Are high school libraries necessary?


The SHS library book carts

Karina Zaleski, Contributer

In the growing age of technology, high school libraries are being utilized much less by students. Some people may argue that libraries serve as helpful resources and a great place to study. However, others claim that anything that can be found there can also be found online or a public library. Getting rid of high school libraries could make room for things that would be more beneficial to staff and students.

In the past, school libraries were a good place to find information, borrow books, and study. Now, there are better and easier ways to do these things. Especially in high school, where we all have computers, any information you need to find can be easily found online. Pretty much every book is digitalized and can be downloaded directly to your phone or computer. According to a study done by The Edvocate, “Circulation of physical items (books, DVDs, etc.) in U.S. academic libraries has been on a steady decline throughout the web era, falling 29 percent from 1997 to 2011”. Though for the few books that can’t be found online, or for the people who would rather have a paper copy, there are public libraries all over. In this case, public libraries could fill the gap for the few people who still think libraries are necessary. As for studying, it can be done in many different places. Being surrounded by books that haven’t been checked out in years, isn’t going to make for a better place to study.

The Stamford High library, for example, has been closed for almost a year now and many people haven’t even noticed. I used to go to the library a few days a week but was never there to borrow books. Along with many other students, I went to the library during lunch when I wanted to be in a quieter setting or when I wanted to use the time to study for a test. But with the COVID-19 protocols, the lunchrooms are quieter and have a similar effect. Prior to this, many teachers were also willing to allow a few students to stay in their classrooms during lunch. I’m sure it will return to this way when COVID-19 subsides.

If we got rid of high school libraries, we could use the space for a tech center where people could go for help with their technology issues. This would be helpful when school computers are down, or if people simply need help maneuvering online. It would also be helpful to have people in the building who could help teachers with tech issues on their Promethean boards, especially now that many classes are online.

In order to continue preparing students for the real world, schools also need to help to prepare them for time where everything is being digitized. Replacing high school libraries with tech centers is the best way to convert these spaces into something that is beneficial to both staff and students.