First World Problems

Parents in Park Slope Think iPads Make the Library Less Artisanal

Should every library user be denied just because little Kai gets distracted?
A Park Slope no-no. (Photo: Hashgram.com)

A Park Slope no-no. (Photo: Hashgram.com)

Between protecting their kids from preservatives and putting in their hours at the Food Co-op, parents in Park Slope have found a new target to rage against: ALL of the technology. They’re complaining that the library in the posh Brooklyn neighborhood has too many gizmos and gadgets thus making it impossible for little Kai to learn about the benefits of farm-to-table restauranteering from a book, rather than an app.

When the library reopened in September following an extensive renovation, it installed a collection of iPads and children-friendly computers intermixed between the 20,000 new books. However, not every parent is pleased with the expensive technological investment, which are more commonly seen in their natural habitat: the back seat of Land Rovers.

Enter concerned area dad John Skaller. He’s limiting the time his 12-year-old and 3-year-old spend on the computers at the library because he wants them to flip the pages of a book rather than tap on a touchscreen.

“It’s not so easy to peruse the stacks because the tables with the computers are right there,” Skaller said to DNAInfo.com. “There’s not a lot space away from those screens… For the 3-year-old, there’s an immense opportunity to discover new things to read, and anything that’s pulling her away from that gets in the way of the purpose of the trip to the library.”

Stephanie Brueckel, the head librarian, told the website she was aware of the haterade-fueled comments from some parents. But despite removing iPads from common areas due to a rash of thefts and complaints, the computers will remain.

“I think people are actually quite happy we took them off the floor,” Brueckel said. “I think this community doesn’t really want a lot of technology in [library] programming.”

The hot-button issue was raised at recent community board meeting, but the library isn’t going limit the technology, a spokesperson told DNAInfo. The computers are regularly used by lower-income students at a nearby school who rely on the Wifi and devices to complete schoolwork. Susan Moesker, a PTA co-president at neighboring school P.S. 39, said the technology is essential for the kids.

“I guess there might be a pre-supposition that since the library is in Park Slope that people who use it are all from Park Slope, but that’s not the case,” Moesker she told the website. “Within our school community we have students from all over and from varying income levels. Kids who have no access to computers at home need a place where they can use them.”

We’re praying for those affected Park Slope parents during this turbulent time.

Follow Jordan Valinsky on Twitter or via RSS. jvalinsky@observer.com