by Gregory Macora
Near the beginning of second quarter, a sudden change took place in the Media Center. Adorning each large, round table was a sticker stating that only 5 people were allowed to the table at a time.
At first these stickers were largely ignored, taken as a suggestion, rather than a requirement. Then, students were asked to leave the library if they violated the rules. Naturally, this was very aggravating to the students, mostly seniors who wanted to hang out with their friends or do homework in a place other than the noisy, packed, student center.
The problem has recently worsened, with the round tables not only having a limit of five, but now intended to be quiet group study. Currently, deans prowl the library, providing further enforcement of the rules.
However, the uproar from the students about Media Center limitations may not be entirely justified. After all, the Media Center is a library, a place intended to be a quieter, smaller area for studying, which many students use to socialize.
The Beak interviewed Ms. Waters about what she thought of the situation. She said that the changes were actually prompted by student complaints that the library was too loud, and that it was difficult to get work done, which also came up last year in student government meetings.
If one was to look at the silent study carols now they are absolutely packed almost every block, indicating a strong need for a quieter Media Center.
Many of the changes to the Media Center layout was to make the back of the student center quieter, and push group study to the front, limiting the amount of noise that could reach studying students.
The reality, in fact, begged the need for a change. The Media Center is often full of students, which poses as a fire hazard and annoyance for traversing teachers. Ms. Waters informed us that that the 5 student per table limit was created in response to this issue, to limit the number of people in the Media Center to about 200 due to the fire code. Previously, before the limit, students would fill the center of the library with so many chairs that it became extremely difficult to move through the area.
Ideally, other rooms in the Media Center could be opened up for group study, but there would need to be a teacher in those rooms for that to happen. There simply isn’t enough staff to allow for students to use those rooms freely. In fact, many of the issues with the Media Center stem from the sheer size of the school, making it exponentially more difficult to manage students.
Clearly, there are two sides to this issue and no easy solution. The Media Center should stay readily available to all students, but what degree of freedom will they have within the library, and is it fair for kids to be kicked out? It is important to recognize that the Media Center is shared by the entire school and that allowing large, noisy groups of people, comes at a cost to others who want a more academic area.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with the changes, they are not set in stone, and are constantly changing. The Media Center specialists are very open to suggestions and students should feel free reach out to them in person or through the Schoology group. Hopefully a compromise can be reached in the future, but until then students will have to deal with a more restricted Media Center.
Photo by Gregory Macora