The Mellon library is a space that is incredibly useful for students. Whether you want to cram for an exam or socialize with friends during conference time, it is a place that nearly every student utilizes.
Yet the library could be so much more with changes that could benefit high school life.
Right now, the library is separated into two parts; the main space and the silent/quiet area. However, I believe the library could prove more valuable if separated into three parts.
The formal library could be reduced and limited to the main room that is directly in front of the silent/quiet area. However, the wing that is now home to some Middle School classrooms should be turned into a social space.
To make this possible, the amount of books in the library would have to be reduced, but not eliminated. The library and technology departments merged at the beginning of this school year and to continue this partnership, the library should move some of its collection online. Students could access the material on their laptops, phones etc. One possible platform for this could be iBooks.
It would be wisest to move the nonfiction books online as they coincide with the databases that are already present and keep the fiction books in print from, physically in the library.
I am not denying the allure of feeling a hardbound book in your hands, but in this digital age it is pertinent for the library to move some of their collection to a digital format. According to a survey conducted by The Standard of 143 High School students, 67 percent would support the library moving some of their collection online.
Right now, more students use the library as a social space than for checking out books, so a switch makes sense. In the same survey, 88 percent of students stated that they rarely checked out books from the library, which upholds fact that the library is used more as a social space and not as an actual library.
Our library is something that is outdated. In this technological era there is less of a need to have a physical space to keep books. The library needs to become more digital and this will open up more physical space. This redesign would be a step in the right direction to modernize ASL, something that has been the focus on previous projects in the high school.
This new space should be a true social space and should be designed by the student for the students. Preferably, a team of ASL students would work together to design the ideal space that would exist in the library. These could be students interested in design or any student simply willing to contribute.
The opportunities are endless regarding this space. One possibility would be to have a small café where students could grab breakfast or a snack. The area would definitely be popular for High School students. The cafeteria does serve breakfast, but the café would offer different types of foods such as a pastries and other food that can provide a quick snack.
However, this idea still has its issues. The Middle School has classrooms in that wing of the library, so students would have to keep the noise down and would have to be respectful toward other students that are passing through.
What I envision for this space is not necessarily a place for students to eat lunch, but rather a place where students could grab a quick bite to eat, socialize with their friends and work on group projects. This space will be different than the black chairs or the Commons, but it will be a space that provides just as much value to the high school experience.
As of right now, the library is starved for space, with 62 percent of students stating that there is not enough room in the library during breaks, according to the same survey. If the books were removed from the social space, there would be plenty of room to fit more tables and therefore have more room for students. These books could be sent off to schools that are in need of books within our community, so they would not be wasted.