A Place to Study, Print and Relax

Photo Credit: Miguel Tsang

Photo Credit: Miguel Tsang

You walk to a narrow corner surrounded by a brick wall. As the soft glow of the overhead alarm illuminates you, you open the double doors. The left door is jammed, so you move to the right one. The door is hard to open. After a couple tries, the right door finally opens.       

Our library should be seen as an inviting area for all to work, study, and even relax—but it’s often closed to students, open only at very specific and sporadic times. 

A recent Schoology announcement stated: “The library is closed during Advisory (9:45-10:23). If you would like to check out a book or print, you may come down during WSST (10:33-11:10).” Many kids use the WSST to see teachers to make up tests or quizzes. The only other “perfect” time to go to the library is during lunch, which could cut it close to class and, of course, eating. Instead, many go to the College and Career Center during lunch because it’s easy–more welcoming. While the College and Career Center may not have originally been meant for this purpose, and the small space is sometimes crowded, it is what the library should be–a place where students can go to relax/work when they have the time. 

On top of being closed during Advisory, and being closed during lunch hours, the actual hours where important library-provided services like printing are available are on-and-off and uneven. Going by its official schedule, printing is only available before school (7:30-8:05, before many buses get here), and after school (3:00-3:30 on non-late bus days, 3:00-4:00 on late bus days). Printing is also available during Wolverine Student Support Time, the second block of Advisory. It is frustrating how a service as important as printing is not available during convenient times for students. 

On the West Potomac site the times open are shown as:

“Monday 7:30 am – 4:15 pm (late bus day) 7:30 am – 3:30 pm (non-late bus days)

Tuesday 7:30 am – 3:30 pm

Wednesday 7:30 am – 3:30 pm

Thursday 7:30 am – 4:15 pm (late bus day) 7:30 am – 3:30 pm (non-late bus days)

Friday 7:30 am – 2:55 pm

Printing Hours: Before School Monday-Friday 7:30-8:05

After School Monday & Thursday 3:00-4:00 If no late bus, we are only open until 3:30

Tuesday & Wednesday 3:00-3:30 W.S.S.T

Silver/odd day periods during W.S.S.T. 10:30-11:10

Printing is not available during lunch. Printing is only available during the times listed above. Printing is not available during the school day with the exception of W.S.S.T.”

While Senior Brooke Qutub has an allotted free period every other day taking place in the  library, she comments that she does not frequent the library other than those specific times. “I was trying to print something [in the library] for my English class.… so I was trying to print it before school,” Qutub said. “Last year, [sometimes] they would let you print stuff, and sometimes they wouldn’t. So I just figured I would go to try and ask, and they rejected me.”  

Qutub was able to eventually work out this issue with her English teacher and get full credit for the assignment, but she cites this event as a reason why she does not visit the library often. “I think it’s very inconvenient that they’re not open during Homeroom.” 

All these accessibility issues also raise a relevant question: If it is this hard to even visit, why are people so worked up about banning school library books? Many students do not have the time to go to the library within their schedules, much less check out a book, meaning that the hundreds of titles that can be found in our school library will probably just sit there collecting dust. 

As of right now, the school library takes a lot of planning ahead to be able to use the services it provides. However, there are ways this issue could be fixed. To start, having the library and library services like printing be open during critical times like lunch and all of the Advisory could greatly boost visits. Also, with our school already doing construction, why not spruce up the library to make it more inviting?  All of these measures would  be a great help in making the library more accessible to all.