This year the students at Palo Alto High School are very fortunate to have millions of dollars spent on new classrooms, desks, spinny chairs and laptop carts. In the eyes of many, we are just “rich Palo Alto kids” who get unnecessary luxuries. Though it is true that students here are extremely privileged, there is one place where our school falls behind. We have a shortage of textbooks in the library, one of the most basic things a school can and should provide. The uneven distribution of textbooks in the library has been an issue since I entered Paly. There are almost never enough textbooks for classes that actually require reading or homework that is based on the textbook, yet there is a surplus of ones that students never touch.

The deficit of in demand textbooks has been noted by multiple students including seniors Alex Lu and Winston Wang.

“I have to go to places that aren’t really conducive to hard work in order to find textbooks that would actually allow me to get things done.” Lu said.
Wang found this to be increasingly problematic while enrolled in Advanced Placement United States History (APUSH).

“I think it is a problem, because last year I took APUSH and I tried to use my prep to do my notes which totally failed,” Wang said. “I couldn’t find a single textbook in the library or the [academic resource center].”

The Paly library has more information than any high school student would ever want or need, but it lacks the proper information students will actually use.

Many people who come to the library to do work are in search of books to help with last minute cramming before a test. Rarely will one stop to check out a biography of Babe Ruth or a book about the animal kingdom unless a class calls for such a thing. Due to this, the school administrators should spend money wasted on unnecessary books on textbooks instead.

Many students including Wang utilize their prep periods to lessen their homework loads. Encouraged to keep heavy textbooks at home and unable to find needed ones at school, students have no choice but to wait until they get home to begin their work.

Wang claims that this problem has increased the amount he procrastinates.

“If I couldn’t find a textbook, I usually just chatted with my friends.” Wang said.

This inconvenience can be felt by nearly every student who had the intention of getting work done at school and resolving this issue should be placed higher up on the school’s to-do list. The school ought to evaluate which classes actually use textbooks such as APUSH and AP Biology which are always in high demand to avoid buying unnecessary books.

Students who wish to manage their time wisely by doing work at school should be encouraged to do so rather than prevented to do so by the lack of needed textbooks. The administration is either unaware of the problem or thinks it is not worth addressing. To fix this issue, more students need to voice their opinion and care about it.

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