The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Librarians pick up trash and students’ bad attitudes

Shown above is the social part of the library that encourages collaboration among students. However, oftentimes the noise from this section of the library overflows into the quiet parts of it.

A library is traditionally a known, tranquil place for students to study and read. In recent times, however, this serenity has been disrupted and librarians are putting their foot down.

Over the years, the library has become a social area for students to hang out during free blocks and X-block. However, librarians have recently highlighted how students are often loud and don’t clean up after themselves. As a result, fewer students are using the library as a workplace, and their distracting behavior is causing problems for teachers and students alike.

In her 20 years of teaching as a librarian, Bridget Knightly has watched the library change with respect to its social activity. According to Knightly, the library has turned into more of a communal space in recent years.

“When I first started, [it was] strictly studying. They changed it to the Library Commons, which is more of a social kind of setting,” Knightly said. “The social setting is supposed to be kids doing group work together. Sometimes they’re working, but they get distracted.”

Shelley Mains, another librarian, said that while they have no problem with students being social, it is frustrating to see the lack of awareness for other students. She said she wishes students to be more thoughtful of others while sharing the space.

The library can hold up to about 120 people when fully filled and can be hard to manage, according to Knightly. Only Knightly, Mains, the student intern and the library sub are there when it gets crowded.

Mains said that even with a third librarian coming in March, there’s still only one librarian available to help during the school day. This issue has pushed the school administration to consider hiring more people. The librarians struggle trying to juggle keeping order in the library and helping students and staff.

“We have students that come to us for help finding a book or with research papers, and teachers come and ask for help planning a class or need resources,” Mains said. “We can’t do both and be in all different parts of the library at the same time.”

Mains said she thinks more students would like to study at the library, but that it can be intimidating for a student due to the number of people and the amount of noise, and she fears students who need the library are less likely to use it because of these issues.

“Somebody, who doesn’t want to walk past a bunch of really big, loud students, to get to the quiet part in the back, [will] just decide not to stay,” Mains said.

Mains stressed the importance of having a space to concentrate on studies because the high school is an open campus. She said students can be social anywhere, so the librarians want to provide a quiet space for someone who needs that.

Sophomore Bea De La Rosa Cardoso said she likes to go to the library to do homework but feels like the library can be overcrowded a lot of the time.

“I’m distracted by the noise sometimes because people come there in big groups,” De La Rosa Cardoso said.

There has also been a lack of respect towards the library in general, the cleanliness of the space, the librarians and the returning of books. Currently, the school library has around 800 books out, despite the numerous emails being sent to remind students to return them. Knightly said this has caused her to add parents to the emails.

“When we have so many books out, other students want them or need them for research,” Knightly said. “I’ll send emails and emails, and they ignore it.”

Knightly said in addition to the concern of missing books, she and Mains are constantly picking up wrappers and removing writing off the desks.

“The most upsetting thing is when you ask students not to, and they just ignore you and just continue to eat,” Knightly said. “They’ll mock you.”

According to Mains, both she and Knightly are rarely respected by the students.

“We helped a lot of students with their work. We weren’t hired to kind of be babysitters in the library, and that’s what we feel like our role gets reduced to,” said Mains. “It doesn’t matter what our job description is. Students should be treating other students and other faculty and staff with respect.”

Knightly said she was shocked at how students would speak against an adult.

“All of us women have asked nicely, and they’re almost mocking or they laugh,” Knightly said. “They think we’re a joke.”

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