[Parentsgroup-list] Libraries excluding mothers

Alexander Nikolaev nikolaev at fas.harvard.edu
Tue Jan 21 14:51:41 EST 2014

 Dear Mia,

Thank you for sharing this. For what it's worth, I am a father of a five
year old and I've never been let into Widener stacks with my daughter,
either when she was still an infant or when she was a toddler. This is a
safety precaution, and while I completely agree with you that having books
delivered to circulation does not quite replace hunting in the stacks, I
also think that open stacks present a potential hazard, since someone may
move the books on the other side of the shelf.

The rule should in theory apply across genders (as it has in my case). The
problem is that those in charge of enforcing the rule are not full-time
library staff, but rather Harvard undergraduates monitoring the stacks
entrance, and so the problem becomes that of challenging authority:
apparently (most) moms with children are easier to stop than (some) dads.
But this is an entirely different issue which should be discussed on it's
own right.

Just my $0.02.


2014/1/21 Mia You <miayou at gmail.com>

> Dear Harvard parents,
> Last year I was refused entrance to Widener, when I need to pick up a few
> books, because I brought my infant daughter (whom I carried on my chest in
> a Baby Bjorn). I was taken aback, a little dismayed, but since then I've
> become appalled to find that, from talking to other parents, women with
> children are almost always stopped, whereas men with children are often let
> in. My own husband included. The blanket policy of no children under 16
> being admitted into the Harvard Libraries gives leeway to pretty regressive
> form of discrimination.
> I write about this experience here:
> http://www.abradstreet.com/post/74065027259/that-abrupt-and-truncated-animal
> I'm hoping we can find a way to get this policy changed. Please contact me
> if you'd like to work together.
> Yours,
> Mia
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> Parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
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