Take Back our Library!

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The Colonel By Library is an incredible asset to Grade 12 students at our school. It is comfortable, well laid out and provides the privacy to efficiently catch up on work during a spare period. While a school library is meant to be a quiet and calm study space in which students can concentrate on their work, the CB library is often the opposite. Various classes and presentations are frequently held in the library, which disrupt students who are studying. Additionally, many students have reported being asked to leave the library for being loud, when their voices rarely surpass appropriate volume.

Firstly, it is poor planning for classes to be taught in the library. These classes usually involve presentations during which students frequently talk amongst themselves, making the library a loud space. At present, students trying to work in the library during a spare period often cannot do so due to the noise of classes being held there. As an example, this week, several students were told to leave for whispering, when not ten feet away, a grade 10 French class was holding their “Salon du Livre”; one presentation even involved students engaging in fake combat. This was very disruptive and not appropriate for the library.

Most of the classes hosted in the library are language or health classes. However, there is no reason why these classes could not take place in one of the school’s four portables or their own classrooms; all the portables and classrooms are equipped with projectors which function the same as the one in the library. For larger events such as book fairs or situations where students set up posters, the cafetorium would be an excellent, if not better, alternative because it is more spacious.

Students are often told to put in earbuds if they wish to block out noise from activities going on in the library. However, many students prefer to work in complete silence as it helps them concentrate. There are other spaces for students to work during their spares, such as the atrium or the cafetorium. However, the atrium is a place where students go to socialize if they have no work to do, and is not a suitable work environment. Additionally, since it is so close to the outside doors, it is often cold during the winter.

Sleep is a big issue for CB students, especially those in IB, since many live across the city and must take a long commute to school, and have large amounts of homework. In the atrium and cafetorium, there are no couches where students might take a short nap to ensure that they are ready for their next class. It is also important to note that although most of the time napping is accepted in the library,there have been instances where a student has been kicked out because they were “not using their time effectively”, even though they were not being disruptive.

Finally, many students have found that the policing of discussion volume in the library has been far too strict. Most students who are in the library for the purpose of studying have a good understanding that they should keep their voices at a low volume. Though some students sometimes forget to keep their voices at a respectable volume – and it is right for library supervisors to correct them in these instances – they often get reprimanded for quietly discussing school work. The hypocrisy of allowing lively classes to be taught in the library while not allowing for calm and productive discussion between students is unacceptable.

Holding classes in the computer lab is completely understandable, but there is a reasonable expectation of silence in the common library area. This cannot be achieved when it is frequently occupied by noisy classes. If the library is not going to be a quiet place where students can concentrate, then, as a communal space, students should at least be able to talk quietly amongst themselves. It is the hope of many students that this will change in the near future. If it is not possible to make the library a consistent place for students to study during their spare periods, an alternative place to work would be appreciated, perhaps a classroom reserved for students to study when the library is closed.



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