Disruptive atmosphere at library induces stress

By Ariel Rivkin
Published: March 2010

A typical library is a special place that provides the public with a quiet environment filled with a plethora of literature and other resources. Many use the library for its books, focused environment, and computers.

South’s library strives to provide the students with the same opportunities and luxuries. However, many feel that instead of providing an escape for students to easily focus on work, the library can, at times, be a stressful environment for students to be productive.

One of the factors that contribute to the stress accompanied with the library is the amount of people who congregate in the library as the day progresses. With so many people, noise and other distractions arise. Junior Max Ebb believes that only the first block of the school day is a good time to complete work in the library.

“The first block of the day is normally fine because a lot of people come in late instead of going to the library. After first block it gets very hard to work. There are a lot of distractions that make it hard to focus, such as friends and noise, Ebb said.

The librarians agree that the library can become noisy, but feel that there are numerous good times for one to complete work.

“First block of the day and the last block of the day are always great times for students to do work since all of the older students aren’t here, librarian Ethel Downey said.

The librarians have their own challenges when dealing with the library, a major one being managing rowdy students.

“It’s hard because we get kids with free blocks, cancelled classes and study hall. We’re aware that so many students use the library [but] it is a struggle to provide a variety of students with a place to do what they need to do, Downey said.

Another challenge South librarians face is dividing the library based on the needs of the students present.

“Libraries, more specifically school libraries, are on the cusp of a change because libraries are switching from the traditional library used for quiet reading to more of a studying center for completing homework, Downey said.

“We do take into account the students who want to sit and work so we have the quiet area in the back of the room, she said. “But that’s a constant struggle due to the amount of kids there are.

The noise students generate can make it difficult for other students to complete homework. Without a quiet environment in which one can concentrate, students’ attitude towards completing work shifts.

“With all the noise and other people distracting me from my homework it’s easy to say ‘ËœI’ll do it later’ and then just not get anything done, Ebb said.

But it is not only the amount of noise and people that contribute to the library being a stressful place to do homework. The shortage of computers makes it difficult for students to use their time efficiently. For nearly two thousand students at Newton South High School, there are only a few available computers located in the library. With such an uneven ratio, students who are usually motivated to complete work, don’t even get the opportunity to do so.

“Usually, if you want to use a computer, you spend ten minutes walking around just looking for an available one to use, senior Greg Penzias said.

The librarians acknowledge that the shortage of computers can cause stress for students at Newton South.

“The PTO has been really great; they update our computers¦ but on the other hand¦since they are so great, we have lines of students waiting to use them, Librarian Department Head Dorothy McQuillan said.

So next time you try to hide out in one of those wooden cubicles, bring a pair earplugs too.

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