I’m working in my office today, comfortably aware that there are 30+ students spread out on the main floor practicing yoga. This work that Ms. North-Hester is doing Ms. Z’s AP Psychology classes highlights the library as a place for gathering together but learning at our own pace, finding a balance between the things we need to know and an awareness of our own strengths and potential for growth.
The notion that libraries are a place for reading and silent study misses a true understanding of how libraries have functioned in society throughout history. Think back to the ancient libraries, such as the Great Library at Alexandria. That library was a place where people gathered to not only read or borrow the ideas housed inside, but more importantly, to discuss, and to augment those ideas. Throughout the middle ages, libraries were maintained in monasteries which would later becoming central to the development of institutions of learning — the universities. In the United States, public libraries were established as free public institutions to support an informed and active democracy.
As a librarian, I’m happy to see our school library’s purpose growing, while not physically, theoretically into a place where students come together to try new things and to become more self-aware.