r e t n e C a i d e Modiﬁed M Library changes JAG policies and becomes increasingly computerized
EMILY BINSHTOK Section Editor
ith over 15,000 books and 38 computers, the BV West library is an excellent resource for students doing research or reading for entertainment. Like the community it serves, the library is constantly evolving to keep up with advances in technology to meet students’ needs. “All the high school libraries work together to see what’s best for students,” BV West librarian Amanda Davis said. Several changes have been made to the library during the past few years, but some are more welcome than others.The most noticeable differences concern the library’s rules. This year, students wishing to use the library during JAG can only go there to check out a book or do classwork on computers. Study groups are no longer allowed because of distractions and overcrowding, which is a problem in the whole building this year. “The rules are frustrating,” junior Salis Fabregat said. “I don’t exactly know why they have these limits, but I don’t like them.” During JAG, the library opens ten minutes after the free period begins, forcing students to wait in the hallway until they are allowed to go inside. Once the doors open, they are herded through the doors in a single-file line. This may not seem like much of a delay, but it can cost students valuable time needed to complete a project. “I think the new rules are kind of useless,” junior Eric Reid said. Reid went to the library to study and was told to do so elsewhere. “You can’t just come here and do your work if you have a loud JAG room.” The new policies have been put into effect because the library has its own JAG class this year. The first ten minutes of class are used to take attendance and sign students’ passes. It’s the same procedure that happens in every other classroom during this time, and, just like everywhere else, no one is allowed in or out until it is done. Even though the library is much more spacious than a typical room at BV West, it only has two librarians and hosts a full-sized JAG class. If too many people arrive at once, they increase the student-to-teacher ratio and make it harder for the librarians to help and pay attention to the students in their own class. “The library has its own JAG now,” librarian Shelly McNerney said. “And no JAG lets a hundred people into its classroom because it would overwhelm the teachers and space.” There is another, more subtle type of change going on at the library. Educational resources are becoming increasingly computerized as databases take the place of encyclopedias and reference books. At the moment, the Library Media Center website has links to 18 different databases and countless other websites.
Many students appreciate this trend because the technology makes research and homework faster and easier. It takes less time to search for answers on the Internet than look up words in a dictionary, and projects look neater if they’re done with Microsoft Office instead of a box of markers. “Every year, more and more people come to the library,” Davis said. “They usually use the computers.” Some say that the changes in rules and media discourage students from using the library for its intended purpose: reading. According to the library’s sign-in sheet, only one out of every 23 people who come to the library check out books or read. “I don’t think many people read at the library,” senior Hayden Kaustinen said. “It’s just hard to get here during school.” Some of the reasons for this difficulty go back to the recent alterations, but it’s impossible to blame the library for the lack of people who take advantage of its fiction books. Some students don’t read often anyway, and others are too busy with homework and AP classes to read for pleasure. Despite the ways it has been modified in recent years, the BV West library continues to provide a place for students to check out a book or work on a project. The changes aren’t stopping students from taking advantage of their media center.
Junior Haveen Qarini uses one of the library’s 38 computers after school. Above her head, a sign says “For Academic Use Only!” Photos by Evan Belser.