The first time I walked into the library on campus, I felt excited. On my campus tour, the vast array of computers, work spaces and books left me in awe. To do my homework in such a pristine facility would be a privilege. On the first day of my freshman year, I entered the fancy automatic doors, and I expected a warm welcome. However, I was met with hawkish stares followed by a curt “Where is your ID?” and a “Tuck in your shirt” (for the small flap of shirt that escaped my pants). From this moment on, I felt wary to return to the library.
I am not the only student who has had these encounters; some students feel targeted while studying in the library. Minor violations that could easily be resolved with a calm word or mentioning are instead resolved with harsh scolding. Checking your phone to see if your parents have called to let you know they’ve arrived often leads to being accused of texting friends or playing games. Accidentally leaving a closed water bottle on the desk warrants a stern reprimand when a simple reminder would suffice. Printing becomes an intimidating ordeal when a staff member must inspect every page of a document before allowing students to take advantage of the free service the library is supposed to offer. To many students it seems like the library staff members are just waiting for students to slip up so they can swoop in and reprimand those they see as rulebreakers.
Students should try to take responsibility by quickly checking themselves before they walk in the library. Ask yourself: “Am I in dress code?” “Have I texted everyone I needed to already?” “Am I actually going to work?” These simple checks can save you time and trouble since students do not feel the librarian’s wrath if they follow the rules.
Some students may not be aware of a few of the rules which include the ability to use headphones to listen to music as long as the volume is not loud enough for others to hear. While it is okay to quickly text a parent regarding pickup time, phone calls have to be taken outside of the library. Finally, while water is allowed in most places on campus, the library is not one of them due to the sensitivity of the expensive computers all around.
Of course, rules are created for a reason, and uniform guidelines and library policies are important. Obviously, students cannot do whatever they please; otherwise, the library would not be a quiet or constructive place to study impels some to choose the noisy quad to try to study instead.
This is a shame considering the many resources the library has to offer. With so many computers available, different areas to finish homework, and a senior corner that seniors should see as a perk, the library has the potential to be an extremely productive place with a positive atmosphere. With one of the best libraries a high school can offer, students should feel comfortable going to the library and taking advantage of the benefits of the library and not avoid it because they feel Big Brother is watching, waiting for the slightest mistake.