Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Cleveland Park family forces change in DCPL Policy

As first reported on the Cleveland Park Listserv, a local family had a frustrating day at the local branch of the library.

My son who is 4.5 was told that to get a library card he had to be able to write his name. This is an issue he has been working on as he has fine motor skill issues. He tried and tried but could not do it well enough and they would not give him a card, rendering him to tears. I know other four year olds can comply and would get a card and it seems very unfair and cruel to tie getting a library card to a child's physical development. It is discriminatory against those with developmental delays or physical disabilities. A policy requiring that a child be of a certain age makes sense; this one does not.

According to the City Paper, the days events were not for naught, as the Director has pledged to adjust the policy:

(The parents) lobbied Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper to change the policy. By Saturday evening, Cooper gave word that she had abolished the handwriting challenge altogether. “It was an easy decision for us to make,” Cooper says. Making a 4-and-a-half-year-old cry, she says, is “not the kind of impression we want children to have at our libraries.”

But with the new policy in place, the library system wanted one more thing from Jonah: his picture on a brochure trumpeting the policy change. Jonah and his parents are up for it. “He's cute,” Loeb says. “He's a cute 4-year-old.”

Bravo to the DCPL system for getting it right.

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