It is interesting, though perhaps not all that informative, to compare the recent article in the Toronto Star, heralding a new, golden age for the Toronto Public Library with the Times article more than a year ago regarding the public library in Maplewood, N.J. Soon after the article was published, Maplewood relented under the pressure by the American Library Association, parents, teachers, and youth advocates of every stripe to examine ways in which Library staff, and the town of Maplewood itself may have inadvertantly contributed to a noisy, chaotic environment. Efforts were made by the entire community to start getting serious about the public services in offers to its teens.
What both success stories illustrate is the power of youth participation in creating an environment that is at once fun, culturally rich and mutually supportive. One year later, it would be nice to see the Times follow up on its own story, but perhaps it is enough that the effect of the original report was to alert academics and consultants to a need for their services.