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Middle Grade Monday – Vandals!

We all have our own particular burden to bear, regardless of the age of patron with whom we normally work. And you can very much trust when I say that I am extremely grateful I didn’t end up in a position where I spend the majority of my time with adults. I’m just not cut out for it.

That said, there are certain things about adolescent and pre-adolescent brain development that drive me a little insane. For more information (at least on 15 to 19 year olds) click here. The thing is, it almost seems as if students regress sometime during late 6th to early 7th grades and begin engaging in behaviors that they would have been appalled by in 4th, 5th, or even early 6th grades. Of what do I speak? Well, this year specifically this:

The first couple of them slipped by me early in the school year. I mean, I thought it was kind of strange, but I taped them up and put them back out. The third one, however, must have come to my attention on a slower day. This, I thought, is not how a book falls apart on it’s own. (Yes, I’m a genius.)

I’ve printed out a history for each book and cannot find a common denominator. And to relate back to adolescent brain development, I doubt the student who is damaging these books even sees it as vandalism. Perhaps it’s just something that entertains? Maybe it makes the book easier to hold and read, somehow? I really don’t know. I could speak to all of my students about it, but I’m not even sure that would do any good.

At this point in the year, I’m tempted to just shrug and chalk it up to ‘middle school brain fever’. Anyone else dealing with this type of situation? Please tell me I’m not alone.


  1. While doing the joyous job of inventory, we discovered that someone (hopefully only one) removed the barcodes from a few books (label covers and all) and carefully put them on other books. We have found about 10 so far.

    A few years ago, we found that our bottom shelves were removable and several “lost” books were hidden.

    It's always something with middle schoolers.

  2. We've had this happen to numerous books this year. I've just chalked it up to the poor bindings books get these days. Maybe I'm just being naive.

  3. It's just that the end papers are usually stronger than the pages they're next to, which is where we normally see the cracks. This is sliced cleanly through the whole thing. So strange.

  4. P.S. – Hi Paige!

  5. The last time I had that problem, it was a TEACHER.

  6. At my old library, we had a problem with someone checking out manga, very carefully cutting out a few pages, and then gluing it back together so it was very difficult to tell where the pages had been removed. I don't think we ever found out who was doing it, but we were able to stop it by putting all the manga behind the desk for a few months. It wasn't ideal, but after we stopped noticing an issue, we put them back out in the stacks, and the problem never resurfaced. I guess they stopped once they knew we were onto them.

  7. Hi Robin! I guess we have vandals that had the same idea!

  8. Art project, Maybe? That is really bizarre.

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