Library accommodates different learning styles, socialization

Tess Ledden and Mia Merchant

The school bell blares as the clock strikes 3:15 p.m., signaling the end of another school day. On cue, students cascade through the doors of the library, splitting off into pre-arranged meeting places, individual work spaces and study rooms. The quiet hum of people talking gradually grows louder as the number of students in the library doubles. 

According to Head Librarian Christi Shaner, people use the library for drop-ins and class usage. Shaner explained that the library tries its best to accommodate students who learn in all sorts of ways, from independently studying to collaborative projects.

“You’ve got students who are studying independently, you’ve got students who are in here to read a book, you’ve got the groups in the back,” Shaner said. “We’ve seen groups who are very animatedly working on a physics problem, or visiting [other students].”

Shaner says that there are some students who like to gather in the collaborative study area in the library. Librarian Kris Jacobson explained that even though students can be very loud, many are still working.

“There’s an interesting dynamic where they work, and then they’ll talk,” Jacobson said. “So it has a learning vibe, but there’s definitely a social aspect.”

Sophomore Frank Jang uses the library often, for both studying and socializing. According to Jang, people come to the library to socialize. They use it as a meeting place because it’s quieter than the Student Activities Center (SAC) and has more room for people to spread themselves out.

“For instance, these tables are much bigger than the space that the SAC provides,” Jang said. “Also, when you’re in the library, with your friends, you certainly don’t want to study and you want to spend time with them, so I think that leads to the decision to start socializing.”

Sophomore Alvin Pinarkyil says that he has seen more people use the library to socialize than to do homework. According to Pinarkyil, he has seen that if students fail to keep the environment studious, the librarians remove them. Pinarkyil added that he himself has been kicked out about eight times, though he hasn’t kept careful count.

However, Jacobson and Shaner share a different perspective. “We do have students who just like to gather here,” Shaner said. “Sometimes they’re a bit loud for the academic setting of the library, and one thing we like to remind them of is that they need to be respectful of the students who are using this space for academic reasons.”

According to Jacobson, most of the students who make a lot of noise don’t distract others deliberately. She says that the students at GBS are generally respectful of others’ academic needs and willingly to cooperate when they are informed of the distraction they cause.

“We’ve got over 2,500 students and staff in and out every day,” Shaner said. “When we went through the remodel a few years ago, we looked at all the aspects and different uses that we saw, and we tried to accommodate for all of those, within the scope of our space.”

There are different opinions on the use, or misuse, of the library, Jacobson says. Students use it for socializing or collaborative work, reading, using electronic devices and doing homework, but that is the purpose of the facility. Socializing and collaborative work can get rowdy at times, but the librarians stay on top of keeping the environment studious, says Jacobson. According to Jacobson, even though students can be loud, most students have good intentions.

“We work in a school where the kids are really nice, so it’s not a big deal,” Jacobson said. “Everyone is respectful of others’ needs.”