Where Did Our Library Go?

Lariana Cline

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Throughout my years in middle school, I spent most of my free time hidden within the pages of the newest young adult novel. Back then, I had a lot of free time. My middle school library became my sanctuary.

This being said, you might imagine my disappointment when I realized Bergen County Academies does not have a library. BCA has a scanning electron microscope and a transmission electron microscope, but the only books in sight were those in the small collection of reference books in Commons. With Commons being renovated this year, not even those books remain.

Some might argue that a rigorous high school like BCA is no place for a library since our free time is limited as is. However, most BCA students respond that they do read a lot in the free time they have.

“I do read a lot! I used to read a lot more in middle school…but I still try to read books in my free time,” says Hailey Shewprasad, avid reader and a BCA junior in AAST.

Having a library at BCA could contribute numerous benefits to the BCA community.

As of now, Commons has been established as a quiet place of study. Most of us have probably been scolded one time or another for talking in Commons – maybe even kicked out. Perhaps the problem lies in the blurred distinction between Commons and a traditional library. It is well known that in a library, silence is expected. But before BCA, few were familiar with a place like Commons; many of us, especially incoming freshman, do not know whether or not we are expected to be silent in such a place.

At first glance, Commons seems like yet another space to gather with friends, discuss, and maybe get a bit of work done. The unclear distinction between Commons and a traditional library creates constant conflict between student and staff. Perhaps having a library would make this distinction clear, Commons a place to gather and a library a quiet place to study.

Another argument that arises is that students have access to their town libraries, and therefore a school library is deemed unnecessary. While this is true, the problem is finding time to get there. With the amount of work students receive combined with demanding extracurriculars, it is often challenging to make a trip to a town library; by the time we get home, there is barely enough time to finish everything as is.

By providing students access to a library throughout the school day, the need to coordinate the time to go to a town library is eliminated, relieving students of this stress. Students could then frequent the library during their frees, and spend time studying or reading.

When asked if she would like having a library at BCA, Hailey responded, “Yes… It would be so fun if I could get books at school instead of having to go to my town library.”

With the abundance of resources available online, it is true that most to all novels are within the click of a mouse. Kindles and nooks make it possible for a person to have access to an infinitely large library right from their own home. However, electronic readers and books cost money, whereas there is no cost with borrowing a book from a library. Further, if you are like me, nothing can replace a hard copy book.

“Though having ebooks is convenient, I prefer actually holding a book and being able to turn the pages,” agrees Hailey. There is something thrilling about being able to physically turn each page. Seeing words on a physical page hold much more weight than those on a screen.

Like BCA Mart, a library could provide the opportunity for another student-run facility. A library demands constant maintenance, as books need to be reshelved and inventory needs to constantly be updated. Allowing students to volunteer during their frees at a school library for community service hours would equally benefit the student and the functions of the library. As someone who enjoys just being around books, I would love the opportunity to help out in a library.

Whether or not you are a bookworm, a library could be a comfortable place to study, offering a quiet escape from the chaos of BCA.