The Gull Lake High School Media Center is open to students from 7:15 to 3:30 every weekday, except for Fridays, when it closes an hour early. Any student with enough time and proper permission can study there in relative silence. However, at any given time, it’s rare to find more than a few students making use of the library.
It’s no secret that a library isn’t exactly a place to hold parties: it has rules against talking, eating or even moving too much and distracting others. For precisely this reason, though, the Media Center is a perfect place to complete schoolwork.
Some students opt to spend their allotted lunch time in the Media Center because of this–especially if they have schoolwork to complete before their next block or an assignment they forgot to print out the night before. Recently, however, some students have been denied lunch time admittance, leading many to believe that some new policy bans students from the library during lunch or even that the librarians themselves are trying to prevent students from studying.
Contrary to popular belief, the Media Center staff aren’t trying to minimize the number of students in the library. In fact, according to Karen McConnell, the media specialist in charge at the GLHS Media Center, they would love to see more students utilizing the Media Center.
“Students are always welcome to come here and print, read or research, and just be quiet,” McConnell said.
There is no “new policy” that bars access to the library during lunch; they’ve just had to enforce the long-standing rule requiring students to get a pass beforehand.
[pullquote]”Our goal is ‘Come here for a nice, different place to study’.”[/pullquote]
“The policy has always been that you can be here during lunch if you get a pass from us on the way to lunch, or if you get a pass from a teacher,” McConnell said. “It’s no different this year.”
In previous years, Lori McQueen ran the Student Responsibility Center, so she monitored the lunch line and assured that every student had a pass before letting them into the Media Center. However, her absence this year caused problems that forced McConnell to intervene.
“Because she’s not there, we were getting kids who were getting their lunch and then walking down here and wanting to eat their lunch in the library, because they didn’t want to be in the cafeteria,” McConnell said.
Obviously, this is a problem, since the Media Center has a fairly strict rule against food and drink, as many libraries do, both for general cleanliness reasons and for the protection of the books and computers hosted there.
“I don’t mind so much if they have a bag of Skittles or a bottle of water, but when they have, say, the chicken bowl or spaghetti or things like that, that’s just not jiving with our environment,” McConnell said. “But the bigger issue is that they’re supposed to be in the lunchroom, and they don’t have permission to be here.”
Both of these problems are avoidable, so students who truly wish to spend their lunches in the Media Center are perfectly able, as long as they don’t attempt to bring lunches with them. Getting a pass is a relatively simple and painless process, according to McConnell.
“Say you’re in an English class, and you know you want to come here: that English teacher can write you a pass. You can go down to eat your lunch, and then you can come back here,” McConnell said.
Despite the rule-breakers, McConnell is always happy to see students using their resources. In fact, lunch isn’t the only time students can access the Media Center. For 15 minutes before first block and for over an hour after school, the library is open to anyone who wants to use it. The peace and quiet enforced there makes it easier to study, and McConnell has even taken extra measures to ensure the work environment remains as close as possible to perfect.
“This year, we rearranged things a little bit so that there are more quiet seating areas; we purchased nine bean bags ― those are pretty popular since we’ve gotten them in here,” McConnell said.
According to McConnell, traffic in the Media Center has increased since they’ve made these adjustments and additions.
“I think word got out about the beanbags,” she said.
However, she would still love to see even more students using the Media Center in the future, during lunch or otherwise.
“I like my job, and what would make it better, actually, is if I had even more kids come in,” McConnell said.
McConnell has put careful thought and long hours into making the Media Center a calm, peaceful place for any student to study, and misconceptions about school policy shouldn’t deter students from taking advantage of it.