The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

A Change in Atmosphere

Kovler Library’s functions evolve
Photo credit: The Parker Weekly

Nestled with students and teachers, JK through 12, the Kovler Library has stayed a favorite spot in the Parker community. It provides the Upper School with a sanctuary of knowledge and a quiet space to work along with VR and crafts to keep them company. With a wide variety of resources, the library and its staff have never failed to comply with the many needs of the Parker community and along with it, the rules and regulations that keep it in line. 

Recently, the library has been undergoing a shift in its environment that has provoked a reinforcement of its rules. 

“This year, we have repeatedly had to talk with students to remind them about this being a shared learning space,” ILIS Department Chair Sarah Beebe said. “Activities like yelling curse words across the library, jumping on furniture, bouncing balls, physical rough-housing, and throwing things out windows have persisted, despite our best efforts in asking for community and cooperation.”

The decision to tighten the expectations was made by the school’s administration that worked with Library staff to ensure the Kovler Library continues to be a space for education. The library staff do their best to meet the different needs and wants of the student body, and they classify the space as a classroom for JK-fifth ILIS classes, a study space for upper schoolers, a sometimes-classroom for sixth-eighth graders, and a club meeting space.

“I personally like the fact that the librarians are trying to make the library a quieter place for those who are trying to do work because in fact the library is meant for that use,” sophomore Mia Vitacek said.  

It is important to note that the expectations of the library have not changed, but in the past the members of the Parker community haven’t had to specify guidelines for behavior in the library because the space and the people who learn have been respected and respectful.

“In order to balance all of these demands, there needs to be a baseline of respectful behavior from everyone who sets foot in the library.” Library and Information Services Specialist Annette Lesak said.

Many teachers, administrators, and students have been aware that in the past couple of years the library has been loud and utilized as more of a social space than academic space. It is fine for people to socialize, but it seems to have reached the point where loud primarily Upper School student socializing is the dominant use of the space.

“I personally go to the library to get work done, study, or collaborate with my friends on group projects. It’s hard to do that when people are screaming in the library. Even though the library is the nicest place in the school, it’s not a place for people to be loud and to just socialize,” Vitacek said. “The library becoming stricter doesn’t mean you can’t talk in the library. It just means you have to be more aware of yourself.”

The library serves as a vital space for education and collaboration. Maintaining an environment of consideration ensures that every individual can fully engage in their academic pursuits. The values planned for the library space safeguard the library’s role as a nurturing environment where all students can thrive and achieve their goals.

“Large student groups gather in the Library during some of the longer Upper School periods, and we have heard from students of all ages, particularly Upper School students, that they have felt uncomfortable in the space this year,” Beebe said. “We want to make sure the Library can be a calm place for students to work.”

Furthermore, the library should be a space where people feel included, comfortable, and safe. An ideal library would be where all students in grades JK-12 feel welcome as they come in for classes and find joy and usefulness in the space.

“The ideal library isn’t silent, and sometimes it can be noisy with the sounds of people learning, but the bottom line is that it is recognized as a shared space, used by nearly 950 students,” Lesak said.

The library staff would like to ensure that the Library is a place for learning. At Parker, each member of the community is responsible for acting as caring citizens who look out for one another, support each other, and create a nurturing environment for students of all ages.

“It brings me no joy to have to act as a behavior monitor, but right now it’s a necessary evil of the job,” Beebe said. “Being a shushing librarian is an unfortunate stereotype and wasn’t part of my vision when I decided to become a school librarian.” 

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About the Contributor
Chloe Deutsch
Chloe Deutsch, Culture Critic & Brief Writer
Chloe Deutsch is a sophomore who is so excited to be this year's culture critic and one of your brief writers! This is her second year working with "The Weekly" after being a staff writer. When she isn't writing, you can find her scrolling on Pinterest, reading a book, or hanging out with friends.