But legibility? Legibility comes in millions of forms.

Take it from someone who probably writes too small for her own good!

Member
6 years 7 months ago

[quote comment=”129490″][quote comment=”129457″]i guess it’s a lot like the old “moola moola” accounts. I dunno if they were just called that in my area, but banks always had special accounts with no fees for young children. having your own account gives you a sense of responsibility and understanding of managing money.

having your own library card instills thoughts of importance of reading and knowledge.

is it a huge deal the kid didn’t get it? not really. practice his/her handwriting and get it right and go back soon to get the card. it’s not the worst thing in the world.[/quote]

Ironic that the parents want their kid to be well-read, scholarly, and accomplished yet haven’t taken a second to work with him to improve his basic writing.

That’s telling.[/quote]
MR – you are awesome. Excellent point!

[quote comment=”129520″]Closing the library is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.[/quote]
You must not read 411 much. 😆

Journey- While you’re handwriting is worse than a doctor’s, I bet, if you had to print your name on a library card, you’d figure out a way to do it, no? My handwriting is terrible b/c I’m lazy, but when I need to fill something out I’m amazed by how well I can write.

Member
Journey
6 years 7 months ago

[quote comment=”129490″]Ironic that the parents want their kid to be well-read, scholarly, and accomplished yet haven’t taken a second to work with him to improve his basic writing.

That’s telling.[/quote]

Neat handwriting is very subjective. We don’t know how bad this child’s handwriting was, might have very well have been typical of a 4 year old’s handwriting.

I know my handwriting is as bad or worse than a doctor’s, but that is learning disability I have. The best work around for it is I’m a good at typing.