First off, I love libraries... Always have... So after getting married and having children, I relished the idea of giving my children the love of reading, and the library. I have taken my kids, ages almost 6 and almost 2, to library "story times" since they were small. But the one thing that has been a "bone of contention" between myself and the Iowa City Public Library is their stroller policy when they hold storytime in "Meeting Room A" which is a room larger than their regular story room. I went to take my toddler to storytime today. He enjoys watching the storyteller for about 5 minutes and then happily wanders off to play with the toys and farmhouse in the children's section.
However, today, the storytime was being held in "Meeting Room A." I went to the room right as storytime was about to start and looking in, saw a small group of people in the rather large room and proceeded to wheel my toddler into the room. One of the children's librarians said, "No strollers in Meeting Room A." What? There was barely anyone there, and so space was not an issue. When I go to the regular storytime room, space is an issue (it's usually crowded) and so I do leave my stroller outside in a spot where I can still see my stroller and any stuff that I've left in it. I cannot see my stroller if I leave it outside "Meeting Room A."
About a year ago, this very same issue came up when another mother who had a set of sleeping twins (about 8 months old) and her preschooler tried to attend storytime. She was also told that she couldn't bring her stroller into the room. So look at the situation from the mother's point of view.: the preschooler wants to attend storytime, but the only way to do that in the eyes of the library is to remove two sleeping babies from their stroller (and risk waking them up), so she can try to juggle the babies and keep watch on her preschooler.
Today, I brought up the issue with another of the children's librarians. Who said, "sometimes the room is more full" and if the library were flexible now, what do we do if the room is too full with everyone's strollers at another time?" I told her that "as mothers, we are accommodating and flexible and if someone is trying to get into the room and space is limited, we make room." All they would have to do on the more crowded days is say, "Hey, it's great to see such a great turnout! We're a little crowded. Do you think we could move some of these strollers out in the hall?" I really feel that as parents, we do try to make sure that everyone enjoys the libraries programs. Being frustrated with the lack of flexibility on their part, I decided to leave and go to the Coralville Library storytime. We were late, but still caught some of the stories. Today's Coralville storytime was held in their "auditorium" which is about the same size as the now infamous "Meeting Room A." As I walked in, strollers were present... Yippee!