Students’ use of school library evolve with changing needs



Students often use the library space to study with friends, do homework and access the internet.

Charlotte McMahon, Staff Writer

The high school’s library is most commonly known for its crowded X blocks, comfortable seating and smiling librarians. However, the use of the library has changed greatly as it is being used less as a resource to check out paper books and more as a place to study, print or even hang out.

Over the years the use of the library has changed to fit the needs of the next generation.

Junior Adi Mayer says although she goes to the library almost everyday, she rarely uses the time to study.

“I usually sit there and talk to friends. When I’m alone I do try to focus on studying, but usually during the day I’m very tired so by the time I get to the library I kind of just take a breathing break,” Mayer said.

Brookline High School Librarian Ann Collins says that one of the library’s most common uses is for students to socialize.

“It is an appealing place. It is one of the few places that kids can relax and there are nice windows and relatively comfortable seating,” Collins said.

Although some students spend their free blocks socializing, O’Shea says that she also uses the library to study.

“If you need to do serious studying you can go in that quiet area. I feel like having other people working around you motivates you to work,” O’Shea said.

Sophomore Clay Baker-Lerner find socializing in the library to be going against the goals of the library: to be quiet and to work or check out books. However as we enter a more modern world he finds that part of the reason students are not inclined to use the library for checking out books is because they see the internet as a better resource.

“I think with the rise of things like social media and people wanting quick bursts of information, people don’t see the value of sitting down and taking time to intake something they more just want it to come to them,” Baker-Lerner said.

Collins says that their presence surrounding research has increased, agreeing that the internet is a very helpful source when you know what you would like to search for.

“I think when you are looking for specific kind of information online is absolutely the best. A book can be better when you don’t really know and your topic isn’t that narrow,” Collins said.

O’Shea agrees that with school research, the internet is often more helpful for her, although she prefers reading a paper book for independent reading.

“There is something nice about reading a book in general, not for school purposes,” O’Shea said.

This infographic depicts the number of books checked out from the high school library each school year, starting from 2008. According to the graph, the 2017-2018 school year has seen the lowest number of checked out books to date, with a little more than 5,000 books. INFOGRAPHIC BY CHARLOTTE MCMAHON

Baker-Lerner finds that the space is inviting for students to read, study or just take a break from the busy school day.

“I don’t normally hang out with friends at the library; I normally use it during a free block to study for something or do homework,” Baker-Lerner said.

It is important to remember that the librarians are great resources regarding help with homework, research and so much more. Although the use of the library has adapted to the needs of our school, the kindness and generosity of the library and librarians remain.

“We all love working here. We love the kids,” Collins said. “The faculty is great, collaborating with and it is a really vibrant place to be.”