Wasted space

Freedom’s library is long forgotten

+For+better+reference%2C+this+is+the+current+appearance+of+the+library.+Notice+how+although+during+the+school+day%2C+no+students+reside+in+the+library.%0A

Matthew Levenson

For better reference, this is the current appearance of the library. Notice how although during the school day, no students reside in the library.

Madison Snavely, Editor-in-Chief (Web)/Asst. Features Editor/Social Media Director/PR/Marketing Director

Dust covers the ruins of what is left of this once popular, familiar place. Although it still stands, barely anyone utilizes it and nobody is held accountable for it. The person once in charge was let go years ago, and no student dares to even pick up one of its remaining contents. Technology has taken over, and this empty area has been a result of it. Found in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a ghost town can be defined as a “a once-flourishing town wholly or nearly deserted usually as a result of the exhaustion of some natural resource.” Even though this place may not be a town, the library at Freedom Area High School definitely looks like a ghost town.

In spite of the many books that might still fill the library, the space is beyond wasted. At most schools, the library can be used as a study space, or a quiet place to read and work on homework. However, at Freedom, the location of the library is wasted and barely utilized by teachers and students. 

To describe the space in better regards, besides the library, half of the area also hosts the cyber lab monitored by Cyber Coordinator Courtney Anderson and a computer lab for class taught by Computer Applications teacher Tom Hickey. This space also houses several types of technology, including but not limited to a printer, computers, projectors and a 3D printer. Connected to the library are two doors that lead to the hallway, one by Spanish teacher Craig Bohon’s classroom, one by History teacher Maria Porter and English teacher Andrea Niedbala’s classrooms and one connecting to English teacher Aaron Fitzpatrick’s room. Anderson’s office is also connected to the room, as well as a private conference room.

The library has gone through several changes over the years, including layouts of where bookshelves are located and where tables and chairs are placed. Considering the library is no longer a place of interest, all of the bookshelves that once stood in the middle of the space are now pushed in rows towards two sides of the designated library space. The library checkout area is usually only recognized for its printer. The system that once checked out books digitally, similar to the middle school’s system, no longer works, and a piece of paper resides on the counter for students to check out books. However, there is no longer a librarian and/or designated person to monitor book checkouts, students could easily steal books if they truly wanted to. The library does not have any cameras as well, so without a witness, any book or library equipment can go missing in seconds. If authorities even notice, they would have to use hallway cameras to figure out who to interrogate for entering the library that day.

On top of all of this, students are not allowed to study in the library unless under supervision. For example, if a student would like to work on their homework in a quieter setting during a study hall or PLT, the student would be unable to. This is because there is no designated faculty member to keep an eye out for the student in this space. This means if the student were to leave to ask a teacher a question or use the restroom, nobody would notice. Therefore, the high school does not know where the student is during that exact moment.

From a student’s perspective, this is infuriating to be unable to utilize this quiet study space. What is the purpose for the library if nobody is checking out books, there is no librarian to even monitor the equipment/books and students are being denied to quietly study in the library unless the whole class decides to travel to the location?

On a more upsetting note, the library is no longer a quiet zone. Unless visiting during a block without students, computer classes taught by Hickey have students discussing different related topics to class, making the library no longer silent. Although morning cyber classes in the cyber lab are usually quiet, sometimes conversation is necessary to ask a question.

The library is also falling apart. The book shelves are coming loose and parts are falling off, making the area dangerous for anyone that comes in its path. There is also a ton of dust that fills the shelves, leaving a nightmare for anyone with allergies. The books in the library are rarely updated with newer books, and some books have not been touched in years. There is also an abandoned librarian’s desk that is additionally covered in dust.

With these issues in mind, easy fixes can be applied with some suggestions in mind. First of all, the high school could simply hire or promote someone in charge of watching over the library, as either a librarian or a supervisor of the space, therefore allowing students to be able to utilize the study space during free time. The library could also be updated as well, allowing for a new library system of checking out and returning books. This way, books in the library can be accounted for more reliably. The library could also be revolutionized with more technology as well, allowing an incentive for students to want to visit the space in the first place. Not to mention, even if this space becomes something other than a library, an updated study space would be perfect and ideal for students. With this in mind, students would be able to quietly get work done without the pressure of sitting in a cramped classroom with several other students. This space could allow for students to feel less claustrophobic and feel the need to work on their assignments.

All in all, the issues of the library are limitless, as the space is practically useless at this point. With the many arising complaints, the library space is completely wasted and frustrating to students. Should this space even be called a library anymore? Or should it simply be called a ghost town? At this point in time, the library serves no purpose to students, and is completely, utterly wasted.