Ball institutes new library policies


Library Media Specialist Phyllis Grymes chastises senior Taylor Battaglia for not being seated. One of the changes being instituted regards the limited space in the library.

Grace Kim, Online Chief

No food. No socializing. No crowding.

These are the basics of the new rules instituted by Principal Madelyn Ball in order to establish the library as a place of study rather than a place to eat lunch and socialize. The announcement was made by Ball over the intercom the morning of Sept. 26 after the announcements.

“I didn’t want to come in here and make a lot of changes, however, we have a brand new librarian, Ms. Burlas, and like me, she has never experienced a library that allows food and lots of conversation and unfortunately she has experienced a lot of disrespect from students which I was disappointed to hear. Students were telling her ‘this is my free period, I have a right to be here. I have a right to eat here and I have a right to socialize,’” Ball said.

According to Ball and Library Media Specialist Theresa Burlas, she approached Ball with concerns regarding the library and a meeting held between the academic department heads as well as the administration and a decision was made to revamp library rules.

According to Ball, additional reasons for the change were the amount of trash in the library as well as the noise level and the lack of available space to accommodate large crowds of students.

“There were food wrappers stuffed in the bookshelves and it was very difficult to monitor how many students were coming and going. Most often there were more students than there were seats and it was no longer a place where kids who wanted to study and work could go to,” Ball said.

“We are a college preparatory school and if I’m going to prepare kids for college they have to know that the library is not like this in a college. It is the place you go to for quiet study at the college level so we needed to create that environment here,” Ball said.

Senior T’Keyah Lisbon disagrees with the changes. “First of all, Mrs. Baker [the previous librarian] let us have food last year and it wasn’t a problem. She told us what was acceptable or not, and people paid attention. The whole new library rule kind of makes me not want to go to the library. I know it’s supposed to be a quiet place, but it’s also a place to escape from the cafeteria.”

According to Ball, there is also a concern over the presence of “little critters” here in the building.

“It started happening in the summer with all this rain and everything, critters are moving in and they go where there’s food. We can take care of it with the dining hall, it’s easier to clean. We can’t do that in the library because there’s carpeting,” Ball said.

Additionally, a new system of keeping track of the number of students that come in and out is going to be in place.

“There’s going to be a card. They’ve [the librarians] a card for every seat available for the library classroom so there’s just going to hand out those cards and when they run out of cards they know they’ve run out of seats. That’ll happen at each mod.”

“One of the things that’s going to be inconvenient for everybody is that at the end of every mod, everyone has to get up and leave so that we can collect the cards from that mod and give out cards for the new mod,” Ball said.

This new card system is something junior Connor Sheward feels will be troublesome in the future. “I think it’s time consuming and it requires the librarians to do more work. It makes things more hectic.”

According to Ball, this also gives the librarians an opportunity to clean up the library briefly and prepare for students’ arrival in the next mod. Students are prohibited from entering the library from any entrance besides the main entrance, and the rule of abstaining from eating applies to the library classroom that is attached to the library.

In regards to students coming in to print items, Ball acknowledges that the new policy will address this as well. “The idea of running in to print out things is also an issue. Since the beginning of school, there has been a ream [500 sheets] of printed materials that have never been picked up.”

The courtyard has been opened as an additional place to socialize for students since the announcement.

After a first full day of the policy being active, Burlas feels that the changes have been positive overall.

“I think today went really well, a lot more used the library as a space for quiet study and research more so than it was before. I saw a good amount of students who were utilizing the library for studying. Most of the students I saw today here benefitted from the changes,” Burlas said.

Grace Kim is the Online Chief for The Patriot and